gfxgfx
 
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
logo
 
gfx gfx
gfx
655259 Posts in 26178 Topics by 3724 Members - Latest Member: Ben Valley February 18, 2020, 05:21:02 AM
*
gfx*HomeHelpSearchCalendarLoginRegistergfx
gfxgfx
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.       « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 [3] Go Down Print
Author Topic: (Merged) XTC Thread  (Read 9036 times)
feelsflow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1281



View Profile
« Reply #50 on: April 10, 2015, 08:46:13 PM »

xtc:         the xtc place

[/Drums i]andWires
https://youtu.be/ph-cxsWVrMw
Logged

...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
feelsflow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1281



View Profile
« Reply #51 on: April 15, 2015, 04:31:37 PM »

« Last Edit: April 15, 2015, 05:14:42 PM by feelsflow » Logged

...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
alf wiedersehen
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2178


View Profile
« Reply #52 on: April 20, 2015, 02:55:34 PM »

xtc:  the xtc place

    the list:
Okay, now it gets hard:

The Big Express - A lot of people seem to find how mechanical this album seems to be off-putting, but I like it. I don't think there's a bad song on this entire album, although I think the early demo and the acoustic version of "Train Running Low on Soul Coal" are both much better than the final, album version. The album version seems to be mainly about speed, whereas the two other versions I linked to show off a great groove created by the chord riff and a rather beautiful B section starting with "Think I'm going south for the winter...". You also get a bit of a hint of where the band was heading to next - the Dukes - with the psychedelic-ish-ness of "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her" and "I Remember the Sun", the former being one of my favorites from the band. "You're the Wish You Are I Had" is also another favorite, just a blast of pure joy in the form of a pop song. To me, "the Everyday Story of Smalltown" seems like Andy pulling out his occasional Ray Davies songwriting approach. "All You Pretty Girls" is some sort of magnificent, catchy sea shanty, and "Shake You Donkey Up" is like if you sang "All You Pretty Girls", but changed the subject of affection to a donkey. Yes, that seems like a reasonable way to describe a song. "I Bought Myself a Liarbird", "Wake Up", and "Reign of Blows" are good, too. "This World Over" is a bit different from the rest of the songs in that it's a bit more contemplative and slower, focusing on the fallout of a nuclear war. I seem to like this album more than most.

Drums and Wires/Black Sea - I found that I had to double these albums up. Much like I see Sunflower and Surf's Up, Rubber Soul and Revolver (George Harrison did, too), I see these two albums as sort of a part 1 and part 2, part 2 always being the darker album for some reason. Drums and Wires is a really, really great new wave record infused with some reggae touches. It bounces all over the place in terms of sound and subject matter, never settling, but also never hitting a sour moment. The only quibble I have is that I don't much care for the chorus of "Scissor Man", but that's pretty minimal, right? Oranges and Lemons was my first XTC album, and I was disappointed, but I decided to listen to this one, and I was immediately hooked. From the very beginning, you can already see the contrast between the two songwriters, Colin writing the superb, radio-friendly "Making Plans for Nigel" and Andy following it up with the quirky, colorful "Helicopter". My two favorites are "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty" and "Complicated Game". The first, "When You're Near Me", is a lovely song about the effects that someone that you're attracted to has on you, like being unable to think or breathe properly, being able to stand, and being unable to sleep at night. Everyone's had that person that turns them into a "spineless, wobbly jellyfish"? Then, "Complicated Game" is just a mangled beast of a song, using dissonance and images of futility to finish off the album. Brilliant. This album is packed with musical ideas, and I'm surprised they were able to make the next album after using all of them here.

