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The Pop Group


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The Pop Group was born on April 7 1977 when Mark Stewart, Gareth Sager and Bruce Smith felt inspired to get out and shriek their primal angst. They then expanded their ranks with fellow freaks John Waddington and Simon Underwood. Collectively they showed an extreme diversity in the wild breadth of influences: Funkadelic, John Cage, Nico, John Coltrane, Lee Perry, Stockhausen, The Stooges and Subway Sect. Like naive musical savages they tried to put all these elements, and their unique take on life, into their songs, but this falls short of evoking what the listener heard; maybe Electronic Cavemen describes them best!

It took very little time to find them on the front of the NME, leading the charge to try to expand on the explosion punk had detonated in the staid rock scene... but no one was ready for The Pop Group. They did eight-minute songs with a funk beat, with improvisation rolling all over the place, busting all the rules of the day. On their debut album 'Y', with the help of British dub maestro Dennis Bovell, they put out one of the most challenging mixtures of genres, grooves and emotions ever cut into vinyl. No one knew how to deal with them, apart from those that could really hear the scream that said, "Words disobey me".

By 1979, .with the advent of Thatcher and the threat of nuclear world war, the band succumbed to the paranoia of the day and fought back with the classic single 'We Are All Prostitutes', followed by the LP 'For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder'.

Then they blew themselves up and were gone... only to return 30 something years later, showing what amazing potential was still burning there.

Celtic Connections - January 2014

"When The Pop Group close with the tremendous 'We Are Time', it's with the sense of a band that could and still ought to light a fire under guitar music's conservatives."
5/5 The Guardian

"The Bristolian post-punk quintet, who reformed in 2010 following a 29-year split, are a thrilling pleasure"
5/5 The Independent

"The gig of the year crown might be taken already. Unbelievable."
5/5 Daily Record

"Cited as a key influence by Nick Cave and Primal Scream these wilfully discordant Bristolians unleash an exhilarating mash up of polemical lyrics, funk rhythms, free jazz and dub reggae with a tightness and ferocity that would challenge bands half their age."
4/5 The Times

"It was one of those moments where you just feel the cogs of your mind shift and your life is going to irreversibly change forever"
Nick Cave on seeing The Pop Group

The Pop Group

The Pop Group

  • 29 Jan, 2017

    The Pop Group: New Single 'War Inc.'

    All proceeds of the new 'War Inc.' single will be donated to Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to help with the incredible work they do in war zones throughout the world. In 2015 they provided over a million consultations across war torn regions of Asia and Africa, and also provide nutrition and psychological help to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable, innocent civilians.

    The Pop Group set out their stall for 2017 with the release of their single 'War Inc.' from their vital new album 'Honeymoon On Mars'.

    'War Inc.' sees The Pop Group formidably mobilized by the heavyweight maximalism of Public Enemy architect Hank Shocklee. Befitting the song's theme of warfare and the avarice of those who stand to profit from it, the track coalesces around a punishing crossfire of industrial brunt and volatile noise, as driven, explosive and audacious as anything The Pop Group or Shocklee have put their name to. With Mark Stewart's vociferous loudspeaker tirades and Gareth Sager's acutely distressed guitar distortions punctuated by a recurrent vocal cut-up that alludes to iconic ragga and 90s Bristolian jungle, the track maintains the band's capacity for adventurous admixtures of influence, whilst delivering a much-needed message of savage, perceptive fury.

    "This is a warning..."

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  • 23 Dec, 2016

    The Pop Group: New Video 'Little Town'

    "The video attempts to capture the feel of towns beyond the big metropolises... towns that suffer most from the brutal post capital culture we live in now" - Douglas Hart

    "Doug has documented Cruel Britannia, the hidden truly frightening little Britain. Perhaps the real battle for Britain has truly begun" - Mark Stewart

    Post punk provocateurs The Pop Group have revealed the official video for 'Little Town', the second single to emerge from their new album 'Honeymoon On Mars'.

