XTC


Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1972-73) as The Helium Kids and Star Park

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

  line up 2 (1973-76) as The Helium Kids and Star Park

- Terry Chambers -- drums

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

  line up 3 (1976-78) as XTC

- Barry Adams -- keyboards

- Terry Chambers -- drums

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

  line up 4 (1978-83) 

- Terry Chambers -- drums

- Dave Gregory -- keyboards (replaced Barry Adams)

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

  line up 5 (1983-2000) 

- Dave Gregory -- keyboards 

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

  line up 6 (2000-2005) 

- Colin Moulding -- vocals, bass 
- Andy Partridge -- vocals, guitar, percussion, synthesizers

 

 

 

 

- The Colonel (Terry Chambers and Colin Moulding) 

- Dukes of the Stratosphere

- The Helium Kidz (Colin Moulding - Andy Partridge)

- Johnny Japes and His Jesticles
- King Crimson (Barry Andrews)
- League of Gentlemen (Barry Andrews)

- Andy Partridge (solo efforts)
- Shriekback (Barry Andrews)   

- Star Park (Colin Moulding - Andy Partridge)

- The Three Wise Men

 

 


 

Genre: rock

Rating: ** (2 stars)

Title:  Go 2

Company: Virgin

Catalog: VI 2180

Country/State: Swindon, UK

Year: 1978

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor ring and edge wear; UP pressing, no bonus EP

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5045

Price: $15.00

 

1978's "Go 2" found the band falling victim to the demand for quantity over quality.  Clearly recorded in a rush and under considerable pressure, Partridge himself described the album as "Four weeks worth of songs, hastily scribbled on hotel notepaper and beer mats. We were living out of carrier bags and in rental vans, making nasty noises at each other and with each other. Something had to give and here it is.), the sound wasn't radically different than the debut, offering a mix of frantic/spastic new wave moves, punk angst rounded out by occasional snatches reflecting a more mainstream sound (particular some of Colin Molding's contributions).  Oh, don't forget to add in Partridge's penchant for offbeat lyrics ('Life Is Good In the Greenhouse').  Interestingly, at least to my ears the album's improved over the years.  It really didn't do much or me the first couple of years I played it, but when I rediscovered XTC's earlier catalog a couple of years back I was pleasantly surprised to hear an album that was much more interesting than I remembered.  There were actually quite a few highlights including the leadoff rocker 'Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)', Moulding's 'Buzzcity Talking' and the should've-been-a-hits 'Are You Receiving Me?' (more below) and 'Beatown'.

 

For you true fanatics the original UK release came with a bonus 12" EP  entitled "Go+".  The EP culled a series of five songs from the album, offering them up in a dub format.  Not exactly essential, but quirky.  Also the US version of the album differed from the UK issue.  Apparently unhappy with the absence of a clearly commercial cut, Virgin added the earlier single 'Are You Receiving Me?'  to the US release.

 

"Go 2'" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Meccanic Dancing (Oh We Go!)  (Andy Partridge) - 2:34

2.) Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)  (Andy Partridge) - 4:35

3.) Buzzcity Talking   (Colin Molding) - 2:40

4.) Crowded Room   (Colin Molding) - 2:53

5.) The Rhythm   (Colin Molding) - 2:58

6.) Are You Receiving Me?  (Andy Partridge) - Bob Andrews) - 3:04
7.) Red  (Andy Partridge) - 3:01

 

(side 2)

1.) Beatown  (Andy Partridge) - 4:35

2.) Life Is Good In the Greenhouse  (Andy Partridge) - 4:41

3.) Jumping In Gomorrah  (Andy Partridge) - 2:03

4.) My Weapon   (Barry Andrews) - 2:20

5.) Supper Tuff  (Andy Partridge) - 4:24

6.) I Am the Audience   (Colin Moulding) - 3:38

 

By the way, in case you really wanted to know, here are the front and back cover liner notes:

 

