September 28 street date. Following seven years of enforced silence due to contractual disputes with Virgin Records, XTC returned in 1999 with its own label (Idea) and an album which many fans consider to be the band's finest recording: "Apple Venus Volume I". A stunning selection of songs, mostly acoustic and enhanced by subtle orchestral arrangements, it was in some ways different to what anyone might have expected from the band yet, in hindsight, the logical progression and culmination of musical ideas signposted via songs such as "Chalkhills & Children" and "Wrapped in Grey".
September 28 street date. First single LP edition of "Wasp Star". While not as strikingly different as "Apple Venus Vol. I", "Wasp Star" was intended as the "other part" of that album and writing sessions and was subtitled "Apple Venus Vol. II". The song-writing had matured immeasurably from the band's 1977 "White Music" debut, but the early promise of an innovative, fresh, approach to the possibilities of pop song-writing and recording inherent in that debut had been carried through every album of the band's career with "Wasp Star" merely the latest, possibly last, instalment.
Available now. XTC's ever popular Todd Rundgren produced classic "Skylarking", available on a single vinyl 200 gram LP with all 15 tracks for the first time ever. The original LP didn't include "Dear God", which originated as the b-side of a single. After "Dear God" became a hit, the track "Mermaid Smiled" was dropped to include "Dear God" to the album. This new edition includes both of those tracks along with classics such as "Grass", "The Meeting Place", and "Earn Enough For Us". "Skylarking" is considered by many to be one of XTC's finest albums.
September 13 street date. • Black Sea – XTC’s classic fourth album, filled with singles, packed with confidence and as brimming with sing-able tunes as it was when first released in September 1980. Pressed on 200gram super-heavyweight vinyl for the best possible audio reproduction.
October 25 street date. • English Settlement is the fifth studio album and first double album by the XTC. It marked a turn towards the more pastoral pop songs that would dominate later XTC releases, with an emphasis on acoustic guitar, 12-string electric guitar and fretless bass. • Pressed on 200gram super-heavyweight vinyl for the best possible audio reproduction. While looking for the (at this point still “lost in the archives”) multi-track tapes to enable Steven Wilson to undertake new stereo & 5.1 surround mixes of the album, the original half inch master tapes were discovered. These tapes were used as source masters from which engineer John Dent cut new lacquers for this heavyweight vinyl edition. An album which set standards in 1982 on release sounds, if anything, even better now. Originally issued as a now sold out deluxe 2LP set, this standard edition is the fifth in a series of 200gram vinyl releases joining Black Sea, Skylarking, Apple Venus & Wasp Star, with further releases planned for 2020.
May 13 street date. Unavailable for decades on LP and with its original, but never used, sleeve art restored, "Mummer" becomes the eleventh XTC studio album to be reissued on high grade audiophile vinyl. "Mummer" was another turning point for the band as it marked their first release as a studio only band. Evolving from the brash, post-punk/pop of their first two albums "White Music" and "Go2" into one of the most highly regarded of British bands of the era via a trio of essential albums - "Drums And Wires", "Black Sea", "English Settlement" - which showcased the increasing versatility of both band and the twin songwriters, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding. But even the comparatively quieter/more considered "English Settlement" was very much an album of songs written with one ear for the studio and another for how they would work live. "Mummer" was different. Freed from the constraints of "the road", this was XTC in widescreen - experimenting with songs, arrangements and the expanded sonic palette that studios can provide when there is no afterthought as to how to reproduce the material in a variety of theatres, university halls and other venues few, if any, of which were built with rock groups in mind.
June 24 street date. XTC's 1978 classic debut album "White Music", newly cut from masters by Jason Mitchell at LOUD mastering and approved by Andy Partridge. "I wanted it to sound like hearing Johnny & The Hurricanes' ‘Red River Rock’ as heard on a fairground ride through a cranked up PA speaker or like Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band playing bubblegum music" - Andy Partridge. Containing more energy than a fully functioning power plant, "White Music"'s pop via punk was more like ? and the Mysterians channeling The Stooges and The Lemon Pipers than Brit Punk. The playing was tight (yes, the band could play), the tunes were strong, the lyrics clever, John Leckie's production kept the sound direct and ‘in your face’ (or should that be ears?) and even the sole cover version on the album was, in that period, a brave choice; a Dylan song and not just any Dylan song but a trippy, dub influenced ‘All Along the Watchtower’. "White Music" neatly encapsulates the frenetic nature of the post-punk/new wave period, a time when bands such as XTC could issue two singles and two albums in under twelve months while maintaining a full schedule of gigs reached in poor transport, frequently followed by poorer accommodation and along with all of the accompanying press and promo requirements, all in order to build an audience.
October 11 street date. • XTC as The Dukes – From Psychedelic Pswindon – the complete recordings in stereo and 5.1 Psurround Psound • 25 o’Clock and Psonic Psunspot newly mixed in stereo by Steven Wilson, with mixes approved by Andy Partridge (CD & Blu-Ray) • Both albums + 2 extra tracks also newly mixed in 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson on Blu-Ray (with a final song up-mixed to surround using the Penteo audio system) • All 19 songs appear in their original mixes in hi-res stereo (Blu-Ray)• 18 songs appear in their new mixes in hi-res stereo (Blu-Ray)]• Complete demos from both albums & instrumental versions of album songs also feature in hi-res stereo on the Blu-Ray. . . . As if six stellar XTC albums in ten years including two double LPs, in an era when the advent of digital technology and CDs left many artists struggling to issue one or two albums in the same period, wasn’t enough, the band also issued two albums under completely different names as The Dukes of Stratosphear, an unashamedly psychedelic ensemble which phased and flanged in and out of existence in 1985 and 1987 respectively… (Though rumours continue to circulate of an earlier proto Merseybeat/Brit Blues incarnation of the band under yet another name..) Psurroundabout Ride gathers all of the Dukes’ material, with both albums remixed in stereo and 5.1 surround by Steven Wilson and mixes approved by Andy Partridge. No need for mushrooms, simply position yourself between 6 speakers, play the blu-ray, relax and float downstream, as the music takes you to places unimagined, even in the original summer of love…
October 11 street date. • XTC as The Dukes – From Psychedelic Pswindon on 200 gram vinyl – Their first album… The story – at least according to the press releases – is a familiar one. XTC, as a non-touring band, between the recording/release of The Big Express and Skylarking, adopted the alter egos of The Dukes of Stratosphear and set about writing and recording 25 o’Clock,, partying like it was 1967 and stereo phasing had just been popularised. With a clutch of songs as tuneful as Sgt. Pepper’s, guitars cranked up like a Kinks Pye b-side, the collective knowledge of a bunch of psych’s keenest fanboys and the engineering skills of John Leckie… the resulting album sits somewhere in the pantheon of greatness between Evolution, Their Satanic Majesties Request and S.F.Sorrow…
October 11 street date. • XTC as The Dukes – From Psychedelic Pswindon on 200 gram vinyl – Their second and seminal, final album…. How to follow a masterpiece like Skylarking? Well, in the slightly longer term, the answer would be with albums that were every bit as good – Oranges & Lemons and Nonsuch but, in the immediate aftermath of Skylarking and, as an album which was, in sales terms, a slow burner whose peak sales came many months after its initial release, XTC retreated to their alter egos, not as caped crime fighters patrolling the mean streets of Swindon but, as pstalwarts of psychedelia echoing the spirit of ’67 with Psonic Psunspot, ten perfectly formed songs of psignificance, culminating in Pale and Precious - one of the best songs of the decade – (80s or 60s depending upon how you want to carbon date these things..)