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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-65


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 65

                  Thursday, 6 April 2000

Topics:

                 The Great Lost Kinks EP?
                    #13: The Nitpicker
                WASP STAR, 1st Impressions
              All this talk is killing me...
                Lou Reed & the Bobbysoxers
                 What's in my CD changer
            Tell Me What You See in Barrytown
                Re: The Faces' Tin Soldier
          Loved It/Hated It!!! (already, really)
               Re: Knights In Shining Karma
               I'm waiting for the day ...
                         Thievery
                  What's In The Changer?
The Wrongest Man On Planet Wrong Gets It Wronger Than Usual
                    Fear of technology

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I might lose my patience.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 23:06:49 CDT
From: "vee tube" <veetube@hotmail.com>
Subject: The Great Lost Kinks EP?
Message-ID: <20000406040649.27634.qmail@hotmail.com>

            If you just want to download it,
               Scroll down to the link.

      I love this Kinks stuff! I have the first 12 LPs!
  That's right! Vinyl! No I'm not a collector. I bought them
  when they first came out. We didn't have CD players back then.

           I won't keep you any longer.

     I don't have the 'Great Lost Album' I do have a semi-
  lost EP. It's called 'Did Ya' it came out in '92. It was
  supposed to be a 'tease' for the new Kinks album on Sony.

    It was too come out in about 3-4 months. 1 & 1/2 years latter,
       Phobia cames out. IMHO, IT BLEW BIG CHUCKIES!

    It didn't have any of the songs from the EP. I just checked
  Amazon. They don't even show it as an Asian import. I know for
   a fact the domestic (U.S.) has been out of print for years!

      Did I mention it's really good? So here it is.

             http://www.idrive.com/kinkyfish

                         }---:)

                     TRADERS NOTE!

      I know who you are! (I've traded with you)

    I know where you live! (I've mailed you stuff)

   Feel free to down this,wav it,burn it, all I ask is that
you let the people you trade with know that the source is MP3.

    I visit your web sites and trade lists on a regular basis.

          Please be honest. (or I'll stop doing this)

                        TROUT!OUT!

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 21:46:09 -0400
From: "Diamond" <arnos@nantucket.net>
Subject: #13: The Nitpicker
Message-ID: <200004060147.VAA29434@nantucket.net>

11 different animals is really neat... a lot of mistakes, though...

This is what andy wrote about Wait Til Your Boat Goes Down:

I WROTE THIS SAT UP IN BED ABOUT 3 O'CLOCK ONE MORNING. ALL THE HAIRS ON
THE BACK OF MY NECK STOOD ON END WITH EXCITEMENT, I HONESTLY (NAIEVLY)
THOUGHT IT WOULD GET TO NO.1 IN THE CHARTS. IT DIDN'T, IN FACT NOBODY
BOUGHT IT, BUT IT'S STILL MY FAVOURITE XTC TRACK, AND MY HAIRS ARE STILL
KNOWN TO DANCE ABOUT A BIT IF EVER I HEAR IT NOWADAYS.

His favorite song of his? I mean, I realize that this came out before
English Settlement, but I consider this song to be one of his absolute
WORST songs ever...

Oh, and thanks mark for this neat-o HTML version of 11 Different Animals...
cool stuff...

Kevin Diamond

http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/79/the_french_electric_all-st.html
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/84/bass-cleff.html
http://artists.mp3s.com/artists/85/starving_artists.html
--
"The universe does not have laws, it has habits, and habits can be broken."
            -Tom Robbins

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 00:41:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: RSMko@webtv.net (Moore's Code)
Subject: WASP STAR, 1st Impressions
Message-ID: <26988-38EC1562-2390@storefull-251.iap.bryant.webtv.net>

HI, ROOM! HOPE YOU'RE HAVING A NICE DAY, NIGELS!

OK..........

AHEM. "WASP STAR" (HUH? DIFFICULT TO SAY OR REMEMBER....):

HEARD IT ALREADY. MY THOUGHTS:

LOVE IT. DON'T LIKE IT MUCH. FASCINATED. THE BIG DIFFAPOINTED, I AM.

BEWILDERED, IS THE WORD.

(PARDON THE UPPER-CASE. CONTRARY TO FRIGGIN' "NETIQUETTE," IT'S NOT
"SHOUTING" AT ALL. JUST EASIER TO READ BIG PRINT, THAT'S ALL. NO
"EMPHASIS" INTENDED. SHEESH, RULES AND REGULATIONS FOR THE VISUALLY
IMPAIRED??)