This is a RECORD COVER. This writing is the DESIGN upon the record cover The DESIGN is to help 
SELL the record.  We hope to draw your attention to it and encourage you to pick it up. When you have 
done that maybe you'll be persuaded to listen to the music - in this case XTC's Go 2 album.  Then we 
want you to BUY it.  The idea being that the more of you that buy this record the more money Virgin 
Records, the manager Ian Reid and XTC themselves will make.  To the aforementioned this is known 
as PLEASURE.  A good cover DESIGN is one that attracts more buyers and gives more pleasure. 
This writing is trying to pull you in much like an eye-catching picture. It is designed to get you to READ IT.  
This is called luring the VICTIM, and you are the VICTIM.  But if you have a free mind you should STOP 
READING NOW! because all we are attempting to do is to get you to read on.  Yet this is a DOUBLE 
BIND because if you indeed stop you'll be doing what we tell you, and if you read on you'll be doing 
what we've wanted all along.  And the more you read on the more you're falling for this simple device
 of telling you exactly how a good commercial design works.  They're TRICKS and this is the worst
TRICK of all since it's describing the TRICK whilst trying to TRICK you, and if you've read this far then 
you're TRICKED but you wouldn't have known this unless you'd read this far.  At least we're telling you 
directly instead of seducing you with a beautiful or haunting visual that may never tell you.  We're letting 
you know that you ought to buy this record because in essence it's a PRODUCT and PRODUCTS
are to be consumed and you are a consumer and this is a good PRODUCT.  We could have written the 
band's name in special lettering so that it stood out and you'd see it before you'd read any of this  
writing and possibly have bought it anyway.  What we are really suggesting is that you are FOOLISH to 
buy or not buy an album merely as a consequence of the design on its cover.  This is a con because
if you agree then you'll probably like this writing - which is the cover design - and hence the album inside.  
But we've just warned you against that. The con is a con.  A good cover design could be considered as
one that gets you to buy the record, but that never actually happens to YOU because YOU know it's just 
a design for the cover.  And this is the RECORD COVER.
 
 
This is the back of a RECORD COVER.  Catalogue No. V2108. This writing is the DESIGN on the 
back of the cover.  This design is not like that on the FRONT.  Its aim is to impart information about the 
RECORD and the GATEFOLD INSERT within rather than trying to sell it by being impactful or 
clever or any of those things.  We have kept it in the same style so that the entire package has a sense 
of IDENTITY whichever way you see it.  The record is by XTC.  This is their second album.  We won't 
attempt to describe their music because all you have to do is play it and you can describe it for yourself.
XTC is made up of Andy Partridge, Barry Andrews, Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers.  We have 
shown photos of them below because this is regarded as commercially sensible and helpful in creating 
their image.  And if you're curious at all you might find it interesting to see what the musicians actually 
look like.  And there are more pictures and words on the very colourful insert which you can only see if 
you buy the whole thing.
 
Many people think it helpful and useful to know some details about the songs on the record inside, so 
here they are: 1. Meccanik Dancing (Oh We Go!)  2.  Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian) 3. Buzzcity 
Talking 4. Crowded Room 5. The Rhythm 6. Red 7. Beatown 8. Life is Good in the Greenhouse 9. 
Jumping in Gomorrah 10. My Weapon 11. Super-Tuff 12. I am the Audience.  You may also be 
interested to know that the record was produced and Engineered by John Leckie with assistant 
engineers Haydn Bendall and Pete James at Abbey Road, also, Andy Llewelyn and Jess Sutcliffe at 
Matrix and that Barry's Roots photos were by Dave Eagle.  We have to repeat the catalogue number 
on the insert for bureaucratic reasons and here it is V2108.

Lastly we would like to make it clear that this is a product of Virgin Records Limited, partly because
 they wanted us to and partly because it is a legal necessity. Virgin Records' head office is located at 
Vernon Yard, Portobello Road, London W.11. and is (P) Virgin Records 1978 and (c) 1978 Virgin 
Music (Publishers) Ltd. This sleeve was written and photographed by Hipgnosis and printed in England
by James Upton Ltd.

