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From: Chalkhills <>
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #13-43

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 13, Number 43

                 Friday, 23 November 2007


         Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
                 XTC's Axe Toting Genius
                        RE: Covers
                Two Albums to Obsess Over
         Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
         Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
         Re: Help me if you can I'm feeling down
               Losing the desire for music.
            We do appreciate you being 'round
       Guardian 1000 albums to hear before you die
                   Thanks (for) Giving
            1000 albums to hear befor you die


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Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 22:05:39 -0700
From: "John McGuiness" <>
Subject: Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
Message-ID: <BAY127-DAV1FD115970CD7B3FD5EFBCC77F0@phx.gbl>

Simon, I am afraid it is over. Along the lines of there being too much
music, the needle in the haystack you and I are looking for is now more like
seeking a particular drop in the ocean. Every wannabe in creation can afford
the gear to publish music, and since they "wanna be...", they're going to
put out product, further obscuring what you or I may like. I haven't found
anything truly refreshing in quite a few years without going to some other
culture to find music that is fresh and exciting. Maybe you should look to
Africa or India or someplace else for exposure to musicians that think very
differently from all that we are accustomed to.

XTC are/were a fluke of immense proportions. I can't find XTC fans in my own
damn state.

Pallius in Colorado


Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 21:46:38 -0800
From: "Chuck Archer" <>
Subject: XTC's Axe Toting Genius
Message-ID: <BAY137-DAV152EBECBAA31B3DE4ED4BDE97F0@phx.gbl>

See the great Dave Gregory interview "XTC's Axe Toting Genius" here,
especially if you're a guitar player:


Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 21:57:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: RE: Covers
Message-ID: <>

In my iTunes, I have a live recording of Neil Finn
doing Making Plans For Nigel. I don't have any info
(date, venue, etc).  It's a solo acoustic track, and
it's obviously Neil Finn. Can't remember where I got it.

My blog:


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 13:07:48 +0700
From: "Tom Yates" <>
Subject: Two Albums to Obsess Over
Message-ID: <>

In response to Simon's last posting, I would have to say that John
Vanderslice's last two albums,  "Pixel Revolt" and "Emerald City" each held
me hostage for many weeks, and still do whenever I put them on.  The finest
craftsmanship musically, intelligent storytelling wrapped up in beautiful
lyrics, and so much feeling and emotion bursting through.  I laugh, I cry, I
shake my head and sigh.  Give the guy a try, the journey is rich and


Date: Mon, 19 Nov 2007 22:22:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Benjamin Lukoff <>
Subject: Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
Message-ID: <>

> From: <>
> Subject: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
> I'm experiencing much the same thing at the moment, and although this might
> sound like depression, negativity or cynicism, I'm honestly quite worried
> and sad about this state of affairs.  I've faced the sudden realization this
> year that my relationship with music, the one constant in my life through
> all its various changes and ups and downs, has suddenly left me.

I wish I still blogged so I could ask you for permission to reprint this
there--this piece was very well written.

You asked for recommendations. I'm not sure if these fit all your criteria
or count as recent enough, but
Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion, Exploration
Susanna Hoffs & Matthew Sweet, Under the Covers Vol. 1
Scott Miller & The Commonwealth, Reconstruction
John Wesley Harding, Kelly Hogan, Nora O'Connor, and Brian Lohmann, The
Love Hall Tryst

Don't know if these are quite up your genre alley, but....