ON TOPIC:
CANNOT, FOR THE LIFE OF ME,  GET WHAT ANDY'S GOING FOR ON THIS NEW DISC.
EXPECTED AN EXPLOSIVE, DYNAMIC NEW Y2K CRUNCH. SADLY, IT'S NOT THERE,
FOLKS.

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT. AS A SWINDONIAL FANATIC FOR 23 YEARS (BOUGHT
"SCIENCE FRICTION" 45 ITS DAY OF ISSUE), I'VE DEVOTEDLY BEEN WITH 'EM,
WITHOUT 'EM, INSIDE 'EM, WAY OUTSIDE 'EM....OVER & OVER & OVER & OVER
AGAIN.

AV2 HAS ITS TYPICALLY TRANSCENDENT MOMENTS, TO BE SURE. YET, OVERALL
FIRST IMPRESSION? "WINGS : RED ROSE SPEEDWAY." HA! TOO GENERICALLY
SWEET, MIDTEMPO, OVERCLEVER FOR ITS OWN SAKE; THE "PROMISED" LOUD GTRS
DOWN TOO MANY NOTCHES IN THE MIX, RETREADS OF STYLES & THEMES ALREADY
BESTED, AGAIN & AGAIN. SCARED THE PARTY'S OVER, I AM.

IT TRULY IS BRILLIANT, NEWBIE CHALKIES. BUT THIS OLDER DIE-HARD FAN
CAN'T HELP BUT CRAVE THAT PARTSY WOULD HAVE REALLY EXTENDED HIMSELF THIS
TIME, GONE OUT FURTHER ON HIS NEWLY GREGS-LESS TREE-LIMB, STRIPPED-DOWN
THE "RRROCKIN'" FOR A CHANGE, TAKEN SOME CHANCES, GIMME SOME VETERAN 4/4
HARD POWER-POP LIKE HE "INVENTED" 20 YEARS AGO.

WELL, THAT'S UNFAIR OF ME. SADLY, ANDY'S NOT EXPERIMENTALLY REBELLIOUS
ANYMORE, AND WHO CAN BLAME HIM, AT HIS AGE?

THIS IS AS MELODICALLY COMMERCIAL AS IT COULD POSSIBLY BE, BUT IS SURE
TO SINK WITHOUT TRACE ON TODAY'S MODERN N-SYNC/KORN SALES CHARTS. NOR
WILL IT RAISE ANY EYEBROWS WITH EFFETE AFFICIONADOS OF OLD-SCHOOL
IDIOSYNCRATIC, MIND-BENDING, GENRE-HOPPING, IMAGINATIVE '60s/'90s
AVANT-POP.

IT'S MERELY PLEASANT. SAMEY. YET ANOTHER ALBUM. NOT NEARLY WHAT I
WANTED.

EVEN AS I FIRST LISTENED....ANDY, ANDY, ANDY (SHEESH, IT'S THE CLOSEST
TO AN ANDY SOLO ALBUM AS XTC HAS EVER SOUNDED)....WHAT A RELIEVED SQUEAL
I LET OUT WHEN COLIN'S SONGS CAME ON!!  AHHH! AND YET, EVEN THE COLONEL
HIMSELF IS LOCKED INTO HIS SAME TRADEMARK SHUFFLE-BEAT, BRITISH
MUSIC-HALL SCHTICK ON HIS EVERY ALLOWED CONTRIBUTION!?! SPOOKED, I BE!
MY BELOVED "ADVENTUROUS" FAVEBAND IS BECOMING "MUSIC OUR PARENTS
LISTENED TO!"

WHERE'S THE ROCK, OLD TIMERS?
THIS VEERS WAY TOO CLOSE TO PAP.
(BTW - I THOUGHT "AV1" WAS A PHENOMENAL CHAPTER IN THE CANON.) RADIOS IN
MOTION??? EVEN "NONSVCH" BLOWS THIS AWAY.

STEELY DAN, McCARTNEY, EVEN THE CONTINUED OVERKILL BEACHBOYS
COUNTERPOINT VCL BITS ARE ANNOYING. MOVE ON, MEN!

AND TWO MORE TUNES ABOUT ANDY'S LOST WOMAN "RIDING".......A BIKE, & A
HORSE. STILL HAVING BAD DREAMS ABOUT "HER?"

