Little Ugly Girls presumably chose their name 20 years ago when they formed. And they are made up of girls so maybe its ok. The strange thing is that this band has been going 20 years and this is their first album. That's a lot of prep but they've supported the likes of Bikini Kill before so that may give you some indication of where they are coming from.
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The usual release cycle is, you know, put something out every two years and hope to carry favour in the press. Some bands will only release records every three years; occasionally there’s an asshole like Radiohead who seemingly release an album every millionth year. Vashti Bunyan usually takes a couple decades. Little Ugly Girls, however, have everyone beat, having finished their debut LP twenty years ago but never deigning to release the damn thing.
Well now they have and I’m grateful. These punks let us slip back into a time of pissed off fuzziness, their raw sound swirling around in awesome little vignettes that go sideways from chord progressions and offer noise as a hook in itself. It’s amazingly daring for a band to start their trajectory on “Tractor”, a tune of blistering drums, uncalibrated guitar slashes and occasionally yelled pontifications. They sound furious and hard to follow at once, their energy coming out in bursts from all over the shop. Usually you expect the chords to strike you out and everything else can follow -- the stark approach of Little Ugly Girls is impossible to track, with the guitars of “Slip” sounding like psychedelic improvisations over a practice drumbeat.
The dissonant half-ideas of “Baggage” grow into an infectious riff that circles the drain rather than ever completing itself. “Storm after Storm” sounds like a song that’s imploded on itself and just left behind this, a punk yelling thoughts over a shuffling drumbeat. “Tardis” has harsh guitar scratches that make me think of an Okkyung Lee cello experiment before they launch into a bit of hardcore shred. It’s honestly brilliant -- like they’re trying to break punk music’s norms before they can deliver it. I can see why it never came out back then: beyond the brilliantly tethering performance of their bassist, the band were trying out new ways of expressing this sound. You gotta hear it now, though.
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