Premiere: UBIK / COLD MEAT – ‘LOST & LATER’ / ‘HIGH MAINTENANCE’

Words: James Frostick

Fresh out of the oven is a collection of tracks from two of Australia’s most exciting punk acts. Ubik and Cold Meat have linked up for a split EP, packed to bursting point with potent and pointed noise. This release seeks to link present day bi-coastal Australian punk and pay homage and earnest tribute to the legacy of women-driven output from generation’s past.

I’m not sure if there’s ever been a more fantastic time to be a fan of Australian punk right now, and that’s no overstatement. Although still firmly rooted in the underground, the overflow of output from various groups across Australia is turning heads on both coasts – it’s damn near unavoidable. This output is thanks to a new wave of bands driven by women that are responsible for a huge component of the most engaging and electrifying noise currently in circulation. A new split release from two such bands is set to drop in April, a two-coast tandem stretching from Perth to Melbourne that pays tribute to trailblazing figures Siouxsie Sioux and Exene Cervenka of X. The bands are Melbourne’s Ubik and Perth’s Cold Meat, and the release also marks a collaboration between Lost in Fog Records and Helta Skelta Records.

The first cab off the rank is Perth unit Cold Meat, proponents of 80s-style punk rhythms – staunch and taught. Last I remember listening to from these folks is the 7” EP Jimmy’s Lipstick. It was direct and snotty and in-your-face and more perfect than any debut has any right to be. ‘High Maintenance’ is just one of the band’s tracks from this split, poppy and active with that same bratty vibe that the band is known for. A drum pummel and a feedback squall open the track, before a strict riff interject and things get underway. The lyrics skewer the term ‘high maintenance’ and the descriptors that go with it. Pointing a finger at a figurative ‘she’, the band rips apart the phrase in a tight minute twenty.

The second track comes from Melbourne band Ubik. I wrote about Ubik’s killer single ‘The Fly’ earlier in the year, and it’s great to hear them back up the sound with further fury so quickly. ‘Lost & Later’ is a blitzkrieg track that condenses a maelstrom into a minute, punishing and unrelenting. I wish I could give you insight into the words here, but the rapid-fire vocals leave little opportunity for transcription. The track seems to contain few breathing respites, and I’m slightly breathless after listening. Makes you wonder how my incredibly unfit self would fare flailing around to this live. I need to sit down again.

The EP contains more goodness than the tracks I’ve relayed here, so my recommendation his keep that breath baited for the official drop next month. If you don’t have plans on May 25, you can catch Ubik launching the release at The Tote with support from Vanilla Poppers, Parsnip and The Faculty.

LOST IN FOG / HELTA SKELTA RECORDS