Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-133

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 133

                  Wednesday, 24 May 2000


                    Revenge Of Xux Ek
                    Play it again Sam
           Why Women Love Their Mr. Potato Head
                   NO WASP STAR FOR ME
                  Re: Anybody miss Dave?
                     awesome XTC site
                     Wasp Star SUCKS!
                   Sting, Stang, Stung
                        Wasp Star
                    Ernie Ernie Ernie
                    Another TVT SNAFU
                  More First Impressions
               Re: 'Wasp Star' play-by-play
    All the List is Football-shaped (and other stuff)
              Stupidly Happy? well Mostly...
                    First Impressions
                         numma 2


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Wake up!


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 14:23:25 -0700
From: "Dane Pereslete" <>
Subject: Revenge Of Xux Ek
Message-ID: <>

I can't vouch for our cousins across the pond as far as Cooking Vinyl's
packaging goes...but did anybody notice the perfectly framed tiny
planet Venus in the jewel case center post?  I thought it was a nice
little touch!


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 20:04:46 -0400
From: "Cheryl" <>
Subject: Play it again Sam
Message-ID: <000101bfc513$ad1ef180$>

I'm on listen number 2.
Did I tell you I thought this amazing?  Gorgeous?  Perfect?  Screw all you
naysayers!  I'm in Love...with this album.
Thanks Andy and Colin!!!!!!!

Another swoon-y part:
"Youandtheclouldswillstillbebeautiful....Uhhhhhhhhhhh"  Oh yes...



Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 19:57:07 EDT
Subject: Why Women Love Their Mr. Potato Head
Message-ID: <>

(you did know this was coming sooner or later, didn't you?)
 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

*  When Mr. Potato Head hears the "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her,
    Kiss Her" and he is torn about whether or not this is the right
    thing to do, he shows himself to be a most worthy potato.

*  Any Mr. Potato Head who could recognize and write "I Can't Own Her,"
   is worthy of having a woman desperately want him to.

*  Any potato who could feel as much pain as the Mr. Potato Head
   who wrote "Your Dictionary," is capable of feeling and equal amount
   of love.

*  When Mr. Potato Head sings "Church of Women is made of milk
   which their love turns to butter -er -er," she thinks it's the sexiest
   euphemism one potato could utter to another.

*  Hearing (despite the actual lyrics), "Then she appeared, Ms. Potato
   on a half open shell...", it spuds her to the depth of her being.

*  Mr. Potato Head's "Pink Thing" produces images of an adorable
   Little Tater Tot.

*  When he's near us we have difficulty mashing up right.


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 19:12:32 -0400
From: "Cheryl" <>
Subject: *swoon*
Message-ID: <000101bfc50c$60e282c0$>

Its,it's,it's   PERFECT!
I'm listening to My Brown Guitar right.  My head is giddy...light, I can't
quite grinning.  This is amazing!  I love what they have done with this
I LOVE THIS ALBUM!I'm too excited for my own good!  Someone fan me...I think
I'm going to faint from excitement...
Colin is now whispering in my ear...
*sigh*  quiver...swoon,


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 18:18:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: travis schulz <>
Message-ID: <>

Well, today- May 23rd, 2000 was supposed to be the day
I would cruise on down to the record store and get my
hands on the new XTC album "Wasp Star". Let this be a
lesson to not live in the giant cow pasture known as
rural Nebraska.  None of the "major" record store
chains in Norfolk Neb. have it today, and may not have
for a week!  This happened last year with AV1, so I
should have known better.  I really wanted to spend
today- my last day of me being in my twenties, with
WASP STAR.  Oh well, Omaha isn't that far I guess.


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 18:35:04 PDT
From: "Gary White" <>
Subject: Re: Anybody miss Dave?
Message-ID: <>

Fellow "Star"gazers...(or should that be geezers?!)

This is going to sound corny...but when I read, right here in these very
'hills, about Dave's departure from the band almost two years ago, it left a
lump in my throat.

I know his playing was such an integral part of XTC's sound that I had a
hard time imagining what it would or could be like without him.

