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‘The Bristol Post Punk Explosion Vol 2 (1979–1986)’ Various Artists

BRISTOL POSTPUNK2 iTunes Packshot ARC387V

Due for release on 11TH October 2024 on Limited Edition Vinyl (Three hundred copies only) and Digital Shake, Rattle and Roll – boys and girls come out to play.

Bristol is a city that has managed to not only surprise the wider world with its output but has managed to do the same to the citizens of the place. The 1980’s was a decade that personified that aspect to music making out west and the second volume of the Bristol Post-Punk Explosion has managed to capture the vibe to perfection. You even get the guy who went on to produce hits for Sinead O’Connor and Madonna!

In the post-punk cauldron Electric Guitars were boiling up a brew that is no better illustrated than in the album opener, ‘Language Problems.’ Here we have all the ingredients – plenty of off-kilter hair, scatter gun lyrics, stuttering guitars, buoyant scampering bass plunges, colour blind keyboard lines, insistent drums, and a full-on frenetic set of male and female vocal deliveries. This is a hurricane of beautiful noise that is worth getting caught up in.

Former Essential Bop main-man Steve Bush (see more below) made a worthy attempt at hitting the mainstream in his alliance with Christian Clarke in the classy Bush & Clarke duo nucleus set-up so prevalent in the 80’s. Even though the lyrical depth of ‘I’m Satisfied’ goes past the usual content of the pop genre (in its narrowest sense), it is a hit in anyone’s language – no problem. This song echoes the parallel right turn made by former squat Gramsci quoting punksters Scritti Pollitii where all the aspirations and style of the age saw a total transmogrification of then cult acts. B&C did it as brilliantly as Green Garside had, albeit on a smaller budget.

Art Objects ‘Fit of Pique ‘then bring us back to earth with a bump – and with some bruises. The clue is in the title. This is at times brutal, a sonic assault allied to beat poetry from Gerard Langley (later to carry this further with Blue Aeroplanes). Brother John’s quick-fire, spring heel jack drumming holds the chaos together – just. The next track also features two brothers – Jon-Jo and Robin Key. The contributions of the pair to their adopted city’s music cannot be underestimated. Either/Or was a project that was sandwiched between work with Art Objects, their earlier band the Various Artists and a later in the period major label fling with the classy Love Train. ‘I Believe in the Ant’ is a tribute to the groove and blessed with an outward facing examination of what goes on around us and further afield.

TVI’s really are one of the ‘lost’ bands of Bristol. There is astounding footage of them on Vimeo, along with several other acts of the time, on the Bristol Bands Newsreel from 1980. The group included Tim Norfolk, who went on to success with The Insects, and Alan Griffiths of local post-punk bands Apartment and The Escape (more to follow) who went on to work with Tears for Fears.
‘Routine’ was recorded by Griffiths at Cave Studios and shows off the edgy, relentless black and white imagery of singer John Kelly’s words and the band’s shadow play. It is ‘Northern’ in terms of where you might expect music of this intensity to come from. But…this is from Bristol, a tougher environment than outsiders realise.

The sextet of goodies is closed by the full version of ‘Giacometti’ (Wicked Mix) by Scream and Dance, rather more in the mood that might ‘typify’ Bristol. It’s mightily percussive, dubby, carefree, wild in the country and jazzy. Yet again this features the superb drumming of John Langley.
Side two kicks off with The Escape and one of their pinnacle songs ‘Eden.’ This widescreen epic is chock full of drama and was one of a quartet of tracks they were recorded for, of all people, the Peter Powell Show on drive time Radio One! The band would later to sign to Phonogram and mutate into a very different beast, shorn of their claws.

You want pure sound of the drums thunder? That you get from Moskow’s take on the TV classic (The) ‘Man from Uncle,’ live and direct as the agent who shoots them dead. Distant Cousins were Bath’s version of a collection of epic making young men. The emotional disturbance of ‘The Search’ has all the sway and swerve that stays the course. Steve Bush reappears in his Essential Bop moment describing his own song well as ‘Eloquent Sounds.’ There are some resemblances to the archness of the great Magazine and that’s no bad thing. A little of that fairy dust also gets poured on to the jazz-punk-funk explorations of Pete Brandt’s Method in their take a chance on us ‘Positive Thinking.’

