Formed in 1982 by guitarists Mark C and Tom Paine with Marnie Greenholz on bass and James Lo on drums, Live Skull is considered by many aficionados to be the quintessential New York noise band. Together with Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull defined the term “noise rock” in the 1980s, spearheading the post-No Wave underground music scene in NYC with a series of legendary live performances and eight groundbreaking records released over the course of that decade. Often brutal and yet strangely seductive, each of these classic records creates hooks out of the most unlikely, seemingly disruptive elements, subverting traditional rock forms in previously unheard ways that became an undeniable (albeit often unacknowledged) influence on many of their contemporaries. Live Skull broke up in 1989, just within sight of that magical moment when the sort of music they pioneered began to finally break through, but the band’s recorded output reminds us that Live Skull got there first.
This is the record that started it all, Live Skull’s first EP. A gloriously sprawling collection of deep, dark grooves and insidiously entwined guitars, the Village Voice rightly described the EP as “classic post-punk” and “the best introduction to New York’s guitar explorers.” The East Village Eye proclaimed it “one of the best sounding records to come out of any New York band past or present.” The New York Times put the EP on their short list of the best five records of 1984, declaring, “A few contemporary bands are making music as a deliberate antidote to the burbling synthesizers, polite crooning and polished gloss of today’s well-fed pop mainstream. New York’s Live Skull, Sonic Youth and Swans…are making the sort of music rock’s early opponents must have feared most, the music of their nightmares.”
Out of print for far too many years, this 30th anniversary reissue of Live Skull’s first EP is now available on limited edition vinyl and (for the first time ever) on CD, complete with a lavish booklet including extensive liner notes by founding members Tom Paine and Mark C, and eight extremely rare bonus tracks. This is the first release in desire’s Live Skull Project, an ambitious, eight-title series of reissues of the entire Live Skull catalogue, personally overseen by Mark C and Tom Paine.
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