February 24, 2008

A.C. Temple

Artist - A.C. Temple

Blowtorch - 1988 - Further Records / 2003 mute
Sourpuss - 1989 - Blast first (Jon Langford produced)
Belinda Backwards - 1991 blast first (and I am sure I am missing some!)

Hometown- Sheffield, UK

Thinking back to the early 90’s and the music I once bowed down to, I have no idea how A.C. Temple never hit my radar. In fact it wasn’t until last year a friend loaned me a few of their records because he suspected I would fancy them.

He was right.

They are a perfect blend of so many genres and bands I love…only A.C. Temple was doing it before many of these newer groups. I was undeniably an old school emo indie rocker kid (still am I suppose minus the kid part) so my point of reference here is the early to middle years of Dischord Records. Some of the great guitar bands to come from San Diego like Pitchfork and Drive Like Jehu. The classic Chicago / Touch and Go sound. American and British variations of Riot Grrrl. Anything Sub Pop from the late 80’s up until the mid 90’s. UK and US 90’s shoegaze and last but not least the more slightly dissonant noisy groups like Sonic Youth.

In high school I didn’t know about groups like Lilliput, Kleenex, Delta 5, The Slits, The Au Pairs, The Raincoats….but I have discovered these artists between 1988 and now and still I wonder how A.C. Temple records didn’t make their way into my collection sooner. This band and their catalog of music is equally as poignant and pertinent as any of these other groups yet for some reason A.C. Temple never made it to the underground music hall of fame.

Does A.C. Temple really fit into the same musical family as ALL the groups mentioned above?

YES! (I suspect for some people this group might sound a little too derivative of that decade but they were ahead of their time damn it so be nice!)

It’s a shame really but I understand just because a band is decent doesn’t mean they will stand the test of time no less earn a press buzz equal to other bands similar in sound or on the same label. Maybe A.C. Temple was over shadowed by label mates like Sonic Youth or The Butthole Surfers. Maybe A.C. Temple didn’t tour America much or at all. (I actually have no idea if they ever played the stateside)

Whomever or whatever is to blame for their invisible popularity all I can do now is share my admiration for A.C. Temple and let you know their records are relatively easy to find used on line and in your better record stores. I have never seen one of their records go for more than $15.00 so hunting down their catalog shouldn’t be too taxing on your bank account either. As luck would have it I found Sourpuss last night at the record store Crooked Beats in Washington, DC for $12.00. (And if you ever find yourself in our nation's capital make sure you swing by this truly impressive shop. It will be worth the trip, I promise.)

There is a Myspace page to A.C. Temple but I am posting my favorite two songs by the group here.


  1. Anonymous 3/2/08, 9:26 PM

    this video doesn't sound like AC Temple at all, did they change their sound or something?

  2. Anonymous 3/4/09, 3:37 PM

    Just found this whilst looking up AC Temple on the web. I was lucky enough to see them live a good number of times, including their final ever gig, in Leeds, in about 1996. They did change a lot over the years from more noise-based material (there's an early mini album called "Songs of Praise", also on Blast First) to a more textured and dynamic, and probably more accessible, sound. A truly great band, sadly never getting the attention they deserved.

  3. You saw them live? AMAZING! I am truly jealous and shocked at how few people know about this truly briliant band.

    Thanks for dropping me a line.


  4. grassinoel 8/15/09, 4:37 AM

    hey lightning girl noel from ac temple here. nice to see some interest we also had 4 tracks on an album called rorschach blot test , jim crow records, along with our local contempoaries dust devils and kilgore trout. we also had a previously unreleased track, "food of the dogs", included on a cd which accompanied a book called "one man and his bog", a history of the adelphi club in hull uk (2006, i think). if you're interested in hearing the demos of our never to be released final album, mail me at grassinoel@mac.com and i will get you the mp3s via yousendit . finally "food of the dogs " is to be released on a forthcoming compilation release on cherry red records , a release to accompany a book by john robb, called " Death to Trad rock" which documents that certain corner of the uk indie rock world in the mid-eighties, of which we a part. that book will probably point you in the direction of some other really obscure but cool bands/music. check out a band called chorchazade, they have my space etc now, who i think were one of the best bands ever,and who, i suspect, were even more unknown than we were. no we never did play in the us. oh well that probably enough from me

  5. Chris Trout 9/28/09, 9:37 AM

    Hi Tracy,

    Chris, also formerly of ACT, here. The whole show from which your YouTube clip is taken will be going up on my site within the next couple of weeks. Glad you like the band.