Bristol Archive Records Blog

Archive for July, 2010

The Pigs to support 999

Saturday, July 24th, 2010


The Pigs have confirmed a home town support slot in Bristol for Friday November 5th supporting the legendary 999. The venue is The Fleece and there will be a Punk club night until 2am.

Put a note in the diary 

The Pop Group – New Website

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

Check out  NOW!!

Bristol Boys make more noise!!

July News Flash:

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

New Vinyl Release

The Pigs album ‘1977’ is now available to pre-order from our Record Shop



Released on 4th October 2010


100 Copies will have a special Limited Edition Insert featuring stories and exclusive pictures


“When we finally got to see The Cortinas at the Granary – up till then we had them down as more of the Feelgood thing – wow we really got the message!! And that’s what did it. It was so energizing, it felt like we had to get our band started the next day, the same night probably. The Punk train came and we all jumped on it, like a lot of people did, but we were the first ones on in Bristol, after The Cortinas.”

So says guitarist Kit Gould, who indeed formed The Pigs with drummer Ricky Galli, bassist Nigel Robinson and singer Eamonn McAndrew, in time to release the second Bristol Punk single to hit the shops after said Cortinas debut.

New Bristol Records was set up after the band supported Generation X at Chutes, where they met Miles Copeland. “We decided to set it up, it was our idea, with Vernon and John (their managers), and he just went along with it”, says Kit. “Now, looking back, it’s obvious that if Miles Copeland’s going to pay for you to do a recording, he’s not just donating it to you so you can set up your own label, whereas at the time that seemed like an entirely realistic proposition. It’s just naïve kids really that don’t have a clue about the music business. Miles Copeland came on board, he was our London connection.”

The band went into Sound Conception Studio on 12 August 1977 and recorded their whole set, from which four tracks were selected for the ‘Youthanasia’ EP. It gained airplay on John Peel’s show and sales were reasonable, but it proved to be their only release. They continued to gig regularly, including two more shows with The Cortinas, a support slot with Siouxsie and the Banshees at Barton Hill Youth Club, and even a headliner at the legendary (but by that time sadly ailing), Roxy, on 13 January 1978 with Open Sore and The Heat, but they called it a day the following March.

And now we are proud to give you, for the first time, all eleven tracks that the band recorded at Sound Conception, on lovely vinyl, in a rather dinky sleeve.


Avon Calling 2 is now available to pre-order from our Record Shop



Released worldwide on 23rd August 2010



In 1979, Bristols’ music scene was riding the crest of the new wave, spawning numerous bands and performers whose influences and indeed physical beings have gone on to feature in some of todays’ big music makers.

During this period local musician Simon Edwards decided to form Bristols’ first independent label, Heartbeat Records, to capture all the excitement and get Bristols’ music out beyond the M32.

With so many bands to choose from the label set about releasing a series of 7” singles, and such was the demand realised by these that a compilation LP featuring fifteen of these bands was released. The album, topically titled AVON CALLING went on to achieve near legendary status – even hailed by John Peel as “truly superb, the compilation that all others should be judged by”.

Such was the interest in the album that the bands involved continued to supply the label with demo tapes, and the lucky ones went on to release more singles, even 12” EP’s and ultimately LP’s.  The sheer volume of demos and the eventual logistical constraints of “just how many records can one man put out in a year” meant that only a few would actually see further releases – though the content was in most cases nothing short of superb.

Label boss Edwards openly admits to continually returning to many of the songs purely

just to listen and enjoy some “bloody good music”.  Long has it been his ambition to put together an album of these songs – for no other reason but to get them out there where they belong, so they can at last be heard by others and the bands once more be applauded for making such exciting and essential sounds.

Well, the dream has finally been realised and Bristol Archive Records have given him the platform to finally release AVON CALLING 2, a collection of previously unreleased recordings from the vaults of  Bristols’ Heartbeat Becords.  Featured bands include EUROPEANS, APARTMENT, SNEAK PREVIEW, JOE PUBLIC, 48 HOURS, ESSENTIAL BOP, THE DIRECTORS, THE X-CERTS and SOCIAL SECURITY.

This new album full of forgotten treasures will sit perfectly along side the original AVON CALLING release and go some way to completing the story of just what was happening in Bristol back in 1979/1980 and how the music sounds as relevant today as it did back then.


