Hey People!

The Repulsion Box

Codex Teenage Premonition

The Glasgow School

[Domino Records,]

Domino Records has in some circles held a monopoly of sorts on music that rocks, swings and that comes out of nowhere, hits you over the head and then moves on to something new. While these releases don't necessarily represent the entire catalogue, they're nonetheless a good starting point into the many facets of what the label is up to nowadays.
The Beautiful New Born Children is a German combo that apparently sent the label a CD-R demo, and then was next to impossible to track down. When they were finally found, it was noted that their leader, Michael Beckett is a laptopper who has been involved with both Kpt. Michigan and Schneider TM. The band gets right down to the point as in a mere 23 minutes they manage to churn out 9 manic rock-then-hard tunes that don't hold back any punches. Imagine a less aggressive Fugazi on speed with a whiny vocalist and you'll begin to see the light. Straight ahead but at the same time twisted in their own little way, the band rocks out at the speed of light; like there's no tomorrow. Urgency comes through in the dirty and rough production [or lack of]. It comes through in their overblown guitars - rough and ready but with a bluesy streak. At the end of "Hey People!" you're not sure whether you'd just heard a great punk record or a mad sonic blast of hate. Fans of fast-paced, in-your-face gut-wrenching punk won't be disappointed for a second.
On their debut full-length album "The Repulsion Box", Glasgow quartet Sons and Daughters continue on in the tradition of raunchy rock that is tinged with country elements [or is that now called rock country?]. Vocalist Adele Bethel has a screeching, heavy mannered voice that screams anger, apathy and sensuality all in one go. The band really rocks out. Imagine a more bass heavy Feelies if you will, with a female vocalist, then add a fuck-you attitude and you've got yourself Sons and Daughters in a little nutshell. In all seriousness, what I love the most is their outbursts of anger, intertwined with a fresh country feel. Sure, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams were influences but so was much of the late 80's hardcore scene. I absolutely love the way the slide guitar acts as a backbone of "Choked," while a pound along, country beat swings along for the ride. There's never any boredom in Adele's voice, though I do find a few of these songs to be too alike. Some variation would have been nice. Otherwise, "The Repulsion Box" is a fine debut from a band who I predict will get to climb high mountains in their lifetime.
Another Glasgownian act, Fire Engines has an enormous influence on bands for the past two decades or so. Tell me that Pulp, LCD Soundsystem, Blur and others didn't outright borrow from their catalogue and I'll play you "Codex Teenage Premonition" as proof that they in fact did. The compilation is basically a gathering of some of their live shows from 1980 and 1981, as well as a John Peel session from 1981. To be fair, much of the live material is poorly recorded. Still, not for a minute does this take away from the post-punk, raunchy guitar-packed energy this band possessed. Davy Henderson shines as the vocalist. His gnarly, often-times bored vocals make for a great contrast to the lively garage-punk that is played all around him. Many of the songs have a familiar "sameness" to them. It's not monotony, mind you. Check out "Discord" and "Candyskin" for proof of this even, drone-like beat that seems to accompany most tracks. Other places, guitars pick up some speed and energy, but mostly this is a record of an even calibre. Edgy, raunchy and quite enjoyable, "Codex Teenage Premonition" is not merely for the hard-core fans of the band. Other than to say Orange Juice was an epiphany of [post] punk rock in early 80's Glasgow, the band needs little introduction, if any at all. Edwyn Collins led quartet [who originally started up as The Nu-Sonics] that for a period of time during early 80's played music that was rough, smart and hummable. Not to undermine their importance, the band has been the source of constant borrowing from the likes of Belle & Sebastian, LCD Soundsystem and The Pastels. "The Glasgow School" is a compilation of all studio recordings the band had done for Postcard Records [imprint Edwyn Collins once run]. What to me is so rich about this release is the joy of rediscovering something that I thought was long lost. Orange Juice's music always sat at the outskirts of my early musical education and to rediscover this now is like finding some gold hidden away in my safety deposit box. Jangly guitars, country and blues influences and Edwyn Collins' often tongue-in-cheek sneery vocals are what makes this record a great one. Mid-tempo grooves, twangy guitar work and the master of the pop song, Orange Juice was good at one thing - making truly haunting, lyrical, edgy music. Never compromising, they persevered for a few years more after these singles were recorded, but not once could they be accused of altering their true self and selling out to the system at hand.

- Tom Sekowski

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+ Tajemnicza emocja - wywiad z Kostasem Georgakopulos [Progrram]