Drunk Mums – Urban Cowboy

By Jay Armstrong

Drunk Mums

Just past eight in the morning a sound hits me. A sound so important my feet hit the floor before sleep is remotely unveiled proper. Luna, my pup, is about to throw up on the shag rug. Is it beyond saving? Her gut wrenching hack hack haaack, it must be too late already. I move with such swiftness the likes of which Clark Kent would be envious. So swift in fact I too am merely witness as two determined heroic hands slide precisely under the soft white fur of her underbelly moving the tiny angel to the wood floor nearby. Splat. Not a moment to spare. I lay back on the couch dreading the cleanup but not ready to commit. Smoking in the house should be tolerated in cases such as these.

I passed out again last night mid-article, all those years of falling asleep at my desk or on the couch, I don’t even fight it anymore. Luna heaves up one more good sloppy one, looks at me with those confused sad please hold me eyes. I call her over and do what I can to console her, notice a splitting migraine while leaning forward and wonder how much worse it will get before doing anything about it. Hoping it will go away on its own, knowing they rarely do but optimism is cheap and I’m a frugal soul.  A panic sweeps me. Without thought, ten quick steps and I’m hunched over the toilet– my grandmother would call it “the commode,” I’ve never heard anyone else call it that, still makes me laugh– for a solid minute heaving all into the bowl. It isn’t the good kind either, the kind which breaks the headache and makes you feel relieved. Nope today isn’t one of the lucky ones. I lay back down wondering what E.T. attachment I have now forged with Luna. Am I her Elliot? I choke back tears at the possibility. Only Luna is now rolling on her back tossing a squiggly arm toy monkey from side to side. So much for our subconscious bond. I bullshit in self-loathing sympathy til two. Never quite napping but never quite doing anything else; the only way us sometimes heroes, all-times losers, choose to pass a day when feeling like shit. Then it is two o’clock. The last moment I can justify a worthless existence. I start the shower, blasting Drunk Mums from the stereo. Fakes don’t deserve Drunk Mums and if I can’t get my shit together before long neither do I. Rock n Roll knows no excuses. Nauseous but stable, I ignore the feeling until the water hits me. Things are leveling out.

Drunk Mums records have become the barometer over the years to evaluate whether the quote unquote progress I make in life remains on track with the ideological desires I aim towards guaranteeing so I don’t lose grip on the light the center of my being strives towards. Sure I hear your “be your own god,” “go your own way” spiel, “one should make their own decisions,” blah blah blah I. get. it. Alters to humble yourself before are important as well, especially seeing as I have just finished yet another bullshit article on “what it means to be punk”– an interview with a  hundred and twenty year old Wayne Kramer on the subject no less. Allow me to digress for a moment, I have to get this off my chest. You and I have been long overdue for having this conversation. MC5 made one hell of a rock n roll album, we probably wouldn’t have the Stooges without them, they are important to the life we live, not to mention I would trade any two of your children crowding my life with overpopulation to travel back in time to see them play Detroit in ’68, but those guys were as fake as it comes in respect to their thin regurgitated repackaged contrived ideology. The second the cops showed up all that “brothers and sisters” bullshit meant nothing; they were escaping with their amps in the back of a limo while the ACAB wolves closed in on the sheep they had led to slaughter. “Kick out the Jams” rules but please save the “what is punk” insights. You wouldn’t know the first thing Wayne Kramer. And punk as an idea worth discussing is lame in the first place, it’s been fifty years. Let it go!!! Where was I? Oh yeah, we were just beginning to stretch our legs in hitting stride on how these Melbourne natives are one of the last vestiges of wild expressive cool left in the world. Quite possibly one of the last for all of existence!

I’ve been putting out between an article a day and an article a week for going on eight years now. That is a lot of bands; some I regret, some I have grown past, some now have an arms length nostalgia to them. When a record from an already loved band comes along, rarely do I start it up with excited confidence assuming what the next hour holds will be positive expression exceeding what they have done previously. I knew the second I caught word of Urban Cowboy, life was about to get significantly better, our world would once more find a strand of legitimate hope to hold onto.

I’m not much on bullshitting, I don’t want to come off as some snake oil salesman– hot water and standing with only candlelight near always kicks a migraine down to lightly relevant status– so it probably has nothing to do with the banger opener “Phantom Limb” as to why my head clears enough to explain my half-hazard dancing around the shower. At first merely a fan in front of the stage just head shoulder nodding both feet keeping alternate rhythm as I wash and rinse the soap. By the time I’m on the conditioner though we are to the floorboard into “You Got It” and I’ve now shifted from drums to bass to my proper born-for-this place on lead guitar. I’d kick the singer out but unfortunately he happens to be the only one in the shower who knows the lyrics so his job is safe for a few more days. By the end of the week though, move over, this star is ready to be born; an undiscovered childhood prodigy, basically rock n roll’s Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, y’all should be ashamed having judged me a burnout, if only I could show my powers to the world, they must remain secret for now.

