#tbt The Jesus Lizard / Liar (1992)

By Randy Nieto
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The early 90’s were a veritable breeding ground for indie rock in Chicago, Illinois, and The Jesus Lizard were no exception. Beginning in the late 80’s on Touch & Go Records, their created their own sound of punishing, heavy rock that walked the line between metal and hardcore, and would later come to influence bands like Nirvana and Helmet. Known for their live shows, Greg Kott of the Chicago Tribune once called them “The best live band anywhere for most of the 90’s”, which I was lucky enough to witness first hand and can attest to their ferocity. So naturally they did their best to duplicate this sound on record, and with the help of a well known recording engineer named Steve Albini, they produced some amazingly heavy yet grooved-filled albums. The amazing thing about the Jesus Lizard is “they understand the value of the space between notes” says Kott, which is really an excellent way to describe them. The bass lines are crawling yet menacing. The guitar work is not too thick but not very thin, yet still sounds heavy without sounding too shrill, like the Goldilocks of heavy guitar sound. Their drummer, Mac Mcneilly, was a heavy hitter, like a modern day John Bonham who played a little faster. The melodies are infectiously repetitive, and even now will get the unlikeliest of people headbanging like it was the 80’s. Simply put, they are one of the best bands to come out of Chicago in the 90’s. Listen to “The Art of Self Defense” below.

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