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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #405


              Chalkhills Digest, Number 405

                Thursday, 19 January 1995

Today's Topics:
                   the "old" XTC hit...
          New Partridge Release on Hello Records
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #404
                   RE: virgins no more
                      Van Dyke Parks
                      Hellooo Andy!
                   Drums&Wireless, etc.
       Re: music recommendation (XTC-less, sorry!)
                        Producers
                  Virgin Records Flaming
              Andy's Hello CD Out [SPOILERS]
                        The Dukes
          Question about O&L radio tour and more
          For Sale: Drums and Wireless CD (new)
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #404
               New member- Russell Shaddox
                      label thoughts
                Van Dyke Parks, producer?
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #404
                          Oh Joy

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----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: PEACEFROG@delphi.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 00:33:59 -0500 (EST)
Subject: the "old" XTC hit...

To file in the "errors perpetuated by those who don't know the band" file:
        Among the many varied references/intros/outros/radio promos I've
heard for the Crash Test Dummies' cover of "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead,"
the song is referred to as the "old" hit by XTC.  First off, as much as I love
the song, was it ever a "hit", or does calling it one when it's later covered
by a "hot" band make folks more inclined to enjoy it, despite the mediocrity
of the performance?  Secondly, am I missing something, or is that song only a
couple years old?  Don't tell me the American penchant for instanostalgia has
reached this manic a stage.
        Just venting,
        Brett

------------------------------

From: KyleSk@aol.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 06:16:46 -0500
Subject: New Partridge Release on Hello Records

I just received Andy's latest on Hello records. It is absolutely wonderfully.
It has the playfulness of "Explode Together" but is much more accessible. The
drum programming is as oafish as on his collaboration with Martin Newell, but
here it works. His singing has never been better. There's 5 tracks in all.

Kyle

------------------------------

From: BAWolters@aol.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 10:36:10 -0500
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #404

Anyword on the next XTC album? It has been a LONG while!

Thanks!

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 09:40:28 -0600 (CST)
From: James Kosmicki <kosgcom@cccadm.cccneb.edu>
Subject: RE: virgins no more

If XTC is to leave Virgin, so be it.  As has been indicated before,
Virgin just isn't the same since Branson became an airline executive to
the exclusion of all else.

True, XTC's fan base isn't as large as the most popular bands, but that
shouldn't stop them from finding a new home.  Any label should be
interested in a group with a substantial following, especially if coming
in there aren't the expectations of huge mega-sales.  Plus, if a label
gets XTC, they get Andy, Colin and Dave as supplemental producers and
musicians to work with their other groups.  And, if the catalog comes
with the band, there is the added bonus of regular sales without the
costs of production or new release promotion.

Rykodisk would be a wonderful choice: just look at their roster.  Any
label that can do as well by artists ranging from Bowie to NRBQ should be
able to do wonders with a group like XTC.
Shimmy Disc would be another good choice, as Kramer seems to be in awe of
dense aural song construction and solid songwriting.

My guess is that XTC will continue to record and be released as long as
they want to/ can afford to.  Without touring, these smaller label's
smaller advances won't go quite as far.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 09:32:17 -0600 (CST)
From: James Kosmicki <kosgcom@cccadm.cccneb.edu>
Subject: Van Dyke Parks

I am very intrigued by the posting in Digest #401 about Van Dyke Parks
being the next producer for XTC.  I realize that the source was an
unnamed "somebody" on AOL, but the possibilities are mind boggling.

For those not in the know, Parks was involved in writing and producing
the lost _Smile_ album for the Beach Boys, you know Brian Wilson's
masterpiece that was lost because of his nervous breakdown. However,
everything that has survived from those session is simply overblown and
not very well done, but since it was "unreleased," the mystique remains.

Parks' solo works are all very interesting, critically acclaimed,
extremely poor selling works.  He was considered to be a peer of Randy
Newman until "Short People" got people buying Randy Newman music for
awhile. his albums are always popular with critics but not with the
record buying public.  His style can best be described as music hall,
Broadway musical, tin pan alley type music.  Heavy lyrics with a large
band sound behind him.  Trust me, he will have no problems going
drumless, as his music isn't rock and roll, not really.  It is pop music,
but not rock.

The two albums of his that I have are _Jump_, a song cycle based on Uncle
Remus tales, and _Tokyo Rose_, a song cycle based on US-Japanese
relationships since WWII.  both are wonderful works, but very American in
focus.

Sorry for the long post, but I just wanted people to realize that if this
AOL information is to be believed, Virgin, who is dropping XTC for not
selling enough albums, has made the decision to take a critically
respected but low selling band and rescue their commercial prospects by
bringing in a critically respected but even worse selling, very American,
artist who is best known for being involved in a project best known for
having never been released.

BTW, Parks has had outside producers on his albums, so he apparently is
not overly aggressive about production.  That or he understands the need
for outside opinions about personal music.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 11:43:36 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jason C. Langley" <jlangley@nynexst.com>
Subject: Hellooo Andy!

I finally received the Andy Partridge CD-EP on the Hello CD of the month
club.  I never thought I'd say this but it was worth the wait.  It has four
songs: Prince of Orange, It's Snowing Angels, Candymine, and Some Lovely
(My Brown Guitar).  All four are good, although I believe "It's Snowing
Angels" was already on _Windowbox_.  The flyer that came with the cd says
"An excellent effort from one of the biggest talents around, XTC's
unstoppable songsmith goes Hello with four brand new selections
including 2 great songs from the unreleased 'Bubble Gum Album'".

"Candymine" is the most obvious bubble gum song, has that chunky guitar
like on "Cherry in Your Tree", and of course the double entendre in the
lyrics.  I'm guessing that "Some Lovely" is the other bubble gum song,
although it could easily be a Dukes song.  The chorus is kind of clunky,
but otherwise a fine song.    "Prince of Orange" is very good also.  I'd
love to hear these songs get a full treatment with Dave and Colin.  I'm
not sure what the appeal of a bubble gum album would be ("Cherry in your
Tree" got little to no airplay) but I'd really like to see the bubble gum
album be made.  I'd like to see how Colin  does writing int the bubble
gum format

All in all, a really decent effort.  I was afraid that the tracks would
be ambient out-takes, or noodly-type stuff.  Don't get me wrong, I like
noodly, but four fully realized songs are much better.

Jason

Here's hoping for a new record in '95, and more goodies from either the
Little Express or hopefully Andy will sign up to do more on Hello.

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 16:59:47 -0500 (EST)
From: Valerie Jean Williams <vjw@gwis2.circ.gwu.edu>
Subject: Drums&Wireless, etc.

Well, I got my copy of Drums & Wireless in Little 5 Points in Atlanta.
It's a very cool place in general, and it has EXCELLENT music and book
stores. It's kinda like Georgetown in DC or the Village in NYC. Anyway, I
love it, because it manages to have all my faves on it, and really good
versions, too. I can't find it anywhere here in the DC area, so...but
Atlanta seems to be blessed with enlightened music stores.

I personally would love it if CDs were released with as many extra tracks
as possible, I can never get enough!

Question: Has anyone else noticed the Pink Floyd-ness of Skylarking? I
mean it seems like it's just one long life story, no? Although I'm not
sure how the Dear God vs Mermaid Smiled thing works out....ah well.
more later =)

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 11:04:29 +1200
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: Re: music recommendation (XTC-less, sorry!)

>From: IERANO_J@DD.PALMER.EDU
>I agree with the recent recommendations for The Church's latest: Sometime,
>>Anywhere

Heh. That was me...

Lotta good (non-XTC) albums suggested, then
>There was also a superb mini EP called "Constant in opal" see if you can find
>>it.

Actually, it was called Persia, and is available with the Remote Luxury EP
as one CD (also called Remote Luxury). Contains the great track "No
Explanation", if I remember rightly (or is that on Seance?)

For anyone interested in the Church BTW, there is a good (non-digest,
sadly) Church mailing list run by Morten Skjefte. Tap in:
seance-info@thechurch.EBay.Sun.COM
for more info.

Anyone liking XTC and the Church is also almost guaranteed to like
Calenture, by the Triffids, and the self-titled album by The Muttonbirds.

Sorry for the lack of XTC content...

James

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)

------------------------------

From: AngryYngMn@aol.com
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 19:31:26 -0500
Subject: Producers

How about Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley, who produced parts of They Might
Be Giants' "Flood?" (Birdhouse in your soul, your racist friend, istanbul)

And what does everyone mean by "overproduced," said in the context of Paul
Fox/O&L?

I'm new to this list too...so i get to do this:
Favorite album: Skylarking (But I haven't seen "English Settlement" at Tower
Records recently, otherwise i would have bought that)
Favorite songs: "Garden of Earthly Delights," "Earn Enough For Us," "Merely A
Man," "Across this Antheap," "Mayor of Simpleton," others...
Other favorite groups: Billy Joel (hence AYM), TMBG, Squeeze, Police, REM,
Crowded House.

Later!

-aym

"Ziggity zag zag just look at 'em"

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 20:17:58 -0700 (MST)
From: "Big E.S." <mersh@tibalt.supernet.ab.ca>
Subject: Virgin Records Flaming

OK, I've been reading some very polite things being said about Virgin,
despite the fact that they've dropped XTC.

First of all, let's realize that most record labels, including indies,
are run by scum-sucking maggots. The number of interviews I've read and
the number of musicians I've talked to who have complained about how
they've been screwed by their respective companies, from Warner Brothers
(Husker Du) to IRS (Concrete Blonde) to Rounder (NRBQ) is shocking.
Although I can't say I've ever been talented enough to have ever been
approached by a label (and trust me, be extremely thankful :-), a local
band was jerked around by Island Records about two years ago for $2000Cdn
in legal fees for an option the label the label never exercised.

As for Virgin themselves, I point to a hearty little escapade that happed
in the late seventies with Capatin Beefheart.

Basically, there story goes a little like this: the good Capt. recorded
an album, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller), and gave it to his label,
Virgin, to release. The label rejected it, claiming it wasn't
commercially viable. (Not that that's an invalid argument...but, hey,
they must have known that when they signed him) So, the good Capt. signs
a one-off deal with Warner's to release it. Then (following quote, Creem
mag., March 81):

        "They sued me for TWO MILLION DOLLARS. Warner Bros. dropped me. I
mean TWO MILLION DOLLARS - in a way I don't blame them. And then they did
nothing."

Now considering that Capt. probably hasn't sold $2Mil worth of lp's in
the last thirty years, that's just plain babyish. His next album, Doc at
The Radar Station, was released right when Virgin ended their
distribution with Atlantic, thus, only 18,000 copies of the album were
distributed in the states. (We lucky Canadians got it on PolyGram, who've
always showed a slight modicum of class in their capitalistic ways)

        "They are doing anything now," he said. "And they forgot to pick
up their option. Bye," and he waved his hand.

I've changed my mind: I think the boys should just start thier own label,
press their own CD's and the like. That's probably their best chance at
this point.

And if your still in doubt, I'll remind you all of one last example:
Walter Yetnikoff (sic) to Leonard Cohen, on why he wasn't going to
release Various Positions in the States:

        "Mr. Cohen, we deal in TONNAGE...."

Thanks for letting me spout off. Now if only this wasn't costing me
anything.....

Later...

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 21:43:04 -0800
From: dfranson@execpc.com (Dave Franson)
Subject: Andy's Hello CD Out [SPOILERS]

Hi all,

A little treat arrived in my snail-mail last Friday:

Hello CD of the Month Club
November 1994
Andy Partridge
Prince of Orange/It's Snowing Angels/Candymine/Some Lovely (My Brown Guitar)
"All instruments played by Andy Partridge and recorded in his garden shed."

For the discography:

*-------------------------------------------------------------------

@ALBUM: Andy Partridge, a Hello Selection, November 1994

"All instruments played by Andy Partridge and recorded in his garden shed."

@SONG: Prince of Orange

Look at these hands
Spokes of the Sun God delay you, Spray you
Prince of Orange, climb the ladder
Prince of Orange will die.

Brass robinettes
Trumpet and drums for the taking, baking
Prince of Orange, climb the ladder
Prince of Orange will die.

All the food he steals is all right
Far the tall and gentle poplar
Causing fanfare to those listening
Now

Drape 'round your head
Mischief and secrets in green kelt, all hell
Prince of Orange, climb the ladder
Prince of Orange will die.

Look at these lands  (--- --- ---)
You'll get no books for your dinner
Sinner
Prince of Orange, climb the ladder
Prince of Orange will die.

@SONG: It's Snowing Angels

It's snowing angels, on my front porch
Take a broom and sweep one in
I'm such a lucky guy, such a lucky guy
Even though my shoes have broken
I can't deny my toes
The right to fresh air
And the joy of poking through
It's snowing angels
Hope I'll catch me one

It's snowing angels
By my window
Take a net and fish one in
I'm such a lucky guy, such a lucky guy
Even though I got no money
This bear won't be hibernating
Or I'd miss the sight of all the honey strolling by
It's snowing angels
Hope I'll catch me one

I'm such a lucky guy, such a lucky guy
Even though my shoes have broken
I can't deny my toes
The right to fresh air
And the joy of poking through
It's snowing angels
Hope I'll catch me
Hope I'll catch me
Hope I'll catch me one

SONG: Candymine

Dig, dig down...
Dig, dig down...

(Chorus)
Candymine, candymine, tunnelling to honey for a girl so fine
Candymine, candymine, tunnelling to honey for a girl so fine

Wake up every morning when the clock strikes six
Pick up my girlfriend and we pick up sticks
Digging for her sweet love and I can't waste time
Working down that candymine

(Chorus)

Finish every evening when the clock strikes five
Home to my queen bee and our private hive
Digging for her sweet love and I can't waste time
Working down that candymine

(Chorus)

Dig, dig, down...

(Spoken)
We've got to get the candy out of the candy mine!
Let's get working!

(Chorus x 4)

SONG: Some Lovely (My Brown Guitar)

In my heart, in my heart

You want some lovely, I got some lovely
I've got some lovely in my head, in my head
Where the lions, wear the right eye,
where the jems (?) roar, there be lovely

You want some lovely, I got some lovely
In my bed, in my bed
Where the ocean wears the shore down
Where's the on switch?
There be lovely laying waiting naked for you

(Chorus)
We can play every day
We can play at being lovers
We can play every day
We can play on my brown guitar

(Repeat Chorus)

You want some lovely, I got some lovely
In my yard, in my yard
There be inchworm, there be footlong
There be yardstick stir some lovely
Laying waiting naked for you

You want some lovely, I got some lovely
In my field, in my field
There be green grass, there be big sky
There be blue birds come and nest there

(Chorus X 2)

You want some lovely, I got some lovely
In my heart, in my heart for you

*------------------------------------------------------------------------
So how is it?  Great!

Prince of Orange (2'55"): Strong guitar lead in, interspersed with
keyboards. Reminds me musically and thematically of "Jason and the
Argonauts." Minimalist electronic piano solo over the bridge. Ends in
striking sobs from Andy.

If someone could elaborate on the Prince of Orange reference, that would be
interesting.

It's Snowing Angels (3'20"): "Guest appearance by The Dukes of
Stratosphear"-- from the "Windowbox" liner notes. An utterly charming bit of
Dukes' silliness. Calliope keyboards, goofy whistling, a lazy day song.

Candymine (2'29"): A bit of lacivious innuendo from Mr. Partridge. From the
Hello letter accompanying the EP: "An excellent effort from one of the
biggest talents around, XTC's unstoppable songsmith goes "Hello" with four
brand new selections including 2 great songs from the unreleased 'Bubble Gum
Album.'" I'd have to imagine that they're counting "It's Snowing Angels" as
the other "bubble gum" entry.

Some Lovely (My Brown Guitar) (3'58"): A beautiful ballad, full of rich
harmonizing.

Dave

------------------------------

Date:         Mon, 16 Jan 95 22:55:30 EST
From: Melissa Reaves <MREAVES@KENTVM.KENT.EDU>
Subject:      The Dukes

Hey Chalkhillians!!  Glad to see everyone back from break or vacation
or whatever.  I just love finding Chalkhills in my mailbox.

Anyway, I was just listening to the Dukes tonight & a coupla thoughts
crossed my brain.

First a question:
How did all of y'all first discover that the Dukes = XTC?
The game was spoiled for me because the record store at
the mall put an XTC sticker on 25 O'Clock right off.
When I called the radio station (WOXY--they still cool?)
to request one of the songs, they said"how did you know it
was them?" So tell me, how long did it take you to figure
it out or was it obvious from the start?

Unfortunately I only have Psonic Psunspot b/c the Chips combo
isn't available on cassette & I never bought any of it at
the time.  (silly girl)  I wouldn't have guessed from the first
couple on there.  I no longer have any memory of 25 O'Clock.

Anyway, they're among my favorite XTC. In particular the bubble
bit in the middle of Braniac's Daughter never fails to raise a
chuckle & sometimes gets a LOL from me.

And I love Pale & Precious.  Especially after I read the Biography,
as I never caught on my own that it was supposed to be a
Beach Boys take-off.  Well Duuuuuhhh!

Dave said in the book that P & P was too good to be wasted
on the Dukes.  Andy apparently agreed to some extent because
he recycled at least 1 line in Holly up on Poppy (which song
makes no sense until you know who Holly is).

She takes the stars out of the sky
and lights the sun with her bright eyes (or something like that).

Another highlight: The Affiliated.

So have a Stratosphearic day, everyone!

He saw the light before he finished his pint.

--Melissa

------------------------------

From: Andisheh Nouraee <scotsman@wam.umd.edu>
Date: Tue, 17 Jan 1995 00:49:49 -0500
Subject: Question about O&L radio tour and more

Dear Chalkhillians,

Would somebody please rate the following compact discs for
performance AND sound quality.  I would like to know which of
the three I should buy:  -Acoustic Tales 87-89-, -K Rocking in
Pasadena-, and -Kings For A Day-.

In Chalkhills 404, Jason M. Phelan wrote:

>>I wish someone would tell me or could tell me what the quickest way
>>to get -Drums and Wireless- would be.

Compact Disc Connection (telnet cdconnection.com) and CD Now
(telnet cdnow.com) both offer it.  I bought it from Compact Disc
Connection for about $15 plus shipping.  It arrived in two weeks.
You can get it quicker by paying $7 extra for UPS blue label
shipping.  If you do not have telnet access, just e-mail me and
I can get you more info.  I have never bought anything from
CD Now, but they offer all CDs that are in stock within a week.

Does anyone know where I can get some XTC videos on VHS or Beta?
(Yes, I still have a Beta!)  Please e-mail me privately.

------------------------------

From: Mark Colan <Mark_Colan.LOTUS@crd.lotus.com>
Date: 17 Jan 95 11:22:32 ES
Subject: For Sale: Drums and Wireless CD (new)

I ordered two copies of the new import "Drums and Wireless" CD via mail
order, one for myself and one as a gift for a friend.  Later I decided on a
different gift, so I have one copy available for sale.  (Of course, I'm
keeping MY copy: it's great).  Though not shrink-wrapped (it came that
way), it has never been played.

I paid $17.95.  I'll sell it for $20 postpaid (the $2 is for postage).
Sorry, USA only.

Mark Colan
mcolan@crd.lotus.com

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 17 Jan 95 11:13 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <0005392548@mcimail.com>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #404

From: Fred_M_Hamilton@cup.portal.com:
FMH>>That's what *I* think.  XTC should sign with Dischord and I'll be
FMH>>dammed if they don't turn a healthy profit selling CDs at $7.99
FMH>>postage paid.

If XTC signs with Dischord then I hope they also bring back Marginal
Man...

From: Aaron Pastula <apastula@pepperdine.edu>
AP>>Finally, as to their future popularity...most popular modern music sucks
AP>>because the people who write it have no imagination (can you say, Green
AP>>Day?), and the people who buy it have no attention span.  XTC is
AP>>complicated stuff, and it takes more than half a brain to enjoy and
AP>>appreciate it.  It's useless to try and win them over on the masses,
AP>>because in order to do that they would have to sacrifice their amazing
AP>>ability as musicians--NO producer is going to make them stars, 

AP>>who it is.  Mainstream popularity will only happen for XTC when the
AP>>public is ready for them, not when they are ready to meet the public.
AP>>If the kids don't want to hear it, fuck 'em.  I think that's Andy's idea;
AP>>as an artist he sticks to what he feels and what he believes, and I respect
AP>>him for that.  Yeah, it sucks that they have to starve, but maybe a new
AP>>label will increase the cash flow...who knows, getting dropped may be
AP>>the best thing that's happened to them.

I don't know of any band who ever made it big that didn't tour (B**tles
made it before they stopped)...  If XTC is not going to tour normally then
they need to at least keep doing the radio tours with each album.
Unfortunately, they would also need to expend the effort to make watchable
videos.  And, it's not a question of complicated or not, there are plenty
of acts doing quite well who are not necessarily as simple as Green Day.
For example, REM, who personally I hate, but I know some people think
they're geniuses.  Tori Amos and Liz Phair do quite well in the too smart
tortured girlfriend singer role.

XTC currently has an image of an arty type band with little flash that
appeals to the smart ass college crowd -- "XTC is too smart for their own
good" goes the quote in many many articles I've read on them.  It doesn't
help for XTC listeners to have a superior attitude (kind of like OS/2 vs.
Windoze bigots).  The public is not as stupid as you think.

Jeff

------------------------------

Date: 17 Jan 1995 12:53:57 -0500
From: "Russell Shaddox" <Russell_Shaddox@quickmail.cis.yale.edu>
Subject: New member- Russell Shaddox

   My name is Russell Shaddox, and I am a new Chalkhills subscriber.  I am
an editor and graphic designer at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
USA.
   First contact with XTC: 1980, when I heard "Towers of London" on the
radio. Instant fandom.
   Favorite album: Black Sea. Favorite Andy songs: "Roads Girdle the Globe,"
"Season Cycle." Favorite Colin songs: "King for a Day," "Grass."
   Other favorite bands: dB's, Mould/Sugar/Husker Du, old Genesis and
other old theatro-art rock that everyone else hates now. Also Horslips.
If you have Horslips info, etc., please contact me.
   Nice to meet you all. Russell

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 16:02:06 +0700
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: label thoughts

So the next question is, what label would we like to see XTC go to?

Personally, I think if you're looking for a label that lets their arists
make intelligent, interesting "alternative-pop" (to create an ugly new
category), without necessarily expecting a hit single and a new album for
the christmas market, then you're probably looking at the likes of either
Ryko or Go!Discs.

Failing that - a long shot, I know, but - both Joe Jackson and Robyn
Hitchcock fall into this "no-hit alternative-pop" (yecch, what a handle...)
category, and they're both on A&M...

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)

------------------------------

From: SPE9237@ACFcluster.NYU.EDU
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 19:30:39 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Van Dyke Parks, producer?

Dear Dukeheads-
        Someone posted a rumor that Van Dyke Parks might produce the next
XTC album.  VERY interesting.  It makes sense, but I wonder if it would
bring out the best or the worst in the band.
        Perhaps that's because I can't decide what I think of Van Dyke Parks.
He was best known in the sixties (even then he was an underground guy) for
contributing a bunch of pretentious lyrics to some very "arty" Baech Boys
songs (Heroes & Villains & Surf's up, especially).  He also had a hand in some
of the most baroque, avant-garde record production of the day, often with
Larry Waronker, who is now something like the president or Warner Bros Records
unless he went ahead on his threat to quit.  Now Larry Waronker--HE's the
guy who should produce the next XTC album.  VDP & LW produced the Mojo Men's
"Sit Down I Think I Love You", which is on Lenny Kaye's "Nuggets" album.
That song and everything else I've heard by them as a production team
has lots of wild arrangements of mandolins, bass harmonicas, accordians,
and marching bands coming in at weird intervals.  It's all very "Post-Pet
Sounds".  Some other places to look for this stuff are Van Dyke Parks'
pretentious-but-so-weird-it-may-be-interesting "Song Cycle" album, the Everly
Bros' "Roots" album (Really Great!  Check out "You Done Me Wrong"), any
late 60's Warner Bros' sampler, early Randy Newman, Biff Rose's song "Ain't
No Great Day" (w/ Van Dyke Parks on Moog).  This is all stuff from around 1968.
        None of it rocks out much; it's more like chamber psychedelia.  So
while this fits in w/ Andy's description of the band's direction, I fear
they'll sound even less like a band than they have on the past 2 or 3 albums.
I also fear that the sound will be even more murked up than usual.  On the
other hand, it might be more interesting murk than recently (IMHO).
        So, I guess we'll have to see.....

--Steve Espinola   SPE9237@acfcluster.nyu.edu

------------------------------

From: John C Steffes <steffes@csd4.csd.uwm.edu>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #404
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 1995 20:25:50 -0600 (CST)

Heyho All!  A couple of items I'd like to sink my two bits into:

1) Bash 'n Pop doing "Another Satellite."  Unless I'm mistaken, what you
heard about was their song called "Satellite," which was written by Tommy
Stinson, their leader and also former member of the Replacements.  Tommy
did this song with the Replacements, it being released on a E.P. promo-only
C.D. called, "Don't Buy or Sell, It's Crap."  Sadly, it's not the same
song as we're all familiar with, although it's an okay song for the
Replacements vein of tunes.  I suppose, though, that it's always possible
that Bash 'n Pop does XTC's "Another Satellite" live, but I'd expect one
of my friends into that band to have hung that gloating tidbit over my head
long ago.

2) While we're all waiting with trepidation to see whether the band is able
to put out another album, why aren't we all networking to see them picked up
by another label?  My vote here is for Rykodisc, specifically for the case
of Bob Mould.  As some of you may know, he put out two albums on some big
major label (Warner Brothers perhaps?) before he was given the boot.  He
then goes on to create the band Sugar and they're enjoying enormous success
on Rykodisc with their two albums and e.p.  I'm sure Mr. Mould is laughing
at his ex-label (whoever they were) now.  And both Richard Thompson and
Elvis Costello (to name the only two I can think of) got a wonderful kick-
start to their careers when their catalogs were beautifully reissued by
Rykodisc.  Finally, the label got an excellent write-up in "Musician"
magazine some time last year.  This label seems to give a damn about the
musicians they represent, and the albums turned out by some of its new artist
are the best they've ever made.   Okay, so who out there happens to be good
friends with the president of Rykodisc?

3) Whatever album XTC puts out, I'm sure it will be a good one.  Drummer or
no drummer, XTC writes great songs and is always pushing the envelope of
what is acceptable to their listeners.  That's the trademark of a good band.

Peace.

John in Milwaukee

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 18 Jan 95 14:00 EST
From: Gustavo Machado <MACHADO+aMSLATLANTA%DMB&B@mcimail.com>
Subject: Oh Joy

Got my first "Chalkhills."  What a delight!  You see, being an XTC fan is
like belonging to a secret order; so, whenever you find other "members,"
there's great relief and tranquility.  You're no longer an outcast,
listening to a group that will matter over all these alterna-boobs of
today.

Notes at random:

1) Listened to "Golden Cleaners" and found it very good (although not as
wonderful as "The Greatest Living...").  Particularly delightful is "Song
for Syd Barrett," with its rinky-dinky construction and great riff.  Also,
Newell's liner notes are very funny.

2) Does anybody from the Atlanta area know where to get "Drumsticks and
Wires?"  Got kind of disappointed recently by purchasing Vol. 1 of the O&L
demos, thinking that it was that other CD.  Is is worthy of our hard-earned
bucks?  I'm looking for a good-sounding '89 radio show.

3) How does "The Little Express" keep on going?  Who funds it?  Until now,
it's been THE source of great XTC stuff...

4) So strange to hear The Crash Test Dummies doing "Pumpkinhead."  Why not
the men themselves?  Contractual trouble, I suppose...  Anyway, better that
than nothing.

5) Isn't it depressing to find so many copies of O&L and Nonsuch in the
used CD racks?  Well, there's also gobs of R.E.M.'s great records, like Out
Of Time and even Automatic For The People, a true masterpiece (on the
Skylarking level).  Sometimes I'd like to buy them all and give (or sell,
you put the word) them to my friends.

6) Colin Moulding is the best McCartney-style bass player ever.  Agree 97%
with Bob Sherwood on his choices for best Colin bass work and songs, though
I'd include his bass and production for Sam Phillips's "Baby I Can't Please
You" there too.  Brilliant.

The 3% of disagreement comes from his thrashing of "Bungalow."  C'mon Bob!
Its general cheesyness is alsolutely intended!  Even after that, the
production is haunting, serene, filled with nice hooks...  Flame at will!!
;-)

7) Maybe a new XTC album will make the news this time.  The record company
change, the resurgence of a pop sensibility, and the hidden yearning many
journalists out there have for the group might bring actual benefits this
time...  then again, I thought the same thing three years ago (Gosh, it's
been three already!).

OK folks... keep the red brick dream alive...

--Gustavo
gmachado@netcom.com

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End of Chalkhills Digest #405
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