Back to some good old vinyl. I picked this up at their Academy show on the 12th, "Limited Heavy Vinyl LP/7" including the exclusive track 'Yer Son'". In other words, this 7" has the last three tracks of the CD album plus one bonus. Y'see, back before CDs bands could only fit about 40 minutes or so on to the LP 12" - which is why most albums continued at that length - and anything over had to go onto a second LP or, for a few extra tracks, a 7". (See this post on Drive Like Jehu's Yank Crime for another example)
Beyond is still my favourite album of 2007, so it's nice to have on LP even if it's not entirely necessary. (Though when it comes to consumer goods, what is?) The CD itself is pretty great, with the same artwork as the vinyl except in different places, i.e. the snake bite and gummy lettering of the CD tray which are the labels on each side of the LP... anyway, what is different and almost better about the vinyl is this 7".
Lou Barlow's two songs on Beyond are 'Back To Your Heart' and this second one here, 'Lightning Bulb'. They're both fairly sedate tunes compared to the high-octane rockers like 'Crumble' and 'Almost Ready' which start off the album. But 'I Got Lost', a Mascis-penned tune which starts off this mini record, is even more soft and gentle. Rolling drums over choral/folky singing and guitar, with a cello added in too for good measure. In itself it represents the softer but no less affecting side of Beyond, and of Dinosaur Jr.'s sweet alt-rock bluesy sound.
'Lightning Bulb' is obviously a good deal more bass-heavy, and louder, but it still matches up with the preceding song as the slower, more contemplative sound of Dinosaur Jr. Blend77 said this was originally his favouite song on the album, and while its competitors have always been too strong for me, I enjoy its subtlety. Like 'Been There All The Time'/'Back To Your Heart' (single post here), the Mascis/Barlow combination of songwriting is used to good effect. Indeed, it's the pairing of these two songs it what makes this 7" work so well.
On the flip side, the mid-length closing track for Beyond, 'What If I Knew' plays out like it usually does, all softly spoken/mumbled vocals, glorious distorted fuzz and noodly, yet slightly muted, guitar solos. It's not a song that has in particular caught my attention much before, at least not distinctly so - it's always been there as the album winds to an end, echoing the delicious sounds of 'Almost Ready' and 'Crumble' while permeating out the feel-good sound of the album. In that sense, it has a slight feel of a pastiche about it, but it's a still a good song in its own right.
'Yer Son', the exclusive bonus track, is a lot rockier than anything else on the 7", and indeed has a different sound on it than most songs on the album as a whole (except for 'It's Me' to an extent). It's hard-rock in a charming way, with echoey stadium vocals, winding guitar solos and a thumping rhythm. Like the way 'Pass the Swan' reminds me of a Thin Lizzy riff, there's something Thin Lizzy-retro about this one too (also, the Dublinese title). I didn't think much of it at first, but it grew on me. As I say, there's something especially charming about it.
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond 7" (vinyl rip)
A1. I Got Lost
A2. Lightning Bulb
B1. What If I Knew
B2. Yer Son
and if you like this, do buy the album, because it's awesome!
In the previous Dinosaur post I mentioned that the band's sound engineer for their tour has a blog - noel at the controls - and posted up a picture of the set-up at the Dublin show. There's now a link to it on the Dinosaur Jr. homepage, and fans from their shows across Europe have been leaving comments (I left a comment on his post about Temple Bar). Anyway, the above picture is from his blog, and this is what he says about in the comments:
"J is a fan of Battles and I think he had them in mind when he put up that cymbal. We saw them twice at the ATP we just played at. Lou and Murph are fans also. They are a cool band."
So there you go.