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05.21.15 Ten 10/10 Jesus Lizard Songs05.12.15 Music for Reading, Writing, and Introsp
05.04.15 Stone Temple Pilots Ranked03.05.15 Red House Painters / Sun Kil Moon ranke

Ten 10/10 Jesus Lizard Songs
1The Jesus Lizard

I read in some comment on here that "Puss" is the greatest rock song ever written and I feel obligated to agree with whoever said that. Something about those lacerating riffs, the intense vocals that make you want to sing along even if you have no idea what the hell Yow is saying, and the way they wrap themselves around a traditional rock bass line and synth interlude feels like this delightfully maniacal little twist on the corporate rock that dominated the airwaves for so long. I can't get enough of this song.
2Mouth Breather

This might be the most iconic Jesus Lizard song. Everything that makes them good is in top form here- the drums are outstanding throughout and push that already awesome riff to new levels. And then the howling vocals that descend into the drunken sounding "don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy and I like him just fine... but he's a mouth breather!"... Just perfect. Alternative to alternative for sure.

2:15 minutes was all it took for the Jesus Lizard to ensure listeners they were in for a ride with the follow up to Goat. As you might gather from this list, I actually prefer Liar to Goat- and while disagreement is understandable, how can you not believe in Liar after you hear this thing? I started drinking boilermakers because of it. True story. Also, the bridge rules.

Gladiator makes for the second part of one hell of an opening punch. It's one of those songs that's a joy to listen to every time, because until you really memorize it, it never quite goes where you expect it to. There are so many different types of sounds and guitar tones in the riffs here, they go forwards and backwards to swallow themselves up, and the bass really stands out as a force to be reckoned with.... and David Yow is at his absolute best- and mixed perfectly. Albini was the perfect producer for this band.
5Panic in Cicero

I think they did this song for the Clerks sound track, and it rules. The bass line and opening guitar parts immediately solidify the song as unhinged, and the song as a whole is probably the closest the band got to capturing the Goat / Liar glory after those albums passed. I absolutely love the way the song distills itself into silence during the last minute or so, letting itself be anchored by the sway of some trustworthy drumming.
6Then Comes Dudley

Opening track to the band's most iconic album, Then Comes Dudley is a bit of an epic. The bass lurches, the guitars screech, and Yow yowls. His name really does make perfect sense. The perfect opener to a great album.

I hate overusing descriptive verbs, but "lurching" fits so much of Goat so perfectly. Is there such a thing as stumbling gracefully? Because that's sort of what the transitions from verse to chorus in Seasick feel like. And then the parts near the end where the drums sort of have this jack hammering effect- beautiful. A wonderful and varied sonic concoction- but it all comes from the same palette, so it makes sense together. Genius.
8Monkey Trick

Holy shit, this song rules. I suppose this one grooves more than it lurches, and it takes some eerie guitar lines to hold the song together as it tumbles through choruses that culminate in screams that are, well, catchy. Oh, and there's a bridge with more ethereal guitar parts that really rule.
9Fly on the Wall

Some would argue that Down is where The Jesus Lizard started to lose themselves, but I don't really think that's true. Yeah, there's no doubt that Down is worse than the two near perfect albums to come before it, but the album does see the band trying out some interesting ideas and fleshing out their sound a bit. David Yow's vocals sound closer to actual singing than they did in the past, and with Albini's production still obviously on point, Fly on the Wall was, to me, a really interesting and great take on a more pop style. The band never did anything catchier than the chorus of Fly on the Wall, and they definitely still sounded like Jesus Lizard.

Yep... I'm going there. As a whole, the last two Jesus Lizard album's are ridiculously underwhelming. Albini was crucial to their identity, and to take them out of the equation was to render them a new band almost entirely. But that doesn't mean that they became a bad band, necessarily, and while Blue was on the whole pretty bad, there are still a few good songs- this being one of them. It's creepy, haunting, and if you ask me, the industrial undertones totally work. This is an experiment gone right- it has that sort of Primus-style redneck swerve in spades, and I feel like that's always been an element of the band. Blue actually worked when the band was playing up the once more subtle elements of their sound- it was when they tried to do their more standard, noisy, rock oriented tracks that they felt like a pale imitation of a formerly great band.
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