Last Exit On Yesterday

Last Exit On Yesterday: 2/Okay

Another very early cut, this one feels like an improvement on the other stuff they were playing at the time, but when placed alongside the rest of the New Art Riot EP it’s quality is lacking. It has a clear structure, it has decent melodies, the usual lyrics (though you can’t make any of them out which means the Misheard Lyrics are particularly notable), but the vocals are weak, the drumming is robotic, and the guitars are standard punk simplicity.

Misheard Lyrics: Dance to the bad moon time/Dance to the bad mood town/Dance to the bathroom time

2: Ant, fin, back heels (?)/And the ankle/And to Frank Hill

3: Barely are things that I think/A million things in my sink/ The million things our eyes back seat.

4: Dying giant form

5: Roy and brink bock beak (?)

6: You’re screaming so much that I’m excited to breathe/that I’m excited to leave/that I feel sorry to leave/that I feel sorry to live/that I’ve been starting to drink/that life is starting to breed.

7: I wanna be cool and I wanna bleed your disease.

8: Pull your hair grow back/Pull you head glow band

9: Paying barber’s sons/Playing baubles sounds/Paying Barbara off (or any combination of these).

10: The bricky’s story on and on/The freaky story on and on/The Greek history on and on.

11: Loveless or loneness/Loveless our romance

12: Laugh in Justin’s face/Laugh at justice skill

13: As back brakes downstairs steeper in/As back sprain down steps deeper in (???)

14: Baby girl had a little bit of love/baby girl have a little bit of love/Baby can’t have a little bit of life

15: Cheek slapped up inside a leather glove/Cheap slap up inside her lover’s gun

16: Pacing up in her executive tower/Lacey for an executive talent

17: Sway to the sound of an uncapped lover/Tweet to the sign of a handicapped lover

18: So Doll’s in town, have his pretty face/Saw a doll in town, hurt its pretty face

19: Mixing juice is easy but you move first/Massachusetts easy when you are first.

 20: Laugh at the TV, empty sound of life, morning in town is not a good choice

Actual Lyrics: Dance to the valentine

2: Anthems that kill

3: Valium veins and eyes that sink

4: Lying down I want

5: Want a brainwash trip

6: You’re screaming so much that I feel sorry to breathe

7: I wanna feel cold and I wanna bleed your disease.

8: Hold your head up

9: And pray for sun

10: But rain keeps pouring on and on

11: Loveless aloneness

12: Life that just impales

13: As backs break thorns dig deeper in

14: Baby can’t have her little bit of love

15: Cos it’s wrapped up inside her lover’s gut

16: Lazy fat executive seller

17: Sway to the sound of another dead lover

18: So dull and tired of his pretty face

19: Makes the truth seems easy but you’ve lost

 20: Laugh at the TV, empty cell of life, mundane exile it’s not of your choice.

Spectators Of Suicide

Spectators Of Suicide: 3/Good (Heavenly Version)

I’ve always been torn between which version I prefer – the album or the heavenly version. I love the build up in the Heavenly version, but the vocals are tripe, whereas the album version has a drugged, dreamlike quality, the sound of bleeding out in a bathtub. The difference in tone between the two songs is vast, and if they ever recorded an updated studio version of the Heavenly one where James actually sings throughout, then I suspect it would be a big favourite of mine. The album version is still a highlight, a poignant, soft, overly produced moment in an album not known for subtlety or strong production values. The shimmering electric guitars, the phasing, the soft acoustic backing and harmonies which make it sound like Nicky can actually sing, the beautiful chorus and thoughtful lyrics all merge well – it’s just a little overlong.

Misheard Lyrics: Obedience to love is free desire

2: Free heroin drugs for those who never beg

3: Exporting in society’s eyes

4: Sick around a lifeline/sits around a lifetime

5: It’s safety in bed

6: Advertised and dead/Advertising death

7: Under curfew from beyond barb wire

8: Spitting ass from our mouths

Actual Lyrics: Obedience to the law is free desire

2: Free heroin shots for those who never beg

3: Exploding in society’s eye

4: Cigarettes a lifeline

5: It’s safety in death

6: Advertised and fed

7: Under curfew from neon barbed wire

8: Spitting glass from out mouths

Whisky Psychosis

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

One of the most difficult songs to find way back in the 90s when I was first trying to track the early stuff down. For years I could only catch snippets of it, but in all honesty a snippet is just as good as finding the whole thing. It’s a mess of early riffs and ideas with a driving rock beat, weak vocals, and indecipherable lyrics. We can make out multiple voices, but have no idea what any of them are going on about. Like most of the early tracks in this vein, it’s worth a single listen for novelty’s sake, then scrap it.

Whisky Psychosis: 1/Crap

Generation Terrorists

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

The song which gave birth to the name used later for their debut album, this song is an early demo of Stay Beautiful. It’s a less refined, more punchy version of what it would become and therefore complete with amateurish production, youthful exuberance, funny backing vocals, great drums and guitar, and a lot of distortion and noise.

