The Jesus Lizard

I can't decide whether to title it "Masters of the four-letter word" or "Welcome to the Big Black Birthday Party," so pick whichever one you like better.
*special introductory paragraph!
*Pure EP
*Lash EP
*The Jesus Lizard DVD
*The Jesus Lizard EP
Chicago rockers patterned on the sleazy sloppy vocal/bass antics of The Birthday Party (Nick Cave's old band) and the razor-sharp tight guitar/drum attack of Big Black (Steve Albini's chief legacy), with quite a bit of classic hard rock/heavy metal riffage thrown in (especially on the last few records), The Jesus Lizard seemed poised and ready to grab the nation by the horns at some point in the mid-90s, what with a placement on the Lollapalooza bill and a contract with Warner Bros. and all, but it didn't happen.

As means of introduction, I should make it perfectly clear that this band are your basic four-piece rock combo, with your singer, electric guitarist, bass player, and drum fellow, and that although they definitely have their moments of screechingly noisy inaccessibility (especially on the early records - not that I'm knocking them for this; I'm just warning you), in later years, they were clearly trying to appeal to a larger audience, though by no means sacrificing any of their creative verve in the process. They lost some fans over the years, sure, but that's the nature of having a fan base full of cynical youngsters - they're quick to give up on ye if ye try a little tenderness. Not that "tenderness" is a word generally associated with The Jesus Lizard, but at least the "headache" quotient made a well-appreciated exit, leaving in its wake a delightful '90s-style hard rock, not unlike that of early AC/DC or Bloodrock.

Last night I dreamt that everybody hated me and kept telling me that my writing was going downhill, so I'm gonna try to stay as inobtrusive as possible in these reviews, hopefully setting up the idea that the music, and not the way I write about the music, is the important thing. Because who the hell needs that kind of stress? I get headaches every single goldarned night, you understand. Stress, long hair, or bad pillow?

Pure EP - Touch And Go 1989.
Rating = 8

Fresh from the ashes of Austin, TX's Scratch Acid (a fine noise band their own selves), tuneless shouter David Yow and tuneful basser David Wm. Sims (also fresh from the ashes of Steve Albini's not-quite-as-good-as-Big-Black project, Rapeman) bonded together with guitarist Duane Denison (who looked like a psychotic David Byrne, played like a sociopathic Nokie Edwards, and was, ummmm, well, we'll say "fresh from the ashes of" a band called Cargo Cult, who might have been slightly listenable if not for their hideously untalented vocalist) and drum machine Roland (stale from the marijuana of Big Black) to record five bizarre metal-punk noise rockers onto a piece of Scotch tape and release it with a naked broad on the cover.

Overlooked tuneage, but spiffy tuneage nonethehey. "Bloody Mary" gives us the Ventures-esque tightass surf note-a-ronie that Duane would later exploit to heavenly effect on Goat before pretty much giving up on it entirely, "Blockbuster" is one hell of a foreboding pre-anal rape threat ("Here I come, here I come -- with my dick in my hand/Do you think you'd like a blockbuster up your ass?/Do you think you'd like that? Do ya? MOTHERFUCKER!?"), and "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" is the kind of industrial clanging nightmare that most folk figgered only Big Black mighta tried. But then, Steve Albini was The Jesus Lizard's engineer and biggest fan, so that influence was bound to show up in the music somewhere. Somewhere? Excuse me - everywhere. But it's still a great record. Challenging, what with its high-end racket splashing all about the dining room, but creative and melodic, too. Seriously! Previously unrecorded melodies now recorded for the listening pleasure of people who buy records 'cuz there are naked broads on them everywhere. Shim!

Reader Comments (Steven Whitwill)
This record is more or less crud. Decent songs, but crud. If the same songs had been recorded for Head, and replaced the weaker ones on that LP ("S.D.B.J.," "Good Thing") Head woulda been dynamite. Pure is recorded really emptily, like it was recorded in a room with concrete walls, and the band is missing some things at this early point. A drummer? Simple coherence? Give me Liar any old day. "Rope" flips my pancake. (Chris Rinewalt)
Pure is one of the most goddamned finest albums ever to be recorded to analog. "Bloody Mary" is beeaautiful, just the way mista Yow screams her name, and "Blockbuster," that's a kick ass dont-fuck-wit-me-i'm-not-in-the-mood song - who doesn't love those? "Rabid Pigs," what's there to say? Some people are stupid and must be taken off the face of this earth before they breed. i think most people's problems with tJL is they can't understand the lyrics; they should listen for the lyrics before judgement.
The drum machine does not ruin this mini album. I think that "BLOCKBUSTER", "BLOODY MARY" and "HAPPY BUNNY" are the best songs on this one. Probably their worst album, but still very good. Listen carefully to the final guitar riff of the album... beautiful.
David Wm. Sims has called this album one of the "five worst ever issued", and though I disagree, this album is kind of sterile and weak. All you have to do is listen to the live version of "Bloody Mary" to realize that the songs kick ass but without Mac, the Pure versions blow. 4/10, but who cares it's an EP (Daniel Tapia)
Although the production isn't too great and Mac had yet to join the family, this EP is still pretty fucking good for what it is. Sure the drum machine sucks, but the wonderful ideas of the Jesus Lizard are brewing throughout; most notably in "Bloody Mary", "Blockbuster" and "Rabid Pigs". And that David Yow--what a man. "Your first mistake was to think you could fuck with the ranch"--couldn't have said it better myself. Let's call it a high 7.
Wasn't Randy "Biscuit" Turner the lead singer of Cargo Cult? The guy who used to sing for the Big Boys?

I may be SERIOUSLY wrong here, but that's what I remember hearing.

Boy do these guys sound different without Mac McNeilly. You can kindly say that this is formative. The tunes themselves are pretty great, but the rhythmic intensity/swing/crash/mojo that made the Jesus Lizard work and get medieval on your candyass just isn't there, which means that the performances aren't always up to snuff. Some of the songs also don't make much of an impression. The Big Black influence is far more pronounced (cause of the drum machine), and Yow's nowhere near as unhinged as he'd get on even the next LP. The album sounds strangely empty as well. None of that amazing "live-in-the-studio" sound; in contrast, this sounds kind of...canned. "Blockbuster" is strangely restrained for these guys: if Mac had been in the band at that point, this song would have whomped ass, but here it sounds almost tentative in some ways (primarily because of how wimpy the drum machine sounds on that track - come on, guys, at least make the thing sound cool if you're gonna use such a un-kickass rhythm). "Bloody Mary" has some of the same problems: the melody is great, David's yells in the chorus are great, but the drum machine sounds herky-jerky and very unfunky, stripping the song of that certain something it'd have with Mac (even if the drum machine sounds better on that track than it does on "Blockbuster"). Most of the songs have the same kinds of problems - basically, no Mac and therefore no swing - but sometimes they sound really cool despite his absence: "Rabid Pigs" is a high-speed, abrasive rant with a rhythm that sounds a lot like Big Black's "L Dopa" and tons of David Yow's imitation pig-squeals, and it's generally a good time. "Happy Bunny Goes Fluff-Fluff Along," though, is the highlight: practically no melody to speak of, but Good Lord this song sounds cool. Screeching clanging drum machines that sound like they're being trash compacted? Yes please! Awesome track. Overall, though, this EP doesn't really indicate the greatness and total mojo the guys would attain almost as soon as Mac McNeilly joined up. That next "LP" debut, though (I have some problems with calling an album shorter than the first Ramones album and Nick Drake's "Pink Moon" an album, even if it has ten songs)...that's a killer.

Add your thoughts?

Head - Touch And Go 1990.
Rating = 9

There's a drummer in the band now and his name is Mac McNeilly. He used to play in 86, but they were lousy really. So then he played in Phantom 309 with Johnny Forbes, who later founded Dirt before Mount Shasta stole his orbs. Head is quite a special album, full of noise and anger, with drums a-blastin' smashin' crashin', Mac - he's quite the banger! The axe lines are amazing; Mr. Denison is tops. The strings just slither, click, and ring while Sims's bass - she pops. Yow is shoving mike down throat and screaming like a psycho, and a tremendous level of intelligence is shown in weirdly-rhythmed blurbs like "Good Thing," "If You Had Lips," and "Seven Vs. Eight," all of which I really like-o. Some of it really is a bit too abrasive to be dealt with by certain wussy people (these guys do play hard when they wanna), but it's all creative and pretty darn sick, too, even when the music's pretty (as in "Pastoral," a truly gorgeous song about a corpse).

I recommend highly. I only have faults with the final two tracks, the far-too-popular "Tight N Shiny" and "Killer McHann," both of which I personally find to be irritatingly amelodic attempts to match the screeching industrial rage of the first record. Skip 'em. That stuff worked with a fake drummer; this real drummer cooks a lot better with more tunely tunes to back him up - or vice-versa - however the heck bands fancy themselves operating these days. Things are looking good. This is a talented band. Maybe they just need to simmer a bit on the noise. Not that I generally mind noise - it just bugs me when it's boring noise.

Things to listen for:

- the way the chorus for "One Evening" is enhanced/beautified during its final go-round by an additional guitar note in the background of each note run

- the way Yow's scream of "BLOW!" in the first chorus of "S.D.B.J." is picked up by another room mic and reverbed across the spectrum

- the lyric "I remember - but not very well, marinating in a pool, a puddle of blood and urine - my own urine, someone else's blood"

- the fact that track five is called "Seven Vs. Eight" because the verses ("vs.") feature a guitar line in 7/8 time ("seven") and a drumbeat in 8/8 time ("eight").

