Dinosaur Jr.

Quest

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Only released in Japan, Quest very conveniently collects the various B-sides from the Where You Been singles in one handy package. Originally on Bug, "Quest" itself appears in two versions that bookend the disc, a live run-through that's a slow burning trudge like the earlier studio take and an acoustic version that's arguably the better of the two, emphasizing the song's burnt, hurt lyrics. As for the rest of the tracks, it's an amusing dog's breakfast of selections, including radio session cuts, wholly new studio tracks, and a cover song. The said remake of the Flying Burrito Brothers' "Hot Burrito #2" won't necessarily give Gram Parsons nightmares, but the triumphant rendition is something even the cosmic cowboy might not have imagined -- J Mascis' trademark wail/drawl has rarely sounded so appropriate. The other new studio tracks include "Turnip Farm," with a good thick guitar crunch and a softly sung chorus, and "Keeblin'," with a neat combination of acoustic and electric guitar behind Mascis' voice. "Forget It" isn't as immediately memorable in comparison but does have a nice acoustic start before the usual electric mayhem unfolds. The radio session takes are British recordings, all but one of which are delivered in really nice solo acoustic versions that emphasize each of the songs' elements of gentle downbeat vibes. Two are for DJ Mark Goodier, lovely versions of "Severed Lips" and "Thumb." The remaining number, for Goodier's more famous counterpart, John Peel, is a fine take on "Get Me" that adds some electric guitar lines to the proceedings here and there. The remaining track on the disc is an interesting nod to the past: "Kracked." Originally recorded for You're Living All Over Me and here captured in an appropriately amped-up and thrashed-out live version, the song's shift between stripped-down riffing and full-on splurge still sounds darn cool.

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