The Vacant Lot Living Underground EP reissue
Impossibly scarce OZ DIY artifact brought back to life! The four songs on this 1980 EP from Canberra’s the VACANT LOT legitimately sound like the product of four different bands—I’d love to see some sort of Myers-Briggs-type punk personality test based on one’s preferred selection from Living Underground. I’m in the group clustered around “She’s Really Dead,” an exercise in stark, FALL-ish rhythm and repetition with a hypnotic, endlessly spiraling bass line, off-center disco beats, layers of fucked-up keyboard buzz, and desperate, keening vocals laced with more than a touch of PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED. “Multinationals” is a rabid synth punk scorcher, like DOW JONES AND THE INDUSTRIALS gone murder punk, and “Tatslotto Night” is even nastier, just sheer unadulterated KBD snot and snarl. Oddest of all (the record’s INFJ?) is “Milk the Land of Its Honey,” which sets up Factory Records expectations (like, major, major early WAKE vibes) before completely shattering them with Nuggets’d-out ’60s garage/psych keys that could have been lifted from the SEEDS. Pick your king!