Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for December, 2009


Sunday, December 20th, 2009


As way of a Christmas present and a tribute to ‘probably’ Bristols finest ever Band, we have uploaded three rare and unique tracks from The Pop Group for you to listen to but not download. Go to  NOW!!

The songs have been re-mastered by another Bristol legend Steve Street and the digital transfers conducted by Adrian at Great Bear.

We think they were recorded in 1979/1980




We are unaware of the source other than to confirm that Simon Edwards from Heartbeat Records had lovingly kept a copy and trusted Bristol Archive with allowing Steve to re-master them for Gareth Sagar who is about to release two solo albums and two Pregnant albums via Bristol Archive. 

We have included text as way of a story from:

Dave Lang (February 1999)

I was driving home from work today, listening to The Pop Group, when it suddenly struck me as to how influential music can be on your moods and emotions, and how it’s so capable of lifting you up when it seems like yet another shitty day of mindless labour and shitawful music has yet again drained your enthusiasm for engagement with the rest of the human race. You see, I work in this big CD distributor warehouse and just about all I hear all day is death metal and techno. Now I have nothing against either genre per se, but they’re just not what I want to hear: they simply don’t connect with me. They communicate nothing. As my parents would say, it’s just a bunch of noise.

So I’m driving home from work, wind blowing in my face, blasting out the Pop Group’s awesome Y LP when it hits me: I’ve always loved this record, it’s got such a creepy, angry yet liberating vibe. I’m feeling better now, almost inspired. Hell, I’d have to say it’s one of the greatest albums ever! Why has practically no-one ever even heard of it? Why do my work colleagues scream in terror when I put it on the stereo in the warehouse?

The Pop Group are admittedly an acquired taste, yet for those of whom they’re the right flavour, they’re one of the greatest bands of all time. I first bought Y when I was 20, after years of hearing it being name-dropped incessantly by everyone from the Minutemen to the Birthday Party to Jello Biafra, and it went under my skin instantly like a nasty rash. I mean that as a compliment. I was going through one of my classic uni-student/art-dada/music-terrorist phases at the time (I mean, surely you’ve experienced that yourself?!), an embarrassing confession, for sure, but the Pop Group was the right music for the right time. They yelled and screamed of injustice and frustration, they spat on the world in disgust, they ranted and raved about Cambodia and The Bomb, and their music was an ungodly, falling-apart mix of dub, Funkadelic, Beefheart and some sort of barely contained dada-esque noise. I was hooked, soon to be obsessed, and whaddya know, here I am 6 years later to tell you about them. So, who were they?

Ready information on the Pop Group is scarce, to say the least. I’ve not once read a comprehensive article on them so I’ll just fill in the gaps and tell you what I know. Featuring five youngsters (we’re talking high-school kids here) from Bristol, England, they formed in 1978 and fairly quickly rose to semi-fame, to the point where they supported Pere Ubu that very year on their summer tour. Inspired by everything from Rimbaud and Burroughs to Yoko Ono, Ornette, Last Poets, James Brown, Can and John Cage, The Pop Group’s main intention was to go beyond the boring stalemate that most British punk at that point had become, to exceed the musical, lyrical and aesthetic cliches of the genre. You could say they were a classic example of a band that was both inspired by, yet in open contempt of, punk rock, or at least what had become of it.

Signing to Radarscope Records in 1979, a fly-by-night label linked up to Warner Brothers, they released their debut 7″, “She Is Beyond Good and Evil.” Not the classic it should’ve been, my advice is to skip the A-side, a dubby, scratchy ode to Nietzsche that sounds a touch too “new wave” to these ears and head straight for the flipside, the aptly-titled “3:38″ (it goes for that long), an excellent Can-ish instrumental that’s part aggro-dub and part screaming, belching keyboard effects. Somewhat comparable to This Heat’s first LP, it still sounds totally ahead of its time. A tough record to find, but well worth it.

OK, now we’re onto their debut LP, Y, once again released on Radarscope and one that was finally given a shamefully belated re-release on CD in 1997. If you can find the original vinyl, which ain’t easy, snap it up quick because it comes with an awesome, and mighty huge, collage poster with their lyrics and various chilling images of the time (Cambodians, Vietnam Vets, various UK/Irish atrocities) and the curious front cover featuring an African tribesman with the band name messily scrawled to the side of him is frame-worthy. Before I say anything of this LP, I should say that I hope it’s the intention of every band that makes a record that they should make a record like this. By that I don’t mean it should sound anything like it, but rather that any truly great album should stand up against the test of time, be capable of being picked up years later by a curious potential fan and bowl them over in the process. Y sounds like a late ’70′s post-punk record, but it doesn’t sound dated; its themes, its rhythms, its sense of anger, despair and frustration are timeless. And no, it’s not “depressing”; on the contrary the ultimate statement it makes is of a desire to lift its head above the misery it speaks of. From “Savage Sea”, a creepy violin/piano opus on side A: “Why should heroes always die in battle. Take the violin, we’re exiles”.

