Robyn Hitchcock/Soft Boys: Classic or Dud?

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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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (seventeen 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 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

He's sooooooooo weird.

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

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

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

I still defend Perspex Island.

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

No mention of Old Pervert or Insanely Jealous?

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

insanely jealous old pervert?

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

Underwater Moonlight is one of the best records ever made.

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

After a couple of listens, definitely his best since the Venus 3 work. I was afraid his new squeeze would negatively impact it but that's not the case.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Monday, 24 April 2017 19:27 (one year ago) Permalink

My emusic credits just refreshed, I'm buying this tonight.

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Monday, 24 April 2017 22:18 (one year ago) Permalink

think my fave is "raymond and the wires" -- the kind of weird/beautiful song only Hitchcock could write.

tylerw, Monday, 24 April 2017 22:19 (one year ago) Permalink

It's also a pretty rare (or maybe not) straight song by Robyn. I've gotten fascinated by the influence of his father on his work lately. His dad did in fact have a bad leg, and the song sounds pretty autobiographical.

dlp9001, Monday, 24 April 2017 22:29 (one year ago) Permalink

Raymond Hitchcock. Author of "Percy" (Kinks) and "Venus 13." Died in Winchester. Etc. There's an article to be written there, if it hasn't already been....

dlp9001, Monday, 24 April 2017 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

yeah it does seem that way -- i imagine a lot of his songs are obliquely autobiographical, but this one is obviously pretty direct.

tylerw, Monday, 24 April 2017 22:32 (one year ago) Permalink

There's a whole book to be written about rh but do I have to do it?

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Monday, 24 April 2017 22:44 (one year ago) Permalink

wasn't there some kind of hint about robyn writing his memoirs at some point?

tylerw, Monday, 24 April 2017 22:49 (one year ago) Permalink

There was??? That'd be amazing

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 25 April 2017 01:25 (one year ago) Permalink

With all due respect to one of my favorite artists, he needs a good editor. A really good one. A bio of him could be amazing or horrible. I don't want to read about crepuscular crabs and longings for margarine. I think he's going to get one shot at a bio, and I kind of pray that someone else is in charge.

dlp9001, Tuesday, 25 April 2017 01:47 (one year ago) Permalink

first listen is happening now. this is great. doesn't sound quite like any other rh record. he has to tour this electric!

'oh god you were beautiful' on mad shelley's letterbox is one of those simple yet odd expressive hooks only robyn can locate that instantly give you life-chills

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:20 (one year ago) Permalink

and the guitars behind that phrase, my goodness TOTAL BYRDS ORGY

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:21 (one year ago) Permalink

Nice post re Demme:

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:31 (one year ago) Permalink

Huh, that's odd. Thought it would have autolinked.

Ned Raggett, Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:32 (one year ago) Permalink

always appreciated that Demme took his Oscar cachet and made Storefront Hitchcock, which obviously was not going to be a huge box office smash. nice to have such an artfully made document of Hitchcock at that point ...

tylerw, Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:39 (one year ago) Permalink

I also like that he cast him in a couple of fictions, though demme cannot address the yawning lack of a Robyn-as-Dr-Who TV movie.

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:44 (one year ago) Permalink

Aw man and me clicking on neds link is me learning demme has passed

gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 16:45 (one year ago) Permalink

two months pass...

"autumn sunglasses" is so nice

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 12 July 2017 14:10 (ten months ago) Permalink

yeahhh, the whole record is really strong! i think that opening tune is the only one that doesn't click for me, actually (which is weird, since he's usually pretty great at choosing openers).

tylerw, Wednesday, 12 July 2017 14:26 (ten months ago) Permalink

it's damn good electric robyn album

any signs of him touring w/band?

or at night (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 12 July 2017 15:15 (ten months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Saw this on tv last night. I probably shouldn't be surprised by things like this, but I was:

Montgomery Burns' Jazz (Tarfumes The Escape Goat), Saturday, 9 September 2017 13:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

I begrudge no artist for making a little cash and exposing their music to more people.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 9 September 2017 14:42 (eight months ago) Permalink

they feed your pride with cold cuts and then lead you on to more

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Saturday, 9 September 2017 14:56 (eight months ago) Permalink

My buddy cried a tear on this a couple weeks ago and I said "Rew gave the ad world 'walking on sunshine, surely a greater offense to decency, though a far lesser song. '" 40 years of preservation is enough for this return imo.

felix! phelix! ghelix! (Hunt3r), Saturday, 9 September 2017 16:15 (eight months ago) Permalink

Hahaha well done unnamed aging hipster ad guy

I am not offended by this ad at all

For sure though this AIN'T the song I would have predicted for Robyn's first ad windfall

NB I also really like subways sweet onion teriyaki sandwich

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 9 September 2017 19:00 (eight months ago) Permalink

haha, yeah, i have absolutely no problem with robyn getting some cash so that he can keep on keepin' on.
on twitter, he said: "Oddly my first-ever US meal was a Subway in NYC, w/ Soft Boys in 1980. Chicken Teriyaki wasn't invented yet but we did play 'Destroy You'"

tylerw, Saturday, 9 September 2017 19:48 (eight months ago) Permalink

six months pass...