Well...I've been listening to Wasp Star day in and day out for almost a
month now, and I wish I could say otherwise, but I don't miss him in the
least. What I think I've been learning for the last month is that Andy is a
much more technically proficient, and inovative player than I ever gave him
credit for. (Check out the link if you need further

It's all there...interesting, quirky parts played with just the right amount
of presicion or sloppiness, great tone, and a huge pallet of sounds and
textures. We're All Light, and the Maypole section of Wheel and the Maypole,
in particular, serve as a great examples of Andy's ability to layer guitar
sounds and textures to create fascinating soundscapes.

BTW...I must have listened to Wheel and the Maypole (along with the rest of
WS) about 50 or 60 times now and it's the one song that just keeps getting
better and BETTER!!! I'm starting to worry that I'm going to be listening to
it under the headphones about a month down the line, and my brain is going
to explode. to give the "Star" another stir.

- Gary


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 21:45:52 EDT
Subject: awesome XTC site
Message-ID: <>


Thought you would all enjoy taking a look at an incredible XTC trade
list/site run by possibly the finest man on earth, Wes Long.  He's well
groomed, non-smelly, not new, not improved (how could you improve on Wes) and
although he's more filling he does taste great.  He had a copy of Wasp Star
months ago and attempted to chat it up to the heavens and back at that time
only to be tied to the bitch-slapping post in the middle of Chalktown, his
head bruised from repeated thrashings looked not unlike a rotting pumpkin in
Partsy's garden.  Now that nearly everyone has a copy of the disc Wes
informed me that he's now content to keep his mouth shut, or fingers tied
(your choice), on the matter.  Although he's still quite adamant regarding
the splendor of the Church of Women solo. (don't get him started on That
Wave) Anyway, he's back from vacation and looking to trade XTC
audio/video/etc with some new folks.  Make new friends and spread the gospel
of XTC is what Wes always says, in fact I do believe it's his motto, or is it
his creed?  Can't recall.  Still, if it's XTC Wes more than likely has a copy
of it.  Here's a link to his site:

wes "I like me, I've never tasted me" LONG


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 18:59:23 -0700
From: "Radiosinmotion" <>
Subject: Wasp Star SUCKS!
Message-ID: <001401bfc523$ba487060$0200a8c0@digitalpc>

Yes it really sucks!  It sucks every piece of energy out of me listening to
the songs over and over again.  I get drawn in only wanting to hear it once
again.  Hopefully you all got that?  In other words, I love the fucking
album to death!

However, there is one thing I don't agree with.  When people say its "XTC's
best" or that its their favorite XTC album, that I don't agree with.  Let me
explain.  I have had Wasp Star for about a month.  I have had AV1 for about
a year.  I have heard AV1 a few hundred times and have probably heard WS
about 50 times or so.  Well, I don't know about you all, but I can't say its
my favorite XTC album just because of the excitement of them having a new
album by XTC until I have had it for a while.

However, after a few years, that may change.  See, albums like Drums and
Wires, Skylarking, Black Sea, English Settlement, O&L (I am not doing this
is any particular order folks!) I have heard thousands of times, so I know
every detail of the songs.  Its like a soundtrack to my life.  Compared to
50 listens of Wasp Star, I cant claim its my favorite until it passes the
tests of time.  When Nonsuch came out I liked it a lot.  However, it was my
least favorite XTC album.  Now its one of my favorites; so as you see, it
takes a while to come around to having a favorite XTC album.

All this aside, there is not much I can say about WS as I have had it for a
few weeks now.  I am happy to have the lyrics and the cover art with the
real CD.  I really hope they do make some money off this album though.  One
thing I will agree on is that this is their most "commercial" album.  Maybe
they should have Puffy produce a track? :) It worked for Sting!