SAFEWAY BOREDOM. I'M SO SORRY, I NEED A LITTLE MORE IN THESE CYNICAL
DAYS THAN SIMPLY THAT.

"MAYPOLE??" "LITTLE LAMB DRAGONFLY???" COME ON, BARRY MANILOW!! GET
OUTTA THE SHED SOMETIMES.

DO I SOUND A BIT FRANTIC?

EXPECTING SOME MAJOR FLAMES FOR THIS POST. DUH! WHAT ELSE CAN I DO? I'M
CONCERNED! AREN'T YOU?

(PS --REPEATED LISTENS DIDN'T HELP. THEY SHOULD HAVE, BEINGS AS THIS IS
THE KIND OF ALBUM THAT'S SUPPOSED TO "GROW ON YOU." WHO'S GOT THE TIME
FOR THAT? ALAS. DEVOID OF IMPACT.)

(I HATE CRITICS, TOO, AS MUCH AS YOU ;-)

Love to Lord Plum Remoulds,
M.O.R. Stevie

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 5 Apr 2000 21:26:40 -0700
From: "Digitalmaster" <digitalmaster@earthlink.net>
Subject: All this talk is killing me...
Message-ID: <004b01bf9f80$4f263ec0$0200a8c0@digitalpc>

I don't like bringing up personal crap on this board, but I think I will
just this once.

For the past 2 1/2 months I have been very ill.  My chest was hurting
extremely bad.  So bad at times I wished I was dead.  I went to emergency
ward after emergency ward and they could do nothing to help me.  I was sure
it was CHD (Coronary Heart Disease).  Since I have exercised very little in
the past few years, I gained a lot of weight.  I saw a doctor and my
cholesterol and blood pressure was REALLY high.  I thought I was dead or at
least dying.  Anyway, I started walking 2 weeks ago and have lost 20 pounds
(And stopped eating pizza!)  I weight about 250 now, which is a lot
compared to my ideal weight for my height (155-172).  So, I have a long way
to go.  I don't look really fat or anything.  I guess you could say I look
like Frank Black or something, only I am NOT loosing my hair and I look a
lot better!

What does this have to do with XTC?  Nothing, other than the fact that
listening to them was like listening to an old friend tell me stories.
Joining this list has been fun too.  I have met really interesting people
and have had a good time and I am glad I joined.  I had all these tests
done, and according to the doc's, its not CHD.  That is a relief, and the
pain is almost gone, but I am not sure what caused it.  I will find out,
but either way, I am better, and that is all I care about right now.  For a
short time, I was totally miserable, and things are starting to look up.
Maybe some of you will see me with my chalkhills hat and shirt riding a
bike or walking somewhere in southern California.

Beyond the personal stuff, I am really, really looking forward to Wasp
Star.  I am so tempted to ask for a copy of it or buy a promo (though I
don't want to pay the outrageous ebay prices!).  This sounds like a damn
good album.  I hope Collin sounds better than he did on AV1.  To be honest,
I was really disappointed with him on the songs he did for AV1.  Anyway,
sorry for all the personal stuff.  Oh, I have a two 300 disk changers so if
I were to do a list of albums I have playing, I would take up way too much
room.  But I will say what is in slot 1-10 (new releases, of course 11
starts off with the XTC stuff!)

1. Frank Zappa: Strictly Commercial
2. Frank Zappa: Son of Cheap Thrills
3 & 4. Cracker: Garage d' Or
5. Haysi Fantayzee: Battle Hymns...
6. Haysi Fantayzee: B sides & 12"s. (so, I'm on an 80's kick!)
7. Ian Dury & The Blockheads (forget, but its the greatest hits).
8. Gary Nueman: Greatest Hits
9. Soft Boys: Invisible Hits
10. Depeche Mode: Behind The Wheel

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 00:48:35 EDT
From: JStrole@aol.com
Subject: Lou Reed & the Bobbysoxers
Message-ID: <99.31f44f2.261d7123@aol.com>

<<...Arthur is next>>

Yes sir, yes sir, three bags full sir.
***************************************************************
If anything The Velvet Underground was poorly recorded on their first two
records (especially "White Light, White Heat").  And since nobody bought
anything they did, how can we say they were overrated?  Maybe by some '80's
critics, yeah.  Listen to The Velvet Underground (third LP) or Loaded.  Lou
Reed could write some great stuff.  Besides they were the best band ever
from Long Island (Lou Reed-Freeport, Sterling Morrison-East Meadow & Mo
Tucker-Levittown, I think).  Yes, even better than Blue Oyster Cult or
Mazarin (played @ my prom).