    In the hands of Douglas Hart - former Jesus & Mary Chain bassist come revered music video auteur for the likes of My Bloody Valentine, The Horrors and Primal Scream - 'Little Town' becomes a subversive montage of oppressive urban landscapes and street level scenes, given a series of chromatic tints that visualize the track's restless progress. As a graphic patchwork of prosaic locations gradually comes offset by the itinerate urban patrols of Mark Stewart and Gareth Sager, the parades of power and the machinery of surveillance eventually present themselves, revealing the sinister system that pulls the strings and lurks beneath the surface.

    "Forbidden London, Hidden Britain..."

    The single is taken from the ten track album, produced by dub titan Dennis Bovell, who worked on their seminal Y album debut, and Hank Shocklee, producer of Public Enemy's iconic first three albums as a member of the Bomb Squad. 'Honeymoon On Mars' was released through Freaks R Us on Friday October 28th 2016.

    With 'Honeymoon On Mars', The Pop Group open another chapter at a time when their iconoclastic contention is needed now more than ever. It's a record that finds the band unwaveringly incensed and resolute in their mutative sense of innovation, as Stewart elaborates: "it's a stand against manufactured hate, a hypersonic journey into a dystopian future full of alien encounters and sci-fi lullabies"

    Recorded and mixed in various studios in early summer of 2016, working with Bovell and Shocklee the band realised a dream twofold collaboration, as Stewart concludes: "We've at last fulfilled a double fantasy to work with our two favourite sonic assassins, Dennis 'Blackbeard' Bovell and Hank Shocklee. We're in awe as Dennis, the Captain Kirk of dub is taking us on a hyper sound voyage into the future, and Hank, as always tears up the rules totally upholding our faith in the absolute value of noise. We've gone completely off the map."

    Talking about working with The Pop Group, Shocklee said: "The Pop Group sound has a level of freedom, fun and creative musicianship in their recordings that is a special and rare find in today's world. Their uncompromising spirit to be themselves and not worry about fitting into a musical box, sets them apart."

    Long-time collaborator Bovell added: "It's been a great pleasure to be working with the guys again. They are truly beyond good and evil."

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  • 02 Nov, 2016

    The Pop Group: Playlist For Guardian Music

    Mark Stewart from The Pop Group chooses his playlist for Guardian Music.
    Their new album 'Honeymoon On Mars' was released last Friday & their UK / European tour begins on 14th November, see their artist page for details.

  • 12 Nov, 2015

    The Pop Group: New Video 'S.O.P.H.I.A.'

    Post punk provocateurs The Pop Group release a video of their track 'S.O.P.H.I.A.' taken from the Paul Epworth (Florence & The Machine, FKA Twigs, Adele) produced album 'Citizen Zombie', released on February 23rd of this year to widespread critical acclaim.

    The video rounds off a year of extensive worldwide touring which has included Glastonbury Festival, a guerrilla gig at Banksy's 'Dismaland' and a recent headline show at Iceland Airwaves. The Pop Group play further European festival dates this November and finish the year with a three-date tour of Japan.
    See artist page for details.

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  • 29 Jun, 2015

    The Pop Group: 'Mad Truth' Live At Glastonbury

    The Pop Group perform 'Mad Truth' live at the Glastonbury Festival. To see full set use the link below.

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  • 11 May, 2015

    The Pop Group: 4 Star Review In Guardian Music

    The Pop Group receive a 4 Star review in Guardian Music, for their gig at London's Boston Arms.

    guardian music
  • 01 Mar, 2015

    The Pop Group: Interviewed In Guardian Music

    The Pop Group are interviewed by Paul Lester in Guardian Music, on the release of 'Citizen Zombie', their first album in 35 years.

    plus Gareth Sager from The Pop Group, writes a special guest column for Q Magazine.

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  • 23 Feb, 2015

    The Pop Group: New Album 'Citizen Zombie'

    The Pop Group's first album in 35 years, entitled 'Citizen Zombie' is featured in the Guardian Music's 'Five New Albums To Hear This Week' list.

  • 30 Jan, 2015

    The Pop Group: New Single 'Mad Truth'

    Post punk provocateurs The Pop Group have collaborated with acclaimed Italian director and actress Asia Argento on the video of their first single 'Mad Truth' from their forthcoming new album, 'Citizen Zombie'.

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  • 28 Jan, 2015

    Mark Stewart & Thurston Moore In The Quietus

    Mark Stewart from The Pop Group in conversation with Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore in The Quietus.