  

 

 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Skylarkin'

Company: Geffen

Catalog: 24117

Country/State: Swindon, UK

Year: 1987

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: 

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $6.00

 

Renown for destroying records he'd produced for other artists, placing the group in the hands of producer Todd Rundgren seemed an open invitation to aural disaster. Perhaps due to both parties' affection for Beatles' styled rock, "Skylarkin'" proved surprisingly successful. The outcome was an even bigger surprise given Rundgren and Partridge spent much of the recording process at each other's throats. (In fact in a series of post-LP release interviews Partridge rather ungraciously trashed Rundgren's efforts.) Having previously strived to highlight his eccentric sides, this time around material such as "Earn Enough for Us", "Season Cycle" and "That's Really Super, Supergirl" found Partridge offering up some of his most mainstream and appealing material. Moreover, long caught in Partridge's shadow, tracks such as "Grass" and "Big Day" proved Moulding was easily an equally talented contributor. The result was easily the group's most commercial and enjoyable endeavor. While the album only reached #70 in the States, it was widely praised by critics who readily drew comparisons to the Fab Four (perhaps part of the comparison stemming from the side long segues and the "Yesterday"-styled strings). A college radio staple, the album ultimately spent some six months on the American charts. (In an odd marketing move, the collection was originally released with "Mermaid Smiled" in the track line up. On subsequent releases, the song was replaced by "Dear God.")

"Skylarkin'" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Summer's Cauldron   (Andy Partridge) - 
2.) Grass   (Colin Moulding) - 
3.) The Meeting Place   (Colin Moulding) - 
4.) That's Really Super, Supergirl   (Andy Partridge) - 
5.) Ballet for a Rainy Day   (Andy Partridge) - 
6.) 1000 Umbrellas   (Andy Partridge) - 
7.) Season Cycle   (Andy Partridge) - 

(side 2)

1.) Earn Enough for Us   (Andy Partridge) - 
2.) Big Day   (Colin Moulding) - 
3.) Another Satellite   (Andy Partridge) - 
4.) The Bad Who Sailed Around His Soul   (Andy Partridge) - 
5.) Dear God   (Andy Partridge) - 
6.) Dying   (Colin Moulding) - 
7.) Sacrificial Bonfire   (Colin Moulding) - 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Dear God

Company: Virgin

Catalog: 0-20630

Country/State: Swindon, UK

Year: 1987

Grade (cover/record): --

Comments: four track, 12" EP

Available: SOLD

Catalog ID: SOLD

Price: SOLD $20.00

 

 

Inexplicably, Geffen chose to follow the album with the release of the four track "Dear God" EP. Pulling three tracks from "Skylarkin'" ("Grass", "Earn Enough for Us" and the Partridge-penned title track (easily one of the best things he'd written)), the EP was rounded out by the previously unreleased "Extrovert" . 

"Dear God" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Grass (Colin Moulding) - 
2.) Earn Enough for Us (Andy Partridge) - 

(side 2)

1.) Extrovert (Andy Partridge) - 
2.) Dear God (Andy Partridge) - 


Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Oranges & Lemons

Company: Virgin

Catalog: 24218-1

Country/State: UK

Year: 1989

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: not yet listed

Price: $8.00

 

