Posts Tagged ‘The Church’

Intervention Records is proud to announce the latest LP in its (Re)Discover Series, The Church’s 1988 smash “Starfish” (IR Catalog IR-027/UPC 707129301567).

The Church’s Starfish is a dreamy, atmospheric masterpiece, guitar-driven alt-rock before alt-rock was a term. It includes the timeless smash hit “Under the Milky Way,” and “Reptile,” both First Wave staples. Intervention’s 2X 180-Gram LP, Artist-Approved Expanded Edition is 18-tracks total, including 8 amazing bonus tracks not on the original LP. These bonus tracks kick off with wonderful acoustic versions of “Under the Milky Way” and “Antenna.” The other tracks are so strong it’s very apparent that “Starfish” could have been a potent double LP.
“Starfish”
is 100% Analog Mastered from The Original Master Tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound.

Intervention’s cut expands the original 10-song repertoire to three vinyl sides opening up the already massive soundstage and presenting this amazing recording with full bass extension and dynamic power. All of the 8 bonus tracks are 100% Analog Mastered from tapes assembled by Ryan K. Smith.

The 180-gram LPs are ultra-quiet, pressed at boutique press, RTI in Camarillo, CA. Intervention replaces its stampers every 500 copies so every pressing is is a hot stamper. 

Starfish’s  album art was lovingly restored by Intervention’s Art Director Tom Vadakan, and the original inner sleeve here is printed as the interior of a gorgeous gatefold jacket. The jacket is an “Old Style” gatefold made by wizards at Stoughton printing in LA. It’s printed on heavy stock and film-laminated for superior color depth, beauty and durability. The centre labels are printed by Dorado.

“Under the Milky Way,” still one of the most haunting and elegant songs ever to make the Top 40.” – AllMusic

Artist-Approved Expanded Edition Double LP8 with amazing bonus tracks!.
100% Analog Mastering From The Original Master Tapes by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound

The pandemic continues to have a profound impact on Intervention’s key partners. Earlier this year both Stoughton Printing, the company that makes our amazing jackets, and our pressing plant RTI shut down for a period, and have struggled to catch up since. Earlier this week Stoughton announced it has suffered a small Covid-19 outbreak and needs to close again until February 1st.  When Stoughton reopens it hopes to be at or near full capacity. Where this affects Intervention and its fans and friends is that The Church “Starfish”release is delayed since we can’t get the jackets completed for several more weeks. There is something of a domino effect here, as we cannot get in RTI’s queue until the jackets are done and delivered. Starfish is the fifth album by the Australian rock band The Church, released in April 1988. The band’s international breakthrough album, “Starfish” went gold in America and has remained their most commercially successful release. 

The high guitar priests of the Australian band the Church have been making pretty much the same record for nearly eight years with twin guitars overlapping in crystal formations of pinging harmonics, staircase arpeggios and clarion twangs and singer-bassist Steve Kilbey’s voice walking a thin line between a melancholy drone and an embittered hiss. Yet no two Church records ever actually sound alike. At its most compelling, the band scrambles the real and the surreal with ease, rattling its stately guitarchitecture with howling north-wind echo and the troubled undertow of Kilbey’s enigmatic lyrics. It’s like being in the middle of a recurring but constantly evolving dream where only the faces remain the same.

The first single, “Under the Milky Way”, charted in the US Billboard peaking at No. 24, leading to significant exposure of the then relatively underground Australian act. “Under the Milky Way”  was recorded/produced in Los Angeles including renowed L.A. session musicians Waddy Wachtel and Greg Ladanyi.  The recording is more sparse and open than its predecessor, Heyday, which featured orchestral arrangements with brass and strings. Many of its songs have seen heavy rotation in live set lists, and the album remains a favourite among many fans. The song “Under the Milky Way” was co-written by Kilbey with his then-girlfriend Karin Jansson of Pink Champagne. When drummer Richard Ploog was unable to find the right feel for the song, the band played to a click track and session musician Russ Kunkel was brought in to add the drums and percussion later.

