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Thread: XTC

  1. #51
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    BTW, I far prefer Andy's tunes to Collin's, BUT...

    I think The Dukes' "Vanishing Girl" is possibly their best tune and it was written by Collin. It could've easily been a hit if it came out around '65.

    Speaking of The Dukes, there was one tune that I thought gave away their true identity; "Little Lighthouse."

  2. #52
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    Agreed on "Vanishing Girl." Utterly fun song that would have caught fire in the mid-sixties.

    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Speaking of The Dukes, there was one tune that I thought gave away their true identity; "Little Lighthouse."
    Oh, God, yes. That and "Have You Seen Jackie?" just seem as if they could have just been XTC songs (and XTC songs from "Rag and Bone Buffet" at that). Although Dave Gregory thought "Pale and Precious" should have been an XTC song, however, I disagree: the song is way too Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys for XTC.

    I also think no record company in the WORLD would have allowed "What in the World?" on a record with its "Cannabis in tea" line… or allowed any song called "You're My Drug"… at the supposed time the Dukes would have been recording.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

  3. #53
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    The first time I heard '25 O Clock' I thought it *was* a 60s psychedelic song. I was just getting into some of the obscure UK psych at the time I heard that song (on weird compilations like 'The Perfumed Garden') and it fit like a glove with that.

    The Beach Boys influence made it onto a few XTC songs- 'Season Cycle' and best of all, 'Chalkhills And Children'.

  4. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    The Beach Boys influence made it onto a few XTC songs- 'Season Cycle' and best of all, 'Chalkhills And Children'.
    ... and the bridge to "Miniature Sun," though the rest of it sounds like nobody else I can think of.

    And yes, "Pale and Precious" is the best Beach Boys tune that they never wrote or performed. I wonder if they know of it's existence.

  5. #55
    False Number 9 Pr33t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    Black Sea was my way in and, if I have to choose, remains my favourite but they haven't made an album that I don't love.
    Skylaring was my in, but otherwise I would have said it exactly the same. Black Sea is a masterpiece.


    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Next for you? English Settlement.
    Totally agreed. I feel about XTC the way most of you here feel about Cardiacs. Hands-down one of my favorite bands, and one that truly did something different on nearly each album over an incredible stretch. It's pretty amazing to chart their evolution, and how sophisticated they became. When I first discovered them I spent an entire month or so listening to nothing else. Exploring their catalogue brings a wealth of diversity and imagination.

    It would be worth going backwards to Drums and Wires after English Settlement, which is the most fleshed out version of their early art-punk-new wave sound. Despite the really big production, The Big Express is a favorite for me as well. I'm not surprised that Nonsuch left you cold, it's probably my least favorite. The songs are still incredibly catchy, but by this point the music business had really ground a lot of the soul out of Andy. Combined with the production and the length, I find it the least engaging.

    For those of you who aren't as into the first few albums, I'd recommend the 4 Disc Transistor Blast: Best of the BBC Sessions - the last two discs are concerts from 1978-79 and 1980, respectively, and presents the early material in its best light played live, rippling with energy. The nervy, edginess of the material from the first two albums isn't as so here.

    I also enjoy a lot of psych/pop, and the Dukes of the Stratosfear material may just be the most fun album I have. Tongue in cheek (mostly), but done out of true reverence and love for the source. Never ceases to put a smile on my face. Really fun to try and pick out the bands they were basing tracks off of.

    Only slightly off-tangent, but I'd also recommend Martin Newell's work to any XTC fan. Less bitingly and angrily cynical than Andy, but similarly world-weary and an incredibly pop craftsman. The Greatest Living Englishman (I have to thank Steve for turning me on to this one many moons ago) and The Off-White Album are his finest, most well-produced works. His work as The Cleaners from Venus is no less worthy, but often only of cassette-demo quality, unfortunately.

  6. #56
    Member bill g's Avatar
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    As to Andy vs. Colin songs, I don't favor one over the other really but these Colin penned songs I think are fantastic:

    I Remember The Sun
    The Good Things (from Rag & Bone Buffet)
    Bungalow
    King For A Day
    One of the Millions
    Blame The Weather
    Fly on the Wall
    Grass

  7. #57
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    XTC is my favorite band of all-time (edging out those wankers Yes and Genesis.)

