Dinosaur Jr.: Where You Been (Cherry Red) - Review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, July 6th, 2022  

Dinosaur Jr.

Where You Been

Cherry Red

Nov 20, 2019 Dinosaur Jr. Bookmark and Share


By 1993, Dinosaur Jr. had splintered. Bassist Lou Barlow had left three years earlier under acrimonious circumstances, and leader J Mascis had soldiered on, assembling a four-piece band for 1991’s Green Mind while ultimately ending up playing most of the instruments on that album himself. But Where You Been was different. Back to a trio, Mascis and longtime drummer Murph adding bassist Mike Johnson, the band was again just that…a band. Recorded mostly live in the studio, Where You Been ushers in the second era of Dinosaur Jr. in spectacularly unified and bombastic fashion. Everything seems bigger. The sound. The guitar. Mascis’ inimitable falsetto croon. Add lyrics of longing and strife and what you are left with is one of the true Dinosaur Jr. masterpieces.

Cherry Red Records began its Dinosaur Jr. reissue campaign somewhat inauspiciously with a deluxe 2-CD version of the band’s greatest hits album, Ear Bleeding Country, in 2018. But it has currently expanded its scope to four of the essential mid-period Dinosaur Jr. albums, Green Mind, Where You Been, Without a Sound, and Hand It Over, each either on double vinyl with select extra tracks or as 2-CD sets with a veritable treasure trove of additional material.

Of course, Where You Been stands on its own as one of the best albums of the ‘90s, from the excoriating first 45 seconds of the opening track “Out There,” to the brief but explosive closer “I Ain’t Sayin.” It’s an album the reinvented Dinosaur Jr. at such a pivotal time in its career, setting them up for greater future success and cementing Mascis as alt-rock guitar hero for all time.

But it’s the extras here that are the enticement. Starting with the band’s version of The Flying Burrito Bros’ “Hot Burrito #2,” the final six tracks of the first disc feature album B-sides, “Quest,” which was released on an Australian- and Asian-only EP, and the bizarre “Missing Link” collaboration with Del The Funky Homosapien for the Judgement Night soundtrack.

Disc 2 begins with six acoustic tracks from BBC sessions in 1992 and 1993, which include the Johnson-sung “Noon at Dawn” and a beautifully affecting version of the “Out There” B-side, “Keeblin.’” The final eight tracks to close out the package are live cuts from June 29, 1993 in St. Paul, Minnesota. And while the sound quality here is not perfect, it’s a frenetic document of the time, with furious renditions of Where You Been staples like “Start Choppin,” “Drawerings,” and “Out There,” along with older classics like “Raisins,” “Thumb” (which checks in at 8 minutes), “Budge,” and the epic disc-closer, “Sludgefeast.”

It’s about time that these mid-period Dinosaur Jr. albums be reissued. The extra content provides a package that brings everything of the time together at once, with detailed historical liner notes including quotes from the main players. It’s an essential reissue of an equally essential album. (www.cherryred.co.uk)

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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Jevvy
June 19th 2021
7:34am

It’s an album the reinvented Dinosaur Jr. at such a pivotal time in its career, setting them up for greater future success and cementing Mascis as alt-rock guitar hero for all time.

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