The album’s title was taken from singer/bassist Steve Kilbey’s nickname for friend/ musical partner Donnette Thayer, who signed herself that way on postcards she sent to Kilbey. Kilbey contributed a long untitled poem to the album’s liner notes. “Hotel Womb” has dream-themed lyrics relating to an imagined wedding. Music videos were filmed for “Under The Milky Way” and “Reptile.” The fifth season of the US TV show, Miami Vice, featured two songs from the album. “Under the Milky Way” was used in an episode called “Asian Cut” and “Blood Money” was showcased throughout the episode “Heart of Night”. Starfish, The Church’s sixth and possibily their best LP, is about the spaces between the faces and about the tensions that fill those spaces. “Our instruments have no way/Of measuring this feeling,” Kilbey sings with edgy resignation in “Destination,” heightening the icy picking of guitarists Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper with visions of musty old bones, stormy weather and “clapped-out swingers. “Blood Money” could be about nothing more sinister than a whore and her john (“She says, ‘Why can’t you get hard/Because you paid for this now in cold hard cash?'”), although the dripping sarcasm in Kilbey’s voice and the metallic sting of the guitars hint that this sexual transaction has more to do with emotional piracy.

There is certainly a lot of betrayal “Reptile” and dislocation “Lost” on tap on this album. At times, it’s hard to reconcile Starfish’s richly appointed production – pillowy strumming, aqueous reverb, the sunshine blast of synthesized bagpipes in “Under the Milky Way” with the negative energy charging some of these relationships. But it’s the very contrast of otherworldly ambiance and sly baroque lyricism with the earthy erotic tug that lights up songs like “Hotel Womb” and Willson-Piper’s “Spark.” On “Hotel Womb” the urgent guitars stoke Kilbey’s vocal despair like a “White Light-White Heat” for distraught young lovers.

For a number of other dates on the American tour, the band was paired with another of their heroes: Tom Verlaine of Television. Verlaine supported The Church. For their encore every night (“You Took”), they brought Verlaine on stage with them for a three-way guitar duel. Some fans consider the Verlaine/Church shows to be some of the best live performances they’ve ever witnessed. Starfish set up the band’s well-deserved breakthrough in the States,” and added that the performances throughout “are at the least fine and at the most fantastic.

During the tour drummer Richard Ploog became gradually disengaged from the band during this tour, even though he stayed with The Church for another two years. The exact nature of his malady is unknown but most agree that LSD exacerbated his condition. There were degrees of internal strife within the band and a high pressure of expectation from Arista Records. Because of this, Kilbey smoked more pot on this tour than at any other point in his life – such large quantities that he routinely coughed up blood. By the tour’s end, The Church had performed 94 shows across the US, Canada, Europe, the UK and Australia.

The Church:

  • Steve Kilbey – bass, lead vocals 
  • Peter Koppes – guitars, lead vocals
  • Marty Willson-Piper – guitars, lead vocals
  • Richard Ploog – drums, percussion
Additional musicians:
  • Greg Kuehn – keyboards
  • Russ Kunkel – drums and percussion
  • David Lindley – mandolin
  • “Awesome Welles” – Synclavier
  • Waddy Wachtel – Guitars backing vocals

What sets Starfish a notch above other distinguished Church hymnals, like 1986’s Heyday and the 1982 import beauty The Blurred Crusade, is its remarkable musical unity and refined dramatic poise. “Under the Milky Way” is the closest the band has come to adapting its expansive guitar chorales to potential-hit-single form since “The Unguarded Moment”

While my hope at this point is that these LPs are in stock and shipping in June, I’m calling it summer of 2021 and crossing fingers and toes that it comes sooner. I am so sorry for this delay! The test pressings sound AMAZING, the artwork will be stunning and you will be thrilled! 