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 21:19:31 CDT
From: "Paul Vicory" <>
Subject: Sting, Stang, Stung
Message-ID: <>

Greetings from the maelstrom of haute-culture that is Sycamore, IL.
Having let Wasp Star buzz around in my little living room today, I must say
it was not love at first sting; but that is hardly new - I have never *GOT*
an XTC album on first listen, or second, or third . . .  What is so
remarkable to me about this band is how *every* listen gets better, how
every song unravels itself into your mind and becomes a part of you, in a
way that only great music can. That's what I truly love about this band;
it's always a journey to someplace beautiful, bright, joyful, and,
[blushing], sexy. A new XTC album is like a rocket launch; slow at first,
but building speed, faster and faster, until your heart is pounding and you
think you're going to !!! . . . and then it calmly sails out of sight, but
not out of mind.
BTW, a tasty morsel I'd like to recommend (I hope the recipe isn't too
familiar) - The Bears 1st album, which in a bizarre twist of logic is titled
*The Bears* - a sweet confection of orangel&lemon biscuits served with a
steaming cup of Grande Expresso, with just a little squeeze of crimson for
color. Mmmmm.

Paul Vicory


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 22:26:28 EDT
Subject: Wasp Star
Message-ID: <>

Well, I bought my copy of AV2 today (along with the new King Crimson
disc)!  I must admit to you that I was so hooked by XTC's first three
tunes that I've played them repeatedly for more than an hour without
hearing the remainder of the disc yet. Crimson got unwrapped. That's
about it! LOL. What a music monster opening to grapple with. Bravo
Andy and Colin!

Tim Longfellow
Typhoon Productions
Norton, OH


Date: 24 May 00 12:49:32 AES
Subject: Ernie Ernie Ernie
Message-ID: <>

Thanks to Mitch and Paul for alerting us to the wonderful sound and vision of
Andy fooling around with his (brown) guitar on!

Even if you're not particularly into guitars per se, the banter is fun and
there's some valuable insight into Andy's songwriting processes.  Plus, he
does a ripsnorting version of "Any Old Iron".  It's great.

Remember, there's two parts to the download.

~~p @ u l


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 22:59:40 EDT
Subject: stup-appy
Message-ID: <>

hey folks...!!!     worst lyric of wasp star---

 "Just a couple of lips away is an evolutionary Bean Feast whose insides are

 I like ALL these songs.  I had only heard the demos of- the man ,the church,
and the clouds.    only" clouds" isn't really improved over the demos, in my
opinion, i think its because of the ending. its still good ,though.

 Church of women... let me worship there too!  Liked the original solo
better... but this one sounds like its brother.

 My 8 year old son was thrilled to hear it. he actually let me turn off the
TV and play it through.   his comments...

"Hey dad, this guy is stupidly happy"
" I've heard this on the radio" (itmwml) (i haven't)
asking how he liked "maypole"... "it's good but it isn't the bomb"  oh, which
one is the bomb?  " that spiffy one"  meaning ... were all light, as it turns
out...  he pulled me off the couch to dance with him during that one. not a
pretty sight.   eddie


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 20:31:30 -0700
From: "John Keel" <>
Subject: Another TVT SNAFU
Message-ID: <002b01bfc530$8f184de0$>

Hi kids,

Okay, even though I've had the advance promo on "Wasp Star" for about 6
weeks and I had already ordered a copy from HMV (in order to get the free CD
single) I still had to go out and buy a 2nd copy just for the fun of it (and
to support the boys, of course).  Having read the post in an earlier
Chalkhills digest about which stores in the L.A. area would also have the CD
single to give away, I dashed over to Moby Disc on my lunch hour only to
find . . .

said they didn't even know about it until last night (or maybe this
morning - I can't remember now) and that they wouldn't get to the store
until around 6 or so tonight.  Luckily he put one on hold for me, but now
I've got to go all the way back and get it.  Plus what about anyone else who
bought it today?

I've tried to be as supportive as possible of TVT given that they are trying
to get the word out, but now it's affected me personally, so, of course, I'm

At any rate, now I have three copies of "Wasp Star" and I still love it.
Those of you who don't think it's great, well . . . I just can't figure that
out.  Thank God the vast majority of us disagree with you!!!!

