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Artvoice Weekly Edition » Issue v8n28 (07/08/2009) » Section: Left of the Dial

Levon Helm - Electric Dirt

That Levon Helm’s musical ramble is still at a full-steam-ahead pace is impressive feat on its own, but it holds even more weight when you consider the whole backstory. Helping alter the course of popular music with the five-headed rock and roots monolith The Band—from backing Dylan to their own string of majestic landmark records—Helm’s steady-handed backbeat and lively, unmistakable Arkansas drawl were a driving force, always near the center of it all.

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm

Dinosaur Jr.’s new LP is hardly a new act from the alt-rock pioneers, but this is nothing to be deterred by, as watching them cavalierly stroll the indie tightrope is as entertaining as ever. The only difference found on Farm, and to a lesser extent their previous album Beyond, is that some of the messier aspects of the band’s sound have been washed away, leading the effort to resemble grunge more than any of the Dinosaur Jr. albums released in the 1990s. This is amplified by the fact that J. Mascis’ age-eroded voice is starting to have the timbre of Eddie Vedder’s—but, man, does Mascis’ guitar still have the same glorious tone. As lackadaisical as the man’s groans can be, there’s so much joy and excitement in Mascis’ leads—searing, even—that it’s clear he relishes each time he gets to show how much better at guitar he is than you.

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