Artist-Approved 2X LP Expanded Edition!, 8 Bonus Tracks Not Included On Original Vinyl Release!

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The Church is an Australian psychedelic rock band formed in Sydney in 1980. Initially associated with new wave, neo-psychedelia and indie rock, their music later came to feature slower tempos and surreal soundscapes reminiscent of dream pop and post-rock. “From the release of the ‘She Never Said’ single in November 1980, this unique Sydney-originated entity has purveyed a distinctive, ethereal, psychedelic-tinged sound which has alternatively found favour and disfavour in Australia.” The Los Angeles Times has described the band’s music as “dense, shimmering, exquisite guitar pop”.  The Church’s extensive career has cemented them as one of Australia’s most enduring bands of the post-punk era and well-deserving of their place in the ARIA Hall of Fame. Having refined their unique and defining sound over the course of a remarkable 24 studio albums, including Starfish, The Blurred Crusade and Priest=Aura, the band have received international acclaim, with fans across the globe still enjoying their iconic music today.

The Church Live 50-plus minutes of the band performing at what’s believed to be Hodern Pavilion in its hometown of Sydney, Australia, in 1982.

The 10-song performance — including strong early single “The Unguarded Moment” is professionally filmed, with outstanding audio,

Setlist:
1. Tear It All Away
0:00
2. Too Fast For You
0:4:25
3. Sisters
0:8:21
4. Electric Lash
12:34
5. Field Of Mars
17:00
6. You Took 
22:04
7. The Unguarded Moment
30:17
8. Almost With You
34:41
9. Is This Where You Live
39:11
10. Just For You
46:48

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Hey All,

I’m very happy to announce that on Record Store Day 2019 and after nearly two decades of floating in digital space, I finally see the vinyl release of Hanging Out In Heaven. It will be a blue-tinged double record, set with two extra tracks – Queen In Her Jeans and Dressed Up As You. These additional songs were recorded in London around the same time and were always intended for the vinyl version.

Hanging Out In Heaven began in LA with Shep Lonsdale, engineer on Starfish and GAF, helping me record some songs at his home studio. Shep was also a drummer and played on half the record. I’d written some songs since the release of Spirit Level in 1992 but I’d become very busy in the period between Spirit Level and Hanging Out In Heaven, touring and making records with All About Eve in England. The Priest=Aura US tour had been cancelled due to disappointing sales in relation to the previous two releases so I had plenty of time for All About Eve.

I was living in Sweden at the time and during a break recording for Hanging Out In Heaven continued in the town of Gävle with Andreas Ahlenius (After Everything Now This and A Box Of Birds were recorded at Andreas‘ Blue Room studios). Hanging Out In Heaven was somehow suspended in mid-air after leaving LA and I had some new songs that I wanted to add to the album. I had worked with Andreas as my engineer when I had produced an album for Swedish artist Håkan Ahlström in 1997. Christer Björklund from the Håkan Ahlström project stepped in for the remaining drum tracks for the new songs. I must add that encouragement to finish the project came from Robert Rankin Walkerat Heyday Records. After hearing the LA sessions he supported me in adding the new tracks and mixing the record to completion.

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The album opened with fan fave Forget The Radio and featured many songs that have appeared in the live set over the years – the lilting You Bring Your Love To Me and an early version of I Don’t Think So, recorded live in the studio. It also contains Sanctuary, a song that everyone likes but is hard to play live without a band plus playfully suicidal After Eight. Wreck has featured live as an acapella sea shanty, more often played in seaside towns and Wondering featured desert dweller Patti Hood on her century-old harp. Then there’s Andreas‘ creaking foot pedals on the piano for All That Remains. The song was written singing into a cassette recorder whilst on holiday in Fiji as a stopover from Australia to Europe. It also includes What Is Her Name, written for, wait for it, Charlie Cox age 12, who is now Daredevil on Netflix! Whilst on holiday with his family in Queensland, he asked me could I write a song where you saw a girl that you liked and you didn’t know but wondered what was her name? This was the result.

