Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-56

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 56

                     Happy New Year!
                  Friday, 5 January 1996

Today's Topics:

                   Um, yeah.../Producer
             Re: A Dave Gregory of One's Own
          Ben Folds Five and other mumblings...
                      Pack what in?
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-55
                   Re: Shudder To Think
                        Band name
                   TD (again) to trade!
                   Free Andy Movement?
                Skylacking in Connecticut
            RE: Nonsuch Promo Poster Sold Out
                Chips from Choc. Fireball
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-55
                     Shudder to Think
              TD butchered in "Eye magazine"
                   New Year's Ramblings
             Request Magazine "Tribulations"


To UNSUBSCRIBE from the Chalkhills mailing list, send a message to
<> with the following command:

        unsubscribe chalkhills

For all other administrative issues, send a message to:


Please remember to send your Chalkhills postings to:


World Wide Web: ""

The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

So circling we'll orbit another year...


Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 21:16:23 -0500
Subject: Um, yeah.../Producer

Howdy, folks...

Ahh, regarding the negativity lately -- esp. concerning the end
of XTC... I have to admit I was in there.  I tried to make a point,
but did it very bluntly and coldly.  ("Don't fxxk with it").  I was
trying to stick up for XTC, but did it in a very unkind way.  I'm
not usually like that.

Anyway,  Luv-you-b-bye...


ps - back to the long lost XTC producer thread -- My pick is
things for movies... and are still in touch with pop music,
although Oingo Boingo has just rescently broken up.  But
considering the upbringing/style of XTC vs. Oingo Boingo... I
think it would be the most perfect blend of individuals.  They
both started out spaz rock.  They both later relaxed their thing.
They both are TRUE GENIUS.  They both back then had LOTS
the same sound as far as vocals and subject matter.  Elfman/
Bartek might have more time now due to Boingo demise too.
Make it so!!  IMHO, Bug!!


Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 18:23:33 -0800
Subject: Re: A Dave Gregory of One's Own


You know,AP & CM are quite lucky to have DG as their musical "icing
chef."  Afterall, the guy is "so facile in so many idioms" and there
does not appear to be any ego getting in the way of the other 2 writing
and recording to their hearts' content.

Well, yours truly is a rank amateur musician without chops on any
particular instrument however, I:

i.      can come up with some nifty melodies,
ii.     arrange them into pleasing 3 minute pop tunes,
iii.    four track/MIDI towards demos with all the major components of
        a song (percussion, rhythm guitar, bass) in place, and
iv.     have strong appreciation for XTC, Bob Marley & the Beatles
        (among countless others).

If there's anyone in this neck of the woods (San Jose - San Francisco
corridor) that has:

i.      similar interests,
ii.     chops (keyboard or guitar), and
iii.    Dave Gregory's will to help others realize their songcraft

please contact me off-list at the e-mail address shown above.

A happy and prosperous '96 to all....


Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 02:15:34 -0500
From: (Arthur James Virgin)
Subject: Ben Folds Five and other mumblings... (JH3) wrote:

>I also got the Ben Folds Five CD recently. I'm guessing that this record
>has completely flopped, since I got it used for a mere $2. The cover art is
>terrible, and the concept of a piano-bass-drums 3-piece probably scares a
>lot of people off. Nevertheless, this is a fine record, and quite XTC-ish
>in many ways--mostly in terms of chords and progressions rather than style
>and instrumentation, but the similarity is definitely there. It also
>reminds me of Joe Jackson somewhat, only with more energy. If I'd known how
>good it was I'd have bought it at full price when it came out...

        The Ben Folds Five album (though it got off to a sluggish start) is
now picking up steam and is starting to log some sales in it's corner with
the help of some strong airplay and word of mouth.  I recently went back to
beautiful Cincinnati during X-Mas and hypnotized 6 of my friends to buy it.
I must say you were lucky to find it so cheap!  It is a shockingly good
debut album with plenty of XTC, Squeeze, Jellyfish (see Queen), and Beatles
to go around.  The album was actually made for 15,000 dollars (pennies in
todays out of whack recording market).  I HIGHLY suggest this album.

        Now for the Nonsuch discussions as of late.  I really like this
album, maybe because it is great or maybe because XTC STILL stands out
amidst all of the static music of today.  Sure it is not an album
chock-full of tricks and traps, but superb songwriting none-the-less.

(BTW, a post also suggested that O&L's production was terrible......There
is not enough room in Chalkhill's server to hold my reply..lets just say I
strongly disagree)

Have a great New Year!


