Today is the birthday of former XTC member Terry Chambers, born this day in 1955 in Swindon, Wiltshire. I know I speak for all the contributors to PowerPop when I say that XTC has made some of the most sublime, transcendent pop music of the past twenty years and Terry's drumming was an integral part of their early sound.
Now that we are thinking about XTC, I've been on a pop psych jag of late, and some of my favorite recordings of the band come from their lysergic alter ego The Dukes of Stratosphear. Under that pseudonym the group released two records, the 25 O'Clock EP in 1985, followed by Psonic Psunspot two years later. Produced by John Leckie, both discs are brilliant, slightly tongue-in-cheek pastiches of British pop psych circa 1967. On these two records the group delivers rock and roll love letters to such era touchstones as Pink Floyd (Bike Ride to the Moon), The Hollies (Vanishing Girl) and the The Move (My Love Explodes) to name just a few. Both discs were later compiled on the Chips from the Chocolate Fireball CD which is required listening for all XTC aficionados or any fan of cool 60s freakbeat. Certainly, these recordings hold up to any of the band's best musical moments and they are simply a blast to listen to.
Also, if you are interested in hearing more original and extremely obscure British psych pop from the era, I highly recommend that you download Andy Morten's fantastic Toffee Sunday Smash podcast here.
Here's the Dukes performing The Mole from the Ministry to give you a tiny taste of their sparkling goodness (sorry-the video cuts out abruptly at the end!). Happy Birthday Mate!!