VARIOUS - GROUCHO MARXIST RECORD CO:OPERATIVE

VARIOUS - GROUCHO MARXIST RECORD CO:OPERATIVE

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Released: 08/03/24

Compiling the four 7”s released between 1979 and 1981 by Paisley DIY label Groucho Marxist Record Co:Operative, which was niche even by the standards of underground Scottish DIY labels, this killer LP includes some of the greatest punk and art-pop songs you, we, or almost anybody else has ever heard of. Run by Tommy Kayes, a member of a Clydeside Anarchist group with ties to Rock Against Racism, unsurprisingly the roster of bands on Groucho Marxist were all overtly left-wing political, and the tracks – all rage-filled agitprop of the highest order – make the Sex Pistols look even more like the dumb jargon-spouting boyband that they were. 

While the lyrical content will make fans of anarcho-punk bands like Crass and Poison Girls (*raises fist*) very happy indeed, there is an extreme variation in sound of Groucho Marxist bands that sticks two fingers up to overly prescriptive label ‘punk’ itself: Mod Cons (as their name kind of suggests) sound like The Stooges fronted by Steve Marriott; XS Discharge share DNA with the pop-punk of The Buzzcocks; Sneex are a kind of ultra-lo-fi Beat Happening; The Poems make some of the finest abstract art-noise this side of Coil (in fact they pre-date John Balance’s post-industrial outfit); and The Fegs sound like ‘White Riot’-era The Clash collapsing in on themselves, which is as wonderful as that sounds. The other brands featured on the comp are similarly great. Accompanied by a massive 40-page 11x11” booklet of archival material, Groucho Marxist Record Co:Operative is a fantastic document of an incredibly fertile micro-scene which, nearly 45 years after the fact, finally gives these bands the plaudits they deserve.