Thanks for listening,



Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 20:45:09 PDT
From: "Steve Stearns" <>
Subject: More First Impressions
Message-ID: <>

Wow! Certainly the most instantly likeable XTC album ever. I second the
sentiment that it sounds like a cousin of Oranges & Lemons. It's nowhere
near as heavy or brooding as Black Sea.

Andy's guitar sounds great . . . I must respectfully disagree with Mark
Strijbos' comments on the guitar solos.  Andy more than holds his own as a
guitarist.  He's not as technically competent as Dave Gregory, but the man
plays a mean guitar.  It's not really a question of this album is
better/worse without Dave, it's simply . . .different.  And I like it.

So many cuts on this just scream to be played on the radio.  Really like
ITMWML over the demo version, ditto for My Brown Guitar and You & The
Clouds. In fact to my ears You & The Clouds sounds more like a remake of
Greenman than anything by Sting.

Colin's songs on this are better than the ones on Volume 1, but he needs to
find a new beat -- the "Fruit Nut Shuffle" is getting a bit stale.

"The Wheel And The Maypole" just might get my vote for best XTC song ever,
and I'm not making that statement lightly. That song just flat out blows my

Way to go Andy & Colin! I dug Vol. 1, but this album is better.


Date: Tue, 23 May 2000 23:54:01 -0400
From: "Brian" <>
Subject: Re: 'Wasp Star' play-by-play
Message-ID: <005d01bfc533$b659b6c0$a4e49cd1@Brian>


Tuesday, May 23rd, 2000.
'Wasp Star' was at the first place I looked tonight.

As I type this I am listening to "Stupidly Happy"... in fact, it's just now
fading out...
Relentless rhythm, and somewhat Stones-like. Cool. This one has

But back up one: "Playground" has lost the punch it had in the demo.

Oh, here comes Colin... ("In Another Life")...this tune is yet another
example of this new quasi-minimalist XTC that characterizes the first part
of this album. Not a showstopper.

"Brown Guitar" suffers from the same problem as "Playground" - slow and
plodding, and pared down instrumentation as compared to the demo.

"Boarded Up" is still pushing that quasi-minimalist XTC sound, but uses the
tried-and-true XTC penchant for weaving in rhythmic or musical effects
representing the theme of the song (in this case, the clomping boards

"The Man Who Murdered Love" harkens back to 'Skylarking', 'Oranges & Lemons'
and 'Nonesuch' and gives us a basic but solid feast of the XTC way of
handling little pop gems. The tone of the album takes a turn on this one...

"We're All Light" - I suddenly thought of Bill Nelson in the middle of this
song... I don't know why.

"Standing In For Joe" - I'll get back to ya...

"Wounded Horse"... I can hear the horse plodding along, and the album goes
quasi-minimalist again.

"You And The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful" must be the one that sounds
like Sting, but then that would mean it's like Phil Collins and then that
means that it would suck, but we know that XTC doesn't suck, so... Sting

"Church Of Women" is one I really liked from the demos, and it hasn't lost
it's charm here - fortunately, since I had higher hopes for "Playground".
But I will tell you, when I first heard the demo of "Church", I could hear
the last part of the song building into a huge gospel-style sing-out
complete with church organ and choir... and it would take this song to new

"The Wheel And The Maypole" on first listen does not live up to the hype
that's been zinging about these hallowed halls, and yet again displays the
pared-down  new XTC sound.

In a nutshell: this is all after one listen, and I ALWAYS have to give an
album a chance to click with me, and this XTC offering is going to be one of
them. I'm not able to fall right into this one as I have always been able to
do before with XTC, but I will give it a way-more-than-fair shake. I find
myself of the same opinion that I did with Boingo's last studio album... at
first it was WAY different, then it grew to be one of my faves.

-Brian Matthews
P.S. I heard a bad cutoff in headphones at the tail end of a fade-out on one
of the tunes... ouch.
P.P.S. AV1 was better... at least right now it is. ;-)


Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 14:08:32 +1000
From: Iain Murray <>
Subject: All the List is Football-shaped (and other stuff)
Message-ID: <>

>>>From: "Alan Welby" <>
>>>(can you follow football
>>>in oz?)