Drums and Wires was made by a rejuvenated band (thank you, Dave), and Black Sea was made by the road-hardened version of that band. Beginning the album with the two songs that are most single-worthy, it would be hard for the rest of the album to follow it up. "Respectable Street" shows the first influences of the Kinks into his songwriting (also showing up in "Paper & Iron"), and Colin manages to continue his streak of single-writing by throwing in an immensely catchy tune. After this, the album becomes much more reliant on utilizing odd rhythms, quite easy to see immediately on "Living Through Another Cuba" and continuing through the love songs "Love at First Sight" and "Rocket from a Bottle", two more of my favorites. I really like their quirky, young-love songs. "No Language in Our Lungs" seems to point way forward a bit, predicting the weirder, darker experiments of Mummer, and "Burning with Optimism's Flames" looks back and is most like Drums and Wires, with a very rhythmic, almost-rapping singing from Andy. "Towers of London" is perhaps the greatest song of their early career. It just is. The first few times I heard "Sgt. Rock", I dug it, but I think I've soured to it over time. Really cool rhythm, though. Then comes "Travels in Nihilon", featuring eerie lyrics and something along the lines of chanting by Andy, it's a surprisingly dark way to finish out the record. This monster of a song is pushed forward by a repeated drum patten and nimble bass lines, while Andy and Dave's guitar create a racket an absolute racket. I think it's the longest song they've released.

Psonic Psunspot - Man, I love this record. It's interesting that this record was supposed to begin with what is now side 2, changed due to Virgin's insistence that a record begin with the "hit single", in this case "Vanishing Girl". A good jangle pop, Hollies-type thing with harmonies, melodies, bass lines, lyrics... It's got it all. However, one thing that I really can't imagine is not ending this album with "Pale and Precious". Apparently Dave asked Andy if he was really sure that he wanted to throw the song away on this record instead of using it for XTC, and I can see the concern (although, Andy later came up with "Chalkhills and Children, so there ya go). "Collideascope" is a great song (my goodness, that hook is so good), but why would you close on that? But, thankfully, the side change resulted in placing "Pale and Precious" at its rightful position of closing song. The song is absolutely beautiful - Andy's lyrics paint a gorgeous picture and the organ and the melody/singing are achingly heartfelt. Then comes the gradual layering of Brian Wilson techniques - the clip-clopping wood block, the "bah-baba-ba-bah" backing vocals, the unexpected chord changes, sleigh bells - only to simultaneously combine into something breathtaking. The bridge, of course, is a well-studied recreation of the Beach Boys mid-60s hits (especially "Help Me, Rhonda"), but the real thing to pay attention to is the layered, perfectly mixing melodies sung by the band members. To finish the song, Andy takes it back to the beginning, but this time with an altered arrangement, a final nod to Brian Wilson.

Another victim of the aforementioned side-switch is the story that, while originally probably didn't make a whole lot of sense, makes even less so now. Probably an attempt at doing an Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake-thing, it's about a little girl who opens a suitcase filled with fruit and meets a crane fly at a train depot... or something. The opening to "You're My Drug" also makes sense as the opening song, with it's fading-in, rhythmic opening and ear-catching melodies. It's follow up, "Shiny Cage" is a shameless rewrite of a certain Beatles' song named "I'm Only Sleeping". That, and "the Affiliated", a song that doesn't quite fit here (although, it is a good song with some interesting chord progressions), and are probably my two lowest-ranked songs for this album. Well, never mind, they're going to have to fight "You're a Good Man, Albert Brown" for the bottom spot. It's not terrible and I suppose you have to give them a pass, as this is a part of what they were recreating, but this is just a bit of fun in the midst of some excellent songs. "Have You Seen Jackie" and "Little Lighthouse" are both solid, fun, psych-recreations and "Little Lighthouse" is also actually quite good. The psychedelic pictures that Andy's able to create with his words are dead-on, as are the effects-heavy - and sometimes backwards - guitars and the brass lines in the chorus. My personal favorite on this record is "Brainiac's Daughter". Unusual chords and undeniably wonderful melodies are what create this psych-pop song. Oh, and also an ocarina solo over someone blowing some air into a straw in water and creating bubbles. I love every bit of this song. This is a better record than most psychedelic records from the 60s.

And then the Dukes were finished. Supposedly, they were carried on in Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons, but I don't really buy that. It's not the same. I've read things from Andy about more planned Dukes projects, like a pre-psychedelia merseybeat Dukes, a glam rock album, and a rock opera. Wikipedia tells me they're called the Mersey Dukes, the Stratosphear Band, and the Great Royal Jelly Scandal, respectively. Then there's also the bubblegum pop album, half-completed apparently, but I hope we get to hear all of it soon. Andy's said that there are some Duke experiments that were happening during the making of English Settlement (not the drunk session) that will be someday released on the deluxe edition.

Skylarking is my number one. Review forthcoming.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 03:07:32 PM by Bubbly Waves » Logged
alf wiedersehen
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2178


View Profile
« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2015, 03:06:41 PM »

Speaking of deluxe editions, Oranges and Lemons is basically finished. Apparently, they're just waiting for all the videos to be scrounged up. As for the next edition, a fan asked about the multitracks for Skylarking and the possibility of it being the next in line to get the blu-ray treatment, to which Andy replied that he'll have "more news on that soon." While I'm looking forward to Blu-ray copies of all the albums, I am excited that we may be getting Skylarking soon. I'll bet there will be some pretty cool extras from this record. 
Logged
feelsflow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1281



View Profile
« Reply #54 on: April 20, 2015, 05:54:45 PM »

Bubbly!  Ya' got the rest of your list up!  Thanks for posting, it is your thread after all... I'm just one of the caretakers.  The gardener.

it's finally Spring in New YorkLet's get to planting stuffSongs are like flowers, they grow, as we grow to love them.
Logged

...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
alf wiedersehen
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2178


View Profile
« Reply #55 on: April 21, 2015, 06:16:57 PM »

Okay, I'm gonna go back and cover older stuff that I haven't done yet:

I can't speak personally about XTC's existence without Dave, as I've only heard albums he's been involved with, but most reviews and the common consensus agrees with your sentiments about his being in the band. I think Dave is a super-talented guy, and the band was lucky to get him. He's a great guitar player (and also skilled on other instruments) and arranger. The guy did the string arrangement for "1000 Umbrellas"! That right there is enough to know that he's a talented musician. I know he and Andy are on good terms currently, I think it would be great if they got together to work again. That would probably be too close to XTC for Andy's comfort - and maybe Dave's... I don't really know his feelings on the subject. I saw you saying that Dave left because he was pushing for an orchestrated sound, but Andy wanted it to be stripped-down, but I've read the complete opposite. He disliked the orchestral direction and wanted more guitars on the album. He left during the recording of Apple Venus.

I haven't read anything mentioning the inclusion of live material on the Blu-rays. I imagine they would have put it on the Drums and Wires one if they were going to at all. Although, and I might have mentioned this to you before, he did hint at a live release for XTC sometime in the future. Maybe they'll include some of those radio show performances on the upcoming Oranges and Lemons? I love the "Senses Working Overtime/Grass/Love on a Farmboy's Wages" medley they do. The opening of "Grass" really impresses when they strip it down to just acoustic guitars and harmonies. Listen to it if you haven't: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNld03WhF4M. He's mentioned there will be a lot of extras for O&L, so I think there's a good chance we'll get some of this stuff.

We'll talk more about what Andy's been up to recently later on. I haven't listened to any of it other than what's on his Fuzzy Warbles series. Getting reissued soon, the Fuzzy Warbles are. I'm looking forward to owning those and not having to pay unreasonable amounts of money to get them all. I hope they can reel in some of that compression this time around. Those songs are SO LOUD.

Any speculation on what would be on a Skylarking or the Big Express deluxe edition?
Logged
alf wiedersehen
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 2178


View Profile
« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2015, 01:18:20 PM »

Some new XTC shirts:

               Oranges and Lemons                                    "Making Plans for Nigel"
     

They're okay, I guess. Was hoping for something a little more creative.
Logged
feelsflow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1281



View Profile
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2015, 10:58:42 PM »

Yeah, you're finding some articles I'm not seeing.  The shirts?  Everyone will have their favorite images, I would be more interested if they had one made up for The Dukes.