We have cd versions of The Cortinas ‘Mk 1’ and The Pigs ‘1977’ available from the Record Shop. These are highly collectable miniature versions of the album sleeves made by Sam Giles. They are strictly limited editions.


The Seers

Available from the 26th July as download albums we have for the first time ever two brand new releases from the mighty


Live in Europe 1990 and Live in Bristol 1991

The Roots of the Seers lie in two places; Bristol (obviously) and Billericay (not so obviously). Leigh Wildman grew up in Billericay and it was there he met Jason Collins, a guitarist from nearby Brentwood. They had spent some time in bands around the Essex region and they, along with a few friends, had decided to up sticks and try somewhere else. At the suggestion of one of their number, Bristol was decided upon, and a mini Essex invasion took place in the summer of 1984.


Loads more coming your way next month, keep checking back


Mike and The team

Beginnings of the Bristol Beat

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

July 23rd, 2008 / 

Gil Gillespie traces the city’s modern music back to its roots 30 years ago…

If there was any kind of music scene in Bristol before 1977, his name was Russ Conway and he liked to play piano. In fact, it wasn’t until the jagged edges of new wave began to cut the shock tactics out of the punk movement that the first serious local bands began to emerge from their Clifton and Redland hideaways. So we’ll make 1977 our starting point for a tour of the Bristol music scene.

First out of the blocks were The Cortinas, four sneering teenagers in torn blazers not long out of grammar school sixth form. Fittingly, their feisty and dangerously energetic double A-sided single ‘Fascist Dictator/Television Families’ set the standard that others would have to follow. And sure enough, by the middle of 1979, hundreds of nervy young punk bands were popping up all over town. A fanzine called Loaded sprang up in support like a regional Sniffin’ Glue. Suddenly, there were six or seven live venues with the Guildhall Tavern in Broad Street at the epicentre of the punk scene. Then Heartbeat Records released the Social Security EP which featured four irreverent dum-dum bullets, including the immortal I’m Addicted to Cider.

Bristol was up and running as a music town. The fledgling label followed its debut release with another excellent single, The Europeans, by The Europeans. The Europeans became the first but certainly not the last Bristol band to be linked with a major record deal that never quite came off. The likes of the Pigs, the X-Certs, Joe Public and the Numbers all followed. Aggressive, confrontational upstarts all.

But from here on in, the sound of young Bristol splintered in several different directions. There was the wheel-spinning R&B in the shape of 14-year-old rebel-rousers the Untouchables. There were experimental types such as Art Objects, Glaxo Babies and Essential Pop. Black Roots introduced the dub influence while Shoes For Industry volunteered to be ringmaster for weird circus rock and confirmed their status by getting the lead singer to wear an inside-out brain on his head. And most controversially of all, Melanie, the daughter of Bristol City manager ‘Alan-Alan-Alan’ Dicks did a puty Wendy James type of thing for a band called Double Vision. Ashton Court Festival became a canvass for the city’s eclectic range of characters. The Wurzels were not welcome.

But lording it over this newly built sonic kingdom were the mightiest of all the pre-Nineties Bristolian hollerers, the Pop Group. How good were the Pop Group? Well, when Nick Cave and his growling Birthday Party entourage first landed on these shores in 1980, they spent every night going to gigs all over the capital but were shocked and disappointed by the limp, bloodless bands they found. Then one night he saw the Pop Group. The experience changed his life. As part of Channel 4’s Music of the Millennium series, Cave chose We Are All Prostitutes as his favourite piece of music of all time. “The beginning of the record is the greatest start of any record, ever,” claims the awesome Aussie. And you wouldn’t want to disagree with him.

This is why it’s the Pop Group who are cited as being the biggest influence on what became known as the Bristol Sound. Even if it’s not all that easy to see why or how, they laid the foundations for Massive Attack. The Pop Group, y’see, made a fearsome chaotic noise that was always experimental and sometimes unlistenable. Their first single, She is Beyond Good and Evil, might have been as infectious as it was deeply disturbing, but much of the Y album sounded like a load of out-of-time clanging and primeval hollering, interrupted by the occasional blast of raucous feedback. These elements burned on a fire already white hot with punk, funk and thunderous dub to make a protest music completely out on its own.