The ultimate bonus of this collection is to hear the early days of the phenomenon that would become the renowned producer, Nellee Hooper. His membership of the Mouth collective was given full rein in ‘Ooh Ah Yeah,’ a filmic flurry a la batterie that Quincy Jones or Lalo Schifrin would have been proud to score.

All these tracks are gems of note in their own right – savour the lot!

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‘The Source of Dreams 1982-1984’ Thin Air

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Released 9th August 2024 on Strictly Limited (200 copies only) Transparent Red Vinyl and Digital Download

Bristol Archive Records have been telling the story of the incredibly diverse Bristol Music scene for many years now. The label has focused recently on the sub-culture of Mod, Modernism and Power Pop and recently gained considerable success with their release ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’. They have also released albums from the same scene by The Reaction ‘Shapes of Things To Come’ and The Rimshots ‘A Way With Words 1980-1983’. Now we turn our attention to another undiscovered Bristol band, Thin Air who featured on the Mod Explosion and the song writing genius of a would be Paul Weller, John Lennon, Elvis Costello – Paul Sandrone.
This album covers the period 1982 to 1984 and features 12 tracks compiled in collaboration with drummer Phil Ollerenshaw.  When punk rock started to fizzle out many of the UK’s disaffected youths had already moved sideways into Modernism and fell in love with The Jam. Inspired by Paul Weller’s song writing skills Thin Air started out life as Out of Order and supported The Jam at the Bristol Locarno in 1980 (on the day of John Lennons death), Paul was 15 years old.
The band had been formed in 1979 in a local youth club by Bill Waine (18), Phil Ollerenshaw (16) and Paul Sandrone (15), they changed their name to Thin Air in 1981 and continued with this line up until 1983 when Bill Waine left and was replaced by Simon Nicholls. Thin Air were never an authentic Mod band appealing to a strictly Mod audience, they were a Jam influenced, power pop outfit concentrating on writing edgy yet commercial, catchy pop rock music.
In 1982 they signed a deal with Coach House management owned by an American George Lennards. George had achieved considerable success with Bath outfit Naked Eyes. He wanted to replicate this and saw the song writing skills of Paul Sandrone as the vehicle to more chart success. Under his management the band received courtship from Polydor and Magnet Records amongst others.
This album is a soundtrack to an era, remembering a period in time when Top of The Pops was full of The Jam, Squeeze, XTC and Elvis Costello. Thatcherism was killing multi-cultural Britain but to escape, it was ok to write a catchy pop song, it was ok to look smart and it was acceptable to want a major record deal.
Thin Air did not achieve their objectives and remarkably never even got to release a record despite the obvious quality. They cut many demos for major labels, Polydor and Magnet Records appeared especially keen but they remained a secret of the Bristol underground scene until now. Paul Sandrone moved on in other guises from 1985, finally achieving chart success with London artiste Rassia in 1996-99 and Brighton based The Mummers in 2008-2012.
Enjoy the sound of the underground 42 years later than you should have ‘The Source of Dreams 1982-1984’ is released on 9th August 2024.

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ARTIST: Thin Air
TITLE: ‘The Source of Dreams 1982-1984’
RELEASE DATE: 9th August 2024
LABEL: Bristol Archive Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock / Proper
CAT NO: ARC386V
BARCODE: 5052571211717

 

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The Bristol Post Punk Explosion (1978–1982) Various Artists

BRISTOL POSTPUNK Standard Packshot

Due for release on 12TH July 2024 on Limited Edition ’Trans Yellow Vinyl’ 
(Three hundred copies only) and Digital
 
‘TOO MUCH COMMOTION – YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED’