Whereas "Skylarkin'" reflected Partridge and company's growing interest in '60s psychedelia, 1989's "Oranges & Lemons" found the band literally bathing themselves in the genre. Fabled for their agonizing fights with producers, this time the trio hired Paul Fox to man the boards. (Partridge apparently liked Fox's work on a Boy George song). The choice proved inspired. From it's day-glo cover art, to the trippy sounds of material such as "Garden of Earthly Delights", "Here Comes President Kill Again" (baring an uncanny resemblance to solo, post-Beatles John Lennon), and "The Loving", the results made for one of the band's most engaging releases. Sure, spread across four sides, there was some needless filler - particularly sides 3 and 4. It would have made a killer single LP. That said, even some of the throwaway efforts ("Poor Skeleton Steps Out " and "Scarecrow People") were worth hearing. Elsewhere "Mayor of Simpleton", "Merely a Man" (love the horn arrangement), "King for a Day" and "One of the Millions" (the latter two reflecting two of Moulding's three contributions), underscored the trio's often overlooked knack for writing killer pop songs. Propelled by rave reviews and a limited acoustic tour of select American radio stations, the collection became the group's best selling American release, hitting # 44.

"Oranges & Lemons" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Garden of Earthly Delights   (Andy Partridge) - 
2.) The Mayor of Simpleton   (Andy Partridge) - 
3.) King for a Day   (Chris Moulding) - 
4.) Here Comes President Kill Again   (Andy Partridge) - 
5.) The Loving   (Andy Partridge) - 
6.) Poor Skeleton Steps Out   (Andy Partridge) - 
7.) One of the Millions   (Chris Moulding) - 

(side 2)

1.) Scarecrow People   Andy Partridge) - 
2.) Merely a Man   (Andy Partridge) - 
3.) Cynical Days   (Chris Moulding) - 
4.) Across the Antheap   (Andy Partridge) - 
5.) Hold Me Daddy   (Andy Partridge) - 
6.) Pink Thing   (Andy Partridge) - 
7.) Miniature Sun   (Andy Partridge) - 
8.) Chalkhills and Children   (Andy Partridge) - 

 



Genre: rock

Rating: **** (4 stars)

Title:  Waxworks Some Singles 1977 - 1982

Company: Geffen

Catalog: 24027-1

Country/State: Swindon,  UK

Year: 1982

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 331

Price: $15.00

 

If you're frugal and don't want to invest in one of the retrospective sets ("Fossil Fuel: The XTC Singles 1977 - 1992", "The Uppsey Daisy Assortent", or the 2002 4 CD set "Coat of Many Cupboards"), then I'd suggest 1982's "Waxworks Some Singles 1977 - 1982" might be the place for you to start exploring XTC.  Like the title indicates, the album features a wonderful 14 track compilation of the band's early singles (most of the all but unknown outside of their American cult following).  You'll seldom hear a set that does such an amazing job of showcasing a band's musical growth from competent new wave/punk wannabes ('Science Friction'), to the Kinks-styled 'Tower of London'. 

"Waxworks Some Singles 1977 - 1982" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Science Friction   (Andy Partridge) - 3:12

Off of their 1978 "White Music" album, 'Science Friction' managed to blend jittery new wave moves, some classic '60-styled organ, killer drumming, with Andy Partridge's instantly recognizable voice.   Not their most commercial effort, but the perfect song to show these guys were more than your run-of-the-mill British wannabe outfit.  The video quality is pretty bad, but YouTube has a promotion clip of the band performing the song:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtnNJ3q5wEc   rating: *** stars

2.) Statue of Liberty   (Andy Partridge) - 2;24

Another "White Music" track, 'Statue of Liberty' unveiled Partridge's affection for strong pop melodies and hooks.  Unfortunately getting banned by the BBC for supposedly lewd lyrics didn't help sales.  YouTube has a clip of the band performing the song on the British Old Grey Whistle Test television program.  The young Andy Partridge's reference to Rita Coolidge was hysterical, as were the song's 'yo-yo' refrain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjEuws9-HTM  rating; *** stars

3.) This Is Pop   (Andy Partridge) - 2:39

As represented here, the single mix of 'This Is Pop' was one of their jittery-est, new wave-influenced singles, while the title track chorus was glistening top-40 pop.   Fascinating combination of genres.   YouTube has a frenetic live performance of the song from the Revolver television program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iy8gSdZdpy8  rating: *** stars

