Comsat Angels C or D/S&D

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Run of the mill early 80s gloom merchants or sparkling, original intelligent pop/rock might-have-beens? Waiting for a miracle or, er, one of the later albums?

I'm sure its been done before old-timers, but hey, if a thing's good, its worth doing more than once (the Comsats proved that with their endless repackaging of Independence Day, after all...).

jon (jon), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 09:12 (eighteen years ago) link

I don't believe they ever managed to do anything else quite as wonderful as the original single version of Red Planet.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 10:09 (eighteen years ago) link

Waiting For A Miracle, Sleep No More and Fiction are all very good, WFAM in particular - nicely textured and arranged and GOOD SONGS too. They never managed to get their live power into the records (tho SNM is close) and a more photogenic frontman than Steve Fellows might have helped them get a hit.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 10:37 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, it's the texture of WFAM that stands out for me, too - that almost oriental, almost elegant interplay of bass and trebly guitar on Postcard, Waiting for a Miracle and Total War still sounds fantastic and entirely undated.

And the packaging reflects this: Far East-style wirting over 'landscape' of empty Sheffield motorway at night (as if it was an oriental view for poetic contemplation, not a depressing bit of concrete in the North) - just about sums up the best of the record.

jon (jon), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 12:03 (eighteen years ago) link

A guy I used to do non-com radio with played "Independence Day" ad nauseum until I started liking it too, although I didn't like it enough to ever search out any of the rest of their oeuvre. He was a big fan of the Skids too, so I somehow always associate CS Angels with the Skids in school/sound/quality, for better or worse.

Lee G (Lee G), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 16:49 (eighteen years ago) link

I've been listening to Sleep No More a lot recently and conclude that both "Dark Parade" and "Our Secret" are flat out perfection.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 18:51 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic. I even like thier "sellout" album: 7 Day Weekend

A Nairn (moretap), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 19:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Pretty good, but if you like them, The Sound is much better.

g (graysonlane), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 22:36 (eighteen years ago) link

Speaking of repackaging, didn't we just do this, like, a week ago? I remember typing something about Chasing Shadows. Hm.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 22:57 (eighteen years ago) link

Nevermind, there was just some discussion of this on this thread here.

Sean Carruthers (SeanC), Wednesday, 6 November 2002 23:20 (eighteen years ago) link

They are flat-out one of my favorite bands of all time. I just discovered them like two years ago, and although their stuff is shamefully hard to come by, I was able to get their first three LPs from various overseas websites here and there. _Sleep No More_ is my personal favorite, but the first three are all nearly flawless. I'd put those three albums up against anything from the post-punk canon -- anything. Search (besides the first three albums): _Time Considered as a Helix of Semi-Precious Stones_, a collection of stunning BBC Sessions recorded between '78 and '84, and their reunion album from 1992 called _My Mind's Eye_ (pretty readily available through half.com or Amazon used). I hear Kellman likes 'em okay, too. ;-)

Clarke B., Thursday, 7 November 2002 05:41 (eighteen years ago) link

I've been listening to Sleep No More a lot recently and conclude that both "Dark Parade" and "Our Secret" are flat out perfection.

Yes, Ned, two such moments on a perfect album. ;-) No, I agree, though; "Dark Parade" unbelievably perfectly expresses the sort of half-given-up smoldering resentment/tension/jealousy that wakes you from your sleep and you're not even sure quite why.

Clarke B., Thursday, 7 November 2002 05:44 (eighteen years ago) link

Which is all the more interesting in that the song is about the failed attempt to rescue the American hostages in Iran in 1980.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 7 November 2002 06:28 (eighteen years ago) link

Shit, you know the song I was thinking about was actually "Gone"!

Clarke B., Thursday, 7 November 2002 06:38 (eighteen years ago) link

one year passes...
I'm currently listening to the 4CD "It's History" boxset which is of course absolutely fantastic.

This contains the whole of the three albums they did for Polydor complete with all the tracks that I've been hoarding for the last 20-25 years on the original singles, gatefolds, 12"'s etc.

