The leather-harness-clad teddy bears gracing Black Leather Jesus's MySpace page are a bit intimidating. In fact, BLJ scares me a little bit, not that I'd expect any band fronted by the mastermind of such similarly confrontational outfits as Anal Drill and Priest in Shit to be warm and cuddly. Grinding, crashing, buzzing and churning since 1989, Black Leather Jesus was one of the first U.S. noise bands to embrace the "harsh noise" aesthetic that developed in Japan's noise underground. Since then, founder Richard Ramirez has led a rotating band of musical miscreants on an impressively prolific campaign of full-length, label-backed releases and one-off cassettes alike, offering up some of the most abrasive noise available anywhere in the process. Combining hard-core noise with hard-core gay S&M imagery, Ramirez's work is not exactly for everyone, but fits certain folk like a surgical glove. Among those is Thurston Moore, who handpicked BLJ to open a free Sonic Youth concert in Marfa earlier this year. Bring earplugs and an open mind; otherwise you'll wind up deafened and disgusted. Which is probably what Black Leather Jesus wants anyway.
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