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SKULL PRACTITIONERS

Skull Practitioners

Negative Stars

    Hard-hitting new collection succeeds the trio’s rampaging 2019 In The Red Debut EP Death Buy! Proving once again that “power trio” isn’t just a descriptive handle from the distant past but a louderthan- God 21st-Century reality, the devastating New York band Skull Practitioners bow Negative Stars, their first full-length album for In The Red Records. The eight-track collection is the second release for Los Angelesbased trio—guitarist Jason Victor, bassist Kenneth Levine, and drummer Alex Baker—who collectively produced the record, with Ted Young engineering (and Baker handling engineering on vocal sessions). Brooklyn Vegan said, “If you dig early ’80s L.A. dusty punk like Gun Club, X and Flesh Eaters, or the many works of Jon Spencer, you will want to check out these four ripping, ripped-up tracks.” Rock And Roll Globe described the music as “Gun Club fugues played by anxious Amphetamine Reptile Records ghosts deciding they’d prefer to continue to walk the earth.” Negative Stars is the culmination of years of work in New York’s clubs and studios. “I don’t like to say the date we started working together,” says Levine, “but the second Bush was still president.” At the time, Victor had already established himself as the dazzling co-lead guitarist for Steve Wynn and the Miracle Three; when Wynn revived his ’80s L.A. Paisley Underground consortium the Dream Syndicate in 2017, Victor took the guitar chair previously occupied by Karl Precoda and Paul Cutler. Baker had only recently arrived from Cincinnati. With their album finally complete and the pandemic lifting, Skull Practitioners have begun to take to the stage more regularly: in 2022 they have played shows with Lydia Lunch, Live Skull, the Art Gray Noizz Quintet, and In the Red label-mates the Wolfmanhattan Project (Kid Congo Powers, Mick Collins, and Bob Bert). They plan to get on the road in the near future.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Dedication
    2. Exit Wounds
    3. LEAP
    4. Intruder
    5. What Now
    6. Fire Drill
    7. Ventilation
    8. Nelson D
    CD-only Tracks
    9. Death Buy
    10. Grey No More
    11. The Beacon
    12. Miami

    Skull Practitioners

    Death Buy EP

      “Massive slab of debut vinyl by a Brooklyn New York trio whose guitarist, Jason Victor, knows more than a little about the potential of psych-gush overload. In his position as the current guitarist of the Dream Syndicate, one might suppose that, by stepping into shoes formerly occupied by Karl Precoda, Mr. Victor was granted some sort of special legacy connection to the ur-root of string-excess in the post-punk era. But Jason seems to have been blowing the tops of people’s heads off with pure raunch vomona since before he ever met Steve Wynn.

      “The Skull Practitioners have been active since 2013, garnering a reputation for bodacious live skronk, although the only graspable evidence of their existence has been a 2014 cassette, which was not widely distributed. Now, with the mighty In The Red empire behind them, only a sucker would think they won’t go far.

      “Victor’s explosive guitar shards are the most obvious element of the trio’s sound, but bassist Ken Kenneth Levine can conjure up a throb as thick as Al Feedtime’s, and Alex Baker’s drumming mixes propulsion and motorik circularity with reckless grace. There are only vocals on half the tracks here— Gun Club-seasoned blow-outs called “The Beacon” and “Grey No More”—but I didn’t miss them on their other two tunes. The richness of the band’s psychedelic inventions obviates the need for overt human lingo. The music here communicates on a molecular level.

      “Remember when Tim Leary said Peter Walker was ‘playing celestial strings on the DNA of musical being’? It’s the same here. I’ve never heard much of Jason’s studio work (often with pop engines like the Silos or Matthew Sweet), but if he plays this great, I might have to check them out. In the meantime, these four songs will be enough. For me. For you. Even for the late Tim ‘Fuckin’ Leary. C’est la.” —Byron Coley.


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