Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Popes - Hi, We're the Popes ep (1988)

I’m still blown away by how many great bands emanated from the unlikely musical hotbed of the Chapel Hill/Raleigh-Durham “Triangle” region of North Carolina in the latter part of the twentieth century, and guess what? I’m still excavating more outstanding bands from that utterly fertile locale and era. The locally revered Popes, are said to have recorded an ultimately unreleased LP for RCA Records, but first came this 1988 ep, Hi, We’re the... Not ones to "Merge" with the angular, indie-rock clique that was just about to sprout up in their hometown of Chapel Hill, The Popes played a more straight laced brand of left-of-the-dial power pop, exhibiting slight nods to Minneapolis and SST bands of the era. Well above the prevailing average of their day. Interesting and wordy lyrics too. To read up more on the Popes, and what became of some of the band members after they splintered, check out their slice of cyberspace on the NC Music History website. There you will also find an additional song not on this ep.

01. Charmless
02. Marilyn
03. The Day I Had to Explode
04. I Wish I Was a Train
05. Repression
06. Not Beautiful


Unknown said...

I now remember hearing and loving "Charmless" a few times in 1988 on WUTK but could never find the album. Thanks for posting and reintroducing me to a college favorite

Unknown said...

Many thanks for this. 2 of the 4 Popes are back together as The Public Good:

Pope Steve Ruppenthal

spavid said...

Thanks for commenting Steve. Appreciate the links as well. Any chance of us hearing that unreleased Popes LP?

Agent45 said...

I remember picking up a copy of this LP from Quicksilver Records in Greenville NC; this would have been 1989 or 1990. I don't know what ever happened to that record, but I just found another copy last week at an Atlanta area Goodwill and I'm stunned at how good it still sounds today. I want to say I saw The Popes play either at the New Dheli or maybe outside on ECU's campus but I can't exactly remember now.

~Kevin said...
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~Kevin said...

(reposting to correct a typo; forwarding this message here because it may be of interest! -Kevin)

I'm writing to let you know that after years of requests, Chapel Hill's now legendary The Popes are finally making their first record, "Hi, We're The Popes," available digitally on Tuesday, October 18. iTunes and other outlets will have the music for sale.

Here is a link to some of that music:

And, here is our Facebook page:

Please let me know if I can provide you with any further info.

~John Elderkin

The Popes rocked the Chapel Hill, NC scene from 1988-1992. Their first record, "Hi, We're The Popes," made a splash that surprised even the band -- Billboard gave it a rave review, Jon Pareles of The New York Times sent them a note asking for more music, and the record debuted on CMJ's "Hot New Release" chart one spot higher than REM's album of the same week.

The Popes later released a cassette-only collection called "Afar" and several specialty releases, including a hard-rocking cover of Alex Chilton's "I'm in Love with a Girl" that garnered national college radio play. A complete "great lostPopes album" is rumored to be hidden in a damp basement deep down in North Carolina, but band memories on this subject remain fuzzy.

John Elderkin, Henry Pharr, and Steve Ruppenthal formed the nucleus of The Popes. Albert Nisbet plays drums on "Hi, We're The Popes," and Marcus Jones, Jim Rumley and Mark Whelan later became full-time members of the band. More information can be found on The Popes Facebook page. Elderkin and Ruppenthal now play in the Washington, DC band The Public Good and have released two CDs to glowing reviews.

~Kevin said...

POPES REUNION SHOW - LOCAL 506 in Chapel Hill, Saturday, February 4: THIS WEEKEND!

un chien allemand said...

Thank you SO MUCH! I heard this band on college radio back in 1989 and the songs have been ringing in my head since then. After searching for a copy for all those years, FINALLY I find this!! You've made a fellow audiophile very happy indeed.

angel said...


Could you please re-up this album?

Thank you very much

Take care