    My dad bought Drums and Wires for me back in 1979 when he visited the states (we lived on a sailboat in the Caribbean.) He said he thought the album cover looked cool so he got me the cassette (the American version which opens with "Life Begins At The Hop") and it was all over. Love at first sight - oh wait a sec, that's a song on Black Sea.

    Every XTC album is terrific but I still think Drums And Wires is their best and, possibly, my favorite record ever.
    Prog's Not Dead

  8. #58
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    Here's how I see it:

    White Music 8/10
    Go 2 7/10
    Drums And Wires 10/10
    Black Sea 10/10
    English Settlement 9.5/10
    Mummer 8.5/10
    Big Express 7/10
    Skylarking 9/10
    Oranges & Lemons 9.5/10
    Nonsuch 9/10
    Apple Venus 9.5/10
    Wasp Star 7/10

    And about The Dukes Of Stratosphere...love 'em.

    Andy's voice is really annoying. Makes me love them even more.

    Colin's songs are good, Andy's songs are great.

    Early XTC vs. Late period XTC :::: do yourself a favor and just buy all of their albums!
    Prog's Not Dead

  9. #59
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve F. View Post
    Next for you? English Settlement.
    Indispensable. Simply, a stunning album full of inventiveness. My favourite of them, though it is hard to choose.

    My top 3 (not including the Dukes albums):
    English Settlement
    Oranges & Lemons
    Skylarking
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    Only slightly off-tangent, but I'd also recommend Martin Newell's work to any XTC fan. Less bitingly and angrily cynical than Andy, but similarly world-weary and an incredibly pop craftsman. The Greatest Living Englishman (I have to thank Steve for turning me on to this one many moons ago) and The Off-White Album are his finest, most well-produced works. His work as The Cleaners from Venus is no less worthy, but often only of cassette-demo quality, unfortunately.
    Good to see this recommendation. Martin comes from my hometown and is one of a long line of great English eccentrics. I do think his music would appeal to any true XTC fan, as there's a similar sensibility and craft within. The Greatest Living Englishman is a favourite of mine too.

  11. #61
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    Martin Newell (and The Cleaners From Venus) is like the love child of XTC and Guided By Voices. In other words: AWESOME!!!
    Prog's Not Dead

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pr33t View Post
    Only slightly off-tangent, but I'd also recommend Martin Newell's work to any XTC fan. Less bitingly and angrily cynical than Andy, but similarly world-weary and an incredibly pop craftsman. The Greatest Living Englishman (I have to thank Steve for turning me on to this one many moons ago) and The Off-White Album are his finest, most well-produced works. His work as The Cleaners from Venus is no less worthy, but often only of cassette-demo quality, unfortunately.
    I'm listening to "The Greatest Living Englishman" now on YT and holy moley; it's SO XTC! Thanks for the recommendation!

  13. #63
    Jefferson James
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  14. #64
    Jefferson James
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    "Skylarking" was my introduction to XTC and although I had heard "Making Plans for Nigel" and "Senses Working Overtime" on the radio, they didn't do enough for me to make me dig into the catalog.

    Mid-90s, I'd bought Sugarplastic's "Bang! The Earth is Round" album and lent it to a friend, who later returned it to me along with "Skylarking", saying, "Sugarplastic is cool but these guys are the originators of this particular sound."

    From "Summer's Cauldron" on, I was hooked, lined and sinkered. I still prefer the era from "Black Sea" stretching thru "Wasp Star", the earlier quirky stuff is cool but I like the more pastoral side of XTC.

    Agree with Kavus regarding the bridge on "Harvest Festival", one of Andy's best. It also took time to open my mind to Andy's voice, which is distinct to say the least; early on I didn't particularly like it but over time he has grown into one of my favorite vocalists.

    The last song on the last official album is one of my favorite songs, period; whenever I get down about life or insignificance or whatever, this songs brings me back. "Was I so naive? Of course it all unweaves."

    Round goes the wheel...


  15. #65
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    I was wondering when you were going to show up on this thread, Kerry!

