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XTC - Black Sea
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65714 Jap-01 175:-)

XTC's fourth album showed the full flower of their two-guitar lineup, begun on the previous DRUMS AND WIRES. Perhaps their most powerfully rocking work, the songs were no less compelling live. Unfortunately, as touring began in support of the release, leader Andy Partridge's long-standing stage fright blossomed into immobilizing panic, forcing the band to permanently retire from the stage. Their palette was continuing to expand sonically and Steve Lillywhite's production made the most of every towering beat and rhythmic nuance.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 3 Bonus Tracks
XTC - Drums and Wires
(EMI Toshiba TOCP/65713 Jap-01 175:-)

This third album marks a significant personnel change for XTC. Organist Barry Andrews departed and was replaced by guitarist Dave Gregory. While neither of the two wrote songs for the band, the change effectively removed the most "New Wave" element in XTC's original sound, ultimately setting the stage for a magnificent sonic expansion over the following several albums.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 3 Bonus Tracks
XTC - English Settlement
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65715 Jap-01 175:-)

Any doubt's about XTC's abilities and directions following their permanent withdrawal from live performance after the release of BLACK SEA were cast aside when this album appeared in 1982. Originally released as a double album (and subsequently formatted onto a single CD), it marked the dawning of their more pastoral phase. However, far from setting aside their rocking grooves, they now came wrapped in a softer blanket, of more intricate arrangements.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
XTC - Go 2
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65712 Jap-01 175:-)

With their second album XTC was already showing signs of outgrowing their own clothing. Similar in style and content to their debut WHITE MUSIC, GO 2 features a less brittle production and, perhaps most notably, comes packaged in a design which finds the group standing apart from and commenting on the market forces meant to convey their music to the public. XTC were clearly at a crossroads with this album, a situation borne out by their subsequent releases which moved them further away from any accidental peers of the era, and into the ongoing tapestry of pop music. Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding's songwriting skills were in evidence from the beginning, and this album found XTC doing exactly what those songs needed. Those needs, however were to soon change, and this album marks the end of the band's brief "New Wave" era.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 1 Bonus Track
XTC - Mummer
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65716 Jap-01 175:-)

Having fully settled into their retirement from touring, this was XTC's second album since leaving the stage for good. With none of the songs having developed in live performance, their studio inclinations were given full range to go where they might. MUMMER opens with the African rhythms of "Beating Of Hearts," with things then immediately turning intimate and pastoral as Colin Moulding's "Wonderland" drifts in like a falling leaf. Andy Partridge delivered a few novel takes on familiar themes of love and longing with "Love On a Farmboy's Wages" and "Great Fire." The album also closes with his "Funk Pop A Roll," which ironically starts a dance party right when it's time to leave.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 6 Bonus Tracks
XTC - Nonsuch
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65720 Jap-01 175:-)

XTC's NONSUCH falls somewhere between the high-polish shine of ORANGES & LEMONS and the pastoral reverie of SKYLARKING. The album also marked the end of the band's dealings with their original label, the beginning of protracted legal maneuverings, and a seven-year gap in releases (which ended with APPLE VENUS VOLUME ONE in 1999). The generous total of 17 songs was also the result of the three-year recording gap preceding it.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
XTC - Oranges and Lemons
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65719 Jap-01 175:-)

Using a 60s Milton Glaser-type cover illustration, this purported to be a retro album. In reality it was another extremely fine XTC album, their ninth in a series of classy, offbeat pop exercises from the musically fertile brain of Andy Partridge, who hated touring and loved to stay at home as a reclusive pop star. This is probably their best album and features Partridge's most complete and satisfying song. "The Loving" and "The Mayor Of Simpleton" are both excellent compositions, but they pale against the exceptional "Chalkhills And Children." On this, Partridge celebrates that his home (the nearby chalkhills) and children keep him sane and well-grounded against the possible excesses to which he would succumb as a touring popster.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
XTC - Skylarking
(EMI Toshiba TOCP/65718 Jap-01 175:-)

Though borne out of frustrating circumstances, SKYLARKING proved, upon its 1986 release, to be XTC's biggest seller. Attention was spurred along by "Dear God," which was originally issued only as a B-side and not even included on the album. Subsequent pressings quickly substituted the song (removing "Mermaid Smiled," which resurfaced on RAG & BONE BUFFET). At the time, Andy Partridge was extremely vocal about the band's dissatisfaction in working with producer Todd Rundgren. Intervening years have softened the memory of personal clashes and he now also embraces this as one of their finest hours (as had been the case with most of their fans all along).

