Category: The Jesus Lizard

The Jesus Lizard – Liar

ARTIST: The Jesus Lizard 

TITLE: Liar

YEAR RELEASED: 1992

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Puss (#12 UK, #2 UK Indie), Gladiator

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Boilermaker

LINEUP: David Dow, Duane Denison, David Wm Sims, Mac McNeilly

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Continuing their hot streak, Jesus Lizard creates another unholy racket and is helped by a split single with Nirvana.

 

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Liar has probably the best known song in their catalog, mainly because it was the A-side of a split single with Nirvana. “Puss” was released with “Oh, the Guilt” by that other band as the B-side and the UK pushed it up the charts, and they got to play Reading thanks to it. Groovy!

This is rather much a continuation of the themes from Goat, except that the songs are moodier and creepier. “Zachariah” is a howling dirge that’s unsettling, “Boilermaker” jumps right in as the lead cut of the record with perhaps a veiled reference to heroin (“Dancing Naked Ladies” may be too, and “Gladiator” is just a loud festival of all that’s good about the Jesus Lizard.

Liar and Goat seem to be part of a set to my ears, with this one just a tad bit lesser. Still, it’s got some of their best work and you need to absolutely crank it (as usual).

NOTES & MINUTIAE: “Puss” was about a guy David Yow wanted to beat the crap out of because he was violent and actually did throw a woman down the stairs.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, a add on single and demos

 GRADE: A-: Not everything in the alternative land that was great in 1992 was grunge. This still raises one’s blood pressure.

The Jesus Lizard – Goat

ARTIST: The Jesus Lizard 

TITLE: Goat

YEAR RELEASED: 1991

CHART ACTION:  None

SINGLES: Mouthbreather

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Then Comes Dudley, Nub

LINEUP: David Dow, Duane Denison, David Wm Sims, Mac McNeilly

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Texans transplanted to Chicago collaborate with Steve Albini on a loud and noisy magnum opus.

 SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Careening out of the gate with the menacing “Then Comes Dudley” (whatever that’s about), the intricate “Mouthbreather” (about a friend of Albini’s who housesit), and the slide guitar opus “Nub” (about someone who lost an appendage while hanging out of the window of a car), Jesus Lizard’s second album is frenetic, loud, dark and brilliant.

Those three songs start the commotion, as it were. And it just goes from there: songs about prison love, a take on the Aristocrats, being locked up, and whatever the hell “Monkey Trick” is about (David Yow doesn’t know and he wrote the lyrics).

This album’s not for everyone. It’s not for many people, really. But If you can unlock it, you’ll dig it. Crank it!

NOTES & MINUTIAE: The house-sitting friend from “Mouthbreather” was Brett Walford, the drummer for Slint and the original drummer for the Breeders.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with B-sides and live cuts.

 GRADE: A: A tremendous record from 1991, showing that not all great alternative records were grungy.

The Jesus Lizard – Head

ARTIST: The Jesus Lizard                    220px-JesusLizHead

TITLE: Head

YEAR RELEASED: 1990

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: Nooooo

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: They played Killer McHann at almost every show

LINEUP: David Yow, Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims, Mac McNeilly

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Texas weirdos kick it up a notch and release a full-length album with sinister sounding tunes and David Yow all over.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: David Wm. Sims’s bass is rumbly and menacing, Mac McNeilly pounds the drums and locks into Sims, and Duane Denison’s guitar chars whatever is in its way with riffs and fills. Then…there’s David Yow.

Yow’s vocal delivery ranges from incomprehensible, to distorted, to deranged. Sometimes, in one song, he’s all three. Definitely not for the weak of heart, or those who really insist on melody or something like that. They’re excused here.

The Jesus Lizard’s still trying to figure out their best approach, but this, their first full-length, is getting close. A couple of tracks lumber on where the menace becomes boring. But there’s some classics, especially “Killer McHann”, a concert staple.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: This was the first release featuring McNeilly. They had used a drum machine before.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: The CD included their debut EP

GRADE: B+: A step in the evolution of a crazed band.

The Jesus Lizard – Pure

ARTIST: The Jesus Lizard                                  220px-Pure_EP

TITLE: Pure

YEAR RELEASED: 1989

CHART ACTION: None

SINGLES: It was an EP

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Only if you were in tune with Touch & Go or Albini

LINEUP: Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims, David Yow

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Debut EP from the band formed from the ashes of Scratch Acid.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: After Scratch Acid broke up, David Yow was asked by Duane Denison to play bass on some songs for a recording. Yow suggested he sing and bring on his old band mate Sims and the Jesus Lizard was born.

This EP catches the band in their early stages, with a drum machine and a tentative style. David Yow’s ‘vocals’ are rather much in place (he screams, yelps, shouts and distorts his voice more than sing), but with a drum machine the power of the group is somewhat dimmed.

Still, this is a debut that shows what the group was going to be about. And of course, with their final cut, some of what they were going to be was noisy BS, but hey, that’s their MO.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: They originally formed in Austin, but moved to Chicago before recording.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No, but on CD it was originally appended to their first full length.

GRADE: B:  “Interesting”.