Ter­rell’s Tune-Up Steve Ter­rell re­views the new Di­nosaur Jr. and other al­bums

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Even though it’s been four years or so since their pre­vi­ous al­bum, de­spite any ru­mor to the con­trary, Di­nosaur Jr. has not gone ex­tinct. In fact, more than 30 years af­ter they first roared, they’re back with an­other doozy of an al­bum, Give a Glimpse of What Yer

Not, re­leased late last year. Though they’re get­ting old enough to be called “Di­nosaur Sr.”, singer/gui­tarist/ song­writer J. Mas­cis, bassist Lou Bar­low (who con­trib­utes two tunes here), and drum­mer Murph all are in prime form, sound­ing re­vi­tal­ized as they tear through 11 new songs.

Ba­si­cally, if you’ve liked this band dur­ing any point in their ca­reer — the orig­i­nal Mas­cis/Bar­low era (mid to late ’80s), the post-Bar­low grunge era (early to mid-’90s), or the post-re­union era (2007 to the present) — you’re bound to like Glimpse too. Mas­cis’ scream­ing gui­tar — those mud-soaked so­los that seem to hurl ef­fort­lessly into some cos­mic storm — and shaky vo­cals are front and cen­ter on most of the songs.

They kick off the al­bum with a wild ride called “Goin Down,” which re­minds me of an­other great high­en­ergy Di­nosaur Jr. opener, “The Wagon” from 1991’s Green Mind. “Goin Down” im­me­di­ately draws you into the record. But the next song, “Tiny,” is even bet­ter. Though the mu­sic is strong and con­fi­dent, the lyrics tell a dif­fer­ent story: “Com­ing out I’m deep in doubt I’ll meet you/Call­ing out it’s al­ways with a stare/I can’t give you less than what I mean to/I’ll pre­tend that I don’t see you.”

The song “Knocked Around” is a cool sucker punch. It starts off slow and mel­low with Mas­cis singing in a gen­tle falsetto. But about two and a half min­utes into it, Di­nosaur erupts and pounds the holy hell out of the song, end­ing it with a clas­sic Mas­cis gui­tar solo.

Bar­low’s songs are pow­er­ful as well. “Love Is,” a mi­nor-key rocker, would fit in well with Bar­low’s ’90s band, Se­badoh. (Ac­tu­ally, Se­badoh still is around, but I di­gress.) And “Left/Right,” which closes the al­bum, is a terse lit­tle snarler. Bar­low’s voice sounds haunt­ingly sim­i­lar to The Byrds’ Roger McGuinn’s in this song about love re­deemed.

For those of us who have loved this band, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not is like a visit from an old friend — an old friend who’ll blow out your eardrums and shake the plas­ter off your walls. Long may Di­nosaur Jr. roam the Earth! Visit www.di­nosaurjr.com. Also rec­om­mended

▼ The Flesh Is Weak by James Chance & The Con­tor­tions. Speak­ing of bands you thought might have gone ex­tinct, no-wave champ and cer­ti­fied sax ma­niac James Chance also re­turned with an im­pres­sive al­bum late last year. Chance, play­ing in bands in­clud­ing James White and the Blacks, com­mit­ted ran­dom acts of mu­si­cal weird­ness dur­ing the late ’70s and early ’80s, com­bin­ing punk, funk, and avant-garde jazz. Along with bands like Ly­dia Lunch’s Teenage Je­sus and the Jerks, Arto Lind­say’s DNA, and Mars, The Con­tor­tions con­trib­uted sev­eral songs to the in­flu­en­tial No New York com­pi­la­tion of the wild ex­per­i­men­tal no-wave scene. Flesh shows Chance still has his unique dis­cor­dant vi­sion and his chops on both sax and vo­cals.

The first song, “Melt Your­self Down” (a song he’s been do­ing live for years), starts out with a jar­ring elec­tric-or­gan blast be­fore the band comes in with their lively James Brown-meets-Cap­tain Beef­heart funk groove. Chance screams and squeals. “We’re gonna take that night train to Auschwitz!” he sings at one point. That’s fol­lowed by the ti­tle song, which is just as funky in its own pe­cu­liar way.

Though most of the songs here are orig­i­nal, Chance gives us three wor­thy cover songs. One is an in­tense ver­sion of an in­tense tune called “I (Who Have Noth­ing),” which has been a hit for Ben E. King, Shirley (“Goldfin­ger”!) Bassey, and Tom Jones. There’s also “Home Is Where the Ha­tred Is,” a har­row­ing drug tale writ­ten by Gil Scott-Heron.

But the best cover here is Chance’s reimag­in­ing of Frank Si­na­tra’s “That’s Life.” Fans of this song might not even rec­og­nize it on first lis­ten with its prob­ing bass line and wah-wah gui­tar straight out of Shaft and its Zappa-like time-sig­na­ture change in the bridge, with Chance’s horn scream­ing for mercy. And yet in the last minute the song springs back into a more rec­og­niz­able swing.

Not a note on this record sounds dated. I hope Chance con­tin­ues to re­lease his amaz­ing sounds. Visit www .jameschance­of­fi­cial.blogspot.com.

▼ The Deaner Al­bum by Dean Ween Group. Ween was one of the strangest bands to ever get a video on MTV in the ’90s. They were a wickedly clever ex­per­i­men­tal duo who some­how cap­tured the imag­i­na­tion of the (then) mu­sic chan­nel with a quirky Bizarro World ditty called “Push th’ Lit­tle Daisies” that amazed and baf­fled the masses. Ween hasn’t done a stu­dio al­bum in 10 years or so, but singer Dean Ween (Mickey Mel­chiondo Jr.) is back with a new band.

So how does this out­side-the-box vi­sion­ary start off his new record? With a bona fide South­ern rock in­stru­men­tal ti­tled “Dickie Betts” and sound­ing a lot like the for­mer All­man Brothers gui­tarist. Not what you’d ex­pect, but in a strange way, it works. There’s also an in­stru­men­tal, “Garry,” in­spired by Par­lia­ment-Funkadelic gui­tarist Garry Shider.

But it’s the vo­cal tracks that carry this al­bum. “Ex­er­cise Man” is a bru­tal and ac­tu­ally ob­scene tirade against some third-rate Jack. “Nightcrawler” is a nasty lit­tle nugget that could al­most pass for clas­sic rock if not for the dis­torted vo­cals and sci-fi gui­tar ef­fects. But my fa­vorite at the mo­ment is “Gum,” with heavy bass and what sounds like a toy pi­ano tin­kling away as the singer shouts lyrics about en­joy­ing gum, ice cream, and McDon­ald’s. This could al­most be an ode to … the band called Ween. Hop on the Dean Ween wagon at www.thedean­ween­group.com.

Though they’re get­ting old enough to be called “Di­nosaur Sr.” , singer/gui­tarist/song­writer J. Mas­cis, bassist Lou Bar­low, and drum­mer Murph all are in prime form, sound­ing re­vi­tal­ized as they tear through 11 new songs.

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