Seemingly powered by pistons, gears, and rusty watch springs, Skeleton Key is a clanky but productive machine. Using ancient microphones, primitive guitars, and found objects, the band heaves with a unique rhythmic undertow yet has a knack for winsome, haunting melody. Their music „strips down, toughens up, picks up some debris, and gets an extra dose of rhythm” according to Jon Pareles of the The New York Times. Skeleton Key creates music both exotic and familiar, elegant yet crass, cerebral yet visceral. „It’s luxurious, yet affordable” says bassist/singer Erik Sanko (ex of The Lounge Lizards, and collaborator with Yoko Ono, John Cale, and Gavin Friday, among others.)
In 1996 the band released an eponymous E.P. on Motel Records that Rolling Stone said „shows how pop culture and high culture can bring everyone to the same place.” Soon after, they inked a deal with Capital Records and put out the critically acclaimed (and Grammy nominated) Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon in 1997. The band then toured the US and Europe with a diverse assortment of acts (The Melvins, Girls vs. Boys, Cibo Matto, The Jesus Lizard, They Might Be Giants, Morphine, Braniac, Primus…) before headlining their own US tour. After more than two years on the road, the band took a much deserved hiatus and regrouped.
The result is the cantankerously sleek Obtainium, released on Mike Patton’s Ipecac Records in June 2002. The album showcases the band as a tough songwriting machine employing their trademark junkyard-dog esthetic, but seen through a sharply focused lens (albeit one covered in gasoline). The songs explore an eclectic subject matter through metaphor and esoteric characterizations. Whether it’s the voice of a taxidermied bird or the description of an invisible bullet inflicting panic on its unsuspecting victim, Obtainium speaks through the simultaneously funny, anachronistic, and spooky voice that is uniquely Skeleton Key.
Look for the new high-octane, super-charged, fuel injected band on tour 2002/2003. Featuring the unbridled enthusiasm of garbage basher Tim Keiper, the continued bashing and non-sequiters of drummer Matthias Bossi, the insect logic of Craig LeBlang’s guitar excursions, and the low-ended lope (and high ended yodel) of Erik Sanko.