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 1 Bonus Track
XTC - The Big Express
(EMI Toshiba TOCP-65717 Jap-01 175:-)

In the XTC canon, THE BIG EXPRESS (1984) and its predecessor MUMMER are generally overlooked as merely the two albums between the more commercially successful ENGLISH SETTLEMENT and SKYLARKING. THE BIG EXPRESS is, in fact, a more consistent album--if only because it isn't quite as ambitious--and it contains at least two absolute classic XTC songs, "All You Pretty Girls" and "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her".

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 3 Bonus Tracks
XTC - White Music
(EMI Toshiba TOCP/65711 Jap-01 175:-)

This album stands as an effective summation of the punky exuberance particular to a parcel of British bands that all ended up sailing across the ocean to America and were captured under the marketing flag of New Wave. XTC was one of the best of the lot and their continued artistic growth is testament to their devotion to music over punk ethos or the dictates of commerce.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 7 Bonus Tracks
Y.M.O. - Naughty Boys and Instrumentals
(SMEJ MHCL-210~1 Jap-03 300:-)

Although name-dropped less often than they deserve, Yellow Magic Orchestra boldly surfed the cutting edge of electronic pop at the beginning of the 1980s, and in their way were almost as influential as the much-revered Kraftwerk.

2CD remastered edition of 1983 albums feat Ryuichi Sakamoto & guest Bill Nelson (Be Bop Deluxe) on guitar.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve with 24 page booklet. After this pressing sold out the album was re-issued again in a jewel case with the same packaging as the European release.
Yamauchi, Tetsu / Kikyou
(Showboat SWAX-1006 Jap-12 250:-)

Tetsu Yamauchi (山内哲夫 ) is a Japanese bassist. In the late 1960s he played with Mickey Curtis and his band called Samurai. His involvement with Samurai led to him working as a session musician in both Tokyo and London. He became close friends with Ginger Baker and Alan Merrill. In 1972 he recorded the album "Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu and Rabbit" with Free guitarist Paul Kossoff and drummer Simon Kirke, together with keyboard player John "Rabbit" Bundrick. He subsequently joined Free for their final album. He then replaced Ronnie Lane in the Faces, and continued working as a session musician after the Faces broke up.

HiQuality Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Young, Neil - Road of Plenty
(Godfather BOX-04 EU-11 999:-)

Neil Young is rightly regarded as one of the most influential singer-songwriters, ranking with Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney in influence and prolificacy. And much like the other two, he has amassed an extensive archive of unpublished and unreleased songs.

"Road Of Plenty" is a 6CD Box Set of songs which have never been released (and probably never will). A majority are sourced from excellent live audience recordings (since that is the only source we have for them), but there are other excellent quality studio outtakes included as well.
Zappa, Frank - Baby Snakes
(Ryko VACK-1245 Jap-02 225:-)

The soundtrack to Zappa's "movie about people who do stuff that is not normal" features some of the man's trademark musical madness: quirky shifts of time signatures, style and mood, sterling instrumental work (featuring drummer Terry Bozzio, guitar ace Adrian Belew and '60s Zappa cohort Roy Estrada). The record is full of boisterous, sarcastic and sometimes soulful singing and Zappa continues his ruthless public defacement of all things shallow, greedy and vacuous in modern society. Warning: your parents might not like some words on this album. If you're a devoted Zappa fan, these early-'80s recordings are a must-have.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank - Joe's Garage, act 1
(Ryko VACK-1238 Jap-02 225:-)

Free from his Warner Bros contract, Frank Zappa was able to issue new albums as frequently as he liked, which would turn out to be very frequently. Six months after the release of the two-record set Sheik Yerbouti, he was ready with the first LP in a three-record set, a cautionary concept piece about the adventures of a musician named Joe. In Act I, Zappa continued his fascination with road stories, ethnic stereotypes ("Catholic Girls"), and bathroom activities ("Why Does It Hurt When I Pee?").

