February 25th, 2009 XTC to Reissue Dukes of Stratosphear Side Project Tue: 03-27-07: 11:01 AM CDT Andy Partridge Floods Marketplace With Albums Fri: 02-09-07: 05:00 PM CST Andy Partridge: XTC ‘Well and Truly in the Fridge’ Mon: 12-11-06: 03:55 PM CST XTC Become Action Figures Mon: 10-31-05: 12:26 p.m. CST XTC Release Another Box Set Friday, October 31st, 2003 04:00:00 XTC DVD Dissed By Virgin; Andy Partridge Reserves Jizz For Summer Thursday, October 16th, 2003 Andy Partridge Gets Lowdown With Blegvad Thursday, May 1st, 2003 XTC's Andy Partridge Readies More Fuzzy Warbles Tuesday, November 12th, 2002 XTC Unveil Tracklist for Fuzzy Warbles Thursday, August 15th, 2002 XTC Recording New Full-Length; Robert Schneider Collaboration on Backburner
Mon: 10-31-05 XTC: Spiral March 22nd, 2004 Andy Partridge: I Wonder Why The Wonderfalls


Andy Partridge Floods Marketplace With Albums
Robert Pollard already prepping ten-disc counterattack

Though the sun may have set on the slightly-geeky pop the boys of XTC spent nearly a quarter-century churning out, reports of his own band's demise must've lit a fire under chief songwriter Andy Partridge, whose Ape House Records will unleash no fewer than four Partridge-family projects on US shores April 3 thanks to their distribution deal with Rykodisc.

There's Monstrance, the overdub-free, entirely-improvised, self-titled double-disc set from Partridge and mates Barry Andrews and Martyn Barker of Shriekback. There's Orpheus the Lowdown, conceived over thirteen years worth of sessions between Partridge and Slapp Happy singer and Leviathan cartoonist Peter Blegvad.

On the Partridge-free tip, there's The Secret Life of the Milk and Honey Band, a disc of gossamer pop not far removed from Skylarking-era XTC. Finally, there's the hushed tones and gurgling synths of Veda Hille's Return of the Kildeer. If that seems like a lot at once, know that all but Monstrance have seen release on Partridge's side of the Black Sea in the last few years.

*MP3: Monstrance: I Lovely Cosmonaut [from the Monstrance LP]


Andy Partridge: XTC "Well and Truly in the Fridge"
"I have no idea where [Colin Moulding] is living right now, I have no idea what his phone number is, don't really know how to contact him, and so Colin is obviously wanting to leave the world to some extent."

Following the release of the Fuzzy Warbles Collector's Album box set, Andy Partridge is keeping busy, though the possibility of him releasing new music under the XTC moniker seems doubtful.

Partridge revealed the news to David Garland of WNYC's "Spinning on Air" for an episode of the radio show that will air this Sunday night, February 11, and Garland was nice enough to share a transcript of a piece of the interview with us.

Partridge says, "At the moment, XTC is well and truly in the fridge. Purely, really, for the reason that [partner] Colin [Moulding] doesn't want to write anymore. He's either taking a break, or that break could become permanently in place. He told me some months back that he's not interested in music anymore, and doesn't want to write, and basically said, 'Our paths will cross again or they'll be involved in some way.' And then he proceeded to move away from his house-- I have no idea where he's living right now, I have no idea what his phone number is, don't really know how to contact him, and so Colin is obviously wanting to leave the world to some extent. And I guess he's got the right to do that, so I'm not going to pester him and say, 'Come on, what's the matter with you, get it together.'

With the XTC name or not, however, Partridge is still writing and recording music. Or, in the case of his collaboration with former XTC keyboardist Barry Andrews and Andrews' Shriekback bandmate Martyn Barker, not writing. The trio will release Monstrance-- a double album of live improvisation sans overdubs-- via Ape House on April 3. Merv Carswell and Future Sound of London guitarist Stuart Rowe edited and mixed the eight hours' worth of material the trio accrued in three sessions together. And with songs like "Oodoo" and "Priapple", we're guessing none of that time was spent thinking of song titles.

Interview transcript:

Andy Partridge: At the moment, XTC is well and truly in the fridge. Purely, really, for the reason that Colin doesn't want to write anymore. He's either taking a break, or that break could become permanently in place. He told me some months back that he's not interested in music anymore, and doesn't want to write, and basically said, "Our paths will cross again or they'll be involved in some way." And then he proceeded to move away from his house-- I have no idea where he's living right now, I have no idea what his phone number is, don't really know how to contact him, and so Colin is obviously wanting to leave the world to some extent. And I guess he's got the right to do that, so I'm not going to pester him and say, "Come on, what's the matter with you, get it together."

