Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Dinosaur Jr. - Bug (reissue)

This is the best thing I've bought in a while. I might have to redo the photographs, because they're all a bit wonky, but I've been busy these last few days so bear with me.

Dinosaur Jr.'s Bug, originally released in 1988, was the band's last album with their original line-up, i.e. with Lou Barlow, until last year's Beyond. This year, all three of Dinosaur Jr.'s early albums (Dinosaur, You're Living All Over Me and Bug) have been reissued on J. Mascis's own label, Baked Goods.

Road Records have them in blue, red and green marbled vinyl respectively; according to Baked Goods' distro, Surefire Distribution, there are four colours altogether; 2,000 copies in total of Bug, 500 on black and 1,500 on coloured.

A quick question on coloured vinyl: the first time it's played, does anybody know if it usually sounds a bit off? I had this first with Hot Water Music's A Flight and a Crash, where the guitar sounded completely dead on the first listen (and the rest of the instruments - bass, drums - sounded fine). This is on the marbled records in particular - I'm theorizing it's something left behind by the printing process, although I don't notice anything collected up by the stylus. Affecting the higher frequencies perhaps?

Also, that's by way of saying don't throw out your record the first time you get coloured vinyl. Not that I did anything like that: but I was quite alarmed, to hear my favourite album of all time sound nothing like it should, the first time; and when 'Freak Scene' on this album lost all depth to its guitar solo, well, that was pretty worrying even if I thought I knew was happening...


As you can see, the marbling on each side is different - the more impressive burst on the second side gives an extra fillup to that side of the album. In addition, it's quite transparent (this is actually a slight problem as you can see the track grooves from both sides) so when you put it down on the turntable platter it looks extra cool - a little bit like this:


Dinosaur Jr. - Bug

Side A:

1. Freak Scene

2. No Bones

3. They Always Come

4. Yeah We Know

5. Let It Ride

Side B:

6. Pond Song

7. Budge

8. The Post

9. Don't

10. Keep the Glove (includes the bonus track 'Keep the Glove'


More on Bug

As much as I really like this album, I haven’t gotten madly into much else by Dinosaur Jr. You’re Living All Over Me is too disjointed, too patchy, too much just like noise. That’s not to say that it hasn’t got some really good songs, but it doesn’t hang together in any way like this album does.

I could say Bug is like a time warp back from the Dinosaur Jr. of today: Bug is Beyond of 1988. Of course, it isn’t: Beyond is of course Bug, reborn in 2007. But whichever way you look at it, they are two records that speak to each other in their simplicity and sheer, epic tunefulness across the decades.

’Freak Scene’ is maybe all you need to hear from this record. It expresses so well everything that is good about the Dinosaur Jr. sound, about the paradoxical bombast and tenderness of J. Mascis’s guitar, about the feel-good rhythm of all their songs. As much as I am tempted to keep playing that track over and over again, I won’t. Because ‘Freak Scene’ is just a gateway into the album, an introductory hit wonder.

Noel Murray has an interesting bit in this week's Popless about Dinosaur Jr. Apparently, he had a rejected book idea for a 33 1/3 edition on You're Living All Over Me. Sentiments above notwithstanding, I know I'd buy it.

"When I was a freshman in college, right after Bug came out, I figured Dinosaur Jr. might be one of those bands like The Velvet Underground or Big Star, that never sell many records but become hugely influential. I was half-right on both counts ...

My hope is that the reunion of Mascis and Barlow has helped bring Dinosaur Jr. back into the awareness of young alt-rock fans. Then maybe someone will take an interest in my book proposal."

'Kracked' from Living All Over Me is the track he chooses. If you want to hear more songs from that era, check out the Nov. 1988 Peel Session, which is a nice little snippet of that album.

I've also uploaded a rip of the 'Back To Your Heart' 7" I posted already. A lot of people say the albums I post bring them back to their college days, which makes me feel pretty young, but Beyond at least was part of my college days last year:

Dinosaur Jr. - 'Back To Your Heart'


Christopher Berry said...

This looks like it might've been pressed at Pirate's Press/GZ, which is based in the Czech Republic and does wacky colors, but is notorious for having sketchy sound quality.

Nice blog - been reading it for about a month. It's great to read your updates about Dischord/DC stuff. :)

blend77 said...

wow! that is a crazy vinyl!

