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Saturday, 20 June 2015

Alphabet Beats #162: X is for....XTC

X is for....

For James Newall - one of the the biggest XTC fans I know.

Swindon is not exactly a place known as a hive of rock and roll activity but it's the spotlight of today's Alphabet Beats as we turn our attention there and specifically toward XTC.

Formed in 1972 by Colin Moulding (bass and vocals) and Terry Chambers (drums) with the addition of Andy Partridge on guitar they managed to get in the NME as The Helium Kidz, an up and coming band from Swindon that played Glam Rock heavily influenced by the New York Dolls! Barry Andrews joined the band in 1976 on keyboards and shortly after they were reneamed XTC.

I still have vivid memories of when I first saw and heard XTC. The hearing was a John Peel Session in June of 1977 and the seeing would be a few months later on a Friday Tea Time Kids show called Magpie on ITV. They played 'Science Friction' and afterwards it was announced that they had just released the song as part of the 3D EP. I can remember rushing down to Sydenham High Street to the record shop Treble Clef and getting there 5 minutes before they were due to close for the night and handed the money over for a nice 12" that contained three songs, the already mentioned 'Science Friction' on the A- Side and on the B-Side 'She's So Square' and 'Dance Band'.

Whilst there were a few more singles of theirs that I loved ('Life Begins at the Hop' especially) and a first few albums I kind of lost interest in them and only within the past five years ago actually sat down and listened to a number of the albums that I seemed to go over my head when they were first released. I wouldn't say everything in their catalogue appeals to me but I think they are a band worthy of further investigation if you've never really heard much beyond the hit singles.

There's lots of music here so click on the links to enjoy the sound of Swindon's most famous sons, XTC.

The Albums
    White Music (1978)
    Go 2 (1978)
    Drums and Wires (1979)
    Black Sea (1980)
    English Settlement (1982)
    Mummer (1983)
    The Big Express (1984)
    25 O'Clock (1985, as the Dukes of Stratosphear)
    Skylarking (1986)
The Compact XTC (1987)
    Psonic Psunspot (1987, as the Dukes of Stratosphear)
Chips From the Chocolate Fireball (1987, as The Dukes of Stratosphear)
    Oranges and Lemons (1989)

Selected Singles

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