Wow! Just got a press release stating that Andy Partridge's Ape label will be re-releasing the two excellent Dukes of Stratosphear albums on April 21, complete with bonus demos and new liner notes! I'll let that email speak for itself:
The Dukes of Stratosphear came about in the 80s with a release of an EP (25 O'Clock) by those cheeky lads in Swindon, UK, otherwise known as XTC. It was a side-project put out semi-anonymously, without fanfare, which came about from a shared love of 60s-inspired psychedelic, Lewis Carroll-tinged power pop.
Not surprisingly, the band was unmasked in fairly short order, due to the distinctive vocal stylings and musical sensibilities of Andy Partridge, Colin Moulding, et al. They followed it up with a full length release (Psonic Psunspot), and both titles were re-released together in the late 80s as Chips from the Chocolate Factory.
Flash-forward to 2009-Andy Partridge's own Ape label has reissued them AGAIN, this time with previously unpublished demo versions as well as video! Did you know that Colin originally wrote Vanishing Girl as No One at Home and sang on the demo (Andy sang the album version)? I didn't, and I am a crazy XTC/Dukes junkie. Despite its homage and nod to the summer of love era, it is a sound that remains somewhat timeless.
If you are unfamiliar with The Dukes of Stratosphear, prepare yourself for a treat and to have your ears and mind blown.
The Dukes of Stratosphear - "My Love Explodes" mp3
The Dukes of Stratosphear - "Braniac's Daughter" mp3
Freak out to the Dukes' "What In The World" here: