Review: Various Artists ‘Wax Donut Presents: Goat, A Jesus Lizard Tribute’

The Jesus Lizard formed in 1987 and are considered one of the seminal artists of the 1990’s who have influenced the likes of Arab on Radar, KEN Mode, Gouge Away and er Wes Borland (Limp Bizkit). Goat, their sophomore release from 1991 is rightfully considered a classic and features some of their best known tracks.

Various Artists 'Wax Donut Presents: Goat, A Jesus Lizard Tribute' Artwork
Various Artists ‘Wax Donut Presents: Goat, A Jesus Lizard Tribute’ Artwork

It makes perfect sense therefore for Wax Donut Records to put together an album celebrating this fact, featuring bands from both Europe and North America, some of whom you may be familiar if you had checked out the label’s previous tribute albums.

Then Comes Dudley in York’s Neon Kittens hands is given a darker post-punk/goth rock hue and makes sense considering they are signed to Metal Postcard Records (named after a Siouxsie and the Banshees track). A great start. If you’re a member of the Amphetamine Reptile Message Board Redux group on Facebook, then you’ll be more than familiar with Germans Trigger Cut and more specifically frontman Ralph Schaarschmidt. A devotee of noise-rock, Ralph and co do a pretty nifty cover of Mouth Breather which, while hardly reinventing the wheel, is nonetheless performed exceptionally well.

Next is Night Goat‘s cover of Nub, which sees them dispensing with the original’s distinctive slide guitar; instead replacing it with their own unique brand of punky death rock. Spectacular as per. Seasick was always a personal favourite and Lehigh Valley trio Wipes enhance the sound of what is an already unhinged track even further by beefing it up with a healthy dose of metal, never has it sounded so heavy.

perfect demonstration of how great tribute albums can be, serving as both a unique twist on some beloved classics and a chance to discover new artists…

Oddball Bethlehem outfit Bovine Nightmares appear a perfect match for the unpredictable jazzy time signatures, abstract imagery and surreal themes of Monkey Trick. Add in the Mike Patton influenced vocals and you have the makings of a truly exceptional piece of work. Looking at photos of Berliners Kuhn Fu one can spot an obvious theatrical bent to their presentation and this also comes across when listening to their take on Karpis, throw in a little Frank Zappa style weirdness and you have all the makings of a very interesting little number.

Dead Mammals is a project which gives Chris Garth (Upcdownc/In Arcadia) the opportunity to let his hair down as he and bandmate Peter Basden do sterling work on South Mouth transporting the track from its slightly exotic country tinged origins to the grimier, less glamorous climes of Rochester, Kent. The Kronk Men, with the assistance of Hag Sin, bring their blend of doomy surf loveliness to Lady Shoes, in part recalling the likes of Nirvana and Oxbow. Sinking Suns from Madison inject a psychedelic desert fried vibe ala Yawning Man to Rodeo In Joliet as well as some post-metal Neurosis vocal flourishes to make the track truly their own.

The ironically named Pop Song (which turned out to be anything but), was a bonus cut from the album and is handled by Prosthetic Bung, a noise-punk and improv outfit from Toronto. Considering the band’s unusual moniker and somewhat quirky, eccentric sound, the track, to paraphrase The Smiths, fits like a hand in glove (sorry). Sound-wise, think the kind of fare you might find on Skin Graft Records, a label no stranger to sonic weirdness. Experimental goodness with which to conclude the album.

Label owner Moray in the promotional notes states that he is very happy with the end results and he is right to make this assertion, as I am too. The perfect demonstration of how great tribute albums can be, serving as both a unique twist on some beloved classics and a chance to discover new artists.

Label: Wax Donut Records

Scribed by: Reza Mills