Archive for the Pop Group Category

Pigbag – Dr Heckle and Mr Jive (2000) Camdem

Posted in Music, Pig Bag, Pop Group on April 1, 2008 by noisenoisenoise


For some strange reason I thought this was out of print. I suppose that impression may have come from the fact that The Pop Group’s Y was only re-released last year and seeing this was a band that members of Pop Group later joined so it sort of made sense that this would have been out of print as well. Well thanks to those nice people at Camdem this expanded version of Pigbag’s first album is readily available. It has four bonus tracks including Papa’s Got a Brand New Pigbag and Sunny Day, two early singles that never made their first full length (how very New Order of them).

Originally this record was released in 1982 on Y records and PigBag was one of the bands who along with The Pop Group infused post-punk with jazz, funk and ethno-beats.  Pigbag are more overtly funky than The Pop Group and miles away from most of the boring dross that made post-punk barely bearable. In fact Pigbag may have been post-punks greatest success considering Papa  … reached number 3 on the British Charts. I’m a sucker for this sound (think ESG, A Certain Ration and The Pop Group)  yet there are some really quite strange tracks on Dr Heckle. The fourth track Brian the Snail,  is ambient free jazz and supports the story in the liner notes about Pigbag moving away from the sound of the first big single to a more experimental place. In fact so incensed were PigBag that no one was taking their new direction seriously that they deleted Papa … for a while. It obviously didn’t work. The album didn’t sell well and Papa … has stood the test  of time as a Eurpoean techno sample and chant for football hooligans everywhere.


The Pop Group – Y (Rhino) 1979

Posted in Music, Pop Group on July 25, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Now I am one for a fad. Electroclash? Yep I’ not embarrassed to say I bought Fischer Spooner. Post Punk Re-Dux? Dude I was all over it like a rash. I just couldn’t get enough Rapture, Rogers Sisters or Radio 4 (actually Radio 4 sucked, but you know,  I bought it, and …. well …… that one I am actually embarrassed about). Gang of Four, Wire and the Pop Group were referred to in every single fucking review of the time. Now I know my Gang of Four quite well and Entertainment is great. Everybody knows that. Wire? Love nearly everything they did. Pop Group? Yep, they were great. Well I’m sure they were great because they were mentioned in the same breath as Gang of Four. And of course Gang of Four are great. The problem is I had never actually heard The Pop Group. Both of their albums had been out of print for some time. When the nice people at Rough Trade released their Post Punk compilation I lined up for it because of the inclusion of the Pop Group’s “We are all Prostitutes“. Now that song was bound to be great because it has a title that just sounds like the song should be great. An imagination capturing song title if you like.  Now let me commit heresy here. “We are all Prostitutes” sucks. In fact the song is so very-not-great that I sold the stinking compilation on ebay shortly thereafter.  And that, gentle reader of this blog, is where I left the Pop Group.

Fast forward three years and I noticed a couple of months ago that Y had been re-released. Y had been an extremely expensive Japanese import for some time and no other bastard record company had bothered to keep it in print. I mentioned it’s rerelease to a friend. The conversation occurred thusly;

Me: Doc they’ve re-released Y.

Doc: That’s a good record.

Me:  We are all Prostitutes sucked.

Doc: Y is better. It’s before they did all that political bullshit.

Now that was good enough for me. This is the man who introduced me to Richard Hell, Lyres, Flipper, Josef K, Mission of Burma, Crime, Chrome Cranks, Lord High Fixers, Jack O Fire  and others too numerous to mention. And despite his slavish love for the The Fall, the man certainly has taste.

So I bought it, listened to it several times, and came to this conclusion:

Me: They sound like the Birthday Party.

Doc: Nah. They came from a funk angle, Birthday Party came from a rock angle.

Me: Yeah but he yelps like a young Nick Cave but you know less Goth.

Doc: Nah.

Doc was right though. Y has that whole reggae infused punk thing going on. But rather than ham it up like the Clash they made it the underpinning for their angular taut punk poetry. The thing I wasn’t expecting was the jazz seeping throughout some of the tracks (jazz as in Zorn not Monk). Now any band who manage to fuse punk with jazz are fucking clever. To actually make it work is genius. To then make it work by funking it up at the same time makes Y a very special record indeed. If you are reading this then you should probably buy it. Quickly, before the record company bastards delete it again.

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