Robyn Hitchcock/Soft Boys: Classic or Dud?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Just picked up the Matador Records re-release of the Soft Boys' celebrated UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT album, appended with outtakes and deleted tracks. I started backwards with this band, becoming a fan of Robyn Hitchcock's solo career of skewed psychedelic pop back in college, only later discovering his earlier, "punkier" band, The Soft Boys. To my ears, the hybrid of Hitchcock's decidedly off-kilter lyrical fixation with all things surreal and his knack for soaring pop harmonies and melody is absolutely the stuff of legend, but I have friends who consider him a unbearable Syd Barrett clone and/or too clever-clever for anyone's aural benefit. What say you?

Alex in NYC, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

"Underwater moonlight" is a classic indeed. It's an album that doesent fit in anywhere, its a bit punk, bit power-pop and a bit psychedelic. I havent heard any of his solo stuff so I cant pass any comment on it.

Michael, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I love both the Soft Boys and Hitchcock, for slightly different reasons, and have favourites amongst the discographies of both. With the Soft Boys, it's easier to just like it all because there was precious little material, though Underwater Moonlight certainly towers head and shoulder over everything else. With Hitchcock, I find that it's a bit hit and miss. I'm unabashedly a fan of Globe of Frogs, because that was my entry point and has some truly killer songs in "Balloon Man", "Vibrating", Tropical Flesh Mandala" and "Beatle Dennis". That said, I think I almost prefer some of the earlier albums, including I Often Dream of Trains, Fegmania, Element of Light and esp. Gotta Let This Hen Out. The first two I find a bit patchy and anything after Queen Elvis is also patchy. Certainly, Hitchcock's wonko lyrics are an acquired taste, but I'll take the clever surrealism of his lyrics over the stupid cliches that comprise a good chunk of popular music any day.

Short answer: both classic.

Sean Carruthers, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Like Alex, I was a fan of Robyn' solo work and then went backwards to the Soft Boys. The Soft Boys are complete CLASSIC. I first picked up A CAN OF BEES and UNDERWATER MOONLIGHT in the early 90s and they totally blew my mind. I couldn't believe that they were so unappreciated in music "history". Even today, people still give you cross looks when you mention the Soft Boys. Not many people know them at all. Hopefully the Matador attention will change that a bit. Their show a few weeks back in Baltimore was attended by about 200 or so folks, which was pretty respectable. Great show. They played "I Wanna Destroy You" so I was satisfied.

As for Robyn's solo stuff, I'd have to say its a mixed bad. In fact, I can't even point to one album that's all classic. But there's so much great stuff scrambled in there that its hard to dismiss any of them totally. Probablly my favorites would be GLOBE OF FROGS, EYE, ELEMENT OF LIGHT, and QUEEN ELVIS. That looks like mostly mid-period Hitchcock to me.

But for a career, I'd give Robyn in his various guises a CLASSIC.

Tim Baier, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Ooops, I meant Robyn's solo career is a mixed "bag". Its not "bad", its a "bag" dammit!

Tim Baier, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Underwater Moonlight is absolutely wonderful. There seems to be a perfect balance between Robin's unsettling wierdness and killer psych- pop tunes, which all to often tips towards 'being a loony'later on. A Can of Bees is worth having too. The best of Hitchcock's solo career is probably "Gotta Let this Hen Out", but unfortunately IMHO the whimsy overwhelms all else after "Fegmania". The later albums are all but unbearable, although I haven't heard them all. I'd say his best before date was around 1985.