I must have listened to this record nearly a thousand times (I’ve gotta get that CD reissue one day) and I can still say that it sounds unique, no other record possesses such a bizarre sense of paranoia and loathing. What were these young British teenagers thinking when they made it? There are some obvious sonic comparisons, certainly Pere Ubu’s Dub Housing LP of the same period comes to mind, as well as the Birthday Party and the Minutemen (two bands very heavily influenced by Y), yet The Pop Group were all over the place: songs stop half-way through like the band made a mistake, then start again, recording levels go up and down, and instruments fade in and out like a musical collage. At times it sounds amateurish, sloppy, like the Shaggs attempting post-punk, but then everything comes together so tightly on classic moments likes the phenomenal “We Are Time,” a song which truly rates as the stand-out of the album, a seven-minute anthem of biblical proportions, that you’re left wondering why other parts of the record are such a mess. But it works: from the avant-funk of the opening “Thief of Fire” to the tribal dub of “Blood Money” to the ending coda “Don’t Sell You Dreams”, a Birthday Party-ish scrape’n’drone featuring a very sparse guitar and drum accompanied by singer Mark Stewart’s wailing of the title over and over.

Yet it’s also undoubtedly the lyrics to the record that give it such an edge, an edge that was perhaps lost on their subsequent recordings where their sense of outrage became more literal and straightforward in its sloganeering. There’s no clear messages given here, no references to anyone in particular and no real finger-pointing; everything is spoken in riddles like they’ve arisen from the subconscious. Check “Thief of Fire”: “When you’re stealing from a nation of killers / Do I trust myself? / I’m like a tramp in a cage / Flowers in Moscow / Losers take all / All lovers betray”. I’m tempted to rip out the “rock poet” line of baloney here but I shall refrain. However, if I was to use such a line, this’d be the place. Y is a record few know about. One of the most influential records you’ve probably never heard in your life.

If my sense of chronology is correct, I believe the band then moved to Rough Trade and released the classic “We Are All Prostitutes” 7″, undoubtedly their finest single moment. I have a few hundred 7″ singles; they’re tucked away in a dusty old box and every once in a blue moon I’ll have one of those “singles frenzy” days where I’ll play a whole bunch of them in succession. A lot of those records are real good, of course, but fer chrissakes, who can be bothered with the things and now that I think of it, when was the last time I actually bought a 7″?! Anyway, not only is this very 7″ the one that I ALWAYS spin on a single-frenzy day, but it also gets the occasional spin just for the hell of it. In fact, I’d say it’s the best damn 7″ I own.

Beefing up their sound considerably – and propping up their political mouthpieces even further in the lyrical department – this is three minutes of pure urban angst channelled through a unique blend of punk, jazz, funk and noise. Starting with a wolloping, distorted guitar for the opening verse, it then evolves into a bizarre funk-disco rant before finally falling apart and collapsing into a chaotic stew of yelling, violin and saxophone. The lyrics? Try this on for size:

We are all prostitutes
Everyone has their price
And you too will learn to live the lie
Consumer Fascism
Capitalism is the most barbaric of all religions

Etc., etc., you get the idea. Subtle it isn’t, but then again it never fails to get me fisting the air like a fool come play time, so the job is done. Once again produced by reggae “legend” Dennis Bovell (who also did Y, after an aborted session with John Cale), this li’l sucker clears rooms for all the right reasons. The B-side? Try this for a title: “Amnesty International Report on British Army Torture of Irish Prisoners”, which of course is about… well, one guess only. Essentially a bong-hit jazz-noise mess with Mark Stewart quoting the very report in question over the top, it annoys yet soothes, though a far superior “song” version appears on the We Are Time out-takes LP, and for a bit of trivia, the one and only Mike Watt covered this on some Animal Rights benefit record a coupla years back. Sleeve, lyrics, music, content, effort: all a resounding A+.


Up next for perusal is the For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? LP in 1980. Many people like this period of the band better. Myself, I like it all, and this era of the band is, I guess, more “listenable”, as their musicianship tightened up to the point of becoming a fairly white-hot avant-funk-punk outfit sounding a bit like a speed-freak version of Ornette Coleman’s Prime Time or James “Blood” Ulmer’s LP’s from the period. The cover denotes a fairly radical change in direction for the band that follows through to their lyrics as well: this time they’re pissed off. No more subtleties, no more “poetry”, the message is direct. If possible, get the limited-edition LP version of this, which comes wrapped in a huge newspaper featuring various clippings on the atrocities of the day. Also available is a non-limited version with only a basic album sleeve (much easier to find, and much cheaper), or if you’re lucky you’ll stumble across a Japanese CD that also contains their follow-up LP, We Are Time, though I believe that particular item was deleted a few years back.

