Little Ugly Girls is a must listen for punk devotees

Tasmanian punk quartet Little Ugly Girls’ self-titled debut stands as a long time coming. 

The group, which formed nearly 30 years ago, emerged from the riot grrrl movement, an early ‘90s wave of feminist punk music. 

Little Ugly Girls may be Australia’s earliest example of the riot grrrl movement, and until their split in the early ‘00s were a staple in Australia’s subterranean punk sectors. Aside from some obscure cassette tapes, this is the group’s first official release.

The album is a tight collection of recordings from their career and new sessions of old tracks. Vocalist Linda Johnston is abrasive and foaming at the mouth. Her scratchy voice coupled with confrontational lyrics addressing the likes of abuse, stress, and violence create tracks more akin to pipe bombs on the verge of combustion.

Opener ‘Tractor’ and ‘Dead C’ stand as favourites, with Johnston rip-roaring under rolling drums from “Sloth” Punshon, and episodic guitar bursts from Dannie Johnston and Mindy Mapp. ‘Jimmeh’, another highlight, could easily find itself on a Japanese noise rock record.

Among the chaos, Little Ugly Girls does feature quieter moments with the hushed and minimal ‘Storm After Storm’ as well as the closing a cappella ‘Boxen-Hooda-Hayda’.

Little Ugly Girls is a must listen for punk devotees and lovers of belligerency. An exciting release and the culmination of a cult career.