The new Lone Justice EP, The Western Tapes, out now via Omnivore Recordings, is further proof from the past just what a great band Lone Justice was. The early tapes of this group, from 1983, a full 2 years before their debut dropped on Geffen, reveal a fiery, cowpunk act creating thoroughly corrosive roots rock at odds with the big hair metal and synth-pop of the era.
All but one of the tracks here have never been released before, and that's sort of a shame as these demos are extraordinary in spots, a rough "Working Late" seeing Maria McKee cut loose more than she did on the version on the debut album, and a lovely "Don't Toss Us Away" aching a bit more plaintively than its final version did on Lone Justice. And while the appeal is, of course, largely, in hearing the rough versions of songs we know from the ones on the 1985 release, The Western Tapes nearly stands on its own as an absolutely necessary Lone Justice collection, mainly because of the rousing "I See It", and the plaintive "How Lonesome Life Has Been" at the end of the set.
The Western Tapes is out now via Omnivore Recordings.