Yes. We have football over here. We have electricity as well.
am still yet to meet a Rotherham United fan - I wonder why?


Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 01:36:39 EDT
From: "Seth Frisby" <>
Subject: Stupidly Happy? well Mostly...
Message-ID: <>

Woh! ...Weird long day....but at the end of the day I now own Wasp Star.
Unfortunately I haven't had much time to listen to all of it with life being
so stupid and all. I did hear my first XTC in a public place. All day long I
had to look for suits(nice suits) for my Grandfather's funeral (he's not
gone...but...soon). King for A day started playing at the Filenes Basement
we were at, which is quite a fun song to try on fancy suits to! Cheered me
up a bit.

      It's weird but when I got to my local Cd store ( Not my mine
personally!)I asked for Wasp Star and they didn't have it. Oddly enough the
man working said "hold on" and went to the XTC section and returned with a
used copy of it. Obviously I asked where the heck it came from and he said
it had been there for about two weeks! I don't know where the hell i've been
to miss something like that..been Boarded Up I guess..

      speaking of Boarded Up...what a surprising song...I'm so glad Colin
wrote such a unique oddly moving song. Really doesn't sound like anything
you'd expect....which is GREAT!..So people if anything disappoints you on
the album because it doesn't sound like how you think XTC sounds..then be
thankful that at this stage of the game they can still 'play' with that
wonderful "sound" of theirs. I hope they continue to. I agree its a shame
that songs like the Ship trapped in the Ice and Price of Orange didn't make
the cut but after listening to the album I wouldn't have been able to cut
out any of the songs. I guess neither could they.
          Hopefully Wasp Star can bring me through these dark ages.. I think
it will..if that doesn't do the trick nothing will. I don't think my
grandfather would like XTC but I think he'd like that they make me happy...I
certainly do.



Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 00:37:22 EDT
Subject: First Impressions
Message-ID: <>

Before I start - in the 'What was I thinking?" department:  I meant FLYERS!
Jeez, the effects of festival sleep deprivation (or is it old age?)  By the
way, just heard that Lindros is playing in game 6 (Hmmm.....)

OK.   I've listened to WS about a half a dozen times so far, so here's what
I'm thinking, feeling and otherwise noticing at this point.

Playground - Stupendous, as I thought it would be.  Holly's voice is such a
natural and perfect finishing touch.  I miss the bass fill at the end on the
demo, though.

Stupidly Happy - I don't like it in this position, and it was one of my least
favorite of the demos.  However, the buildup and production is a vast
improvement, as is PP's drumming over the machine.  The interweaving voices
and guitars at the end conjure up Beach Boys for me.

In Another World - I got to let this one sink in a little more.  The
harmonica gives it a 'Smokeless Zone" quality on top of that chunky shuffle
(what's with Colin and shuffles recently?  2 more on this album!).  I sort of
like it, but I'll need more listens.

My Brown Guitar - If this isn't Band on the Run era McCartney, what is???
Right down to the nonsense lyrics.  The dropout of the drums on the verses is
interesting - makes it feel like Macca on top of Come Together.  The choppy
leads are cool, as is the tremelo tube amp guitar on the fade.

Boarded Up - This is the strangest thing on the record!  It sounds like it
belongs on a Greg Brown or some other steamy bluesy modern folk record. I dig
it, though.  It gives a nice break to all the guitar pop sound.  At least
it's not another shuffle!

ITMWML - Oh, man!  Another pop masterpiece!  The first I've heard it.  Kick
ass melisma!  It's growing on me fast.  Reminds me most of Earn Enough For
Us.  What's with "What do ya think to that?"   Some Swindonian turn of

We're All Light - MUCH better than the demo.  I LOVE that major seventh in
the vocals on the last "We're  ah ah ah ahll ...Liyeeeeeeet".  Goosebumps!
The theremin sound is a nice touch, well placed in back of the mix. The only
thing is I find the techno drum break a little annoying.