You could say this record has a groove; in fact, you could quite easily dance to it. That’s my theory. To demonstrate this theory, I once played this at a party at my house a few years ago. Within a couple of songs my brother walked up to me and said, “What the hell is this? People don’t want to hear someone whinging about Cambodia and Third World starvation… put on the Ramones!!” Point taken. I still say you can dance to it, though lyrically and thematically this is about as “heavy” as a record gets. Look at those song titles: “Forces of Oppression”, “Feed the Hungry”, “Justice”, “Rob a Bank”. Now before you start thinking this is all a little heavy handed and been-there/done-that, think more along the lines of, say, the lyrical populism of the Minutemen or the, dare I say, “Situationist”-inspired lyricism of the Gang of Four than the dour humourlessness of Crass and their ilk (no disrespect to Crass, but you know what I mean). For my two cents, it’s the music that matters here, and this is definitely their strong point. Gone is the sloppiness and rampant experimentalism of Y to reveal a tight, disciplined unit that punches out their funk like a punked-up James Brown circa 1970 meets Yoko Ono of the same year.

The musical potpourri contains a mixture of spacious dub (“There Are No Spectators”- now what was I saying about Situationism…), collaged tribalism (“One Out of Many,” actually an old Last Poets vocal dubbed over a funky mess), raucous Ornette-ish free jazz (“Communicate”), anthemic agit-punk (“Rob a Bank”) and seriously righteous near-disco chant (“Justice,” my fave). By this stage the band were playing CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) rallies and generally heeding the call for revolution in no uncertain terms, and whilst this is all respectable behaviour and their music suffered not one bit (like I said, many people prefer this LP over the first) in the meantime, it’s the sense of surrealism of the first LP that I miss. Still, for the record, this may be the best place for newcomers to start as it’s the most accessible, song-based collection of tunes they released.

Up next is their split 7″ with the Slits, “Where There’s A Will”, that’s right, also from 1980. The Slits you know about: the late ’70s all-female punk-dub outfit with John Lydon’s stepdaughter (strange but true!) Ari Up on vocals, and their contribution is pretty OK, but let’s talk about the Pop Group. By this time Mark Stewart and a few others in the band had hooked up with the Sugarhill Gang in New York, the seminal proto-rap ensemble that would later feature on many an On-U Sound record (as would Stewart), their enthusiasm for what was then considered this strange new transatlantic music shines through with a near hip-hop flavour to the proceedings, though all played on real-time instruments of the bass/gtr/drums variety. Actually, a friend of mine claims that the basic riff from this is taken from an old Grandmaster Flash/Sugarhill Gang song, but whatever the hell, it moves along to a very satisfying beat – anti-conscription words and all – and let’s not forget how influential The Pop Group were in incorporating this element into their music, especially in 1980. Only years later with the whole trip-hop phenomanon has the world given The Pop Group their due credit as such innovators. Graced with a nice, and yet again, overtly political sleeve (“Fight Conscription,” photos of Middle Eastern terrorists), this Rough Trade-r is a pain in the ass to find, but again, well worth it.

This is where things get sticky. Exactly when did The Pop Group split up? I’ve read 1980, 1981 and 1982. I’m pretty sure it was 1981. 1982 seems a bit late: post-Pop Group happenings were going on by then, and since I’ve read of gigs by the band throughout the year 1981, I’ll assume they certainly hadn’t split by 1980. All that said, their last effort, their We Are Time LP, from 1981, is considered a posthumous effort and is indeed a grab-bag effort of assorted demo songs and live tracks. Whilst such a description may lend the assumption of unwanted-dogthrowaway material that isn’t worth the time of day, such is not the case here.

We Are Time features various live versions of songs from Y, such as “Thief of Fire” and “We Are Time” – both of which sound excellent and powerful, especially the latter, which emphasises their most obvious Beefheart/free jazz leanings with sax going mad – several never-released live tracks (“Genius or Lunatic,” “Spanish Inquisition”), and numerous previously unreleased studio efforts (“Kiss the Book,” “Sense of Purpose,” “Trap,” a different version of “Amnesty Report,” all of which are exceptional and worthy in their own right of being released as “official product”). Curiously, many of these tracks were recorded in 1978, though they sound vastly different to the sort of material that wound up on their debut LP. Musically, everything moves along in the same direction set by the For How Much Longer… LP: a tight, angular unit steeped in punk, dub, free jazz, funk and Beefheart. Musically, such references have almost become a cliche in this day and age, as every band and their mother go on about their deep love for Miles Davis and Stockhausen and Lee Perry and whoever else, but context is the point here.