David Garland: Well, even though you've been able to sort of make XTC be whatever you needed it to be as your songwriting has changed a bit over the years, is this maybe now a moment that you can be free of that category?

AP: Well, certainly it does seem a shame that I have to sort of, I suppose, legally wave goodbye to the name XTC. Because it was my name, and I've been working on making the XTC brand-- if you want to call it that-- a reliable, and sort of a quality brand. It's almost like: if it's an XTC record, you know it's going to be interesting, and it's going to take you places. It seems a shame that I have to sort of legally leave that name in the fridge. But I'm going to be working under my own name, I guess, and under projects like Monstrance and that sort of thing, for as long as I've got breath to draw. Yeah, I can't stop.
After "Monstrance", which is something of the nature of the music I've wanted to do for a long time-- which is get back to a freer, more spontaneous thing-- that's obviously going to inform how I'm going to work on music in the future. So right now I'm kind of scratching my head, thinking, "Hmm, where do I really want to go?" It's like I really have to converse with my heart at this point, and say, "How do I want the music to go from now on?"

DG: So we've sort of found you at a crossroads.

AP: Yeah, a very interesting one; also scary; and this is the first time since 1969 I've not been in a group. And, you know, musically I'm sure there's a lot more left in me, or I hope there is; I feel there is. But it's like: the direction I want to go in-- I'm wrestling a little internally at the moment.

DG: Well good luck with it. I think your experimentation has always paid off, so keep doing that.

AP: Thank you. I just hope with this wrestling I don't have to wear a mask. [laughter]

DG: If you want to scare yourself and intimidate yourself, that helps.

AP: Yeah, that's what you do, you do it with a mirror and a mask-- a badly made homemade mask!


XTC Become Action Figures
Vanquish enemies with sharpness of their angular guitars, weight of their box sets

2006 has been a banner year for musicians undergoing toy-ification, and now it's time to add the members of XTC to the pile of tiny, limited edition musical figures.

The band's Idea Records has commissioned Irregular Miniatures' Ian Kay "to bring to life what is hoped will be a whole range of XTC collectors' figures in metal. Each set will show the band from a period in their history commencing with the White Music era. You'll get Andy [Partridge], Colin [Moulding], Terry [Chambers], and Barry [Andrews] in a live setting with relevant instruments (e.g. Barry comes with his Crumar Organ and Lawrence Piano), dressed in their monochrome best. All figures (55mm high) and equipment are cast in white metal and are hand painted, held securely in foam, and clad in a pictorial card sleeve which will be signed by Andy and Colin. Andy says, 'These figures are going to be charming. I know; I've seen them. So hurry and order yours today,'" according to a press release.

The White Music figures are in a limited edition of 200 sets, and as you can see from the picture on the left, Barry Andrews not only comes with his organ and piano but is also apparently wearing a Nixon mask. More pictures of the figures can be seen here... if you dare.


Mon: 10-31-05

XTC: "Spiral"
genre: rock


Andy Partridge might stop making music; that's what he threatened to this writer last spring. Personally, I think Partridge has a few tricks left, though "Spiral" isn't one of them. Whether it's a new XTC track or a leftover from Wasp Star, "Spiral" is a weak tea copy of "Playground" without the killer riff. The lyrics, a tribute to the way his favorite 45s make him feel, are weak and weirdly vacant — he uses "spinal" as a noun just to finish a rhyme, which is beneath him — and the strength of his singing and the passion of the synthesized orchestra don't compensate. It's not as grating as that song Rod Stewart wrote about playing his old Motown records, but "Spiral" barely cuts it as a B-side. [Chris Dahlen]

* *


Mon: 10-31-05: 12:26 p.m. CST

XTC Release Another Box Set

Zach Vowell reports:
It's not so suprising that a musician afflicted with stage fright would embrace digital technology to enhance his/her music's distribution, but dammit if Andy Partridge (aka "scaredy kat") and Colin Moulding haven't taken it to a whole 'nother level.