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There’s an interesting fact about Wondering and I Don’t Think So. Both were written as jams to tape and rerecorded later as they went down on the day they were conceived – the lyrics, the melody, the chords, the arrangements, were all realised on the spur of the moment. Swan featured me playing friend Keith Fuller’s black Gretsch duo jet guitar. It was Keith that replaced Johnny Marr when he left The The. He also played guitar on Goodbye.

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I hope you enjoy the album, I always wanted to see it out on vinyl. I will also add that we had to cut the vinyl from the CD copy as the original master tapes are long gone. One track, Waves Towards The Moon, has some distortion that is also on the CD and we weren’t able to do anything about it in the transfer. Overall the record sounds fine to me. One thing we were able to fix was the readability of the lyrics. On the original CD version the lyrics were so small you could barely read them, plus they were written like handwriting which made it extra hard.

Last but not least, the artwork has been changed for this release, despite Anthony Collins’ pic of me floating in a sea of blue being used for the original album, the effect used has also been lost to the analogue robots of yesteryear, so we decided to go with my Swedish friend Jan Uddenfeldt’s classic pics of me as a young lad, exploring the archipelago North of Stockholm, sometime in the eighties.

Thank you to Olivia for art direction, Jan and Anthony for the pics, Lizzie for joining the dots. Shauna for the promo, all the musicians and Stephen Judgeat Schoolkids Records – The Label for making this happen with Robert at Heyday who also managed to find the one copy of Queen In Her Jeans that was thought stolen by the corgis.

Marty for RSD 2019

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MARTY WILLSON-PIPER, is best known as a long-time member of Australian psychedelic rock band The Church and then All About Eve. But he’s super prolific and loves collaborating, so many also know him as a member of Anekdoten, MOAT and Noctorum.

On Record Store Day 2019 and after nearly two decades of floating in digital space, the world will finally see the vinyl release of Marty’s fifth studio album ‘Hanging Out In Heaven’. It will be a blue-tinged double record set with new artwork and two extra tracks (‘Queen In Her Jeans’ and ‘Dressed Up As You’). These additional songs were recorded in London around the same time and were always intended for the vinyl version. Now the time has come.

BG album cover

The Australian band Baby Grande surely would’ve been lost to history if not for the work of HoZac Records. The label has unearthed the Baby Grande tapes, which date from the mid 1970s, but weren’t released. The group features future members of the famed band the Church, but that’s not the sole reason the material is interesting. Formed during the period when glam was on the way out, but punk wasn’t a thing yet, Baby Grande were a little bit of both. Their glam/punk songs are really quite good, which makes their impending album of archival recordings something to get excited about.

Baby Grande got going in 1975. Singer Steve Kilbey and drummer Peter Koppes had previously played together in another band, the Precious Little. Baby Grande were based in Canberra, and started playing area clubs, though it was hard to get the attention of attendees, who were mainly there to booze it up. Even a high profile gig opening for AC/DC didn’t result in any new fans. Not helping matters, the group found they had few contemporaries, as most of the other Canberra outfits only did covers.

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Koppes eventually switched to second lead guitar and a new drummer was brought aboard, but then Koppes left the band when gigs became few and far between. The remaining four members realized they really only needed one lead guitarist anyway, with Kilbey playing rhythm guitar as needed. Despite the fact that they didn’t have much of a following, Baby Grande got their big break, signing with EMI Records. In January 1977, they went into the studio to record what they thought was a demo, but after submitting the tapes to the label, they were dropped. Turns out, the suits were expecting a finished product and were disappointed with the results. It wasn’t long before Baby Grande had broken-up.

