New Music From Dinosaur Jr. and Andrew Hill

Dinosaur Jr.


(Fat Possum)

It's hard to imagine that it's been 19 years since the original Dinosaur Jr. lineup released Bug on SST, the last album in the great prehistoric Dinosaur trilogy (including Dinosaur and You're Living All Over Me). Bug cemented Dinosaur Jr.'s place in the underground college-rock world with an even-handed approach to catchy, noise-drenched hard rock and stony, lovelorn folk-rock. But creative differences and a bitter falling-out between bassist Lou Barlow and guitarist J. Mascis sent Barlow packing soon after Bug's release, taking away a critical part of the equation that made the trio work so well to begin with. Following Dinosaur's 2005 reunion with the original lineup, their management convinced the band to make a new album. They answered, breaking ground on Beyond, the first Dinosaur Jr. release of new material in a decade, unearthing the Stonersaurus we all thought was extinct. From the sound of Beyond, not even 19 years or band drama has slowed them down, and they've picked up right where they left off. In many ways, Beyond is what Green Mind could've been, and then some. Mascis has always been a virtuosic beast on the guitar, though he's never been one to acknowledge it. But with age, it seems that he has finally come to an understanding of the talent he possesses, not to mention a more engaging, direct relationship to his songs. Songs like "Crumble," "This Is All I Came to Do," and "Been There All The Time" remain as spontaneous, focused, and bold as those that came when Dinosaur Jr. were at their peak. "We're Not Alone" is an infectiously satisfying pop song. Likewise, the Barlow-fronted "Back to the Heart" is easily one of the best songs he has written in the past decade, in part because it has a rough, tangible pop edge that an early Sebadoh release could've had—if Mascis sat in on guitar. (Yeah, right.) This is also the Dinosaur Jr. song that would've kept Barlow in the band, because Mascis would've actually wanted it on the record. To say that Beyond is just another Dinosaur Jr. record would be an understatement. It's a fantastic record, on par with Dinosaur's earliest and greatest predecessors—filled with catchy, hard-knocking songs that'll still sound great nearly 20 years from now. TRAVIS RITTER

Dinosaur Jr. play the Showbox, 1426 First Ave., 628-3151, $20 adv./$25 DOS. 8 p.m. Fri., May 18.

Listen to a sample of Dinosaur Jr.'s "Almost Ready."

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Andrew Hill


(Blue Note)

If the quintessential bop pianist, Thelonious Monk, was "Fractured Fairy Tales" (whimsical, succinct, catchy yet unpredictable), then the man Blue Note label head Alfred Lion perceived as the next Monk, Chicago-born Andrew Hill, was perhaps "Fantasia." Expansive, knotty, a collusion of the classical and modern, Hill was given carte blanche when it came to recording for the venerable imprint. The results were not only post-bop classics like Point of Departure and Judgment! but ambitious sessions released five to 10 years on (his widely revered nonet work, Passing Ships, didn't see release until 2003). Compulsion, a 1965 date rereleased on CD but a month before Hill succumbed to lung cancer on April 20, acts much like the kaleidoscopic cover, revealing yet another side of his paramount playing and arranging. His playing is as dense yet sprawling as that of fellow pianist and labelmate Cecil Taylor on his watershed Unit Structures. The album is powered by three drummers (kit, congas, African drums) and a front line of trumpeter Freddie Hubbard and Sun Ra reedsman John Gilmore. On standout "Premonition," the group's improvisation broods, then suddenly coheres around Hill's ascendant spires of notes, acting as a beacon through the darkness; on the title track, it melds kinetic dissonance to roiling polyrhythms. ANDY BETA

Listen to a sample of Andrew Hill's "Legacy."

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