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Last update: 23 October 2016
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March 30, 2016: Allyson Seconds has just launched a Kickstarter campaign for her Little World album. The songs on it are written by Anton Barbeau, and they've got that Colin Moulding singing harmonies on the title track. Whereas Anton had to get his courage together to approach Colin to play on his Magic Act album, Colin quite enthusiastically volunteered to sing on Allyson's track. Allyson, like Anton, is a huge XTC fan and is still in the pinching-herself stage. They're currently finishing up a video for the song, trying to work out details with Colin's dog, Pip. For the moment, please take a look at this and help out if you're so inclined! Thanks very much!
February 12, 2016: According to The Monkees Live Almanac, “Andy Partridge of XTC, a lifelong fan of The Monkees, took to Twitter to show his excitement for Good Times! ‘The Monkees gave me SO MUCH joy as a kid, it's all I can do to repay it. They are liking 3 of my tunes so far, and I hope they dig the latest?’ Partridge's “You Bring the Summer’ is another lock for the album.” Yes, it's true, the new album from The Monkees is called Good Times! It will be released on June 10, 2016, by Rhino Records, and it will feature songs written by Andy Partridge, Rivers Cuomo, and Noel Gallagher, among others, and will be produced by Adam Schlesinger. It's “. . . about recapturing that 1960s jangly guitar sound. . .”
December 8, 2015: 31 March 2015 will see the publication of Complicated Game - Inside The Songs Of XTC by Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt. Developed from a series of interviews conducted over many months, the book details Andy Partridge songs from throughout XTC's career and provides a unique insight into the work of one of Britain's most original and influential songwriters. Filled with anecdotes about Partridge, his XTC bandmates, and the band's adventures around the world (all told with Partridge's legendary humor), Complicated Game casts new light on the writing of lyrics, the construction of melodies and arrangements, the process of recording, and the workings of the music industry. The book includes pages from Partridge's songwriting notebooks, reproductions of his original artwork designs, a guide to Andy Partridge's Swindon and a foreword by Steven Wilson. All pre-orders sold through Burning Shed/APE come signed by Andy Partridge.
August 16, 2015: 16th October [update: delayed until 30th October -- Ed.] will see the release of Oranges & Lemons, the third in a series of remixed & expanded XTC classics. The album has been mixed from the original studio masters by Steven Wilson with input from Andy Partridge, and is fully approved by XTC. The CD features a completely new stereo album mix, while the Blu-Ray features a wealth of content, continuing the “virtual box set on a single disc” concept of the first two releases in the series:
  • 5.1 Surround album mix in 24bit/96khz available in LPCM and DTS HD MA
  • a new stereo album mix in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio
  • instrumental versions of all new stereo mixes in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio
  • a flat transfer of the original stereo album mix in 24bit/96khz LPCM audio
  • 2 separate sets of demo & work tape sessions showing the evolution of the album and associated recordings
  • 1 set of pre-recording rehearsals, promos & ID links for radio stations & record companies
  • a collection of single mixes & XTC's version of Captain Beefheart's “Ella Guru”
  • promo films for “The Mayor of Simpleton” (3 versions), “King for a Day” and “The Road to Oranges & Lemons’, a rarely seen home-made film by the band explaining the album (and themselves!) to Geffen Records USA.

Presented in special packaging with expanded booklet and sleeve-notes by Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding & Dave Gregory.

Ape House News

October 17, 2016: SKYLARKING NOW IN 5.1
August 10, 2015: XTC. ORANGES AND LEMONS IN 5.1
June 10, 2015: XTC's APPLE VENUS and WASPSTAR CDs

