Saturday, March 24, 2007

Taste your buttery muffin

The Jesus Lizard were filthy, irrational degenerates who made a horrible racket and rubbed their junk on all-too-suspecting audiences over the course of ten spittle-and-sweat spattered years from 1989 onwards.

In his book Our Band Could Be Your Life, Michael Azerrad describes lead singer David Yow's vocals as sounding like "a kidnap victim trying to howl through the duct tape over his mouth; the effect is horrific." Their songs are furious things, surly and pissed-off, elbowing their way at you with great slabs of gut-rumbling bass and thundering drums, while Yow caterwauls over the top with remarkable dexterity. The Jesus Lizard had an amazing knack for sounding absolutely unhinged and completely on-a-dime precise at the same time. Here, now, almost ten years since their demise, I'm still kicking myself for never having caught them live when I had the chance.

Here's the promo clip for "Nub", which is undoubtedly my very favorite Lizard track. The band beat the living hell out of the song and it's a tremendously feral 2.5 minutes of sickness. The slide guitar and the stalker-bassline just kill me, even still.

Today's selection, "If You Had Lips", comes from the band's 1990 album, Head and it's a slow-burner with snaky, sinister guitar courtesy of Duane Denison and pummeling bass and drums from Mr. David Wm. Sims and Mac McNielly, respectively. In a live recording of this I've heard, Yow, who was often prone to send himself hurling into the audience, flailing and thrashing like a lunatic, is heard to exclaim "I got somebody's hair!" upon his return to the stage at the song's conclusion.

The Jesus Lizard - If You Had Lips (MP3, 192kbps, 4.5MB)

Update: Yow's back on vox again, this time around with sludgy L.A. rockers Qui. Having started as a two-piece in 2000, Matt Cronk (guitar/vocals) and Paul Christensen (drums/vocals) then enlisted Yow into their ranks last summer. They'll be releasing their 9-song full-length later this year and touring for it, as well. Check out the link to their Myspace page where you can sample a few tracks and keep updated.