The Pop Group were not following a well-trodden blueprint, they were helping to create it. Sure, there were contemporaries like The Fall and Pere Ubu who were mining similar territory, or obvious roots in their sound like the Last Poets, Ornette Coleman and Red Crayola, but it was their unique synthesis of these influences, coupled with their sense of naivety, commitment and passion that makes The Pop Group still stand out today. There were other exceptional bands of the day that combined radical politics with inventive music, whether it was done in a surreal manner like the Swell Maps or in an overt manner like the Minutemen, and brilliant as both of those bands may’ve been, there’s a certain undecipherable angle to The Pop Group’s work. Their lyrics, their sounds, are presented in riddles not merely for the sake of being “artistic.” Rather, they beg you to decode them.

Don’t call me pain
My name is mystery
Don’t call me pain
This is the age of chance
Don’t call me pain
Being afraid is power

- “Don’t Call Me Pain” (off the Y LP)

I’m not here to dissect their discography and give a blow-by-blow description of their “career”. All that is interesting, but it doesn’t compare to the unique power that their recordings possess. Some music has a truly mystifying quality, like it was borne from another planet, and no matter how many times you listen to it, whilst it may instantly CONNECT, you still can’t sort out the puzzles it presents. What do the cryptic lyrics on the Pop Group’s debut LP mean? Why the amateurish cover, huge collaged poster and awesome mess that is the music contained within? I’m no closer to “figuring out” The Pop Group than I was when I first heard them. But what is there to resolve? I feel like one of those thousands of kids who’d sit around for hours trying to decipher what Dylan was saying on Highway 61 or Bringing It All Back home back in the ’60′s.

I saw Dylan play live here earlier this year and he made perfect sense, so maybe if I’d seen The Pop Group live back in 1980, like many others did, on one of those classic post-punk bills featuring the likes of Pere Ubu and Nico, would they make perfect sense to me now? Would they actually hold any fascination for me? Wouldn’t I just consider them another one of those cool post-’78 agit-punk bands that was one out of many? Sometimes mystery can be one of the best qualities about a band. Mystery surrounding The Pop Group is becoming less so: now it’s been widely written on what a huge influence they were on the “trip-hop” scene of Bristol; how guitarist Gareth Sager had a child with Neneh Cherry and his subsequent success with Rip, Rig and Panic; we read of drummer Bruce Smith’s long tenure with Public Image Limited; and then we hear of singer Mark Stewart’s seminal solo records and his long-time involvement with the On-U stable of artists.

I’m glad they’re finally getting some well-earned respect; posthumous noteriety can’t “take them away from me,” as we often feel when our of our favourite bands gains a wider audience, because their music will always mean so much to me. It’s not just the sense of anguish and intensity of their records that’s appealing – after all, such feelings are most often the last thing I want to experience when listening to music. I’ll leave the constant desire for overwhelmingly “intense” sounds up to the death metal/noise crowd; rather, it’s the feeling of connecting with other minds. It’s literally exactly that: communicating. Maybe I just heard their records at the right time in my life – that’s often the case with one’s favourite music – but I can honestly say that The Pop Group’s music is now permanently implanted in my mind: I can’t rid myself of what I’ve heard. Their music is scorching, unrepeatable, timeless and essential.




The Fans – On Tour in Japan April 2010

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

THE FANS Japan Tour 2010!

April 2010,
Friday, 16 Okayama PEPPERLAND (086-253-9758)

OPEN/START to be determined
ADV/DOOR to be determined

17 Saturday Fukuoka Beat Station (092-738-1761)

OPEN/START to be determined
ADV/DOOR to be determined


18 (Sunday) Tokyo Shinjuku Red Cloth (03-3202-5320)

OPEN/START to be determined
ADV/DOOR to be determined

19 (Month) Tokyo Shinjuku Red Cloth (03-3202-5320)

OPEN/START to be determined
ADV/DOOR to be determined

TOTAL INFOMATION:1977 records (03-5213-5277) in 2001 is a single by THE FANS of doors 1977 records than qualified relapse was is sold out immediately and for a long time was 廃盤. This newly discovered three Studio Demo instrument is, and I decided to starting. Also, though, that band dissolved in recent years, and cover their team song BRAHMAN, accepted a new young layer erai popular has gone out. Then the match and the starting of the demo, qualified in the 1 ST & 2 ND singles, and released again until finally Japan has decided!