Dr. C, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Classic: the title "The Lonesome Death of Ian Penman" (in response to IP's sarky review of _A Can of Bees_)

Dud: Never heard a single solitary note, so I wdn't know. Naturally I hate him.

mark s, Monday, 7 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I saw the re-united soft boys out here in san francisco a few weeks back, and they were quite good...played my favourites, Queen of Eyes and I Wanna Destroy You. Plus they were backed up by the mighty Young Fresh Fellows, so that added lots. I've always liked Underwater Moonlight, especially the Rykodisc Cd reissue of 5 or so years back, which had 5 or so extra tracks, including a good one called Nobody Like You. My favourite Soft Boys, though, would be the very silly Live at the Portland Arms. Mostly sort of acoustic, filled with ad- libs, wit and oddball cover songs. Hitchcock solo I haven't enjoyed as much, as I guess I like the rockier / poppier side of the Soft Boys, albeit partly because of the somewhat odd lyrics...I like some of his LP I Often Dream of Trains. I certainly know some people who can't stand his lyrics, though.

paulsheridan, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Has made a career flogging a particular brand of stereotypical English weirdness (cf Glen Baxter) - some good tunes on Underwater Moonlight but he leaves a bad taste in the mouth. No connection at all. Dud.

Tom, Tuesday, 8 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I'm of much the same opinion as Tom...But oddly today I kept finding myself singing to myself a typically anoying solo-career-era song of his. Now I've started fuckin' doing it again. Thanks guys.

duane zarakov, Wednesday, 9 May 2001 00:00 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
classic - twisted dark humour, a touch of verbosity, snarling and prowling guitars and a dark dark heart. i had very low expectations of "nextdoorland" the new album but it's entirely fantastic. have not heard anything as thrilling as "strings" all year...

commonswings, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:18 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

He's sooooooooo weird.

DeRayMi, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:26 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

The Soft Boys are on point rather like a steeple but I just can't get on with Hitchcock's solo stuff. I have a friend who has a catalogue of it but it just doesn't seem to have... the edginess of the Soft Boys. When he's on his own, it's like Rob tries too hard to be a Barrett but he's too sane to make it work. I can't listen to it.

But Underwater Moonlight is somethig else. I Wanna Destroy You is an alltime winner. I also really like He's A Reptile.

Roger Fascist (Roger Fascist), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:31 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

hehe...once i saw the title of the thread i knew Sean would be all over this as when we met he had a soft boys t-shirt.

haven't heard soft boys myself but will pick it up if i see it.

Julio Desouza (jdesouza), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:49 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

Soft Boys are definitely classic to me, Hitch more of a mixed bag. I am a bit wary that the Soft Boys new record (out now, as they say in the papers) will do damage to the band's rep; I haven't heard the record yet, but I did hear some of the songs on the reunion tour and they definitely skewed toward the diminishing returns side of Hitch's more recent works.

The Minor Fall, The Major Lift

TMFTML (TMFTML), Tuesday, 24 September 2002 14:53 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

"Underwater Moonlight" is a great record.

The rest of The Soft Boys and Hitchcock's output is very hit and miss.

The only Hitchcock album that I have heard that is consistent front to back is "Globe of Frogs". I used to have a few others from that time period, but there would generally only be a song or two worth hearing and the rest pretty dull. It has been a long time since I have heard any of this music.

Hitchcock seemed to put out a record every six months for a few years back in the day, which is probably a primary reason why they are kind of spotty.

earlnash, Tuesday, 24 September 2002 17:07 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

I gotta pay closer attention to what's going on in the world. I had no clue that Nextdoorland was even on the way. I just picked it up now. It's weird, because I was actually wearing my Soft Boys shirt again the other day, Julio, and I don't think I've put it on since that last time when you saw it. Huh.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Friday, 27 September 2002 22:52 (fourteen years ago) Permalink

two years pass...
"...I don't KNOW WHY
She never gets anywhere

(Wonder why I never posted on this thread before? Been listening to the Rykodisc reissues and the 2-disc overview of Soft Boys stuffage all week.)

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:23 (twelve years ago) Permalink

As I get older, Robyn is becoming my favorite musician. I bought Can of Bees a long time ago and thought it was good... then I finally heard Underwater Moonlight a few years before the Matador reissue came out... and since then, I've become a bit obsessed. He's one of those artists who never seems to put out anything that I don't like, including individual songs. His songwriting is remarkably consistent, but not samey because his lyrics are usually very good if not terrific.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:29 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I love A Can of Bees. I couldn't stop listening to it last fall.

Trip Maker (Sean Witzman), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:42 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Totally classic (with longueurs, of course). How Demme managed to film a dull RH gig...?