Dry off, dancing, make up the french press, dancing, put on pants, dancing, all the life I’d thought I’d be living at this age when I was twelve. “You’re doing it Peter.” Never let these moments of delusion go. They are the fuel for good days and good lives. My heart weeps for those who don’t dance around the house with GREAT music blasting. Music which defines them. Shapes them. Shapes them. Shapes them. My heart weeps as well for those who do those things but substitute top volume whatever the bullshit is passing off as pop these days. The flatulence accosting me constant sitting in the living room as cars make it through the stoplight out front. You deserve better. Life is too short to lack substance, to value plastic over transcendence. I’m not subscribing Drunk Mums for everyone. Hell no. I love the them/us split. I mean after all, if everyone dug Drunk Mums how would I know I was better than you? But seriously, how do these people go through life with so little standards and far less ability to discern the real from predatory capitalistic marketing? Get something of value in your life. Not even dead yet you rot your insides with maggot filled garbage by choice. You deserve better. you really do.

Maybe I was wrong. Now with the record having ended my headache is back with a fury. Urban Cowboy is a miracle cure! Guess now I have to restart it. Hell, seeing how it is their best album, there isn’t much I doubt having it blasting couldn’t make better. That is, outside of getting your stepdad to stop being such a dick; his weed sucks, his music sucks, his taste in women suspect; ain’t nothing these scuzzies can do in that regard other than help you forget about it for a while. What more could you want from rock n roll though? Don’t take that statement lightly. Urban Cowboy IS the best album Drunk Mums have made! Instead of losing their ability to get us chanting the way they did on previous hits such as “Nanganator,” they have chiseled back the handicap of youth which borders on pleading to get those at shows to sing along, now demanding it with the full complacency this sort of life calls for. Their fringe songs in the past such as “Eventual Ghosts” and “Girls On Their Sides” had a place and a time, they were a band refusing to define themselves before growing into themselves. This album lacks those cohesive hiccups, goddamn fine hiccups they were, and in turn what Urban Cowboy offers is a stream of consciousness rasping at the gates of eternity. Through the growth, and despite an exterior which would lead one to believe a much more nihilistic ethos to their cause, they retain the optimism ever present in all their work, managing to never get hung up on their own bullshit. Drunk Mums are still fun. Drunk Mums are still pushing us to see the world, feel the world, better. No longer though are they the kid brother. They are not anchored to their beginning the way say The Black Lips are. Urban Cowboy proves the band in full dominating strut; all broken in jeans, worn down dusty boots, tattered amps, fingers so calloused from playing sweat soaked they break skin on the thighs they touch during foreplay of one night stands. Urban Cowboy makes Gone Troppo feel thin, their self-titled seem academic, never would I have believed those words to come from my mouth.

If we were on a road trip with this album on every song would be paused and prefaced with “okay I know I said this about the last song but this is my favorite.”  “Ripper” and “RWTP” are notable in how the disaffected delivery makes them windows down, car loaded with buds, kind of jams; a new dynamic we haven’t heard from them before. They get tougher than ever on “Borderline” and “Hellfire” to the point I have to double check to make sure I haven’t changed to some other insanely great record without realizing it. The title track has all the hopes for the future The Rich Hands could ever aspire towards– a constant thought each time it plays. “Asthmatic” and “Order From Chaos”are backhandedly cool helping to retain the underlain humor which has always surfaced in their not taking themselves seriously. Drunk Mums have reached a point where they are the Alphas. No one is doing it bigger, I’ll argue hardly any ever have.

Outside of maybe Gino and the Goons and The Spits there isn’t a more legitimate present rock n roll band. Shit, add Timmy’s Organism in the mix– after that set at Hotel Vegas on Halloween they shall forever be in the argument. Drunk Mums are Australian gods deserving of Stooges level worship yet fall short outside of a narrow closed circle of stingy “keep em to myself” leather assholes. If I don’t get to see these guys in person before death takes me I’m coming back to hold accountable every single one of y’all who haven’t done what they could at helping Drunk Mums conquer the world. I used to daydream of their being stateside any minute but it hasn’t happened. The friends I’ve made familiar with them in Australia say they are still relevant legends everyone looks up to while remaining accessible friends. Nice to know Australia has their own Bad Lovers. So I guess it is up to this album to make the impossible happen. Can the success of an album convince a band to follow in the steps of peers (clearly thinking of Amyl and the Sniffers) in coming to the shithole of America to teach us again what rock n roll really means while we shower them with twenties? I have my doubts but once again optimism is cheap so if it means leaving Urban Cowboy repeating on Spotify for days on end to get a few more pennies into their pockets, we at Anon are prepared to do it. There must be a way of making a difference, persuasion must be possible.

Pick up the tangible album through Pissfart Records; a small yet significant label whose output is only gritty gold. We aren’t just supporting the band when paying for an album. We aren’t just propping up our own ego by having it on the shelf. We need this label around, our lives would be immeasurably worse without them. I don’t say this often, don’t shout me down for it either, but if you have got the coin to run up a tab tonight maybe stay in just once and grab a record or two off their catalog. You don’t even have to listen to the bands first, you have our stamp of approval of whatever it is being dope.

Upcoming Shows:
NYE PARTY AT THE NORTHERN W/ Dumb Punts(*), Good Doogs, Perve Endings, etc,.
*once you’ve worn this record out a bit check out Dumb Punts they too are for sure worthy of your time.

Previous Drunk Mums features on Anon Magazine here.

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