In which I make a somewhat repetitive case that California X is not Dinosaur Jr., and that's okay.
There’s a steady chug running through California X’s debut, a hard riffing rhythm that cuts through the asbestos-splintered, diesel-caked fug of pedal distortion. Before I knew the front man’s name was Lemmy Gurtowsky, I assumed that the “Lemmy’s World” song was a nod to Motörhead, and it could be, running like a rust-bucket that’s had serious engine-work, so that it revs and roars with mechanical power all out of proportion with its rough exterior. You can extrapolate a connection to Dinosaur Jr. from geography (California X is from Amherst, Mass.), guitar tone (epic and fuzzy), a producer (Justin Pizzoferrato) and general mess and ferment (and plenty of writers have). But, really, this racket is too relentlessly mobile to resemble Dinosaur. Where Mascis spins out mandala-ish guitar solos that revolve in endless circular motions, Gurtowsky cranks a head-banger riff. California X is more like the Modey Lemon or the Cherry Valence than Dinosaur, tripped out in a purposeful, palm-muted, gut-punching, 1970s-classic-hard-rock sort of way.