Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #295

                  Chalkhills, Number 295

                Wednesday, 13 October 1993
Today's Topics:
                   Very useless trivia
                     Wrapped In Grey
                        'rare' CDs
              XTC live and "Nonsuch" rating
                   Re: Chalkhills #294
                How's Nonsuch Holding Up?
                       Re: intro

Date: Tue, 12 Oct 93 10:23:27 EST
From: (Graeme Wong See)
Subject: Very useless trivia

        I was reading a tennis magazine yesterday and I saw that there is a
tennis raquet called Slazenger Mystique XTC. I told you it was useless trivia!



From: (Melinda M Hale)
Subject: Wrapped In Grey
Date: Mon, 11 Oct 1993 21:43:25 -0400 (EDT)

I agree with most of your grading, Dave, of _Nonesuch_, but I implore you
to rethink "Wrapped In Grey".  I know you've listened to it several times,
but with XTC you can let a song go by you over and over and suddenly, perhaps
years later, it smacks you in the face.

"Wrapped In Grey" has become one of my favorite songs, XTC or otherwise.
The lyrics and sentiment are wonderful (yes, the flowers huddled in
petalled prayer is a breathtaking image), but the music really carries me
away, too.  The piano is really nice, and the resolution into the "your
heart is the big box of paints" segment is lovely.  I always get excited
by the build-up into "awaken you dreamers", and the way that line joyously
bursts out of the strings, backed by -- jingle bells!  I think it's quite
beautiful.  The way the last line sort of steps away from the song really
matches the "at the very least", as in "if all else fails", feeling (I've
repeated that line so many times lately to everyone, it's almost become a

Listen again with these things in mind, and if you still aren't touched by
"Wrapped In Grey", I guess there's nothing I can do ;-)



Date: Tue, 12 Oct 93 09:12:30 MET
Subject: 'rare' CDs

Hey guys,

Once again, thru a good friend in Germany, I have access to a limited number
of XTC's rare b**tl*g CDs, at the fairly-reasonable price of $25 each.  The
available titles are (track listings no doubt available via the FAQ) :-

"Making Plans For Andy"
"This Is Live - London 2/81"
"USA 1980"
"K-Rocking In Pasadena 5/89"

If anyone here is interested in obtaining any/all of these, please send me
e-mail direct (

Cheers for now,

- Dougie [Robb]


Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 10:50:31 +0100
From: Karl Dotzek <>
Subject: XTC live and "Nonsuch" rating

Hello Chalkhillies!

>>>>> "JR" == Jeff Rosedale <> writes about XTC
      live (edited):

    JR> The antidotes so far have been effective - acoustic radio tours
    JR> showing innovative creativity and a willingness to satisfy our
    JR> desire to hear it fresh off the instruments; and demo tracks
    JR> with the same simple wiry sound that I grew to know and love
    JR> as XTC.  Whatever they did live, I'd go see it and probably
    JR> adore it.  Go figure.

What about XTC for MTV's "Unplugged"?  Do XTC need the electronics at
all?  How good are they at their instruments alone?  What skills do
they still have besides pushing buttons?  I guess a lot, so it should
work for their music, too.  Of course some rehearsing would be
necessary - XTC's arrangements most often aren't that simple to know
by heart all time!

>>>>> "DF" == Dave Franson <> rates "Nonsuch"

    DF> OK, for those of you with your gradebooks handy, that averages
    DF> out to a 3.2353 GPA.  Almost a B+!  However, if you program
    DF> around the dross, you've got a total of 11 (count 'em, 11!)
    DF> ace tracks!  With proven staying power!  I rest my case--
    DF> "Nonsuch" is a great XTC album.

What attracted my attention was that you rated only A's or C's (one
D).  There seem to be no songs with minor imperfection worth a B for
you!  Kinda like that "do-or-die" attitude!  But why not more D's?  Is
it, because something good is in each song after all?  Or would giving
D's be too harsh to our gods? :-)



Date: 12 Oct 93 09:44:09 EDT
From: Kyle Skrinak <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #294


re: Jeff Rosedale

>>They're f***ing great, that's all there is to it and the end of the

They are my favorite band. Have been since 1981. They still aren't perfect.

>>Too fast?  Whaaaaat??? Have you heard the studio versions of songs like
Traffic Light Rock and Helicopter?  They're just begging to be done at a
million miles per hour!

Are you suggesting that tempo isn't an integral element in music composition?
There's this old studio saying about tuning a guitar, "close enough for rock
n' roll." The statements that suggest the tempo isn't important remind me of
that statement, which is fine for simple, low pop music. I hold XTC to a
slightly higher standard. They're art rock, damn it, not the Rolling Stones.
To wit: Helicopter is played at *exactly* the right speed. To fast, and it
would be too silly. Too slow, and it loses its edge. I don't think the tempos
XTC records at is some sort of misguided, whimsical guess.

>>Also you'd either need an orchestra or lots of taped sounds- overkill and
plastic as far as I'm concerned.

They did an admirable job with performing Oranges and Lemons live. I thought
the live stuff I heard was *better* than what's on album. Without all the
soundboard noodling and affecting they do, their songs have much more life to
them. Besides, a live performance doesn't need to be a note for note
replication. You can watch Madonna perform for that. Any Elvis Costello live
show (at least a few years ago) would confirm this; the show is about the
performers essence, not the material on the album.

Then again, there's always it's "New Kids on the Block!" (g)


Date: Tue, 12 Oct 93 13:01:23 PDT
From: Jon Drukman <>
Subject: How's Nonsuch Holding Up?

Dave Franson <> posts an entertaining look at
Nonsuch, 18 months later.  I disagree with a lot of what he said - and
this stuff is fresh in my mind because I've been listening to a
custom-programmed car tape of Nonsuch lately...

>The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
(dave: D)

absolutely not.  i love the track - an excellent tune, and so what if
the lyrical theme has been done to death?  A

>My Bird Performs
(dave: A)

feh - i really hate this song.  especially the sexist tone of the
whole thing - "my bird performs" indeed!  weak weak weak.  F

>Humble Daisy
(dave: A)

too wimpy.  F.

>The Smartest Monkeys
>Unbelievably trite, unimaginative lyrics.  Sociology 101.  So it's a total
>failure on the lyric level, but what music!  Great syncopation (it's what
>originally attracted me to the song, and what continues to hold my
>interest), and a synth solo that leaps out over the bridge.  C

it's actually a hammond organ through an overdrive pedal.  i agree
with the C, even though i still listen to the song...

>The Disappointed
(dave: C)

nope, i love it.  lovely rolling rhythm, and the words are absolutely
spot on.  since my love life has always been, um, rocky, this one hits
home in a devastating way.

>Holly Up on Poppy
(dave: A)

the brits have a word called "twee" that is incredibly appropriate
here.  i don't like this one.  maybe if i had a kid.  F

(dave: A)
nice, but it doesn't connect for me all that well.  B-

(dave: A)
see "rook".  C-

>Wrapped in Grey
(dave: C)
>Like "The Disappointed," absolutely no staying power.  Tedious
>and plodding after several listens.

oooh, them's fightin' woids.  this is probably my fave track on the
album.  don't know why, but everything about it works for me.  love
the piano, strings, beach boys harmonies... it's great.

(dave: A)

ugh... i hate this song completely.  so weak.  F

>Books are Burning
(dave: C)

eh, it's not that bad.  call it a B.

Jon Drukman                               
This calls for a very special blend of psychology and extreme violence.


Date: Wed, 13 Oct 93 10:25:14 EDT
From: (Don A.B. Lindbergh)
Subject: Re: intro

> From:
> One of my favorite artists of all is (uh oh) Todd Rundgren. Imagine my
> delight when I discovered that one of my favorite people was going to produce
> one of my favorite bands (for the Skylarking album). I'm aware of all the
> bad feelings that developed between them, but let's face it, that's THEIR
> problem, not ours. What WE got out of it was an incredible album (in my
> opinion).

Right on man, Todd is god, and Skylarking is genius.

--Don Lindbergh


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