NYC no-wave veterans Live Skull return with new album Party Zero (Bronson Recordings), released on 26th May 2023. Today, the band shares the album opener ‘Magic Consciousness’. This is protest music of uncanny subtlety and power, bidding us to “Disengage the false narrative” over a modern post-punk tune. The band explains: “The magic of consciousness is a stellar gift; the fact that we waste so much of it on lies and misinformation incites Live Skull to make some noise!”
Live Skull was formed back in 1982, founded by tandem guitarists Mark C. and Tom Paine. It’s earliest lineup included Julie Hair on vocals and Dan Braun (Spinal Root Gang, Circus Mort) on drums. They were soon joined by drummer James Lo and bassist Marnie Greenholz. With this lineup of the band, lead vocals were shared by C., Greenholz, and Paine. Thalia Zedek (Uzi, Come, E) joined the band as lead singer in 1987, taking over most of the vocal duties. The reimagined Live Skull is now comprised of Mark C., Richard Hutchins, Kent Heine, and Dave Hollinghurst.
Party Zero marks the arrival of guitarist Dave Hollinghurst, an electrifying presence pushing the band in a fresh, new direction. It’s a fiercely political album, in keeping with this politically fierce age. “Desperation inspires us to make art and music,” he says. “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 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 pulverizing pell-mell that characterized the 80s New York sound, but also radiant with melody, the fusion of noise and unexpected tunefulness delivering a heady, psychedelic effect.
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.”