Saturday, November 06, 2004

We Are All Prostitutes

Today I thought I'd delve into a back catalogue of an increasingly more relevant and influential band from the late seventies and beyond....
The Pop Group...

Mark Stewart - Vox
Dan Catsis - Bass
Gareth Sager - Guitar And Sax
Bruce Smith - Drums
John Waddington - Guitar
Simon Underwood - Bass (First Album Only)

Whenever I hear bands like LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture, !!! and the like I can't help thinking of Maximum Joy, Pigbag and most of the other bands that were formed from the ashes of one of Bristol's finest.
They kind of forged the template for all the danceable post punk bands that followed.

To kick things of I thought I'd ask someone who I know is a big fan of theirs to pick his favourite track and write a couple of words about it.... Mike Seed. (I've also posted tracks on SVC by Mike too... go track 'em down... might I recommend starting with Holy Nightmare!!!).
Take it away Mike.

The Pop Group - Colour Blind
Sounds like the doorway to a nervous breakdown. This is the way, step inside.


Mark Stewart is singing his mental state.
It isn't a game.
It isn't entertainment.
The music is so unstable that you can barely believe he survived it.
But then I'm not sure he really did.

Others: Cindytalk's "Camouflage Heart", PIL's "Metal Box", John Cale's "Ballad of Cable Hogue", Nico, JOY DIVISION.


Colour Blind is a demo recorded in 1978 which featured on the now deleted We Are Time album released by Rough Trade in 1980.

And now to my post Pop Group (hereby now known as PG) selections...
Take it away Me...

Rip Rig And Panic - Constant Drudgery Is Harmful To Soul, Spirit And Health
Formed by The PG's Gareth and Bruce and joined by Mark Springer, Sean Oliver and Nenah Cherry.
This is the opening track to God, their free jazz tinged debut double album from 1981 released by Virgin.... also deleted. (See a common theme developing here?)
God was my favourite of their albums, just for the sheer rawness of it, I'd never heard anything quite like it at the time, It's crammed with abstract beats, strangeness and mad piano.... still not really heard anything like it to be honest.
Subsequent albums tended to be smoother and a bit more easy on the ear, that's not necessarily a bad thing, I just prefer the slight hint of madness I hear in God.

Maximum Joy - All Wrapped Up
This great bit of scratchy funk features The PG's John Waddington on guitar and is from 1982's Station M.X.J.Y. album on Y Records, yet again well and truly deleted.

Pigbag - Sunny Day (12" Version)
Formed by The PG's bass player Simon Underwood, this track was released in 1981 on Y Records and also featured on two compilations...
Favourite Things and Discology, and yep, you guessed it....
They're both deleted.
Pigbag are probably better known for the global hit that was "Papa's Got A Brand New Pigbag" (Posted last week by London Lee over at the wonderful The Number One Songs In Heaven, if you hurry you might just still be able to grab it).

Mark Stewart And The Maffia - My Possession/Possession Dub
This was released on 1990's Metatron album put out by Mute...
And guess what...
You can still get a new copy!!!!
Buy - Metatron
Visit - Mark Stewart And The Maffia

The whole history of The Pop Group and the dozen or so related bands is far too long for me to go into here, I wish I had the time, but I feel I probably couldn't do any of the bands justice, hence the minimal info above.
And for all the Deleted albums and singles can I suggest looking at your favourite online used record dealer like GEMM.

Here's some links...
To be honest pretty much all the links and info on The Pop Group and all the other bands members have been in can be found at the excellent The Pop Group site thats been lovingly put together by Dixon.
It's all in there, Links page, Discography, Family Tree, Press Cuttings....
And his MP3 Blog (Jukebox), featuring tracks by and relating to The Pop Group.

And if you cant find it there then there's always this


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