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Thread: XTC

  1. #26
    Highly Evolved Orangutan JKL2000's Avatar
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    Someone always brings them up. Good stuff, but I'm just not into that either anymore.

  2. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by zombywoof View Post
    Hi everyone - I'm finally listening to these guys! I had Nonsuch first, but a few tracks aside, it left me a bit cold. Then, I finally bought Black Sea and WOW! Now I see what the hubbub is. Although the songwriting on Nonsuch is top notch, it seemed a bit subdued for my tastes. Black Sea, however, is incredible. Love the writing, and that incredible rhythm section, the biting lyrics, and the sarcastic tone of Andy Partridge's vocal delivery. I just grabbed Drums and Wires the other day and it seems just as good, though I need time with it.

    So, let's talk XTC! What was your intro to the band?
    Mine was Big Express, where they started to get a little overly big with the production. Good album but the two you have are my hands-down favorites.

  3. #28
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    I really love Apple Venus Vol.1 and its companion, Wasp Star. Of course, Skylarking, Oranges and Lemons, and Nonsuch, are great, too! I could never get into Mummer. The rest, I haven't heard.

  4. #29
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    My intro was English Settlement at summer camp after 9th grade. Funny going from a high school where everyone listened to Zeppelin and AC/DC to a place where it was all Ultravox, XTC, Clash and Talking Heads. XTC was the one that really stuck with me and ES became a favorite for many years. I also went backwards and loved Drums and Wires and Black Sea. Both are great, but never investigated the first two LPs.

    Fast forward a decade: in the early 90s I played golf every weekend with a group of guys who were all in a band together and were total XTC fanatics. They covered a lot of XTC songs and many hours on the golf course were spent discussing Andy Partridge's amazing chords and melodies. Orange and Lemons and Nonsuch were played non-stop. Those two are also classics.

  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    Oranges & Lemons, which remains my #1 XTC album.
    Oranges and Lemons was my initiation too and I can't decide if it or Nonsuch (which I got next) is my favorite. I think Nonsuch is their most consistent album and by far the best recording/production (in fact it's one of a half dozen albums I use to audition audio equipment), but O&L has a few of my very favorite tunes. When I first got those two albums, I couldn't stop listening to them! These days I don't listen nearly as often, but I still consider them to be the best pop/rock band since The Beatles. There's no XTC album that I love from start to finish; there's always a couple of tunes that don't click with me, but the strong tracks are SO potent that I don't mind.

    Black Sea is as far back in their discography as I care to go and for me, English Settlement was their first great album. But XTC fans are often divided between the early and later periods of their development. I felt that Andy's voice was a little too affected on those early albums, as he has admitted feeling the same way in interviews. But I love his voice from Skylarking on and the vocal harmonies are often brilliant. And though there's never a lot of soloing, they're great instrumentalists too. Collin is one of rock's most unique bass players; he never goes for the obvious bass part.

    Quote Originally Posted by bill g View Post
    I pretty much like everything, especially 'The Big Express' forward, but by the time of Apple Venus, it was just scattered tracks. (Love 'Easter Theatre' and 'Can't Own Her', but the rest not so much)
    No "Knights in Shining Karma?" I think it's among their best!

  6. #31
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    Skylarking was my way in and remains a top 10 album for me too. I love XTC to pieces they are my Beatles. Best songwriting ever, IMO of course. These guys, Zappa, and Cardiacs are not my top 3 musicians/bands and I stand by that! Oranges, Big Express, Nonsuch, Apple Venus 1 and 2, English and Black Sea are favorites. Drums and Mummer are wonderful too and I don't have Go 2 or White Music yet...

    The Dukes albums are AWESOME too. They take the best of the 60s pop/psychedelia and roll it into some truly amazing songs
    "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible"
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    No "Knights in Shining Karma?" I think it's among their best!
    Agreed 100%! Plus Harvest Festival is always a knockout
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  8. #33
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    There are times when I'm listening to XTC when I think, "these guys wrote a lot of songs that are every bit as good as Lennon and/or McCartney songs". YMMV.
    Last edited by progeezer; 03-23-2015 at 11:51 PM.
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  9. #34
    I have to agree. I love The Beatles but I like XTC more.
    On the subject of Harvest Festival it may well be my favourite Partridge middle eight (and he's the king of them).
    The key change into 'We all grew and we got screwed...' is just devastating.

  10. #35
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    One of my all-time favorite artists; I even did the "completist" thing with them and bought the early stuff, the Partridge solo stuff, The Dukes of Stratosphear, and some unofficial releases. Every album from "Black Sea" on has several wonderful tracks, though there's always one or two tracks I don't like much...

  11. #36
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    I think Skylarking is a near masterpiece ----but have most of their music.

  12. #37
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    Drums wires and black sea.... Love these two.
    Still alive and well...

  13. #38
    cunning linguist 3LockBox's Avatar
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    Skylarking was my introduction to XTC as far as albums are concerned, but I remember loving the Making Plans for Nigel video. I bought Skylarking because of Dear God but needed some time to fall in love with the rest of it. Next was O&L then Nonsuch and so on and loved them all, but never really fell in love any album pre-Skylarking.

  14. #39
    Intro was Skylarking. I think it's one of their best. Not a band I *love* but I do think most albums are good. My favorites are probably White Music, Drums and Wires, English Settlement and Skylarking. I'm not so much into their later period, although every album still has a bunch of songs I like a lot.

  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by progeezer View Post
    There are times when I'm listening to XTC when I think, "these guys wrote a lot of songs that are every bit as good as Lennon and/or McCartney songs". YMMV.
    Agreed! They even stopped touring and became a studio band like The Beatles. Unfortunately, while The Beatles might've been the most successful pop/rock band with the most airplay, XTC never quite made it out of "cult hero" status and few of their tunes got much in the way of airplay. Maybe their music was a little more quirky and challenging and took more effort to absorb, I don't know. Still, it's a dirty shame...