Today, the two core members of XTC will re-release 1999's Apple Venus, Volume One and 2000's Wasp Star as one album (as they had originally intended, before former label TVT had their say), accompanied by a slew of rarities in a handy box set. The Apple Box will be augmented by two CDs of demos, 1999's Homespun and 2001's Homegrown, as well as new artwork, liner notes and lyrics.

Since XTC will be releasing this four-CD set on their own label, Idea Records, they won't be offering an American edition, and that's where your computer enters the picture. Fans ordering the set from the XTC website will receive a "content card" which will allow them to download two brand new XTC tracks, "Spiral" and "Say It", as well as an XTC ringtone, for free. Super duper fans can order the limited-edition "Apple Set", which contains the box set, two t-shirts, a badge and a mysterious "extra item."

Apple Box tracklist:

Disc 1 - Apple Venus:

01 River of Orchids
02 I'd Like That
03 Easter Theatre
04 Knights in Shining Karma
05 Frivolous Tonight
06 Greenman
07 Your Dictionary
08 Fruit Nut
09 I Can't Own Her
10 Harvest Festival
11 The Last Balloon

Disc 2 - Wasp Star:

01 Playground
02 Stupidly Happy
03 In Another Life
04 My Brown Guitar
05 Boarded Up
06 I'm the Man Who Murdered Love
07 Were All Light
08 Standing in for Joe
09 Wounded Horse
10 You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful
11 Church of Women
12 The Wheel and the Maypole

Disc 3 - Homespun Demo Recordings:
01 River of Orchids
02 I'd Like That
03 Easter Theatre
04 Knights in Shining Karma
05 Frivolous Tonight
06 Greenman
07 Your Dictionary
08 Fruit Nut
09 I Can't Own Her
10 Harvest Festival
11 The Last Balloon

Disc 4 - Homegrown Demo Recordings:

01 Playground
02 Stupidly Happy
03 In Another Life (excerpt of original demo)
04 In Another Life (jug band version)
05 Some Lovely
06 Boarded Up
07 I'm the Man Who Murdered Love (early other cassette)
08 I'm the Man Who Murdered Love (Tamla demo excerpt)
09 I'm the Man Who Murdered Love
10 Were All Light (early cassette idea)
11 Were All Light
12 Standing in for Joe (lounge version)
13 Standing in for Joe
14 Wounded Horse
15 You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful
16 Lie for a Lie (cassette demo)
17 Church of Women
18 The Pot Won't Hold Our Love (cassette demo)
19 Everything Decays (early cassette demo)
20 The Wheel and the Maypole

Foraging even deeper into cyberspace, Partridge is making the catalogue of his record label, Ape, available on iTunes, including his bewildering six-volume Fuzzy Warbles set of demos he wrote for XTC, but which never made it on an album. Call him prolific, and he'll throw a song at you. Ape has also released a collaborative album by Partridge and Peter Blegvad (of Slapp Happy) and albums by The Milk and Honey Band and Canadian singer/songwriter Veda Hille.

Finally, if you're too cheap to jump at Apple Box, XTC will soon be mounting a Quicktime player on their site which will stream the two latest XTC tracks, plus selections from Ape releases. If all that doesn't smack of a good faith effort to make up for the complete lack of live performances, then you're probably not an XTC fan. But at least they're trying.

* Pitchfork Review: XTC: Apple Venus, Volume One
* Pitchfork Review: XTC: Wasp Star: Apple Venus, Volume Two
* XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk/
* Ape: http://www.ape.uk.net/


March 22nd, 2004

Andy Partridge
“I Wonder Why the Wonderfalls”
Ever since The Gilmore Girls started licensing XTC songs, I've become aware of how family-friendly Andy Partridge has gotten; his happiest songs are as bright and frothy as cotton candy. The theme song that he wrote for Fox's sweet, weird new show Wonderfalls-- catch it now, before they cancel it-- is damnably charming, from the witty guitar and pizzicato Apple Venus synth-strings, to the sight of starlet Caroline Dhavernas lip-syncing the words in the music video. The lyrics are nonsense, and not in a psychedelic way; "I wonder why the wonderfalls" is a silly pun, at least until he adds, "on me." But the music is winningly catchy, and just sharp enough to stave off over-endearment. Partridge sounds sweet even when he leaves out the bitter, and maybe this was just easy money, but it's more than a made-for-TV throwaway.
Pitchfork Media
XTC DVD Dissed By Virgin; Andy Partridge Reserves Jizz For Summer
Gives unfortunate new double-meaning to "Are You Receiving Me?"