Reader Comments
Better than PURE, with more songs. The atmosphere is great, provided by the penetrating and awesome guitars of Denison. Check out that incredible riff in the second song of the album. ''Pastoral'' is a masterpiece, even if it's the most quiet song. Finally, ''Killer McHann'' is fierce and powerful. After listening to this record, I can understand a little bit more the people who think that DOWN lacks energy, even if I looove DOWN. The sound of HEAD is chaotic, which is a great quality that SHOT does not have, even if it's good. HEAD is a serious noise attack for your ears.
In retrospect I reckon that Head is the only truly great JL album. Goat is great as far as it goes but Head captures the filthy, twisted, shit-smelling world of The Jesus Lizard perfectly. The instruments (and '"vocals") slot together seamlessly and have produced an epic that would have Hootie knocking off his sister within 2 plays.
Head kicks ass. Full production, the trademark Denison eerie guitar breaks and ingenius chording, and Yow going hog wild in his own crazy world. Not as revelatory as the next two LPs, but still a fine listen nonetheless. 8/10 (Daniel Tapia)
Holy shit is this one fine album. What's great about it? Better production, Mac, better songwriting, the most fucked up Yow vocals in any tJL album. And let me clarify, while I probably like what Yow does on Shot the most, you gotta admit this is him over the top and I love it. I read an interview with David and I believe it wasn't until after Goat that he stopped going to the studio to record tJL songs drunk off his ass. I remember him mentioning (I believe) that one day he asked the guys if they were gonna lay down "Pastoral" (A very pretty song!) and they told him they had done it the day before but he couldn't remember cause he was that wasted. Oh that great little man. Aside from "Killer McHann", which is just abrasive, but not in their loveable way, this album is one of their best--hell, I'd even put it above Liar simply because it's so raw and out of control, and yet it's so together and coherent, even in it's fuckedupness. Great bass lines, guitar work, songwriting direction, lyrics. A very high 9.
The first notes on this album were the first notes I heard of TJL. And what notes! That spiked-odd funk, hollered throat vocals and crashing drums of 'One Evening' with guitar guy's crashing din! WOWOWOW! And how beautiful is 'Pastoral'???? A few tracks are chores to get through, but I always rank this as #2 behind Goat. Honestly worth buying for the first 20 seconds or so.
My favorite (with Goat a close 2nd) of all the JL oeuvre. What puts Head slighly, uh, ahead, is "Waxeater"- simply THE most ferocious song ever recorded- by anyone, ever. There are faster songs, there are heavier songs, but nobody put a jet engine in a Panzer like this (sorry, Big Black- you get the silver.). Sims and MacNeilly absolutely roar, laying down not a groove, but the Grand Canyon- like locomotives drag racing through a steel mill. Over this, Denison's guitar veers from chainsaw to impossible jazz-time dive bombing, while Yow bellows like a berzerker on angel dust about a pedophile. The whole thing revs up at the end with some apocalyptic feedback and ends on a dime with a single, towering chord from Denison that's like a sucker-punch to the gut. Their finest moment.

Add your thoughts?

* Goat - Touch And Go 1991. *
Rating = 10

Holy mother of you does this one deliver the goods. Instead of an all-out guitar noise assault, it simmers and sways and swings with some thumpin' fine bass lines before the fresh clean attack of the excruciatingly tight and jagged guitar notes come in and tear up the busybody. The songs are great, but the real star here has got to be Mr. Steven Albini. He has produced this record so that it sounds like the band is actually in the middle of your living room. No sound is hidden and not a note is buried - everything is as crystal clear as the moment it blasted through the amplifiers. Beautiful.

Seriously, listening to this album is an otherworldly experience, much like that seen in the summer blockbuster Independence Day, starring Will Smith and Gern Blanston. Of course, it's also an awfully short experience, much like Emmanuel Lewis and other diminutive actors of his ilk, most of which are having a difficult time landing roles in this dog-eat-dog modern world of tall people starring in tall movies for tall audiences full of Dennis Rodman and other lanky athletes of his ilk, most of which make more money in ten minutes than I'll ever see in my yard. But from the slow thudding bass ascension and guitar skrank-skrank-skrank of the warped blues rocker "Then Comes Dudley" to the nearly time-signature-free punk metal asstoucher "Mouth Breather" to the buzzsaw slide guitar ripper "Nub" to the ugly noise banger "Seasick" to the slithery western killer "Monkey Trick" to the dark surf dirge "Karpis" to the bouncy scooby-doo "South Mouth" to the headkickin' hypnothrash grinder "Lady Shoes" to the darker surf dirge "Rodeo In Joliet," the... oh hell, I forgot what my point was. Good album, though. And production fit for a stereo. Your stereo, perhaps????

The Jesus Lizard have never been as consistent as they were on this record. Start here; if you don't like this one, don't bother with the others. You should like it, though. All three of the musicians are incredible, and the "singer" has a great vocal style, mostly involving resting the microphone inside his pharynx and alternating between a series of grunts, belches, and screams, all in perfect contrast to the tight-as-a-whip-or-so rock band blasting away in the fore.

I should also add that, when confronted with Yow's lyrics, my wife replied, "He's a sick fuck, isn't he?" and "What is wrong with this guy?" Here, let me give you a quick run-down of his lyrical concerns this time around:

"Then Comes Dudley" - who the hell knows

"Mouth Breather" - A poor housesitter. ("And in my basement, I found rainin' piss/And in my kitchen, I found my friend deceased ")

"Nub" - A phantom limb ("So since the surgery, how's that ghost limb?/Hey man, say man, have you been rubbin' your nub?")

"Seasick" - Getting stoned by the water? Not sure.("Fucked up in the flood, stoned/And get soused by the sea")

"Monkey Trick" - no clue

"Karpis" - prison rape ("Hey boy, I got no hair on my ass, I got no hair on my cock/I shaved my whole body, how do ya like that boy")

"South Mouth" - oral sex ("Do I have to ask ya, to cut the cackle/'bout a snake in a south mouth, or a cooter canal path")

"Lady Shoes" - This is Yow's version of the Aristocrats joke! 14 years before the movie! ("There's a girl, playing her piano.... While her mother gives her an enema.... And then the daddy comes in and jacks off on the piano....")

"Rodeo In Joliet" - a desolate town? (for the last EIGHTEEN YEARS UP UNTIL ONE SECOND AGO, I've been singing the chorus as "We all went back home." Apparently he's actually saying "The old windbag blows." Oops!)

Reader Comments

bergeron@WPJ.EDU (John Bergeron)
Goat is the best album in the world.
goat is an orgasm in your ears. (Evan Jones)
Nice page, good stuff about a lot of good bands, even though some of them aren't what I'd call "personal favorites."

Mainly I'm writing because of the blatant Albini worship I see here. I'm reading the Jesus Lizard page, and I see this:

"The songs are great, but the real star here has got to be Mr. Steven Albini. He has produced this record so that it sounds like the band is actually in the middle of your living room."

Now, I'm one of the biggest Big Black fans in the world, and I dig Shellac and Rapeman, but come on. Steve's gotten a lot of prestige because of his "production style" (probably the biggest pile of shit term there is out there), but ask him and he'll just tell you how he does it: old-school analog techniques.

Iain Burgess did it with Naked Raygun and Big Black, hell, he still helps out with Shellac, but just because he didn't record Nirvana he doesn't get his ass kissed so much. Not to gripe, but Steve's done good work by doing what he should do, MAKING A LIVE BAND SOUND LIKE A LIVE BAND! He should be awarded for doing so, but I think the hero worship has gone a little too far. Scratch Acid's output for the most part sounds killer too, by the way.

Albini does plain ol' good hard work, using ambient miking, stereo patterns, and even Blumlein techniques to do his job right, but to put the record sraight, the "real stars" here are the unbelievably great Jesus Lizard.

Just glad to get that off my chest....
Pain, sadness, madness... GOAT has it all. Too bad there's only nine songs. For your own good, you should carefully listen to the bass during the chorus of the last song. Orgasmic.
"seasick" is so raw, it's scary!
Agreed here, this is TJL's best album, and one of the best rock albums ever made. Both scarier and more tuneful than anything this band's ever released, Goat settles into the heaviest grooves imaginable and rides them into the darkness with Yow being the obligatory crazy train conductor. Denison's finest moment, and the rhythm sections' as well. How about those guitar breaks in "Sea Sick" and "Lady Shoes"??? Those are effing beautiful! Creepy but beautiful. 10/10
The perfect album.

If other people did what Albini does, more albums would sound this great. Instead, apart from the ones he records, only Slint's Spiderland (by Brian Paulson) touches the mark. There are other ways of sounding great, sure (check TFUL282's Strangers from the Universe), but the Live in your Living Room sound seems to be Albini's treat.

On the other hand, the Slint album Albini recorded sounds shitty, go figure.
Go get this one right now. The Jesus Lizrd rules.
I can say this: the only male penis that I've ever touched is David Yow's. My hand briefly touched the wiener through his size 28 jeans as I helped push his tiny frame back above my head through the crowd at a show during the "Goat" tour. I must have enjoyed it, because in between one song I screamed "Yow! You're one handsome fuck!" to which he looked into the crowd, pointed to himself and mouthed "Me?" in disbelief. Yes you, you tiny little sailor and for all the hoodoo that you do, the damage you put your drunken frame through, and how you poignantly explain that even mouthbreathers can be nice guys too.

And while everyone was trying to tell me how great Helmet and Primus was during this time, I stuck with "Goat" until I had to get another copy because the retarded record store I bought the first copy at didn't have it on a mind altering plastic disc with a reflective silver layer.

