Here’s a #FunRockFact: If you rearrange the letters in “Ugly Beats Brand New Day” you can spell “Underground Garage”. OK, that might not be true, but at the very least, this Austin, Texas, fivesome traffics in the circa-’67 rock goodness that gets UG kingpin Little Steven’s doo-rag in a twist. (Brand New Day’s artwork should also be a dead giveaway to the decade where their sonic heart lies.) There’s nothing here has hasn’t been done repeatedly by countless bands in the past 47 years, but the UB’s love for garage/pop psych shines through on nearly every one of Brand New Day’s dozen tracks.
It’s all here: the plangent, Byrdsy guitar work on opener “Up On The Sun” (not the Meat Puppets) and the instrumental “Beataroo”; the Stones-y guitar lead on “Throw Me A Line”; the vaguely psychedelic keyboard drone of “Braced For The Fall”. The only real surprises are a workmanlike, bar band cover of Tim Hardin’s deathless “If I Were A Carpenter”, and more interestingly, the dusting-off of the Spanish-language 1966 Nugget “Los Gusanos” (“the worms”; no relation to the CJ Ramone side project of the same name) by Los Flecos (“The Fringe”). It’s the album’s most upbeat offering and a fun window into the countless British Invasion-inspired Latin American Beat bands that popped up in the Johnson Administration. The Ugly Beats do what they do very well, for a label (Get Hip) that’s one of America’s great bastions of garage pop. At the risk of damning with faint praise, if you’ve made it this far through this review, you likely have 1,000 records (maybe literally) that sound like Brand New Day; why not make it 1,001?