There's also a 4th CD of demos, outtakes etc.; so in other words it's absolutely completely and utterly comprehensive apart from one positively enormous and glaring omission, which brings me to the question I have for all you nice people:

Does anyone have any idea why the hell they couldn't have included Red Planet, I Get Excited and Specimen No. 2 from the first single they released on their own Junta label in 1979? Were Polydor too tight or too stupid to license it from the band? Are the band really (still) too angry at Polydor to licence it to them? It's an absolute travesty that this gem remains largely unavailable (yes of course I've still got the original copy I rushed out and bought after hearing it John Peel in 1979 - that's not the point!).

Also, while I'm here, is any of their post-Polydor stuff any good? I was toying with the idea of buying the "From Beyond" comp. - would this be a good move?

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 3 June 2004 10:35 (sixteen years ago) link

The box is a bootleg.

Stacey Pollen (Andy K), Thursday, 3 June 2004 10:39 (sixteen years ago) link

Well that just makes it even more inexplicable and inexcusable!

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Thursday, 3 June 2004 10:50 (sixteen years ago) link

Still haven't investigated these fellers properly. Picked up one of the later singles when I was a kid, didn't much like it but ought to get round to giving the good stuff a go.

Trivia question - anyone know if they had a guitar player called Robbo at one stage?

NickB (NickB), Thursday, 3 June 2004 10:50 (sixteen years ago) link

CLASSIC.

All of it, FUCKING CLASSIC!! new wave sell out albums included!

cutty to thread.

ddb, Thursday, 3 June 2004 15:54 (sixteen years ago) link

re: The It's History 4cd thing.

it's a GREAT deal for the price and worth it for the outtakes stuff alone.

destroy the faux DVD style package.

I found the bulk of their output on LP for very little $.

And, It's ALL good.

ddb, Thursday, 3 June 2004 15:56 (sixteen years ago) link

I only have 'Land' post-Polydor and it's........OK. The production doesn't do it any favours.

Dr. C (Dr. C), Thursday, 3 June 2004 18:00 (sixteen years ago) link

land is their worst post-polydor

chasing shadows is brilliance.

also see: real genius montage

http://www.movie-montage.com/montageView.php?montageCategoryCode=1&montageCode=11

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 3 June 2004 19:08 (sixteen years ago) link

Haven't heard them, but any band named after a J.G. Ballard short story gets props from me.

Sasha (sgh), Friday, 4 June 2004 00:56 (sixteen years ago) link

Just listened to Sleep No More last night...and now that I'm currently listening to the Stills CD, it just makes me miss the Comsat Angels all the more. I tracked down the reissues (pre-eBay, so it was a little harder) in 1996 after reading Rob Sheffield talk them up in Rolling Stone. In fact, I'd hate to admit all the things that Rolling Stone made me buy (New Order's Technique and Pretty Hate Machine to name but two) but that's another thread...I just wish I would have seen the Comsat Angels open up for U2 back in the day. Damn.

Erick H (Erick H), Friday, 4 June 2004 01:29 (sixteen years ago) link

Sasha, trust me -- I think you'd like them quite a lot.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 4 June 2004 01:40 (sixteen years ago) link

One of my top five groups of all time. Their first three records are pretty much perfect IMO. I can't recommend them enough, and it makes me incredibly happy when I turn someone on to the band. It's the way I learned about them; it seems to be the only way anyone learns about them. They're my answer every time to the "bands that didn't get their props/historical recognition" question.

Clarke B. (Clarke B.), Friday, 4 June 2004 01:57 (sixteen years ago) link

the box is good for sure... but can i hate on that packaging that won't hold the damned cds? everytime i open it, a cd falls out.
m.

msp, Friday, 4 June 2004 02:43 (sixteen years ago) link

ha:

worst packaging ever?

cutty (mcutt), Friday, 4 June 2004 02:47 (sixteen years ago) link

Oh please. It doesn't scratch the CDs to all fuck = NOT THE WORST PACKAGING EVER. I do wish it held them more securely though.

Alex in SF (Alex in SF), Friday, 4 June 2004 02:48 (sixteen years ago) link

that's my basic beef. i'm clumsy as it is, i don't need so many physical challenges.
m.

msp, Friday, 4 June 2004 03:04 (sixteen years ago) link

Where do I get a ComsatBox?

I'm too tired to rant about various individual moments of brilliance but like, CLASSIC, obviously.

Fergal (Ferg), Friday, 4 June 2004 05:38 (sixteen years ago) link

Bought Waiting For A Miracle years ago. Couldn't quite "get it". Sleep No More made me a fanatic. Also love the album they did with Robert Palmer.
Comsats Comsats Comsats Comsats. YES!

