• In the Red
UV Race
(In the Red)

For my money, there's more interesting music happening in Melbourne these days than any other city outside of San Francisco (sorry, Seattle).

By use of the word "interesting," however, I don't mean to imply that these acts are reinventing the wheel; just that quality control remains impressively high considering the number of them to emerge from the region in recent years, i.e. Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Twerps, etc.

My friend, Tim, has been talking up UV Race for a while, but I haven't been too impressed by the songs I've heard. If you can get past the squealing "I'm a Pig," though, their third full-length gets the job done (and that one's growing on me).

Dan Stewart fronting Total Control at the Crocodile, 11/29/11
  • K.C. Fennessy
  • Dan Stewart fronting Total Control at the Crocodile, 11/29/11

Looser and messier than their contemporaries, the chiming melodies, crude keyboards, and rough-hewn vocals bring New Zealand acts the Clean and Tall Dwarfs to mind, though I can't imagine David Kilgour singing about "open sores" ("Raw Balls"), which UV Race turns into a post-punk sing-along. Then on "Nuclear Family," vocalist Marcus Rechsteiner, who recalls Nikki Sudden, shares his succinct thoughts on the subject: "I'm gonna take a shit on the nuclear family."

If you liked Tyvek's latest LP, On Triple Beams, you'll probably like Racism, too—don't let the button-pushing title put you off—as there's a similar, anything-goes sensibility at work (and In the Red released both records, so that shouldn't come as a complete surprise). In fact, I can easily imagine UV Race covering Tyvek's stompadelic "Wayne County Roads" and doing it full justice.

Then, just when you think you've got them sussed, closing track "Memenonome"—which I originally read as "Menomene"—shows off a more introspective, Stooges-by-way-of-John Cale side of the sextet, which I prefer, but then it reminds me of my favorite Australian outfit of the moment: Total Control (and TC singer Dan Stewart plays drums in UV Race). More like that, please.

P.S. While listening to Racism, it occurred to me that every song describes Aussie actor Ben Mendelsohn's irredeemably sleazy characters in Animal Kingdom and Killing Them Softly, i.e. "Bad Egg," "I'm a Pig," "Raw Balls," etc. Would love to see these two entities work together someday.

Racism is out now on In the Red (original release date: Nov 13).