International touring schedule extended through January 25th, 2019 North America November 7th-December 15th UK January 16th-25th.
On November 9th, J Mascis will release Elastic Days, a collection of songs brimming with epic hooks and subtle guitar textures that slide against each other like old lovers and snare you in surprisingly subtle ways. You can hear this in J’s new lyric video for “Everything She Said,” directed by Joe Salinas.
J Mascis has extended his international tour schedule to support Elastic Days with UK dates for early 2019. The newly added dates begin January 16th in Oxford at O2 Academy and end January 25th in Glasgow at St. Luke’s. These dates follow J’s previously announced North American tour dates which run November 7th through December 16th.
Nov. 07 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial Nov. 08 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater Nov. 09 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Nov. 10 - Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo Nov. 14 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s Nov. 15 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar Nov. 16 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room Nov. 17 - Denver, CO - Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox Nov. 18 - Fort Collins, CO - Washington’s Nov. 20 - Chicago, IL - City Winery* Nov. 21 - Chicago, IL - City Winery* Nov. 27 - Atlanta, GA - City Winery* Nov. 28 - Nashville, TN - City Winery* Nov. 29 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar* Nov. 30 - Detroit, MI - El Club* Dec. 01 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall* Dec. 04 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe* Dec. 05 - Washington, DC - City Winery* Dec. 07 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade* Dec. 08 - New York, NY - Public Arts* Dec. 09 - Hamden, CT - Space Ballroom* Dec. 12 - Providence, RI - The Met* Dec. 13 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair* Dec. 14 - Northampton, MA - The Academy of Music* Dec. 15 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall* Jan. 16 - Oxford, UK - O2 Academy Jan. 17 - Bristol, UK - Thekla Jan. 18 - Brighton, UK - Concorde 2 Jan. 19 - London, UK - Islington Assembly Hall Jan. 20 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms Jan. 22 - Liverpool, UK - Arts Club Jan. 23 - Manchester, UK - Gorilla Jan. 24 - Leeds, UK - Belgrave Music Hall Jan. 25 - Glasgow, UK - St. Lukes * w/ Luluc
North American tour dates begin November 7th in Vancouver, BC.
On November 9th, J Mascis will release Elastic Days,
his third solo album for Sub Pop. “See You At The Movies,” the first
song to be released from the album, has a fully evolved sense of
identity and loss hanging over it, and features the classic couplet, “I
don’t peak too early/I don’t peak at all.” You can listen to the debut
offering here now, and also on Apple Music or Spotify.
Shortly before the release of Elastic Days, Mascis will embark
on a 23-date North American run, with Sub Pop labelmates Luluc opening a
number of shows. The tour will kick off in Vancouver on November 7th
with shows in Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto,
Philadelphia, and New York, among others, before ending December 15th in
Nov. 07 - Vancouver, BC - Imperial
Nov. 08 - Portland, OR - Aladdin Theater
Nov. 09 - Seattle, WA - Tractor
Nov. 10 - Bellingham, WA - Wild Buffalo
Nov. 14 - San Francisco, CA - Slim’s
Nov. 15 - San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
Nov. 16 - Los Angeles, CA - Lodge Room
Nov. 17 - Denver, CO - Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox
Nov. 18 - Fort Collins, CO - Washington’s
Nov. 20 - Chicago, IL - City Winery
Nov. 21 - Chicago, IL - City Winery
Nov. 27 - Atlanta, GA - City Winery
Nov. 28 - Nashville, TN - City Winery
Nov. 29 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
Nov. 30 - Detroit, MI - El Club
Dec. 01 - Toronto, ON - Great Hall
Dec. 04 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe
Dec. 05 - Washington, DC - City Winery
Dec. 07 - Brooklyn, NY - Rough Trade
Dec. 08 - New York, NY - Public Arts
Dec. 09 - Hamden, CT - Space Ballroom
Dec. 12 - Providence, RI - The Met
Dec. 13 - Boston, MA - The Sinclair
Dec. 14 - Northampton, MA - The Academy of Music
Dec. 15 - Portland, ME - Port City Music Hall
Tracklisting: 1. See You At The Movies
2. Web So Dense
3. I Went Dust
4. Sky Is All We Had
5. Picking Out the Seeds
6. Give It Off
7. Drop Me
8. Cut Stranger
9. Elastic Days
11. Wanted You Around
12. Everything She Said
About Elastic Days:
Near the end of Reagan’s first term, the Western Massachusetts Hardcore
scene coughed up an insanely shaped chunk called Dinosaur. Comprised of
WMHC vets, the trio was a miasmic tornado of guitar noise, bad attitude
and near-subliminal pop-based-shape-shifting. The contours of their
sound ebbed and flowed and mutated for 13 years before the name was
retired. And in the course of that time, Dinosaur (amended to Dinosaur
Jr. for legal reasons) defined a very specific, very aggressive set of oblique song-based
responses to what was going on. Their one constant was the
scalp-fryingly loud guitar and deeply buried vocals of J Mascis.
A couple of years before they ended their reign, J cut a solo album called Martin + Me.