Keep in mind, it took me until this album to really get into the Lizard. I was a big fan of Scratch Acid (saw 'em live too), and was completely pissed when I first heard "Pure." What the fuck is that?! A drum machine! Totally turned me off and even when Mac joined on "Head" I still hesitated until someone reassured me that the J.L. were the real deal. Things really started to gel with this one, a classic that belongs in your record collection. (Daniel Tapia)
All agreed here--an essential record to own. This is the first Jesus Lizard album I heard and it got me hooked. From Duane's jagged assault, to David Sims's pounding bass, to Mac beating the shit out of his kit, to Yow vocal's fitting it all PERFECTLY somehow--this is where everything seemed to fall in place for this band. You really will fall in love with this record! Their whole approach to songwriting, it's like, it shouldn't work, but somehow it does and I love shit like that! "Nub" has to be one of their best ones; everytime that slide guitar solo starts it makes me want to get up and dance around like some drunken texan. Oooh, and if you don't like "Monkey Trick", I don't like you and you're not my friend. Seriously though, this is one great record by some really innovative guys that also just happen to possess the ability to rock like hell. 10. (Jerry Livathinopoulos)
Actually, an orgasm in your ears is...uh-oh...eeeee!

I am Cornholio, I need crappucino for my bunghole!
Two quick comments on this fine piece of plastic:

1) "Monkey Trick" is to bass lines what Babe Ruth was to bass ball.

2) The other members of my band don't know it yet, but our band name is inspired by this album ("Rare Goat"). Actually, "Rare Goat" might be a good name for a future Jesus Lizard Touch and Go rarities box set!

3) I said I had only two quick comments, and by garsh, I did.
Holy Shit...

This album is quite possibly the most astoundingly great thing I've heard in a long time.

Have you been desiring some smart-as-hell, tight-but-loose, psychotically-sung, completely fucked up, heavier-than-a-fucking-washing-machine rock power? Well, never fear, as the Jesus Lizard have done you a service, and laid it on tape for you. Recorded and produced by Steve Albini, who's never made a band sound better (this is far, far better-sounding than Nirvana's "In Utero"), this album kicks hard and swings like a mofo. The combination of David Yow's stomach-churning, muffled vocals, Duane Denison's demonic surf-stylings and broken-glass tone, David Wm. Sims' scratchy, murky bass, and Mac McNeilly's swinging drum smashing is so unique and so catchy that it provides proof positive that there's still a lot of innovative things that you can do with a basic four-piece rock lineup. No rock record I've ever heard sounds like this. Even though everyone says they sound like a combination of The Birthday Party and Big Black, they sound absolutely nothing like either of those two bands to me. They sound like a rock band that can swing, which very few rock bands can even come close to. These guys do it all the time.

Fantastic. I'm going to be listening to this for a long time afterwards. Favorites are practically everything except "Monkey Trick," which doesn't appeal to me as much as the others, but is still amazingly good. But special mentions go to "Then Comes Dudley" and "Seasick" as two of the scarier songs ever recorded, "Seasick" especially.
Although initially I couldn't decide if I liked this better than "Liar", a couple more listens definetly sealed the deal. "Liar" is a great album (rougher production, but better than Mark leads on), but plain and simply, it peters out at the end. The album slows up, grinding itself dry from the sheer intensity of the opening track, "Boilmaker"

Goat on the other hand, is as far as I'm concerned, one of the best agressive albums I've heard in recent history. Although this has more or less been said, it might as well be said again that while there are some uptempo thumpers on here ("Knub", "Mouth Breaker") and some slower, tense practices in aural torture ("In Comes Dudley", "Sea Sick"), one thing thing totally lacking from this album is bad songs. Each song is truly great in its own right, and the band is startlingly effect in using it's insturmentation (of course combined with the contrast of Yow's psycho howls and rants) to trigger certain feelings in the listener; for instance, while I (THANKFULLY) can't say what it feels like to be bludgeoned in the back on the head with a break several times, the verses of "South Mouth" sure seem to me to be what the expirience would translate to if put into music; the mesmorizing guitar break sounds like a black out too.

Incredible. High, high 10. If you feel you enjoy any agressive music beyound 80s style hardcore, you've no reason not to give this album a shot.
truly great band, great album, 10/10 no questions. (yet, for whatever reason I get more personal enjoyment out of scratch acid, even though I realize the jesus lizard released more albums (and better ones) than scratch acid did. who knows why...I personally think scratch acid were much more fun, though...)


"then comes dudley" is about a serial killer named dudley as far as I can tell.

"seasick" is pretty hard to suss out. I always thought it was about a mob execution (toss a guy in the harbor, like that), but actually reading the lyrics now, who really knows. yow's lyrics for the jesus lizard often feel like they were geared more towards implying a feeling than actually depicting anything or telling a story.

"monkey trick" is pretty hard to guess at too, but I'm pretty sure that if it's actually "about" anything, it's about a guy who accidentally saw bodies getting disposed.

and for the record and all that, "rodeo in joliet" is one of the best song titles ever.

I really want to see them soon.
All that has been said, has been said. The best album of the nineties after "Red Medicine". Nub, Seasick, Lady Shoes, Monkey Trick, are all F@#%ing amazing.
Rhapsody rules.

(Although it lacks half of Lucinda Williams' discography--pity. She is really, truly run-of-the-mill.)

So I got up eight days ago and decided to check out more noisy unlistenable bands for $10 a month. Art Brut was first--they are British and ironic. Next I checked these guys out. And I have to say--blast it, all they need is a singer, and they'd be halfway decent! Yeah, I know, I'm predictable; I want everyone to sound exactly like George Jones and/or his ex-wife. Still. The guy sounds stuffed up and constipated, and the band plays two billion times louder than him. Yeah, Siamese Dream does the same thing, but. . . well, Mark would finish the rest of that sentence.

Decent riffs, appropriately psychotic atmosphere; average album. I give it a 7 and its successor a 6. It IS good for scaring the neighbors, after all. (Or at least it would be, if I were at home and/or had a stereo that loud.)

For no reason at all, here are some rip-roarin', neighbor-scarin', hard-fartin' RAWK albums I've recently heard that all Jesus Lizard fans should dig:

Peter Tosh--Legalize It. A reggae album where every song has a MELODY? Who woulda thunk it. Best normal (non-dub) LP of its genre I've yet heard.
Weezer--Red Album. Best album in their catalog by a very, very ridiculous margin. Only one song on it sucks--imagine that. (And it's not "Heart Songs"; I changed my mind on that one. It's now the song that sounds like Usher that the drummer (or somebody) sings.) Joe Henry--Kindness of the World. Possibly the best redneck '90's alternative rock with fiddles ever conceived. Once you hear this, you've died and gone to Kentucky.
Willie Nelson--Phases and Stages. Yee-HAW.
Frank Sinatra--Nice N Easy. Wuss ballad music your parents would simply ADORE! (And me too, but that's because I'm all hopped up on Oleo.)

I'd also put DOA's Something Better Change in there too, but it's just not hard-rockin' enough. Shuckles.

Add your thoughts?

Liar - Touch And Go 1992.
Rating = 8

Definitely not the spiritual follow-up to Goat, this is a scrapy, ugly and abrasive mess that would have seemed much more appropriate coming after that Head deal. It kicks ass, see. Lots of speed and pounding fury, but with little of the aural clarity that made the last one such a monumental blast. Still good, though, even though it's clear that Duane is trying far harder to annoy the listener than to play the best possible guitar lines (see "Whirl," for a particularly yucky example). Definitely the hardest-rockin' of the Lizard's LPs, this also may very well be the least accessible. It's just so punky, angry, and trebly! Still, "Dancing Naked Ladies" is a supercool ZZ Top-gone-bitter boogie-woogie, and none of the others do a thing to spoil your opinion of this talented alternative combo.

I'll be honest with you and admit that this isn't my favorite Jesus Lizard album to listen to, but that doesn't mean it's not a really good record; it is. It's just also really grating if you're not in a headbanging mood. If you are, however, crank "Boilermaker" up to seventeen and throw the cat out the window!!! It kicks arse!!!!!

Reader Comments (Brian Kelly)
I'd just like to say that "Gladiator" is probably the Lizard's greatest track. Techno without technology!
"PUSS" is the best track on the cd in my opinion. (Lucas Grzybowski)
I agree with you about "Boilermaker." It was the first Lizard song I ever heard, and from then on, I was hooked.
''Gladiator'' is fabulous, hypnotizing and powerful. All the songs are at least very good, but my fav is the one with the craziest bass and the coolest title: ''The Art of Self Defense''. This album is raw, bonebreaking.
Only the slightest bit weaker than Goat, Liar is the Lizard's "kickass" record, as Mark described in his review. The thing on this album that bugs me is the lack of eerie guitar breaks (though there are some great ones, like on "Puss"). That's about all though. The Albini production is mindblowingly awesome (this band was made for that producer, and vice versa), and the most hard rocking songs are to be found here. How about "Rope"? Jesus h. christ in a chicken basket, what a freaking incredible song. 9/10
I have to say I was thoroughly enjoying your page until I read your review for Liar. I found your comments to be totally unfair, and very one-sided. You did a real good job of pointing out the album's faults but you failed to even mentioned the better sides of the album. The percussive, energetic brilliance on Puss, the Sex Pistol-esque old-school punk rocker Boilermaker, and the touching, trance-inducing Zacharia. I agree, it is not to be compared to Goat, but in this modern day of Sappy Alternative shit what is? Going to give a rating to each song on this album out of 5

1.Boilermaker (3) Doesnt sound quite right, but still good.

2.Gladiator (5) Classic Jesus Lizard.

3.The Art of Self Defense (4) This one makes me cry. Magic wee tune!

4.Slave Ship (2) Just to damn slow and whiney. Ok if you're in the mood.

