Over the years, the ever-talented J Mascis has been creating powerful impacts on the underground music scene by being involved in a myriad of projects. He is best known for being the frontman of the legendary three-piece alternative rock act Dinosaur Jr., but there are also plenty of other projects that he has left marks on. Some of them being the short-lived hardcore punk quartet Deep Wound, the Sabbath-influenced stoner/doom act Witch, and the rather underrated sludge/doom act Upsidedown Cross, to name some.
He even has his own solo project, just like his Dinosaur Jr. counterpart Lou Barlow. And it’s always wholesome to see artistic workers being so passionate about every single project they touch – just like J Mascis, and his magic hands!
In 2012, Mascis first released a self-titled album with two of his long-lost high school pals Johnny Pancake (bass) and Pete Cougar (drums), under the name Heavy Blanket. The project’s genre alignments mostly circulate around the lines of psychedelic rock, with a touch of alternative and blues rock. I’ve always perceived the project Heavy Blanket as a form of reminiscence towards Mascis and his long-lost pals’ stoner days back in those summers of the eighties. It’s all-around dynamic and fun with all the fuzzy tones.
To add to the excitement, they also released a live recording with the renowned psychedelic stoner wizards Earthless back in Roadburn Festival 2013 which took place in Tilburg, the Netherlands. The live recording, which mostly consists of killer rhythm sections, was titled In a Dutch Haze, referring to where the live performance was recorded.
And so to Moon Is (Outer Battery Records). In a form of thirty-five gnarly sonic landscape minutes, they managed to present the best of fuzzed-out instrumentals, only showcasing very few features of vocals. Opening track ‘Danny’ and its Zeppelin-like grooves is a really nice kickstarter to the album, while the second track ‘Crushed’ leans more on Sabbathian-type beat doomy undertones with its solid riffs, basslines, and drum beats.
The title track ‘Moon Is’ opens with some killer bass lines that are impeccably catchy, and the eight-minute-long ‘String Along’ is pretty heavy on psychedelic shades. ‘Eyevoid’ has strong blues rock elements and it’s almost like organized chaos pictured in a form of sounds. As the perfect closer of the album, we have ‘Say It To You’ which features deep-buried vocals and ever-present melancholy, presented in a spacey kind of vibe.
Moon Is would make a really nice psychedelic trip soundtrack, in my humble opinion. For Mascis fans who are accustomed to discovering his music through his biggest project Dinosaur Jr., maybe this record wouldn’t sound like Dinosaur Jr. at all, but the new kind of excitement you will experience at first listen is worth the try.
Buy the album here:
9 / 10