Dino Jr. is late in the appreciation game for me. Somehow I missed them, though of course I knew of them and their stuff, which I always liked. But on closer examination in later years it hit me like a sack of bricks. J Mascis is sick! Really a virtuoso in his own way. Have you heard the Kevin Drew song with J Mascis? Back Out On The... it's called. check it.

and on the topic of Dischord, I have been heartily ingesting the Black Eyes self titled once again. That album is ridiculously weird and amazing. I feel like I should repost it every time I do that. Just so people know to check out this strangely alluring piece of DC cacophony.

sorry for the long post. hope all is well across the pond! ^_^

gabbagabbahey said...

christopher - I'll check what the manufacturer is. I do know the name GZ, but I think it's from a different record. The sound quality is perfect now, of course. And the same thing happened with the HWM (No Idea) record, and coloured vinyl is their stock in trade so I thought it might be just a usual thing.

blend - I have that song, it's pretty good. It sounds like everyone involved had a lot of fun, and yeah it has some beautiful Mascis wailing on it. But Kevin Drew/BSS have never completely convinced me, for some reason.

d said...

That color vinyl is super slick. There is nothing better than sitting back as J., Lou and Murph take you to another place. This will make my day roll much smoother. Thanks.

bicyclepirate said...

Colored vinyl always sounds worse than black. I'm not sure why that is, but most audiophiles prefer 180g black, then normal black. White, translucent, and picture discs sounds the worst. No Idea records always seem to be of pretty poor quality.

gabbagabbahey said...

d- yeah, it's so slick it's very hard to capture it with the camera. The colours are actually both a good deal more vivid and more subtle in parts than those pictures.

Hope you enjoy listening to it, though.

bicyclepirate - cool name!
I'm not an audiophile at all really (I run my turntable through a pair of old speakers), big-ass headphones as seen on top of the blog notwithstanding.

But I did read - in the often interesting Vinyl File on, link in the sidebar - an interview with Doghouse records where they were bringing out reissues on black rather than colour, because it supposedly last longer (the Doghouse guy said supposedly, so I guess no-one really knows!). That would make sense why some of these Dino Jr reissues are in black.

I typed in Black Eyes into your blog, and I found the Dischord mixtape with a few of their songs on it. I'll give that a listen some time over the weekend.

More importantly - to me, anyway - I just found out the Black Keys have a new album coming out soon (and a 7" out already, which I;m definitely going to pick up. What I've heard so far sounds pretty good.

blend77 said...

i'll re-up that black eyes album for you...

new black keys sounds good. theres links kicking around on sordo music... you should hit them up..

Jared Dillon said...

not a huge fan of Dinosaur Jr.

i uploaded a record by The Hated on my blog, i think you might really enjoy it if you want to take a look.

gabbagabbahey said...

hey, everyone has their problems. but otherwise -

YES! The Hated! - in other happening in the late 80's news...

everyone into 'emo' should check that out:

gabbagabbahey said...

blend, that sordo thing is really useful. Used it to pick up the new Black Keys as well as the new Foals.

I didn't realise the new Black Keys was out now! Didn't pick up the album, though the gatefold LP looks pretty cool, but I did buy the 7" and also Chulahoma on vinyl.

Attack and Release sounds really good, I'm quite excited about it. I really like the Danger Mouse production.

Brushback said...

Your jacket/vinyl photos always look good. Mine always have too much glare in them, no matter what I do.

gabbagabbahey said...

thanks. I use a scanner for 7"s, but I guess from looking at your site that you do too. Everything else is photographed in natural light... I had a little bit of glare on the Drive Like Jehu LP, because the sun was shining directly on it (needless to say, I didn't leave it lying there very long!).

I tried using the glare from my lamp to artistic effect on my post on Spiderland ( but I'm not sure to what success. I just loved the way it moves and glints off the spinning record, it really suited the album. Ironic bringing that up, I read your Steve Albini post today as well.

Brushback said...

I've thought of taking pictures of LPs outside in the sun, or next to a window or whatever-- of course, the sun has to be out at the time, and it hasn't been the best part of the year for that until lately!

With natural light, though, the problem becomes not enough light to get a really clear, sharp focus.

Heck, maybe I just need more practice.

By the way, I like taking pictures of recprds when they're on a turntable, too, and using a lot of flash-- the glint off the grooves looks awesome...

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