I tried today to get more information on the Dave split.  I'm learning new stuff all the time, it was my take on what might have happened.  Doesn't look like I researched the period well enough, for some reason I also thought Dave was still a part of the band in that post.  Krabklaw caught me on that one.  I wasn't trying to mislead you.  Should I break down and buy one of the books?  I checked that Amazon link you posted, and it said the new book wasn't expected til June of 2016.  I thought it was supposed to be in September this year.  When I wrote that in my post I was thinking about the problem Dave was having with not being used to arrange anymore, Andy was using new computer programs to do it himself.  That would limit his role and make him feel less a part of the band.  It had more often than not been one of his contributions.  Now he was just hired to play piano and guitar.  What you're saying makes sense.  If he was going to be the guitar player and not be helping out with the arrangements, then why not push for more of a guitar album as the first one released.  Andy wanted it to be two albums, with the orchestral one done first.  You're right about that.  Colin seemed not too interested in doing anything, and Dave wanted it to be just one album.  So Dave would have been part of the discussion for awhile.  Colin of course, left too.  They didn't get back together for very long.  I was disappointed that Colin was cashing in his chips.  He didn't help much with the promotion of Apple Venus.   Him and Andy did some singings in America, I heard they were going to be in New York, but by the time that got to San Francisco Colin was back in Swindon.  I could tell for sure on Wasp Star.  He only had a couple of really good numbers if you go by what he brought in to both Apple albums.  I don't remember any promotion on that.  Both were Andy projects for the most part.

Dave would have been a whole different person when these sessions started, they all were.  How close did they stay in that long break?  Dave was doing sessions wasn't he?  Playing with other people?  What I'm remembering must be from a Mojo or something from an English paper from 1999.  They came back out of nowhere with a new record.  I'm not sure I even thought they were still together.  I was playing their music, but had moved on to Britpop and American stuff too.  Seven years is a long time.  I don't remember anyone saying much about them working on a record in 1997 or 1998.  Maybe.  That whole period in the late 90's was a time when I was focused on making big changes in my life.  It took up a lot of my time planning to move across the country.  I moved five times between 1998 and 2001 before settling where I've been since.  The record came at a very busy time in my life.  I bought it as soon as it came out.

Tell me where you're reading this.  I'll dig out some of the old articles.  Could surely find some stuff to add to the thread.  Let's learn together.

I love that medley clip you found.  I hope they pick all of my live favorites for Oranges & Lemons.  They have a lot to chose from, some with video.

Will give some serious thought to getting some of the Fuzzy Warbles when he re-releases them.  I've played different things on youtube, but didn't buy any of them on the first go-around.  I thought they were pretty expensive then.

The information you found on all the Dukes projects sounds fascinating.  I hope Andy puts it out.    
« Last Edit: April 23, 2015, 11:10:04 PM by feelsflow » Logged

...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
feelsflow
Smiley Smile Associate
*
Offline Offline

Gender: Male
Posts: 1281



View Profile
« Reply #58 on: October 31, 2015, 03:28:37 PM »

the xtc place

Going to the door expecting another kid with a bag... I got a treat!

Oranges & Lemons Blu-ray is in my hands!

Gonna be the star of the listening party tonight.  I need to be quick, as people are going to be showing up soon.  The set has four mixes:  5.1 dts-HD Surround, 5.1 Instrumental mix, a new 2015 Stereo mix, and a Flat Transfer of the Original Album.  Demo and Work tapes for every track, Extra Demos and Work tapes for some of the Outtakes, Rehearsals at Leeds Studios L. A., Promo and ID Work, Other Recordings - including "Ella Guru" and all the 12" mixes from the day.  And of course Videos:  3 for "The Mayor of Simpleton" and the "King for a Day" (Lion version).  Also something listed as The Road To Oranges & Lemons.  The Ape site never put too much info up on what we were going to get, so not so sure what all we have here.  I'm probably not going to get through much more than the Surround mix and the videos tonight.  Will get a review up as soon as I can.

Happy Halloween Everybody!

-Will
« Last Edit: October 31, 2015, 03:32:06 PM by feelsflow » Logged

...if you are honest - you have no idea where childhood ends and maturity begins.  It is all endless and all one.  ~ P.L. Travers        And, let's get this out of the way now, everything I post is my opinion.  ~ Will
gfx
Pages: 1 2 [3] Go Up Print 
gfx
Jump to:  
gfx
Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines Page created in 0.636 seconds with 21 queries.
Helios Multi design by Bloc
gfx
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!