  16. #66
    The Wheel And The Maypole is one of their greatest. Could have been on English Settlement.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    The Wheel And The Maypole is one of their greatest.
    I always had mixed feelings about that one. It sounds like two tunes glued together... and I love the first one, but not the second. Maybe the problem is that he keeps singing "maypole" and it reminds of a maple flavored oatmeal cereal called "Maypo" from when I was a toddler... and I didn't like it. Silly, yes, but there you have it.



    Now that I watch that after all these years, I see that the Ren & Stimpy Show totally aped the kid in it for one of their own faux commercials.

    Sorry; back to XTC...

  18. #68
    Yes. XTC. Ecstasy

    i've loved them from day one. i bought White Music when it first came out on the recommendation of my friend and PP colleague Ed Dickie (who thought the cover looked interesting), and knew immediately that they were brilliant. We used to listen to that album repeatedly in our drum studio and marvel at the details in the production. At that time, of course, there was more of a punk attitude and presentation but they were also clearly on the avant/art-rock tip. Our newly started PP project shared that attitude, so we just fell in love hard with what they were doing. The lyrics and the intelligence behind it all was clear as day and very exciting back then. The herky jerky thing and his unique style of singing put people off but you could see a serious diamond in the rough even then. So cool. "I'm Bugged", "Set Myself on Fire" and the rest... good stuff!

    I also enjoyed watching their evolution, the trajectory of which came as no surprise to us - Drums and Wires is one of the most wonderful experiences of all time, imho. Andy (and the highly underrated Colin, a great songwriter and fantastically musical bassist) never lost that punk attitude and the sarcastic humanism of the early days. Their lyrics have been perceptive, clever and biting to this day. I also cannot say enough good things about "Wing Beat Fantastic" wherein Mike channels his inner Andy and the two of them create one of the most magical of albums. If you don't have it and you like either Mike or Andy, run don't walk to your nearest supplier and get it today

    God asked me should he ought to put his world on the left, no
    God asked me should he ought to put his world on the right, no
    I said God, it really doesn't matter where you put your world
    Someone will come along and move it
    And it's always been the same
    It's just a complicated game
    - Andy Partridge

    Ain't it the truth?

    Kim
    Last edited by Polypet; 03-27-2015 at 01:19 PM.
    And the code is a play, a play is a song, a song is a film, a film is a dance...

  19. #69
    Jefferson James
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    Andy: “Two songs, one with no end and one with no beginning, sewn together at the hip. Hey it works. Modern English folk music meets cosmic shuffle. All about being permanently bound (and then unbound) by the mysteries of life. Pot is the girl, Maypole is the boy. Tie me up so that I may be released. Twang on, boys.”

  20. #70
    Late as usual to another great thread about one of my favourite bands, so i'll just post this. XTC on kids tv. WARNING: contains Noel Edmonds.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kavus Torabi View Post
    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.
    YES KAVUS, this is the highlight of the whole album for me. A knockout of a bridge. Andy really is the king of them, and not just for a day. I am also a huge Colin fan too, he stands as one of my favorite bass players to boot.

    "The Wheel and The Maypole" is such a stunning and powerful closer, it may be their best song ever (Although Mermaid Smiled will always be my favorite). This tune is timeless I think, the lyrics speak volumes.

    "Everything decays, forest tumbles down
    To make the soil, planets fall apart
    Just to feed the stars and stuff their larders
    And what made me think we're any better
    And what made me think we'd last forever
    Was I so naive? Of course, it all unweaves."
    "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible"
    -Frank Zappa

  22. #72
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    Also I agree about Vanishing Girl, best Dukes song.

    Man, the ending of Your Dictionary never ceases to give me chills!
    "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible"
    -Frank Zappa

  23. #73
    SKYLARKING was my intro and remains one of my 10 favorite albums of all time. All the others are great too.

  24. #74
    False Number 9 Pr33t's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lieto View Post
    (Although Mermaid Smiled will always be my favorite).
    I started off with the original Geffen US CDs that had the bonus tracks in the middle of some albums, and omitted "Mermaid Smiled" in place of "Dear God." I absolutely love this song, but I've never been able to tell if part of it is just because it's fresher to me, having memorized the original CD that I had before ever hearing it.

  25. #75
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    English Settlement was my first XTC vinyl. Knuckle Down is likely may favorite song by them.
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