Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-9

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 9

                  Friday, 6 October 1995

Today's Topics:

               It's almost dinner time....
                   Skylarking Gold Disc
                    SKYLACKING update
      Why don't I just respond to past newsletters?
                        Blur again
                  A strange connection.
    Nonsvch Colouring Book Seeking Devoted Colourists
         Two Daves working with Martin Phillipps!
                 Colin Moulding in France
                       Back Catalog
                      Re: Tape Trees
                 Helping hand the helpers
           I have touched the grass so green...
                     "Change My Mind"


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Emptiness lies through the glass, I shield your eyes.


Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 14:23:26 -0600
From: James Robert Campbell <>
Subject: It's almost dinner time....

Gene Yoon said...

> and he told me that Dinner has been served to most
> alternative stations in the U.S.!  Everyone send in your requests!!!  It
> seems Sarah McLachlan's Dear God is the favoured track.

Here in Salt Lake City, I heard _Nigel_ the other night.  It *could*
have been Primus' version, but I'm 90% sure it wasn't.

I've never been a big fan of the song, so this could be a bit biased,
but it certainly didn't fit my tastes....

Waiting to hear more,



Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 16:57:46 -0400
From: (Brux Deluxe)
Subject: Skylarking Gold Disc

Anyone out there have any reviews of the Skylarking reissue on Mobile
Fidelity  I'm mostly curious sound quality compared to the original
CD issue, but any info would appreciated.

BTW, has anyone noticed the superior sound of the Duke's EP on vinyl,
compared to the "Chips..." CD.  Just curious.



                              I'M WORKING ON IT!



Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 17:59:03 -0400
Subject: SKYLACKING update

Just got some mail from Bizarre Depiction, including a
"Skylacking" flier.  In the words of Ian:

"it's time, chalkies.  _SKYLACKING_ is now being completed
and we're still in need of versions of several tracks.  Here's
what's already taken:  SUMMER'S CAULDRON, GRASS, THE

all other album tracks and b-sides of SKYLARKING singles are
still available for the rest of you to annihilate.  Be advised
that the members of XTC (not to mention a bunch of their fans)
WILL HEAR YOUR RECORDINGS.  This may be your only chance to
hold the attention of your idols for even a few seconds.  write
to reserve your track today.  note the new BIZARRE DEPICTION
address and encourage others to do likewise.
     _SKYLACKING_ is the final installment of a trilogy of
chimpy XTC tribute cassettes that Bizarre Depiction has been
putting out since 1992.  The first two tapes, 1992's _OBSCENE
COLLECTION_ and the 1995 melange _BEASTS I'VE SEEN_ are
still available..."

that address again--
Ian C. Stewart
C/O Bizarre Depiction
PO Box 151378
Columbus OH  43215  USA



Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 20:19:12 -0500
From: (Adam J. Ostermann)
Subject: Why don't I just respond to past newsletters

>Gene "Sp00n" Yoon <> writes:
>>So a new release from XTC is out of the question this year.  In the
>>meantime, you can chew on [...]
>  * Dodgy's album _Homegrown_.  Excellent psychedelic pop, loads
>    of wah-wah guitar and other fun stuff.
>  * David Yazbek's excellent album _The Laughing Man_.  Power pop,
>    featuring Andy Partridge on a couple of tracks.
>  * Boo Radleys _Wake Up!_.
>  * Portishead: _Dummy_.  Seriously magnificent smoky late night
>    hip-hop.
>  * Radiohead: _The Bends_.  Produced by John Leckie, noisy,
>    swirling, powerful.  Reminds me of everything from King
>    Crimson to XTC to Nirvana to ...
>  * That Dog: _Totally Crushed Out_.  A dark take on teen love.

All of your choices are seconded by yers truly, especially the Radiohead
album, which gets my vote for album of the year so far. I've always loved
Leckie's production, and here he REALLY fleshes out Thom and co.'s sound.

And then Willy boy commented:
>From: (William J. Cohen)
>Subject: Blurry Choco Chips
>Ok, first I have to say that I do indeed like the new Blur cd. Listening
>to it has made me go back and listen to their last two and I think the
>new one is on par with Parklife. What boggles my mind is how Blur (a good
>band) is a super success in England whereas we have such super successes
>as, well who's BIG right now, the point is its mostly crap. The UK top
>20 is sometimes very weird in comparison to the lame-o American top 40
>with Casey the dork.