Anyone knocked out by the new Gillian Welch collab?

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

He's the best. I've loved pretty much all of his records at one time or another. A couple of interesting ones that don't get mentioned too much are that Rykodisc set, Invisible Hitchcock, and the last few, especially Jewls for Sophia and Moss Elixer. Also You and Oblivion which has some of my favorites.

danh (danh), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:54 (twelve years ago) Permalink

As I think is almost required among fans, I have a bootleg of one of his solo acoustic performances, in this case one I taped myself back in 1995 at McCabe's in LA. He previewed a fair amount of Moss Elixir material along with digging up various old faves and random numbers, and of course was his usual dry self on stage. I'm trying to remember if I ever got it converted to digital or not...

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 21 January 2005 18:57 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Any thoughts on Nextdoorland by the Soft Boys?'s a bit spotty but I def. think "Mr. Kennedy" is one of my fav SB songs ever....It's totally like onOFFon my Mission of Burma, not disappointing but not a classic, held up by a few genuinely great songs....

M@tt He1geson (Matt Helgeson), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:05 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Nextdoorland was my third favorite record of 2002, if memory serves. By contrast, onOFFon did nothing for me.

polyphonic (polyphonic), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:07 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Those Nextdoorland songs didn't hold up live when they did that Underwater Moonlight show. I actually never bought it because of that show. They were totally lifeless next to the classics. Pretty, but lifeless.

danh (danh), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:10 (twelve years ago) Permalink

I think "Underwater Moonlight" is about half-classic. The title track is great, "Kingdom of Love" is the all-time best rip of the Hollies' "Long Cool Woman." I give Kimberley Rew credit for it, though--great guitar work, really distinctive. I also like the earlier Soft Boys stuff OK, but I don't think it's all that great.

I guess I like "Element of Light" all right, and there are times I put on "Mossy Liquor" or "Moss Elixor" or whatever that's called depending on whether you have the LP or CD. RH is good, kind of a one-trick drugged pony ride though. I probably still prefer Syd Barrett or John Lennon, though.

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:12 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I found Nextdoorland to be kind've a let down.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Friday, 21 January 2005 19:13 (twelve years ago) Permalink

Anyone knocked out by the new Gillian Welch collab?

It's kinda strange. I do like it - not necessarily knocked out though. It had this implicit "this is Robyn's grown-up serious record" feeling to it. Almost if it's in reaction to the relatively freewheeling Luxor album.

Gator Magoon (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:43 (twelve years ago) Permalink

To clarify, I don't want him to make another crustacean album either.

Gator Magoon (Chris Barrus), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

The new one's excellent; the first and last tracks steal it, but so much else is great; "English Girl", who else would reference Merle Haggard and Ronald Searle? Even better was seeing him live a few months ago, in a nicely small (if difficult to find) venue in Newcastle, the Cluny...

Tom May (Tom May), Friday, 21 January 2005 23:52 (twelve years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
Classic. Underwater Moonlight will be all over my Top 100 80's lists whenever we do it.

Cunga (Cunga), Wednesday, 6 July 2005 23:51 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'm very fond of I Often Dream of Trains.

Ian Riese-Moraine has been xeroxed into a conduit! (Eastern Mantra), Thursday, 7 July 2005 00:09 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I still defend Perspex Island.

Alfred Soto (Alfred Soto), Thursday, 7 July 2005 00:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

soft boys--classic
robyn hitchcock--classic

i'd say that the best way to experience robyn these days is to see him live--he's got such a wealth of great songs at this stage in his career. And usually, the more recent songs sound better in person than they do on record. there are a few live shows on's live music database if you're curious.

also worth seeking out is the soft boys' live at portland arms LP (some of which is on the ryko overview). hilarious and unplugged.

and ned, it sounds as though we were probably at the same mccabes show in 1995--i think my friend and i were the only teenagers in the house. if you ever digitize your tape, i'd love to relive it.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 July 2005 01:17 (eleven years ago) Permalink

also, in the middle of one of those 1995 mccabes shows, i realized that i was sitting next to none other than adam duritz. true story.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 July 2005 01:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

No mention of Old Pervert or Insanely Jealous?