[Posted Friday, October 31st, 2003 04:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

Jeremy C. Baron reports:
XTC lovers, prepare to weep your hippy tears: the projected Virgin-years DVD, For Vidiots Only, has been postponed yet again. The DVD was to have been a collection of classic videos, rare live footage, etc. and was slated for release by the end of the year. Unfortunately, Virgin didn't have the balls to cowboy up and get the thing out, or at least so says the official XTC website: "The projected XTC DVD and the reshuffle/repackage projects touted by Virgin are all on ice at the moment. Virgin legal dept seem unwilling to negotiate the terms of the old contract up into the 21st century. Hence stalemate. We'll keep you posted." Put on ice, huh? Faster than Jack White's finger, I bet! Hopefully the DVD can find its way out into the waiting arms of XTC fans everywhere, much like the slew of recently re-released classic albums. Gotta love Skylarking.

But wait, there's more! Andy Partridge, XTC frontman-to-the-max, has been working with singer Sophie Ellis Baxter. One of the songs to result from this classy collaboration, entitled "I Come All Over Summer" (did I say classy?) will appear as a b-side.

That's it. Oh, oh, wait... just kidding! Andy, being the busy guy that he is, has been working with Fox TV to pen the theme song to its new show, Wonderfalls. According to the official site, six songs were recorded, one of which is called "These Voices" and another one super-cleverly entitled "I Wonder Why The Wonderfalls." Did I make fun of these guys for being crazy-ass hippies yet? If one of these compositions doesn't make it to America's fourth-finest network soon, I'm sure there will be ample fuel to ignite several more volumes of Fuzzy Warbles.

.: Pitchfork Review: XTC: Coat of Many Cupboards
.: Pitchfork News: Andy Partridge Gets Lowdown With Blegvad
.: XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk


Learn to make something beautiful with your hands.

Pitchfork Media
Andy Partridge Gets Lowdown With Blegvad
Eat your vegetables; they'll put fuzz on your warbles

[Posted Thursday, October 16th, 2003 04:00:00 Pitchfork Central Time]

John L. Ferrer reports:
XTC's Andy Partridge is up to a lot: it's basically up to you whether or not you want to bother keeping up with him, since his activities randomly range from out-of-nowhere-genius to completely reprehensible. His newest project is apparently some sort sort of bizarre poetry/soundscape concept album called Orpheus - The Lowdown, about a modern-day, well, Orpheus. It's a collaboration with Peter Blegvad, who created the comic Leviathan, but is also a longtime musician with a bandography that includes out-there outfits like Slapp Happy, Henry Cow, and the Golden Palominos, not to mention an illustrious solo career. According to XTC fansite Chalkhills, the mini-album will be released on November 10th on Andy's own Ape House Records in the UK, and on November 19th through Pony Canyon in Japan. No word on a U.S. release. The tracklist:

01 Savannah
02 Brown Out On Olympus
03 The Blimp Poet
04 Night Of The Comet
05 Necessary Shadows
06 Galveston; Beetle
07 Heartcall
08 Noun Verbs
09 Eurydice
10 Divine Blood
11 Steel Bed

This news comes not long after XTC's official site announced that a long-in-development collaboration with Robert Schneider has fallen through. Supposedly over 30 songs were recorded with Andy and the Apples in Stereo frontman, and there are no plans for any sort of release. Our collaboration went great; we recorded dozens of songs; it's never coming out. Check.

Perhaps most interestingly, XTC's psychedelic alter-egos The Dukes of Stratosphear have woken from a 16-year slumber and, like Rip Van Ruben, stumbled directly into a recording studio to lay down a brand new song called "Open A Can (Of Human Beans)" exclusively for The Wish List, an upcoming comp in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, also featuring Graham Coxon, Martin Newell, and frequent Partridge collaborator Harold Budd.

One item we haven't heard one whit about in months is XTC's next record, which was at one time known as Tunes To Help You Breathe More Easily and later, after a little good-natured curiousity got out of hand, Tunes We Hope You Internet Creeps Choke On. Mood swings, guys!

.: Pitchfork Review: XTC: Coat of Many Cupboards
.: Pitchfork Review: Andy Partridge: Fuzzy Warbles Volumes 3 & 4
.: Pitchfork News: XTC's Andy Partridge Readies More Fuzzy Warbles
.: XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk
.: Ape House: http://www.ape.uk.net


Learn to make something beautiful with your hands.





