Horn - (2008)
In the realm of musical tributes, you don't get more arcane than jazz-themed renditions of Jesus Lizard screeds. While Horn might have become a one-note novelty in less steady hands, the Jazzus Lizard cultivates a new avenue of appreciation for its inspiration. The Austin quartet recasts the harrowing, scattershot dynamic of its subject as a low-budget film-noir score cut under the influence of sax-fueled power trio Morphine. Despite cool, quiet arrangements, Horn is recorded hot, which accentuates the music's lurid wobble even in the absence of David Yow. Saxophonist Tom Kimzey and keyboardist Ezra Reynolds take turns riding the melodies of "Fly on the Wall" and "Then Comes Dudley" with the wizened acumen of burlesque-club bandleaders, while bassist Adam Kahan and drummer Snoopy Melvin provide the requisite locomotion. Scorching takes on Scratch Acid's "Owner's Lament" and the Dicks' "Wheelchair Epidemic," which the original Lizard covered, bring the local pedigree full circle. Big thanks to Shiney Grey Monotone for turning me on to this one.