Jamey Lewis (Jameys Burning), Thursday, 7 July 2005 02:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

insanely jealous old pervert?

chief of chaff (Jody Beth Rosen), Thursday, 7 July 2005 02:24 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Robyn was a streak of genuine weirdness on the alt pop charts in the eighties, his records definitely helped get through high school back then. The live shows were incredible, the improvised stories he'd spin between songs always made sense.

He's one of two people I ever asked for an autograph. Philip Glass was not in a good mood when I walked up, 15 years old & nervous, having spotted him in the lobby during the intermission to the Knee Plays... can't blame him for scowling at me. Robyn on the other hand was impossibly cool about the awkward situation, saying while signing my copy of Trains "well y'know it's no good having heroes, especially once you get to know them and realize they have all the same problems..." I assured him that was the point.

milton parker (Jon L), Thursday, 7 July 2005 06:23 (eleven years ago) Permalink

one month passes...
I noticed the similarities between the Left Banke's I Haven't Got the Nerve tune and I Wanna Destroy You a few weeks ago. Who knows? It's a good tune either way but thought someone might appreciate it.

Cunga (Cunga), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 08:11 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Underwater Moonlight is one of the best records ever made.

zeus, Tuesday, 30 August 2005 08:21 (eleven years ago) Permalink

nine months pass...
The Soft Boys (esp. Can of Bees, Underwater Moonlight and Invisible Hits, the cream of the crop) are absolute classic. No doubt about it. Nextdoorland is really good as well, esp. Mrs. Kennedy.

As for Robyn Hitchcock, his first album, Black Snake Diamond Role continued the Soft Boys course honorably - "Acid Bird" especially is classic. Also, his third, I Often Dreamt of Trains is excellent too. Hilarious (and very British) songs like "Uncorrected Personality Traits" and "Sometimes I Wish I Were a Pretty Girl" ( I could ---- myself in the shower..) sit next to absolutely gorgeous quiet and sad songs. His 80s and 90s stuff gets a bit too slick for my tastes, losing its classic edge - some good moments though. Haven't heard his most recent stuff...mixed bag, as other said.

Nick Wilson, Friday, 2 June 2006 05:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

I absolutely like his later stuff too. He does pop after all, and pop may well benefit from a slick production (that being said, the rawer sound of "Underwater Moonlight" doesn't make that album any less excellent, partly because the songs he wrote for that album are better than any songs he has been able to write since)

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 2 June 2006 09:20 (ten years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
i was overcome with the need to listen to robyn hitchcock's "i often dream of trains" this evening, but alas, i am unable to find my copy of it anywhere. i'm feeling rather distraught about all this. i haven't ripped and ipodified that one yet and now i'm terrifically disappointed that i didn't.

anyway: classic. i heard solo hitchcock first, and have always had a preference for the early stuff, though i did snag a copy of "spooked" and found it quite entertaining. the 90's stuff often bores me, though certainly "moss elixir" has it moments. but "trains" and "fegmania!" are my favorites.

soft boys, also classic. picked up the matador rerelease of "underwater moonlight" when it came out and loved it. played that this evening in lieu of "i often dream of trains".

Emily B (Emily B), Friday, 15 September 2006 05:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

Listened to "Fegmania" the other day and it is absolutely ace. Particularly "The Man With The Lightbulb Head" and "My Wife And My Dead Wife".

Geir Hongro (GeirHong), Friday, 15 September 2006 18:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

New Robyn Hitchcock w/band album coming out soon on Yep Rock. The track I've heard (something about a Rocketship) sounded promising.

dlp9001 (dlp9001), Friday, 15 September 2006 20:35 (ten years ago) Permalink

i've always had mixed feelings, I loved it all but kinda grew out of some of the wackier stuff. Now I look at something like Trains and the stuff that's a bit "silly" I have to skip over, but the other stuff is some of the most beautiful music ever.

He played at Oberlin when I was there to a small crowd and encored with Autumn is Your Last Chance.