Bimble (bimble), Friday, 4 June 2004 05:41 (sixteen years ago) link

Fergal - I got it from these nice people.

Stewart Osborne (Stewart Osborne), Friday, 4 June 2004 07:16 (sixteen years ago) link

four months pass...
i really like their first non-polydor album 'land.' will you stay tonight and alicia are both great. yeah, there are a couple stinkers on there, but they are easily overlooked.

Grell (Grell), Monday, 25 October 2004 00:54 (sixteen years ago) link

nine months pass...
Has anyone heard Stephen Fellows - Mood X from 1997? Is that any good?

Ian Riese-Moraine: a casualty of social estrangement. (Eastern Mantra), Tuesday, 9 August 2005 15:03 (fifteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
God bless Renascent

F (Ferg), Thursday, 1 September 2005 15:14 (fifteen years ago) link

Ooh, nice, but now I'm jealous -- even more bonus tracks!

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 September 2005 15:54 (fifteen years ago) link

b-b-b-but i already bought "it's history"!

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 1 September 2005 17:02 (fifteen years ago) link

Hottness! I missed the box set! Wheeee!

Anyone that links to A Certain Pitchfrock thread in here gets a Dirty Sanchez.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 1 September 2005 17:07 (fifteen years ago) link

HOW DARE YOU LIKE MUSIC MADE BEFORE THIS YEAR.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Thursday, 1 September 2005 17:25 (fifteen years ago) link

And the title Time Considered As A Helix Of Semi-Precious Stones is from a Samuel Delany short story.

nickn (nickn), Thursday, 1 September 2005 19:44 (fifteen years ago) link

They've got a Comsat t-shirt as well. I think I'd maybe wear one of them, if they weren't all too fucking big.

F (Ferg), Thursday, 1 September 2005 20:14 (fifteen years ago) link

yeah, what the fuck, no small?

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 1 September 2005 22:46 (fifteen years ago) link

are they implying all comsat fans are fattys?

cutty (mcutt), Thursday, 1 September 2005 22:46 (fifteen years ago) link

four months pass...
The reissues are all out at once on the 3rd of April. The sleeves are amazing, say

Michael A Neuman (Ferg), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:06 (fourteen years ago) link

uh...Renascent.

They've also got the entire band to answer various fan questions. Steve Fellows thinks "Hate It Or Love It" was one of the best songs of last year, interestingly.

Michael A Neuman (Ferg), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 00:08 (fourteen years ago) link

fuck the game. more importantly:

I loved ‘La Ritournelle‘ by Sebastien Tellier. I like ‘ How To Be Invisible’ on the Kate Bush album.

cutty (mcutt), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 01:27 (fourteen years ago) link

I might just need to pick these up...

Last Of The Famous International Pfunkboys (Kerr), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 01:31 (fourteen years ago) link

There's more bonus trax than I expected.

I've been listening to The Outsiders a lot recently - possibly even better than The Sound.

Dr.C (Dr.C), Wednesday, 25 January 2006 10:29 (fourteen years ago) link

two months pass...
hoboy

Michael A Neuman (Ferg), Friday, 7 April 2006 11:28 (fourteen years ago) link

Sleep is definitely one of the great post-punk mood albums, along the lines of the Cure's Pornography, Joy Division's Closer and anything that Bauhaus ever did. It's a bit more rockin' than any of those albums, but the sound of it is absolutely huge — the production is nearly the star of the show. Just one, completely unified and isolated atmosphere to lose yourself in.

I agree that the sound/production bit is key here - all of those comparisons make perfect sense but (as you suggest) I think Sleep No More is less stark and more all-enveloping e.g. I'd probably compare it to albums like Disintegration or (esp) The Church's Priest = Aura as much as or more than its actual peers. In this sense it sounds very ahead of its time, I think.

Tim F, Monday, 25 June 2012 23:39 (eight years ago) link

three weeks pass...

Just... that bit in "Gone" where Stephen intones "WHAT WAS HIS NAME" over and over again and then the whole thing explodes into that wracked, trembling guitar line. One of my favourite moments in music.

Tim F, Monday, 16 July 2012 14:47 (eight years ago) link

:-) I remember first hearing the song through Martin Gore's cover on the original Counterfeit and wondering what the heck it was, who did and where from. Back in 1989 that was not exactly easy to find out.

