From wiki:-

Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2) is the fourteenth and final studio album by the English band XTC, released on Cooking Vinyl/Idea Records on 23 May 2000. It is the second volume of the Apple Venus set and reached the UK Top 40 albums chart.

At this point, guitarist and singer Andy Partridge and bassist and singer Colin Moulding were the only two band members left. The duo therefore utilised session musicians on every track to fill in the musical elements that they were incapable of performing themselves. Partridge’s daughter Holly made her singing debut on record singing backup vocals in the song “Playground”.

One single was lifted from the album and as such was the last ever XTC 45 to be given a physical release:-

mp3 : XTC – I’m the Man Who Murdered Love

As farewells go, it’s not that bad. It’s tuneful, catchy and radio-friendly. I certainly would have anticipated it charting if it had been written and recorded earlier in their career.

Here’s yer b-sides:-

mp3 : XTC – I’m the Man Who Murdered Love (home demo)
XTC – Didn’t Hurt A Bit (Home Demo)

Yup….I’ve failed again at the last hurdle. The home demo version of this Colin Moulding song was put on the final single but seems to have been lost in the midst of time for a more-fleshed out version that appeared on the compilation Coat Of Many Colours that was released in 2002 and whose sleevenotes revealed it was an outtake for the Nonsuch album back in 1991/92:-

mp3 : XTC – It Didn’t Hurt A Bit

One final postscript.

It seems XTC released a download only single in 2005 that was later included on a very limited box set entitled Apple Vinyls that was released in December 2006.

This box set consisted of thirteen 7 inch singles compiling the 23 tracks from Apple Venus [Volume One] and Wasp Star [Apple Venus Volume Two] together with three previously download-only songs – the afore-mentioned single Where Did The Ordinary People Go? plus Say It and Spiral.

Copies of Apple Vinyls now retail on the second-hand market for more than £200. I’ll round off the series with these as they did, technically, feature on 7″ vinyl:-

mp3 : XTC – Where Did The Ordinary People Go?
mp3 : XTC – Say It
mp3 : XTC – Spiral

The last of these seems a wholly appropriate and wonderful way to close off this series. A largely unheralded and little known number that encapsulates everything that made XTC such an important and essential part of music over a 30-year period and which could be the catechist for T(n)VV.

Spiral, torn from the tone arm
Waking up the track
Dormant in the black valley of the vinyl

Spiral, dug by the diamond
Running it around, turn it into sound
Entering my spinal

Got to play all my favourite 45’s
Stacked way up high
Well everyday I spin away my 45’s
Help me to fly

Spiral, ripped from the record
Roll into the room, dissipate the gloom
Happiness eternal
Spiral, pulled from the plastic
Angel choirboys, devilish the noise
Heavenly infernal

Got to play all my favourite 45’s
Ten thousand times
Every day I spin away my 45’s
Help me to climb up

Spiral, torn from the tone arm
Waking up the track
Dormant in the black, valley of the vinyl
Spiral, dug by the diamond
Running it around, turn it into sound
Entering my spinal

Got to play all my favourite 45’s
Oh how they give
Every day I spin away my 45’s
How else do I live?

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series.  Stayed tuned for news of who will be appearing next in this particular slot.


10 thoughts on “THE XTC SINGLES (Part 33)

  1. THANK YOU, JC. Been a fan of XTC for almost 40 years and truly appreciate the royal treatment they got–and deserved–right here on TnVV. What a fantastic series!

  2. Thanks for this series on XTC i’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and the comments. It also made me re visit the later releases again and they have really grown on me now

  3. great series and great one to end on .. After Apple Venus I thought Wasp Star was a bit of a disappointment. However not heard the extra tracks before and really like them.

  4. Thanks JC, this was 6+ months of pure Sunday joy!
    Wasp Star suffers from the programming of Apple Venus Vol. 1 being just so spectacular. There really isn’t a bad song on the record and Colin Moulding contributed one of his best songs in Standing In For Joe.
    In the end, XTC spent 30+ years making music that helped soundtrack my late teens into my formative adult years. They made albums I can’t do without and albums I love just because no one else ever did. Their pop chops and eclecticism is what set them apart, no matter how much you loved or loathed them.

  5. Big thanks, great series, and a real pleasure to hear for the first time in a long time all those non-single tracks.

  6. Thanks a billion for those Spiral / Say It links! Been searching for years for better-ish quality copies to enjoy (without breaking the bank on second-hand copies). I personally love Wasp Star and prefer it significantly over Apple Venus as a body of work, but I do acknowledge it doesn’t have any one song as blindingly good as “Easter Theatre” or “Greenman.” Still, I’d put a few tracks from both on my Best Of XTC permanent playlist.

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