Album of the Day: XTC (8/17/79)

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British quartet XTC is one of the best post-punk, New Wave pop-rock bands that never achieved any respectable level of commercial success. Although the band fared better in British record stores and on U.K. charts than in America, their upbeat, melodic and slightly quirky sound just couldn’t catch the market the way their peers did. Men At Work, The Police, Elvis Costello (in his early years), and other bands had similar, simple pop-rock sounds with varying degrees of punk-influenced edginess. They all found fame and fortune while XTC released seven albums (and one EP, one LP and one “best of” compilation under the pseudonym The Dukes Of The Stratosphear) from 1979 through 1989 with little commercial response. Many of those were heralded by critics, including Drums And Wires, which came out on August 17, 1979 with infectious singles “Making Plans For Nigel” and “Life Begins At The Hop.”  But those mid-level hits couldn’t propel the album, a similar result with another great XTC disc, 1980’s Black Sea (with singles “Towers Of London” and “Generals And Majors”). Drums And Wires is a favorite of mine. It’s available on Amazon and iTunes and “Making Plans For Nigel” is in the New Wave Sampler playlist in Dr. Rock’s Playlist Vault.

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