The post punk explosion of the late 1970’s/early 1980’s is regarded as one of the most exciting periods of music making explorations in Bristol. The period is now being revisited, seen as being even more relevant to do so as there is the 2020’s surge of new acts reviving and mining the seam of the genre. Fast forward nearly half a century (gulp!) from that first post punk period and the ever-active chroniclers of West Country musical history, Bristol Archive Records, have focussed on this heady epoch with ‘The Bristol Post Punk Explosion (1978-82)’ compilation release, out on vinyl and digital.
Many of the original Bristol bands in question had either been featured on or been rocket fuelled inspired by the success of a local label’s 1980 compilation album of bands from the city on ‘Avon Calling’, that was lauded, championed and played to death by the central tastemaker of indie music of the day, the Radio One DJ, John Peel. He rated the compilation of Bristol bands above those from Manchester and Liverpool, stating on air ‘this really is the standard by which others should be judged in the future. It really is superb with not a bad track on it.’ ‘Avon Calling’ even made Peel’s end of year Playlist of Best Albums of 1980.
That local label releasing it was Heartbeat Records, run by Simon Edwards (who also ran Riot City). Heartbeat was part of a coterie of Bristol indie’s, such as Fried Egg, Wavelength (linked to the innovative magazine/record combination album The Bristol Recorder) and Recreational (the latter operating out of another central destination for music lovers, the Revolver record shop of that name, near the top of Park Street).
The emergent labels were tapping into the range of musical talent responding to the challenges of a new decade, the Thatcher government tearing down hard fought for certainties and securities, allied to the impact of punk that had shifted the shape of the musical landscape so dramatically. Some of the bands here and in the city also went DIY and put out records themselves. Many of the featured Explosion and earlier Avon Calling acts followed the traditional indie route at the time of gigging, Peel programme radio sessions, immersion into the music press machine, negotiating with record labels and a whole mass of variable outcomes.
The quasi-psychedelic, archly poetic Essential Bop even got as far as being praised to the skies in the NME by Paul Morley, as part of a trio of highlighted bands – the others being the earlier, more left field version of ABC, along with the Scottish group Restricted Code – seen by the influential wordsmith in late 1980 as likely breakthrough acts during the decade. He got one of them right! Art Objects ‘a beat combo fronted by a poet’ became the better-known Blue Aeroplanes, releasing several indie albums and eventually signing to Ensign/Chrysalis, home of Sinead O’Connor and the Waterboys. Electric Guitars somewhat incongruously signed to Stiff and – sadly – stiffed.
Latif Gardez from Gardez Darkx signed with EMI and later Virgin. He would release two albums under the name Mystery Slang. Tim Norfolk from the artful, wacky and tight-fitting Shoes For Industry went on to become a member of The Insects and worked with Massive Attack.
What cannot be ignored all this time on when listening to so much of the Explosion album is the quality – the sheer attack of Art Objects, the angular extremities of Electric Guitars along with the caustic sneer of Fishfood. Then there is the more hipster Danceteria driven, percussive and horny frenetic grooves of Animal Magic, in marked variance to the loose-limbed, guitarless Scream & Dance.
This is all contrasting with more electronic vox ultra uber cool mensch and darker elements of Europeans (featuring later Specimen and Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist, John Klein), Creature Beat and Colortapes (who had Mike Fewins, ex of The Cortinas, in their line-up).
Much can be found in the sheer lyricism of so many of the songs and groups. They aim at a shooting gallery range of targets and hit plenty. Some of the featured acts were or are still active, from well into the 1980’s onwards and into the new millenium. Glaxo Babies even recently performed in Bristol in their current iteration, Dan Catsis being the sole original member. The Objects/Aeroplanes main man Gerard Langley regarded the band in their heyday as the ‘cornerstone of the Bristol scene’ placing them above the Pop Group (usually ranked as being top dogs by national media, though Essential Bop regarded them as ‘beatnik fascists’) in that status.
For Langley the Glaxos were ‘both sophisticated and primitive, they were basically pre-post-punk punk. They were real man, and I loved them’. The Explosion album is the tip of the iceberg of the treasure trove of goodies from the era. Archive label owner Mike Darby, who compiled it, makes that plain:
“THERE’S EASILY ENOUGH FOR A GREAT VOLUME TWO.’’

