Cool Pop Thursday : Grass – XTC

If for no other reason than I managed to unexpectedly get a ticket to last night’s TC&I show at Swindon Art Centre here’s a reminder of just one of the great songs that XTC were responsible for. With TC&I only having a small arsenal of new material at their disposal, the bulk of the show was obviously made up from the extensive XTC back catalogue. Including this sweet little pop gem.

And as I spent the night in the company of the charming Sarah Palmer from Fassine it seems only appropriate to point you in the direction of their lovely XTC cover too.

 

 

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A quick chat with Colin Moulding

TCI-Photo-credit-Geoff-Winn-2Ahead of the upcoming run of TC&I shows at Swindon Arts Centre I managed to grab a quick chat with Colin Moulding about recent events, a return to treading the boards and what the future holds. This time last year I had spoken to him and Terry Chambers about the release of their e.p. Great Aspirations, so I was interested to know how we got from that record to full band live shows.

“A few reasons really, all those songs I wrote for XTC, when I had finished recording them I just had to wave goodbye to them and I thought it might be nice to hear them in a concert setting as a lot had never been heard that way. This coincided with Terry thinking shall we play some live shows on the back of these new recordings but of course we only had four new songs. I knew he wanted to get back out and play live, that’s how Terry best expresses himself. I thought, I can’t go the whole hog, I can’t go back to a touring lifestyle, I have commitments but I can go half way and  play some shows via a more considered approach.”

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TC&I goes live

thumbnailToday saw the announcement of some long-awaited news for many. After a 36-year wait, XTC’s COLIN MOULDING and TERRY CHAMBERS are announcing they will play series of live UK shows. After releasing their debut Great Aspirations‘ CD under the moniker TC&I ten months ago, songwriter and XTC co-frontman Colin Moulding and original XTC drummer Terry Chambers will play an exclusive mini-residency at the Swindon Arts Centre. More dates may follow.

2018 marks the 40-year anniversary of XTC’s first studio album ‘White Music’. In addition to their new material as TC&I, Moulding and Chambers plan to play a selection of the songs from the XTC catalogue written by Colin, several of which have never been played live due to the fact that the band stopped touring in 1982, not long before Chambers’ departure.

Top Ten Albums of The Year – 2017

stack_of_CDsPicking just ten albums out of the pack is always a tricky thing. This site has reviewed around 500 pieces of music this year from throw-away pop singles to album length progressive flights of fancy, from the well trodden grounds of classic rock to cutting edge experiments which are creating a whole new musical future. Add to that the fact that I am lucky enough to largely write about music I find interesting, which means if it even makes the page there is something I like about it. Anyway, below is 10 of the standouts of the year, I could write another 10 articles like this, but I won’t, better you explore the site and make your own mind up. Enjoy, comment, discuss and leave the cash in a brown envelope in the usual place! (I wish)

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T, C and me: A cup of tea and a chat with Colin Moulding and Terry Chambers

thumbnail-1With the E.P. Great Aspirations seeing Colin Mounding and Terry Chambers musically reunited, we sat down for a chat about all things TC&I, past, present and future, in that order. So the first question is to ask if it really was 1983 that the two last worked together musically?

“Yes, 1983 and then Terry left the country.” Which begs the obvious question of why get back together now? “Because it’s soul destroying working on your own,” Colin admits, “Terry came back into the country and we went out for a few drinks and I said, ‘Look I’m working on some stuff, do you fancy having a go?’ He said, ‘Yeah, that would be great,’ one thing led to another and before long we had an outfit and so we could record something. It’s just a need to be with other musicians and have fun, working alone is hard, you need that feedback from fellow musicians. Although I had a few tunes, the project didn’t really take on any solid purpose until Terry was involved.”

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Scene and Heard – CCXXIII : Scatter Me –  TC&I  (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

desktopThere have been many songs about what Mr Shakespeare so eloquently refered to as “shuffling off this mortal coil” and it is part of the human experience to muse on what happens after we are done with this life, but few, if any, have broached the subject so beautifully, so gently and so expertly wrapped up in a song which is also so pulsing and vibrant. It takes a special type of songwriter to weave such deft and delicate musical threads into such a wonderful design. It takes someone like Colin Moulding.

Scatter Me is the first public outing that sees him reunited with his fellow XTC rhythm section partner Terry Chambers and comes hot on the heels of a wonderful 4 track EP called Great Aspirations which by now you already own or which is in the post…I can really think of a third option. It is an e.p. which shows that whilst age may have led to a more reflective view of the world, the duo’s ability to put together wonderfully poignant songs, ones which root them to and very much reference the part of the world where they first learnt to be musicians together all those years ago, is undiminished.

Scatter Me considers the human contition and in a very humanist and slightly humourous way pictures an immortality that on reflection and in the bigger scheme of things, doesn’t seem so bad after all. Great to see you back chaps, you have been missed.

Great Aspirations – TC&I (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

largeIt is always difficult for musicians associated with a past name act to bring fresh music to the table without people trying to join dots and name check, extrapolate and reference, particularly if that previous act was one which rose over the years from mercurial pop outsiders to full blown national treasures. And so Colin Moulding and Terry Chamber’s first post-XTC collaboration arrives amid a flurry of speculation but I’m sure they want nothing better that to see this e.p. as a new start, a thing apart, a line drawn underneath the past rather than part of some fan envisaged ex-TC canon.

After all in many ways the sound of XTC was often defined by the guitar playoffs between Andy’s angular pop approach and Dave’s more florid musical statements so with that no longer part of the equation we get to fully appreciate Colin’s own English pop vision. And with so much to look back on from a certain point in the arc of life it is not surprising that it is a very reflective vision, Scatter Me dealing with the inevitability of returning to the mere building blocks of the universe but in doing so remaining part of the landscape you spent your life in and Greatness discussing the high aspirations of the e.p.s title.

Comrades of Pop is the track that will be most discussed by the fans and followers, probably more for lyrical content as for anything else. It is the sound of lines being very much drawn under the past, the squawk of cats amongst pigeons, the distant smell of smoke from bridges burning and a reflective overview which probably applies to any number of bands.

What Colin and Terry have created here is something tasteful, deftly wrought, restrained and wonderfully English, West Country…. Swindonian even, if you are close enough to get the references. It is in turns lyrically funny, emotive and poignant and falls into a sort of alternative pop territory that seems to be done so well in this country evoking the likes of Martin Newell and Billy Childish, perhaps not sonically but coming from a similar musical mindset. In short, triumph and hopefully merely the first chapter of a new musical novel.

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