Dino Jr, dudes.
A couple of citizens of the nation formerly known as Alternative Rock have remerged at time when 90s music could be getting its second wind.
Grizzled former Husker Du frontman Bob Mould just released his ninth studio album, Life and Times, a hard-edged return to Du's angsty punk and the sprawling melodies of his post-Du 90s band, Sugar.
Life and Times is very much a taking stock record, as Mould ponders mistakes, regrets with frequents themes of love and sex, sometimes in uncomfortably explicit fashion (see Bad Blood Better). The record makes sense when you consider Mould is currently writing an autobiography that is set for release next year.
Mould sounds palpably comfortable in his musical skin, ripping power chords like he did in Du, then blasting Sugar-style guitar solos. His punk rock/90's alt style has been resurrected as of late, with bands like fellow Minneapolis natives Hold Steady, L.A's No Age and Japandroid of Vancouver all drawing comparisons with their buried vocal style, which you could say Mould pioneered.
The other relic of 90s Alt that appears to be having a late-career renaissance is J Mascis and the reformed Dinosaur Jr. Their new album is called Farm and it doesn't hit streets till June. It's full of Mascis guitar screeching, heavy chugging and his unmistakable voice gracing many a dour melody. Bassist Lou Barlow contributes significantly and gives the record a Sebadoh vibe on more than one occasion.
The fact that Farm is as solid a record, if not more, than beloved 90s Dinosaur classics like Where You Been, won't come as a total surprise after Mascis and Barlow caught everyone off guard with their impressive reformation record in 2007 - Beyond. But two good albums in a row, 20 years removed from their peak? It's unusual.
Or maybe our collective tastes are changing. The 80s sound feels mined to death these days. Electro pop is everywhere you turn and perhaps hitting critical mass. A distorted guitar-loving 90s revival feels well positioned but it likely wont be grunge because that sound is still too challenging to take seriously.
Maybe it's the simplicity that Mould and Mascis offer at time when indie rock groups are going to further and further extremes to differentiate themselves from the mass of new music coming at us from every direction. Maybe we need to think less of about music; not take it all so seriously and just enjoy the blazing glory of a J Mascis guitar solo.
Not convinced? Download a song from the new Dino Jr. right here.