Thursday, May 1st, 2003

XTC's Andy Partridge Readies More Fuzzy Warbles
Unheard demo sessions with Danny Bonaduce on bass not included-- this time!

Will Bryant reports:
Andy Partridge's Ape House label has just announced the tracklists for the next two volumes of the XTC principal's Fuzzy Warbles series, which at present are "all mastered up and ready to go" with an expected June 23rd release date (that's in the UK and Japan only, kids-- the domestic versions are being withheld in the interest of national security). As with the first volley of Warbles, both discs are jam-packed with XTC rarities in no particular chronological or thematic order. Several cuts were originally released on the devastatingly limited fanclub cassettes Jules Verne's Sketchbook and The Bull with the Golden Guts; others are rumored to be unheard demos for XTC's next studio album due later this year.

Among the dorkier offerings are "I'm Playing My Fano", a commercial endorsement of Fano guitars that was originally issued as an MP3 on their website, early versions of the Dukes of Stratosphear classics "Collideascope" and "Braniac's Daughter", and a rarely heard cover of "Strawberry Fields Forever". Dude, it sounds just like The Beatles! Tracklists:

Fuzzy Warbles, Volume 3:
01 My Train Is Coming [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
02 Lightheaded
03 Goodbye Humanosaurus [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
04 Humble Daisy [Nonsuch demo]
05 You Like Me
06 Great Fire [Mummer demo]
07 Work [from Jules Verne's Sketchbook]
08 Mopti Fake One [from Jules Verne's Sketchbook]
09 Collideascope [Dukes of Stratosphear demo]
10 Mopti Fake Two
11 When We Get To England [from Jules Verne's Sketchbook]
12 Train Running Low On Soul Coal [The Big Express demo]
13 Holly Up On Poppy [Nonsuch demo]
14 Strawberry Fields Forever
15 Autumn Comes Around
16 Child Crusade [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
17 Little Lighthouse [from Jules Verne's Sketchbook]
18 This Is The End [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
19 Put It On Again

Fuzzy Warbles, Volume 4:
01 Tunes
02 Bumpercars [Wasp Star demo]
03 The Art Song (Something Good With Your Life)
04 I'm Playing My Fano
05 Zonked Right Out On Life [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
06 All I Dream Of Is A Friend [James and the Giant Peach demo]
07 Peck The Ground Like A Chicken
08 That's Really Super, Supergirl [Skylarking demo]
09 Brainiac's Daughter [Dukes of Stratosphear demo]
10 Blue Beret [from The Bull With The Golden Guts]
11 Gangway, Electric Guitar Is Coming Through [Skylarking demo]
12 Mechanical Planet
13 Helicopter [Drums and Wires demo] 14 The Ugly Underneath [Nonsuch demo]
16 Where Is Your Heart
17 Hey, It's Alan Burston!
18 Season Cycle [Skylarking demo]
19 Countdown To Christmas Partytime [demo]

As previously reported, Ape House will be releasing a collaborative album between Partridge and avant-garde musician/artist Peter Blegvad, a modern-day interpretation of the myth of Orpheus in "vocal, words, sound and music pictures, a bit part play for the fable minded, a film for your mind's eye." Hmmm, sounds like Uncle Andy oughta lay off the Wonka bars for a while.

The material on Orpheus, The Lowdown was recorded in fits and spurts over the last 13 years, and almost destroyed when a vital DAT cassette snapped during mastering. Fortunately, the music was rescued by the rarely deployed Andy Partridge Side-Project Data Recovery Team at Metropolis Mastering (sure, it sounds important, but they all have day jobs). Orpheus, The Lowdown is also due in the UK this June. Tracklist:

01 Savannah
02 Brown Out On Olympus
03 The Blimp Poet
04 Night Of The Comet
05 Necessary Shadows
06 Galveston
07 Beetle
08 Heartcall
09 Noun Verbs
10 Eurydice
11 Divine Blood
12 Steel Bed

: Pitchfork Review: Andy Partridge: Fuzzy Warbles, Vol. 1 & 2
: Ape House: http://www.ape.uk.net
: XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk




Features: Found Sound '02

by the Pitchfork staff


Last year, after returning from our annual break for the holidays, we debuted a feature called Found Sound, in which we each picked a couple of non-2001 albums we discovered during the year. Well, we decided it'd be nice if we reprised the feature with similar selections from 2002. Frankly, it's nice to steal a break from cranking out 400-word essays on the latest 6.0's from all your favorite labels and let you in on the records we adore, even if they came out in 1961 and your dad likes 'em. (Your dad is awesome, by the way.) So let's get to the fun stuff. Please, no pushing. Proceed in an alphabetical fashion.