Ned Raggett, Monday, 16 July 2012 14:48 (eight years ago) link

I've never heard that!

Tim F, Monday, 16 July 2012 14:50 (eight years ago) link

haha this sounds exactly how I imagined it would.

Tim F, Monday, 16 July 2012 14:53 (eight years ago) link

Well, yeah. Part of the charm. :-D

Ned Raggett, Monday, 16 July 2012 14:58 (eight years ago) link

Just... that bit in "Gone" where Stephen intones "WHAT WAS HIS NAME" over and over again and then the whole thing explodes into that wracked, trembling guitar line. One of my favourite moments in music.

― Tim F, Monday, July 16, 2012 10:47 AM (11 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

I've always felt the same!

Clarke B., Monday, 16 July 2012 15:00 (eight years ago) link

three years pass...

New vinyl reissues are damned expensive, but Chasing Shadows though. . . !

Austin, Saturday, 9 January 2016 17:59 (four years ago) link

two months pass...

feeling this song today:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6CPvcvxzmc

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 14:02 (four years ago) link

Was digging for comsats deep cuts and this dream command song is fucking great imo fuiud etc

http://youtu.be/B4qvS9hQJc0

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, 26 March 2016 08:11 (four years ago) link

^ someone needs to hook up brad with that, think he would dig

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, 26 March 2016 08:14 (four years ago) link

Rest of the album is not good, but that is numbed out mondeo rock perfection, almost even blue nile-esque

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, 26 March 2016 08:20 (four years ago) link

Actually I like 'ice sculpture' quite a bit too

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, 26 March 2016 08:29 (four years ago) link

Big fan of this one too, strongly approve of the comsats when they're in this moody ferry-esque mode

http://youtu.be/aiTC56ZVPXk

François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, 26 March 2016 08:55 (four years ago) link

I like Fire on the Moon. Really don't see anything wrong with it, honestly.

Austin, Saturday, 26 March 2016 17:06 (four years ago) link

"Fire On The Moon" has some decent bits but it's clearly a band that has shaved off all the edges. "Ice Sculpture" and "Venus Hunter" are my picks, with "Transport Of Delight" and "She's Invisible" also being ok.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 26 March 2016 19:10 (four years ago) link

I think The Comsat Angels' Blue Nile-ish tendencies peaked early with "After The Rain".

Tim F, Sunday, 27 March 2016 01:53 (four years ago) link

Man Sleep No More really is the best album ever made.

Tim F, Sunday, 27 March 2016 04:15 (four years ago) link

one year passes...

just noticed that the first three albums have disappeared from spotify but now there are two volumes of 'lost sessions' up there instead. not sure what these are, sound quality isn't great though.

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 22 March 2018 17:02 (two years ago) link

eeek, these sound like they've been taped straight off the radio (and then the tape's gone a bit funny)

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 22 March 2018 17:05 (two years ago) link

Wow, the audio quality of these is dire. Still great to hear, though.

(Peering into the Spotify catalog, I see that the first 3 Comsat Angels albums are there, but currently available only in GB. Nothing else other than these two Lost Sessions comps.)

glenn mcdonald, Thursday, 22 March 2018 18:26 (two years ago) link

This guy was a fkn awesome drummer btw.

Buff Jeckley (Tom D.), Thursday, 22 March 2018 18:29 (two years ago) link

Are these "Lost Sessions" the same recordings from that To Before set from a few years back?

https://www.discogs.com/The-Comsat-Angels-To-Before/release/886361

he doesn't need to be racist about it though. (Austin), Thursday, 22 March 2018 19:14 (two years ago) link

No, this is some poor quality stuff that's definitely been taped off the radio - volume 2 even has the DJs talking over the end of the songs and then getting chopped off mid-speech. Who the heck uploaded it? Surely it can't be sanctioned by the band

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 22 March 2018 19:24 (two years ago) link

This guy was a fkn awesome drummer btw.

yeah, the more i listen the more amazing he gets

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 22 March 2018 19:30 (two years ago) link

i read in the sleep no more deluxe cd booklet that he recorded the drums at the bottom of a stairway. like bonham on "when the levee breaks"!!

brimstead, Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:05 (two years ago) link

yeah that’s right - in the office building one of them worked in iirc

i'm surprised to see your screwface at the door (NickB), Thursday, 22 March 2018 20:11 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

