XTC in the Press: 2005

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XTC offers two exclusive new tracks for online orders of The Apple Box.
posted by joel on Tuesday, November 1st 2005 | comments: 0

American fans of the Legendary British pop act XTC, feeling slighted by yesterday's European-only launch of the band's new 4-disc box set The Apple Box, are now able to purchase the collection via XTC's official website. As an added incentive, those who order the set through the band's website will receive a downloadable content card that can be redeemed for two new tracks offered exclusively to online purchasers of The Apple Box. The two new songs, "Spiral" and "Say It," are billed as the first new XTC tracks in over five years and were recorded by principle XTC members Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding. The Apple Box compiles 1999's Apple Venus, Volume One and 2000's Wasp Star into one album, as originally intended by the band but decided against by TVT Records, along with two CDs of demos, 1999's Homespun and 2001's Homegrown. In addition to being completely remastered, the original albums are being fleshed out with a handful of previously unreleased rarities from the same period. The box set will also feature new artwork for all four LPs, as well as full liner notes and lyrics. The collection is being self-distributed via XTC's own label, Idea Records.


Issue #28, June 2005

The Most Underrated Albums Of Our Time:
tony williams' lifetime 1969

By Andy Partridge,
he of XTC

I got this album at about the same time as I bought Trout Mask Replica, a cataclysmic time for my brain to be exposed to where rock was going to end up in 100 years' time in terms of invention, complexity and poetry — and, dammit, the words of Trout Mask are the very best Americana. And here I was being exposed to where jazz would end up in 100 years' time.

Look at the personnel — a 23 year-old drummer [Tony Williams] who creates a kind of continuous thunder that ebbs and flows, not so much a rhythm, more as if he's holding four conversations with himself simultaneously. John McLaughlin's on guitar, playing this psychedelically painted Fender Jaguar through a series of malfunctioning foot pedals. And the real alien who's dropped through from the future is their blind Hammond organist Larry Young. No need for a bass player, as Young played the pedals with his feet, and with his hands made music that sounded like someone shoving a screwdriver into a flying saucer engine, or something flying through a wide-mile cloud of swarf.

I've never heard music like this, loosely-based songs — with about five O's in looooosely — and a singing drummer; in fact, when you heard Tony Williams, you realised where a certain other drummer with a disarmingly wispy voice [Robert Wyatt] could have got it from.

When you buy this on CD, the booklet comes with a disclaimer saying it was so badly recorded — two albums in two days! — the original eight-track tape was distorted, but that distortion only adds to their vitality and makes this the most electronic album I've ever heard. It turns their fire and desperate playing into an alarmingly fizzy video-focus relief. You feel as though you have been shrunk down to a sub-atomic size and you're approaching a planet comprised of one atom. And as you enter its 'scape, this is the sound that you hear. It's fantastic!

©2005 Word Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
[Transcribed by Paul Culnane]

Intellectos Magazine
January 2005

Venue: Club Lingerie, Hollywood, CA
Date: November 2, 2004
Bands: Drummed and Wired plus guests

XTC are not an easy band to digest whether you love them, hate them, or barely heard of them at all. Why? XTC are a band that has influenced bands as far flung as Franz Ferdinand, Sarah McLachlan, the Futureheads, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, the Dismemberment Plan, Blur, and even Robbie Williams. XTC wore many hats and dabbled in various styles but always made sure that the melody/hooks were memorable. XTC are respected but also widely misunderstood and negelected known to some 60's inspired/obsessed, grating even snotty, psychedelic, dancey, and much more but despite the various styles and genre hopping XTC has a rabid following. Drummed and Wired, an LA XTC tribute band, played the entirety of the XTC album Black Sea on a mild Los Angeles night this past November.

Drummed and Wired is made up of four experienced LA musicians who are lead vocalist Johnny Kempt, drummer Evan Urkofsky, guitarist/keyboardist Ian Dahlberg, and bassist/vocalist Brian Mendelsohn. This LA based XTC tribute band, one of numerous XTC tribute bands in the world, selected a sleek stylish venue in Hollywood for the chance to imitate and play songs from their favorite band. I show up with an unsuspecting guest and notice a crowd as motley and diverse as the music of XTC which is excited to see Drummed and Wired perform Black Sea from start to finish. Black Sea is the fourth album from XTC a perfect balance of their herky jerky punk pop from their debut album, the melodic 60's pop vision they would hone on later albums, and the lunacy and precision that makes up the classic XTC sound. Black Sea is a unique masterpiece it has the requisite pop singles but also features biting frenetic songs that give good arguments against global/standard economic practices, British foreign policy, the breakdown of communication in adulthood, and even the decay of Old England. Black Sea features the most social commentary of any XTC album. The music on this is everywhere at times classic power pop, post-punk frenzied drama, spunky new wave rock, 60's rock, and ska/dub inspired dance pop too. Rhythm wise XTC were bold and unforgiving the drummer, Evan Urkofsky, and the guitarists of Drummed and Wired wore expressions of panic but were fantastic in imitating beautifully the intricate driving rhythms of the original songs. The beats on most songs on Black Sea especially on Travels in Nihilon the last track on Black Sea veer into a direction closer to early Gang of Four or even Fugazi than the snotty Brit-rock XTC sound.

The set overall was very energetic the members of Drummed and Wired played with plenty of enthusiasm and zest. The snotty yet melodic snarl of the lead singer worked well enough to actually make you believe that XTC were there in spirit. Playing in an XTC tribute is no easy feat Andy Partridge as a singer was caustic, melodic, wordy, and energetic all at once but it all comes into place at Club Lingerie especially on the pop gem Towers of London. The accuracy of the band was refreshing because XTC were a band that were meticulous in the studio especially the guitar/drum arrangements were intricate crafty affairs. Drummed and Wired was precise and faithful to the originals even on twitchy complex numbers like Paper and Iron which feature dramatic changes and dub punk flourishes. Drummed and Wired play out often and are very excited to spread the beauty, passion, and manic vision of XTC.

by Julian Rant

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