4.) Are You Receiving Me?   (Andy Partridge) - 3:03

Snarling punk influences with Partridge's knack for catchy melodies ...   add in Bob Andrews of keyboards and this one was near irresistible.   YouTube has a copy of the original promotional video at:    rating: **** stars

5.) Life Begins At the Hop   (Colin Moulding) - 3:45

Off of 1979's "Drums and Wires" (the first XTC album I ever bought), 'At the Hop' showcased Colin Moulding as the band's overlooked commercial talent.  Yeah, the song had a distinctive new wave angst to it, but it was also the kind of track that was impossible to sit still to.  I can still remember the promo video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vq1U8BKsEw   rating: **** stars

6.) Making Plans for Nigel   (Colin Moulding) - 3:53

Another Colin Moulding track off of 'Drums and Wires", I can remember hearing this on Washington's WHFS (radio has never been the same since it left), and being dumbfounded by the track ...   I literally stopped at my local Penguin Feather record store to buy the album.   The song was reportedly inspired by Moulding's own life - his parents vehemently opposed to him picking music over going to college.  It was British to the core and most of my friends just didn't appreciate it, but to my ears the pounding rhythm section and the insidiously catchy refrain were golden.  The references to British Steel apparently almost got it banned by the BBC.  YouTube has a promotional television performance of the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0X4Czq1c1E  rating: **** stars

7.) Wait Till You Boat Goes Down   (Andy Partridge) - 4:34 

Off of the "5 Senses" EP, 'Wait Till You Boat Goes Down' is simply miles apart from the new wave/punk influences that characterized much of their earlier work.   Moulding's bass work was amazing, as were the band's harmony vocals.   Fantastic song and a preview of what they were about to start doing.   rating: **** stars


(side 2)

1.) Generals and Majors   (Colin Moulding)  - 2:43

Off of the "Black Sea" LP, 'Generals and Majors' showcased Partridge's penchant for lyrically dense songs, coupled with his obvious affection for Beach Boys-styled harmonies (simply inspiring).   Y

YouTube has a clip of the promotion video (featuring Richard Branson who was technically their boss as head of Virgin Records - then their label): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCW6Kte2o1A    rating: **** stars

2.) Tower of London   (Andy Partridge) - 4:38

The second "Black Sea" selection, 'Tower of London' was one of those transitional tunes between their earlier new wave stylings and a more sophisticated approach.  The subject matter was simply too English for American listeners, but so what.   Nice promo video to go along with it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRNHbBg6HVc   rating: **** stars

3.) Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)   (Andy Partridge) - 3:36

Another "Black Sea" track, 'Sgt. Rock (Is Going To Help Me)' has always made me wonder if Partridge and company were big Monty Python fans ...  yeah, they could occasionally be a bit too clever for their own good.  Call it 10cc disease (the fuzz guitar solo actually recalled that band).    Pleasant enough melody though.   YouTube has a clip of the band lip synching the song of Top of the Pops 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4e9sNqtS9qE   rating: *** stars

4.) Senses Working Overtime   (Andy Partridge) - 4:33

Their sound is uniquely English, and that's seldom as apparent as this track off the "English Settlement" album.  Not as instantly appealing as some of their other material, but given time 'Senses Working Overtime' is one of their best performances.  Course the fact it was their first UK top-10 hit show you want my opinion counts for.   YouTube has a Top of the Pops performance of the song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn81JYWz_Lw   rating: **** stars

5.) Ball and Chain   (Colin Moulding) - 4:36

The second "English Settlement" track, 'Ball and Chain', I've never had a clue what it's about.  Nice propulsive melody though and the synthesizers were surprisingly subtle.   YouTube has a couple of interesting clips related to the song:  There's a nice live performance of the song from the 1982 Oxford Road Show:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABy2RLY-VIM    The other link is to the original promotional video (with another Richard Branson appearance): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4a9wowg4AjI :   rating: *** stars

 

Great place to start exploring this band !!!

 

 

 

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