XTC: A Coat Full Of Cupboards / Fuzzy Warbles Volumes 1 & 2 [Virgin; 2002 / Ape; 2002]
One of the unspoken advantages of Andy Partridge's acute stage fright is that virtually everything the man has written has been captured to tape, and it doesn't hurt that Partridge and bandmate Colin Moulding are excellent at home recording. Imagine if the Beatles had four-tracks back in 1965, we could hear the songs on Rubber Soul or Revolver as they were being written! It's for those reasons I prefer the demo collections Homespun and Homegrown to either of XTC's super-expensive, oft-delayed Apple Venus albums. The treasure chest of outtakes and alternate versions found on these sets captures the energy and spontaneity of first takes, while somehow retaining the band's seductive, craftsman-like gloss. --Will Bryant

Tuesday, November 12th, 2002

XTC Unveil Tracklist for Fuzzy Warbles
But clean-shaven warbles appear larger, more robust

Will Bryant reports:
XTC have released the tracklists for the first two volumes of Fuzzy Warbles, the ambitious multi-disc project meant to serve as a clearing house for unreleased demos, unused recordings, and extremely rare out-of-print material spanning the band's career. As previously reported, XTC's Colin Moulding has announced that he will not be participating in the project, which means not only will Fuzzy Warbles be limited to Andy Partridge's recording archives, but the series will be released on Partridge's new label, Ape. Both volumes are due in the UK on December 4th, or for the truly impatient on Japanese label Pony Canyon on November 20th.

Unlike the Coat of Many Cupboards box set released earlier this year, the first two volumes of Fuzzy Warbles present material spanning 20+ years, in non-chronological order, with everything from late-70s Drums and Wires material on up through 2000's Wasp Star. As expected, both volumes include some-- but not all-- of XTC's fanclub-only cassettes Jules Verne's Sketchbook (1987) and The Bull with the Golden Guts (1992); two demos recorded, but rejected, for the 1996 animated film James and the Giant Peach; four Apple Venus-era demos which were not included on the albums or as b-sides; and one selection from Andy's 1994 contribution to They Might Be Giants' mailorder-only Hello Recording Club. Other cuts announced are unheard even outside the voracious circle of diehard XTC collectors.

One of the most bizarre inclusions is a cut titled "Born Out of Your Mouth", which was actually composed by Partridge at Microsoft's behest. MSN hired Partridge to compose original music for an interactive project called Rifff in 1997, and Partridge programmed the song to be playable on pre-MP3 era sound cards. The tune was accompanied by animation and sound cues that changed as the user navigated MSN's Rifff environment (a similar idea is employed on the main menu of XTC's official website).

The first two volumes of Fuzzy Warbles were mastered by long-time XTC engineer Ian Cooper and, according to the Idea Records website, both sound "fantastic". Naturally. Tracklists:

Fuzzy Warbles, Vol. 1:

01 Dame Fortune [Apple Venus demo]
02 Born Out Of Your Mouth
03 Howlin' Burston
04 Don't Let Us Bug Ya [James and the Giant Peach demo]
05 That Wag
06 That Wave [Nonsuch demo]
07 Ocean's Daughter [The Big Express demo]
08 Everything [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]
10 Goosey Goosey [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]
11 Merely A Man [Oranges and Lemons demo]
13 Summer Hot As This [The Big Express demo]
14 Miniature Sun [Oranges and Lemons demo]
15 I Bought Myself A Liarbird [The Big Express demo]
16 Complicated Game [Drums and Wires demo]
17 Wonder Annual [Apple Venus demo]
18 Space Wray [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]
19 Rocket [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]

Fuzzy Warbles, Vol. 2:

01 Ridgeway Path [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]
02 I Don't Want To Be Here [Apple Venus demo]
03 Young Marrieds
04 No One Here Available [The Bull With The Golden Guts cassette]
05 Obscene Procession [Jules Verne's Sketchbook cassette]
05 Miller Time
06 You're The Wish You Are I Had [The Big Express demo]
07 Ra Ra Rehearsal
08 Ra Ra For Red Rocking Horse [Jules Verne's Sketchbook cassette]
09 Everything'll Be Alright [James and the Giant Peach demo]
10 25 O'Clock [Dukes of Stratosphear demo]
12 Chain Of Command [Drums and Wires demo]
13 All Of A Sudden [English Settlement demo]
14 Summer's Cauldron [Skylarking demo]
15 Then She Appeared [Nonsuch demo]
16 It's Snowing Angels [Hello Recording Club EP, 1994]
17 Ship Trapped In The Ice [Apple Venus demo]