5.Puss (4) Terrific song. Not my fave but still great.

6.Whirl (1) I nearly always hate this one. Slow..annoying..grrrr.

7.Rope (5) LOVE this tune!!!!!!! EehhhhhhhYIP!!!!!!!

8.Perk (3) Not too bad. Depends on my mood.

9.Zachariah (3) One to sit back to and reflect. Think about what you'll have for dinner with this one.

10. Dancing N'kd Ladies (4) Nice way to end the album. Twangy Jesus lizard stuff here. (Daniel Tapia)
I've read some opinions of this album which place it as the defining Jesus Lizard record to own, and while I can't agree with that, I can see where that view stems from. You got your ass-kicking with "Boilermaker", your ass-kicking but in a dancin' kinda happy way with "Rope", your slow and infectious with "Zachariah" and "Slave Ship" (which does go on too long), the very much single-worthy "Puss"--in other words, I'd say this is a pretty good album to get if you want to get a good idea of the Jesus Lizard sound. However, I can't overlook the abrasiveness of this record which Mark comments on. This album will give you a headache after extended listens, and although it will be headache due to your ass getting kicked by great songs (I'm not sure how that would work either), it's nevertheless a headache. Still, aside from the annoying "Whirl" and a few sections that just get either too boring or abrasive, this is one fine record sporting some classic tJL songs such as "Rope" and "Gladiator"--just to name a couple. It's a step down from Goat but that ain't saying much. A high 9. (Scott D)
liar is by far the finest jesus lizard record. it is nasty, abrasive, and angular above and beyond any other jesus lizard album. the guitar is recorded perfectly and not overcompressed or whatever the other albums are that makes them not sound just right. i feel like the jesus lizard, just like scratch acid, should have been built to make the listener uncomfortable/want to scratch themselves with broken glass. "liar" comes closer than any other album by that band to making me actually want to do that. the first 3 tracks burn you up with incredibleness, and though there's a little possibility to get you bored after that, the beauty seems to be in the challenge of picking out how good it is. touché to david yow and crowd for giving us such a gem.
I give this one the 10 over Goat - cause I like getting my ass kicked. Like that guy in "Fight Club". I'll never forget the first time "Puss" and "Gladiator" chased me down the street and kicked me in the nuts. Guess I should have learned "The Art of Self Defense," huh?
Strangely enough, I think Goat is a better album on vinyl and Liar is better on CD. I hate it when people are anal about what sounds better on record and whatnot but, oddly, listening to the jesus lizard on both types really made a difference.

Anyways, great site! Very informative (especially for music novices like me).
Hey Mark,

Haven’t been to the site in months, and I recently have been getting into tJL, I think Liar should get more kudos, but that’s me. Its craziest I feel. I have begun to fall less for the extreme, all out noise, and disorganized shredding, and now am moving toward the more together sounds, and music I can hear better, dudes who can play their instruments and show it on their albums. tJL are definitely a band I wish I had checked out earlier, early when I was originally into Mudhoney, Nirvana. I had no idea back then, mid 90’s, that Albini was into so much, and was in actual bands either. I was a slacker, and did not delve into anything, figure out anyone’s history really, so I assumed he only did the Nirvana stuff. And some other bands recently that I hear news about. Boy was I wrong. I enjoyed that interview with Steve on your site also, what month of this yr was that? I’d be interested in figuring out when that Shellac stuff is coming.

Anyway, more of a note to say ‘hey’, but keep on reviewing, and have u heard of HUM? Good alternative mellow stuff.

eri001@DRAKE.EDU (Elliot Imes)
i have to say that even though goat is a great album, liar is easily better. maybe it's just because it's the first one i got by them, but i just think liar has better guitarwork, better vocals, better's just better! goat drags in certain songs, and it's too short. i just don't understand how everyone decided that goat is the superior jesus lizard album. it don't make sense!
A pretty damn good record. Like others already said, it kicks your ass but you enjoy it everytime. Puss is rocking as hell. Slave Ship seems to be underrated. It's an awesome song and it lasts long enough to fully soothe you. The only thing that bothers me is that I cannot find a good place that has all the record's lyrics. The sounds are a delight. Abrasive, but catchy. The balance seems to be set with great percussion and good bass guitar playing. Some songs are as likable as others, but I guess that time will do its thing and they'll all be perfectly enjoyable after more listens.
This was the first JL album I got and it's still my favorite. Definitely the bass player's album. Some of the basslines are sick. Ironically a friend tossed me this CD in disgust and said "Here..I can die happy if I never have to hear this band again". I now have all their albums!

So thank you Nathan for having such a wussy taste in music. Here. In return you can have my copy of Lily Allen's debut...I'll put in your handbag, next to your tampons....

Add your thoughts?

Lash EP - Touch And Go 1993.
Rating = 8

The two new studio tracks are kinda simple, but still real catchy in their rockabilly-esque post-grandeur, and the four concert tracks are as tight as you could desire, although, really....."Killer McHann?" I can name about nine better songs on that album, but hey! It's not my EP, heh heh.... Not a must-have document, but there's not a one of you who could possibly wind up disappointed as a result of picking this up for five dollars at Ye Olde Record Bar and jammin' it in the ol' Victrola. It's just music, for Peter's sake. With drums and sound! Irritatingly, their very next release was a full-length concert album.
Reader Comments (Jason Bowman)
I personally think Lash is a must-have if just for "Deaf As A Bat" and the live "Monkey Trick" alone. Come on.
A toss up between Head, Goat, and Lash, but all are cool, man...
Great, as usual. I love the way Yow announces the song ''Lady Shoes''. At the end of the record, I hear ''Fugazi''. Fugazi, another incredibly good band.
Fans need this one for the two superb originals, but the live tracks leave something to be desired, IMHO. Show has much fuller sound. "Lady Shoes" loses all the heaviness it had on Goat, sounding like a different band completely. It's still a great album if you only want a bit of Lizard instead of the whole pie, but buy the other ones first. 7/10
I bought this one used for like $6.24 and thought it was a pretty sweet deal. Then I realized that I could've gotten this, in it's entirety, along with like 16 other songs for $5.00 more for the "Bang" CD at the same store. *slaps self in the mouth*

It's still pretty good though. The first two songs are excellent, with their paranoid-schizophrenic vocalizings and eruptions of controlled instrumental cacophony. And the live stuff works, too..."Lady Shoes" is presented here even faster and more chaotic than the studio version, and "Monkey Trick" kills the whole audience brutally. The "Fugazi!" at the end is a nice touch, too. And "Bloody Mary is really short, and "Killer McHann" is forgettable! This gets a 7.
Call me a sucker for a good crunchin' riff, but I gotta say: "Glamorous" is by far my favorite Jesus Lizard song. And they opened up the CBGBs show (see "Show") with it too! The chord sequence on that arpeggiated bit just kills me. And David Yow's vocal delivery on this tune would make Nicholas Cage proud. Wasn't Raising Arizona a neat movie? With Tracy Pew, Mick Harvey, and that skinny guy? And that wacky yodeling musical theme that keeps popping up - "Big Jesus Trash Can"?? Holly Hunter and John Goodman had nice cans too.

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Show - Collision Arts 1994.
Rating = 8

Full-length live album. Decent sound, except that the band seems a little numbed down compared to the kickass trebly noise that you find on the Albini recordings. It certainly makes stuff like "Killer McHann" less annoying and brittle, but it also sucks all the fever and flame out of "Sea Sick," "Nub" and the like. Still, the killer 15-track set list covers their whole career pretty well, as well as offering a couple previews of Down, which would be coming around the pike shortly....
Reader Comments
Terrific live album by a terrific live band. Full sound, funny crow sounds and some vulgar Yow musings top off the intense performances of most of the great songs the band had recorded up until that point. 9/10
i was just reading your review page for all tjl recordings and i was taken back by the briefity of your review for show. This is defiantly a must have record. Anyone who has ever heard a tjl recording and then seen a show will tell you that. Thier show is what made the band great. now that it is 2000 and bang just came out, thier will be no more shows. the alblum captuers the show very well and brought back alot of memories. (espically scince i still cant find a good video of a show) Obviosoly it dosent have the quality of a studio recording but thats it was recorded at CBGB's. Personally i prefer the live raw sound to mixed studio tracks. And if you dont why go to the show in the first place. If you have never seen a show and really want to experience The Jesus Lizard ("the best live band ever") you need to hear this one first! (Daniel Tapia)
I have to say I was expecting more from what I had heard about this album, but with a band like the jesus lizard, that's not really an insult or anything. What can I say? It's a decent live album. It rocks. David Yow says funny things. You hear the Jesus Lizard in their prime (1993 at CBGB's). At the same time, as Mark says, the energy is just not present some of the time; sadly in two great songs like "Seasick" and "Nub". This isn't an album to get all excited about, but it's a decent sounding live album with a great set list and if you're a fan it'll be well received. 8.

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Down - Touch And Go 1994.
Rating = 8

Took me about two years to finally get into this record, but I did, finally, get into this record. The main problems seem to be the production and the length. Apparently Steve and the band were feuding at this point, and it almost seems as if he purposely sucked all the life out of the record on purpose, purposely. Especially after that Liar screech-a-thon, this one initially seems like kind of a downer. The guitarist is playing mostly chords, the drummer hardly kicks any ass at all, and all the songs just seem so..... accessible!!!!!! Well, that was the point, I think. They wanted a bigger audience. Didn't work, of course, but they tried!