I also have a severe soft-spot for Queen Elvis.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Friday, 15 September 2006 20:58 (ten years ago) Permalink

A Can of Bees and the comp "76-81" is all you need in my opinion. Underwater Moonlight just doesn't do it for me really and Robyn's solo stuff has never been my cup of tea.

Randall Weeber (yoyoweb), Saturday, 16 September 2006 01:22 (ten years ago) Permalink

I've heard that Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 on Yep Yoc -- it's the guys from the Minus 5 backing him up. Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey and the other guy (forget his name). It's pretty good, very power pop.

mcd (mcd), Saturday, 16 September 2006 03:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

A Can of Bees is a much more uneven affair than Underater Moonlight. 'Anglepoise Lamp' is one of Hitchcocks's best song though, strange, that nobody mentioned that in the thread.

zeus (zeus), Saturday, 16 September 2006 10:39 (ten years ago) Permalink

In 1994?

EZ Snappin, Saturday, 27 September 2014 03:20 (two years ago) Permalink

Aye. "So You Think You're In Love" was 1991

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 27 September 2014 03:26 (two years ago) Permalink

Twenty-three. Autocorrect.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 27 September 2014 03:27 (two years ago) Permalink


curmudgeon, Saturday, 27 September 2014 13:28 (two years ago) Permalink

that's the first place i learned the phrase "silent majority"!

cross over the mushroom circle (La Lechera), Saturday, 27 September 2014 13:54 (two years ago) Permalink


guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 27 September 2014 13:59 (two years ago) Permalink

"Lysander" off that album is a lost gem. It hurts me that I can't put those A&M deep cuts on Spotify mixes for people.

My feelings about Perspex Island overall will never settle. I've loved and hated that record so many different ways over the years. And I can't separate it from what a hard confused dark place I was in when it came out and when I played the shit out of it. I get the sense RH was in a dark place when he made it, too.

OU281 (Jon Lewis), Saturday, 27 September 2014 14:19 (two years ago) Permalink

"Perspex" is underrated, and a bit of a victim of the time it came out and the production choices (even more so with "Respect"). Those tracks are better heard outside the studio:
"The Kershaw Sessions" has great versions of "Oceanside", "So You Think You're In Love" and "Birds In Perspex".
"Bad Case Of History" has live versions of "Vegetation And Dimes" and "Child Of The Universe".
"Ride" was released in demo form on a promo. It was also performed for the BBC but uncollected officially.
I have a nifty version of "She Doesn't Exist" from a 1995 Rhino reissue tour bootleg. I'm sure live versions of the rest are out in the aether as well.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 27 September 2014 15:53 (two years ago) Permalink

I loved it at the time. I said elsewhere yesterday that the mix is a mess: as he’d prove on XTC’s Nonesuch released the following year, Paul Fox had no clue how to record trad rock. "Lysander," "If You Go Away," "Ultra Unbelievable Love," and "Ride" work though. I'd go so far as to say it's his best A&M album.

guess that bundt gettin eaten (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 27 September 2014 15:59 (two years ago) Permalink

I think Respect is the best A&M record but they're all good to great.

EZ Snappin, Saturday, 27 September 2014 16:23 (two years ago) Permalink

Queen Elvis for me. It's the only one of the a&m that totally coheres. The great songs on Globe of Frogs are greater than anything on QE but after all these years balloon man still annoys me so deeply that I can't give GoF the laurel. Plus the sound world of GoF lacks something where QE is mouthwatering. Would loooove for GoF to get a remastering some day.

OU281 (Jon Lewis), Saturday, 27 September 2014 16:53 (two years ago) Permalink

Almost every tune from GoF has been amazing in live Venus 3 arrangements (esp when Morris available as a Beatle Dennis harmonies walk-on)

OU281 (Jon Lewis), Saturday, 27 September 2014 16:55 (two years ago) Permalink

Hitchcock was living/hanging out in LA for a bit during the lead up to Perspex Island so I got a chance to see him with/without the Egyptians several times before the album came out. Was hugely disappointed when the album came out - thought that his strongest songs were completely undermined by Paul Fox's production choices. Not the first or last time Fox has done that.