Cheers, William!!! Nice to hear there's another Blur fan in good old
Madtown; though I disliked ^The Great Escape^ on first listen, now I love
it. (I also enjoy Oasis' new one.) Excellent point about Brit vs. American
sucess stories; it may delve into how Britian is far more into the concept
of singles, whereas the U.S. is far more interested in the album concept.
It may also (since we're on their newsgroup) explain the popularity of The
Three Lads of Swindon. In Britian, if you don't have an attention-grabbing
single, then getting a push - LP wise - is difficult. With the U.S., XTC
seem to always get strong support from the press (at least in number of
reviews - Brits can be fickle at times) and because the singles market is
so geared towards R&B and modern rock, the fact that XTC's singles don't
get as much airplay over here doesn't count against them as much. (And
oddly enough, they do - as I recall, ^Nonsuch^ was the No.1 airplay album
on college radio for, like, a solid month or so. Especially considering the
more adult-contemporary vibe of ^Nonsuch^, it was quite a feat.)  But back
to your point, when we forced to compare our 'rock' chart heroes at the
moment to Britian's (Hootie and the Blowfish vs. Blur and Stone Temple
Pilots vs. Oasis for example) it's easy to see why there's a much-talked
about Brit renaissance in the making. And sadly, most American kids who
want to hear more 'safe' regurgiatations of classic rock will probabaly
care less.

Anyhow, I'm babbling, so I'll sign off.

And as Colin Moulding comments on the ^XTC: Radio One Live^ :
"Good to be Bach!"

Adam J. Ostermann


From: 7IHd <>
Subject: Blur again
Date: Mon, 2 Oct 1995 22:48:01 +0100 (BST)

# From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
# Subject: RE- XTC and Blur/Hot Albums
# There was a real-life connection between XTC and Blur a few years back
# when Andy did some work as producer on ... "Chemical World," "Sunday
# Sunday," ...

Interesting to note that these were two of the album's three big hits...

# Andy didn't think the Blur songs were very good after all. Sour grapes
# Maybe not. Blur's best album, in my opinion, is Parklife. ... I have
# Blur's latest and think it's not up to par with Parklife, but that would
# have been a daunting task indeed. I don't _regret_ owning it, however.

Why why *WHY* all the hype about 'Parklife', for goodness sake I never
liked Blur around the time of 'Leisure' but I discovered them when
'Chemical World' was in the charts and got hooked on 'Modern Life Is
Rubbish', and when 'Parklife' came out I _still_ had 'MLIR' on heavy
rotation, it was that good. 'Parklife' was a big letdown, initially yeah
great, catchy etc. but play it over and over for a few weeks and you soon
get tired of it. This is not the case with the previous album, and also
does not seem to be the case with 'The Great Escape' which is a real
grower. People who are saying it's not as good as 'Parklife', you just
haven't played it enough times.

Rant continues below... :-)

# From: (Gene Yoon)
# Subject: Blurring the lines
# >From:
# >Is Blur turning into XTC
# Not really; they sound less like XTC on the new album than they did on
# Parklife.  Maybe a result of their parting of ways with Andy Partridge and
# their failed collaboration attempt.  The Great Escape, though, seems to
# have an XTC-like coherent theme throughout, mostly songs that are societal
# commentaries about suburbia, overachievers, yuppies, the rat race, in the
# same vein as Respectable Street, Happy Families, and Leisure.

There are a lot more _other_ sounds also evident on 'TGE' ('Fade Away' is
pure Specials, 'Entertain Me' has more than its fair share of Madness),
but I'd personally say that the XTC influence was stronger.

# Their sound is closest to the Drums and Wires era--somewhat edgy and
# disjointed, but melodic at the same time (with the Beach Boys howling and
# falsettos).  They sound even more English than XTC, with a pronounced
# accent.  The best tracks, IMO, are the single 'Country House' and 'It Could
# Be You', which sound like XTC, and 'Stereotypes', 'Entertain Me', and 'Best
# Days', which don't.  The comedic 'Dan Abnormal' and 'Ernold Same' sort of
# remind of the Dukes, but with 90's instrumentation.

Try the 'English Settlement' era. That's the comparison most of the
reviewers seem to have made and I sort of agree. For XTC I've always thought
of D&W as being a bit weak, what with the loss of Barry and Dave still
settling in. By ES they pulled it together and created something radically
different and special, and Blur have (sort of) done the same thing.

I'd never thought of the 'Ernold Same'/'Dan Abnormal'/Dukes comparison,
but 'Charmless Man' really sounds to me like the sort of song XTC might
have done if they'd thought of it. And there are others.