Standing In For Joe -  There's a lot of cool stuff going on here.  This is
definitely the best Colin song I've heard since Nonsuch.  But, there's a
major defect (for me).  Large sections of the melody sound lifted off of
'Barrytown' by Steely Dan.  Even the one rhyme that ends in ""
The shuffle beat doesn't mask it.  Disturbs me.

Wounded Horse - another BOTR song.  Reminds me a little of Let Me Roll It in
it's approach.  I like the horse hoof clops in the middle.

You And The Clouds... - This is the most signifigantly improved song from the
 demos.  Most especially the drumming.  That damn sample he was using in the
demo drove me nuts!  The solo really helps too.  And the brass (who was it
talking about the sprinkles on the cupcake?), beautiful subtle touch.  I love
that repeated half- step drop and return on the fade.  Oddly enough, reminds
me of Dan Hicks.

Church of Women - One of my favorites in the demos, I knew this would be a
monster rendition.  The cut back on the chorus after the build up is perfect!
 It amazes me how this song starts with an ambigous key center then goes
through 3 key changes by the time it reaches the chorus!  And that dominant
guitar chord right at "chuuuuurch of women" at the end of the chorus!  Oh,
yeah!  I still like the lead on the demo, but this one is pretty cool.  And
the a cappella ending was the perfect capper.

The Wheel And The Maypole - I don't think I can add much to anything that's
already been said about this wonder.  It just too brilliant for words.  I'll
point out two things.  One of my favorite moments on the demo was the crazy
out of rhythm guitar that cut in and out and fed back right after the first
time he sings "everything decays".  I like what's going on here, but I'm
still stuck on the old fill.  The other thing is the splendid walking bass on
the tag fade.  Colin is just suberb, isn't he?

My overall impression is that this is the most cohesive record sound wise
since Skylarking, and the most jumpin' since Black Sea and English
Settlement.  And yet it's unlike any other.  There's a clear attempt, at
least on Andy's part, to produce a pop rocker as accessible to the public as
possible.  Unusally guitar based and sparse in arrangement compared to, say,
Nonsuch or AVI.  While I heard a couple of moments where Dave could have
helped, I didn't miss him altogether.  Andy's playing is the best I've ever
heard!  And even though Colin's tunes don't jibe as well as they used to, his
presence on the album convinces me they should continue together if they want
to keep XTC going.  His playing is mind boggling!  Easily the most underrated
and unnoticed bass player in rock history.  Good to hear his voice again in
the vocals, too.
I'm not aout to rate this album among their others until I've heard many more
times (and I will!), but overall I love it.  And yes, much better than the
demos.  The production is superb.  I'm finding the damage from hearing the
demos is from the songs left out, and overexposure to the music lessened the
impact on first hearing.  AVI floored me when I heard it!  WS didn't, but it
should have.  Oh well, you don't know until you try.  But it made me smile
and will continue to do so!  Bravo, lads!  I'm as proud of them as ever!

Tom (my posts are getting shorter, really, they are!) Kingston


Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 01:56:10 EDT
Subject: numma 2
Message-ID: <>

Well, I bought my copy in a store on SATURDAY.

The albums' great.  Playground, Church o' Women, and Wheel and Maypole are my
faves by far.  I like all of them except for In the Man Who..." which I think
may be the most boring song Andy has ever written.  It seems to me to be the
only thing I've ever heard him write that sounds consciously written for
airplay almost exclusively.  The intro is BY FAR the most interesting thing
about it.  I LOVE 97% of Andy's songs, but this one I like even less than
President Kill and the Loving.

Colin's songs are great, especially In Another Life.  Andy's guitar playing
is fantastic, with lovely solos, etc.  Production is the usual step up,
beautiful lush, crunchy, vibrant, 'POPPY' yet not idiotic (production is even
interesting on 'I'm the Man)

My fiancee, a huge XTC fan, does NOT like the record at all.

matt mitchell


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