Catching Up With Depeche Mode

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Catching Up With Depeche Mode.

On November 11th, 1985, British synth-pop sensations Depeche Mode were more broadly introduced to the US market with the compilation album Catching Up With Depeche Mode.

The name of the compilation is to be taken quite literally – Since People Are People (the single and the compilation album) turned out to be a big hit in the US, Sire Records wanted to popularize the band a little more with a compilation album that collects the band’s material from 1981 to 1985, and it was released at the same time as the band’s first (European) singles collection The Singles 81→85, that compiled every single the band released to that date. Different from that, Catching Up With Depeche Mode contained album tracks as well, trying to give the US audience a good overview on the band’s effort – including the B-sides tracks Fly On The Windscreen and Flexible.

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EXPLODE TOGETHER: XTC MAKES UNRECOGNIZABLE MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE OUT OF ITS OWN CATALOG

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EXPLODE TOGETHER: XTC MAKES UNRECOGNIZABLE MUSIQUE CONCRÈTE OUT OF ITS OWN CATALOG.

Once XTC got going in 1978, they were quite productive—releasing White Music and Go 2 in 1978, Drums and Wires in 1979, and Black Sea in 1980. While they were developing all of those great albums, they (Partridge mainly, it seems) found the time to release an album and a half of intensely cut-up re-workings of the very same tracks that went into those first albums.

In other words, they put out experimental music as if they had decided to “plunderphonic” their own catalog, to borrow a term invented by John Oswald in 1985. Puchasers of Go 2 in its original pressing also received a curious EP with a strikingly similar cover design called Go+. What Go+ turned out to be was a collection of five “dub” re-workings of tracks from Go 2.

That was in 1978. In early 1980 an album was released by, ahem, “Mr. Partridge” under the name Take Away/The Lure of Salvage. (It’s not super clear and sources differ, but I think the idea was that Side 1 was “Take Away” and Side 2 was “The Lure of Salvage.”) The cover art appropriated images from an absolutely fantastic photo shoot conducted at the preposterously palatial house of Jayne Mansfield around 1960. Just like Go+, this album consisted of “dub” reworkings of previously released XTC material.

THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Siouxsie and the Banshees | A Kiss in the Dreamhouse

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THIS IS OUR MUSIC: Siouxsie and the Banshees | A Kiss in the Dreamhouse

On November 5th, 1982, Siouxsie and the Banshees released their firth studio album A Kiss in the Dreamhouse. The album’s cover artworkt and title allude to the Gustav Klimt painting, possibly HP Lovecraft, and a Los Angeles brothel called the “Dreamhouse” that featured “replicas” of the Hollywood stars at the time.

The album was the band’s first to include the use of strings, which was provided in part by Anne Stephenson of The Venomettes, on tracks such as “Slowdive” and “Obsession”.

The album is the last to feature guitarist John McGeoch, who left the band after suffering a nervous breakdown due the stresses of touring and alcoholism that caused him to collapse on stage at a Madrid concert. He would be replaced midtour by Cure frontman and guitarist Robert Smith, who is featured on many of the A Kiss in the Dreamhouse’s televised promotional performances.

A Kiss in the Dreamhouse was preceded by the standalone single Fireworks, which the 12 inch version is included on deluxe reissues of the LP.

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