# But Blur don't deserve to be pidgeon-holed; they're a good band in their
# own right with their own sound.  They show some XTC influences in spots,
# but they also seem to have some David Bowie, and a bit of OMD, Blondie (!)
# and Japan in their bloodlines.

Agreed, but the Blur/XTC comparison is fair because both bands are (in
their day) doing something radically different and advancing the music
scene in general by a few paces. 'Parklife' was just a poppy watered-
down 'Modern Life Is Rubbish' which got lucky. 'The Great Escape' is a
true classic in its own right and in about a years time you'll wonder
why you ever thought Parklife was better, I recon.

Oh yeah, and thanks for picking up on the OMD influence, I thought of that
one too and thought I was going mad. Compare the opening to Blur's 'Fade
Away' to the opening to OMD's 'Red Frame/White Light'. Is that a blatant
rip-off or what

Right, I shall pollute the XTC list with no more Blur, if anyone wants
to talk to me about this via email feel free. At least I didn't mention
the B*****s...

 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||


Date: Thu, 5 Oct 1995 21:38:33 -0500 (CDT)
From: "LaShawn M. Taylor" <>
Subject: A strange connection.

It's time to add another strange occurence that's happened to me. . .

Today I visited a new CDstore called Crows Nest(for you Chicagoans, it's
in the DePaul building in the Loop).  Of course, the first thing I did
was to see if they had a decent xTc collection.  Fortunately for them,
they did, with decent prices ($7.99 to $13.99) as well as a imported section.

They also have one of those computer databases where you tap on the
screen and it lists all the cd of an artist and related compilations they
have in the store.  So, out of fun, I punched in xtc.  I received the
regular listing of CDs as well as this:

>see also Andy Partridge
>see also The Dukes of Stratosphere
>see also Shriekback
>see also Martin Newell
>see also Testimonial Dinner (TBA)
>see also Terry & the Lovemen

Does anyone see something a bit 'odd'

Here's something stranger.  Intrigued, I punched in Terry & the Lovemen
and it bounced me back to the xTc listing.  All the others will take you
to different listings except *that* one.  Is it computer error Or could
it be something else. . .


LaShawn M. Taylor

I hate being wrong
but I do it so well. . .


Date: Fri, 06 Oct 1995 00:07:31 -0700
From: (Dave Franson)
Subject: Nonsvch Colouring Book Seeking Devoted Colourists

Hi folks,

On a whim, I maintain a "Nonsvch Colouring Book" as a modest annex to my
home page.  Kirkwood Duke recently suggested that I enliven the site by
soliciting the polychromatic contributions of its visitors.  So, YOU ARE
INVITED to visit to download
your favorite Nonsvch vignettes.  Go colour crazy and send your efforts back
to me.  I'll link 'em in so the world can marvel at your efforts!

Kirk and Shari have already contributed a couple spectacular colourings.
Come visit the page and check them out.

See you there!

* If I'd known we would be casting our feelings into words *
* I would have memorized the Song of Solomon.              *


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 17:00:00 +1300
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: Two Daves working with Martin Phillipps!

Here's some news for ya!  Chills leader Martin Phillipps is recording his
first solo album in England. When drummer and bassist Jonathan Armstrong
and Steven Shaw were refused entry to England (due to not having visas!),
Dave Mattacks and Dave Gregory were brought in to fill in for them. The new
album is due for release in the New Year (note: when Flying Nun says an
album is due out in the new year, it's always wise to ask which year. They
are notoriously slow at releasing albums. Expect it nearer April than

source: Real Groove (NZ Music magazine)

G'day Allan!


James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone / 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)


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 13:54:49 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Colin Moulding in France

I was recently listening to the latest CD by an excellent French pop group
called 'L'Affaire Louis Trio' and thinking how reminiscent of XTC it was,
when I noticed on the CD credits that none other than Colin Moulding was
guesting on guitars on a few of the tracks! This was quite a coincidence,
as I have always felt that this band must have been influenced by XTC, but
didn't realise the influence went that far!

I'm always disappointed by the complete lack of success French pop music
has in the UK - I put it down to the Little Englander mentality, and
people not wanting to listen to lyrics they don't understand. It's a real
shame, because there are some outstanding French groups (and some awful
Eurodisco ones as well). L'Affaire Louis Trio stand out (the Colin
Moulding album is called 'L'homme aux mille vies') but other bands such as
Les Rita Mitsouku, Niagara, Mano Negra and Les Negresse Vertes are really
worth a listen.

