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1000 Smiling Knuckles

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Album Review

It's been often said that Skin Yard was ahead of their time. They were grunge before grunge-hopefuls started scouring pawnshops for second-hand guitars, and they were stoner rock before retro-rockers began scouring thrift stores for bell-bottom jeans. And on their second to last release, 1991's 1,000 Smiling Knuckles, the group manages to touch upon both of the aforementioned styles with great aplomb. Kicking things off with a title track that sounds like an exact replica of Monster Magnet, the album also sees the group touch upon funk ("River Throat"), math rock ("Living Pool"), and a tune which includes some great Meat Puppets-esque guitar work courtesy of Jack Endino ("Material Freak"). If Skin Yard hadn't gone the way of the dodo not long after the release of 1,000 Smiling Knuckles, there's a fair chance that they'd have rubbed shoulders with the great grunge giants at the top of the charts. This album is certainly proof.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s

Possibly the least appreciated of Seattle's early grunge pioneers, Skin Yard never broke out of the deeper levels of the underground. Unlike most of their peers, they never made it onto the Sub Pop roster, nor did their key personnel go on to breakout stardom with other bands. They did, however, contribute drummers to acts like Soundgarden and the Presidents of the United States of America, and guitarist Jack Endino became the local scene's pre-eminent producer and engineer, helming records for nearly...
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1000 Smiling Knuckles, Skin Yard
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