Dinosaur Jr. – I Bet On Sky- Jagjaguwar 2012
With 10 records now under their belt, Dinosaur Jr. continues to put out great stuff. Their newest album, I Bet On Sky, does not fail to impress. Starting off with “Don’t Pretend You Don’t Know”, it’s clear that Dinosaur Jr. is still proving that there is more to their music than noise and distortion. The first track experiments with different orchestration- bringing in an underlying synthesizer line and a little piano riff towards the end.
“Almost Fare” has a pretty upbeat, light melody that contrasts nicely with the heavily distorted guitar moving through the song. That is pretty much the sound of this record. In general, I Bet On Sky is surprisingly clean in comparison to their other releases, but the distorted guitar is still there moving through and carrying on consistently throughout all the tracks.
The faster-paced “Rude” brings Lou Barlow up to lead vocals. The change in voice adds something different to the character of the song and mixes things up a bit in a good way.
It gets a little darker on a few tracks, such as “Watch The Corners”, which has a chugging guitar riff underlying throughout the song that gives it an almost metal sound (of course I would make comparisons to metal in a Dinosaur Jr. record). I like that this record goes back and forth between upbeat stuff and more down, melancholy stuff in a very seamless way.
I Bet On Sky is just a really well-done record. It’s polished, but not overly so that it takes away from the rawness that has become synonymous with the sound of the band.
YYZ ESB- Quenk Brewing Co.- New Haven, CT
This is my own beer! It was ready to drink as of this week and I’m very pleased with how it came out. We called it the “YYZ ESB” to cash in on more Rush nerdiness. Also it was ready to drink as of the Rush concert last week. It is a homebrew, and pours a thick, opaque, unfiltered wheat color. Maybe the head is a little thicker than I’d like, but it doesn’t linger that long and definitely isn’t unpleasant. The initial taste is crisp and citrusy, while it finishes with the hoppiness of an IPA. While it has a lot of flavor, the YYZ ESB isn’t heavy at all and has a really drinkable quality to it.
I like to think that Dinosaur Jr. maintains a certain familiar vibe over the years. One of my favorite books, Our Band Could Be Your Life by Michael Azerrad, covers the band during the late 80s and early 90s. I think they still hold on everything that being an indie rock band should be- from the fact that they continue to release their records on independent record labels to the shows that they play. I saw them at Milford, CT’s Daniel Street Club a few years ago, and it was really great to have a fairly intimate show with a band that has been around for so long. So for this pairing, I didn’t want to just have a craft beer, I wanted to go as local as my own kitchen. Even though Dinosaur Jr. travels everywhere, they still give off that feeling of being a local band, at least to me.