Elvis Telecom, Tuesday, 30 September 2014 02:48 (two years ago) Permalink

Ok then, any recommended boots from the A&M era?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 30 September 2014 02:55 (two years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Robyn does Neil with Emma Swift:

EZ Snappin, Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:11 (two years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Amazon sent me "I often dream" by mistake - was gonna send it back to get my initial order but curiosity got the best of me so I decided to play it. Some beautiful music mixed in with stuff which I guess can grow on you. "I used to say I love you" is a standout for now

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Saturday, 17 January 2015 19:10 (two years ago) Permalink

Eventually those tracks that seem like frivolous scraps will come to feel like totally essential pieces of its spell.

(This is not true of the novelty bits on all RH albums tho)

a drug by the name of WORLD WITHOUT END (Jon Lewis), Saturday, 17 January 2015 19:25 (two years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

Hadn't listened to Underwater Moonlight in quite a few years and this time around "Old Pervert" really caught me as having a very Magic Band groove.

earlnash, Friday, 24 April 2015 21:08 (one year ago) Permalink

It definitely does, this influence really stood out when they played it on the soft boys reunion tours a decade-n-change ago. Old pervert slaaaaaayed at those shows (rew is a monster)

demonic mnevice (Jon Lewis), Friday, 24 April 2015 21:16 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

God fucking dammit Robyn is performing all of Black Snake Diamond Role with Yo La Tengo on March 1 at Bowery Ballroom and it's already sold out :(

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 15 December 2016 20:58 (two months ago) Permalink

yow, that was fast. i would totally go to that, maybe there'll be some more tix made available. or they'll add another night?
haven't listened yet, but this podcast is generally good:

tylerw, Thursday, 15 December 2016 21:00 (two months ago) Permalink

enjoying that podcast a lot.

wishy washy hippy variety hour (Hunt3r), Thursday, 15 December 2016 21:24 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah i think they do a nice job with it

tylerw, Thursday, 15 December 2016 21:25 (two months ago) Permalink

robyn should probably have his own podcast

tylerw, Thursday, 15 December 2016 22:45 (two months ago) Permalink

hey hey jon --

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 December 2016 22:12 (one month ago) Permalink

Lucky ducks. But I'll see him on 3/3 in the Boston area.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 20 December 2016 23:39 (one month ago) Permalink

Ha yessss

I'm leaving this bookmark open hopefully I won't forget to get one tmrw

Perfectly happy with rough trade as a venue tbh

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 December 2016 23:43 (one month ago) Permalink

From Brooklyn Vegan:

They’ve just added a second NYC show, happening at Rough Trade on February 28. Tickets for Rough Trade go on sale Wednesday, December 21 at noon.

Read More: Robyn Hitchcock & Yo La Tengo playing ‘Black Snake Diamond Role’ at Rough Trade before Bowery Ballroom |

Sorry now that I am going to the March 1st show at Bowery Ballroom. Rough Trade is a great place to see a show.

kwhitehead, Wednesday, 21 December 2016 13:47 (one month ago) Permalink

Yeah I saw television there twice and totally agree. Bowery ballroom is not terrible though.

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 21 December 2016 13:56 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I finally got around to putting together an anthology of Robyn's 1995-2015 work. It was hard! Some albums are a real slog and other times I had to cut some good stuff. I limited it to 20 tracks each from three periods: 1995-2000, 2001-2015 and The Venus 3 albums. My overall feelings on this period:

I'm a big fan of the Warner's era, the Mossy Liquor/Elixir and the Jewels/Bram sessions produced a glut of great material. Overall, I think these are consistently excellent albums.

The Venus 3 albums are mostly great as well though I find some rough/dull patches on "Goodnight Oslo" (particularly "Saturday Groovers") and "Propellor Time" (first 3 tracks). I'm especially excited to have cherry-picked all the best stuff to listen to in one go.

