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Skeleton Key


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New York City (1995 – present)

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.)

Forming in 1995 after a chance meeting in New York City club The Knitting Factory, the band’s first release was the 1995 Human Pin Cushion EP on Dedicated Records. After some personnel changes the band released an eponymous EP on Motel Records in 1996 that Rolling Stone said “shows how pop culture and high culture can bring everyone to the same place.” Original members Steve Calhoon and Rick Lee left the band soon after making this recording, going on to form the band Enon. Soon after their departures, Skeleton Key inked a deal with Capitol Records and put out the critically acclaimed (and Grammy nominated ) Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon in 1997.


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  • Crusek

    Got my CD and Vinyl today.... Love it already.

    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • slave_guard

    New album is pretty rad.

    27 Mar 2012 Reply
  • JungleSlug

    Free sneak peek of the new album -- download Little Monster at,600,0,0,1,0

    19 Mar 2012 Reply
  • Crusek

    Just bought the new Album+ Vinyl. Can't wait for it to get here.

    5 Mar 2012 Reply
  • slave_guard

    Gravity Is The Enemy coming early 2012. Cause for excitement if you ask me.

    17 Nov 2011 Reply
  • SuperflyJonson

    Met Erik Sanko tonight through a little master workshop at the Flynn Theater in Burlington. I and a few other UVM students had a two hour chat about his new show, 69 degrees South. Really talented guy. Will be listening to more of Skeleton Key from now on.

    6 Oct 2011 Reply
  • digestion

    Help fund Skeleton Key's new album! $15 or more gets you a digital download of the album and there are other incentives as well (puppets, haircuts, Skeleton Key concerts at your house, etc.)

    27 Feb 2011 Reply
  • ValasVixson

    oh and that last post took like sssssssssoooooooooo long to write HAha

    22 Jun 2010 Reply
  • ValasVixson

    Great band!! especially stoned (right now!!!) but not needed to be to really enjoy this! really like this band and "Spineless" by Melvins is a great song with dudes from this band

    22 Jun 2010 Reply

    excellent openers for Jesus Lizard last night. I'd not heard them before, and they owned.

    17 Nov 2009 Reply
  • bexestabueno

    thumbs up

    4 Jul 2009 Reply
  • poke-oh

    wanted to thank you for so many hours of musicks. Skeleton key is one of my very very very favorite bands. They ooze and drip with rock and roll. love it.

    20 Oct 2008 Reply
  • ADHD-

    fucking awesome music

    2 Jun 2008 Reply
  • JungleSlug

    Erik says they're planning a tour starting mid-November. I guess they found a new drummer.

    13 Aug 2007 Reply
  • Hexabasic

    18 Jun 2007 Reply
  • chachimac

    my band Sharpie opened for them (original lineup, w/ Rick Lee) @ the 3b tavern in 1997. Best live show I ever saw at the 3b tav. sick sick sick!

    4 May 2007 Reply
  • matetoth

    Come & join the Lounge Lizards group!

    15 Apr 2007 Reply
  • LittleDanzig

    Wonderful band, excellent group of human beings.

    23 Feb 2007 Reply
  • JungleSlug

    These guys MUST be seen live if you ever get the chance.....

    3 Dec 2006 Reply
  • PPHellyeah

    Great band!

    7 Sep 2006 Reply

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