by Adam Hacker
photo by Joshua Black Wilkins
Whenever the term “noise rock” is used to describe a band, it is almost always used as a backhanded compliment. There are plenty of bands who fill the gaps in their songwriting with abrasive feedback that hopefully distracts from the fact that they don’t really know what the fuck they’re doing. The Jesus Lizard is a completely different story. Duane Denison is a shredding guitar god but when I say shred, I don’t mean sweep-picking arpeggios or 8-finger tapping. What Denison does with a guitar is like putting glass in a wood-chipper, but in a more euphoric way. Even though David Yow is a legendarily wild frontman, The Jesus Lizard will always be mostly remembered for their sky-high guitar antics. Their longtime producer Steve Albini clearly felt similarly, as the vocals are pushed almost behind the guitars. Even if the band has calmed down in recent years, they’re still guaranteed to put on a mind-bending show.