Is this the release plan three single, 1 ST & 2 ND even general shops from the end of January 2010 sales, but in 1977 records and online shop three single late in December, leading sales will be. Still, this newly released singles sales only 1977 records and online shop.

All Japan member is original is! achieved positive cooperation of the Member from Japan plan. Really is their live? ワクワク I now! incidentally Rob George vocal and guitar is active player!

Text taken from

Fried Egg by Mick Mercer

Friday, December 18th, 2009

THE BEST OF FRIED EGG RECORDS (Bristol 1979 – 1980)

 Bristol Archive Records

I think I may well have to interview Mike Darby about this ceaseless flotilla of Bristol memories his label are releasing because I am not aware of any other town-label existing in the UK (Hyped2death in the States do better than labels here), which is doing what they have. There are towns which merit such attention but I don’t think anyone has got round to it. This time they’ve re-released an old compilation, and added extra tracks. I recall this vaguely from first time around, as I do ‘Avon Calling’, although I recall thinking at the time they weren’t a patch on Brighton’s ‘Vaultage’ series, so let’s see if I was a callow youth and hideously wrong. 

Shoes For Industry’s ‘Jerusalem’ is some spry art-funk with magnificent bass, Pete Brandt’s Method do slinkier funakteering with ‘Positive Thinking’ which is easy to tune out rather than drown in. Art Objects do some jaunty indie with a sprig of hi-life in its had. That’s ‘Hard Objects’, then Exploding Seagulls scamper around singing the idiotic, twanging ‘Johnny Runs For Paregoric’ and you want to slap them. Wild Beasts offer fine punky pop in ‘Minimum Maximum’, Shoes For Industry’s (presumably) ironically xenophobic ‘Invasion Of The French Boyfriends’ is momentarily interesting in a surreal Pennies From Heaven style, then it dribbles along endlessly. Yawn. The Various Artists’ ‘Original Mixed Up Kid’ is like a soppy version of The Jam. The Stingrays liven things up with some light-hearted garagey pop in ‘Exceptions’, which the artwork has in the wrong order, The Fans fidget and ooze beneath the ska-reggae clouds of ‘Following You’, then The Various Artists lilt airily through the reggae infused froth of ‘Unofficial Secrets.’ The Untouchables sound just like schoolkids playing r’n’b should in ‘Keep on Walking’, which is fun, and Electric Guitars unravel lustily though the sharp-edged indie jangling of ‘Continental Shelf.’ So not a fabulous collection, although doubtless a decent appraisal of what was happening and available for a compilation at the time. (In other words, I was right.)Naturally the CD and digital version comes stuffed full of extras. Such as these.

The Fans come over all unnecessarily chirpy in the pouting posturing ‘Giving Me That Look in Your Eye’, The Stingrays sound bizarrely puny for such a good band in ‘Countdown’, like a welterweight Carpettes, but Art Objects are pulsating neatly in ‘Fit of Pique’ until the comic timing of the vocals turns out to be awful and drags it down. Electric Guitars splash about fruitily for ‘Health’, with the Viceroys demo for ‘Angels In The Rain’ coming on like a West Country Springsteen, and actually it isn’t bad. The Various Artists create something special and enigmatic in the doomed romance of ‘Stephens Body’, and the quality is sustained by a terse and demented demo for Electric Guitars’ ‘Work’ before Shoes For Industry redeem themselves with the strangely successful dithering of ‘Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon.’

Taken from


Happy Christmas

Friday, December 18th, 2009



As 2009 comes to a close it’s that time when we review the years releases and thank some special people for their support.

Bristol Archive Records has gone from strength to strength since launch and the genuine enthusiasm from the bands never ceases to amaze us. Virtually without exception everyone has entered into the spirit of the label – ‘to provide an historical account of Bristol bands and to ensure that the talented ones are never forgotten.’

We are lucky to be able to confirm the following artists records were released during 2009:


TESCO CHAINSAW MASSACRE      THE CORTINAS   THE DELEGATES                   THE HARPOONS                             THE HOMECOMING                          THE INANE                    THE LONG MARCH       THE MEDIA                    THE NUMBERS              THE PIGS          THE PRIMATES                      THE ROYAL ASSASSINS                           THE SIDNEYS                    THE SPICS           THE STINGRAYS           THE UNTOUCHABLES                      THE X-CERTS      TROPICAL HEARTS      WHITE HOTEL     WUSHCATTE


As we look forward to 2010 we have our first cd release:

‘The Best of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979-1980) with sleeve notes from Andy Leighton. The record is available now to pre order from:                    

We have three other cd releases planned which we are currently working on:

AVON CALLING 2   with sleeve notes from Simon Edwards

BRISTOL – THE PUNK EXPLOSION          with sleeve notes by Shane Baldwin

THE BRISTOL RECORDER with sleeve notes from Thomas  Brooman CBE

We are also delighted to confirm that THE CORTINAS will release a double album ‘Anthology ‘via Cherry Red Records, this will give us the opportunity to release a Cortinas album on vinyl (Limited edition)     in the spring.