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ARTIST: Various Artists
FORMATTrans Yellow Vinyl 300 copies Limited Edition
LABEL: Bristol Archive Records
DISTRIBUTION: Shellshock
CAT NO: ARC384V
GENRE: Post Punk, Punk
BARCODE: 5052571210314
RELEASE DATE: 12th July 2024

 

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The Bristol Punk Explosion Vol 2 (1977–1981)

BRISTOL PUNKEX 2 iTunes Packshot

We are delighted to bring you the follow up to the successful ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion (1977-1979) album released in November 2023 – a twelve-track compilation entitled ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion Vol 2 (1977-1981)’ issued on Crystal Clear Vinyl and limited to three hundred copies.
The sleeve notes are written by Tim Williams author of the 1977 Loaded Fanzine. Tim talks about the transition from Soul to Punk, the demise of Prog Rock and the fashion culture that sat seamlessly alongside the music. There are three previously unreleased tracks never before available on vinyl.

The Cortinas were the first. They played the Roxy Club, released two singles on Mark Perry and Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label, graced the front cover of Sniffin’ Glue and recorded a Peel Session. Guitarist Nick Sheppard remembers the night it all slotted into place: “I think a real turning point for us was seeing the Ramones at the Roundhouse on July 4,1976 – we started to write our own songs after that gig. We had been playing and doing gigs for about a year by then – all covers apart from one song, Tokyo Joe as I remember. After that gig we started writing stuff like ‘Television Families’. We saw people like us in the audience at that gig and it must have given us confidence.”

Taking their cue, bands like Social Security (the first band on Heartbeat Records), The Pigs (whose ‘Youthanasia’ single was released by Miles Copeland’s New Bristol Records), The Media, 48 Hours and Private Dicks gave Bristol one of the strongest provincial early punk scenes.

The area of Barton Hill gave us The X-Certs, who by 1978 could already pull audiences of five hundred into Trinity Hall. Though we did not realise it at the time, they effectively bridged the gap between the late 70s Bristol scene and what our American cousins like to term the UK82 bands.

In time bands from the suburbs of Bristol started to appear on the scene, Misdemeanor (who were managed by the late Dennis Sheehan U2’s tour manager for thirty plus years), Apartment from Downend (whose photo adorns the front cover) and Noiz Boiz from Weston Super Mare, the seaside town just down the road.

This compilation is designed to give all fans of Punk a snapshot of what Bristol Punk was all about during that period. We close side Two of the album with The X-Certs Clash infused /reggae single ‘Together’ and follow it with one of Bristol finest Roots reggae bands Talisman and their single ‘Wicked Dem’. The punky/reggae party had truly started as we move into the 80’s Bristol Stylee!

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 7TH June 2024
Cat No.: ARC383V

 

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‘Skeletons’ GAV KING

GAV KING Orchard Packshot

Released 29TH March 2024 on Strictly Limited (300 copies only) Black 180gm Vinyl in Gatefold Sleeve and Digital Download
The old punk adage was to live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse – and while Gavin King gave the first one his best shot, he got sidetracked and skipped the next step. Now, almost 50 years after burning brightly on Bristol’s burgeoning punk scene of the late seventies, he finds himself having a late surge of creativity.
With Private Dicks, the band that first threw Gavin into the spotlight, having just released a live album, and while he waits for his bandmates to finally finish off what will be the Bristol legends’ second album, he has turned his attention to his first, fully-fledged, solo effort. With help from Dicks’ guitarist and life-long friend Paul Guiver and former Tears For Fears and Robbie Williams sideman Neil Taylor, Skeletons is eight tracks (ten if you get the download) of dark, catchy, post-punk angst, the work of a man who has taken another look at his life and the state of the world and had a few thoughts….
“Obviously everything that’s released now is viewed through the prism of the pandemic,” Gavin reflects from his apartment in Bristol. “And in many ways, this is no different. Like everyone else I have been indoors for ages, but once I completed Netflix and finished arguing with the cat, I began to look at the state of the world today. “And once I started doing that, I stared looking back at my own life. Then before you know it a bunch of songs are sitting on my hard drive….”
Once the songs had started to take shape, Gavin drafted in old friends Guiver and Taylor to add the flourishes and finishing touches, with Taylor taking on production duties. The result is something even the usually self-deprecating King is happy with. “Neil’s production is just superb,” admits Gavin. “He’s added a depth to these songs and taken them in directions I really was not expecting – but it really works. “I’d almost go as far as to say I’m proud of this record.” For a man known for playing down many of his achievements over the years, this is quite the statement. Blending seething vocals with sweeping, majestic arrangements, Skeletons is a dark, mature record littered with the infectious choruses that made Private Dicks the band they were back in the day. It is fair to say making Skeletons was not something Gavin saw himself doing, even a couple of years ago, but life has a funny way of putting you where you’re meant to be.
After stepping back from the music business in the mid-nineties, he crossed paths with a band called River Street. Who happened to be looking for a singer. So once again, Gavin found himself dragged back to the stage. Fast forward a few years, and a few solo dabbling’s never really meant for public display, and we find that Private Dicks are having something of a resurgence – in Japan. Which leads to four old friends meeting up for a drink or two… “Suddenly this analogue punk band is getting a new lease of life in the digital age, and we are playing shows in Berlin, we are getting booked for festivals. We are even working on an arrangement of one of the Skeleton songs, so it will be interesting to see what we do with that.
So, while I was waiting around for the guys to sort their schedules out, instead of just getting annoyed and frustrated – I decided to be productive. And I am really pleased with the results!”