Didn't Andy want Terry to play like Maureen Tucker (tom-tom heavy) on one
of the songs on "Black Sea?"

Harry

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 14:32:16 +0000
From: David_Goody@mandg.co.uk
Subject: What's in my CD changer
Message-ID: <002568B9.004F5D79.00@mailgate.mandg.co.uk>

Just had to say, I have my whole CD collection in my CD changer !!!

I've just recently bought one of those Sony 300 CD changers, and its
brilliant. I'm sure all you Hi-Fi experts out there will tell me that the
sound quality is crap, etc. but I just love big electronic gadgets, and
this in one of the best. You can put it on random play and get any track
from any of the 300 CDs, or you can group disks and then play them at
random. This means I can get a random track from any one of the
approximately 30 XTC CDs I have. I can fully recomment it if you're in any
doubt.

By the way, before anyone replies, I'm sure there are many of you out there
who couldn't get their whole CD collection into one 300 CD changer, but I
can, so there! I go for quality, not quantity ! (You can actually
daisy-chain two of these changers together to get a massive 600CD changer,
but that's another story).

Anyone need more details, mail me offline.

Dave.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 15:54:37 +0200
From: jeffrey.thomas.jt@bayer-ag.de
Subject: Tell Me What You See in Barrytown
Message-ID: <0006800022726007000002L072*@MHS>

Hiya, "Kreideberger",

Man oh man, trying to keep up with Chalkhills these days is tough,
them there 'Hills are a-buzzin' with the sound of Wasps!  I'm getting
excited, and with about 10-15 votes already cast and only 1-2
dissenters in the lot, I have a feeling I'm going to like this!  But
then, I had that feeling before, too.

I've heard the demos.  Well, most of them, anyway.  But I have yet to
hear the 3 Colin songs, which is why the following posts intrigued me:

In #58, John Keel said about "Standing in for Joe":
>The melody in the first half of the verse reminds me so much of another
>song and for the life of me I can't think of what it is.

Then, in #59, Al LaCarte wrote:
>I hear the melody behind the phrase:

>"I'm no one to look behind I know that times have
>changed..." from Steely Dan's "Barrytown."

To this, Mr. Importance of Sauce himself, Mitch (great CD, man!), added in #60:
>The reason why "Standing In For Joe" was originally vetoed for the
>Apple Venus double album idea way back in '97 is because Dave thought
>it borrowed far too heavily from the chord progression of Steely Dan's
>"Barrytown".

And to top it all off, it seems to be moving in new directions (now rhythmic
feels, chord progressions etc. instead of just the melody line) as of #62
(Kevin Diamond)...:
>ALSO, in the demo version of Standing In For Joe, the guitar part that's
>just four notes, each one on the off beat, as in 1, note, 3, note, 1, note,
>3, note it reminds me of another song, perhaps by the beatles? I think on
>the white album... I can't remember...

...and as of #63 (Jim Smart):
>Could be "With a Little Help from My Friends". It's quite similar
>musically.  Also, the rhythmic feel of this song is identical to Frivolous
>from AV1. And the main riff is not unlike Carry On by CSN.

Can't wait for this song.  It sounds like it's influenced by all the
right people!  And folks: When *I* listen to "Barrytown", I am always
reminded of the Beatles song "Tell Me What You See".  The main melody
is almost identical; similar cases have been know to result in
"co-authorship" in order to avoid plagiarism suits (eg. k.d. lang's
co-authorship of the Stones' "Anybody Seen My Baby").

Speaking of "Barrytown", it's interesting to hear what you all have in
your CD changers -- honestly!  I never bought as many CDs in a year as
I did last year, and 80% of them were directly related to
recommendations I had read in Chalkhills.  But I've said that before.
Anyway, I *don't* have a CD changer.  But I have 2 players and two CD
ROMs.  So what's been in there recently?  Among other things, Steely
Dan's "Two Against Nature", "Aja", and "Gaucho" (yes, *Gaucho*, I like
it, I don't understand why you all don't!).  On top of that, Bill
Frisell's "Have a Little Faith" (seen him mentioned here, too),
various Beatles, Joe Jackson, and the new Eels record.