BG 4

 

HoZac Records drops the album of Baby Grande studio recordings, which is entitled 1975-77, on October 5th.  Dangerous Minds is thrilled to have the premiere of one of the highlights of the record, the exhilarating glam/punk rocker, “Zephyr.” The track was amongst those rejected by EMI for being too raw, but that quality is part of what makes this and other Baby Grande songs so exciting Looking back, Kilbey is more amused than anything by the Baby Grande tunes, yet even he has to concede that the upcoming record—over forty years in the making“certainly rocks.” .The Church broke through in 1981

thanksDangerousMinds

In April 1992 The Cure released their 9th album “Wish”. To celebrate the 25th year anniversary of this iconic album many Sydney acts will come together to play and sing the entire album plus many many other songs off their previous 8 albums before its release. The Factory Theatre in Sydney hosted the celebration of the 25th Anniversary to the Cure’s ninth album “The Wish” with a complete front to back of the album headlined by Steve Kilbey of The Church.

Steve Kilbey (The Church), The Exploding Boys, The Hummingbirds, Jamie Hutchings, Peter Fenton (CROW), Dave Challinor (Sounds Like Sunset), J M S Harrison, Christine Jane + many more!”

 

The Church Band’s ‘Priest=Aura’ released 20 years ago today. Been listening to this one a lot lately. Where do you think it ranks in the band’s discography? Pretty near the top for me…Priest=Aura (styled as priest=aura) is the eighth album by the Australian psychedelic rock band The Church , released in March 1992

After touring their previous album, Gold Afternoon Fix (1990), with new drummer Jay Dee Daugherty (Patti Smith Group), The Church returned to Sydney’s Studios 301 to commence work on new material. With lowered commercial expectations and less pressure from Arista Records, the atmosphere was more relaxed than the fraught L.A. sessions for their previous two albums. Bringing in British producer Gavin MacKillop  to supervise the sessions, the band began to improvise the framework for the next set of songs. The use of opium and, for Kilbey, heroin, saw the material take on a more expansive and surreal quality, while Daugherty’s occasionally jazz-like approach on drums brought a fresh change.

Titled Priest=Aura, from Kilbey’s misreading of a Spanish fan’s English vocabulary notes (‘priest’ = ‘cura’), the album contained fourteen tracks, several over six minutes long. At nearly 65 minutes, it was their longest release so far. With song concepts derived from cryptic, one-word working titles (an idea originally proposed by Willson-Piper), the lyrics leaned towards the abstract and esoteric. Emphasising free association and undirected coincidence between music and motif, Kilbey declined to define their meanings. Sonically, the interplay between Koppes and Willson-Piper dominated throughout, especially on tracks such as “Ripple,” “Kings,” and the epic, aptly titled “Chaos”, whose lyrics were a reflection of Kilbey’s unsettled lifestyle at the time.

Upon its release on March 10th, 1992 (it was issued in the United States slightly before Australia), Priest=Aura had less chart success than any of its predecessors, It was given a mixed reception. Rolling Stones Ira Robbins called the album “rich in texture” but with an “arid atmosphere”. The band went on a sold-out tour of Australia (the “Jokes-Magic-Souvenirs” tour), as Kilbey prepared for the birth of his twin daughters, but after the final gig founding guitarist Peter Koppes announced his departure. Increasing personality conflicts, especially with Willson-Piper, who had been moonlighting with UK band All About Eve, combined with frustration over The Church’s declining chart success had made the situation intolerable. Koppes would eventually return to guest with the band on their 1996 album Magician Among the Spirits and rejoined permanently in 1997.

Despite its muted reception at the time of release, Priest=Aura is considered by both the band and fan base to be an artistic high point. In 2011 the album, along with Untitled #23and Starfish, was played in its entirety on the band’s 30th Anniversary “Future, Past, Perfect” tour. In his 2014 autobiography, Something Quite Peculiar, Kilbey calls it their “undisputed masterpiece”.

The original 1992 Australian release was bundled with the 1991 rarities album A Quick Smoke at Spot’s: Archives 1986-1990.

