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XTC...What should i start with?

Old 07-22-04, 09:18 PM
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XTC...What should i start with?

I've heard a few of their songs ("making plans for Nigel", "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love") i also really liked Andy Partidge's theme song for "Wonderfalls" "I Wonder Why The Wonderfalls," i downloaded on iTunes. I'm planning on buying a album or two this weekend. What should i start with? And what other band recommendations do you have?
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Old 07-22-04, 09:33 PM
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Oranges and Lemons
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Old 07-22-04, 09:41 PM
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The album that got me into XTC was English Settlement. At the moment it's one of the few albums in my collection that I would be RILLY TRULY pissed if taken away from me (at least for the time being). Since then, I've bought White Music, Black Sea, and Mummer. I think that each of these albums are aces, though XTC went through more phases than many other bands I can think of. Their earlier stuff, say maybe up to Drums and Wire, is jittery post-punk, akin to the Talking Heads '77 and More Songs About Buildings and Food. English Settlement and Skylarking (one that I'm warming up to after initially despising it) are more influenced by the likes of the Beatles and the Beach Boys (Skylarking esp.). That's as far up as I've gone with them so far, but I put my full weight behind English Settlement.
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Old 07-22-04, 09:54 PM
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I think Black Sea is a pretty good starting point since it falls between their earlier/edgier work and the lusher pop sound they took on in the mid 80's & beyond. Out of the 6 or so Xtc albums I have, I'd say English Settlement probably is the best one.
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Old 07-22-04, 10:30 PM
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Out of the ones that I've heard in full, I'd recommend Skylarking and Oranges and Lemons (especially the latter - I can't say enough good things about it). Man, that's some great stuff.
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Old 07-22-04, 11:06 PM
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believe it or not, my first exposure to XTC was Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) - which despite lukewarm reviews from critics and fans, I happen to really like.
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Old 07-23-04, 12:02 AM
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Thanks guys. I think i'll start with English Settlement and Oranges and Lemons, but it depends maybe there will be some used copies so i can increase my CD purchasing capabilities.
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Old 07-23-04, 01:52 AM
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Though all their stuff is good, and I've owned most of it at one time or another, I recommend their "Fossil Fuel" CDs, gives you a taste of all their many "moods"

-Gunshy
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Old 07-23-04, 08:40 AM
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My first XTC album was Drums and Wires, which started me off pretty well. I guess that or Black Sea would be a good place to start. Never heard Fossil Fuel, but I really like Waxworks (an earlier singles collection). I sorta lost interest in them around the time Skylarking came out.
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Old 07-23-04, 09:17 AM
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Apple Venus 1
Big Express
Skylarking

Skylarking is the most accessible and successful release.

I started with English Settlement ... on vinyl quite a long time ago.

The Big Express has always been my favorite. But Apple Venus 1 has been creeping up to the top.

AMG also gives Apple Venus 1 high marks.

I would recommend Skylarking as the XTC primer.
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Old 07-23-04, 09:24 AM
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I'd say "Skylarking". Wow, this is tough. Actually, for a newbie I would definitely consider getting "Waxworks" which is their early singles in one happy spot. That is if you don't plan on purchasing most of their albums. That stuff is amazing. You won't go wrong with pretty much anything in the 80's. "Oranges and Lemons" was one of their more popular discs, but I don't like it as much as what came before.
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Old 07-23-04, 09:30 AM
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I'll be in the minority and agree with Poink -- I think "Black Sea" is a very accessible album and does a pretty decent job encapsulating that era of their career. I have all of XTC's albums and a terrifying number of compilations, live material, and side projects (the only band I have more CDs by is They Might Be Giants), and "Black Sea" gets more play than anything else they've done. I also greatly enjoy "English Settlement" (though I wouldn't recommend it as a starting point), "Nonsuch", the Apple Venus discs, and, if you count the Dukes, "Chips from the Chocolate Fireball".

There are a number of songs I really enjoy on "Oranges and Lemons" and "Skylarking", but I don't care for them as albums...I don't really like to listen to them from start to finish. Despite owning these for a not-completely-insubstantial number of years, I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've listened to "Go2", "Mummer", and "The Big Express".