  16. #41
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    I've always felt that one of the main reasons mass appeal eluded XTC is Andy Partridge's voice (which I love, BTW). I've played XTC for many friends who said something along the lines of, "Nice music, but that guy sounds like he's straining to hit the high notes". I've read critics who described his vocals as "pinched"... Another reason might be the fact that XTC moved towards quieter and more thoughtful music from "English Settlement" to "Apple Venus"; other friends complained to me that "they had lost their edge".

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by soundsweird View Post
    Another reason might be the fact that XTC moved towards quieter and more thoughtful music from "English Settlement" to "Apple Venus"
    Really?


  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Oranges and Lemons was my initiation too and I can't decide if it or Nonsuch (which I got next) is my favorite. I think Nonsuch is their most consistent album and by far the best recording/production (in fact it's one of a half dozen albums I use to audition audio equipment), but O&L has a few of my very favorite tunes. When I first got those two albums, I couldn't stop listening to them! These days I don't listen nearly as often, but I still consider them to be the best pop/rock band since The Beatles. There's no XTC album that I love from start to finish; there's always a couple of tunes that don't click with me, but the strong tracks are SO potent that I don't mind.

    Black Sea is as far back in their discography as I care to go and for me, English Settlement was their first great album. But XTC fans are often divided between the early and later periods of their development. I felt that Andy's voice was a little too affected on those early albums, as he has admitted feeling the same way in interviews. But I love his voice from Skylarking on and the vocal harmonies are often brilliant. And though there's never a lot of soloing, they're great instrumentalists too. Collin is one of rock's most unique bass players; he never goes for the obvious bass part.



    No "Knights in Shining Karma?" I think it's among their best!
    Yeah I do like that one. And in fact, there's a few other tracks I enjoy on vol 1. I'm with you that 'English Settlement' was a step forward for them. My favorite from that era was actually a b-side, 'Blame The Weather'. And one of my all-time favorite XTC songs ever is 'Good Things', under the alias 'Terry and the Lovemen', of which there's a more unplugged less produced version out there but I like the full produced version. Killer tune.

  19. #44
    Andy's voice is annoying at times, but geeze, he's better than Ric Ocasek and The Cars did ok (even though Ben Orr sang all the good songs). I'd put Andy right in between those two guys.

  20. #45
    Geriatric Anomaly progeezer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    but geeze
    (In best DeNiro as Travis Bickle voice) "You talkin' to meeee?"
    "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician, and to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference"

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  21. #46
    Chronic Overspender zombywoof's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trurl View Post
    Andy's voice is annoying at times, but geeze, he's better than Ric Ocasek and The Cars did ok (even though Ben Orr sang all the good songs). I'd put Andy right in between those two guys.
    IMO, I haven't heard a rock singer yet who isn't annoying at times! I've found I struggled with Andys voice at first, but it grew on me quickly.
    Last edited by zombywoof; 03-25-2015 at 06:46 AM.
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  22. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by Lieto View Post
    Agreed 100%! Plus Harvest Festival is always a knockout
    I personally love River of Orchids, but the one that really hits me every time on Apple Venus is Green Man, and nobody ever seems to mention this one.

  23. #48
    Outraged bystander markwoll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunlight Caller View Post
    I personally love River of Orchids, but the one that really hits me every time on Apple Venus is Green Man, and nobody ever seems to mention this one.
    Perhaps a few more mentions than 'Your Dictionary'. My wife really does not like that one.
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  24. #49
    Member Guitarplyrjvb's Avatar
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    I love the chamber music feel of Apple Venus Vol. 1. It really sounds different than anything else in their catalogue. The follow-up, Wasp Star, is another 180 shift - back to jangly guitar pop. It's a shame that Dave Gregory is pretty much absent on both of these, but I think they're both beautiful and essential releases! Progressive in the literal sense of the word!

    An interesting XTC-related project is Mike Keneally's Wing Beat Fantastic. He does a great job of adding his musical flavors and spices to Andy Patridge's. Highly recommended if you wondered what XTC would sound like with Mike! The answer is damned good!

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunlight Caller View Post
    River of Orchids
    A brilliantly constructed tune! I love the way it starts and slowly develops and how the different melodic phrases eventually overlap on top of each other; very clever stuff!

    Quote Originally Posted by markwoll View Post
    Perhaps a few more mentions than 'Your Dictionary'. My wife really does not like that one.
    Another great tune, but not one you want to share with your "significant other," for the obvious reason that it's about a sadly deteriorated marriage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarplyrjvb View Post
    An interesting XTC-related project is Mike Keneally's Wing Beat Fantastic. He does a great job of adding his musical flavors and spices to Andy Patridge's. Highly recommended if you wondered what XTC would sound like with Mike! The answer is damned good!
    I was thrilled when I heard Mike and Andy were collaborating and when it finally came out, it didn't disappoint! And speaking of "significant others," I played "Your House" (my favorite tune from WBF) for mine. I don't share my music with her often, but I was so into that tune that I wanted her to hear it. Her first comment was "it's pretty "stalker-y," isn't it?!" Several months later, I saw Mike and Rick Musallam play it live as a duo and Mike explained that the tune was supposed be from the perspective of a 12 year old boy. I told her that and she said, "uh, huh..."

    Which reminds me: Any XTC fan owes it to themselves to check out the book, "XTC: Song Stories." As the title implies, it's interviews with them about their tunes, the meanings, what other music inspired them, etc. Very entertaining!

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