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‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’ – Various Artists

MOD_EXPLOSION_Packshot

Released 22nd March 2024 on Strictly Limited (300 copies only) White Marble Vinyl

Bristol Archive Records have been telling the story of the incredibly diverse Bristol Music scene for many years now. The label has gained considerable success with their previous releases ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion’ series – Volumes one, two and three covering 1978 to the end of the 80’s. We followed the Reggae vibe with another critically acclaimed reggae release ‘The Bristol Roots Explosion’ and in 2023 we turned our attention to punk with ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’. Now we turn our attention to another Subculture – Mods and we bring you ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’
This album covers the period 1979 to 1987 and features 14 tracks.  When punk rock started to fizzle out and Squat Punks started to appear on the streets, many of the UK’s disaffected youths had already moved sideways into Modernism and fell in love with bands like The Jam, Secret Affair, The Purple Hearts, The Lambrettas and The Chords but lets also remember our love for The Beat, Madness and The Specials.
Mod was another gang culture, to some a way of life, to some it became life.  The smart, striking fashion sense, the scooters, the music; (some from the 60’s, soul and Motown), some from the 70’s and 80’s, guitar driven power pop. Wow! Mod was the real deal.
The West Country embraced the scene and produced its own authentic Mod bands like The Reaction, Mayfair and The Newbeats.  Other bands were in on the Mod tag for a period of time but could be more appropriately described as Power Pop / Ska, namely, The Review, The Rimshots and Thin Air.
Success for some was supporting their heroes, a good example being Thin Air (previously called Out of Order) with their 15-year-old guitarist and singer/ songwriter Paul Sandrone, who supported The Jam at The Locarno in 1980 and The Rimshots, who played on the same bills as The Beat and The Bodysnatchers.
This album is a soundtrack to an era, remembering a period in time when Top of The Pops was full of Secret Affair and The Chords together with all the Two-Tone bands.  Thatcherism was killing multi-cultural Britain but to escape, it was ok to write a catchy pop song, it was ok to look smart and it was acceptable to wear a Parka, white socks, Hush Puppies and a mohair suit.
Enjoy the soundtrack to our lives – ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’ is released 22nd March 2024 on White Marble Vinyl.

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 22nd March 2024
Cat No.: ARC381V

 

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A Way With Words (1980-1983)- The Rimshots

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The Rimshots

Released 3rd May 2024 on Strictly Limited (200 copies only) Black Vinyl and Digital Download
Bristol Archive Records have been telling the story of the incredibly diverse Bristol Music scene for many years now. The label has gained considerable success with their previous releases ‘The Bristol Reggae Explosion’ series. In 2023 we turned our attention to punk with ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’ and followed that in March this year with ‘The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1987’. Now we continue our attention on this Subculture – Mods and we bring you an album by The Rimshots - ‘A Way With Words (1980-1983)’

This features 12 tracks, seven have never been released before on vinyl or CD. Many of the UK’s disaffected youths had already moved sideways into Modernism and fell in love with bands like The Jam, Secret Affair, and The Chords but let’s also remember The Rimshots love for The Beat, UB40 and The Specials.

