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

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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

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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

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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

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Sunglass Aesthetic

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

This early demo is one of the first two I ever heard from the band when I first started tracking down their rarities back in the late 90s. Subsequently, those two same songs are the ones I remember most fondly and the ones which I think are most memorable. I can recall the feeling of shock and joy hearing this the first time, enjoying how young the band sounded, asking myself if that was really James playing and singing, wondering what the hell band looked like when they recorded the demo, and simply appreciating the energy and fun that comes off the song. James has a good riff to lead the song, muting it at some points, letting rip at others, while there is a terrific early solo and some other catastrophic noise-oriented playing later. I’ve no idea what most of the lyrics are, what the song is about, but at this point such matters are pretty irrelevant – it’s the sound of a band filled with hope and spunk and simply writing and enjoying whatever rubbish pops into their heads – as all great bands must do. Unsurprisingly I can’f find this on Youtube, so click below for a bonus video!

Sunglass Aesthetic: 2/Ok

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Go Buzz Baby Go

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

Another early demo which acts as the roots to a later officially released track, this one has pieces which would make their way into the classic Motorcycle Emptiness. The pre-chorus of Go Buzz Baby Go has the same basic melody has the same part in that later epic, and although it would be reworked it’s impossible to miss. The rest of the song is on the crappy side of fine, shows that the band were not, even at this period, all about weapons of punk destruction, angry, shouting, vocal graffiti artists, but that they had a softer side too. The vocals are weird and weak, the playing is better, and the actual chorus is actually catchy in spite of how silly it sounds. The lyrics again are difficult to catch, but if you listen carefully you can hear them mention ‘Baby Blue’ which was of course a reference to their original name, named after the excellent French film. And of course, the final bonus for those fans hearing this for the first time is that they actually sing the words ‘Motorcycle Emptiness’ in the final pre-chorus.

Go Buzz Baby Go: 1/Crap (but interesting)

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