Thursday, June 11th, 2009
I Don't Wanna Go There
Guitar solo fetishists rejoice as Dinosaur Jr, Built To Spill and Sonic Youth return
Brantley GutierrezIt’d be foolish to suggest that the guitar has fallen out of its place of supremacy in the indie rock universe – the six-string remains ubiquitous – but there’s a case to be made that the guitar solo is on the wane. And I’m not talking about the concise melodic instrumental break but the full-on, 32 bar, eye-closing, fuzz-spraying, fret-shredding SOLO. That, you don’t see as much of these days.
So for those of us for whom that’s not a positive development, the impending June 23 arrival of Farm, Dinosaur Jr’s new record and second since reforming the original lineup, is good news. Because where there’s Dinosaur Jr, there’s soloing. Lots and lots of soloing. Farm doesn’t stray far from the template J Mascis has worked from for pretty much his entire career – sleepy, croaked vocals over loud, hook-laden tunes and saturated with guitar – but definitely maintains the sense of rejuvenation that made their last album, Beyond, so much better than most expected.
I’ve still not seen Dinosaur Jr live in any of their incarnations – the 2006 Broken Mascis Scene benefit concert with Broken Social Scene was as close as I came – so I’m hoping that the rumours that they’ll be playing Pop Montreal implies a Toronto date come October. In the meantime, a session the band recorded for Daytrotter has been made available to download, featuring a couple of songs from their debut Dinosaur as well as Beyond. There’s also an interview with drummer Murph at Chart.
Doug Martsch is another fellow who’s been known to take a guitar excursion or two, and there’s sure to be more than a few of them on the next Built To Spill album, which should be arriving this year. Martsch talked to both Pitchfork and Sterogum about how things are going on There Is No Enemy, due out in October. Denver Westword also has an interview, and there’s also rumours of a Toronto live date percolating… more on that when its available.
Sonic Youth are also no strangers to the abuse of six-stringed instruments. Their latest, The Eternal, leans towards the more conventional side of their oeuvre, but with Sonic Youth that’s a very relative statement. They’re the subject of an interview at Billboard and another on-camera two-parter at Pitchfork TV. PFTV also has another installment in their A>D>D video session with the band, who’re at Massey Hall on June 30.
Guitar heroics aren’t necessarily the first thing one thinks of when they think of Wilco, but with Nels Cline in the band, they shouldn’t be much further than the second or at most, third. CityBeat has a conversation with with Cline about his work both within and without Wilco, while Metromix caught up with Jeff Tweedy while the band was in Spain to discuss their new record Wilco (The Album), due out June 30.
Under The Radar has details on the forthcoming Drive-By Truckers rarities compilation The Fine Print (A Collection Of Oddities and Rarities 2003-2008), out September 1. The band’s performance for Austin City Limits will also be released on CD and DVD on July 7, and Patterson Hood’s new solo record Murdering Oscar (and other love songs) is out June 23.
Blurt has information on goings-on in Pernice Brothers-land. Joe’s first novel It Feels So Good When I Stop is set for an August 6 release and it will be accompanied by the release of a soundtrack album – essentially a cover album – which will be out August 4. There will also be string of live dates that seek to combine the book reading/concert performance mediums into, well, some combination of the two. Only a few of the dates have been announced yet, none in Pernice’s adopted hometown of Toronto. Come on, Joe. Do it.
Wheat are offering an MP3 from their forthcoming album White Ink Black Ink, which has pushed back May and June release dates and is now set to be out July 21. Any bets on August? PopMatters readies itself for the new record by revisiting the greatness of their first two, Medeiros and Hope & Adams, both recently reissued together.
MP3: Wheat – “H.O.T.T.”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”
Jet will be at the Mod Club on July 6, tickets $25.50.