The label couldn’t exist without the support of all the artists but special thanks must go to Steve Street, Paul Whitrow, Bill Gilbert, Geoff at Artworking, Ryan at Shellshock, Simon Edwards, Adrian at Great Bear and Nick Darby.

Have a great time over the Christmas break and look forward to more fantastic releases coming your way very soon.

Mike Darby

On behalf of the Team

The Best of Fried Egg Records – Album Reviews

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Record Collector Review:

Various Artists – The Best Of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979-1980)

Sunny side up, despite a bit of attitude


The Bristol scene always had plenty going for it, from the city’s uniquely West Country vibrancy to the perennial Ashton Court free festival, not to mention its competitive spirit with outlying areas Bath and Warminster’s own punk-inspired agents provocateurs. So if this is a collection of bands now largely forgotten outside of their hometown, it’s still not difficult to hear the multi-cultural urban bohemianism that lit their fires and informed their output.

Andy Leighton’s Fried Egg label, active for the short time span of this compilation’s title, was to the fore of Bristol’s indefatigable and diverse spirit. That possibly the most significant development among the represented bands is that Art Objects morphed into The Blue Aeroplanes is no matter; and let’s neither worry that, like The Crystal Theatre actors troupe, recorded here as ska punk hybrid Shoes For Industry, haranguing us for being “unaware of everything they’ve got prepared” in their anti-politics tirade Jerusalem, these are lyrically of their moment.

Revel in the days when someone could rant about “the economy being a blunt instrument against the poor” and fire up the masses – or at least their corner of the long gone Tiffanys or Carwardines. Provincial punk. Cracking.


Bristol Archive | ARC 119 CD

Reviewed by Ian Abrahams


Out now.
SOUNDS LIKE? Well, it’s old, forgotten music, innit? Turn of the eighties old, the kinda stuff that was being independently released when Ian Dury was giving out reasons to be cheerful, and Ian Curtis was tying his last knot. It was when Punk was becoming New Wave, before Factory invented The Hacienda and Madness wore baggy trousers, and after The Sex Pistols swore on television and Bowie released everything that pissed on his seventies career. It was a time when anything was possible, or seemed so, that was until Bristol got involved and everyone ignored them.

It was a time of great change and possibilities, a time when everyone could be and wanted to be a rock star. You no longer needed talent, tuneful songs or garish costumes, no, you needed clever managers, shouty songs and dirty ripped up bondage gear, but everyone thought you just needed to get out there and gig gig gig. So they did. In their own cities, with the arbitrary trip to play some London dive that everyone thought was cool. And when you look at it like that, not much has changed. Same shit, different decade, but come on, this is music land, nothing much changes apart from the bands stay the same age and everyone else grows up and gets nostalgic for when they were the same age too.
So that’s the market this compilation is going for. Nostalgics and historians, young bands who need educating on what has come before and those who were around back then but couldn’t find one of the three copies that were pressed at the time.
None of the bands on this compilation were influential, more influenced by what was around them. If you like the New Wave sound and want to discover some bands that were part of what made the Eighties sound the way it did, then check this compilation, it’s worthy of a listen if only to let you know that there have been copyists and bandwagoners around for as long as music has been around.  There’s a difference between being historic and being timeless, and this compilation straddles the former category.

Taken form –


Various artists- The Best of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979 – 1980) Review by Rob S


Celebrating the varied fruits of Bristol’s Post punk/punk/pop/etc scene at the tail end of the seventies, ‘The Best Of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979-1980)’ does exactly what it says on the tin. At the time, Bristol based Fried Egg records played host to the crème de la crème of local talent (I.e., a slightly bizarre mix of resolutely un-commercial, experimental and idiosyncratic artists of all ages and denominations,) and this collection features a number of the most memorable and oddly compelling acts to emerge from this brief period of convention flouting creativity, including bands such as The Various Artists, Art Objects and brilliantly named Exploding Seagulls.

