Mark Stewart and Gareth Sager listed five significant records for a ‘Foundations’ feature with Clash Magazine. As you’d expect the list is as interesting as it is diverse, running the gamut from garage grot to experimental jazz and highlighting great records both new and old.
See their choices in full here, along with a few words on why they chose them.
Ahead of this month’s homecoming show at the Ansom Rooms, Mark Stewart spoke to the Bristol University Newspaper about his own storied history with the venue, early experiences growing up in Bristol, activism, independence, and even an attempt to get Tony Benn to rap on a record.
The Record Collector verdict on ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’: “…one to make fans pulses’ race…it’s effectively The Pop Group’s great lost album” ****
& ‘We Are Time’: “…collates an impressively cohesive array of early live and studio tracks” ****
“…two astonishing archival collections…”
Read the review in full, as well as an interview with Mark Stewart here.
Both releases are still available to order in limited editions and exclusive bundles on Pledge, thanks to those who’ve pledged so far! They are also now available to pre-order via the online shop here.
With the recent reveal of the ‘We Are Time’ finished copies, we can now unveil the design of the ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ CD edition:
We’ve now reached over 80% towards the projected goal. Once again, heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has pledged so far. There are still limited colour vinyls, signed limited editions, VIP tickets, and plenty of other exclusives. Head here for more info on all the memorabilia available and to keep updated with the progress of the campaign.
“The ecstatically furious last single, ‘Where There’s A Will’, turns up for the first time in a few years, while a couple of hitherto unreleased songs – “Abstract Heart” and “Karen’s Car”, both live – show that their fissile blend of hectoring, skronk and groove could have been sustained a good deal beyond 1980…”
The Uncut review of ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, read in full here.
Pre-order the collection in limited edition colour vinyl and in various exclusive bundles via Pledge, or pre-order from our online shop here and get ‘Where There’s A Will’ as an instant download.
With 20 days left, and having reached over 75% towards the projected goal, The Pop Group can now reveal the first glimpse of ‘We Are Time’ physical copies. On CD for the first time, here’s how the package will look:
Thanks to all the Pledgers who have contributed so far! There are still lots of exclusive bundles available, including signed colour vinyl formats, VIP tickets, deluxe box sets, t-shirts, an exclusive art poster and plenty more. Head to the Pledge page here for more info on all of the memorabilia available and to keep updated with all the latest from the campaign.
“Every song on We Are Time, up to and triumphantly including the title track, was a delicious shock to the nervous system, with US minimalism, bubblegum, jazz, Afrobeat, existentialist chanson, and reggae all wired in…Nobody turned tricks like The Pop Group…”
The Wire’s verdict on ‘We Are Time’ & ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, head here to read in full.
“The Pop Group began in Bristol, UK, in 1978, and established a niche all to themselves with an unabashedly abrasive ruckus of No Wave and free jazz noise, punk’s ethos of confrontation, and a rhythm section devoted to dub and straight-up funk. Atop all that, singer Stewart chanted far-left declamations in a voice that lurched without warning from warble to shriek. The effect of this melee could be caustic, disorienting, and exhilarating…The Pop Group’s albums…have, in the USA, at least, been only intermittently available and sometimes ridiculously expensive to obtain, so the news of impending reissues is most welcome…”
Read the interview in full here, which covers everything from the early days to the exciting plans for reissues and new material.
‘Where There’s A Will’, the first track to be released from the rarities collection ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’, has received the visual treatment courtesy of New York artist, Rupert Goldsworthy. The video is now showing on The Quietus. Here’s what they had to say:
“From Cabinet…, we’ve got a first look at a new video for compilation opener ‘Where There’s A Will’, originally released on a split 7″ with The Slits in 1980. The video draws on footage of the band playing the song on a Belgian TV show, which NY visual artist Rupert Goldsworthy has twisted into an X-ray inversion. Says Pop Group frontman Mark Stewart of the track: “MASSIVE RESISTANCE is what ‘Where There’s A Will is about and in this age of hyper anxiety and scorched earth it’s as relevant as ever to quote myself, the lyrics at the end say ‘and if we must die let it be like hogs…our backs against the wall… but fighting back’”.