After about six listens, this one'll really grow on you. Its charms are subtle, but definitely present. The strength of the record lies mainly in the hypnotic repetitiveness of most of the tracks, I think. Duane isn't trying to be annoying; he's just playing simple little melodies, and it's easy on the ears. But that's not a bad thing!!!! I know that most fans gave up on 'em after this one, and I understand that, because, for a while, I DID TOO. But I came around. There are some terrific little melodies on here! The psycho-bop "The Associate," the moderate rock single "Destroy Before Reading," the pretty ode to the old "Elegy," the gigantic pop shirker "The Best Parts" - these are pretty darn good songs, fellows. And the record's full of 'em. Even the ones that seem boring usually end up giving you something in exchange for your time and effort. It's just that, like I said, the record as a whole doesn't kick any rump at all. It's, you know, kinda down, in that sense.........

Reader Comments
This one gets better and better with several listens. ''Mistletoe'' makes your day, and the guitar solo in ''the Associate'' in one of the coolest I have ever heard. The song ''American BB'' is one of the angriest ones in THE WOOORRLLD!!!!!!!! If you don't agree I'm gonna break your arms and (small pause) both of your legs!! ''Din'' proves that the Jesus Lizard are geniuses.
This was their last great album, but Mark was right; it doesn't really sound like anything else TJL had done. The production is hella WEIRD, as the band members now admit; it's not BAD, but it's somehow a bit sterile and the guitar is incredibly shrilly and trebly. Of course, that means the rhythm section is accentuated more, which can only be good. Sims' pounding bass is clearly a highlight on Down. Now for the songs; they're really complex and not as "rocking" as on Liar, so to speak. But that don't mean they ain't good! They is, they is! My favorites are "Associate" (what a classic), "Mistletoe", "Din" and "Fly on the Wall". 8/10
In this album, you're put on the edge of the cliff they'll fall from with the next albums. The bass does sound specially good (which is not, in any way, the same as "rocking"), but where's the weight, for chrissakes. It's good, but should be shorter, the songs should be shorter, specially since they don't POUND ON YOUR HEAD even nearly enough. Mind you, my main problem is not the sound, is the general loss of urgency and surprise. The most curious thing is they stop surprising me not by repeating their earlier music, but exclusively within the context of the album. I don't know, maybe if the generally slower songs came like a bluesy bulldozer over the listener (like Seasick or Zachariah), I wouldn't be complaining. But they don't. (Kevin By)
i've actually just heard "Fly on the Wall" from the Bang album (this song is on here) and i've decided this is one of my favorite JL tunes yet! "i can never get any reeeeeeest". it's true, i can't :( i'm all worked up.
I bought this one after Bang and if you compare the song "Fly on the Wall" on this album to the version of it on Bang you can easily see why this album wasnt as good as it should of been.

Its still a really nice record though (some lovely melodies) and deserves a 7. (dick master)
Your review was good... I didn't read it, but I'm sure it was. In the many years I've spent listening to this band I've decided that Goat is better than Sgt. Peppers and Nevermind combined. Then I wonder how awful that album would be. Anyway, that album has been played so many godamn times in my household (read: hovel) that it's almost like getting the same fantastic blowjob for the umpteenth time... believe me, I haven't been there, but I can imagine the horror... Down represents a complicated, drunk make-out session... ok, bad analogy, but I'll stick to it (yuck!)... Down also represents a fantastic new blowjob technique administered deftly before you can really comprehend what the implications are. The implication results are in and they are great! Besides Blue, it offers the most varied array of ways to stroke the ear lobe. Blue should have been titled Neat...

Horray for beer! Horray for Down! Horray for umpteenth blowjobs!
To ponder the neat analogy offered by "Richard Master" above:

"Down represents a complicated, drunk make-out session..."

I definitely agree with the first part: "Down" is an album which, after hearing it, you don't really remember much specifically about it, but you do remember hearing it, and you do remember it was kinda cool. And you might have a bit of a "morning after" buzz still going on. And you might accidentally lose "Down"'s phone number, fail to call "Down" for a couple of weeks, find its number, and still not call it, and awkwardly run into "Down" at a mall.

I hear the Beatles liked this album. Lennon was always trying to get his friends into it: "Let me tape you Down, cause I'm going to....".

That joke would be funnier in a vacuum.
No matter how many unspectacular tracks show up on this thing, it's all worth it for "Elegy." Holy goddamn crap, that's about as close to perfection as they ever got. Down is disgustingly pretty, and Albini should have not been a jerk, and he should have given it a proper Albini touch. (Joel Horner)
I'm surprised at how many people talk about the production on Down by The Jesus Lizard as being the main attribute to its lesser quality. It actually ranks up with Liar and Goat for me, I dig Duane's guitar work a great deal, his skill with playing weird, jazzy chords really comes out here. The bass work is just consistantly fucking amazing across all their albums so no words there. And the vocals, and lyrics, kick my arse, especially on The Associate. If you ask me, the only factor that puts it slightly below the previous records is that MacNeilly has lost that spasmo, drum-kit-thrown-down-a-staircase energy that he had and replaced it with simple grooves that just carry the song. It doesn't ruin the album persay, and it does suit the songs, but it just makes me go "this could've been so much fucking cooler" whenever I listen to it (besides Din, he goes a bit apeshit on that).
My favourite tracks are Din, Queen for a Day, The Associate and fucking HORSE!!!
I think they lost it on Shot. Some awesome, awesome tunes (Skull of a German, Trepidation, Thumbscrews), but the others are either rehashes of past songs or simplistic radio rock tripe.
Anyways, Down is the album I listen to the most these days.

Add your thoughts?

Bang - Touch And Go 2000.
Rating = 9

An absolutely luscious hour-long compilation of all the Touch and Go singles, the Lash EP and a few unreleased tracks. Released after the band split up in '99, this collection of awesome tunes makes it dreadfully clear how lazy and tired the band had gotten by the time they recorded Blue. This early stuff is mean, fast, loud, violent, intense, tight, disciplined, rhythmic and inexcusably catchy. There are a couple tunes that don't quite match up to the others, but most of it - MAN ALIVE, DID THESE GUYS POUND!!!

But TWO Trio covers? And neither of them is even "Da Da Da"? That's just weird.

Reader Comments
Whats to say, read the track list and you'll know. The best part of the record (besides the fact that has 20 tracks) is that it sticks to the touch and go years. Not that their last three recordings were crap but it just wasn't the Jesus lizard id grown to know and love. The only really bad thing about the album was that I was totally unprepared to see the date of their last show on the record. Last Show? No more Jesus Lizard shows?! It totally messed up my day but all good things come to an end I guess. At least I got a chuckle out of the intended irony of the title. The only thing I think the record missed was including "puss". If you have ever seen them open with "puss" at a show you will know why I feel this way. Anyway, great comp. and best of luck to eveyone!
well, i've just got the long awaited Jesus Lizard kick. i knew it would come some day so i bought Goat and Bang a year back. ofcourse i managed to loose my Goat CD on the buss (it has never been seen again) after just about 3 listens so i picked up Bang just to have some JL in my collection. The Jesus Lizard..(hmmm)...where to start...(hmmm)..."Gladiator". i don't know if this is the same version as on "Liar" but it's fokkin' great!! it's my favorite punk-rock number ever along with "Blockbuster" on Melvins brilliant Crybaby-album featuring Mr. Yow ofcourse. the thing with Gladiator in particular is how unbelievably tight the band is. McNeilly is truly one of the tightest drummers in rock. which reminds me; i read this interview with Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl and he spoke of Dale Crover (my personal favorite) and McNeilly as the most underrated drummers of our time. and i for one second that. it's a shame people don't know who these people are. instead kids keep bragging about how good Tool's drummer are or how Pantera's skins-man kick all the butt in the world. also, Duane does some magnificent and creative yet very very simple strummings along the whole track. changing from giving his strings a REAL hard time to playing with them in the gentlest matter. it's really amazing what you can do with ONE simple hook.

also i see ya'll dissing "Killer McHann"!? love Sims basswork here - nasty, insane and orgasmic fuzz effects. great song, lots of pace, LOVE IT! the rest of Bang? great! love the change from studio to live, live to demos and back into studio. only "complaints" are the Trio songs which are too straight for my taste but the Dicks-one however is great! "are you stupid or just fag?" (brrrrrrm!). damn you Lizards! i draw a line and that's when you start harrassing gay people. your fucking gay yourself!!! go fuck the Dicks up the ass! i WILL however look for the Dicks next time i'm in my local record-store. they may be stupid motherfuckers but according to Yow they do know how to make good music.

after reading another interview with Yow, i was suprised to see Dirty Three finding way into Dave's harte!? they made him cry, godamnit!!? i've loved the Cocteau Twins forever and as you may know, it's at these two gentlemen's (Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde = Cocteau twins minus Liz Frasier) BellaUnion label the Dirty Three have their home.

i look forward to picking up more Jesus Lizard records cuz i'm definately in the mood now.
I decided to go look for a Jesus Lizard album a few weeks ago. I had heard their split cd with Nirvana and liked it. So down to the shops i went. I hopped and skipped merrily all the way from my car through the shopping centre across the road (narrowling missing several strangley angry looking drivers). As i was hopping and jumping merrily along the street it suddenly hit me that i had i licked an acid puppy. into the shop.looked for Jesus Lizard and they only had Bang. I wanted to get that album "Goat", but beggars cant be choosey. So i picked it up took it to the counter....handed it to the girl (foxy)payed her the £12 odds, went home stuck it on the CD player and thought to myself..........................................i think ill have a bowl of Frosties (Tony la Tigro). Very Good album....particulary the covers. 8.5 out of 10.
I agree. this is one of the best hours of music you can own...
In response to kezzbynoza's comment regarding the Dicks, "'are you stupid or just fag?' (brrrrrrm!). damn you Lizards! i draw a line and that's when you start harrassing gay people. your fucking gay yourself!!! go fuck the Dicks up the ass! i WILL however look for the Dicks next time i'm in my local record-store. they may be stupid motherfuckers but according to Yow they do know how to make good music.": the Dicks' singer and lyricist, Gary Floyd, was actually openly gay and highly confrontational about it towards the rednecks in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Listen to the track "Saturday Night at the Bookstore" from the Live at Raoul's record (the same record with "Wheelchair Epidemic") for a clearer example of this. Since David Yow's earlier band Scratch Acid were also from Austin around the same time, I'd imagine they probably had some contact with one another.

