Sunday, October 26, 2008

Here's some chest hair for ya.

A classic performance by The Jesus Lizard.

I first heard about this band in high school when Eric Gordon Fur offered to trade me his Liar CD for my... something, I don't even know what I gave him for it, Sean might remember, but I do know that when we got home and started listening to it, we soon realized Eric had just fumbled one of the best CDs he owned. 15 years later my opinion has only been reinforced.

This band has stood the test of time. Their complete lack of respect for anything pretentious or fashionable is always refreshing. Their honesty and energy is infectious. You really have to listen to the songs for several years to even make out the words, but it's one of those things where when you do make out some words, they're exactly what you had always hoped they'd be, which is basically a lurching conveyor belt of social criticisms that go down like broken glass, bizarre narratives, and colorful profanities.

Their meaning is not essential to appreciating the music. David Yow uses his voice as an exotic instrument. Not at all like how Jonsi Birgisson uses his voice, or how Ella Fitzgerald used hers, it's more like how a bare knuckle boxer uses his fists. It's angry, flagrant, uncaring. I've seen it described as the sound of someone who's been gagged and forced into a trunk. But it's also infectious, and exciting, and awesome. It's guttural, and disjointed, and it's everything you're missing in life, and every bad night you wish had never happened.

Here's an interesting Jesus Lizard video (not live). It's a good representation of their studio sound, and the video is perfect. It's just a bunch of street fights with an upskirt shot in the middle. Simple, direct, frank, and actually rather informative. If you pay attention you might learn something about the art of self defense.


Sean said...

the aforementioned eric gordon fur was actually always pestering me about your Type-O-Negative album, and one day he brought in the Jesus Lizard album and i immediately told him you would trade your TON album for it. i guess you were able to read the searing conviction in my eyes when i posed the parameters of the trade to you, and you willing accepted sound unheard (does that really work as a modified version of 'site unseen'?).

Digitizdat said...

Ah, it was Type-O! I've often wondered what happened to that CD, and that explains it. Definitely a worthwhile trade.

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