Anyway, I hope some of you out there try and track down this French CD -
it's worth it to hear some XTC a la Francaise.


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 08:23:08 -0500
From: (Kim E. Williams)
Subject: Back Catalog


(i.) we get the true story regarding XTC's forfeiture of back catalogue
rights; i.e., what corporate entity are we dealing with  EMI, Virgin,
Geffen  How exactly as the band affected

        From the book Chalkhills and Children, some background information.
The original contract the  boys naively signed when Ian Reid was their
manager was that XTC had to pay the studio to record an album.  The music
business is the only one where the artists pay for everything and the record
company gets to keep most of the spoils.  They lost a lot of money in
litigation with Ian Reid until Tarkin Gotch told them to drop it...they'd
never see a penny of what they lost anyway.

        Okay, here's what was in the Little Express about the loss of XTC's
back catalog.  After Nonsuch, the contract with Virgin came up for
renegotiation and when Andy saw it, he threw a fit!  Geffen was agreeable in
letting them out of their contract, but EMI said no.  They were stuck and
that was that.  Well, lovable Andy made a real pest of himself with EMI
until they said "Okay, you can go, but we get to keep your entire back
catalog!"  So it came to a choice,  give up the back-catalog and get what
the band has deserved all along (ie. a fairer contract with a company who's
not going to rip them off) or stay in an unbearble situation and continue to
lose money. They opted for the out.

                                      ARE WE HAVING FUN YET


Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 09:29:12 -0700
From: (Christopher Kasic)
Subject: Re: Tape Trees

     Back in Chalkhills 2-8, noted:

     >  No offense, but this
     >is quite a selfish list compared to others (Hitchcock, Floyd, etc.) when
     >it comes to sharing rare materials for tape trees: why is this

     Could it be that sharing rare materials makes them less rare and hence,
     less valuable ;) (From a mere cynic with NO rare material from anyone).
     Even so, you'd think xTc fans on this list might be more willing to
     disseminate their enjoyment of xTc, eh




From: "Smith, Daniel R." <DRS@DC4.HHLAW.COM>
Subject: Helping hand the helpers
Date: Fri, 06 Oct 95 10:21:00 PDT

Check eet out.  If we want to help XTC, let's move it over to post mail.
 That way it'll cost us Postage to send to Virgin, EMI or whomever the hell
else has the XTC catalogue.  I reckon many of us here are familiar with
Amnesty International, no  Well, check out this, and I quote  Penal Code
809.1, section VII of the AI handbook guidelines:

"And furthermore, thou shalt not be downright mean to other folks."

As you know, all such actions lead to...



I believe this is a clear-cut case of "downright meanness."  We can get all
of AI on Virgin/EMI, Michael Jackson's ass!  AI gets results too.  Oh, I can
feel their grip loosening already!

Who is organizing the fundraising again  I'll send you my Netca$h account
info.  Just take whatever you need.  What will be to ask your favourite rich
hoop-de-dooer if s/he would like to make a quick and dirty mint.  Then hatch
them the plan to buy up the XTC catalogue and score a big one.  Only real
problem there is most of the people who are rich are greedy, self-interested
pigs.  See  Look at Sting.

I think if Microsoft marketed XTC, we'd all be rich!  Who knows Bill Gates
 I drove by his new house once.  Does that count



Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 13:09:28 -0500
Subject: I have touched the grass so green...

Terry & the Lovemen
"The Good Things"

Produced by Terry Yazbek and Terry
Recorded at Drive Studio, Swindon, England by Martin Kilfor
The Players: Terry - guitar; Terry - bass; Terry - vocals
Terry & the Lovemen appear courtesy of EMI Records, under exclusive
   license in the U.S. to Geffen Records

Terry is Colin.  Terry is Andy.  Terry is Dave.  And Terry isn't there.

Let be tell you about 'The Good Things': it is Good [Superb].  I am playing
it at this very moment.  David Yazbek is proving to be a Good [excellent]
producer for the band.  The style of the song is a cross between Mummer and
Skylarking: minor key, acoustic and electric guitars, subdued, slight
sixties flavor.  The lyrics are slightly reworked (I think) since the
original demo.  Colin hooks you with his catchy bass part and plush
harmonies.  I know there are some of you out there getting frustrated with
this XTC sound of late, but it is hands down Colin's most successful piece
since Vanishing Girl.

And now for the rest:

1.  Freedy Johnston "Earn Enough for Us"
        Slowed down.  Oddly acoustic and 'twangy'.  It would be uninspiring,
        were it not such a great song to begin with.