Anyway, this CD is pretty decent, although I do agree with the sentiments about the Trio covers. What's with Yow's weird burping vocals on "Anna"?

Add your thoughts?

The Jesus Lizard DVD - Music Video Distributors 2007
Rating = 8

Call me "A Revolutionary Whose Path-Blazing Opinions Tear Down Established Dogma," but I never understood why people raved about The Jesus Lizard's live shows. Maybe it's because I'd already seen so many unhinged Cows concerts? Or because the Jesus Lizard already sounded so raw and live on LP, the in-person performances just seemed redundant? I mean, certainly David Yow threw himself full-force into his live performance, but the guitarist and bassist mostly just stood there and played their parts exactly like the record the whole time, and of what interest is that? Anyway, whatever the reason, I just found their shows too predictable to get all that excited about. In fact, by the fourth and final time I saw them, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion blew them off the stage -- and I don't even like The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

Enter Music Video Distributors' 2007 DVD release of a 1994 Boston performance by Chicago's The Jesus Lizard, which answers the question of my disinterest once and for all:


See, there were great shows all the time back then (and probably still are; I'm just not of age to enjoy it anymore). So I guess my expectations of being blown away all the time were raised too high. I was seriously going to like 3 or 4 shows every single week back then. Now that I'm living a domesticated, older person's life, all I can say upon viewing this DVD is "Christ! What a great fucking band they were!" This young, energetic group of intelligent, creative rock performers will never exist again -- wiry Duane Denison playing his creepy riffs, beefy David Wm. Sims playing bass lines that should be leads, Mac McNeilly wearing Boxers and opening/closing his mouth with every full-bodied drumbeat, and surprisingly fit and hirsute David Yow screaming with the mic halfway down his throat, tossing out funny stage patter reft and light, and spending most of the show on top of the audience. They both look and sound legendary. Thank God somebody thought to film them when they were still filmable.

In addition to the Boston performance, the disc includes five songs from a Merle Allin-filmed 1992 CBGB performance (when Sims had shaggier hair and no beard!) and a great 15-minute interview with Yow filmed for some cable access show. Between the two performances, they perform 5 Goat songs (6 if you count both "Mouth Breather"s), 4 each from Down and Head, 3 Liars, 2 b-side covers, 1 Pure and - strangest of all - 1 from Shot, which they hadn't even begun recording at this point! (It's "Mailman," which David Yow refers to as "a cover of a new Soundgarden song," likely confusing quite a few audience members in the process) (not that I'm knocking The Process. In fact, in many ways I like to think of myself as the "Omega" of online record reviewers! Heh HEEE!!! hehhejeawr yeaaaaaaah cult humor)

Other funny things David Yow says include:


- "Who else has earplugs in? Dude, get those the fuck outta there! What the fuck's your problem? (*pretends to start crying*) It's too loud! It hurts my hearing!"

- "Get to it! Clear out! Stupid...."

- "Alright Cambridge! Thanks very much. M.I.T.!"

The live sound is excellent, though one of the cameramen dicks around with his zoom button so much, you keep expecting Lina Romay's pubic hair to pop into the frame (Heh HEEE!!! hehhejeawr yeaaaaaaah cult humor). And the Yow interview is a great bonus for 'with-it' fans, taking place as it does immediately after the band's falling-out with Steve Albini. He discusses (without naming names) how the producer "who likes to be called an engineer, but acts like a producer" had put too much of his own stamp on the previous records, rather than just doing what they told him to do. Hindsight five billion, but Down is the most muted-sounding Jesus Lizard record ever, and I'm pretty sure David would agree (great songs, but they never EXPLODE into your living room the way the previous records did). He goes on to politely insult Green Day ("It's like The Knack!") and talk about all the ridiculous cuts that MTV forced them to make to the "Puss" video -- including a shot of Yow spitting. And a guy blowing a kiss at another guy. MTV -- RADICAL YOUTH CULTURE 1994!

The bonus footage is all green probably because Merle Allin had his camera lodged up his ass before the show, but pay notation when Yow thanks the opening bands -- they were the Poster Children and Polvo! Just two more once-great bands that petered out and passed away into tomorrow's yesterdays.

Oh, my bad. I meant "yesterday's tomorrows."

Reader Comments
I got the reference to Jesus Franco. Have I won something? Am I part of the elite?

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Shot - Capitol 1996.
Rating = 8

I'd pre-heard so many terrible things about this album, I was prepared to hate it on principle alone!!! Well, screw everyone and everyone can screw, because this isn't the teeniest bit weaker than the last two Jesus Lizard albums. It's different, perhaps. Simpler, more hard-rock-oriented, maybe. But not worse, gosh crud it all to dang. Hey, I got a promotion today! I suppose you don't give a crap, but I'm happy about it.

The neatest thing about this album is that, before I'd heard it, everybody kept telling me, "It's terrible! The mix is all wrong! And David Yow isn't shoving the mike down his throat anymore; he's standing back and trying to sing!" so I was expecting the worse and then I bought it and, you know what? It sounds like Scratch Acid!!!! In Scratch Acid and here on Shot, David sounds like a loony nineteen-year-old, standing back from the mike and whooping, chanting, "emoting," screaming, and doing all sorts of cool things that I personally find to be a pleasant departure from his his old "shove the mike into the stomach" schtick. But that's just me.

And the music? As a whole, not as jagged and tight as the earlier stuff, more normal and poppy/rocky, but still darn enjoyable, especially after you give it a few fair listens, so the slow ones near the end don't seem so unnecessary. Aside from "More Beautiful Than Barbie" and "Too Bad About The Fire," I'm pretty darn wild about every track on here. "Trephination" is a darned beautiful weirdo jazz groove pop thing, "Thumper" couldn't kick more angry butt (nor could "Thumbscrews," which features razor-sharp-sick slide guitar and some awfully convincing psychopathic screaming), "Pervertedly Slow" gives us the sickest Yow delivery yet, and "Skull Of A German" features one of Yow's greatest choruses ever ("If you wanna clock him, I didn't see it!"). Simple, messy (at least in comparison to their other material), and rockin', this album presents a new direction for that Lizard combo - and, although it's been universally panned as a stagnant artistic nosedive, I get the feeling that the critics just didn't give it enough of a chance. I kinda disliked the second half at first, too, but it grew on me, as creative things will. Thanks for listening. Have a good America!

Reader Comments

bergeron@WPJ.EDU (John Bergeron)
I don't really agree that Shot is all that good, but you seem to have a pretty good idea of what you are talking about as far as the Jesus Lizard is concerned. Goat is the best. Good reviews.
I have to agree with you about Shot being a killer (but not quite as sinister or truly psychopathic as Goat and Liar). It DOES take time (new sounds always take the listener a while to adjust - true?) and the second half does initially take even longer but dammit! It's more than just worth the time. Anyone who writes this mini-masterpiece of dementia off too quickly deserves to be written off themselves as a sham and a poseur. "Churl" and "Skull Of A German" do it every time, but after seeing it played live, I'd have to give the prize to "Blue Shot", if not for the dynamism of the song itself, then for the brilliant lyrics. (Ted Hollon)
why the hell have you not mentioned that the jesus lizard puts on the GREATEST live show in the world (and 3 other planets)!!!!!!!! holy shit, even if you don't like them, they will by far be the best band you will ever see!!! i'm gonna go see them in 3 days..can't wait. ticketmaster, what the............???
The sound isn't that great, but the songs still kick some serious ass. If you don't like ''Thumper'', go see a doctor. If you hate the guitar solo in ''Too Bad about the Fire'', put yourself on fire. If you dislike ''Inamorata'', you should wear a bra. If you think that ''Now Then'' (with its suberb guitar solo) isn't a materpiece, get somebody to kick your cheeks. DID YOU KNOW THAT THE JESUS LIZARD IS THE BEST BAND WITH THE WORD ''JESUS'' IN IT? If you don't, who cares!!!!
Have you heard anything abouth their new albume BLUE coming out next month? You gotta love those four letter titles, it means somethimg or most likely nothing at all, but the unknowing of these 4 word titles is intriguing. I'm in complete agrrement with your thoughts on SHOT, it had to grow on me also, but now it's a full-born fugus that will not rot away. However, I can agree with you rregarding your thoughts on LIAR, I thought this was one of their top albums, with the all out crazy tracks "Gladiator", "Boilermaker", "Slaveship", etc, but I could have done without "Elegy". "Dancing Naked Ladies", along with "Destroy Before Reading" (DOWN) is perhaps the most kick ass driving music that known, I may also make one want to go out and kick somebody butt just for the hell of it. Thier concerts are the greatest shows on earth, whcih I have been heard stated before, go Jesus Lizard!!!
I hate to sound like an asshole, but the production on this one simply sucks out loud. Yes, I KNOW a band is great no matter what the production, but all the life is sucked out of Duane's guitar, and Mac's superb drumming sounds like a little kid beating on a cracked pavement sidewalk with a tiny straw. Also the songs are just not that memorable. I would be hard pressed to name even a few songs ( though i do remember "Trephination", "Mailman" and "Thumbscrews" being great songs, though "Thumbscrews" smells a little bit like a "Mouth Breather" re-write), and Yow just is not singing with the same fervor and insanity that had previously defined him. Maybe it's just because I've only listened to it about five or six times, but as of now Shot gets a 6/10
Shot is really a great peace of work and I was impresses even with the first listen. It has a great punchy but precise sound with very good transitions between songs. The record kinda reminds me of a drunk Fugazi with a loud base. David Wm. Sims is the most kick-ass base player anywhere. Along with the Melvins, I think they are definitely the coolest band to see in a club. If you like The Jesus Lizard, check out Shellac. Keep rockin' out all you hard-core bastards out there! By the way Mark, your doin' a kick-ass job with your website.
I could listen to Head, Goat and Liar in a row and do it again the next day (ok, they're short, but...). I can't get five songs into this album without starting to do something else automatically, and hey, I like even Steely Dan, so don't give me the "pop" talk. I kept trying with the subsequent albums, and kept being uncapable of getting interested.
Strange, I can't be the only one who liked this album on the first listen surely. Having heard Goat,Liar,Down and Blue before this, I would make it TJL's 2nd best album after Goat. When i listen to Down (the album before this) theres no energy in it..., then you stick on Shot and immediately you get what was missing of, life...better music. (Lord Kennedy)
Music for Serial Killers.