A recently unearthed picture of Gareth Sager from The Pop Group’s final show in Helsinki, 1980. The new compilation ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ includes the previously unreleased song ’Karen’s Car’ which was recorded at this show. Gareth reflects on the track: “appropriately our final stand with just Stewart, Sager, Smith and Waddington left. This is the sound of paranoia, groove and noise at its height.”
Head here to keep up to date with all the latest from The Pop Group Pledge campaign.
“Combining funky basslines, dry drums high in the mix, and guitars like broken shards of glass, The Pop Group’s post-punk approach was not so far removed from names like Gang of Four, The Contortions and others. Danceable yet chaotic, melodic yet abrasive, the Pop Group did a lot of damage during their initial two year existence, influencing legions to come.
Four years after their initial reunion, The Pop Group are readying a slate of reissues, including their 1980 compilation We Are Time. The record, originally available via Rough Trade, recounts the band’s earliest days and includes the fan favorite “Colour Blind,” given the official video treatment 36 years after it’s initial release.
Order your copy of the excellent We Are Timevia iTunes today, and download “Colour Blind” instantly.”
Thanks to all the comrades who have pledged so far. The campaign has now exceeded the 20% mark.
The latest update from Mark:
“Hi all Pledgers, here’s some lacquer porn for you! Some amazing pics of Nick @ Fluid cutting the vinyl which is sounding as heavy as hell! All you vinyl junkies clean your needles! Everything is ship shape and Bristol fashion! Mark x”
Head here for more pictures from the cutting lab, limited, exclusive memorabilia and all the latest on the progress of the campaign.
We’ve now set up an official Youtube channel where everything Pop Group related will be compiled for your aural and visual (dis)pleasure. Official transmissions from the archive, assembled fragments from Pop Group comrades, imminent new videos for the upcoming releases and everything in between.
You can get your hands on Very Limited Pop Group Memorabilia / Limited Colour Vinyl of ‘We Are Time’ & ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ / Exclusive Bundles & more!
We would also like to raise awareness of Campaign Against Arms Trade who will be receiving a share of the surplus funds once we reach our goal!
Thank you all for making this finally happen & hope there is something there for all TPG comrades!
See you soon at one of the upcoming shows!
“Post-punk greats The Pop Group have announced a reissue of We Are Time, a 1980 collection of early live and studio recordings. They’re also putting out Cabinet of Curiosities, a new compilation of rarities. Both are out October 21 via Freaks R Us (an imprint of Kartel/Amped). More reissues of the group’s back catalogue will follow in the future.” Read more
“Songs like ‘We Are All Prostitutes’, ‘Thief of Fire’, ‘She is Beyond Good and Evil’ and the thrilling climax ‘We Are Time’ sound raw and uncompromising, a lurid form of bedsit disco-punk driven home by Stewart’s gruff roar and Gareth Sager’s jagged guitars.”
“Debut single She Is Beyond Good and Evil remains a primal call to action, be it reading a book or breaking a window. Elsewhere, Colour Blind is dedicated to the memory of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis. When the Pop Group close with the tremendous We Are Time, it’s with the sense of a band that could and still ought to light a fire under guitar music’s conservatives.”
The Creeping Bent Organisation turns 20 in 2014, and to celebrate we have a brace of action-pop as our opening salvo (both in Glasgow). As part of the city’s Celtic Connections festival, Creeping Bent will present the Pop Group’s first show in Scotland for 33 years at the O2 ABC in Sauchiehall Street on Saturday 18th Jan (with a possible aftershow of noise and readings at esteemed artist Jim Lambie’s nocturne happening, The Poetry Club). Special guest to the Pop Group is Sexual Objects, who have a new single Feels, With Me (recorded with Boards of Canada).