2.  Spacehog "Senses Working Overtime"
        Try putting this masterpiece into a blender with the current post-
        grunge alternative sound, and you come out with something...
        ...different.  Imaginative arrangement, especially the keyboards
        whistling in the 'Black Skies' bridge part.  The jury is still out
        on this one.

3.  Crash Test Dummies "All You Pretty Girls"
        Sometimes Ellen Reid's vocals sound even more synthesized than her
        keyboards.  She doesn't sing lead this time, but she still thinks
        the pretty girls are watching and waiting for her.  It's weird, I
        never thought CTD sounded much like XTC, but it's almost as if Brad
        Roberts wrote this song, not Andy Partridge.

4.  The Verve Pipe "Wake Up"
        I never heard of these guys before, but I really like them.  All
        electric, no keyboards, powerful arrangement.  I could see this
        song really selling.  Would kick ass live.  Nice bass.

5.  The Rembrandts "Making Plans for Nigel"
        I couldn't help thinking, Nigel meets 'Friends'.  But it is perhaps
        the most faithful to the original on the whole album.  Right down to
        the eccentric drum part.  Just replace Colin's voice with a
        pronounced midwestern accent.  Interesting "shooby-doo-wah" ending.

6.  Sarah McLachlan "Dear God"
        Very 'McLachlan', love it or leave it.  But her spooky style works
        well this song's premise.  Loads of reverb on vocals.  Jazzy piano
        and percussion.  Nice string arrangement.

7.  Ruben Blades "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul"
        Makes me want to meringue.  I'll take it to my next ballroom dancing
        lesson.  It's the most entertaining song on the whole album.  And I
        bet R.B. would never have recorded this song had Todd Rundgren not
        convinced Andy to do the original like a spy movie theme song.

8.  P. Hux "Another Satellite"
        It's as if the satellite fell out of orbit and landed on earth.  The
        aura of cold loneliness from the original song is lost.  This
        version is too warm and friendly.  Power chords and lots of highhat.
        We're ready for takeoff into mainstream radio, T-minus 40!  Ugh.

9.  They Might Be Giants "25 O'Clock"
        What great guys.  I get the impression John Flansburgh is more of an
        XTC fan than John Linnell.  The song is a little thin, partly
        because They're trying to sound like the Dukes; TMBG is mimicking
        psychedelia rather than trying to reproduce it.  I really like Brian
        Doherty's crescendoed drumming, though.

11.  Joe Jackson "Statue of Liberty"
        The disco-ish intro made me think of "Heart of Glass".  Cool bass
        and percussion.  I had to check the liner notes to make sure Barry
        Andrews didn't return for this song.  Did someone say 'wonky
        keyboards'  Fun for all.

Overall, I couldn't be happier.  I haven't felt this good about a new work
of music in a LONG time.  Thank you so much, David Yazbek.



Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 17:01:55 -0500
From: (Scott Taylor)
Subject: "Change My Mind"

>Actually, "Johnny [not Billy] Nexdor & His Neighbors" is not XTC.  It is
>Sean Altman in multiple roles, with a few friends thrown in for good
>measure.  Sean co-wrote "Change My World" with his friend and collaborator
>Billy Straus; the song is their tribute to XTC's style.

Okay, I was fooled.  So often we hear XTC pretended to be someone else...
can you fault me for being trolled by someone's attempt to sound like them

> insinuated that Billy Nexdor and his Neighbors'
>song "Change My World" was actually done by XTC.  After reading
>this, I listened to it multiple times and was not convinced. The voice
>is somewhat reminicent of A.Partridge, but is different somehow.

As shown, I stand corrected.  I still have a very vivid image of XTC on
hearing this track, however.  I think it sounds quite a lot like Andy
showing his less sardonic, happier stylings on lead (compare to "Pink Thing"
or "Burning with Optimism's Flames" or any number of others) and the heavily
EQ'd segment ("You suppose there's nothing much...") sounds strangely
similar to the vocals (isn't it Colin) of "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen."

But then, I don't think Blur sounds particularly close to XTC by any stretch
of the imagination either.

I hadn't seen this addressed in a FAQ anywhere so I just assumed it was
common knowledge that it was actually them.  So there's one less XTC song in
the world.  Another aural fantasy evaporates.  It's still a fine track, as
is most of the rest of the album.


P.S.  Say, do you suppose that _Terry and the Lovemen_ is Sean Altman and
Billy Straus too...  Seems to make sense that they would appear on David
Yazbek's compilation.


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-9

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