J Mascis, Tied to a Star  Out now, Sub Pop Records, jmascis.com 

J Mascis, Tied to a Star

Out now, Sub Pop Records, jmascis.com

After Dinosaur Jr. reformed in 2005 and put out two successful records with its original lineup, singer/guitarist J Mascis released 2011’s Several Shades of Why, his first solo offering outside of other projects with which he was peripherally involved. With things quieting on the Dino Jr. front and bassist Lou Barlow’s Sebadoh revving up again, Star is perfectly timed. Several Shades of Why was Mascis at his core, a man and his acoustic (with a few guest musicians in the mix), and Star

practically picks up where he left off. Complete with Mascis’ falsetto vocals, lead-off track “Me Again” is a soft acoustic opener with a distinct AM Gold sound, and it’s some of his best work in years. Overall, the album is considerably more upbeat and organic, peppered with various instruments and even a vocal appearance by Cat Power on “Wide Awake.” It more appropriately showcases Mascis’ voice and technical prowess on the guitar—an element that sometimes gets washed out among the feedback and wailing guitars of Dino Jr. This works in his favor, as Star never has much of a chance to get bogged down in its own indie-folk sorrow. It’s occasionally uplifting and firmly rooted in its acoustic roots, making it a pleasant record—all it really ever needed to be. Next performance: Wed., Nov. 19, Tractor