His 21st century work aside from the Venus 3 has been prolific and a decidedly mixed bag:
Robyn Sings - disc 1 is damn good, disc 2 is fun despite bootleg quality, I like these songs more with Robyn's voice than Bob's
Nextdoorland / Side Three - half great, half forgettable
Luxor - unredeemable due to it's boringness, it was a struggle to pick even one worthy track
Spooked - also half-great and overall better than I remembered, but it gets a bit dull towards the end
Obliteration Pie - an interesting curiosity with one of his best tracks from this period ("City Of Women") but not a critical entry into his catalog
Shadow Cat - not even close to the quality of "Invisible Hitchcock" and "You & Oblivion" in terms of barrel scraping, mostly forgettable aside from the title track
I Often Dream Of Trains In New York - another fun record with some fascinating new interpretations, of course the source material is one of his best ever
Tromso Kaptein - mostly bad
Love From London - mostly bad
There Goes The Ice - full of good-but-not-great material, this was also hard to pick from simply because nothing truly stands out so I chose a couple of uptempo tracks
The Man Upstairs - very nice, I dig the covers and the originals are mostly solid

Aside from the Venus 3 albums, I'd take "Nextdoorland" and "Spooked" as far as original material and "Robyn Sings" and "The Man Upstairs" for covers and that's about it since 2001. Even with those, it's really just the Venus 3 stuff that's keeping my esteem for him so high.

Sinister But She Was Happy (Moss Elixir)
Heliotrope (Moss Elixir)
You And Oblivion (Moss Elixir)
Beautiful Queen (alt) (Mossy Liquor)
Cool Bug Rumble (Mossy Liquor)
Wide Open Star (Mossy Liquor)
Each Of Her Silver Wands (Mossy Liquor)
Trilobite (Mossy Liquor)
Where Do You Go When You Die (live) (Storefront Hitchcock)
Mexican God (Jewels For Sophia)
Viva Sea-Tac (Jewels For Sophia)
I Feel Beautiful (Jewels For Sophia)
Dark Princess (Jewels For Sophia)
Jewels For Sophia (Jewels For Sophia)
Daisy Bomb (A Star For Bram)
The Philosophers Stone (A Star For Bram)
The Green Boy (A Star For Bram)
The Underneath (A Star For Bram)
Take This In Remembrance (non-lp)
Eerie Green Storm Lantern (non-lp)

Not Dark Yet (Robyn Sings)
Pulse Of My Heart (Nextdoorland)
Mr. Kennedy (Nextdoorland)
Sudden Town (Nextdoorland)
Evil Guy (Side Three)
Keep Finding Me (Luxor)
Television (Spooked)
If You Know Time (Spooked)
Everybody Needs Love (Spooked)
Creeped Out (Spooked)
City Of Women (Obliteration Pie)
Shadow Cat (Shadow Cat)
Winter Love (live) (I Often Dream Of Trains In New York)
Old Man Weather (Tromso Kaptein)
Be Still (Love From London)
Fix You (Love From London)
Halo Mary (There Goes The Ice)
Belly Full Of Arms And Legs (There Goes The Ice)
San Francisco Patrol (The Man Upstairs)
Follow Your Money (non-lp)

The Venus 3 (2006-2010):
Adventure Rocket Ship (Ole Tarantula)
Underground Sun (Ole Tarantula)
Ole Tarantula (Ole Tarantula)
Cause It's Love (Ole Tarantula)
The Authority Box (Ole Tarantula)
NY Doll (Ole Tarantula)
Embryo Twirl (Ole Tarantula bonus disc)
What You Is (Goodnight Oslo)
Your Head Here (Goodnight Oslo)
I’m Falling (Goodnight Oslo)
Hurry For The Sky (Goodnight Oslo)
Up To Our Nex (Goodnight Oslo)
Goodnight Oslo (Goodnight Oslo)
I Just Wanna Be Loved (Goodnight Oslo bonus disc)
Ordinary Millionaire (Propellor Time)
John In The Air (Propellor Time)
Propeller Time (Propellor Time)
Primitive (Propellor Time)
Sickie Boy (single version) (non-lp)
Evolove (Propellor Time)

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Thursday, 2 February 2017 22:30 (two weeks ago) Permalink

that looks great! don't even think i ever heard Obliteration Pie. agree that Love From London might be his weakest record. Might have a handful of decent songs, but something about the production is just so dull.

tylerw, Thursday, 2 February 2017 22:42 (two weeks ago) Permalink

and hey, new album coming out soon

tylerw, Thursday, 2 February 2017 22:43 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Different strokes for different fegs... I can't CONCIEVE of how you could not pick "narcissus", "no i don't remember guildford", "sometimes a blonde" or "star of Venus", each the strongest song from their respective sessions imo

And "trilobite" instead of "as lemons chop"? For shame!!!