Next on the list, although the current Stones debate is slightly
different from past ones (not too much Stones vs. Beatles this time
around), I honestly don't understand how you CAN'T like the Stones!
Okay, they had a different kind of focus than the Beatles (more rock
and blues, less pop).  Okay, they're not really an "album" band (but
then, where is the true coherence in Beatles albums?).  Okay, they're
a bit sloppy (this is partially due to the fact that they just weren't
as good singers and maybe musicians as the Beatles, but also due to
the fact that *rock* is sloppier, and that their producer also thought
the same.  They can be very tight if they want to.  Conversely, the
Kinks were also pretty sloppy at times.)

But, as someone pointed out, they were (and still are at times) and
AMAZING singles band.  Kevin and all you other non-believers, go out
and buy "Hot Rocks" (although as a 2-CD package it's a rip-off) and
listen -- this was incredible stuff!  Maybe throw in "Hot Rocks 2" for
"Dandelion", "She's a Rainbow", and a couple of others, and you have a
good overview of one of the most prolific and melodic and rocking and
grinding singles bands the world has ever seen.  And the music was
good, it was not only ground-moving, it was ground-breaking!  No
Stock-Aitken-Waterman or 'NSync pap there, it was solid as...a rock!

Hell, if you don't want to buy it, write me, I'll tape the stuff for
you!

By the way, before I get fried here, I prefer the Beatles to the
Stones.  But I still love the Stones!  And the bands from the "second
row", as Pete Townshend once said, such as the Kinks, the Who, and
others such as the Byrds, Hollies, and the Moody Blues also all did
great stuff back then.

As as a final note in this long, long, boring post, I want to mention
that I have also heard Colin mention "Autumn Almanac" as a huge
influence; it's not just Andy who loves that song.  He was speaking on
a German radio station about his contributions to "AV1" and said he
loved the Kinks, "AA" in particular, and that it -- and Noel Coward --
were big influences for him.

Enough comedy jokes!

- Jeff

* * * *
PS - Which of you Kinks fans out there will give me the scoop on all
these new re-releases (off-list)?  There are all sorts of them out
here in Germany on all sorts of labels (at least 3), so I don't really
know which ones are "THE" ones to get.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 01:11:08 EDT
From: JStrole@aol.com
Subject: Re: The Faces' Tin Soldier
Message-ID: <a8.3608e45.261d766c@aol.com>

Mark, I believe the reference to The Faces meant the Rod Stewart/Ron Wood
led band they became after Steve Marriott left.  "Tin Soldier" is a Small
Faces song as they are commonly referred to with Steve Marriott.  Which
personally is the way I liked them. Also, Andy & Dave both seemed rather
fond of The Small Faces incarnation.  Whilst The Faces became more or less
notorious for their forays into drinking and carousing, though they did
release a few pretty good LPs (A Nod Is As Good As a Wink, comes to mind).

Harry

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 22:51:21 PDT
From: "Edward Sizzorhends" <skylar_king@hotmail.com>
Subject: Loved It/Hated It!!! (already, really)
Message-ID: <20000406055121.31175.qmail@hotmail.com>

Dear Chalk-o-holics,

Well, well, welly well.  We have already gotten a Best Thing Ever/Worst
Thing Ever thing happening and the rest of us peons don't even have it yet.

I stayed away from the demos for the most part on AVII, so I am excited.
(although I wish that person wouldn't have given away what Andy says in the
middle of ITMWMLove, that's the kind of thing I want to be suprised with,
now I'll be expecting it.)

Napster huh?

Napster bad.  Must not succumb.....(or suck cu- nevermind)

Love,
The Skylar King

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 06 Apr 2000 08:21:55 -0400
From: "Duncan Watt" <dwatt@fastestmanintheworld.com>
Subject: Re: Knights In Shining Karma
Message-ID: <200004061224.IAA19152@gilgamesh.nh.ultra.net>

Super Jill Oleson mused, re: Knights In Shining Karma:

> the end
> seems to be posing a question to the listener.  A question to me.
> It is a question that is never fully defined and never answered on
> the album. As the next song comes on, the question is blown
> away, but not forgotten.  I don't know why that appeals to me
> so, but it does.  And, happily, I carry it with me, unanswered.

Wax on, Oleson. Nice.