Mod was another gang culture, to some a way of life, to some it became life and for The Rimshots it was their starting point in the music business with a love of Power Pop, Ska, Reggae, Dub and Dance music. The band consisting of Mike Furzeman (Guitar), Nick Waring (Drums), Simon Heathfield (Bass), Richard Bentley (Keyboards) and Mike Darby (Vocals). Mike now runs Bristol Archive Records, Sugar Shack Records and Reggae Archive Records.

Success for some was supporting their heroes, The Rimshots played on the same bills as The Beat, Hazel O’Connor, Linton Kwesi Johnson, Black Roots, Talisman and The Body Snatchers.

The Rimshots signed a record deal with Shoc Wave Records after only their third gig. Shoc Wave was a Dominican label specialising in Soca and Reggae before moving in later years onto Disco. The band were managed by Gene Walsh who ran the label which led them to The Blues, Reggae bands and a new and exciting culture for five young lads from the leafy suburbs of Bristol.

As the 70’s moved into the early 80’s the band dropped the Mod tag and became more of a Power Pop/Rock outfit, especially after the introduction of additional guitarist Angelo Bruschini. Angello sadly passed away from a rare form of lung cancer on the 23rd October 2023. He went on to play with The Blue Aeroplanes, Stutter and Massive Attack. A true legend of the very diverse Bristol music scene. Blessed love!

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‘Shapes of Things to Come’ – The Reaction

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SHAPES OF THINGS TO COME
by The Reaction
Released 26th January 2024 on Strictly Limited (200 copies only) Red Marble Vinyl

For the many fans of 1960s music, we are sure this retrospective album by The Reaction will come as something of a surprise. Very rarely do you come across a band that has managed so successfully to recreate the unique electric 12 string sound of the 60s American West Coast. With seven original well crafted, self penned songs, and four cover versions once performed by the likes of The Yardbirds, The Creation, The Beatles and The Byrds, the new album ‘Shapes of Things To Come’ can sit very confidently alongside any other album from that era.
Bristol based The Reaction were formed in the mid 1980s greatly influenced by the music and dress of the 60s, a combination that appealed to many of the Mod Revivalists of the day. With the young Mods enthusiastic support, The Reaction were quickly riding high on a wave of popularity and independent record sales. Everyone that either heard the band or were lucky enough to see their live set, were left with no doubt the band were destined for a brighter future than many of their peers. Even though they managed to gain much coveted Radio 1 airplay from the likes of John Peel and Andy Kershaw, and the backing of the Waterloo Sunset Records, their popularity was never properly harnessed. Within three years they were gone, but not thankfully without leaving behind the tracks that are now available on this album.
The Reaction were of their time, with the potential to have progressed way beyond their revivalist image and following. They were unique in that they did not conform to everyone’s idea of what a revivalist band of the time should be, whilst the likes of The Jam, Secret Affair and the Chords were all trying to push some ‘angry young man’ message, The Reaction were singing of a more idealistic world, a world of Sun, Surf and Sex and damned good at it they were too. If there is such a thing as reading between the musical lines then this is it. Listening to these tracks some 38 years after their inception – we cannot help but think ‘what if’.
This album was originally released on CD only in 2017 and has long since been deleted. We follow this album with another UK Mod release The Bristol Mod Explosion 1979-1985 early 2024.

 

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 26th January 2024
Cat No.: ARC322V

 

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Various Artists – “The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977–1979″

BRISTOL PUNK 77-79

Originally released in May 2010 on CD only and entitled The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1983, Bristol Archive Records have decided to revisit their roots, Bristol Punk, but only focus on the original first generation of bands.