Isn't it time for an odds, sods, outtakes, etc collection from Sir Robyn? Would it be any good is the real question...

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 17 March 2018 04:34 (two months ago) Permalink

You mean a career spanning one or one that sweeps up the odd stuff from the last ~ten years?

His odds and sods tend to be among his best stuff. One of the best things if the a&m albums ever get remastered is that those fantastic b-sides would likely be on there

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 18 March 2018 02:03 (two months ago) Permalink

Those Yep Roc box sets from a few years back are pretty comprehensive regarding the non LP Hitchcock stuff. They are still available. Also, the Invisible Hitchcock LP is tremendous. It collects his very early non-LP stuff. He actually pulled out a few gems from this when he did Black Snake Diamond Role shows in NYC last year.

kwhitehead, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 11:13 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, his last oddities collection was 2008's "Shadow Cat", so the last 10 years would be covered. I wonder if there's any Venus 3 outtakes?

Better yet would be a set of the many live-only songs he's done.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 13:21 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah, i was wondering if his slower pace of releasing albums in those years means he is also writing slower and producing less outtakes/less chips from the workbench. Could be there just aren't that many odds lately!

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 14:42 (two months ago) Permalink

i wouldn't mind hearing (if they exist) the demos for Love From London ... I feel like there might be some good songs lurking in there, I just kinda can't stand the overall sound of that record.

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:02 (two months ago) Permalink


there are some good songs there, i can affirm

the sound picture of it is the worst bedroom DAW vaporishness (somewhat reminiscent of the awful sound of very late Prince records)

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:07 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah, just sounds very much "in the box" if that makes sense ... think i've heard a live version or two where I've thought "hey this isn't terrible!"

in other news, i listened to black snake diamond role three times over the weekend. what a great record!

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:10 (two months ago) Permalink

you are making me bitter all over again about having gone to the 'wrong' Robyn/YLT Black Snake show (ie the one where they didn't play Let There be More Darkness)

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:13 (two months ago) Permalink

BTW: were you spinning the LP with the saxes or CD without?

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:13 (two months ago) Permalink

w/ the saxes!

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:14 (two months ago) Permalink

(this is what my 1981-centric saturday morning looked like)

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:15 (two months ago) Permalink

I has that "Lope at the Hive/Only The Stones Remain" two-half-albums. It is nifty.

Mark G, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 15:38 (two months ago) Permalink

There are days when I think You & Oblivion is my favorite RH record.

mick signals, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:05 (two months ago) Permalink

yeah that, Invisible Hitchcock and A Star for Bram are the big reasons why I say his castoffs are so frequently top shelf stuff

xposts i guess the closest RH has come to a "Do Me, Baby" is Wafflehead? Or Agony of Pleasure.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 16:56 (two months ago) Permalink

I always forget to think of Invisible Hitchcock as an outtakes album when I listen to it. I bought it in the 80s and to me it was just One of his first solo records, maybe with some iffy quality control on side B.

mick signals, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 17:16 (two months ago) Permalink

my favorite RH album cover tbh

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:31 (two months ago) Permalink

i guess the closest RH has come to a "Do Me, Baby" is Wafflehead? Or Agony of Pleasure.

when i was listening i was half-imagining Prince covering RH's "Heaven"

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:39 (two months ago) Permalink

i guess "egyptian cream" is the most prince-like title he's got, haha

tylerw, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 18:40 (two months ago) Permalink

Well, he does say "Fuck me baby, I'm a trolley bus" in "The Authority Box". But I can't tell if he's being sexual.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 19:23 (two months ago) Permalink

Like, "Woke up this morning, and fuck me I'm a trolleybus 🚎"


Mark G, Tuesday, 20 March 2018 19:42 (two months ago) Permalink

wow i never thought of applying that phraseology to that lyric

i always just figured he wanted her/him/them to have sex with him because he's a trolleybus.

Now i think your interpretation is right

like holy crap i'm a trolleybus

However, there still remains the weird swallowed "UCK me darling" in La Charite on Nextdoorland

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 20 March 2018 20:31 (two months ago) Permalink

Robyn's written many not-so-veiled songs to now ex-lovers and wives. I wonder what it's like for him to play them, does he just mentally transfer the implications to his new love or is it a painful reminder?

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Wednesday, 21 March 2018 02:32 (two months ago) Permalink

I feel beautiful and beautiful queen are the biggest Michele songs I can think of - does he play those still? I can’t remember.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:03 (two months ago) Permalink

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