Yes, this is as strange a listen as you might hear this side of David Lynch’s brain… eccentric, quintessentially British, and an essential listen for those who witnessed the short lived phenomenon first hand, as well as musical historians and music fans who lament the loss of song titles such as ‘Johnny Runs For Paregoric’ and ‘Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon.’ Like in much music from the period, there’s genius (of a sort) to be found here… let’s pop this one under ‘cult listen/acquired taste’ shall we?Rating Out of 10:



-  Genre: ‘Indie’ –  Release Date: ’1st February 2010′-  Catalogue No: ‘ARC119CD’


Our Rating:


Bristol has generated enough seismic music to resonate for several lifetimes still to come. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking of the quick body blow it landed thanks to The Cortinas during the Punk era, or the way it turned Art-Pop inside out with crazed Marxist militants The Pop Group, or inveigled its’ way into the charts with Pigbag. And, on a bigger scale, the way it defined the Trip-Hop genre thanks to the combined efforts of Massive Attack, Portishead and Tricky.As with all such fascinating scenes, though, it’s often when you move away from the headline-makers and into the smaller print that the most intriguing characters begin to surface. I’ve no idea whether Fried Egg’s mysterious head honcho Andy Leighton (who has allegedly disappeared since inheriting a Caribbean island) would care to be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Factory’s Tony Wilson or Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis, but the 11 tunes (plus a further clutch of magical additional tracks) can only make this reviewer wonder how on earth Fried Egg’s coterie of wonderfully individualistic releases never came to bother the scorers on a wider scale.Possibly it was Leighton’s diversity that sank him. Three decades on, of course, words like ‘eclectic’ are welcomed in like long lost friends, but back in 1979 his ability to cherry pick the best of whatever floated his boat may have confused a lot of people. However, ‘The Best of Fried Egg Records’ proves he was right all along. It’s a glorious selection of single-minded talents doing their thang with scant regard for career or fortune and most of it sounds fantastic today.If (like me) you’re long enough in the tooth, you might remember a few of Fried Egg’s movers and shakers. SHOES FOR INDUSTRY and Gerard Langley’s pre-Blue Aeroplanes outfit ART OBJECTS I recall from many an hour in the company of John Peel’s show, while the long-lost (and brilliant) ELECTRIC GUITARS almost cracked it with the serrated genius of their single ‘Work (included here in fully-furnished demo mode), but it turns out a whole load more great gear was lurking within Fried Egg’s long-dormant archive all the time.Like Manchester, Bristol has always appreciated the importance of the dance floor. This is a tenet both SHOES FOR INDUSTRY and PETE BRANDT’S METHOD clearly understood. SFI weigh in with one of the album’s major stand-outs courtesy of ‘Jerusalem.’ It may be influenced by William Blake’s hymn of the same name, but SFI’S ‘Jerusalem’ is a pock-marked state of the nation address (“your goose is cooked, your coffin booked/ no detail has been overlooked”) which may relate to the early days of the Thatcher regime, but sounds equally relevant today. It’s not quite as out-there as The Pop Group or as taut as the Gang of Four, but it’s no less memorable for that. PETE BRANDT’S METHOD follow up with ‘Positive Thinking’ is another one whose spine is the bassline, though its’ Roxy Music-style cool is a seduction of a more sophisticated kind.





Elsewhere, Leighton clearly had an ear for cool New Wave pop. To this end, witness THE WILD BEASTS (not to be confused with Leeds’ theatrical Glamsters) whose charming ‘Minimum Maximum’ reminds me of the equally long-lost Freshies. Arguably even better are both THE FANS, whose fine Stalker anthem ‘Following You’ has bags of tuneful charisma and THE VARIOUS ARTISTS, whose ‘Original Mixed Up Kid’ certainly should have gone Top 20 in a world which took The Jags’ ‘Back of my Hand’ to its’ heart. That it didn’t is truly mystifying.Elsewhere, I assume Gerard Langley may well be referring to his own ART OBJECTS project when he mentions “a performance poet backed by college rockers who were also Bristol’s premier pop band”, and certainly their track ‘Hard Objects’ is blissfully off-kilter and swings gloriously into the bargain. THE STINGRAYS, meanwhile, treat us to their genius, low-watt Eddy Cochrane and heroic courtesy of ‘Exceptions’ (love it!); THE UNTOUCHABLES strut their Dr. Feelgood-meets-Stones R’n’B raunch on ‘Keep on Walking’ and the immortally-named EXPLODING SEAGULLS deconstruct Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and concoct itchy suburban Pop of the first water with the madcap ‘Johnny Runs for Paregoric.’ Squawk!Whether Fried Egg could have survived in a world ruled by the mainstream and hard-headed business decisions is doubtful, especially if Gerard Langley’s informed press release is to be taken at face value. However, their fearless eclecticism and devil may care attitude is gloriously represented with this ‘Best of’ collection and suggests Andy Leighton’s singular vision has been neglected for far too long.




author: Tim Peacock

Love Jungle Album Review

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Welcome To The House Where The Extras Are Free
Bristol Archive Records

Love Jungle brought out this cheeky album and a decent 12” EP with a lot of other stuff unreleased, which was a shame as they had real potential during the late 80’s indie whirlpool of colliding opposites. Sadly the labels were all looking for dance crossover bands at the time and something like this curiously gritty pop quartet missed out. They’d come out of the excellent Fear Of Darkness where Neil Darby was the guitar lynchpin and Angela had been an interesting addition on backing vocals, and that sense of ebullient melodic control continued here.


