Tones On Tail – ‘Weird Pop’ UK/US compilation album (Beggars Banquet, BBQLP 2081, 2011)

This is the most recent release in the line of Tones On Tail compilations that have emerged over the years, each of which have somehow or other managed to cast about in the rather slim collection of the band’s recorded material to draw from and repackage into something of appeal. This time out, the draw includes some previously unreleased versions which have been rooted out from the archives, some new sleevenotes from the ever accurate and illuminating Bauhaus archivist Andrew J Brooksbank, and detailed musician/instrument credits for each track (a first).

A vinyl only release in physical format, it wasn’t around for long and commands high figures on the second-hand market now, so if the unreleased versions sound tempting then your best bet is to take a look at one of the digital download vendors in the first instance.

Tones On Tail - 'Weird pop' compilation LP front cover design
^ Tones On Tail – ‘Weird pop’ compilation LP front cover design – design by Glenn Campling

Those otherwise unavailable versions to be found on here for the first time  are… Continue reading “Tones On Tail – ‘Weird Pop’ UK/US compilation album (Beggars Banquet, BBQLP 2081, 2011)”

David Sylvian compilations across the years – Part 1

Compilation albums from your favourite artists – do you like them, do you find them a waste of time? In many cases, where the proliferation of them becomes so vast that you can barely tell one from another (and I’m thinking, for example, of Gary Numan here, or Tears For Fears – damn it, Japan’s Hansa Records era has been well and truly milked over the years too with countless budget label compilations), you lose all track. For this post though, I’m  going to look at a handful of David Sylvian compilation  releases – and this really is the opposite end of the spectrum from the previous example. These are clearly very carefully curated and bring a lot to the table in what they offer by way of tracks not found elsewhere. ‘Everything and Nothing’ in particular I would consider to be a vital piece of the catalogue that has so much going for it.

‘Everything and Nothing’ (3CD digipak limited edition)

From 1982 onwards, David Sylvian’s solo and collaborative releases were released by Virgin Records and it seems only fair to say that he enjoyed a supportive relationship with the label. But by the year 2000, the deal was reaching its end and as Sylvian himself has acknowledged in interviews, he had his final chance to peruse the Virgin archives of his material from 1980 onwards – the results of that would inform the two compilations ‘Everything and Nothing’ (principally vocal material solo and in collaboration) and ‘Camphor’ (primarily instrumental material, again solo and in collaboration). Neither of these could by any means fit the ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation album template.

‘Everything and Nothing’ was available as a three disc limited edition initially and a standard two disc edition.

David Sylvian - 'Everything and Nothing' UK/EU 3xCD edition front cover
^ David Sylvian – ‘Everything and Nothing’ UK/EU 3xCD edition front cover

What is/was unique to this compilation?

In short, lots! Sylvian took advantage of this opportunity to rescue some tracks which been intended for the previous year’s ‘Dead Bees On A Cake’ album (and from earlier sessions too) but which had been left off due to being unfinished. If that gives off a hint of ‘leftovers’ of a second rate nature, let me just say that in ‘The Scent Of Magnolia’ and ‘Cover Me With Flowers’ we had top-drawer Sylvian material on offer – not to be missed. Elsewhere, several cuts were newly remixed from their original releases. Continue reading “David Sylvian compilations across the years – Part 1”

Side-by-side: Bill Nelson ‘Eros Arriving’ UK 7″ and double-pack 7″ (Mercury WILL 4 / WILL 44, 1982)

One of my all time favourite singles/EPs, this release just has so much going for it on many, levels. First off, the A side is a great song – and this somewhat meatier and beatier ‘rock’ arrangement is significantly different from the rhythm-machine-driven more minimal album version, by comparison. Secondly, the three extra tracks spread across the double-pack single are all top drawer Bill Nelson work and could equally have deserved a place on the contemporary ‘The Love That Whirls’ album, no question about it. Thirdly, that sleeve design – elegantly minimal, the early ’80s aesthetics that Bill exhibited were highly influential and this simple yet stylish choice of colourways was a winner.

Bill Nelson - 'Eros Arriving' UK 7" and double-pack 7" side-by-side front cover colourways
^ Bill Nelson – ‘Eros Arriving’ UK 7″ and double-pack 7″ side-by-side front cover colourways

Poring over the credits for both this single and the ‘The Love That Whirls’ album give some details away. On the single, the A side version of ‘Eros Arriving’ is credited as being produced by Chris Hughes and Bill Nelson and all instruments played by Bill Nelson with the exception of drums, played by Merrick. For the uninitiated, Chris Hughes and Merrick are on and the same person – Merrick the nom de plume of Chris Hughes as of one of the Adam and the Ants drummers of 1980-1981. And Chris Hughes more famously associated as producer and band member of Tears For Fears. Another name cropping up in those credits is Dave Bates, long-time A&R man at the Phonogram label and again a major crossover with Tears For Fears, having discovered and been long involved behind the scenes with them. Bates I believe was the A&R connection that go Bill Nelson on Mercury in 1981 and rescued ‘Quit Dreaming And Get On The Beam’ from its fate as the EMI-scrapped second Red Noise album. The Adam and the Ants connection doesn’t just stop with Chris Hughes/Merrick though – ‘Haunting In My Head’ features Bogdan Wiczling on drums, originally with the sadly neglected Fingerprintz, he would go on to join as drummer with Adam Ant in 1982 through 1985. Continue reading “Side-by-side: Bill Nelson ‘Eros Arriving’ UK 7″ and double-pack 7″ (Mercury WILL 4 / WILL 44, 1982)”

New Musik – ‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ version craziness

After discovering Gary Numan in 1979 and John Foxx and Ultravox in 1980, New Musik were also one of the earliest electronic bands I really liked, but while they had some initial hits, I always felt they got a raw deal and their arc of acclaim was cut all too short. Because sonically – and lyrically, as the world we inhabit pans out in ever more alarming ways – New Musik were well ahead of the curve and you can hear echoes of the sound that they were mining, particularly on the ‘Warp’ album, in the likes of the dusky, shimmering sonic heaven of the wonderful Ulrich Schnauss in more contemporary times, for example.

New Musik - ‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ UK 7” single (promo version)
^ New Musik – ‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ UK 7” single (promo version)

Continue reading “New Musik – ‘The Planet Doesn’t Mind’ version craziness”

Japan ‘Japan’ US compilation album (Virgin/Epic ARE 37914, 1982)

The third in a series looking at US albums compiled by cherry-picking a couple of already released UK albums to create something else – we started with O.M.D. by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark, then on to Heaven 17 – this time it’s yet another Virgin records act and again a self-titled compilation, with Japan.

Japan 1982 US compilation LP front cover
^ Japan 1982 US compilation LP front cover

Continue reading “Japan ‘Japan’ US compilation album (Virgin/Epic ARE 37914, 1982)”