Sara Goes Pop
Sara Goes Pop s/t 2x7" (It's War Boys, 1982)
Way back in July, my friend & colleague Jay Hinman, over at the scandal sheet Agony Shorthand, came up with the ridiculous notion that the great British DIY band The Homosexuals are overrated. Yeah sure, everyone from the cretinous, ass-munching, resume-padding hacks at Pitchfork to my wise comrads at Terminal Boredom have spewed enough goo over the Homos to fill the vaults of a dozen sperm banks and many crab-like hipster trust fund trash were, for a time, name dropping these Limey sub-legends while trying to pick up some attempted suicide girl at their favorite gentrified watering hole; but as I screamed elsewhere many a times, a band's fans do not make the band. Hype should just be looked at as hype and nothing more.
Don't get me wrong, there is a difference between hype and reviews or recommendations. Unless I am trying to sell you something - be it a record, ad space in my zine, a banner on my website, or a nude examination each other's tattoos - chances are I am just telling you what I think (of course, this gets a little confused when you put out records like I do. Having to sell records I've invested money in means I must write about them in glowing terms. But I wouldn't put money towards a record I didn't feel good about pushing on people. For one, that is just not my way. And, second, I break-even off on this record label thing. It is a hobby, not a livelihood.) This is one reason why zines are more credible than glossies or not-so-glossies like Skyscrapper, which are crammed with ads. It is also why e-zines like Terminal Boredom or Blastitude and blogs like Agony Shorthand and the ones you see to your right are way more reliable than the reviled Pitchfork and all those blogs you see with ads streaming down their margins or who are pimping whatever new "indie" release they get promo'd. This is the difference between fandom and business.
So while I respect Mister Hinman's opinions and think that his blog has no peer, I have to say that on the subject of The Homosexuals he is wrong. Don't worry: I am not gonna refight the Homo battle. You can go to Agony Shorthand, look at the comments that Jay's H-mo screed aroused and see that I and others have already carved him another orifice to empty (which brings me to this question: Do you ever think that Jay has a list on bombs he is planning to drop, table clearing pronouncements that make all us record geeks jitter uncontrollably as we frantically pound our defense of Waylon Jennings, The Homosexuals, calypso music or whatever artist or genre Herr Hinman sweeps away in one smart ass rant, giggling to himself as he mumbles, "This will keep them busy while I cream over yet another willowy yet ghostly attractive hippie alterna-folk dame"? Yeah, I too think it is a smoke screen designed to keep us from noticing that the old man is getting soft in his golden years and is probably serious contemplating throwing Ol Hillary a vote in the next Dem presidential primary, her kinda having a crypt-like scowl that these folk ladies are aging into, one that seems to be the rule for our elder stateswomen [I mean, just look at that Skeletoresque mug of Condi Rice - the cosmetic effect power has on people is bipartisan]).
One of the things that the few detractors of The Homosexuals never mention is that The Homosexuals were not just The Homosexuals. The folks behind that band also had a zillion side projects and one-offs, all finding a home on vinyl or cassette released by the It's War Baby label. Some names: L. Voag, Vic Serf & The Villains, George Harassment, Milk from Cheltenham, The Ululators [what a great name], and Sara Goes Pop, the subject of this post.
Sara Goes Pop was fronted by Sara, who plays on many Homosexuals releases, and is backed by Jim (aka L Voag, Amos, etc.) and others in the Homos circle. Because Sara Goes Pop is essentially a Homosexuals release, I don't feel compelled to run down their story. Others have done it else where and if you really feel a need for an exhaustive history check out the Astral Glamour 3CD.
After a cassette release, Sara Goes Pop came out with this double 7", some of it (I think) culled from the cassette. Pressed on two colors of vinyl and in a hand screened sleeve, I am pretty sure there are only 500 of these pups floating around, though a total Homo fanatic (Miller are you out there?) might be able to tell otherwise. While this thing looks great, it sounds even better. Like The Homosexuals, Sara... has a disjointed DIY punk edge to it, one that sounds like there are very smart people behind very dumb instruments. Where it differs from The Homos is Sara dips into the quasi-funky/semi-dubby, female fronted post punk that bands like The Slits, Delta 5, and Kleenex/Lilliput pioneered. Sara does it just as well as those three giants and with the rawness many of them abandoned once they got enough money to record in pro studios with "legitimate" producers. It is the rawness and the humor that set this a bit apart from their contemporaries. It is almost as if Sara was thinking, "Fuck these people, I'll show them how to do this."
While all eight songs on this record are grand, I am giving you my five faves. You might even have gotten a couple less if the songs didn't run right into each other, so don't complain. I like all of these fine, though Sexy Terrorist has got to be one of my favorites from the era. Maybe these songs will lead Old Man Hinman to Homosexuality and hurry up a reissue of the non-Homo Homosexuals stuff.
You know not what you talk about young man.
Not only did the golden haired one write their best songs and the band went to shit after he left (in my opinion), but he made the defining (ask that dude from Nurse With Wound) album of the art punk post whatever plastic bag explosion with "The Way Out" in 1979 (in Homosexuals studio downtime), plus 99 per cent of the meaty mealy many many releases on It's War Boys are master wrecks of the lo fix PRESS RECORDS NOW! ethic
I think the testament is that he is still around today making great music with Die Trip Computer Die and doing the spy thriller carry on radio play adventures of Harmon e. Phraisyar weekly (!) on Resonance FM
Oh #1..also rumour on the streets of London has it that an italian label is re-releasing all the It's War Boys stuff soon.
Oh #2...Milk from Cheltenham were not a Homosexuals side project, L.Voag produced a few songs on their (only) LP and played with them but they were a big plastic jam collective that practised at Cold Storage led by Lepke B.
Oh #3...also two Scottish artists made a film about L Voag aka Xentos a couple of years ago, coming to an art house near you never.
Link here for the film
Happily disagreeing on the finer points,