So what does all this have to do with the birth of the Wild Bunch and everything that followed them? Crucially, Mark Stewart’s unholy Pop Group crew were the first to assimilate the city’s black, or more accurately, Rasta counter-culture into their social life, their worldview, and ultimately their sound. Back then music allowed you to define your enemies more clearly. “With the roots worldview…the feeling of spiritual uplift was undeniable,” says singer Stewart of his dub days. As if this wasn’t significant enough, the band also spent their youth going to clubs and listening to dance beats. “We were like the Bristol funk army,” recalls Stewart. “We’d go to clubs and dance to records by T-Connection, BT Express, Fatback Band, all this heavy bassline funk.”

This is how the Pop Group invented the politics of dancing. It was a warped, out-of-shape boogie, but a boogie none the less. “They even used to dance in the most peculiar way,” remembers one fan. Sadly, by the time they’d made their third album For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder? all the incendiary radicalism had got out of control. Maybe it’s best to let the band explain. “We were creating a wall of noise for the lyrics to fight against,” sighs drummer Dan Katsis. “We were challenging the production process, disrespecting the machines.”

Something, inevitably, had to give, and the six memebers went their separate ways. Gareth Singer formed the distinctly patchy Rip Rig and Panic, bassist Simon Underwood sought relief in the happy honking of jazz-funkers Pigbag and had a top 20 hit, and Mark Stewart sank still deeper into the well of nihilistic creativity in which he had always prospered.

They were only around for two years or so but the Pop Group cast one hell of a long shadow. There were a lot of bands who found themselves permanently stuck in the shade. Performance art, free festival politics, second-hand clothes, a vibrant live scene and copious amounts of free drugs all played their part in a shift towards an artier and more offbeat order. If you can track down any copies of the compilation albums Avon Calling, Fried Egg-Bristol 1979-1981, Wavelength/Bristol Recorder 1979-1980, or Western Stars Vol 1-The Bands That Built Bristol (now on Sugar you can hear for yourself. It’s from this increasingly bohemian atmosphere that Gerard Landley’s first band the Art Objects sprang.

What we didn’t know then is that Bristol was about to rewind to a second year zero. This time it began down amoung the funk jams and scratched beats of the St. Paul’s cafe sound system scene. With the fragments of post-punk scattered all over the place and pulsing electronic dub everywhere, something truly remarkable began to bubble to the surface.The Slits made an unlikely union with Dennis Bovell, the Clash raised swords with Mikey Dread, and the Specials united black and white to fight against anyone who wanted to make something of it. Bristol had reggae collectives Talisman, Black Roots and Restriction. At the Dug out on Park Row, DJs were lining up Chaka Khan against Superfly Soul as the first blasts of urban hip-hop began to filter from across the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, somewhere around town, Robert Del Naja was getting arrested for decorating walls with a spraycan. Soon he joined Nellee Hooper, Daddy G and Milo Johnson in a hip-hop collective called the Wild Bunch. That same year, St. Paul’s Carnival played host to a number of heavily-amped crews such as 3 Stripe Posse, 2Bad, City Rockers, UD4 and FBI Crew. But bigger and bolder than the rest were the Wild Bunch, who blocked off Campbell Street with their colossal, towering bass bins. The band’s reputation spread by word of mouth and they were invited to play at London’s Titanic Club. Then they set up residency on Wednesday nights at the Dugout, spinning 12 inches, rapping over the top, heads nodding eerily in time.

Hindsight has given the Wild Bunch a legendary status in modern music folklore. But Milo’s retrospective album, Story of a Soundsystem, suggested this is as much myth as reality. It’s party music, full of sax burps, cheesy disco jangles and it is very much of its time. Robert Del Naja puts his own perspective on the Wild Bunch. “People always ask us about the Wild Bunch,” he says.”But the truth is it’s just history to us now. I don’t know why people go on about it so much.”

No, the first truly staggering thing the Wild Bunch ever did was to become Massive Attack. And the first thing Massive Attack ever did was to take a giant leap ahead of anything else that had ever come before. Daydreaming is one of the most startlingly original and self-assured debut singles ever made. Even now it sounds as fresh and as relevant as it did back in the early Nineties. And there was so much more to come.

From its majestic opening line-’Midnight rockers, city slickers, gun men and maniacs’- it was obvious the Blue Lines album was going to be a classic. Three hit singles-Daydreaming, Safe From Harm and Unfinished Sympathy- propelled the band right across the globe. At the same time, they redefined what dance music could be. As 3D put it at the time : “We’re not just interested in making something for people to throw their arms and legs about to on a dancefloor.”