The Quality Music Page (including 1995's top ten albums) --->
(ultra-enhanced...Netscape 2.0 or later ONLY)

"Skylarking is like a summer's day
  baked into one cake" - Andy Partridge


Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 21:29:35 +1100 (EST)
Subject: Pack what in?

Happy 1996 and all that.
All this stuff about Nonesuch being a dud sent me scurrying back to the
album to see what I'd missed. Nope...It still works for me! . Dave Mattacks'
fabulous drumming gives the album a freshness that's been missing for a
while. O&L and Skylarking are great great albums, but some of the drums are
obvious program/sample jobs. Say what you will, there's nothing like a real
live drummer!
So... what is there to pack in? Are we suggesting that these guys stop
writing and recording? I suspect we'd end up with XTC albums by another
name. Any band that can pull 'Peter Pumpkinhead' 'Smartest Monkeys' etc out
of the hat still has a good bit of life left in them.
Another point to consider... XTC were the first band, to my knowledge, to
fully exploit the cd format... they always cram the full 70 minutes with
material...( anyone else sick of paying a fortune for 32 min reissues?)...
some tracks may well be fillers... but as has been said,XTC's fillers are
better than most band's hit singles.

As a long time fan, I don't have a favourite album... just a favourite band.
Old songs come back sounding fresh, new ones get played to death and get
retired for a while.

While I'm at it... XTC are not the Stones. Keef & the lads based their
concept around adolescent sexuality and an A chord. No wonder they look like
tired old tarts nowadays!
( Keef Richard is still a magnificent ruin) XTC are clever songs, brilliant
arrangements, beautiful guitar playing and quirky lyrics. Style never goes
out of fashion.
And another thing.....
The O&L cover is part of the joke silly! I remember when that kind of cover
was seriously groovy! How I longed to go to Carnaby St! I also thought that
'Mayor of Simpleton' was one of the best produced/engineered things I've
ever heard. Clean,shiny & well compressed but not flattened... sounds as
good on AM radio as it does on your hifi. Check out the sample/hold vocal
and sampled vocal repeats in the outro... Nice snare sound... what more can
you ask for?
Enough already




Date: Mon, 01 Jan 1996 17:02:08 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-55

Dear Chaps and Chapesses,

Some minor genius with apparently some time on his hands to do some
philosophising mentions that XTC should "end it all". Then a bunch of
people get sucked in and start to either agree that they are also a
touch deluded, or that they must justify what XTC do.

XTC will never end. The music goes on because it's on a little disc. Ans
And if they put an end to the band, that's their business, not ours.

Also, to those dreamers who want the "good ol' XTC" back, you've missed the
point: The joy of XTC is the progression - not too different - but the
subtle progression in the art. Then you can appreciate each little disc
for what it alone has to offer.

If XTC quit tomorrow, then we've already got  a lifetime of music to
behold. Just look at what the alternatives are (top 40).


Joe Ierano


Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1996 22:50:23 -0800
From: (Byron Keathe Wright)
Subject: Re: Shudder To Think

In case anyone cares:

Someone whose name I've misplaced inquired in digest 2-55 about the
band Shudder To Think.  The curious party had noted some XTC
similarity while listening to the band's "pony express record", but knew
nothing about the band and sought information.

Shudder To Think is a four-piece (voice, guitar, bass, drums) from our
nation's capital, formerly recording for Dischord but now with Epic.
They don't sound even remotely like XTC, although that's not a strike
against them; this, however, is: their songs, while invariably composed
with obscure chords and atypical melodies characteristic of a
wonderfully experimental pop noise, just never quite seem to live up to
their gnarled and contorted promise.  Instead, the result is a dirge-like
progression of tunes, a strained attempt at melodic complexity for its
own sake (with no metric experimentation whatsoever - a shame!).
Their music includes some of the most tedious vocals and lyrics I've
heard in some time, made all the more annoying by their self-
importance and deliberately obtuse nature.  Shudder To Think have
some good tools, but they don't seem to know how to use them.  They
sound painfully forced, like much of the "alternative" crap filling our
unflushed cultural toilet of late.

I really want to like this band, but after three cd's, I've found that their
music won't let me.

- Keathe Wright  <>

       " '[clever or pithy quote from someplace]'

                    -- [source of quote] "

                           -- Jeffrey Norman <>


Date: Tue, 2 Jan 96 13:15:53 '''
Subject: Band name

Trying to come up with a band name that includes some reference to XTC
but is not a blatant lift i.e. full song title, etc.  A clever
(preferably lesser known) Andyism would be good.  Thought I'd throw
this one out and see if anyone had any suggestions



Date: Tue, 2 Jan 96 12:58 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <>
Subject: Nonsensesuch

From: Greg Singer <>

GS>       3. Maybe it's you and not the songs. (I think AP, CM & DG
GS>have grown, learned and matured throughout their ~18 years, It only
GS>makes sense that their music has also. ...  I think it's silly not
GS>to expect XTC to change their sound and style after three
GS>albums. ... Name two albums that are the same, or even similar.