Also "sound of sound" off Luxor is all time

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 00:27 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Those were all the on the list but cut in favor of something else:

We'll have to agree to disagree regarding "Star Of Venus", that one never grabbed me.

And I adore "Trilobite"; "Lemons Chopped" was the last track cut.

I'll revisit "Sound Of Sound", it's just so hard to bother with "Luxor" at all.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 3 February 2017 02:49 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I like the sound of that new song though I don't think I like the song itself very much. But I'm excited to have a new album of electric RH!

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 04:42 (two weeks ago) Permalink

think I'll go see him on this tour, I haven't seen Robyn Hitchcock in almost 30 years.

akm, Friday, 3 February 2017 14:17 (two weeks ago) Permalink

yeah, kind of agree -- the song itself doesn't seem amazing, but I like the overall sound. weirdly it's grunge-man brendan o'brien producing

tylerw, Friday, 3 February 2017 15:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

this is odd to say but it sounds like one of the lame songs from an otherwise good Robyn album? Hence I am psyched

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 15:12 (two weeks ago) Permalink

haha, that sounds about right. i like the line about the cat dynasty.

tylerw, Friday, 3 February 2017 15:18 (two weeks ago) Permalink

there's definitely bits i like but i had to take a break when he exclaimed 'if ya got no heart!'

chorus seemed to scan so awkwardly at first but by its third appearance i kind of liked it

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 16:23 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I'd add:

I saw Nick Drake
Sometimes a Blonde
We're Gonna Live in the Trees

Brendan Benson producing right?

JoeStork, Friday, 3 February 2017 17:14 (two weeks ago) Permalink

oh ha, you're right! brendans!

tylerw, Friday, 3 February 2017 17:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

1974 is my favorite Star for Bram song. Star for Bram is really strong though, I consider it the equal of Jewels for Sophia barring a couple of throwaways

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 17:59 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Daisy Bomb is my Star For Bram tune. The studio version of 1974 irks me.

EZ Snappin, Friday, 3 February 2017 20:01 (two weeks ago) Permalink

nietzsche's way is great, too ... was always a little let down by the studio "nick drake" -- i saw him do it at one point w/ Jon Brion on keys and it was incredible.

tylerw, Friday, 3 February 2017 20:03 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Yes I liked I saw nick drake better live, especially a very slow solo acoustic one

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Friday, 3 February 2017 21:37 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Not my favorite era for Hitch but where's "Cheese Alarm"?

kwhitehead, Saturday, 4 February 2017 01:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Part of the challenge and fun of making best of's is setting a limit. I mean, I usually listen to full albums but artists with huge catalogs often benefit from a less-is-more approach. So 20 tracks or 80 minutes works well and forces me to really pick the cream of the crop. I've really enjoyed listening to Robyn's best work and bypassing the bad, merely good and failed experiments.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 4 February 2017 17:33 (two weeks ago) Permalink

at one point I made a hitchcock playlist and it had like hundreds of songs on it and was 4 hours long at least. his catalogue is just so vast at this point.

akm, Sunday, 5 February 2017 16:53 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I have two Robyn best of playlists on Spotify, one super concise one where each album gets only one or two tracks, and one big baggy one where you get several tracks per album (both are titled Verities & Verdigris). The shitty thing there was that the A&M era is not on Spotify except for the Greatest Hits cd, so a bunch of my favorite globe/queen/Perspex/respect tracks couldn't be included.

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 5 February 2017 18:43 (two weeks ago) Permalink

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.