J Mascis off couch!

Slacker king gets loud again

J MASCIS & THE FOG, with PUDDY, at the Opera House (735 Queen East), Friday (February 2). $17.50. 416-870-8000, 416-466-0313.

Rating: Rating: NNNNN

for someone who regularlysounds like he can hardly make it out of bed, J Mascis’s return to making records is a pretty energetic comeback.His new More Light disc is vintage Mascis, as loud and driving as anything he managed with Dinosaur Jr. The drums thump, Mascis moans half-heartedly about being disappointed in himself and other people and uncorks a series of searing guitar solos. Business as usual, then, except that it’s been years since the long-haired guitarist has sounded this interested in making music.

Maybe it was the company. After dragging himself off the golf course and into the studio, Mascis hooked up with Guided by Voices warbler Bob Pollard and even managed to get hermetic My Bloody Valentine architect Kevin Shields out of his cave to bring the guitar equivalent of a 747 taking off to the album’s title track. That hardly sounds like someone mellowing with age.

“I think I am chilling out a little,” Mascis mumbles through a crackling cellphone while he tries to park in his driveway. “I don’t feel as angry as I used to, at least not all the time. I don’t think any of that affects my music, though. In fact, I don’t think anything affects my music.

“People are calling this a classic J Mascis record. That’s nice, but I don’t really know what that means.”

Volume might have something to do with it. As one of the loudest bands on the planet, Dinosaur Jr undoubtedly damaged the hearing of a few fans in the group’s decade of noise. Mascis, though, apparently wasn’t one of them, which might explain why he’s turned the guitars back up on More Light.

“We might have hurt some people,” he snorts. “I always wore earplugs, though, so it wasn’t that bad. You hear different things at that volume, but safety first, right?

“I always thought My Bloody Valentine was the loudest band on the planet, and it was funny, because when we played London in December, Kevin did sound for us and we apparently blew his ear out. Oops.”mattg@nowtoronto.com

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