‘Wasn’t There Something’ gets whisked initially by frisky darting guitar, then the leisurely grand vocals ascend the sturdy stairs of a confident chorus. A lithe thing it’s all glittery and soft when some more dive-bombing bass and drums would have added real dynamics, but it’s very Popinjays! (This is always A Good Thing.) ‘Am I Good Enough’ is much snappier and with a decent production could have been a hit, but viewed retrospectively it’s a bit weird. Great ideas, sweet song, but the harder element is clearly negated by the winsome elements. ‘Cast Adrift’ bubbles with MTV-friendly guitar nibbles and a sliding gliding feel while creamy vocals smother the surface. Once again you realise this could have been even better because it lingers long, but seems almost too busy.

‘Blue Skies’ has the starkness the earlier songs lack and it jars and jostles brilliantly. The vocals are meaner, with the same wafting backing, but the tougher, blunter approach suits them well. ‘That’s The Way’ is easy going and efficient indie pop with a gently glazed chorus again, which they seemed to churn out so easily. Ditto the brightly swaying ‘Between The Poles’ which would have benefited from more shadow, as they do drift by rather absent-mindedly. Being weirder, stiller and pained ‘I Really Don’t Care’ is immediately intriguing, although the aerated nature of Angela’s vocals are sometimes a little too grating. More sensibly grounded, she bustles through ‘This Covenant’ which seems almost hesitant about allowing the guitar to stamp its identity on the son g, which it’s crying out for.

They were much tougher live, and while this polite selection remains charming it also shows how trying to appeal to major label tastes can leave a band in quasi-limbo.

Taken from

The Best of Fried Egg Records – Another album review!

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Various artists- The Best of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979 – 1980) Review by Rob S


Celebrating the varied fruits of Bristol’s Post punk/punk/pop/etc scene at the tail end of the seventies, ‘The Best Of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 1979-1980)’ does exactly what it says on the tin. At the time, Bristol based Fried Egg records played host to the crème de la crème of local talent (I.e., a slightly bizarre mix of resolutely un-commercial, experimental and idiosyncratic artists of all ages and denominations,) and this collection features a number of the most memorable and oddly compelling acts to emerge from this brief period of convention flouting creativity, including bands such as The Various Artists, Art Objects and brilliantly named Exploding Seagulls. Yes, this is as strange a listen as you might hear this side of David Lynch’s brain… eccentric, quintessentially British, and an essential listen for those who witnessed the short lived phenomenon first hand, as well as musical historians and music fans who lament the loss of song titles such as ‘Johnny Runs For Paregoric’ and ‘Sheepdog Trial Inna Babylon.’ Like in much music from the period, there’s genius (of a sort) to be found here… let’s pop this one under ‘cult listen/acquired taste’ shall we?

Rating  7/10:

Taken from


Moskow – The Crescent Demos Review

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

Bristol Archive Records

Here’s a weird one, and it is odd, when you check the biog details and somewhere Dave Luckhurst seems to have vanished, who I know was in the band and should still have been there when these demos were recorded, during November 1978. Also in this picture you will see Trevor Tanner (then Trevor Flynn) and Jan Kalicki, both bound for The Bolshoi.


‘Man From UNCLE’ was always one of my favourites of the perkier post-punk no hit wonders – I still have it somewhere – but here it’s a curiously joyless exercise, brash drums, droll bass and bunged up vocals with a few subdued guitar sprays. ‘Where’s Daddy’ has some very unusual, cheeky lyrics between spells of nimble guitar and certainly keeps you guessing.
“And again fatty…” introduces ‘Dining Is An Emotion’, which does appear weight-related as the constipated song lolls quietly. ‘Name, Rank And Number’ is a drab spot of anti-militaristic tonguery-pokery, and that’s it


Taken from

The Cortinas – Anthology

Friday, December 4th, 2009


We can confirm that The Cortinas Anthology will be released on Cherry Red Records in the New Year in the form of a double cd.

The album will contain the whole history of the band and include the two Step Forward singles, a John Peel session. the true Romances album for CBS and the two Bristol Archive album, ‘Please Don’t Hit Me’ and ‘For Fucks Sake Plymouth’

We’ll suppy more information on the release date as and when we know 

Order On Line Now – The Best Of Fried Egg Records CD Album

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
The album is now available to preorder from PLAY.COM

It will appear on all other internet retailers over the next couple of weeks