.: Pitchfork Review: XTC: A Coat of Many Cupboards
.: Pitchfork News: XTC Recording New LP; Robert Schneider Collaboration on Hold
.: We Are The World: Digging through their Drawers: Classic Unreleased XTC Demos
.: XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk

Copyright 2002, Pitchforkmedia.com.

Thursday, August 15th, 2002

XTC Recording New Full-Length; Robert Schneider Collaboration on Backburner
"Snapple Venus" ad campaign keeps band in recording funds, raspberry lemonade

Will Bryant reports:
XTC's Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding are in the studio recording material for a new XTC album, according to an update posted on the band's official website. This will be the band's official follow-up to the two-volume Apple Venus LPs, which to date have been released in four different forms-- as Apple Venus, Wasp Star (Apple Venus Part 2), Homespun and Homegrown (the demos for each volume), with rumored instrumental versions Instru Venus and Wasp Trumental looming on the horizon. Songs recorded thus far for the project, which has the working title Tunes to Help You Breathe More Easily, include "My Heart Is a Compass," "Oh My Brittania," "Say It," and "Whispered Hymn."

In addition, Partridge reports that his collaboration with Elephant 6 principal Robert Schneider has been put on hold until Schneider has completed promotional commitments for the Apples in Stereo's Velocity of Sound, due October 8th on SpinArt. Partridge and Schneider have written approximately 35 pieces of music for the project, which has been known as Orchestre Fantastique. Partridge and Schneider had planned to record the album this fall in London. As previously reported, the Apples kick off a fall tour with Clinic September 24th in Lexington, Kentucky.

XTC are also proceeding with an ambitious plan to release twelve albums' worth of outtakes, home demos, and unreleased music spanning the entire career of the band. Originally conceived as a box set, Fuzzy Warbles will now be released two albums at a time, with the first titles available as early as October. Earlier this year, XTC released a number of alternate versions, demos, and previously unreleased recordings as the box set Coat of Many Cupboards. The material amassed for the Fuzzy Warbles series now numbers around 250 tracks total, according to XTC's webmaster.

.: Pitchfork Review: XTC: A Coat of Many Cupboards
.: XTC: http://www.xtcidearecords.co.uk
.: The Apples In Stereo: http://www.applesinstereo.com

Copyright 2002, Pitchforkmedia.com.

We Are The World
Friday, April 19th, 2002

Digging through their Drawers:
Classic Unreleased XTC Demos

You can tell more about a band from their raw, uncensored demos and cast-offs than from their best albums. This is especially true of brilliant pop legends XTC, who have written and recorded dozens of songs that they never officially released. Some of these demos are better than anything an average band ever writes; others are just fucked up. XTC's recent box set, Coat of Many Cupboards, digs up just a few of those gems, and until the band releases the rest in their upcoming Fuzzy Warbles series, here are a few rare songs worth looking for that show them at their best and worst-- even if some might dig just a little too deeply into the head of Andy Partridge.

