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J Mascis

As the primary songwriter for Dinosaur Jr., J Mascis influenced a generation of guitarists by bridging the gap between hardcore, experimental guitar rock and psychedelia. Mascis's songs perfectly balance sonic aggression with fluidity, and his lyrics speak deeply to a generation of people who came to realize that they will not do as well as their parents and are defiantly resigned to the situation. After Dinosaur broke up in the late '90s, Mascis started releasing essentially solo albums, beginning with More Light, which featured cameos from laudable contemporaries like Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine and Robert Pollard of Guided by Voices. Several Shades of Why, Mascis's latest release, finds him putting aside his labyrinthine array of effects in favor of an acoustic guitar, proving that despite the bludgeoning nature of his earlier work, the guy was never hiding behind effects and volume.