Classic 1980 album ‘We Are Time’ also getting first-ever CD/Digital release
“It was one of those moments where you just feel the cogs of your mind shift and your life is going to irreversibly change forever” – Nick Cave on seeing The Pop Group
“The greatest song of the whole post punk era” WIRE, 2014
“She Is Beyond Good And Evil was both funky and fucked-up”
20 Post Punk Greats – MOJO, 2014
The Pop Group, one of the most wildly innovative and barrier-shattering bands to emerge from the late ’70s post-punk era, are finally seeing their rare and fabled legacy reissued for the first time, along with previously unheard gold from the archives. After spending over a year collating original singles, albums and previously unreleased studio and live recordings, the band will put out a series of albums over time on the new Freaks R Us label via Kartel label services and Fontana North.
The band has also teamed up with Pledge Music for a campaign offering fans exclusive and very limited memorabilia via the band’s facebook & twitter, with a share of any surplus revenue going to CAAT (Campaign Against Arms Trade).
‘We Are Time,’ named after one of their most infamous onslaughts and originally released on vinyl in 1980, has been remastered from original tapes and is one of two albums being released on October 21st spearheading the reissue program. Of the early live and studio recordings that comprise ‘We Are Time,’ frontman Mark Stewart says “The Pop Group was mutating so fast right from the start that it was crucial to document those first experiments with this compilation. ‘We Are Time’ is really the teenage Pop Group album. It’s full of defiance and the material demonstrates the band’s staunch independence and our really early DIY ethic before the studio became another instrument.”
Guitarist Gareth Sager explains that the band was “trying in an inexplicably naive manner to combine Patti Smith’s Rimbaud ramblings, James Brown, the Stooges, Roxy Music, T. Rex and classical aleatoric music. You can hear the results of this on tracks ‘Genius Or Lunatic,’ ‘Colour Blind,’ ‘Trap,’ ‘Sense Of Purpose,’ ‘Kiss The Book’ and ‘We Are Time.’” He goes on to say, “Soon after this the band were bringing in other influences, Ornette Coleman, King Tubby, Funkadelic, Debussy, Jacques Brel, Fela Kuti, Steve Reich and then you get ‘Thief Of Fire.’”
Also being released in October, ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ is a brand new, nine-track compilation which kicks off with the fractured future-funk single “Where There’s A Will,” originally released as a double A-side shared with The Slits in 1980, and described by Sager as “the group’s best attempt to mix a message with a groove plus some real free playing. If you are really unhinged you may be able to dance to this. “Next up is the unheard, original Andy Mackay (Roxy Music) produced version of ‘She Is Beyond Good And Evil,’ probably the band’s most infamous song (covered by St Vincent on the Jimmy Fallon show and throughout her Strange Mercy tour).
‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ continues with BBC John Peel session tracks ‘We Are Time’ and ‘Words Disobey Me,’ and rounds up previously unreleased songs, ‘Abstract Heart’ and ‘Karen’s Car,’ and other alternative versions. Of ‘Karen’s Car,’ recorded in Finland, Sager recalls, “Appropriately our final stand with just Stewart, Sager, Smith and Waddington left. This is the sound of paranoia, groove and noise at its height. There was nowhere left to go.” Mark Stewart describes ‘Cabinet Of Curiosities’ as being of similar status to a lost Pop Group album.
Their original missives, which Mark Stewart describes as “an index of possibilities”, still explode with an incandescent spirit and energy, which has influenced numerous musicians throughout the years.
“Without The Pop Group I don’t know what The Minutemen would have sounded like” - Mike Watt
Both albums will be available on all formats individually and also packaged together as a limited CD box set accompanied by memorabilia and an extensive 36pp booklet.
2014 U.K. Tour Dates:
20-Oct- Edinburgh Voodoo Rooms
21-Oct – Nottingham Bodega Social Club
22-Oct – Manchester Gorilla
23-Oct – Bristol Anson Rooms
24-Oct – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
25-Oct – Brighton Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar
26-Oct – London Islington Assembly Hall
Cabinet Of Curiosities Track List:
1. Where There’s A Will
2. She Is Beyond Good And Evil
3. Colour Blind
4. Words Disobey Me
5. Don’t Sell Your Dreams
6. We Are Time
7. Abstract Heart
8. Amnesty Report III
9. Karen’s Car