Note: New candidate: Nice Strong Arm’s Reality Bath!
Live Skull: Bringing Home the Bait (mp3s) : this album to me is every bit as good as (or better than, that’s highly subjective) Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation, Sister and Evol, Drive Like Jehu’s self-titled and Yank Crime, Shellac’s Action Park, Swans’ Filth, etc. Anything by the Birthday Party, Jesus Lizard, Slint, Stranglers, Joy Division, Bauhaus, the Cure, King Crimson, Bastro, Germbox, Green Magnet School (see their awesome Blood Music, etc). Christian Death’s Only Theatre of Pain, anything by Mission of Burma, MX-80 Sound, etc. The Fucking Champs III and King Crimson’s Red are pretty darn high up there of course.
Besides Brian Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain, Joni Mitchell’s Hejira, and Arthur Verocai’s album, this is one of the best albums ever made in my opinion–they just captured some inspired performances and the engineering/recording/production styles sounds great to me. I prefer the recording sound and guitar tones etc on this and their self-titled album to some of their later work…
This album came out in 1985, two years before Sonic Youth’s Sister and three years before Daydream Nation, not that that matters at all–after all, Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica came out in 1969–but the point is, some very misinformed people have called Live Skull a Sonic Youth ripoff, but they were making Sister and Daydream Nation -caliber albums three years before Sister and Daydream Nation (1986’s Cloud One is just as good if not better depending on who you ask). Not as catchy in a pop way as those Sonic Youth albums but perhaps even better in terms of highly technical guitar, bass, and drum mayhem in a post-punk, new wave, no-wave, indie prog vein. To me Bringing Home the Bait and Cloud One are up there with Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire and Inner Mounting Flame in terms of unique energy and experimentation.
Thanks to the folks at Xhol Desert for putting these Live Skull albums online–many of which are vinyl-only and are in dire need of CD rerelease. Check out also Cloud One and their first self-titled album which are totally awesome too; they’re all awesome but these are my favorite three.
Live Skull featured James Lo of Chavez, Marnie Greenholz, Tom Paine, Thalia Zedek later on of Come, Mark C of International Shades, Richard Hutchins of Hungry March Brigade, etc.
Also see the unofficial Live Skull myspace page.
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