Despite recent musical ventures from J Mascis, it still feels strange to describe the new single “Wide Awake” by Dinosaur Jr. frontman as mellow, however, words often fail this reviewer and frankly “mellow” is most appropriate term at my disposal. The track from Mascis’ forthcoming album Tied To A Star is a wonderfully acoustic dalliance for the guitar phenom, featuring backing vocals from lo-fi contemporary Chan Marshall. Much like the material from 2011’s Several Shades of Why preceding it, “Wide Awake” showcases the more tactful side of Mascis’ immense musical prowess all the while weaving a beautiful song.
Mascis’ direction as of recent years has taken a turn for less noise and more attention to detail, but that certainly hasn’t lead to Mascis dialing back his innate finesse. It seems J’s acoustic tendencies aren’t so much a reinvention as it is a virtuoso stepping back from his Marshall stack and constructing a new body of work that exhibits his meticulous attention to detail. It just so happens that J’s new music perhaps lends itself better to long drives and album art with fungi and little creatures (see website for image, it’s kind of cute.)
In any case, J has proved himself to be one of the few remaining indie godfathers that hasn’t sacked his early talent for a now mediocre existence (sorry, Tweedy) It’s one thing to keep up with the Joneses and quite another to quietly and subtly put your proverbial neighbors to shame. J has successfully done both in the least saccharine of manners.
Tied To A Star is slated to drop late August and promises to be yet another well-calculated and introspective addition to Mascis’ catalogue. J resumes his U.S. tour this September, for more dates and information visit J’s site