Although I know this is considered heretical, I would recommend considering picking up a compilation, like "Fossil Fuel" or "The Upsy Daisy Assortment". The latter is what's responsible for turning me into a rabid XTC fan.
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Old 07-23-04, 09:59 AM
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Originally posted by Adam Tyner
Although I know this is considered heretical, I would recommend considering picking up a compilation, like "Fossil Fuel" or "The Upsy Daisy Assortment".
I don't think that's heretical at all. While I own most of their complete discs, I think XTC was best as a singles band. That's saying a lot because they also were great at full recordings.
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Old 07-23-04, 02:09 PM
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I'd also agree that "Upsy Daisy Assortment" is an excellent way to go with XTC, some of their uneven albums have a few marvelous songs on them and this is just a great best of collection. If you're looking for a sample album, I have to agree that "Skylarking" is the best -- marvelous concept album and beautiful songs. I feel like listening to it right now, actually.
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Old 07-23-04, 06:03 PM
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White Music is their 2nd and their best album.

You can get an expanded version of the cd with a bunch of great bonus tracks.
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Old 07-23-04, 07:05 PM
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Originally posted by slop101
White Music is their 2nd and their best album.
"Go2" is their second album. "White Music" is their first, unless you're counting an EP or something.
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Old 07-25-04, 01:45 AM
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Tough call. I love all their stuff and they're easily one of my top 25 bands.


I first heard Beeswax/Waxworks and they were good comps.

Then I heard Drums & Wires, Black Sea and English Settlement. All excellent.

Then came Skylarking. One of my all time favorite albums. Mrs. Pusser also loves this one.

Oranges & Lemons is good, but a little more lightweight.

Big Express and Mummer have some excellent songs, but I never loved those two albums as much others say they do.

If you like 60's music it's fun to spot the influences in the Dukes of Stratosphere. That disc is pure fun. I didn't know much about 60's music when I first got it so it's been fun over the years to hear bands and think I'd heard the sound on that disc first.
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Old 07-26-04, 02:36 PM
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Big Express

Seagulls screaming, kiss her kiss her
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Old 07-26-04, 03:11 PM
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... And by the half light of burning republics
Joe Stalin looks just like Uncle Sam

Very thought provoking lyric.
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Old 07-26-04, 04:30 PM
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IMHO, I'd go in this order:

1. Skylarking
2. Wasp Star: Apple Venus Vol. 2
3. Oranges and Lemons
4. Dukes of Stratosphear: Chips from the Chocolate Fireball
5. Black Sea
6. Nonsuch
7. English Settlement
8. Apple Venus Vol. 1
9. Mummer
10. The Big Express
11. Drums and Wires
12. White Noise
13. Go2

Also, let me throw a vote in for their live "BBC in Concert" disc. Really good representation of their earlier material in a rockin' live setting.
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Old 07-26-04, 07:53 PM
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Originally posted by anglagard

Also, let me throw a vote in for their live "BBC in Concert" disc. Really good representation of their earlier material in a rockin' live setting.
I typically don't care for live albums, but you are right. This recording is great and makes me feel kind of sad that Andy has stage fright. You don't hear it on this disc.
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Old 08-02-04, 01:50 PM
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Too late, probably, but I'll echo the suggestion for starting out with one of their "hits" discs as they varied stylistically through the years. I find that their later albums, while having some great, great songs, are more uneven.
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Old 08-02-04, 02:09 PM
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Since this thread was started I've been itching to hear Skylarking again - I had always just listened to my brother's copy.

How are the remasters that came out a while ago? Is there much improvement in the sound? Any bonus stuff? Or am I better off saving my money by finding a used copy of Skylarking in good condition?
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Old 08-02-04, 06:12 PM
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I just listened to Skylarking today, actually. But I don't think that was one of the re-issues. I think, and I could be wrong, that the only three remasters are English Settlement, Go 2, and Black Sea (unless yr talking about some older stuff that I'm not familiar with). I think that a used and well-kept copy of Skylarking would be fine.

Is Oranges and Lemons OOP? I can't find it in any stores.
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Old 08-02-04, 07:57 PM
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Actually I think their whole back catalog has been remastered in the last two years or so. There's two different versions of them, regular jewel case ones and ones from Japan that come in cardboard sleeves that have the original vinyl packaging / lyric sheet. They only cost $1 more, so those are the ones I get. Both types are remastered and sound the same, so it's just an aesthetic difference. I have:

Drums and Wires
Black Sea
Mummer
English Settlement
Skylarking
Nonsuch

and I've seen all the other albums minus the Apple Venus discs in this style. Every Borders I've been to seems to have a few of them, but I think I got the Japanese Mummer at a Best Buy.
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