XTC: Making Plans For Nigel (1979)
It’s generally a sign that a single has been a major success in the UK if it manages to find its way to New Zealand airwaves, and this was particularly true in the late seventies. MTV was still a few years away, but I remember seeing the video for “Making Plans For Nigel” on a weekly music show. Formed in 1972, XTC started life as a glam-rock band, before becoming caught up in the New Wave. Their years as a successful live act were numbered though, as lead singer Andy Partridge suffered from major stage-fright, reducing XTC to a studio-only band from 1982 until they called it a day in 2006.
The XX: VCR (2009)
The XX’s self-titled debut CD was released to universal praise in August 2009, and when they appeared on a small public square for Auckland’s Laneway festival in February 2010, they looked like they were still getting used to the idea of global acclaim. They were soon playing larger venues, having performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits by the end of 2010.
X: Arms For Hostages (1993)
X started with great promise, with their debut album being produced by Ray Manzarek, and their second album being named “Album Of The Year” by Rolling Stone, The New York Times, and others. I discovered X from a KCRW “Rare on Air” compilation from 1994, where they performed an acoustic version of “Arms for Hostages”, from their final album, 1993’s “Hey Zeus!”.
Xela: Afraid Of Monsters (2002)
I also found Xela through a compilation, this time an mix of electronica from Mojo. Xela’s mother refers to him as John Twells (I assume), and “Afraid Of Monsters” is the opening track from his 2003 debut “For Frosty Mornings and Summer Nights”. This is where my knowledge of Xela ends, but I read that he has an obsession with horror soundtracks. Sounds like fun; I’ll be looking for more.