Of course it's me/others and how we view it.  But I don't think that XTC
has necessarily "matured" or changed their sound; it's my feeling that
Oranges & Lemons was a lot like Skylarking, though not quite as good, and
Nonsensesuch was a lot like Oranges & Lemons, though not nearly as good.
I personally think all three albums sound too much the same; the layered
vocals, for example, are getting tired.

GS>      4. Yeah, I didn't like/love every song the first time I heard
GS>them.  I urge you to listen and re-listen to this music. Some of it
GS>is very complicated, that's why several listening are
GS>necessary. Listen many times to understand the music, its theory
GS>and its progression.

I found the opposite with Nonsensesuch than with, say, the Big Express,
which at first I hated but appreciate even still after several very
attentive listenings.  Nonsensesuch, however, I liked almost immediately
but now I find it rather unexciting to listen to.  [ An aside: an album
I am appreciating more with every listen, after 20+ years, is Eno's
Taking Tiger Mountain by Strategy. ]

Also, good musicianship and clever progressions do not always make for
good songs.

GS>        5. If you'r listening ONLY for the music... LET THE LYRICS

Lyrics such as The Farting Monkeys?  I admit, That Wave, Dear Madam
Barnum, and Then She Appeared are very good, but Bungalow?
Rook: "Before I'll let go, say is that my name on the bell?"?
Books Are Burning: "I believe the printed word should be forgiven"?


Nothing like being clobbered with unsubtle sentiments; although I'll admit
nothing is as bad musically or lyrically as "President Kill" from O&L.

Lest I sound completely negative, there is some sheer genius still in
Nonsensesuch.  Unfortunately though there is also so much that simply
bores me that I end up rarely bothering to put the CD on.

Jeff L.


Date: Tue, 2 Jan 1996 12:40:26 -0600
From: Scott Anderson <>
Subject: TD (again) to trade!

Hello all!!

Well, Santa Claus messed up and brought me a duplicate copy of Testimonial
Dinner! If any NON-US fan still needs it I will be happy to trade it for a
CD I want from your country! No cash involved....Please help me rectify this
Christmas mistake!     Thanks, Scott Anderson.


Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 10:44:03 -0800
Subject: Free Andy Movement?

 The past postings re contracts, EMI, and AP's apparent indentured
servitude brings to mind the nightmares Zappa had untangling himself
from Warner/Reprise in the 70's.  Frank spent many 100K and too much
time in the courts trying to wrest control not only of his freedom to
approach other labels for a deal, but to get back the original masters
of his material.  The end result was a slurry of mediocre albums to get
out of the contract; but he did win his case (look at all the FZ
approved re-issues on Rycko out there now).

EMI, IMHU, has a history of screwing it's talent: the Stones come
immediately to mind.

I'm not up on English vs American litigation law, but I think Andy
should knuckle down and sue for freedom. Unfortunately, this would take
much $$ which he may not have at hand.  Are there enough of us out there
willing to contribute to the creation of an Andy Partridge Legal Defence
Fund?  If everyone who owns an XTC album pledged ten bucks there'd soon
be thousands of dollars at the solicitors disposal!!  Andy would then be
free to follow his muse with the freedom in which he deserves.

Seriously, is there no way to get out of this contract?  Pseudonyms etc?
Or perhaps the lads could create their own label and put the product out
themselves; it's not a new concept. How 'bout TBE Records, O&L
Enterprises, or the 'SWINDON' label. Any ideas??


Date: Wed, 3 Jan 96 15:08:31 -0500
From: "Kendrick, Tim" <>
Organization: Dictaphone Corporation
Subject: Skylacking in Connecticut

  Hi !

    If there is anyone in Connecticut who wants
    to get together to record a song or two for
    the SKYLACKING tape, please email me privately

    I fool around on the keyboards a little, but
    I can't sing or play any other instruments
    so I can't really record a song without some help.

    THANKS !


From: "Rahmy,Barry" <>
Subject: RE: Nonsuch Promo Poster Sold Out
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 96 13:21:00 PST


>+ Nonsuch 40"x60" promo poster US$8; page 158; Smogtown Records, phone

FYI: I called on Jan. 3. Sold out already. Nice listing, though. Thanks.


Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 17:40:09 -0500 (EST)
From: Nancy B LaMotta <>
Subject: Chips from Choc. Fireball

Joel's delight in first hearing the Dukes of S. makes me want to go play
all of "Chips" right now.  You mention specifically "Vanishing
Girl"--don't you think that the vocals on this song sound just like the
Hollies' Alan Clarke and Graham Nash?


From: 7IHd <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-55
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 1996 22:42:02 +0000 (GMT)

# From: relph (John Relph)
# Subject: Change Must Be Earnt
# Okay, so I suppose it's time for us to compile our Best of 1995
# lists...

Well then, you did ask. This is long, because I've tried to provide
some intelligent comments (lists alone seem fairly arbitary):

Album of the year:
  On first playing I really didn't like this, except maybe one song. My
  initial reaction was that it was a load of noisy trash, but each
  subsequent playing revealed and continues to reveal something new and
  the tunes worm their way into your mind until you suddenly realise
  that this is, in fact, a work of pure genius and you'll never be quite
  the same again. Almost a year after it was released, I'm still hearing
  new things in it. This is a quality very rarely seen outside XTC records,
  and therefore this has to be by far the best album of the year. Highly
  recommended (not very XTC though; it's a lot heavier musically).

Runners up:
  TINDERSTICKS - [the second] TINDERSTICKS [album]
  Quiet, melodic, orchestrated (they toured with a full orchestra) stuff,
  morbid, dark and thoroughly depressing, and completely brilliant. Ian
  Caple (a veteran of one or two Shriekback albums, incidently) turns in
  probably the best production job I've ever heard. Excellent.

  Only their second album inside ten years, but a welcome return to form,
  definitely their best album since 'Entertainment!', and I'd even go so
  far as to say maybe their best ever. Alternates between brash noise and
  slower funkier stuff (which generally works better, in my opinion).
  Sadly mostly unplayable on the radio as most of the songs are just too
  explicit... and let down by a poor choice of single, but overall a
  great album. They were excellent live too.

  When I got this I hated it, but it's another of those that rewards
  repeated listens, and now it's the only thing of his I ever seem to
  listen too. I still don't like 'The Changingman' though, I am baffled
  as to why it was picked as the leading single.

  When 'I Say I Say I Say' came out it looked as though they were past it.
  This one proves otherwise. Ignore everything the critics tell you, this
  is an excellent album, probably their best since 'Wonderland' in 1986.
  Musically far more accomplished than their previous efforts, and about
  twice as long as normal too, which in this case is no bad thing.

Late entry: SARAH JANE MORRIS - BLUE VALENTINE (Live at Ronnie Scott's
Jazz House). Features Martyn Barker of Shriekback on drums (he also co-
wrote one song). I only bought this yesterday, so I haven't had chance
to form a lasting opinion on it, but my first impression is that it's
completely brilliant and I wish I'd been at the gig. The choice of
covers like 'Me and Mrs Jones' should give you some idea of the style
of it - that song is performed to perfection, sounding every bit as good
as the original. Up until just now I thought jazz was about having six
musicians simultaneously playing completely different tunes in comepletely
different time signatures, but I appear to have been very much mistaken.
Unless it was on the wrong shelf...

Honourable mentions: Blur, Future Sound Of London, Garbage, Levellers,
The Listening Pool (= 3/4 of the original OMD lineup), Pulp, Stereolab
(for 'Refried Ectoplasm', not the other one), Tindersticks (for 'Live
At The Bloomsbury'), Yo La Tengo (who are much more fun live though).

Sh*te of the year award: Simply Red. Seriously awful album, even worse
considering that Mick Hucknall has had 4 years to think about it. I
loved 'Stars' and the earlier albums, but this one has been played
precisely twice, and is unlikely to be played again very soon. Apart
>from the first single 'Fairground', it just sort of slops past without
making any impression whatsoever. Yawn.

Best live band of the year: A close one between these:
  * Gang Of Four (points gained for introducing the band as 'Mr White, Mr
  Brown, Mr Pink and Mr Blue' or whatever it was, and for throwing a
  guitar about when it went out of tune. Points lost for surly staff in
  the venue).
  * Goats Don't Shave (riotous Irish folk-rock who make the Saw Doctors
  seem decidedly tame. See them now whilst they're still cheap!)
  * Pulp (How this band managed to be completely ignored for 15 years
  is beyond me - the way Jarvis works a crowd of 4000 believers (it
  really does seem more like a religion than being a fan of a band)
  really has to be seen to be believed).

  Ultimately awarded to Goats Don't Shave because they're such a nice
  bunch, because they played my request for an obscure B-side they hadn't
  played for 2 years, and because I got laid at one of the gigs (sadly
  nothing came of it, ah well!).

