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Really interesting story about two important post-punk record labels
Big Gold Dreams is a music documentary that focuses on two influential Scottish independent record labels - Fast Product and Postcard Records that operated in the post-punk years. They may have been small but they had a significant role in creating what would go on to be known as indie rock.
Fast Product was an Edinburgh label which was the brainchild of Bob Last. It began at the height of punk but quickly began promoting acts that were committed to developing this raw music into new unchartered territories. Postcard Records, on the other hand, were a Glasgow label formed by Alan Horne; its recording artists were more accessible and pop-orientated than their east coast rivals but were maybe an even greater influence on the sound of the future alternative rock scene. Fast Product released records by influential left-field outfits such as Scars, The Mekons, The Human League and Dead Kennedys; Postcard's roster of acts included Orange Juice, Josef K, Aztec Camera and The Go-Betweens. It almost seemed like Fast were on the post-punk side of the fence, while Postcard were the new wave guys. Accordingly, they seemed to complement each other. The film looks at the small but important local scenes that these labels created in Scotland and how each only lasted for two years. The acts associated with them ultimately moved south to London, usually to less effect.
This is a very interesting documentary as it looks at a somewhat specific scene that has been little covered. Of the two labels, Postcard has remained the most well-known, unsurprisingly given their more radio friendly acts. Yet both are still cult items, given their short-lived existence yet highly influential nature. The film does a good job of covering a lot of ground in an informative and entertaining way. It takes the form of a talking heads format with a fair bit of archive material thrown into the mix. The music itself was particularly interesting to me in that most of it I knew next to nothing about and we do get to hear quite a bit of it. For anyone interested in the early years of alternative rock, then this will tick quite a few boxes.
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