Of the eight records Live Skull released throughout the 1980s, Cloud One is probably the one most often cited as the definitive LS album. This was the record that fine tuned the band's sound, transforming the polarizing power of the original No Wave into music that got under your skin and stayed there. A tightly-knit collection of songs and anti-songs years ahead of its time, Cloud One's chaos-scrambled hooks were a direct influence on the later breakthrough projects of Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull's co-conspirators in the so-called "noise scene" that emerged out of New York City in those years.
Cloud One captures Live Skull at a creative peak, with the band generating a profusion of arresting sounds and ideas via the most basic rock and roll vocabulary: bass, drums and two traditionally tuned guitars. The resulting record, an inexplicably seductive song cycle that filters art through the nasty mood swings of rock, was something radically new for 1986. Nearly thirty years on, Cloud One remains a transcendent musical hybrid as mysterious as it is memorable.
Reviewing Cloud One upon its 1986 release, Forced Exposure called the album "Live Skull's densest and most orgasmic disc yet," while Melody Maker UK declared, "Live Skull willfully derange and disengage conventional pop structures, harmonies and rhythms, preferring instead to exert a vice-like grip of droning guitars around the heart of the beast. It's an awesome racket."
Acclaim for the album has continued through the years, with online source shockofDAYLIGHT describing Live Skull's magnum opus as “Primo scary artnoise from the epicenter. The band's album happens to be their best and most focused. Right as you're trying to make sense of the bafflingly hot n' pre-apocalyptic cover art, you get walloped by one of the best opening tracks in rock history. I have a hunch that bands like Fugazi, Unwound, & Halcion got their entire careers from this album.”
Finally reissued after nearly three decades out of print, Cloud One 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 third release in Desire Records' Live Skull project, an ambitious eight-title series of reissues of the entire Live Skull catalogue, personally overseen by Mark C and Tom Paine.
LP: limited edition of 300 copies - white vinyl - 24 pages booklet with rare and unseen pics and extensive liner notes by band members Tom Paine & MarK C. Download coupon including the 8 CD bonus tracks.
CD: 8 bonus tracks. 24 pages booklet with rare and unseen pics and extensive liner notes by band members Tom Paine & MarK C.
Recorded in 1986, The Pusherman EP is the final studio record released by the original Live Skull quartet of Mark C, Tom Paine, Marnie Greenholz and James Lo. Along with Sonic Youth and Swans, Live Skull was the face of New York's post-No Wave "noise scene" during the 1980s, and the songs on The Pusherman EP are in many ways the culmination of that movement and the essence of what Live Skull was all about.
Relentlessly fierce but with an unnerving ability to insinuate themselves in your brain, the songs on The Pusherman EP further refine Live Skull's pioneering strategy of threading unlikely hooks through mystifying interference patterns that subvert traditional rock in previously unheard ways. The EP would deserve its classic status if only for its free-associating version of Pusherman (a very curious hit on college radio back in '86), a thoroughly abstracted but weirdly faithful cover that re-imagines Curtis Mayfield's original through the cracked and filthy lens of Live Skull's crumbling East Village.
Less than a year after this record's release, Live Skull would find itself in transition, eventually becoming a quintet with drummer Rich Hutchins and Thalia Zedek on vocals – but The Pusherman EP stands in the minds of many fans and critics as not just the original line-up's final testament, but possibly its finest. In his much-quoted review for The New York Times, Robert Palmer declared, "With each new record, New York's Live Skull delivers a more concentrated brand of emotional intensity, a more ferociously disciplined sonic assault. Live Skull's music – a high-wire act played for keeps, without a net – is as challenging, as spiritually corrosive, and ultimately as transcendent as Albert Ayler's mid-60's free jazz or the implacable drone-dance of the early Velvet Underground. It's one of the essential sounds of our time."
Out of print for nearly thirty years, Live Skull's Pusherman EP has now been reissued 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 six extremely rare bonus tracks. This is the fourth release in Desire Records' Live Skull project, an ambitious eight-title series of reissues of the entire Live Skull catalogue, personally overseen by Mark C and Tom Paine.
12": limited edition of 300 copies - clear yellow vinyl - 24 pages booklet with rare and unseen pics and extensive liner notes by band members Tom Paine & MarK C. Download coupon including the 6 CD bonus tracks.
CD: 6 bonus tracks. 24 pages booklet with rare and unseen pics and extensive liner notes by band members Tom Paine & MarK C.