Generation Terrorists: 2/Okay


Eating Myself From The Inside

funny horse mask | Odd Item Hunter

Yes, it’s another Manic Street Preachers song. I’m kicking off this series again. Why not?

Looky looky. It’s another one of those ultra rare, ultra early Manics Demos. This one never morphed into anything else as far as I can tell, but it is played at breakneck speed. It’s a pure punk song played at a furious pace, and it has the same crap quality and swirly twinkling guitars as others from this era. I actually think this song could have become something – not something very good, but recorded in a studio a la New Art Riot it may have been a fun curio instead of the barely audible thing it remains. There’s some melody, you can make out the chorus lyrics, and the drums and guitar are faaaasssst. Yep, that about sums it up.

Eating Myself From The Inside: 1/Crap

Teenage 20/20

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

I’ve always had a soft spot for this one, as it was one I didn’t track down until fairly late in my rarities search. Just when I thought I’d heard them all, I finally got my hands on this, expecting it to be just another low-quality, fuzz-filled early effort. I’m not sure why it took so long to hear, given that it got an official release on the New Art Riot EP, but there you go. Thankfully I was more than pleasantly surprised when I first heard it, as it’s a very good B Side. It’s another blues based punk rock song with a huge, catchy chorus, the odd good angsty lyric, a stomping rhythm, and plenty of nice guitar moments. This is one which has catchy melodies from start to finish, the way Bradfield pulls off the pauses in the verses is great, but it’s that chorus which you’ll remember later. Good luck working out the lyrics without reading them.

Teenage 20 20: 3/Good

Misheard Lyrics: 1. We’re dead dogs, and damn we’re stupid.

2. I wanna wake to separated wealth.

3. Take a straight jack (?) to my useless boat (??)

4. I don’t like your silly reggae hair. Dying in a fascist evil door/barn/fog

5. Speeding, so lonely, a swell atom bomb

6. Desmile twiggy, eat the egg bomb.

7. Sit, don’t stammer, our vintage smell, automatic, corporational.

Actual Lyrics: 1: We’re dead end dolls and nothing’s moving.

2: I wanna wake to a shot parade of wealth.

3: And take a spraycan to my useless vote.

4: I don’t like your city Dresden dance. I’m drowning in a manufactured ego-fuck.

5. Speeding so lonely into wall after wall

6: Teenage 20/20 beat the in-call.

7 Stick to the stomach of our fingertip call, all your rebellion corporation owned.

Suicide Alley

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Okay. 3: Good. 4: Great

The first official single released by the band when they were still unsigned shows them as a rampant punk force set on a oath to glory and self-destruction. It’s played at top speed and the vocals leap around in such away that the lyrics are indecipherable on the first few listens. It still sounds fresh and relevant today, in a world where angry, guitar based music doesn’t appear on TV, radio, charts, or magazines. It’s a much more catchy and well written song than the early demos and finds the band securing the sound they wanted to be known for at the time and probably their first important song.

Suicide Alley: 4/Great


Destroy The Dancefloor

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Ok. 3: Good. 4: Great

It’s another very early demo, this time opening with some inaudible chatter followed by what seems to be James saying ‘I can’t sing this one’ before starting to sing it. It has a pretty strong lead riff and exuberant guitar intro before launching into high pitched vocals. It’s another one which might have sounded stronger if they’d recorded a proper demo later – it’s not complex but does show a wider range of ideas regarding the song’s construction, multi-layered and thoughtful. Some of the melodies sound similar to pieces of later songs, James showcases his guitar skills with some fine twiddling and although the vocals demand a lot James does a good job, at least from what we can make out from the crappy recording. The three people in the crowd seem to appreciate the song though, as it ends with a handful of claps and more chatter.

Destroy The Dancefloor: 2/Ok


England Is A Bitch

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Ok. 3: Good. 4: Great

Another early demo where the band showcase a fuzzy, frantic delivery. Although the lyrics are mostly indecipherable, you can tell from the title and some snippets that the band’s political sensibilities were already at the forefront of their minds – this was a band who had something to say aside and who wanted to be known for their brains, their viewpoints, as much as their sound and look. Opening with a militaristic drum beat the song is a fast-paced, riff-driven basic song, heavy, but light on the melodic side. The song comes to a stuttering end with bits of the guitars fading out and returning as if James walked out of the room for a few moments and knocked the amp over, or maybe someone was twiddling knobs afterwards.

England Is A Bitch: 1/Crap


Just Can’t Be Happy

Generic Ratings: 1: Crap. 2: Ok. 3: Good. 4: Great

Similar to Faceless Sense Of Void, this feels like something which would be used to build Love’s Sweet Exile, although it is only in some of the melodies that this comparison is made. The verse vocals are almost spoken, the chorus is a simplistic recital of the song’s title, there are chords and twiddly guitar bits, but the song doesn’t do much to excite or hold interest. As if you couldn’t guess, this one isn’t available on YouTube, so click below for some inspiring words.

Just Can’t Be Happy: 1/Crap