Duncan "yep, that's a gargoyle around my heart" Watt

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 05 Apr 2000 22:35:50 PDT
From: "Duncan Kimball" <dunks58@hotmail.com>
Subject: I'm waiting for the day ...
Message-ID: <20000406053550.63712.qmail@hotmail.com>

Re: Todd's's comments on Pet Sounds: - I gather that Todd means "rock" in
the visceral "Helter Skelter" or "Gimme Shelter" sense of the word. So no,
The Beach Boys don't "rock" (much - although it has been known - "Do It
Again" and "Good Vibrations" rock pretty well if you ask me). Still, I
don't see that as being a problem, except that it betrays certain
preconceived notions about what "rock" music is supposed to be about or
sound like.

I'm continually puzzled that people don't like "Pet Sounds", or the Beach
Boys. It's eminently appealing music, and I can only assume that, because
it reflects aspects of Brian's personality, it tends to make
"sophisticated" listeners suspicious that they're somehow being
"had". They're not. It's honest, heartfelt, sweet, direct, charming music;
it's sentimental in a good way; it wants to please.

As Bacharach says, the best advice he ever got was from (I think?) Darius
Milhaud, who told him never to be afraid of a good melody.

I'd never make a blanket endorsement of their catalogue (I think they
produced some truly awful stuff in later years) but the good bits are as
good as anything else recorded in the last 100 years, and "Pet Sounds" is
undoubtedly the apex. But it's doubly hard to understand why fans of The
Beatles or XTC don't like BBs music when McCartney and Partridge give them
such glowing endorsements.

The vast majority of people when questioned would probably name a handful
of songs when asked about the Beach Boys - maybe "Surfin' USA" or Surfer
Girl", "California Girls" and of course the ubiquitous "Good Vibrations" -
all perennials of 'golden oldies' radio. It galls me that people are
prepared to dismiss them on the basis of three or four songs, without
hearing one of the true gems of American music, an album that is still
amazing people 35 years after it was recorded.

It's hard to define why Brian and The Beach Boys "work" for me. I'm *very*
non-religious (staunch atheist) but I keep coming back to the term Brian
often uses, which is that they have a "spiritual" quality to their sound.
Yes, the Beach Boys are very "white", and Brian openly acknowledges his
debt to white close-harmony groups, especially the Four Freshmen - but he
was also hugely influenced by Chuck Berry, as is obvious on the earlier
records.

I first discovered the Beach Boys' music properly about 20 years ago (in my
wild youth) via "Good Vibrations". I think that, prior to that time, I made
the same mistake that a lot of people make - you HEAR their music without
really LISTENING to it. It's SO familiar that you ignore it. Then one day
at a friend's house (OK officer, I confess - we did have a smoke) he put it
on "Good Vibrations" and started raving about how brilliant a song it was,
and I did listen properly and was duly amazed. Some time after that a local
rock writer lauded Pet Sounds as "the most perfect pop record ever made" so
I went out and bought it on one of those old Capitol twofer LPs, with
"Smiley Smile" (which I also really like in it's quiet way). I now agree
with his verdict wholeheartedly.

It took me a while to see what all the fuss was about, but I can
confidently say that if I had to only keep one thing from my collection,
the Pet Sounds boxed set would be it. Get the boxed set. Listen to the
instrumental backing tracks, sans vocals. Breathtakingly complex
arrangements, yet they support the vocals perfectly. Think back to "Surfin'
Safari" and it's an incredible revelation to hear what a truly
sophisticated and inventive composer Brian had become in such a brief
time. As whoever it was pointed out - it is worth remembering that he was
almost TOTALLY self-taught, and only 24 at the time.  And while you listen,
remember that the vocals and backing tracks were ALL done live in single
takes, and mixed live.

Listen to the arrangements and the instrumentation - who else was doing
stuff remotely like that, except perhaps Bacharach? A "surf" group who used
jazz session players and backed themslves with mini-orchestras which
included harpsichords, harmonicas, string quartets, horns, theremin, koto,
accordions, timpani, banjo .... and in combinations that made a totally new
and different sound.

And that's without the six-part harmonies on top ... The very first thought
I had when I heard the stereo mixes was how incredibly good it sounds; only
The Beatles ever produced anything of this sonic quality, and considering
it was made in 1965, it's extraordinary how fresh and clear it sounds.

