Surely interesting already to fans or followers of alternative/art-rock is J Mascis’ soon to be solo album, What Do We Do Now?, as aside from touring Dinosaur Jr consistently, and a release in 2021 with the band (QRO review), and even prior to that a 2018 solo LP, splitting for each outfit respectively, much of his recent work has been as a guest contributor. Really just finally coming forward with an acoustically trippy up-beat release is very impressive for Mascis, following all these years in bands such as grungy, Dinosaur Jr, and most notably recently, was a Kim Gordon co-writer for sessions. Of course, there are really a myriad notable heavier groups he has done session work with or drummed and sung for.
So, to take the fantastic mellow of Tied to a Star, a release marked by painful cloudy, active, skies, but beautifully spacey as well, and apply all that harsher work of rock in Dinosaur Jr. to it, mashing it together, and finally somehow coming to a head with, What Do We Do Now?, and a pair of singles preluding it in the really hopeful “Can’t Believe We’re Finally Here” (QRO review), followed now by the catchy intro of roaring, pop, chords, in “Set Me Down” truly is remarkable and inspired, distinguishing it in both a tonally or lyrically nice way as well as introspective manner compared to his rock and even thusly “hardcore rock” bands.
Speaking of the lyrics, they really are jumpy as well, while on familiar relationship topics, and while J tends to do thusly, he also tends towards the solemn, troubled, atmospheric, religious feeling of J Mascis and the Fog or as mentioned, Tied to a Star, most notably, solo-wise, is really darker. Following Dinosaur Jr’s path of guitar-solo based energy in an acoustic release while being up-beat is tricky. Somehow, J Mascis really delivers, a sense of belonging, and hopefully a true to form sign of things to come in track “Set Me Down”, from upcoming record What Do We Do Now?.
Watch “Set Me Down” here: