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From: Chalkhills <>
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #12-11

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 12, Number 11

                  Tuesday, 14 March 2006


                   Where Was the Party?
                      Kinky thoughts
                       New Radicals
              Interesting Video (O&L Stylee)
                     Re: Brainwashing
                    Worse Places to Be


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Now every closing door just fans the flames some more...


Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 11:25:27 -0500
Subject: Where Was the Party?
Message-ID: <>

Folks: said:  <<Anyone else enjoying the new Ray Davies album?
Wonder what those
admitted Kinks fans in XTC think of it...>>

I rather like OTHER PEOPLE'S LIVES, although I expected an enormous amount
of guests on the album, even if Ray had meant all along to keep the list
small, I expected folks like Andy Partridge, Robin Hitchcock, Elvis
Costello, Chrissie Hynde, Steve Forbert, and even members of Belle &
Sebastian beating down the doors to the studio and begging Davies for the
chance to do a session or two on this album, but it is nice to finally hear
what a Ray Davies solo album sounds like.

Speaking of Belle & sebastian, I do hear shades of not only the Kinks, but
David Bowie, T-Rex and good '60's pop in general throughout this album, THE
LIFE PURSUIT, but I guess that's no news to anyone on this list.

And I look forward to this Partridge/Hitchcock project.  It'll be



Date: Wed, 8 Mar 2006 11:06:02 -0500
From: "jude hayden" <>
Subject: Kinky thoughts
Message-ID: <>

In Digest #12-10, Jim Smart pondered:

"Anyone else enjoying the new Ray Davies album? Wonder what those
admitted Kinks fans in XTC think of it..."

I enjoy it immensely. On first listen I found some of it a bit bland, but
it burrowed its way into my cerebrum with each subsequent listen, and now I
love it. I am reminded in many places of his late 60's early 70's work, when
he was more subtle in his writing and less heavy-handed with the "rawk"
(although there are still shades of that on Other People's Lives as well). I
recommend it to any fan, casual or otherwise.

Now, when are those final batches of Fuzzy Warbles due??? :-D


Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 15:56:03 EST
Subject: New Radicals
Message-ID: <>

Certainly agree with Paul's comments about the New Radicals. It really
is a belter of a song and it gets me everytime as well.

It's the best song on the album but that's not a criticism. It works a
consistent record and it's something i still play. Unlike many others
of the last 10 years.

A possible XTC connection is that on the title track 'Maybe you've
been Brainwashed too', isn't that the drum track to 'All of a Sudden
(it's too late)'.  bloomin sounds like it to me!



Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2006 14:11:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Dane Bramage <>
Subject: Interesting Video (O&L Stylee)
Message-ID: <>

I haven't posted here in literally ages, but thought I would pass
along this barely-on-topic tidbit from the Terry Gilliam fansite.
Please check out the video indicated in the link (stretching a bit, I
know, but this could have easily been applied to Oranges & Lemons).
I'm fairly positive that many of you here will be suitably impressed.
 There's no small amount of tribute to Yellow Sub and maybe a
smattering of tribute to Oranges & Lemons here and there...


This Flash-animated music video for Telemetry Orchestra's song
"Suburban Harmony" is one of my favorite music videos of recent
months. It was created by London-based Australian Steve Scott, who is
also a member of the band. The video is pretty clearly a tribute to
Heinz Edelmann's production design for THE YELLOW SUBMARINE (1968),
with touches of other late-60s graphic styling like Terry Gilliam's
animated films and the illustrations of New York design studio Push
Pin. You can read more about Scott's work at Cold Hard Flash or check
out his animation/illustration portfolio at"

I know one phrase in Spanish: "?Donde es bano?". That's all you really
need in a foreign language. You can pantomime everything else but you
can't pantomime "Where is the bathroom?" and stay out of fights.


Date: Fri, 10 Mar 2006 23:28:57 -0500
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: Brainwashing
Message-ID: <a06110402c037feb633ac@[]>

At 9:51 AM -0500 3/8/06, Chalkhills wrote:
>But, to me, the best song of the last, say, ten years, has to be "You
>Get What You Give" by New Radicals. Despite the fact that it was
>butchered to form a Mitsubushi car commercial, this song talks
>DIRECTLY to me.  Think Todd Rundgren with a dash of Ben Folds.
>Multiply that by ten and if you don't come out weeping at the end,
>then YOU DON'T FEEL.  Some dancey troupe have even appropriated it
>recently.  Even Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick said it was the best
>song ever.
>Some kudos for its creator, Gregg Alexander, who, strangely, promptly
>retired after recording it.  Go figure.  That's his trip, but he's
>left us with this magnificent song anyway.
>You can find it along with some drug-dusted excursions on the album
>"Maybe You've Been Brainwashed Too".

I first heard it via a free promotional cassette one of the local
record stores was giving away even before the album came out. Usually
I take it home, listen once, go "ho hum," and throw it away. This
time I heard it once and for the first time in a long time(the only
time I've done that since was upon hearing the Dresden Dolls for the
first time) I went "WHO THE FUCK IS THAT?" I grabbed the album as
soon as it came out, which I rarely do anymore. There's nothing as
good as "You Get What You Give" on the album, but it's still pretty
good Steely Dan'ish pop-rock, intelligent lyrics, with a bit of The
Clash and Midnight Oil thrown into the mix. There's a little bit of
some band called XTC too in there, the Oranges and Lemons album

Chris Coolidge
President, Vermont Spiritualist Association


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 2006 10:02:28 -0500 (EST)
From: "Harrison Sherwood" <>
Subject: Worse Places to Be
Message-ID: <>

(Crossposted at By Neddie Jingo!

