Photo Credit: Jen Jaffe
“Getting in a room and being really noisy is just a natural response to what’s going on right now because otherwise, you’ll just go crazy. That gave Live Skull a reason to exist again” Mark C
NYC no-wave veterans Live Skull‘s new album ‘Party Zero‘ is out now on Bronson Recordings.
The release is accompanied by latest single ‘Mad Kingship‘, which takes aim at “the vicious peddlers of lies and misinformation”, over some of the most inventive squall in the Live Skull discography. Marc C. reflects ‘Mad Kingship digs into the dark drama of our current political climate, with an unrelenting drumbeat, ominous bass line, and highly charged synth and guitar riffs.’
‘Mad Kingship’ was preceded by the heady, psychedelic Hit So Hard, the urgent and catchy ‘Neutralize The Outliers‘ and album opener ‘Magic Consciousness‘.
Insurrections. Global pandemics. The return of fascism. Climate crises. These are some serious times. But if you’ve got angst in your pants and you need to dance, or scream, or play guitar too loud, too close to your amplifier, turn your ear to what Live Skull are doing. The New York noisers, who went on indefinite hiatus just before their kind of smart, gnarly, inventive din became lucrative, rose again in 2016. Their new album ‘Party Zero’, a thrilling work redefining what Live Skull means and what they stand for: no longer a group with a past, but one with a future.
‘Party Zero’ marks the arrival of guitarist Dave Hollinghurst, an electrifying presence helping to push the band in a fresh, new direction. It’s a fiercely political album, in keeping with this politically fierce age. Mark C exclaims: “Desperation inspires us to make art and music. There’s a lot of birth and rebirth, looking for pathways of resistance and promoting the good and trying to fight against evil. I once said we had to start Live Skull because Reagan became president. And we had to restart Live Skull because Trump became president.”
‘Party Zero’ is, undeniably, big in sound, brash in dynamics. But the sophistication that was always the group’s calling card remains an essential element, dealing in the kind of pulverising pell-mell that characterised the 80s New York sound, but also radiant with melody, the fusion of noise and unexpected tunefulness delivering a heady, psychedelic effect. The haunting, echo-laden slow-burn of ‘Turn Up The Static’ acknowledges how wearying permanent resistance can be as a stance and an ethos, while the urgent ‘Neutralize The Outliers’ is an addictive anthem of otherness. This remains protest music of uncanny subtlety and power, with opener ‘Magic Consciousness’ bidding us to “Disengage the false narrative” over chiaroscuro punk-rock. But this is also music possessed of melody and melancholy – closer ‘Hit So Hard’ offers a delirious trip into the darkness, one you’ll find hard to resist. This is timely music, essential, impassioned, angry and beautiful. It’s the sound of Live Skull in the 21st Century, a desperate time that needs heroes like these. “We’ve been pushed to the edge – how do we claw our way back?” asks Mark. “That’s been a common theme in Live Skull since the beginning, and so it is now. We’re trying to provoke thought.”
Live Skull have confirmed a string of US dates in the Summer, with more to be announced soon.
Thursday 6/22/2023 – The Ottobar – Baltimore, MD
Friday  6/23/2023 – Pilot Light – Knoxville, TN
Saturday 6/24/2023 – Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
Sunday  6/25/2023 – The Earl – Atlanta, GA
Tuesday 6/27/2023 – Richmond Music Hall – Richmond, VA
Wednesday 6/28/2023 – Black Cat – Red Room – Washington, D.C.
Thursday 6/29/2023 – Century – Philadelphia, PA
Friday  6/30/2023 – The Avalon Lounge – Catskill, NY
Saturday 7/1/2023 – TV Eye – Queens, NY
Press via Big Mouth