Recorded live and acoustic, the record allowed the bones of J’s songs
to be totally visible for the first time. Fans were surprised to hear
how melodically elegant these compositions were, even if J still seemed
interested in swallowing some of the words that most folks would have
sung. Since then, through the reformation of the original Dinosaur Jr
lineup in 2005, J has recorded solo albums now and then, when he had
songs that were suited to acoustic (or at least relatively toned-down)
performance. And those album, Sings + Chant for AMMA (2005), Several Shades of Why (2011) and Tied to a Star(2014) all delivered incredible sets of songs presented with a minimum of bombast and a surfeit of cool.
Like its predecessors, Elastic Dayswas recorded at J’s own Bisquiteen studio. Mascis does almost all his own stunts, although Ken Miauri (who also appeared on Tied to a Star)
plays keyboards and there are a few guest vocal spots. These include
old mates Pall Jenkins (Black Heart Procession), and Mark Mulcahy
(Miracle Legion, etc.), as well as the newly-added voice of Zoë Randell
(Luluc), among others. But the show is mostly J’s and J’s alone.
He laughs when I tell him I’m surprised by how melodic his vocals seem
to have gotten. Asked if that was intentional, he says, “No. I took some
singing lessons and do vocal warm-ups now, but that was mostly just to
keep from blowing out my vocal cords when Dino started touring again.
The biggest difference with this record might have to do with the drums.
I’d just got a new drum set I was really excited about. I don’t have
too many drum outlets at the moment, so I played a lot more drums than
I’d originally planned. I just kept playing. [laughs] I’d play the
acoustic guitar parts then head right to the drums.”
There is plenty of drumming on the dozen songs on Elastic Days.
But for those expecting the hallucinatory overload of Dinosaur Jr’s
live attack, the gentleness of the approach here will draw easy
comparisons to Neil Young’s binary approach to working solo versus
working with Crazy Horse. This is a lazy man’s shorthand, but it still
J’s vocals have always leaned in a direction acknowledging the Bard of
Toronto, but as early as Dinosaur Jr’s third single, the epoch-defining
“Freak Scene,” J’s off-hand vocal delivery was instantly recognizable.
On a track like “Sky Is All We Had,” the same dynamism is at work, but
the evolution of technique is so massive as to lift the proceedings to a
new level. The album is chock-full of similar nuggets. Built around
acoustic guitar figures, often holding off electric flights of guitar
backdrop until the third act, the tunes are massively seductive and
satisfying. J’s fave track is “See You At The Movies,” which has a fully
evolved sense of loss hanging over it, and features the classic
couplet, “I don’t peak too early/I don’t peak at all.” My own choice is
“Picking Out the Seeds,” on which J pulls out his falsetto voice to
great effect, and maintains a middlin’ pace that makes the tune one of
the great Beard Rock readymades of the era.
But Elastic Daysbrims with great moments: Epic hooks that snare
you in surprisingly subtle ways, guitar textures that slide against
each other like old lovers, and structures that range from a
neo-power-ballad (“Web So Dense”) to jazzily-canted West Coasty
post-psych (“Give It Off”) to a track that subliminally recalls the
keyboard approach of Scott Thurston-era Stooges (“Drop Me”). The album
plays out with a combination of holism and variety that is certain to
set many brains ablaze.
J says he’ll be taking this album on the road later in the year. He’ll
be playing by himself, but unlike other solo tours he says he’ll be
standing up this time. “I used to just sit down and build a little fort
around myself – amps, music stands, drinks stands, all that stuff. But I
just realized it sounds better if the amps are higher up because I’m so
used to playing with stacks. So I’ll stand this time.”
I ask if it’s not pretty weird to stand alone on a big stage. “Yeah,” he
says. “But it’s weird sitting down too.” Ha. Good point. One needs to
be elastic. In all things.
“Wide Awake”, handily available for your listening pleasure in the embedded player, is a new offering from guitar legend J Mascis’ forthcoming solo album, Tied to a Star
which features guest vocals from Chan Marshall of Cat Power. The
Guardian, who premiered the track, had this to say about the release, “The
godfather of grunge did the unthinkable in 2011 by swapping his
trademark distortion and fuzz for the gentle strums of an acoustic
guitar. A few years after the release of Several Shades of Why, and J Mascis is still favouring the more mellow approach to songcraft with his new album, Tied to a Star, out in August.”
Tied to a Star will be available on CD / LP / DL August 25th worldwide from Sub Pop; pre-order here.
Aside from being actual music to my ears, news of a new record from J Mascis is also figurative music to my ears; and, given how well-loved the bespectacled, silver-haired, magical-seeming, wizard-like figure of independent music is, odds are that the announcement of Tied to a Star’s August 26th release is music to your ears as well. And back to the literal music to the ears thing, why don’t you go ahead and press play on the embedded player right now. It features the album campaign’s lead-off track, “Every Morning”, a high energy charmer of a song with J’s fingerprints all over it. We think that you’re going to love it.
More on J Mascis’ Tied to a Star (by Todd Berry): It
makes perfect sense that I was asked to write a bio for J Mascis. Let’s
face it, he and I have a long history. It all started the first time I
saw him live. It was in New York City. I don’t remember when or where,
but I think he was walking around. I was probably walking around, too.
