Dinosaur; You're Living All Over Me; Bug

In my early adolescence, I seemed to possess a near clairvoyant comprehension of Dinosaur Jr.'s innate (and utter) awesomeness--even before I completely understood why. J Mascis' masterfully executed persona was a big part of it, I suppose--that of the prototypical slacker, stoned on his own oppressive boredom, who could still effortlessly muster both dense, blistering musicianship and brilliant songwriting. But even in my affections for the major label dabblings, it wasn't until I got a taste for Dinosaur's SST offerings that the planets all finally aligned. In the genius double-stroke of You're Living All Over Me and Bug, J Mascis became a guitar god to those of us who didn't know we gave a fuck about guitarists. He became the slack-jawed popster whose lazy voice effectively deflated any suggestion of axe-wielding machismo. Mascis became, in a word: Awesome. Merge's long-awaited reissues of Dinosaur's original JayLouMurph discography have the good sense to present the facts simply--exactly the way it's meant to be. ZAC PENNINGTON

(Record Collection)

When Belfast, Ireland's Ash emerged in 1995 with Trailer, the then trio began a career exhibiting all the hallmarks of pop-punk geek rock--fetishism of Jackie Chan, Star Wars, and unrequited crushes on girls. Listening to the Ash of today, however, it's the arena more than the garage from which the band is blasting out. Ash aren't so doe-eyed anymore, but that doesn't mean the band is above swelling to typically breezy choruses or swooning to more of the same when not concentrating purely on throttling riffage. Meltdown is to Ash what Maladroit is to Weezer: an every-other-album frayed nerves counterpoint to simpler times. TONY WARE

Ash perform Fri April 1 at Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside

(My Pal God)

There's been a lot of talk about "kiddie bands" since preteen sister-act Smoosh blew up. But Smoosh are an anomaly--they're not just "pretty good... for kids," they're better than tons of bands twice their age. Eyeball Skeleton, on the other hand, sound like kids making kid music. Dad helps in "organizing" the lyrics and plays lead guitar, but it's mostly on the tiny shoulders of eight-year-old JJ and 10-year-old Charlie Brown (!), who crank out basic punk rock structures, and Germs-style primitive simplicity with chanted, baby-voiced lyrics about vampires with flattops and spooky skeletons. Sure, a lot of it's shitty and loose, but what were you doing in Elementary School? Prob'ly not dropping catchy, micromachine-jams like these. ADAM GNADE

**** KITT
*** Speed Buggy
** Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch
* Herbie: The Love Bug