Worst live band of the year, and in fact ever in the history of time:
  Sebadoh. I'm almost ashamed to admit that I didn't leave before the
  end, but it was a close thing. Admittedly I went to see the support
  bands, all three of whom (Stereolab, Yo La Tengo, Quickspace Supersport)
  were far superior, so the night wasn't a complete waste, but - can
  someone please explain what the deal is with Sebadoh? They have no
  decent tunes, very questionable musical talent, and haven't a clue
  how to play together. Painful to endure.

Overall conclusion: 1995 has been fun, I shall look back on it with many
fond memories. Buying the new XTC album was sadly not one of them, but
the Low Pop Suicide album, the entry of Pulp into the mainstream, and the
endless cycle of Goats Don't Shave gigs more than makes up for that. Plus
I got to know Barry Andrews and the rest of Shriekback, which can't be a
bad thing.

Thanks for listening,
 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||


Date: Thu, 4 Jan 1996 13:26:41 -0600 (CST)
From: "Jeffrey with 2 f's Jeffrey" <>
Subject: Shudder to Think

> From: (Michael)
> Subject: Shudder to Think
> I'm listening to my roommate's CD of Pony Express Record by Shudder to
> Think. There's no cover with it and he knows nothing about them.  I find
> this to be quite challenging but oddly rewarding in an XTC kind of way. Can
> anybody tell me anything about them?

They're from Washington DC, formerly on DisChord--but those of you
w/heebie-jeebies re hardish punk shouldn't be too frightened: they're
much more subtle than most of that. The person who mentioned preferring
the 80-85 XTC, w/crazed Beefheart guitar voicings, would dig these
guys--definitely an influence. Craig Wedren, the singer, is probably an
acquired taste--he has a kind of Jeff Buckley pseudo-operatic style that
(I know from experience) grates on some people. I have _Pony Express
Record_ and an earlier one, _Goat_--they have a few more releases available.


Jeffrey Norman                                                "Crumple zones,
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee              harmful or fatal if swallowed,
Dept. of English & Comp. Lit.                           small-craft warning."
e-mail:                             --no one in particular


Date: Fri, 5 Jan 96 10:33:58 +0100
Subject: TD butchered in "Eye magazine"

A snippet:

  "A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs Of XTC" is concrete evidence that
  their finely crafted songs are easy to destroy.

Try or
(or the archives if you're too late).



From: Ben Gott <>
Subject: New Year's Ramblings
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 96 08:44:00 est's good to be back! How was everyone's holiday? Even though school
is kind of a pain, it's certainly great to have those vacations!

It's really cold up here in Connecticut, but my heart is warmed by some of
the new songs I was sent by another New England Chalkhillian. "River of
Orchids," "Knights in Shining Karma," "Easter Parade," "Your Dictionary,"
"I Can't Own Her" and "I'd Like That" are some of Andy's best songs (at
least in my opinion...)

I trust that all of you are still looking for new music: buy Tears for
Fears newest, "Raoul and the Kings of Spain." (This is Roland Orzabal's
best work, by far - he is not lost without Nicky Holland!) There are some
*incredible* tunes on this album. Also, if you're interested in wacky
pseudo-rock, check out The Bogmen's "Life Begins at 40 Million." A
kind-hearted Chalkhillian sent me this one (hi, Gary!)

Stephen Gilligan, if you're out there, e-mail me...I have some stuff you
might want.




Date: Fri, 5 Jan 1996 18:46:56 -0500
Subject: Request Magazine "Tribulations"

In the January 1996 issue of "Request" magazine, an article called
"Tribulations" details the recent deluge of tribute discs.  Here's the
entry for our guys:

A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC
CONTRIBUTORS:  Nice Folks (Freedy Johnston, Rembrandts)
PLEASANT SURPRISE: Sarah McLachlan's winning "Dear God"
NOT SO PLEASANT: Crash Test Dummies
APPROPRIATE LYRIC: "Don't need another satellite"
COME AGAIN?: "I'd like to meet all the bits they cut off of Michael Jackson.
I hear they made a nice guy." -Andy Partridge
INSPIRED PAIRING: Salsa man Ruben Blades and "The Man Who Sailed Around His
Soul."  - last line sounds like "I hate that XTC!"
GLARING OMMISSION: "It's Nearly Africa" by Paul Simon?
WEIRDEST ARRANGEMENT: Terry and the Loveman sound suspiciously like XTC
crashing their own testimonial.
THEY HAD INFLUENCES, TOO: Oh, I don't know - the Beatles maybe?
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Not onstage.

And no, the guys weren't the "glaring ommision" on the Lennon tribute!

Happy 1996 Everybody!


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-56

Go back to the previous page.