It might seem like a simple record, but there ARE hidden depths. On the
surface it is a very glossy, poppy package, all gleaming harmonies and
shimmering backing tracks and catchy melodies. Start there - listen to the
vocals - try to sing them. I think that is *very* important to getting
inside the music, because Brian is, first and foremost a singer. Think
about the way the melody lines move - the way they are always "reaching"
up; listen to the incredible harmonic interplay of their voices, something
you can really only get with a family group (cf. The Roches for the same
effect with female voices). Listen the nuances of of timbre and
phrasing. You start to get to the inner feeling if you try to sing the
songs yourself - and I say "try" because then you REALLY wake up to what
stupendously good singers they all were, especially Brian and Carl. Try
singing "God Only Knows" accurately. It's as demanding to sing properly as
any piece of classical vocal music.

Lyrically and musically, what I think Brian was trying to do, in a
remarkably clever and subtle way, was to communicate - through his "own"
medium of vocal pop music - how it felt to be a teenager coming into
adulthood: grappling with new and unfamiliar situations and complex
emotions, coming to grips with life changes that are not unequivocally fun
fun fun, and seeing things that were once good turning bad.  An important
realisation I had a while back is that there's a really fascinating quality
- I'm grasping for the right terms here - of "deferral", of
"conditionality" in the songs, as well as a real undercurrent of rejection
and sadness beneath the shiny exterior.

"Pet Sounds" is not overtly "deep" - at least, not in that Dylanesque "I've
got a thesaurus and I'm gonna use it" sense - but then why should it be?
You have to remember that Brian was basically your average suburban
high-school kid (albeit one bordering on genius). He was also not primarily
a lyricist, which is why he collaborated with guys like Terry Melcher and
Van Dyke Parks, calling on their craft to convey EXACTLY the emotional
sense he was after.

Think about the titles:

WOULDN'T It Be Nice
STILL Believe In Me
That's NOT Me
DON'T Talk, Put Your Head On My Shoulder
I'm WAITING For The Day
Let's GO AWAY For A While
God Only Knows
I Know There's An Answer
(Love is) Here Today [i.e. "...and it's gone tomorrow"]
I Just WASN'T Made For These Times
Caroline, NO

It is very 'non-rock' in this respect - rock is very much about the
immediate experience, the here-and-now, about celebration. "Pet Sounds" is
about introspection, about other times and places, about waiting for things
to happen or thinking about things that have already happened (and usually
not the way you planned them) - anticipation, uncertainty and
disappointment.

No wonder Mike Love hated it. It's intelligent. It woos you with beautiful
sounds, but it is underpinned by a genuine and touching sense of melancholy
and loss. It sounds happy, but it's really quite a 'sad' record. It's Brian
saying - "I'm an adult now" in the most beautiful possible way.

And one can only lament that the fragments of "Smile" - which I think
really WOULD have taken his music to an entirely new level - were never
assembled.  It's tantalising, because so much is there and I think it was
very close to being finished when he dropped it. It's like having all the
pieces of some fantastic Faberge egg, but not knowing exactly how they
would have been assembled because they could have been put together in
dozens of different ways. *sigh*

Here endeth today's lesson.

Dunks

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 10:31:00 EDT
From: Hbsherwood@aol.com
Subject: Thievery
Message-ID: <77.2c83f86.261df9a4@aol.com>

>From: "Carl" <carl@laprack.com>
>Subject: Wasp Star is a BUST

>[SNIP] I downloaded it all- I was so excited I almost wept.

So you're basically coming in here to announce the availability of an
as-yet unreleased album for unlimited piracy (theft, swiping, lifting,
snatching, pinching, pilfering, filching, poaching, peculation) in a highly
public and accessible place--for the purposes of *slagging* it?

I'm not quite sure which is more odious: your encouraging people to steal
XTC's copyrighted intellectual property, thus depriving them of income and
vitally important sales figures before the group has even begun to try to
generate publicity for it, or your subsequent moronic and insightless
criticism.

In short, Fuck you. Fuck you very much.

And don't you fucking give me "new business models" and "artists have to
adapt to survive in the New Economy." You stole from XTC, you little prick,
and you told 2000 other people how to do the same.

Asshole.

John Relph, I know we often tread a thin line here in Chalkhills, trading
tapes and other material that is arguably in violation of XTC's copyright.
But I have to insist that announcing an unreleased album's availability on
Napster is far, far over that line, and any future "announcements" of this
sort should be summarily deleted before publication.

