Today's Aetix is about one of those acts that harnessed the energy of punk, truly recognized the possibilities it opened up, and took music in exciting directions. The Pop Group used punk's back-to-basics ethos as a springboard for experimentation with funk, dub, and jazz, blending dance rhythms and rock in ways that continue to inspire artists. They also politicized rock with an intensity and urgency that put rebel poseurs like The Clash to shame. I decided to add a rare sampler were they figure aswell some other great bands that made up their musical peerage at the time..
Emerging in the late-'70s post-punk era, this militant gang of leftist radical politicos from Bristol, England, specialized in a funk-driven cacophony of sound that was abrasive, strident, and ultimately very exciting. Railing against Margaret Thatcher's Tory government, the state of pop music, racism, sexism, etc., the Pop Group were not the easiest band of the early post-punk era to listen to, but those who made the effort were in for an interesting melange of primitive rhythms and avant-garde guitar racket.
Formed by Mark Stewart (lyrics, vocals), John Waddington (guitar), Gareth Sager (guitar), Simon Underwood (bass) and Bruce Smith (drums, percussion), they issued their debut single, "She is Beyond Good and Evil" on Radar Records in March 1979.Their debut album Y, was produced by Dennis Bovell to critical acclaim but low sales figures. Although it did not chart, the album's success was sufficient to convince Rough Trade to sign the band, but not before more line-up changes, with Dan Catsis replacing Underwood on bass.
Led by the squalling "vocals" of Mark Stewart (which were little more than chanted political slogans), the Pop Group were unabashedly and stridently radical to the point of being hectoring. But, unlike others of their ilk, the music was so challenging, joyfully noisy, and downright weird that it was easy to cut them a little slack.
The band's career with Rough Trade commenced with what is possibly their best-known single "We Are All Prostitutes", which featuring a guest appearance by free improviser Tristan Honsinger on cello. This was followed by the release of their second album, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? in 1980, which included a contribution from US proto-rappers The Last Poets. Shortly afterwards The Pop Group released a split single, "Where There's a Will...", with The Slits, a band with whom they now shared a drummer and managers (Christine Robertson and Dick O'Dell), as well as a growing interest in exploring musical genres such as dub and funk rhythms.
The band split in 1981, after legal wranglings and internal disagreements. Members of the group went on to form bands including Pigbag, Maximum Joy, Head and Rip Rig + Panic, the latter notable for the involvement of Neneh Cherry. Stewart collaborated with the On-U Sound posse, issuing records firstly as Mark Stewart and Maffia, then as a solo artist.
It was reported on 24 May 2010 that the Pop Group would be reuniting. Stewart announced the first two dates of a reunion tour. Three members of the original line up are part of the reunion with two gigs in London and two in Italy confirmed. The band issued a statement explaining the reunion, saying "There was a lot left undone,....we were so young and volatile....Let's face it, things are probably even more fucked now than they were in the early 80's.....and we are even more fucked off!" The Pop Group played live in Paris (for the very first time) on September 6th 2010, at La Machine Du Moulin Rouge venue, as part of "L'Etrange Festival" Film Festival, and as a kick off to their five dates tour through Europe. They are confirmed to play London on New Years Eve with Sonic Youth and Shellac. In a 2010 interview, Stewart said that the reformed Pop Group was recording a new album, to be titled The Alternate.
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Teaming up with legendary reggae producer Dennis Bovell the band recorded their debut album 'Y' which fused thick dubwise basslines with punky angular guitar work and dancefloor ready rhythms. This sound would slowly permeate the mainsteam and although 'Y' wasn't the commercial success it may have deserved to be it still got the band signed up to the legendary Rough Trade label who took them into bigger and brighter places. After playing "Y" you wonder how the group ever hoped to top it, they never did, but their second album was great as well but just not as good as "Y", few albums are, after all it's one of the most original and inspiring records ever made.The Pop Group's legacy is in the masses of young post punk artists polluting our air waves.
The Pop Group - Y (79 ^ 262mb)
01 She is beyond good and evil 3:23
02 Thief Of Fire 4:33
03 Snowgirl 3:21
04 Blood Money 2:54
05 Savage Sea 2:58
06 We Are Time 6:27
07 Words Disobey Me 3:23
08 Don't Call Me Pain 5:35
09 The Boys From Brazil 4:13
10 Don't Sell Your Dreams 6:35
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More funk-ridden than its predecessor (meaning more fluent and less fractured).How Much Longer is relatively calm in the first half but gets damn ugly/wonderful in the middle, these guys had a knack for throwing sound/noises/harmonies so that everything came crashing towards the listener.
The Pop Group - For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder (384mb)
01 Forces Of Oppression 2:33
02 Feed The Hungry 4:15
03 One Out Of Many 1:52
04 Blind Faith 4:03
05 How Much Longer 4:57
06 Justice 3:06
07 There Are No Spectators 4:13
08 Communicate 4:40
09 Rob A Bank 2:18
+ We Are Time
11 Thief Of Fire
12 Genius Or Lunatic
13 Colour Blind
14 Spanish Inquisition
15 Kiss The Book
16 Amnesty Report
18 Sense Of Purpose
19 We Are Time
Some of the tracks here have been blatantly overseen by the compilers of the 3 Disco No Disco compilations thusfar, ok those New Yorkers are prone to looking inward convinced as they are that they are the world. Big city of dreams (that's nightmares too btw) This compilation courtesy of Soul Jazz records has it's moments though i wonder where the souljazz comes in , to me just the knife slits water 12 ' mix by certain ratio alone is well worth the admission...
VA - In The Beginning There Was Rhythm (flac 315mb)
01 A Certain Ratio - Shack Up 3:16
02 23 Skidoo - Coup 4:10
03 Gang Of Four - To Hell With Poverty 4:57
04 Human League, The - Being Boiled 3:50
05 The Slits - In The Beginning There Was Rhythm 5:35
06 This Heat - 24 Track Loop 5:57
07 Throbbing Gristle - 20 Jazz Funk Greats 2:44
08 The Pop Group - She Is Beyond Good And Evil 3:22
09 Cabaret Voltaire - Sluggin For Jesus 5:02
10 23 Skidoo - Vegas El Bandito 2:56
11 A Certain Ratio - Knife Slits Water 9:40
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