Domino Records : Declaration Of Independence

Check out the cd that appears on the cover of 14th August 2004 edition of the NME.

Words: Krissi Murison

“Domino is about believing and being passionate in music. We’re interested in unique music mavericks and outsiders ” says the label’s founder Laurence Bell, “and there’s not many of us around anymore.” He’s not wrong. As one of the last bastions of indie cool, Domino has spent the last 11 years fighting the war against safe, radio-friendly chart-tat. It’s been responsible for bringing underground American rock to our shores in the ’90s and giving British art-rock the lighter fuel it needed in the ’00s. Launched in true DIY fashion from a front room in Bell’s South London basement, the label recently saw a decade of dedication pay off when their new-signings Franz Ferdinand unexpectedly blew the face off brainless pop culture. Here Laurence talks us through the tracks…

1) Franz Ferdinand – ‘Shopping For Blood’

Glasgow art combo who need no introduction

“I remember the first time I ever saw them I could hardly believe it, they were like a dream band or something! This is the b-side to the first single, ‘Darts Of Pleasure’. We thought we’d put it on here ‘cos it’s from a while back now and not everyone will have heard it. It’s led by a huge Adam and the Ants, glitter-band beat that drives it on and it’s got a kind of Fall-like delivery and terrific lyircs.”

2) The Kills

Chain-smoking, trans-Atlantic punk-rock duo

“‘Fuck The People’ is kind of an anthem from the first album and was a very, very limited edition single. I remember the first time they came into the office they looked fantastic and had a fantastic bag of songs. As people they’re great fun and truly sweet. They may look enigmatic but they loosen up after a few glasses of wine!”

3) Sons and Daughters

Girl-boy creepy country-goth from Glasgow and Franz Ferdinand’s new Favourite band.

“We met them through Franz Ferdinand and they’re the only band we’ve signed this year. They’re really sassy and they play this quite dark, rockabilly, Bo Diddley-based rock n roll music. I think people are going to love them! This Is from their mini-album that’s just out called ‘Love The Cup’.”


4) Archie Bronson Outfit

Darkest garage-blues from, er, Somerset via Putney.

“I went down to my local pub one night and the landlord was having a birthday party with some covers bands playing. Suddenly these 3 sharp dressed young guys got up and said “can we have a go?”. They played two songs and just filled the room with this enormous psych blues racket. I ended up signing them and this was their limited edition single.”


5) Blueskins

Small-town teens kick out the jams Yorkshire style.

“This was their third single and it just proves there’s as many blues rock thrills to be had in a Yorkshire village as there are in Detroit or where ever else. It’s fantastic stuff and it’s on our own doorstep.”


6) Clinic

Mask wearing odd-pop terrorists from Liverpool.

“I think Clinic are a genuinely strange, truly unique band – definitely something of a national treasure. More people should know about them! This came out as a limited edition single last month and it’s the spirit of the 13th Floor Elevators coming out of Liverpool now. They always wear masks so nobody knows what they look like.”


7) Clearlake – ‘Almost The Same’

Faded elegiac pop glamour from the seaside

“They’re a great English pop band in the grand tradition all the way from Syd Barrett through Talk Talk and The Smiths – they’ve got a lot of those things going on. This was a single last year – it’s a pretty up-tempo pop song but a lot of what they’re doing is very ambitious.”

8) Max Tundra

Funkier than Har Mar, weirder than Squarepusher with the potential to be the biggest pop star on Mars.

“In a parallel universe Max Tundra would definitely be number 1. He’s one of our more eccentric pop stars in waiting. This song is a mad really short pop song. It’s from his last album which was called ‘Some Best Friend You Turned Out to Be’ and it’s a lost nugget that we always think deserves to be blaring out on Radio 1 on the Breakfast Show.”


9) Four Tet

One man and his laptop making fuzzy folktronic sounds

“I really think he’s the most exciting electronic producer in the country right now. He’s so talented it’s unreal. The music’s sort of got this amazing warmth about it and it really connects with people. This song is on the album ‘Rounds’ that came out last year.”

10) Stephen Malkmus

The Pavement veteran goes solo and offbeat kook-rock crazy.

“This was from his second album Pig Lib where he stretches out and indulges his love in more psychedelic frequencies. There’s a guitar solo in this that really blows me away.”

11) James Yorkston

Edinburgh-based troubador trades bagpipes for banjo

“I think James is the best singer and songwriter of contemporary folk music in Britain. His songs are very tender but they’ve also got quite a tough exterior, kind of like Shane Macgowan. This is a beautiful song from his next album which is coming out in September.”

12) UNPOC

Hypnotic slumber-pop from Edinburgh. Further proof that the quirky-somethings have been breeding

“This song was on an album of bedroom pop songs he’d made, but he was at university and didn’t have a band so we didn’t sign him. But a year later the whole office was still listening to these 12 songs and every time we went out for a drink people would end up singing them! So one day we thought, ‘You know what, why don’t we just release this?”

13) Adem

From Badly Drawn Boy’s backing band to solo sophistica.

“This is from ‘Homesongs’ which is a quiet neo-folky album with a very contemporary electronic production. It’s a modern folk record, I guess. I like to think he might be our Cat Stevens!”

14) Hood – ‘The Negatives’

A mist of sinister orchestral pop coming in from the north

“‘The Negatives’ is a track in progress. It’s going to be on their next album which won’t be out til next year but we loved it so much we thought we’d put it on the compilation now. They’re perhaps our most defiantly independent band. They’re fiercely uncompromising but all the better for it!”


15)Elliott Smith

An upbeat and breezy moment from folk’s tragic figurehead

“This is one of Elliott’s big pop songs. It’s an amazingly catchy song with a great riff and great lyrics. He was a huge pop music fan and you can really hear his joy for it in this. He was a really sweet, genuine guy and an amazing talent -obviously it’s hard to talk about it now. We’re actually going to release the album that he was finishing before he died this autumn.”


16) Pavement

The independent heroes of ’90s slacker-pop.

“They were everybody’s favourite band for a while back there and this is one of their great songs. Great lyrics too, including Malkmus’ famous dig at the Smashing Pumkins which caused a scandal at the time! (“Out on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins, nature kids – they don’t have no function, I don’t understand what they mean and I couldn’t really give a fuck”.) When you find yourself putting out records by one of your favourite bands, well it’s not a bad job is it?”


[url=]Click here to hear the album!