Harrison "Freebooter! Coelecanth! Bashi-Bazouk! Ectoplasm!" Sherwood

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 08:00:21 -0700 (PDT)
From: The Colonel <captainextraneous@yahoo.com>
Subject: What's In The Changer?
Message-ID: <20000406150022.22391.qmail@web120.yahoomail.com>

Here's what The Colonel's been listening to for the
last few days (eclectic & strange as he is)...

XTC - Nonsuch
They Might Be Giants - Long Tall Weekend
Man Or Astro-man? - EEVIAC
Damien Jurado - Gathered In Song
Destination: Earth! - Trapped In Hyperspace With...
Elvis Costello - Armed Forces
Mr DNA - Rock Music
The Hypnomen - Watusi 99
John Linnell - State Songs
Dukes Of Stratosphear-Chips From The Chocolate
Fireball
XTC - Apple Venus Vol 1
Space Cossacks - Tsar Wars

Later!

The Colonel

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 14:32:47 +0100 (GMT+01:00)
From: pointandlaugh@miseryguts.co.uk
Subject: The Wrongest Man On Planet Wrong Gets It Wronger Than Usual
Message-ID: <24106917.955027967508.JavaMail.root@smtp.backend.another.com>

Welcome to the Chalkhills Profoundly Deaf Mad Bastards Seminar....

>>WARNING: DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU WANT TO HEAR WASP STAR AND JUDGE FOR
YOURSELF

Eh? Why not? You may have strong opinions but they're not THAT scary...

>>Wasp Star is terrible. This album is NOT xtc.

No it isn't. Yes it is.

>>I have listened to it five times now, and I can't believe our boys would put
this crap out.

Cough, splutter, etc. You what? OK, evidently you're not terribly
impressed (for some bizarre reason, presumably related to massive drug
use and psychological trauma) but "crap"?? How could anyone familiar
with the band's music come to such a damning conclusion? What were you
expecting, Twisted Sister?

>>I am SURE that I will not be the only one with this opinion.

I wouldn't count on it.

>>This disc is boring and bland.

Shit, I'd love to hear the rest of your record collection!

>>It has put this sheen of dullness over the whole disc, brings
every song to it's knees

That'll teach you to download music from the Internet.

>>C'mon- those of you who have advance copies of this album MUST HAVE HAD
THESE THOUGHTS AT SOME POINT.

No, no and thrice no!!!! The only thoughts I've had, since first
hearing the BASTARD SPLENDID new album from XTC, have been along the
lines of "Jesus, this is chuffing great! What a brilliant album!
Hurrah for Andy & COlin! This is so good I simply have to
masturbate!..." - and so on.

Seriously though, you really are quite, quite mad.

There's just no pleasing some people...

Dom.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2000 14:03:12 +0100
From: "Davies, Huw (TPE)" <Huw.Davies3@Wales.GSI.Gov.UK>
Subject: Fear of technology
Message-ID: <508B42AA354AD21194F80001FA7EBE3906352786@WOMAIL2>

> Ryan Anthony <hamsterranch@yahoo.com> wrote:
>
> Quite a few 'Hills ago, someone referred to Andy
> Patridge as a notorious technophobe, or words to that
> effect. Yet in the liner notes to *The Greatest Living
> Englishman*, Martin Newell writes, "Andy spent hours
> and hours doing very clever stuff with a computer."
> (Yes, the context makes it definite that Mr. Newell is
> referring to Mr. Partridge.) What is one to make of
> this Luddite/Alpha Geek dichotomy?

I think what this means is that Martin Newell is even more of a technophobe
than Andy Partridge and so it was Andy who had to do the clever stuff with a
computer. (What sort of technology does Andy have in his shed - does anyone
know?) I seem to remember that Martin Newell wrote an article for The
Independent (London) recently about his refusal to embrace new technology
and to go Online.

While we are on the subject of sacred cows. How about The White Album? Can
someone explain to me why this is one of the most praised Beatles albums? I
love the Beatles but I find The White Album to be just a mess of an album. I
know people are going to violently disagree with me on this one.

I don't think anyone has mentioned what the UK release date of Wasp Star/
AV2 is yet. I assume it's going to be the same week of the US release. Is
this correct?

Huw Davies

Any of the statements or comments made above should be regarded as personal
and not necessarily those of the National Assembly for Wales/Office of the
Secretary of State for Wales, any constituent part or connected body.

------------------------------

End of Chalkhills Digest #6-65
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