  • "Goodbye Humanosaurus" and "Monkeys in Human-skin Suits": When the venal and mortal sins of man catch up to us, Andy Partridge believes that justice will come not from God, the law, or the free market, but from the forces of evolution. "Goodbye Humanosaurus" clumsily predicts our extinction at our own hands, from "CFC's and germ-war microbes," while the catchy, promising demo of "Monkeys in Human-skin Suits" argues we're going backwards: "Monkeys in human-skin suits/ Climbing to the top of our institutes." Of course, these sentiments were better put in English Settlement's "Down in the Cockpit," where only the male side of humanity is removed from the picture.
  • "Car Out of Control": A Colin Moulding leftover from 1992's Nonsuch that shows again why Moulding started as the band's hitmaker (before Partridge's "Senses Working Overtime" established itself as a cornerstone of Western civilization). Through the crap recording you can hear Moulding's woeful voice and slippery bass line. The disorienting bridge and moody tune wouldn't have fit on the album it was intended for, but it makes you wonder how much better that album could have been had this and the recently released "Didn't Hurt a Bit" found their way onto the final mix.
  • "Third Stone from the Sun": Dave Gregory was the main axeman and keyboardist for years, but he almost never wrote a note. Even as a solo artist he lets other people do the writing: Gregory covered Hendrix's "Third Stone from the Sun" as his alter-ego David Dreams for the tribute album If 6 Was 9, making an almost note-for-note rendition that still somehow sounds like XTC's gentler psychedelia. This is a nice listen, though the total faithfulness doesn't look good for Gregory: whose shadow didn't he get stuck in?
  • "It's Not a Real Song": Every so often an artist is challenged to make up something on the spot. Usually it fails. And even XTC couldn't handle the pressure when they were asked to improvise during a People photo shoot. The band plays a basic Bo Diddley beat, with Partridge squeezing out a few non-verses before slipping into a couple of rude but entertaining jokes about his bandmates.
  • "Bags of Fun With Buster": Inexplicable. Written by Partridge and released as a single by "Johnny Japes and His Jesticles," "Bags of Fun With Buster" is a novelty song about a man with giant "bollocks." Sample verse: "Buster! Watch out for that revolving door/ Ooh Buster! They look so incredibly sore/ Buster! Especially as you drag them through that powerful cleaning agent someone spilled upon the floor." So aimless, crass and most of all, unsubtle, that Partridge couldn't have shocked us more if he'd tattooed "Paul is Dead" on his ass and put it on the cover. When the guys call for a "sax swing solo," you know it's time to move on.
  • "Visit to the Doctor": Another Partridge demo that's too dumb and blunt for official release. The "ba ba ba ba baaaaa" hook is a killer, and the lyric "my prescription make you feel alright" has a 60s charm, but the chorus of "I'll kiss it better better girl" is way beneath Partridge. You can picture him lurking around the studio in a long trenchcoat.
  • "Everything'll be Alright": On the other hand, we have Partridge writing a children's song, for the film James and the Giant Peach. (He wasn't picked.) Partridge sounds openly joyful on the demo, and the lyrics are almost "All of a Sudden"-like in their bursting imagery-- sample verse, on "what the ladybug thinks": "If the rain comes down push a pencil around/ And draw a funny face by simply joining up the big dots." Someone should turn this into a kid's book, with freak-out Yellow Submarine-like illustrations. Well, for British kids.
  • "Young Cleopatra": The tour of Partridge's brain ends right in the middle with one of the greatest, catchiest XTC songs ever. Written for Mummer but too poppy-- and maybe disturbing-- to fit, on first listen this is a truly ecstatic tribute to a pretty fourteen-year-old girl who rules the schoolyard. This is a song I'd play for my daughter if I had one, balancing, "One glance from those two eyes/ Will seal your playground empire," with the wittily parental, "You'll never be the queen unless you do as your told." It's fantastic-- until you realize that Partridge isn't the kid's dad: "I'm glad your father is my friend/ And now that school is at an end/ He's only an excuse for me/ To wait here at your palace gates." Yikes! For perspective, Partridge was only months away from his 30th birthday when he recorded this in 1983. It's even more unsettling when you consider the seemingly genuine love that went into the lyric, "Your school uniform looks grey on others, but silver on you." Gorgeous line, that. But will it save him from jail?

-Chris Dahlen

Copyright 2002, Pitchforkmedia.com.


Upsy Daisy Assortment: The Best of...
Rating: 86%

This seminal punk/pop band has been recording brilliant material since the mid-'70s. They're considered one of the most influential bands of their time and have recorded well over 200 songs in the course of their career. And until now, they've never had a greatest hits collection. Well, it's high time.

Upsy Daisy Assortment is a chronological archive of some of XTC's best work, though it does omit two classics -- "Radios in Motion" from White Music and "Are You Receiving Me?" from Go 2. In fact, this compilation skips those first two albums entirely, starting with "Life Begins at the Hop" and "Making Plans For Nigel," both from XTC's American debut, Drums and Wires.

Aside from that, Assortment briefly covers the rest of the XTC catalog. If you've never heard of the band and you want to have a clue about music, you should be interested in starting with this compilation.

Having just broken their nasty contract with Virgin Records, XTC are said to have three albums worth of new material ready for release. Their next record will be their first in six years.

-Ryan Schreiber

Copyright 1997 pitchfork.internet.media.
Reproduced by permission.

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