The second time was also in New York, at a Mexican restaurant in the
East Village (the one that takes credit cards now, but didn’t used to).
Years later I actually met him at the SXSW festival though a friend who
works at Sub Pop. I guess that meeting went well, because when that
friend from Sub Pop got married, she sat me at the same table as J.
Sounds unbelievable? I suggest you look at the picture below. Now keep
staring at that picture until August 26th. That’s when J’s new acoustic album Tied to a Star
comes out on Sub Pop records. It features appearances by Ken Maiuri,
Pall Jenkins, Mark Mulcahy, and Chan Marshall. Had I been in the area,
I’m sure I would’ve been asked to play on it, too.
Tour Dates Jul. 26 - Carnation, WA - Timber! Outdoor Festival Sep. 24 - Hamden, CT - The Ballroom at The Outer Space Sep. 25 - Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live Sep. 26 - Baltimore, MD - Ottobar Sep. 27 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506
Sep. 28 - Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle Sep. 30 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree Oct. 01 - Nashville, TN - Exit / In Oct. 02 - Athens, GA - 40 Watt Club Oct. 03 - Atlanta, GA - Terminal West Oct. 04 - Louisville, KY - Zanzabar Oct. 05 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway Oct. 07 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck Oct. 08 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room Oct. 09 - Minneapolis, MN - Minneapolis Institute of Arts Oct. 10 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon Oct. 11 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean Oct. 13 - Ann Arbor, MI - Blind Pig Oct. 14 - Cleveland, OH - Grog Shop Oct. 15 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Cafe Oct. 16 - Washington, DC - Black Cat Oct. 17 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom Oct. 18 - Boston, MA - Sinclair Nov. 07-09 - Austin, TX - Fun Fun Fun Fest Nov. 11 - Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom Nov. 12 - San Diego, CA - Casbah Nov. 13 - Long Beach, CA - Alex’s Bar Nov. 14 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo
Nov, 15 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent Nov. 16 - Sonoma, CA - Gundlach Bundschu Nov. 19 - Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
Nov. 20 - Portland, OR - Dante’s Nov. 21-22 - Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
While J Mascis may have a reputation for interviews with professional
music journalists where he may might not be characterized as chatty or verbose,
in the interview clip presented here, we’ve captured the kind of deeply personal insights and
stories he’s willing to share with lifelong friend (and,
coincidentally, Sub Pop VP) Megan Jasper, which, not surprisingly, is also not terribly chatty or verbose.
More news on Tied to a Star, the follow up record to J’s 2011 Several Shades of Why is soon to come! Sign up for the J Mascis email list on this page to get the latest news about pre-order.
In very remarkable news, Sub Pop artists, Mudhoney, J Mascis (J’s flight was unfortunately delayed and he will not be able to perform today) and Sera Cahoone are playing ON TOP of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle tomorrow, July 11th accompanying a remote broadcast by our dear friends at KEXP. From 12-5:30PM tomorrow, KEXP DJs John Richards and Kevin Cole will broadcast live from the Space Needle’s observation deck, jamming some Sub Pop tunes and generally kicking off the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee weekend with the rare sort of aplomb that posting up for the day on top of the Space Needle can bring.
The entire event will culminate in the first-ever live music performances from atop the Space Needle featuring solo sets from J Mascis and Sera Cahoone, and a fully plugged-in performance from Mudhoney. You will be able to live-stream video and audio from the broadcast via KEXP.orgall day tomorrowTODAY!
There will also be interview highlights from label founder Bruce Pavitt, Soundgarden’s Kim Thayil, photographer Charles Peterson, and legendary producer Jack Endino. Also, I’m told that there will be surprises.
The FREE Sub Pop Silver Jubilee Schedule:
Saturday, July 13th; Georgetown, Seattle, WA, USA
12th Avenue S and S Bailey
9am to noon – Yagya Opening Blessing
Sub Stage (at S. Homer Street)
8:30 pm – Built to Spill
7:15 pm – Mudhoney
6:00 pm – J Mascis
5:00 pm – METZ
3:45 pm – Pissed Jeans
2:30 pm – King Tuff
1:30 pm – Shearwater
(Beer Garden opens at noon)
Pop Stage (at S. Vale St.)
7:45 pm – Father John Misty
6:30 pm – Greg Dulli
5:20 pm – Shabazz Palaces
4:10 pm – The Baptist Generals
3:00 pm – clipping.
Elysian Stage (at the S. Lucile St. overpass)
7:30 pm – TBA
6:15 pm – Chad VanGaalen
5:00 pm – The Catheters
4:00 pm – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth (this is TAD’s new band)
3:00 pm – Jack Endino’s Earthworm
2:00 pm – The Tom Price Desert Classic (Tom Price was in the legendary U-Men)
1:00 pm – David Buhler (The mind behind Loser Pale Ale and partner at Elysian Brewing)
(Beer Garden open at noon)
The Mix: The Hardly Art Sideshow Jubilee
(at 6006 12th Ave. S.)
12:30 am – TBA
11:30 pm – Deep Time
10:30 pm – Protomartyr
9:30 pm – Hausu