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 00:29:21 -0800 (PST)
From: Steve <>
Subject: Re: Help Me If You Can I'm Feeling Down
Message-ID: <>

Simon wrote:
>So, having said all that, does anyone thinks they can kickstart my love of
>music again?  If anyone can name recent albums that fit this criteria, I'd
>like to hear about them, because I have only heard *one* album this entire
>year I consider a keeper:

>- you obsessed over it at the expense of everything else in your
>  collection for months
>- you can sing the entire thing from beginning to end, including the
>  instrumental fills
>- only one song you consider filler per ten tracks
>- concise, melodic, hooky, focused, not wispy, grungy,
 > oh-so-precious or `noise'
>- creative disciplined musicianship by bands who tune their
>  instruments
>- sounds fresh and unique to an experienced listener, and doesn't
>  sound like an older band that have already been there, done that,
>  and better
>- excites your intellectual curiousity
>- hasn't been excessively hyped by the NME or Melody Maker (for the
>  Brits), or Pitchfork for the Americans, (because I've been burnt too
>  many times by both sources, going as far back as the Stone Roses) (1)

sorry simon, we're mortal
-another steve


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 08:59:23 +0000
From: pop boy <>
Subject: Re: Help me if you can I'm feeling down
Message-ID: <BAY127-W15011DABAF02F3F2B8F4D5AA7F0@phx.gbl>

I know what you mean re: falling out of love with music. I just try to
be more choosy now and try to listen to stuff before I buy. Easier now
you can do it online.

Anyway stuff I have obsessed about the last couple of years although
they might have been released in the last five years are.

New Pornographers either Twin Cinema or Electric Version. Both choc
full of hooks, great vocal harmonies.
Brendan Benson - Lapalco
Clearlake - Amber
Field Music - Tones of Town
Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine
Lilac Time - Looking for a Day in The Night

That should do you!


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 10:18:24 +0000
From: Robert Wood <>
Subject: Losing the desire for music.
Message-ID: <>

Simon asked:

 >> I'm experiencing much the same thing at the moment, and although
this might sound like depression, negativity or cynicism, I'm honestly
quite worried and sad about this state of affairs.  I've faced the
sudden realization this year that my relationship with music, the one
constant in my life through all its various changes and ups and downs,
has suddenly left me.

Has this happened to anyone else?  <<

I think it happens to most people. In the main, it's just getting older
and having that child-like wonder for music slowly diminish. For many
people it's having children that means they don't have so much time for

I also think that the music style that was around when we were in our
teens and early twenties becomes less common and it's less easy to find
new examples of the type we love most.

Your point about horrible mastering (in my case it's horrible
production) is relevant for me. I find that the squashed production that
started around the start of the nineties is so prevalent now, it makes
it hard to find songs that have air and life to them.

CDs and digital audio in general, no doubt, have been a major
contributor to this. Digital tapes and recording to hard drives don't
have the lovely natural compression that you get recording to analogue
tapes so you have to make sure that you don't overload the input and get
foul digital clipping. Therefore, you do end up with horribly compressed
sounds. Plus, couple that with the fact that CDs are a poor sounding
medium in general, it's easy to see why there isn't the joy there used
to be with vinyl. (Then you have the lamentable MP3s which, incredibly,
some people have as their main hi-fi source.)

The problem is that people who have never experienced vinyl or analogue
recording and mastering just say this is an old fart being nostalgic
about his youth. I challenge *anyone* to go into a recording studio, mix
a song to 1" analogue tape at 30ips and to a hard drive, CD-R, DAT etc
and play back the analogue and digital blind. The difference between the
two is so stark you will think you are listening to two different mixes.

I also challenge anyone to go to a *good* hi-fi shop and listen to the
same song on vinyl and CD. The vinyl again, in a blind test, will be
what you'll choose if you're serious about sitting down and actually
listening to music. Therein lies the issue: hardly anyone sits down and
actually *listens* to music any more so CDs and MP3s are great as
they're hardy, copyable, smaller and convenient.

On that note, the music industry has got just what they deserve. So
desperate to bring in CDs before they were ready, the pound signs were
in their eyes as they greedily raked it in while people rebought stuff
on the new "improved format" (my how gullible the public are). The new
improved format is easy to copy and distribute though my myopic friends
and your days are drawing to a close.

On a positive note, what I find now is that I listen to, and buy, far
less music, but when I find something that's amazing, it sends shivers
through me like it never did when I was younger.


Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 17:35:05 +0000 (GMT)
From: nigel turner <>
Subject: We do appreciate you being 'round
Message-ID: <>

I feel the need to de-lurk for a while. I just read Simon's posting on
vol 13/ 42. I could have written that word for word, have you been
mind reading Simon? That is exactly how I have felt for a few years
now. I would like to think that our little blue/green planet is not
the only populated gaff in the universe. In the same way that I am
convinced that there is, somewhere out there, practising in their
garage, another XTC. Not a sound-a-like, but a band as described so
eloquently by Simon. Thoughtful, interesting, unpredictable, catchy. A
band that can, in one song, make you want to jump around like a loon
but at the same time be intelligent and thought provoking sending a
shiver down your spine. A band that can record songs that you will
take to your grave.

I think that we are now all feeling the effects of not having any new
XTC for well over an ice age. The dream still lives on that the boys
will all meet up at the pub one day for a beer and end up in the
studio. Don't laugh, who would have thought that Mr Partridge and Mr
Andrews would be recording together again ? Don't lose faith in music
my friend because one day you will hear something that smacks you
right between the ears and you will melt with orgasmic delight.

I went through a period of not listening to XTC ( 2 months sshhhh,
don't tell anyone) but one day I put my ipod on shuffle in the car
driving to work and 'Atom Age' came tearing through my speakers. By
the time I got to work i had a big stupid grin on my face and a
massive urge to play my entire XTC catalogue. As far as that new band
are concerned, lets keep listening to music, whatever colour or shape
it is. We'll find it, we found XTC.

Keep happy chalkpeople.



Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 18:41:02 +0000
From: Dan_YEn <>
Subject: covers
Message-ID: <BAY123-W192B88B6380B62CF1973EAA7F0@phx.gbl>

A couple you missed were:

Senses Working Overtime - by Midget (from the Day of your life single)
Making Plans for Nigel - by Robbie Williams (from the old before I die
The Good Things - by Terry and the Lovemen (does that count?)

can't think of any more, but otherwise seems pretty comprehensive



Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 20:01:12 +0100 (CET)
From: Gary Nicholson <>
Subject: Guardian 1000 albums to hear before you die
Message-ID: <>

Tomorrow (22nd November), the A-Z listing of the above Guardian
feature, has the final instalment, which should feature XTC. They've
already been name-checked as an influence on 'Sound Affects' by The
Jam. No, really.
a. If Skylarking is not the one to listen to, I shall be cross.
b. If XTC are not featured at all, I shall be very cross.
I only work 400 yards from The Guardian's office, so an irresponsible
Thursday lunchtime could mean trouble.


Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 11:21:57 -0800
From: Pastula Aaron <>
Subject: Thanks (for) Giving
Message-ID: <BAY139-W45ACB322AF2A34B2DC7E59A2780@phx.gbl>

To everyone who responded to my pleas with recommendations of new music --
thank you.  It's amazing to me how dialed in I used to be with what's going
on in that world, and how little I am now.

Oddly enough, in addition to taking some of them to heart, I also found
myself going back to some time-tested favorites -- filling in the gaps in my
Genesis collection, some Marvin Gaye, digging deeper into Todd Rundgren's
catalog, etc.  I now have a lot of work ahead of me...just what I need as I
hit the road for the holidays!

Thanks again, everyone...peas,



Date: Thu, 22 Nov 2007 13:14:14 +0100 (CET)
From: Gary Nicholson <>
Subject: 1000 albums to hear befor you die
Message-ID: <23965047.964341195733654035.JavaMail.www@wwinf3207>

Well, The Guardian has certainly come up with an odd one as their
choice of XTC album to listen to: The Compact XTC, meaning that, as
their minds were obviously set on nominating a compilation album, and
then choosing it over Fossil Fuel, they miss out on Dear God, Grass,
Mayor of Simpleton, King for a Day etc.
Still. Here's the link.,,2211598,00.html


End of Chalkhills Digest #13-43

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