Was digging for comsats deep cuts and this dream command song is fucking great imo fuiud etc

http://youtu.be/B4qvS9hQJc0

― François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, March 26, 2016 1:11 AM (three years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

^ someone needs to hook up brad with that, think he would dig

― François Pitchforkian (NickB), Saturday, March 26, 2016 1:14 AM (three years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

damn three years late but thank you nick! tim finally got me into this band a few years ago, the first three albums are incredible, but i've been v curious about the later stuff

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 22 April 2019 13:11 (one year ago) link

anyway this is the best band ever

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 22 April 2019 13:14 (one year ago) link

Re: their later stuff, get thee to "My Mind's Eye" pronto!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 22 April 2019 14:32 (one year ago) link

I've always thought the later, starting with Chasing Shadows, stuff was pretty admirable. Fire on the Moon has an especially poor (and unmerited) reputation. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Fire on the Moon is no worse than the worst albums by their peers; it's probably better, honestly.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Monday, 22 April 2019 21:39 (one year ago) link

Fire on the Moon is no worse than the worst albums by their peers; it's probably better, honestly.

That's probably true. It's definitely better than Killing Joke's "Outside The Gate" and on par with Gang Of Four's "Hard". After that, it depends on which albums you consider 'the worst' from other post-punk luminaries.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 23 April 2019 02:37 (one year ago) link

I think Fire on the Moon (and its follow-ups) is way better than Wild Mood Swings or Republic.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Tuesday, 23 April 2019 15:53 (one year ago) link

we need to keep this Cure vs New Order thing contained or it'll take over the whole site

the girl from spirea x (f. hazel), Tuesday, 23 April 2019 16:02 (one year ago) link

i can't wait to check out the later stuff! however i may never get over how bottomlessly great the first three records are

american bradass (BradNelson), Saturday, 27 April 2019 14:08 (one year ago) link

just listening to "monkey pilot" and thinking WOW WHAT A SONG today

american bradass (BradNelson), Saturday, 27 April 2019 14:08 (one year ago) link

also like.... "real story"!!! who were these guys???? their basslines never quit

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 28 April 2019 14:37 (one year ago) link

Their rhythm section was something else, what an amazing drummer.

Freddie Starr (Hitler in shorts) (Tom D.), Sunday, 28 April 2019 14:40 (one year ago) link

yes!!!!!!

american bradass (BradNelson), Sunday, 28 April 2019 14:42 (one year ago) link

I don't believe I've gone a single night DJ'ing without playing "It's History" at some point. Secret favorite band!

Elvis Telecom, Sunday, 28 April 2019 21:55 (one year ago) link


i may never get over how bottomlessly great the first three records are

to be fair, not even the band could get over this.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Wednesday, 1 May 2019 18:35 (one year ago) link

I've been meaning to make a Comsats anthology to put on my phone. And it wouldn't all be from the first 3 albums!

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 1 May 2019 21:25 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

hey gerald, curious what you ended up going with?

my un-obvious (read: non-first three lps) comsats 'best of' picks would be:

'lost continent'
'citadel' (yes i know it's a cover; don't care, it slays)
'driving'
'i hear a new world'
'ice sculpture'

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 13 September 2019 16:17 (one year ago) link

Not gotten round to it yet, but thanks for the reminder, will add it to my queue of music projects.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 13 September 2019 17:43 (one year ago) link

one year passes...

I completely missed that Stephen Fellows released an album this year and it's very very good. Fave "welcome back" album of the year for sure:
https://stephenfellows.bandcamp.com/album/slow-glass

Elvis Telecom, Friday, 20 November 2020 09:17 (one week ago) link

!

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Friday, 20 November 2020 13:54 (one week ago) link

Thanks for the heads up! One of my fastest purchases of the year

hiroyoshi tins in (Sgt. Biscuits), Friday, 20 November 2020 13:55 (one week ago) link

The new album is ok, doesn't knock my socks off or demand multiple listenings. He released a bunch of stuff on Myspace eons ago like "Helicopters 111" that had great potential but that stuff appears to have been shelved.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 20 November 2020 15:19 (one week ago) link

thank you, e t! definitely going to check this out.

Totally different head. Totally. (Austin), Friday, 20 November 2020 16:02 (one week ago) link


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