In the early ’90s, the Jesus Lizard—vocalist David Yow, guitarist Duane Denison, David Wm. Sims and drummer Mac McNeilly—was untouchable. Not literally, of course—if you were at one of its hundreds of shows in that era, you could very easily touch ’em. And given the amount of time Yow spent slithering on top of the audience, you probably didn’t have a choice in the matter. Denison and McNeilly will be guest editing. Read our new MAGNET Classics feature on the band’s Liar album, one of the most important LPs of the ’90s.
McNeilly: Originally from San Francisco, this band truly sounded like no one else. In fact, this was part of the design of the group: to avoid already established styles of playing. You have to listen for yourself, but the first two albums, Half-Mute and Desire, are complete brain journeys with no return ticket. You’ll have to find your own way back to where you started, and you will be changed in some way if you’ve never heard these before. Everyone should listen to these at least once, and don’t do anything but listen. I don’t want to hear this all the time. It’s not that sort of thing, but for a taste of the strange and wonderous with a healthy dose of disturbing, you have it here. One of their best tracks is “Dark Companion,” originally a seven-inch single, and also on an out-of-print Ralph Records compilation called Frank Johnson’s Favorites. Any later version or remix of this song isn’t the same. Find the original, and listen to it very loud in a dark room by yourself.