You could have picked worse places to be on or about February 10,

You might have been one of the thousands of people stranded at
airports worldwide due to the collapse of Laker Airways, or you could
have been one of the 84 rig workers drowned in the icy waters off
Newfoundland when their oil platform sank. You could have been your
correspondent, a trepidacious, future-fearing undergrad deep in the
parlous throes of writing his senior thesis on Taoism.

But if you had managed to infest the Markthalle concert hall in
Hamburg that evening, you would have been treated to what for my money
is the absolute high-water mark of New Wave live musicianship. After
XTC, the graph, as they say down at the Econ Department, tends to
slope off rather sharply.

(Video, XTC live playing Optimism's Flames, is here:

The Talking Heads were a groove band by 1982 -- nothing wrong with
that, they were wonderful fun -- but they tended to kitchen-sinkiness
in their later years. Costello's Attractions were a truly fearsome
little platoon, as were the Joe Jackson Band, but as backing bands for
flamboyant frontmen they necessarily receded into the background. The
Police were all about the silences between the notes, which is great,
but the notes are important too, and you know, come on. Sting.

In 1982, it was gonna be either these guys or the Police. They were
right about on a par with each other, saw each other as cross-town
rivals. When this video was made, XTC had just a week before released
"Senses Working Overtime," their biggest hit, and an album, English
Settlement, that was a critical darling. Things were just about to get
Seriously Good for this band.

They were one tour away, they told themselves.

It was of course the Beatles who first explosively announced the
musical possibilities of two-guitars-bass-and-drums playing
sophisticated harmonic progressions and shifting textures all to a
compulsively danceable tempo -- music you can both dance and think to.
So many bands have explored and continue to explore the terrain the
Fabs first mapped out that it becomes impossible to trace influences
through the historical murk of generations. In their later,
studio-only years XTC acquired a deserved reputation as a "Beatlesque"
band, but in their live, touring years they were more reminiscent of a
much tighter and more energetic Kinks, both in sound and in subject
matter. The finest album of that period, Black Sea, is packed with
songs that you can easily imagine coming from Ray Davies' pen, fine
English satire like "Respectable Street" or "Generals and Majors" or
"Sgt. Rock."

Andy Partridge has said that he wanted to form a band that married
Captain Beefheart and the Monkees, and a better description of
"Burning with Optimism's Flames" is hard to imagine. Against a
straight-ahead bass figure and driving, uncomplicated drums, the two
guitars play an oscillating pattern that is rhythmically in some other
universe, a demented waltz against the four of the pedestrian beat,
much like something you'd expect to hear on Ice Cream for Crow. But
unlike Beefheart's weirdness, the jerkiness of the arrangement here is
never repellent. You can still sort-of dance to it, if you just listen
to the drums. You're going to wind up on the wrong foot quite a lot of
the time, but it is possible.

It's not completely nuts to imagine Ray Davies attempting a Gilbert &
Sullivan patter-song, and that's what's on display here -- Andy the
Modern Major-General. If you can in this muddy live mix, try to hear
the melody Andy sings in the verse against the bass figure Colin
Moulding is playing -- it's more Beefheartian cycles rubbing against
each other. One of my favorite Naughty-Andy lyrics is featured here:

    What on earth is bringing up this stream?
    The cat who got her cream
    Is licking her lips and smiling like her Chesire cousin!

From the verse, where these eccentric time-signature cogwheels cycle
like a clock built by a madman, the chorus explodes from the
exquisitely ska-tinged "All you do is smile" bridge like a cannon
going off.

If the Secret Sauce of the live XTC sound is guitar interplay, what
better partner in crime could you hope for than the masterful and
peripatetic Dave Gregory? Jesus, look, just look, at some of the
things he's doing in those guitar breaks! I'm particularly impressed
by his ability to switch from single-note leads to second rhythm,
dominating the arrangement one second and instantly switching to
coloration the next. Dave is that rare species, the egoless lead

I have another live version of this song from a year before, on a BBC
recording. On the liner notes for that CD, Andy wrote, "By the time we
get to the 'every bird and bee' middle bit I'm smiling so hard I can
hardly sing." It's not hard to see why -- the band is finally given
its head completely, finally allowed to roar at full voice. I see now
it's Dave switching to power chords on his Strat that fills out the
sound; nothing like a nice fist C played on the fat strings to make a
joyful noise.

But of course the irony here is that the man you see singing these
wonderfully clever and literate words about being ecstatic -- in a
band literally named after that emotion -- is himself only slightly
less than a month away from an emotional breakdown that will prevent
him from ever playing in public in any serious way again. The
breakdown will manifest itself as crippling stage-fright, but Andy
understands now that his going cold-turkey from a decade-long Valium
dependency had a great deal, if not everything, to do with it.

Yes. That guy, Mister Logorrhea McPattersong, was addicted to Valium.

What you are watching is about as extreme a case of
laughing-on-the-outside, crying-on-the-inside as you're likely to see.
He tells of years' worth of a dreadful diet -- dinner a handful of
peanuts grabbed off a bar somewhere -- a poorly planned, killer
touring schedule that treated the band like robots; and a slowly
dawning suspicion that their manager was siphoning a great deal of
money into his own pockets while paying the band barely more than
their per-diem.

"Let it die/So let it all break down to rotten/That's the way we'll
grow new flowers," writes an older and wiser Andy Partridge in 1992's
"This Is the End." From the composted corpse of this fine, fine
performing unit's demise would come the Studio Years of Skylarking and
Oranges and Lemons and Apple Venus, in which many more beautiful,
great-hearted lace doilies would be tatted by these hands.

But Lord, what a great rock band they were.

(Edit: Many thanks to Xtcfan for burning the Rockpalast DVD for me...)

Harrison "Crossposting is *hard!* Sherwood


End of Chalkhills Digest #12-11

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