Few bands have a bigger claim to the foundation of alternative rock than the legendary Dinosaur Jr. At a time when Kurt Cobain was just beginning to think about playing music and Soundgarden was still a bad metal band, the boys in Dino were thrashing out fuzzy guitar rock and hilariously christened themselves “the world’s loudest country band”.
Coming up at a time when the punk scene was starting to merge with the American college rock scene to create a harder-edged version of alternative, Dinosaur Jr. were able to pave the way for grunge in ways that only a handful of other bands could verifiably claim. That puts them firmly in legacy act territory, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still enjoy the new music, especially when it’s as good as their new single, ‘Garden’.
Helmed by bassist Lou Barlow, who is somehow both the George Harrison and the Paul McCartney of Dino Jr., ‘Garden’ is a slithering melodic hook machine from three guys who built their reputation on pairing ear-splitting noise with ripping guitar solos and undeniably catchy choruses. ‘Garden’ isn’t quite as ferocious as anything you’d find on Bug or You’re Living All Over Me, but a little bit of quiet meditation in between the breathless sprints of the band’s back catalogue is a welcome respite.
It’s been 15 years since the original Dino lineup featuring Barlow, drummer Murph, and singer/guitarist J Mascis, reformed and began melting faces once again. The whole Dinosaur Jr. saga is fascinating, filled with pettiness and passive aggression and the complete inability for three like-minded guys to communicate on any sort of level. But it’s also filled with amazing music, lasting influence on an industry-flipping genre, and even some implausible mainstream success.
‘Garden’ probably isn’t going to kickstart a revival for the band. Instead, it’ll be just another great nugget that proves that the chemistry and magic between Barlow, Murph, and Mascis is still potent. Any kid that has a Nirvana poster in their room or thinks beabadoobee is the future of music deserves to give Dinosaur Jr. their due. They’ve certainly earned it.
Check out the video for ‘Garden’ down below.