Agreed Pritchett, SHOT (and Marks site) is an impressive piece of work, TJL just stretch out like never before, and if David Yow ISN'T singing with the mic down his throat, then FUCK ME! what's "Thumbscrews"??? This is a smacked up bitch album. We have a joke round here, where we call David Yow, DAVID YELL!!! Ha Ha Ha, Where are the critics NOW?, if you want Sebadoh, then listen to Sebadoh. "Skull of a German" is possibly TJLs finest moment, sure, some songs are slightly tedious and they sound like the atypical, TJL 3 min 30 sec, song (sounding interchangable with other albums etc) and the second half is a bit weakish (only compared to side one) and there's no "Then Comes Dudley" but this album should be cherished and theres always heaps in the BARGAIN BINS.

Comment: This deserves a SONG BY SONG
Thumper: Awesome intro to the album, a 9.5
Blue Shot: Carrying on a great start, and what a WICKED chorus, a 9.5
Thumbscrews: Davids vocal ability on FULL display, a screaming 10
Good Riddance: A bassline to die for, an easy 9.5
Mailman: Saved by a great chorus, this scares small children, animals and the elderly, a 9
Skull of a German: That guitar, a 10
Trephination: A bit sort of weird, an 8.5
More Beautiful Than Barbie: Maybe why side two is not looked on favourably, but Barbie is a CRACK WHORE, great chorus, an 8.5
Too Bad About The Fire: A slow burner, maybe too slow, but it GOES places and the guitar is freakn' good, a 9
Churl: Skull of a German revisited, an 8
Now Then: A throw away TJL song, but a GOOD one, an 8.5
Inamorata: Possibly the BEST verse in TJL's history, an easy 10
Pervertedly slow: An almost Perfect ending (play it all again), a 9

My rating is a 9.153846154
Hey, how come nobody has (ever) picked up on the fact that "Good Riddance" is a blatant fuck you about (and to) Steve Wm. Albini? Read the lyrics, it's fucking obvious!

(Mark, put the fucking "cooks like a gourmet..." etc, etc. lyrics here)

Replace "clown" with "Quasi-famous Chicago-based recording guy of Big Black/Rapeman/Shellac semi-fame." And wouldn't you know, the thing reads like a biography!

I wish I'd gotten into these guys sooner. Back in '91 I saw them open for Sonic Youth at the Cat's Cradle, and I honestly was at a loss. I kinda liked the textured Jimmy Page-type guitar chords, and David Yow was a fucking maniac, leaning into the crowd so much that we had to hold his frame up so he wouldn't fall (a sign of the solidarity of punk audiences, see, though I didn't touch his wang like drazy did). But it wasn't until "Shot" that I actually ever listened to them again. Despite the fact that this new JL album was highly recommended by that pretty prick from Bush, I got it on a whim, and DAMN! I loved it. And what's better, I still love it after getting my head out of my ass and getting their back catalog! Plenty of wonderful, intelligent, ass-kickin songs on this one. A bit cleaner sounding perhaps, but not a sellout by any means! (Andy England)
You didn't like "too bad about the fire" and "more beautiful that barbie"?? Are you mad?? They are my 2 fave songs on the album. Well it takes allsorts I suppose. Pretty good reviews on a whole I thought. Keep up the good work .
I bought this with trepidation. Yow SINGING? No way. Anyway, this record is better than that time I did a Strokes' song on 'indie karaoke', fell off the bar right in front of the real life David Yow. Just thinking about 'Thumbscrews' makes me want to turn it on. There's a YouTube video where they play this that I think everyone needs to go and find now. 9/10.
I think maybe Goat or Liar would not have benefited from major label production, just because of the sound they were going for at the time, but Shot's style is suited just right for ol' GGGarth. Maybe David was overcompensating for the impending criticisms of what they were going to do, but his vocals are the most terrifying they've ever been. And the band did the best they could to write an album that sounded like it should have, and not like a complete kowtow to Capitol. But then Capitol dropped em anyways. Sonsabitches.

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The Jesus Lizard EP - Jetset 1997.
Rating = 7

Doesn't sound like a lot of effort went into this 5-song EP, but it's still entertaining enough, I'm supposen'. "Cold Water" is killer (and later ended up as one of the strongest tracks on Blue), and "Inflicted By Hounds" is a Shot-esque hard rocker that grows on you, but the others just SOUND like outtakes -- a couple of bass-driven numbers and an experimental instrumental thing. Worth hearing, but only if you can get it for a couple bucks.

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Blue - Jetset 1998.
Rating = 7

Extremely disappointing. It's to the Lizard's credit that an "extremely disappointing" album by their standards is still a perfectly good album when compared to the rest of the rock universe. But this album just doesn't cut it. Not for these guys. There are some great songs here and there, but they're incredibly derivative of songs that appeared on the last two records -- it seems like the band is actually reusing riffs, which is very painful to hear, because I've always given them credit for being smarter than that. What we have here is a bunch of crackly, tough verses followed by catchy, predictable choruses -- in other words, depressingly formulaic songwriting. Could it be that Denison is saving his best work for his jazzy side project? Alas, alack, we shall ne'er know.

But that's not the worst part! That would be the atrociously generic production work done by, I suppose, Andy Gill and Jeff Lane. They've managed to make the ol' Sus Zard sound (gasp) just... like... everybody... else. Overprocessed. Entirely unthreatening. Dull. The guitar is muted to a clawless kitten purr, lots of "industrial" '90s style Garbage noises are inserted for no reason whatsoever, and for the first (and hopefully last!) time in their career, The Jesus Lizard sound like nothing more than a band on the skids trying to revive their sagging career with an alternative radio hit or two. This isn't angry hate music; it's a glossy imitation of such, just like Trent Reznor.

Granted, the Jesus Lizard are probably completely pissed at their former fans for abandoning them when they signed to Capitol (I'm telling you - Shot is a DAMN FINE record; you just have to get used to it), and at this point could give a rat's ass about retaining any indie cred, but still.... There are us music fans out here who love them and trust them and KNOW that they're capable of better than this. In a perfect world, Goat would have made them a couple million bucks each, and they could have continued to make the harshest music they wanted to make. But this world isn't perfect. And it's very upsetting to think that one of the smartest rock bands around is succumbing to the temptation of a quick cash shot in the arm. Well, we'll see. Will "Needles For Teeth" be a hit? It's certainly catchy and harmless enough to qualify. We'll see. Sigh.

It's STILL a good album, mind you. Just not one that I'll get the urge to listen to all that often. Come on, Dave Gang! We know you gots it in youse! Show us what you're really made of!

Reader Comments (David Straub)
I'm still a nascent fan, owning only Goat, Liar (which kicks all sorts of ass), and now this new one, Blue. Holy shit is it good. They've decided to add some scrapy industrial elements to a few of the tracks and it really works well! Yow is now completely audible, but to my ears, he still sounds totally unhinged... There's a new drummer, I don't know when McNeilly left, but this new guy certainly isn't a liability. Denison's guitar is still very inventive and a lot stronger riff-wise than Liar, though not quite as truly mind-blowing as Goat. I can't do titles of strong tunes since I just gave it to a good friend across the building. If you haven't already done so, Mark, I'd say pick this one up as soon as you can. I give it a Prindle 9, at least right now-- Goat is still my favorite, and Liar is a small step behind that. I can see myself listening to this a lot. (Christian Smith)
I thought you said in your introductory thing that you were going to be less obtrusive in these reviews and have it be more about the music?

Okay. I just listened to all the Jesus Lizard albums twice in the past two days--a bit nutty perhaps, but I think I've got a handle on what to say. First: I'd always listed them as one of my faves, but I keep forgetting why. I remember now: it's because they are smarter than the average bear. Just all sorts of brain oozing out that music, a fact that gets way obscured by the milieu they've chosen, that wallow-in-the-muck-Joe-American-down-on-his-luck. Fuck. They're good.

Second (and this really caught me by surprise): They have not yet made the best album they're capable of. No, really. Not even Goat (or Shot, but that's for later). I heard a particular element stand out on each album.

First, Pure is easily the most insane. How about that "Blockbuster?" How about it? Huh? Motherfucker? Great intensity, but hardly the drums a growing boy needs, and despite valiant efforts not the best songwriting possible, even in their chosen style.