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank - Joe's Garage, act 2 & 3
(Ryko VACK-1239 Jap-02 225:-)

The superlative repackaging and remastering undertaken by Ryko has put the original three-part, two-record set of this magnificent nonsense tale together for the first time. This is back to the madness of Freak Out, with more pop and doo-wop bursting through all the complicated stuff, letting you know that Zappa could write a hit single, if he could be bothered to do so. Joe's Garage is a hoot and harmlessly pornographic. The sleeve-note states that it is "a stupid story about how the government is trying to do away with music." It is absolutely no coincidence that throughout, the listener mistakes the "scrutinizer" as the "scrotumizer." Zappa was that rude, and that funny.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank - Orchestral Favourites
(Ryko VACK-1237 Jap-02 225:-)

ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES contains five symphonic works written by Frank Zappa, performed by Zappa himself and his mid-'70s rhythm section with a full orchestra. Recorded at the Royce Hall in Los Angeles in 1975, ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES is similar to Zappa's other symphonic works (parts of BURNT WEENY SANDWICH, 200 MOTELS, etc.). The album was not released until four years later however, due to a skirmish with Warner Bros. Zappa wanted to release a three-record set entitled LATHER, which was to include material from ORCHESTRAL FAVORITES plus the other late-'70s releases SLEEP DIRT and STUDIO TAN. But Warner Bros. forced him to release the complete work as separate albums.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank - Ship arriving Too Late
(Ryko VACK-1243 Jap-02 225:-)

SHIP ARRIVING turned out to be Zappa's highest charting and most popular album of the '80s (its title is based on the album's cover artwork--a drawing by '50s artist Roger Price). The record's unexpected commercial success was due to the inclusion of the popular novelty song "Valley Girl," which featured Zappa's then-teenage daughter, Moon Unit, doing her best impersonation of a spoiled and obnoxious youngster. Besides "Valley Girl," the rest of SHIP ARRIVING TOO LATE TO SAVE A DROWNING WITCH is comprised of five tunes that are more representative of Zappa's usual work.

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank - The Man from Utopia
(Ryko VACK/1244 Jap-02 225:-)

By the '80s, Frank Zappa became known as a genius who hid a social conscience behind a biting sense of humor. No matter how crude the lyrics were, he was always making a point. Occasionally, however, he did like to just make a silly record, and THE MAN FROM UTOPIA is mighty silly. On "The Radio Is Broken," he roasts those really bad sci-fi movies that inhabit late night TV. "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats" tells what we can only hope is a fictional groupie story over free-jazz backing. Zappa could even write a funny instrumental, picking a baritone sax to handle the melody on "We Are Not Alone." UTOPIA also features an up-and-coming Steve Vai who had the unenviable task of transcribing and then doubling Zappa's vocal part on "The Dangerous Kitchen" and "The Jazz Discharge Party Hats".

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
Zappa, Frank / You are what You is
(Ryko VACK/1242 Jap-02 225:-)

YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS was Zappa's first album to feature vocals since the 1979 classic JOE'S GARAGE. Perhaps to make up for lost time, a variety of vocalists are featured throughout--Ike Willis, Ray White, Frank's daughter Moon and son Ahmet, Jimmy Carl Black, and of course, Zappa himself. Also of note is that YOU ARE WHAT YOU IS marks the fist appearance on a Zappa record by future guitar hero Steve Vai (who would later reach rock star status via short stints in the David Lee Roth band and Whitesnake).

Vinyl Replica Paper Sleeve
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