Everything had changed. Suddenly, Bristol was being talked about as the ‘coolest city on the planet’. Then someone, somewhere in the media, labelled the sound ‘trip-hop’ – a supposedly softer, near-ambient version of hip-hop unique to the South West. Apparently. And within minutes, the city was overrun by gangs of A&R clowns frantically searching for the next Bristol Sound sure things. Not only was the local music mafia not talking, they were also trying to get as far away from the term as possible.

This is an extract from the music chapter in The Naked Guide to Bristol by Gil Gillespie, published by Naked Guides Ltd, ISBN 9780954417765 (

Taken from:

Martin Moss – Fund Raising – HELP IF YOU CAN

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Martin Moss, musician, singer songwriter and Entertainments Manager of was diagnosed with bowel cancer in September 2009. Unfortunately the cancer had already spread to his liver.

Two operations and 6 months of chemotherapy later, Martin is well and has stayed positive and uncomplaining throughout his ordeal. The tumour in the bowel has been removed, but sadly the liver tumours are too extensive to be surgically removed, and chemotherapy can only work for a limited time.

The music community in Bristol is raising funds for this great guy whose early releases can be found on this label – check: The Headlines and Tropical Hearts

The Pop Group Return For Two London Shows

Friday, July 16th, 2010



The Pop Group return after nearly thirty years to play a small amount of club dates to “blow the dust off the old songs and pick up where we left off.”

These initial dates serve as a brief introduction to a new generation
of the band’s signature caustic Molotov dub funk that manifested
itself into only two albums that went on to sporn a whole genre.

Formed in Bristol in 1978, The Pop Group were for many the first and the last après punk band. After two seminal albums ‘Y’ and ‘For How Much Longer Must We Tolerate Mass Murder’ the group split in 1981.

“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 2010 line-up features all original members, Mark Stewart (vocals), Gareth Sager (Guitar, Keys, Sax), Bruce Smith (Drums),  Dan Catsis (Bass).

ATP are proud to present The Pop Group over two nights at The Garage, London. Tickets are on sale now, full info below…

ARTIST: The Pop Group
SUPPORT ACT: Special guest DJ T.B.C.
VENUE: The Garage, London, UK
: Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th September 2010
: £17.50 + bf
20-22 Highbury Corner, London, N5 1RD
VENUE TELEPHONE: 0844 847 1678
AGE RESTRICTIONS: Strictly over 14s. Under 16s need to be accompanied by an adult (ID required for entry)

DOORS OPEN: 7.00pm
CURFEW: 10pm Saturday, 11pm Sunday


Stargazer – Raise money for charity

Friday, July 9th, 2010

There will be a significant amount of ex Stargazer band members at 
this year’s Party On The Hill event in Bristol.

Please see the website:
The aim is to raise money for the Bristol Children’s Hospital.
2010 will be our 10th anniversary of running the event.
Just in from a gig now.
Midweek gigs tend to be Americana singer/ songwriter type shows.
Check out the website:

Labour of Love – Record Collector Feature on Bristol Archive Records

Friday, July 9th, 2010


Bristol Archive Records


‘Provincial punks pogo local’


Why start a label?


Having been in a band in 198O and managing acts throughout the mid-80s, a label seemed the natural progression. I’ve run the Sugar Shack imprint since 1985, primarily concentrating on new rock music. Bristol Archive is a subsidiary of that. We aim to showcase music from Bristol’s diverse scene and provide a historical document for all things Bristolian.


When and how did it start?


ln  20O1, when we released Western Stars.’ The Bands That Built Bristol’ on CD, which featured acts form 1978-81. That record didn’t sell very well, so there was no follow up until a friend of mine, Vice Squad’s guitarist Dave Bateman, died two years ago. Bristol is quite rightly known for the success of Massive Attack! Portishead, Tricky, Smith & Mighty and Roni Size, but l thought

that there ought to be a library documenting those that support the

local music scene at its roots. lf you live in Bristol you’ll know that there’s a giant web of people who were in bands throughout the post-punk period, and many are still very active.


Was lt a financial struggle?


Running a record label is a labour of love; you only ever make money if you get very lucky. lt’s always been a drain on the finances and there’s no sign that this will change. Fortunately, I have a great team working with me, which means that we’ve kept costs to a minimum.


What labels lnfluenced you?


