Thursday, February 14, 2013


From the 100 Influential Albums List

Song: Helicopter
Artist: XTC
Album: Drums and Wires

Admittedly, of the five records I got that I wasn't familiar with from the 100 Influential Albums list, this one... XTC's third album from 1979; "Drums and Wires," I've listened to the least.  I knew the stone-cold 80's classic and first track "Making Plans for Nigel" very very well, and maybe that's why I was always listening to this one last as it wasn't that new to me.  But the truth is, I'm very very unfamiliar with "Drums and Wires,"  and I realized with XTC in general.  (Part of the reason I picked it in the first place.)

Anyhow... not surprising is that the album is pretty great.  A rollicking, off-kilter, new wave testament that's very English and yes, very ahead of it's time.  I was three when the album came out, and I can't imagine what it must have been like as a music fan during this time.  It was the end of the 70's and all of these new types of music were emerging... a new decade was about to start... Possibilities.

My XTC experience is almost exclusively reduced to, aside from their most popular singles, their 1986 opus "Skylarking," which I've read was their big commercial grab, hooking up with American producer Todd Rundgren.  It turned out to be a great album (it was their ninth) and is considered one of their best along with this one here.

"Skylarking" in retrospect is much more precious and pointedly "odd" vs. just being "odd."  "Drums and Wires" in contrast comes off as odd without trying, it just is... which makes it seem not odd at all.  (?!?!)  Stop listening to me... just listen to the record.

"Nigel" is a classic of course and it's nice to hear it in the context of its time.  It might be the obvious standout to me right now, but listening this AM with full attention, I do hear the "classic-ness" of "Drums and Wires."  There's the manic, propulsive "Helicopter," the groovy slink of "Day In Day Out," and the very "Skylarking"-sounding first American single "Ten Feet Tall."  Great stuff.

I can't speak of XTC with much knowledge... they're just another great band I've always been more intrigued with, and always plan to get into more at some point.  If you're curious I'd say start here, it is rather good.


Ten Feet Tall
Making Plans for Nigel


samajax said...

Interesting series of posts Mister...Glad your still putting this out.

A long due greeting to you from

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