Head of course has the consistently strongest David Yow vocal performances on record, which necessarily means the strangest, most sublime vocal performances ever. (Sublime, not beautiful.) Have you heard the way he destroys the English language in "S.D.B.J.?" Great Denison/Sims work here too, but the album bogs down and stays bogged during the second half. Though Yow here started to develop that innovative lyricism that makes him more than "that growly guy who takes his pants off in concert." The words to "7 vs. 8" are sick, but a more eloquent anti-God stance you will never find in rock music. And let me tell you, somehow Mr. Yow sums up the wonder and stupidity that is sexual attraction in "Good Thing." I don't happen to agree that it's the one and only, but the sweetness and grossness of "Commonplace is paradise / When you take off your panties" sure does capture the conflated tangle of lust and love.

So then of course Goat is great. Tighter than a monkey's uncle and twice as mean, shimmery and piercing. The best songs in their repertoire, and the band has finally gelled as a unit. But despite the Albini sit-back-and-let-'em-rock production (or maybe because of it), everything is not crystal clear. Oh, you sure can hear that guitar. But the mids of Yow's voice and especially the whump of the bass are buried. A good example is the latter portion of "Seasick." Live, you get the full glory when D.W. Sims starts playing a bluesy hammering descender. On the album, you can barely tell he's hitting more notes at all. Great record, but room for improvement.

The songs aren't quite as good on Liar, but the production is bonus. Still just as hard-edged, but with plenty of mean thump in there too. And they take what should be simple (if unexpected) riffs and then twist them until they give you a headache. High points include "The Art of Self-Defense" (which has some of the best rock lyrics of all time, and who cares if you understand them?), "Boilermaker" (which kicks ass--but not in a cliched way), and "Dancing Naked Ladies" (oh so twitchy). My favorite is "Puss," which is a wonder. How do you take something as off-kilter as the Jesus Lizard and mate it with mainstream pop rock? I sure thought it impossible, but then the Jesus Lizard did it themselves. Wow.

Down is much spottier, and suffers from what was essentially an honest attempt to deliver more value. But a 30-minute wonder like Goat ends up more satisfying than the extended, flaccid collection on Down. There are still moments of surpassing achievement, but the riffs seem retreaded and the energy used up. Standing tall is the rhythm section; with the irritating psychoguitar of Liar toned down, you can really hear how punchy and powerful the foundations are. Like a big overfed generator, pounding strokes sending energy out in all directions. Unfortunately, the other half of the band doesn't pick it up consistently.

Shot is amazing. I hated it when I got it, then grew to not hate it, then finally wrote off the second half as boring, and the whole thing as empty and disappointing, with occasional flashes. Not at all! There's a strange trend from the absolutely bone-crushing teeth-grating hyperversity of "Thumper/Blue Shot/Thumbscrews" (which is hard to consider as anything but a marrow-melting triple threat) to the deliberation and insistence of the center's "Skull of a German," "Trephination," and "Too Bad About the Fire," to the sort of careening crazy scattershot of the last few songs. I thought Shot suffered from length even more than Down; I was wrong. Meander does not mean they're lost, my man. It may not have the burn-your-bridges magnificence of Goat, but for my money Shot's got twice as much thinking behind every exclamatory burst.

I really enjoy listening to Blue, but that should not be taken as a sign that it's a great album. Unfortunately, the Jesus Lizard allowed a producer to homogenize their sound. Oh, it's still the same ol' stuttery flutter, but with warmer overtones and the demonic edge dulled. Bolstering my faith are the creepy minimalism of "Cold Water," the clotted chords of "Soft Damage," and even the 90s-generic dance/rock blur of "Needles for Teeth." Also, Yow's new singing style grows more impressive with each listen--you try to hit all those notes while sounding as strung-out and bitter. But you've gotta look harder for the gems.

In short, Shot and Blue describe a different arc of influence than the earlier work--but they're certainly not totally disjunct. I was ready to count the Jesus Lizard out after Down (how fickle, considering my joy at Liar!), so much so that when Shot arrived I heard its new elements as a threat to my beloved sound. Dammit, it's not a particular tone that makes a band great! It's how ardently they pursue an aggressive aesthetic. The Jesus Lizard have indeed metamorphosed since their first incarnation (as Mark so accurately calls it, The Big Black Birthday Party). But--and here's where you should skip to the next sentence if, like me, you grow weary and beleaguered when journalists wallow in the obfuscatory dilettantism of "clever" metaphor--like any lizard that needs to grow, the Jesus one shed its skin and emerged new and nimble.

Man, I can't believe I thought that sentence up. Ick. I go now.

My grades, if you can believe it, are:

Pure - 6
Head - 8
Goat - 9
Liar - 9
Down - 7
Shot - 10
Blue - 7
I am 48, too old like TJL. Taking up guitar again at 44 my teacher kept telling me to see them. I saw them during the Shot tour - I had never heard a single TJL song - they killed me. I bought Show the next day, Shot next. Saw TJL over Memorial day '98 - brought tears to my eyes. Then I bought Blue. I've seen so many shows over the last 30 years from jazz to Captain Beefheart to grindcore. I think TJL is one of the best bands on earth. Every day I spend a minute dreading the day TJL break up. I cornered Sims after the Blue show and begged them to play Atlanta again.

I keep asking myself why I like them so much.

1. They make the most elegant "hard music." By elegant I mean they get the most impact with the least. As a guitar player, my mission lately is to learn all the TJL songs I can. What I find is simple and very playable. It sounds great even thru my lame playing. I think of the song structure as more classical than jazzy. If you play, try "Bloody Mary" fingerstyle on an acoustic guitar - it is beautiful - how do they make this into pummeling rock?

2. I like how they warp space and time. Sure they play in odd meters (Killer McMahan, I Can Learn et al) and throw in extra beats sometime. But even 4/4 tunes (like "Now Then") can make my head swim.

3. Unnatural tightness. Unnatural rhythm section. I never before appreciated the drum/bass foundation as I do the TJL's - It allows the guitar so much space and freedom.

4. Repeated listening. It is my personal measure of music. Shot disappointed at first (why aren't they kicking butt like they used to). But I like it better every time I hear it. Blue was too wimpy and formulistic. I don't think that now. Blue is simplicity itself, most songs have a familiar rock formula but no other band could create this music. "Soft Damage" just amazes me: Two garden variety rock riffs, a relatively atonal riff against a chugging base, lyrics that tell a gruesomely tragic story - When TJL puts these elements together.....

5. Uniqueness. Who else makes music like this? As I I said in the first paragraph, how could such pummeling, intense music bring emotional tears to my eyes? After I got over my initial disappointment on Blue, I decided I'd love to hear TJL take on any type of music. Their back catalogue is unique and I love it. As long as they stay together, I'll give anything they choose to do a fair chance.

Thanks for the reviews. (Mike Coddington)
My friend says that he can't tolerate Blue, it's too laid back for him. I see where he's coming from, but only after the first five or so songs. Then I just get creeped out by Yow's singing. Just picturing his insane Phil Collins face singing about all that dark subject matter freaks me out. But the beginning of the CD is wicked catchy. But too processed, like you mentioned, Prindle. I give it a 6. (Etan Gery)
since, you seem to be a fan, i'll break the bad news to you: the mighty jesus lizard have broken up, 10 years to the day of their first concert (7/1/89). damn damn shame it is

great site, btw....keep it up (Zach English)
in case you haven't heard the jesus lizard have broken up today. i think it's for the best, considering that blue crap.

I guess I'll update my previous banter on this album now. It's basically a Shot re-write, and if you're going to re-write an album it's probably a better idea to re-write the perfection that is Goat than the "ehhh" that is Shot. I should say, like Mark, that a mixed-bag album from TJL, like this one, is still alot better than most rock bands could do. For instance, Bush and Creed probably see this album as a highwater mark and will get their advertising execs in to find out ways to rip it off. There are still some pounders on here like "I Can Learn", "Cold Water" (great tune) and the bass orgy "Eucalyptus", but songs like "And then the rain" are just lifeless with not even the energy of Shot. Plus, let me say strongly that Andy Gill should not produce bands. Entertainment was a terrific album but has anyone heard new Gang of Four? Blech! Makes Blue sound like Back in Black. 6/10 for this album.
Man.........the most disappointing piece of shit album I've heard in a while. It basically sounds over-produced with very weak, uncreative, and bland tracks. The only track that honest to God kicks ass is the first one, I Can Learn. It has that distinctive TJL driving beat with total repetition. You can tell these guys were tired and too lazy too record that punkish confused aggression that TJL has always done.
Neither one of these alblums were bad (or even close to it) but it seems that they are almost everyones least favorites. They even cost them a good part of thier audience, unfairly i might add. Its like you drove a rolls royce for 8 years and then had to settle for a lincoln for two more. Good but not nearly as good. As far as selling out you should acutally go see a show. even after shot came out you would rarely, if ever, hear a track off of it live. they stick to thier roots. you have to remember that the jesus lizard is a live band and thats how they were meant to be heard. they just put out records to pay the bills. And when they went to capitol a major lable they had to change thier sound a little. ninty percent of america is unable to tolirrate a sound like goat or liar. the moral of that story is, I guess is to stick to indy lables and stay broke. but ill tell you what they could have put out ten more alblums just like shot or blue and i wouldn't piss me off one bit as long as they kept thier live show the way it was!
I'd say a "7" is just about right for this one. They never put out a "bad" release, but this one is just disappointing in spots. "Cold Water", "Horse Doctor Man" and "I Can Learn" really make my blood get movin', but most of the others are just ehhh...

I just got around to listening to this, and, is it just me, or is the chorus of "Horse Doctor Man" the same as "Strutter" by KISS!?

Of all the bands... it had to be KISS...

Fuck KISS.

This is, hands down, one of the most disappointing records I've ever heard. 0/10

holy shit. you're right!

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