Sunday 13 May 2012

The Vacant Lot - Living Underground 7" Doublethink 13055, 1981

Here's another good Canberra punk record, helped along by, surprise surprise, some great guitar! The Vacant Lot played around the national capital in the early '80s - photos can be found at the Canberra Punk and Beyond facebook page (or check the video below). Band members were Alex Anderson, Fergus Armstrong, Bruce Hart, George Howson and David Philip. In yet another one of those threads that seem to run through the things we write about, their one record was produced at M Squared by the the Scattered Order team (see the Sheiks, Seems Twice, Nervous System).

For a long time it was something of a mystery as to just how this record fit into the whole Doublethink label scheme. Common knowledge would have their discography ending on a high note in 1980 with the Seems Twice EP (DTDT12). Less known, for good reasons, Doublethink then attempted to kill the label with the odious Undertakers 7" (DTDT13, 1980). Then there was this in 1981. In the ensuing decades this record was pretty much unknown outside Canberra and, sporting just an EMI Custom catalogue number, rather than a DTDT one, its place was unclear. The connection was that drummer David Philip was Thought Criminals' guitarist Stephen Philip's brother, and his label was always happy to give a young punk band a hand up.

We hear there's a prospect of the EP and some live tapes being reissued at some stage so we're just giving you two of the four tracks. Tattslotto Night is the highlight. Tattslotto was the lottery that ran weekly in Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital and Northern Territories back then. It's a tale of suburban desperation and the idiot box. After last week's reflection on the punk era's talking points recurring, the Melbourne Demons, who are name checked thrice in the lyrics, were rubbish in 1981 (finishing last with one win), and currently sit winless at the bottom of the table in 2012. Some copies of the EP contain a Tattslotto entry form.

Multinationals, as the lyric insert asserts, speaks for itself...

The other tracks see the band veering off in a more experimental direction, perhaps recalling the dark punk sound of bands like Crisis and UK Decay.

Tattslotto Night [Download]

Multinationals [Download]

                     Many band photos in this video.


DalpuraFarmMoriac said...

Played late '70s. Broke up August 1980.

FuseRed said...

great stuff - thanks