Monday, May 02, 2005

this is pop?

one of my biggest musical influences is a band called xtc, hailing from the sleepy little english town of swindon, consisitng of andy partridge, guitarist/songwriter, colin moulding, bass/songwriter, terry chambers on drums and barry andrews on keyboards.
they burst onto the music scene in early 1978 riding the new wave with the single 'this is pop', and released two lps of quirky jerky pop rock. after losing the keyboard player and finding local guitar wiz david gregory, they went to a standard rock band line-up and started a string of albums that would challenge rock music like no other band of the 80s. from 'drums and wires' to 'nonesuch', (i believe 'english settlement' to be the best of the lot), the music evovled not unlike their insiprational band the beatles. midway thru this, in 1985, chambers quit the band after andy had a breakdown before a show and refused to tour anymore.
and then there were three.
by 1992 they wanted to restructure their contract with virgin records, who had really did 'em wrong and with whom they had always recorded. virgin balked, xtc walked.
for the next 7 yrs they had no record company and waited out the term of the contract, sitting in andy's shed recording songs for eventual release, (by this time the internet had taken hold and many were leaked online, much to andy's amusement).
after losing virgin, they signed to tvt records in 1999 and released 'apple venus vol.1'.
by then gregory had left, and then there were two.
andy and colin released 'wasp star (apple venus vol 2)' in late spring 2000.
andy now has his own thing going producing others and releasing all his demos online as 'fuzzy warbles'.
there has been a very good box set of xtc demos, 'a coat of cupboards' and box of live shows 'transistor blast' and then. . . .
has anyone seen these two guys? i am beginning to worry. it is now 5 years with no sign of any new material, altho here is word of another box set 'apple box', but it only contains the apple venus demos.
anyways, this is a plea, (andy, if you find this), i am jonesin' and need an xtc fix . . .ya don't have to e-me, just put something out!
until then i guess i'll have to satiate my needs with some of this stuff:

making plans for nigel (mp3) (buy it)
king for a day (david letterman show 6-30-89 video)
and this gem,
xtc live on kroq radio 5-29-89 (mp3 from
01. opening dialogue
02. scarecrow people
03. dialogue 2
04. mayor of simpleton
05. dialogue 3
06. senses working overtime/grass/love on a farmboy's wages
07. dialogue 4
08. blue beret
09. dialogue 5
10. great fire/dear god/big day
11. dialogue 6
12. king for a day
13. dialogue 7
14. one of the millions/pink thing/garden of earthy delights
15. closing dialogue


Blogger Johnno said...

Ok. You're the third one with a discerning ear to recommend these guys Wilson and Alroy being the others. So I 'spose they'll be the next round of purchases once my Pink Floyd collection is in order.

From what I read they were THE critics band of choice of the 80's. U2, The Pixies and Midnight Oil would be contenders too. As the years roll on by, XTC seem to be the ones who developed the greatest as you describe.

I remember as a teenager, my friend and I on a school excursion in the big city, he got an English Settlement limited edition and I a got U2's October! All the other kids seemed to buying KISS.

Anyhoo I've been spending most of my day downloading music at emusic dot com. $20 for 40 songs, not bad compared to i-tunes which I can't access from Australia anyway. XTC aren't on their catalogue :-(

There's a lot of Indie label stuff there, not much mainstream. Pixies back catalogue is now up to date. I also got some Charlatans, The Streets, Go Betweens, This Mortal Coil, Miles Davis and some world music. Their Jazz selection seems good but I know you've already got the majority of that!

4:35 AM CDT  
Blogger sonicfrog said...

I heard an interview with Andy, and apparently he and Sting went to the same High School (or equivelant) together. Collin Moulding is a fantastic bass player. My San Diego cover band used to play "Mayor of Simpleton" and "King For A Day". Sky Larking or Lemons and Oranges are my fav's from them, but I haven;t heard all their stuff.

9:59 AM CDT  
Blogger dickvandyke said...

Hey Sleepybomb - what an absolute fuckin' treat. Top effort old boy!

The piece from kroq radio (16 years ago) has really made my day too. What a delight - on this drab rainy afternoon surrounded by UK General Election bollocks. (The Mayor of Simpleton - that's who we should be voting for!)

I grew up following this lot, so it took me right back in time mate. The boys really seem to be enjoying it too. And to hear a Wiltshire accent on LA radio is tremendous.

I know that when I posted XTC's 'Dear God' on our http// - we had a great deal of interest. I'm sure there is a huge following out there.

I hope word gets back to you as to what they are doing now. Up the shed, drinking copious amounts of tea and writing songs, I hope.

Nice one - really lifts the spirits.

Make yourself king for a day!


10:36 AM CDT  
Blogger homercat said...

With all the music I have been exposed to, i somehow missed out on this band. Even though I had heard many good things about them. This post has opened upmy eyes and in my older age am going to seriously check these guys out.

12:51 PM CDT  
Blogger J. Marquis said...

I know how you feel. These guys are fantastic. "Nonesuch" would have to be one of my top 10 albums of all time.

8:24 PM CDT  
Blogger sleepybomb said...

wow guys, cool responses . . .
open, thanks for the link, now do what ever you can to find this stuff!
sonic, i don't know of many bands that ever tried to cover xtc. we used to do the older stuff like, 'don't lose your temper' and 'respectable street', so i respect that a lot!
mr.van dyke, jeesh, thanks for the kind words and i am very glad i made your day! lemme see if i can up it . . .
lovedonnaz, i would start with black sea then work up, but drums and wires is a must also!get going!
j-man, i love nonesuch also, but moreso because it was the last lp for 7 yrs, i thought they were goners. was so happy to get 'apple venus' in nearly was a goner!

11:47 AM CDT  

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