Dinosaur Jr.’s J Mascis on being inspired by Thin Lizzy and working with Kurt Vile

Dinosaur Jr.
(Image credit: Cara Totman)

For any band 12 albums deep, there’s a level of normality to be expected – you’re not hovering over the play button thinking, “Okay, this is gonna be the one that really makes a stink!” This much is especially true for any band packing out theatres and shifting thousands of discs on the regular; if they stuck gold on a certain sound or formula, you can bet a hot dollar they’ll be riding it right to the grave. 

Every so often, of course, there’ll be one band eager to buck the trend. They may not completely shed their stylistic skin, but they’ll stir the pot just enough to keep longstanding fans hooked in and pique the interests of potential newcomers. In the case of genre-defining ‘90s icons Dinosaur Jr, that meant dosing up their epochal alt-rock palate with duelling lead guitars inspired by Thin Lizzy, some fresh perspective from new-age indie stalwart Kurt Vile, and a touch of empiricism brought on by J Mascis’ need to finish album #12 in isolation.

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…