A 2-CD remastered edition was released in Australia in 2005. The second disc included the tracks “Ripple (single edit)”, “Nightmare”, “Fog”, “Feel (extended mix)”, “Drought” and “Unsubstantiated”.

In 2011, Second Motion Records re-released the album as part of their 30th Anniversary Remaster series, with the bonus tracks “Nightmare” and “Fog”, in a cardboard sleeve with a booklet containing lyrics, photos and sleeve notes by Marty Willson-Piper.

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On this day January. 22nd in 1982: following its domestic success in Australia where it had reached number 22 on the charts in 1981, THE Church’s debut album ‘Of Skins and Hearts’ was re-sequenced & released internationally as ‘The Church’ by Capitol Records in North America & Carrere Records in the UK & Europe… Capitol also released an edited version of the single “The Unguarded Moment” which was a minute shorter – a decision which displeased the band, Its still a fantastic song and a superb video.

Heyday is the fourth album by the Australian psychedelic rock band The Church, released in November 1985. The album marked the first occasion when group compositions dominated one of the band’s releases. Steve Kilbey has said: “The demo situation was getting to us – me writing the songs on my eight-track and bringing them along to the band. It sounded too stiff. We’d reached this new energy level on stage which by far superseded anything we’d ever recorded, so we knew the only way to get sounding like that (on record) was for the whole band to write together.”

As the band began cutting the album at Studio 301, it became apparent that there had been a dramatic change in Steve’s voice.Perhaps it was the extended break from performing, or abstaining from drugs, or the hours of yoga; in any case, Steve’s singing was now much more relaxed and warm, and he possessed a wider, more dynamic range. For years, critics had pointed to Steve’s sometimes dour voice as the Church’s weak point. Suddenly, during these new recording sessions, his distinctive vocals became one of the band’s greatest strengths — its signature, in fact. In addition to singing all the leads, Steve also tracked multiple harmony parts for each song, sometimes singing an entire octave higher than his normal register.”

Although most of the keyboards utilised on previous recordings had been stripped back, the album saw a greater amount of embellishment with the addition of strings and brass. While at the time Heyday featured more focus on the guitar interplay than anything since The Blurred Crusade, solos had been cut to a bare minimum.

Despite some critics and followers taking issue with the brash horns on some songs, the album regularly lists among the fan base’s (and even band members’) favourites. Tracks such as “Myrrh” and “Tantalized” have been featured in live shows even up to present day. It is notable for being, to date, the last album by the group to feature a printed lyric sheet – Steve Kilbey has declined to include lyrics with any subsequent albums.

Despite the increased amount of studio collaboration on Heyday between the members, while the band was on tour in April 1986 to support the album, Marty Willson-Piper suddenly quit mid-tour after rising in-band tensions. On 10th July, The Church performed as a three-piece in Hamburg, Germany; Willson-Piper returned within a week after Kilbey agreed that future releases would contain more group efforts.

In 2002 the album was remastered and reissued by EMI Australia, with a bonus disc including promo videos for “Already Yesterday”, “Tantalized” and “Columbus”.

All songs written by Kilbey/Koppes/Ploog/Willson-Piper, except where indicated

  1. “Myrrh” – 4:19
  2. “Tristesse” – 3:29
  3. “Already Yesterday” – 4:14
  4. “Columbus” – 3:50
  5. “Happy Hunting Ground” – 5:31
  6. “As You Will” (Koppes) – 4:44
  7. “Tantalized” – 4:59
  8. “Disenchanted” (Kilbey) – 3:55
  9. “Night Of Light” – 4:47
  10. “Youth Worshipper” (Kilbey/Karin Jansson) – 3:43
  11. “Roman” – 3:51
  12. “The View” (Willson-Piper) – 3:44
  13. “Trance Ending” – 4:48

     Personnel

The Church performing live at the Triple Door as part of KEXP’s VIP Club concert series. Recorded February 8th, 2015.

Songs:
Toy Head
Delirious
Laurel Canyon
Lightning White
Miami