Opening the series of events celebrating Rough Trade’s 40th anniversary is a night of collaborations at the Barbican, alongside pop up and spoken word performances, a Rough Trade shop and some afternoon sessions as part of the Battle of Ideas festival.
First up at the Barbican are post-punk bands The Pop Group and Protomartyr. Pioneers of the post-punk scene, British band The Pop Group formed in Bristol in 1977 out of a sense of disenchantment with the increasing conservatism of punk, and were signed to Rough Trade within 12 months of forming. Here they collaborate with US band Protomartyr, who formed in 2008 and have released 3 albums to date.
The event continues with collaborations between Scritti Politti and Alexis Taylor as well as John Grant and Wrangler (feat. Stephen Mallinder). British band Scritti Politti was originally formed in 1977 by Welsh singer-songwriter Green Gartside and first signed to Rough Trade Records in 1979. Here he collaborates with Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor, whose latest album Piano came out in June 2016 on Moshi Moshi.
Wrangler is a new project, featuring members of influential acts such as Stephen Mallinder (Cabaret Voltaire – whose association with Rough Trade goes back to the very roots of the independent scene), Phil Winter (Tunng) and Benge (John Foxx & The Maths). Here they team up with John Grant – American singer/songwriter from Denver, Colorado and former lead vocalist with cult favourites The Czars, whose third solo album Grey Tickles, Black Pressure received great critical acclaim. John Grant said: “As a huge fan of Cabaret Voltaire and electronic music in general for over 30 years, it is a huge honour and a dream come true for me to have the opportunity to collaborate with Wrangler”.
Stephen Mallinder added: “Joining forces with John seemed to be the consequence of like-minded spirits drawn together and the inevitable trajectory of our collective planets. We had a great opportunity to spend time working on something very specific and original – to literally bring together the raw elements common to all us – analogue synths, sequences, drum machines, fat basslines, weird noises, beautiful (and wonky) voices.”