Other News

October 2
Micah Brashear corrected the tablature for “Dying”. ¶ Glen Rebyak wrote to say that he was one of the Microsoft Rifff winners. Here are pictures of the autographed copy of Fossil Fuel and of the accompanying letter, written by Chalkhills subscriber Peter Fitzpatrick.
September 25
Todd Osborn thought we would especially like this, “The 10 Most Eccentric British Songwriters”, in Music Aficionado. ¶ American Songwriter features, in its “Lyric of the Week” series, “XTC, ‘The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead’”. ¶ Defending Axl Rose reviews Complicated Game.
September 18
Roberto Serrano Bazán is a busy man. He lets us know that SwindonLink has finally realized that the Complicated GameBook about Swindon band XTC reveals key details to fans across the world”. He mentioned this review of Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC in the pages of Elmore magazine. He shared “XTC – Live At The Rainbow 1979 – Past Daily Backstage Weekend”. He teases us with “Andy Partridge: The Big Interview” from Prog magazine (annoyingly incomplete because that's how TeamRock rolls). And he points us to “A Chat With Andy Partridge Of XTC - 1992 - Past Daily Weekend Pop Chronicles”. ¶ Rich Kamerman is blogging about his favorite albums of 1986. His latest is “Thirty Year Thursday - XTC “SKYLARKING’”. ¶ Mark Smotroff shared his reviews: “A More Dynamic XTC English Settlement” and “XTC's Skylarking Takes Flight Once Again”. ¶ Mark Johnson shared the fact that XTC is at #143 on Pitchfork's list of “The 200 Best Songs of the 1970s” ¶ Jean-Pierre Morin points out that XTC comes in at #7 in Pitchfork's list of “The 25 Best Music Videos of the 1970s”. ¶ Bob O'Bannon points out that XTC comes in at #7 on Paste magazine's “50 Best New Wave Albums”.
July 31
Darren Keeping provided a review of Oranges and Lemons from Hi Fi News and Record Review, March 1989, and a review of Oranges and Lemons from Melody Maker, 1989. ¶ Ray Hill provided a review of the English Settlement reissue from The Sunday Times.

Recent Site Updates

October 23, 2016: Songs - XTC: "Sacrificial Bonfire", XTC: "Dying", XTC: "Big Day", XTC: "Ballet for a Rainy Day", XTC: "Another Satellite", XTC: "1000 Umbrellas", The Monkees: "Love's What I Want"; Albums - XTC: Skylarking; Songs - XTC: "The Troubles", XTC: "The Meeting Place", XTC: "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul", XTC: "That's Really Super, Supergirl", XTC: "Summer's Cauldron", XTC: "Season Cycle", XTC: "Mermaid Smiled", XTC: "Let's Make a Den", XTC: "Grass", XTC: "Extrovert", XTC: "Earn Enough for Us", XTC: "Dear God", The Dukes of Stratosphear: "Little Lighthouse"; Discography - XTC: Skylarking
October 2, 2016: Albums - XTC: Fossil Fuel - The XTC Singles 1977-92; Gallery - cover of Fossil Fuel autographed for Rifff winner Glen Rebyak, Official letter for Rifff winner Glen Rebyak
September 25, 2016: Press - Reviews of Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC by Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt (2016), “Song of the Week -- Colin's take: Colin discusses ‘Frivolous Tonight’”, XTCfans, March 29, 2009, Reviews of Martin Newell: The Greatest Living Englishman (featuring the New, Improved Andy Partridge), 1993, Reviews of Wasp Star – Apple Venus Volume 2 (2000), Reviews of Apple Box (October 2005), "Top 10 Reasons I Love Andy Partridge" and other writings, Mullet Over, May 2003, "Partridge Tweets: XTC (xtcfans)", Twitter (2014-), Reviews of Apple Venus Volume 1 (1999), “XTC, ‘The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead’, American Songwriter, August 1, 2016, “The 10 Most Eccentric British Songwriters”, Music Aficionado, September 23, 2016, “Andy Partridge goes ape for Monkees!”, Goldmine, August 30, 2016

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Chalkhills is a web resource dedicated to XTC (the now defunct band). Peruse Chalkhills to find a wealth of information about XTC, their music and recordings, and much more.

Chalkhills was created by me, John Relph, and is infrequently updated (I am often busy with other things) so check back often. Chalkhills was the longest extant XTC mailing list, created in April 1989 as an offshoot of the venerable Love-Hounds list and killed off (in a bizarre kitchen accident, of course) in August 2014. Chalkhills is the longest extant XTC web site, first hacked together in May 1994, although FTP archives were first made available in April 1991.
“Shut your wretched pie trap, you ridiculous prick.”
© John Relph
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