Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US

When looking out these CDs to photograph for this post, and looking back on previous VersionCrazy posts for XTC… I was surprised to find nothing other than a passing mention in the ‘Machines’ 1980 compilation album on Virgin! How could I have managed not to feature this wonderful band in any detail in the 14 years of the blog so far? Anyway, what was exercising me was the various versions of a later period single, from when the band’s star was much higher stateside than in their native UK – ‘King For A Day’.

XTC 'King For A Day' UK and US CD singles front cover designs
^ XTC ‘King For A Day’ UK and US CD singles front cover designs

Lifted from 1989’s glossy album production, ‘Oranges and Lemons’, it seemed a fairly surefire selection from the album’s tracks as a radio-pleasing drive-time number in much the same style as Tears For Fears has scored a few years earlier with ‘Everybody Wants To Rule The World’ – it has quite a resemblance to that track. What’s interesting here is that there were major differences between the UK and US releases – the American release also saw fit to procure some radically changed remixes of the song for its outing. Continue reading “Side by side: XTC ‘King For A Day’ CD singles UK/US”

Simple Minds – ‘X5’ UK/EU CD Box Set (Virgin, SMBOX2 / 50999 956473 2 6, 2012)

Bang for buck, in a world that has seen a proliferation of Simple Minds box sets and re-issues in numerous varieties (from budget no frills to kitchen sink ‘n’ all), this modest set from 2012, ‘X5’, was an instant go-to when announced.

Simple Minds 'X5' CD Box Set edition - box front
^ Simple Minds ‘X5’ CD Box Set edition – box front

Gathering together the first five Simple Minds albums (should be six if you count the pair from 1981 separately) with a small selection of bonus tracks on each and simplified facsimiles of the original cover art, it was a budget proposition when released but one which soon disappeared from the shelves and for which you might well be asked reasonable sums for now if you were to need a copy. The replica sleeves are just the outer sleeves and there is no accompanying booklet – but as a way to scoop up those early, seminal albums and good deal of bonus B side and extended mixes, you can’t go wrong with this set – it’s a pity it has not remained on catalogue longer.
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Button badge goodness: Landscape

A few 1981 vintage badges from Landscape… they had a short time in the glare of popularity – ushered in by association with the New Romantic / Futurist / Blitz / Scene With No Name (call it what you will) movement, with a run of singles (‘European Man’, ‘Einstein A Go-Go’ and ‘Norman Bates’ plus the parent album, ‘From The Tea Rooms Of Mars… To The Hell Holes Of Uranus’ and Richard James Burgess who seemed to be man about town and would seemingly appear here, there and everywhere at one point (such as production duties for other New Romantic scenesters Spandau Ballet and Hot Gossip, amongst others. The follow-up album, ‘Manhattan Boogie Woogie’ and subsequent singles as the slimmed down line-up of Landscape III failed to continue the success… but are worth checking out, nevertheless. A modest set of lapel-enhancing love for Landscape… enjoy nonetheless!

Landscape button badges
^ Landscape button badges

Continue reading “Button badge goodness: Landscape”

Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD (Vap, 85018-25, 1987)

In a comment on my previous Danielle Dax post about the ‘Yummer Yummer Man’/‘Fizzing Human Bomb’ single, PostPunkMonk absolutely nailed it about Dax with his customary pinpoint accuracy and brevity – “a talent with no fear and ideas to spare”. No better example of that than this curious release, ‘The Chemical Wedding’, which was a mini-album release in Japan only (mini-album I presume, based on its duration) at the tail end of 1987 at The Venue, in Aberdeen. A curio in that it features various tracks that were originally unique and later would re-appear in re-recorded/remixed form over the next couple of years, making this a desirable item to track down for the version crazy completist Dax fans amongst you. (Assuming that’s not just me then!)

Danielle Dax - 'The Chemical Wedding' Japanese CD - front cover design and disc label with folded insert in jewel case
^ Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD – front cover design and disc label with folded insert in jewel case

I didn’t come by this release at the time though, only much later. I had been able to see Danielle Dax live in November 1987 on a brief UK tour, a great show it was too, the experience something else altogether. Earlier in 1987 was when the ‘Inky Bloaters’ album came out, to some degree of celebration in the music press, it’s fair to say – so, subsequently getting a chance to see the live show in due course, even better.

This release passed by my radar though – perhaps no surprise, as it had no UK equivalent. Seems to have been released in November of that year and when I did find out about it, much later, I assumed it was a straightforward singles A and B sides mopping-up compilation from foreign climes, just the type I like… There was no discogs.com nor eBay to easily find out details back then. But this release was much more than that, as it turns out… a treat for Danielle’s fan base in Japan, since it contains unique versions of ‘Cat-House’ and ‘Whistling For His Love’ and early dibs on ‘Touch Piggy’s Eyes’ and ‘Olamal’, which wouldn’t get releases elsewhere until 1988 and 1995 respectively. And let’s get one thing clear from the off – Dax B sides contain some incredible songs. That 1987 gig at The Venue in Aberdeen and the transformed version of ‘Up In Arms’ a good example – a sonic juggernaut when taking flight in live performance. Continue reading “Danielle Dax – ‘The Chemical Wedding’ Japanese CD (Vap, 85018-25, 1987)”