We are delighted to bring you a twelve-track compilation entitled ‘The Bristol Punk Explosion 1977-1979’ issued on ’Yellow Trans Fluro Vinyl’ and limited to two hundred copies only.
The sleeve notes are written by Shane Baldwin (Vice Squad drummer) who would have been motivated and influenced to form his own band by watching these Bristol punks across various venues and locations across the city. There are six previously unreleased tracks never before available on vinyl.

The Cortinas were the first. They played the Roxy Club, released two singles on Mark Perry and Miles Copeland’s Step Forward label, graced the front cover of Sniffin’ Glue and recorded a Peel Session. Guitarist Nick Sheppard remembers the night it all slotted into place: “I think a real turning point for us was seeing the Ramones at the Roundhouse on July 4, 1976 – we definitely started to write our own songs after that gig. We had been playing and doing gigs for about a year by then – all covers apart from one song, Tokyo Joe as I remember. After that gig we started writing stuff like ‘Television Families’. We saw people like us in the audience at that gig, and it must have given us confidence.”

Taking their cue, bands like Social Security (the first band on Heartbeat Records), The Pigs (whose ‘Youthanasia’ single was released by Miles Copeland’s New Bristol Records), The Primates, The Media, The Posers, 48 Hours and The Verdict gave Bristol one of the strongest provincial early punk scenes, mainly centred around the Clifton area and Barton Hill Youth Club.

The area of Barton Hill also gave us The X-Certs, who by 1978 could already pull audiences of five hundred into Trinity Hall, without the aid of a safety net or record contract. Though we did not realise it at the time, they effectively bridged the gap between the late 70s Bristol scene and what our American cousins like to term the UK82 bands.

As the years moved forward from 1977 bands from the suburbs of Bristol started to appear on the scene Vitus Dance, The Numbers from Yate and Apartment from Downend, a leafy suburb of North Bristol.

This compilation is designed to give all fans of Punk a snapshot of what Bristol Punk was all about during that period. We celebrate our heroes of the time, let them be remembered for ever!

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 24th November 2023
Cat No.: ARC380V

 

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COOL RUNNINGS

Cool Runnings Front300dpi

The last decade has seen a seismic shift in how people buy and play music, vinyl has returned to being the dominant physical format with CDs consigned to second fiddle. Things were very different back in 2012 when we compiled and released the eponymous “Cool Runnings” on CD only. The vinyl revival is a belated opportunity to give the band their first long playing record to complement that earlier CD release.
Together for a dozen years, Cool Runnings were one of Bristol’s longest lasting bands gigging throughout the 1980s, though their failure to gig beyond the West Country meant they were also one of the City’s best kept musical secrets.
Originally formed in Weston-Super-Mare by Keyboardist Mark Tuck and Guitarist George Condover, they immediately relocated to Bristol and recruited various local musicians including an experienced and talented singer, Winston Minott.
Although “Robin Hoods of The Ghetto” was their solitary release, the band regularly recorded material throughout their career and fortunately thanks to the foresight of George and Mark in holding onto various master tapes, Bristol Archive Records were able to release the band’s self-titled debut album “Cool Runnings” in 2012.
For this vinyl release we’ve selected eight tracks recorded between 1983 and 1985 at various local studios, and a solitary live track to give an idea of why the band were so popular in person. Although their music leans towards the more mellow end of the market, Lovers Rock, music ideally suited to Winston’s soulful voice, the band were more than capable of writing good roots tunes including the excellent “We Must Go Home”, “Children of Zion” and “Robin Hoods of The Ghetto”. Winston Minott had spent many years touring all over Europe with soul band The Invaders and many songs showcase his vocal talent, but a particular highlight has to be “Playhouse” an alternative recording of which can be found on “The Bristol Reggae Explosion Volume 3”.
Perhaps proper management would have seen Cool Runnings achieve the success and wider exposure that their combined talents and unique take on reggae undoubtedly deserved. Now thirty years after the members went their separate ways, Bristol Archive Records are pleased to finally release the vinyl album that if things had worked out differently should have appeared in the 1980s.

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Limited Edition Vinyl (500 copies only)

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Format: Vinyl
Release date: 22nd September 2023
Cat No.: ARC379V

 

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