Heartbeat, Wavelength,

Recreational, Shoc Wave, Fried

Egg, Nubian and Black Roots.


Who are your competitors?


We don’t have any as we’re unique.There can’t be another city in the world reissuing its entire back catalogue with the support of the

artists and the original label owners.


Why the name?


Obviously the label’s about archive material which comes form Bristol – or the immediate sunounding areas,such as Bath and Cheltenham.


What’s your guiding principle?


It’s all about history. Yes, the music is vitally important, but it’s about the people as much as the songs. You’ll find stories in the People/Fanzines section of our website from individuals that weren’t in bands but were part of the scene. There are also downloadable PDFs of fanzines.


Can you sum up your output?


Three CD releases to date: Western Stars; The Bands That

Built Bristol, The Best Of Fried Egg Records (Bristol 7979-80) and

Bristol: The Punk Exploslon. New CDs in production include Avon

Cailing 2 and the best of the Heartbeat, Bristol Recorder and

Wavelength labels. We’ve also put out 155 digital releases in two

years and have a limited edition vinyl from The Cortinas, Mk I

(reviewed this month on page 82).


Without them, the label wouldn’t have had the kick-start it needed.

l’m indebted to the band and Nick Sheppard in particular.


How do you find new acts?


We should be talking about finding old ones, but through word of mouth and via friends of friends. I’ve got a reasonable memory; lots of detective work tracking people down, asking them to look in the loft or under their bed for recordings they made 30 years ago. Virtually everyone is thrilled that I’m interested, they’re incredibly

positive and want to be part of the archive.


How important is the Iook and packaging of your records?


Not that important, as most are digital-only, so there’s only ever a

front sleeve. With the CDs and vinyl it’s a different ball game, as we’ve tried to maintain a look and feel from the time, using old images, pictures, posters, etc. Recently, we’ve got Sam Giles on board, who’s a brilliant designer.


What are your future plans for expanding the label?


Alongside more vinyl releases and an ever-expanding website, we have a series of books in the pipeline, in partnership with Tangent Books. These will be picture/photo-based and by photographers from the scene.


As told to Jason Draper





Published in Record Collector Edition 143

The Cortinas Album Review – Record Collector

Friday, July 9th, 2010

The Cortinas

MK1     ***/5

Bristol Archive ARC 755 V LP


Engines turn-over once more for Bristol punks.Though they certainly couldn’t claim to have been a part of the upper echelons of the original surge of punk (their most significant moments being a support slot for The Stranglers at the Roxy in early ’77 at the

bequest of Hugh Cornwell and a memorable single in Fascist

Dictator), The Cortinas certainly did everything required of them.


Remembered for being the first punk band out of Bristol, they fired out a couple of 45s on the Step Forward label, both of which appear on this limited to 500 vinyl-only release, hammered their way through a Peel session, got their mugs firmly on the cover of Sniffin Glue and shot their bolt with a disappointing LP. All of which

was pretty much the form for most bands below punk’s premier division.


That said, this collection of 10 demos and all of their 7″ A and B sides crackles with three-chords so that, despite not really

marking them out as a band with an individual identity, it

demonstrates that, for a band “of their kind’, The Cortinas managed to hit all the targets and then some. Fourteen short

and sharp volleys – not the greatest punk outfit but definitely archetypal.


lan Abrahams


Edition 82 Record Collector

Legendary Bristol Rock Venue Book

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010



Tangent Books has acquired the remaining stock of The Granary Club: The Rock years 1969 to 1988 from previous publisher Broadcast Books. The book is now available for just £5.99 including postage from until the end of July. The book normally retails at £14.95


Compiled by Al Read – one of the team that started rock events at The Granary in 1968 – and painstakingly researched, the book lists the bands that played the famous Bristol venue between 1968 and the final gig on 11th August 1988.


Al Read was a DJ at the Granary between 1968 and 1982 and the book is a compelling record of Bristol’s premier rock venue . Open its pages to find Mott The Hoople on October 19th, 1970; The Cortinas supporting Looney Tunes on Novemebr 23rd 1976 or Man on August 25th1983.


Most of the entries are accompanied by profiles and there are several first-had accounts of life at the club, which many of us recall being less than salubrious and never dull.


Granary Club: The Rock Years 1969 to 1988 is essential reading for anyone interested in Bristol’s musical heritage.


The direct link to the page is but it’s also on the home page at