Ill Globo Check the Odds EP

My tolerance for puns is pretty low. So, I let out a bit of groan when I looked up this Melbourne band’s name to find out it’s a play on Il Globo, a publication that’s been providing news to Australia’s Italian community since the late ’50s. I’ll let that slide, though, because everything else about this release is great. ILL GLOBO burns through eight garage-infused hardcore tracks in about ten minutes. The songs are a nice blend of straightforward USHC (like CIRCLE JERKS) and some sunburnt Aussie punk’n’roll (like CIVIC). But the production here really sells it for me. I’m not sure if it’s a pedal or maybe a droning keyboard laid overtop (or both), but the overall effect is that the guitar sounds like a wasp stuck in the blinds. It’s great!

Sleeper and Snake Junction & High LP

I pulled the trigger and bought this after only hearing “Sugar and Gold” which was enough to convince me it was worth it. This is a beautiful album that touches on some country, folk, lo-fi and experimental properties all written and performed by Al of TOTAL CONTROL, UV RACE and every other Australian band, plus Amy of CONSTANT MONGREL, TERRY, and others. I’m definitely not worldly enough to be able to tell you about the various influences but it just feels very well balanced and has tracks that put me at ease. It seems like they used every instrument at their disposal from guitars to horns to synths and electronic drums. They’ve got those SQUEEZE-like high and low vocals going on and overall it feels complimentary to old Flying Nun stuff. It doesn’t come across too kitschy and strikes a balance between simple melodic tunes and more experimental sounds. “Flagged” is probably my favorite here.

The UV Race Made in China LP

Scratchy feedback and a FALL-esque bass line reintroduce the UV RACE to the world. I’ve missed their off-kilter psych drone punk songs and Marcus’s takedowns of the boring, absurd world we’re all forced to live in. Whose brain isn’t insane from the inane at this point? No one I want to know. Made in China is a great collection of songs that contains the clever lyrics and the well-thought-out variety of instrumentation I’ve come to expect from the UV RACE—bits of saxophone, keyboard, acoustic guitar, harmonica, and assorted vocal effects accent minimal, repetitive punk riffs. The songwriting and recording remain simple and perfectly ragged, still showing elements of the CLEAN, SWELL MAPS and as fore-mentioned the FALL. When Racism came out, I balked at buying it because it’s incredibly rare that a punk band puts out multiple good full-lengths and the UV RACE had already released two great ones. When I finally picked it up and realized it was their best record yet, I felt pretty damn stupid, and Made in China continues to grow on me and challenge my notion that punk bands are lucky to put out more than one good LP (since EPs are the best format for punk, anyway). The UV still know.