The Album: Goat by The Jesus Lizard (Touch & Go Records, 1991)
The Players: David Yow, vocals, Duane Denison, guitar David Wm. Sims, bass, Mac McNeilly, drums. Produced by Steve Albini.
The Story: After the demise of Scratch Acid and a few preliminary recording sessions, Denison, Sims and Yow relocated from Austin, Texas to Chicago, and reconvened as the Jesus Lizard. The band recorded the Pure EP as a drum-machine backed three piece before recruiting McNeilly. Eschewing the conventions of rock ‘n’ roll, the Jesus Lizard developed an unmistakable sound that combined caustic noise-rock, punk, angular jazz, and a western twang done over by big city grit. After releasing its mind-twisting full-length, Head, in 1990, the Jesus Lizard once again entered the studio with recording engineer Steve Albini to create what is now considered by many to be its defining album, Goat.
What Makes It Essential: Goat is by anyone’s definition both oddly disturbing and disturbingly odd–a raw, intoxicating adventure that makes it hard for the listener to not bask in his or her own deviant side.Over nine songs, the band maximizes elements of space, bass-heavy grooves, and an uncanny ability to conjure up a roller coaster of anxieties and releases while Yow howls his way through sordid tales of questionable housesitters, prison rape, and an especially filthy version of The Aristocrats. This effectively makes the band come across like a sleazy lounge act fronted by a backwoods ax murderer, and thanks to Albini’s “live” production techniques, it sounds as if the crew could be invading your home. Towing a line between hilarity and depravity while rocking the fuck out, Goat is one of best rock ‘n’ roll albums to ever come out of Chicago (or anywhere else for that matter), and makes one wonder when, exactly, the balls largely fell off of “independent rock.”
Suggested Tracks: “Monkey Trick,” “Mouth Breather,” “Nub”
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