[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/xtc.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:XTC circa 1986. Left to right: David Gregory, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding]]

[floatboxright:Influences:
+ Music/RoxyMusic
+ Music/BrianEno
+ Music/TheBeatles
+ Music/TheBeachBoys
+ Music/TheKinks
+ Music/DavidBowie
+ Music/BobDylan
+ Music/10cc
+ Music/NewYorkDolls
+ Music/PinkFloyd
+ Syd Barrett
+ Music/TheSmallFaces
+ Music/TheWho
]

->''"Drowning here in summer's cauldron''
->''Under mats of flower lava''
->''Please don't pull me out, this is how I would want to go"''
-->--'''XTC''', "Summer's Cauldron"

XTC were a [[LongRunner long-running]] cult favourite AlternativeRock band from [[UsefulNotes/TheWestCountry Swindon]], active between 1976-2005. The band had the following core members:

* Andy Partridge - vocals, guitar
* Colin Moulding - vocals, bass
* Dave Gregory - guitar, keyboards, string arrangements, backing vocals

The band's other two initial members were keyboardist Barry Andrews (who left after two albums in 1979 and was replaced by Gregory), and drummer Terry Chambers (who left in 1983 when the band's retirement from touring severely cut into his income, and was replaced by a series of session musicians for each album).

XTC throughout their existence were based around the two main songwriters, Partridge and Moulding. Their initial style was a frantic, hyperactive variation of Music/NewWave that added in elements of {{Funk}}, PunkRock, {{Ska}} and {{Reggae}}. This [[NeoclassicalPunkZydecoRockabilly stylistic fusion]] found favour with the contemporary PunkRock movement, and the band gained some success with its first two albums.

Andrews' resignation from XTC in 1979 and replacement with Gregory proved to be a pivotal moment in the band's career, as Gregory's [[TheSixties sixties-influenced]] guitar style steered the band towards its later sound, and his invaluable contributions to the band's albums helped drive Partridge and Moulding to new musical heights. For a while after Gregory's arrival, the band got slightly more attention from the mainstream and managed to score a few hits, such as the goofy, Moulding-penned single "Making Plans for Nigel" and Partridge's "Senses Working Overtime" and "Sgt. Rock is Going to Help Me".

The band retired from touring definitively in 1982 after Partridge [[CreatorBreakdown suffered a severe mental breakdown]], forcing their world tour to be cancelled. They remained studio-bound for the rest of their career, making occasional live appearances on radio and television (like a 1989 appearance on ''[[Creator/DavidLetterman Late Night with David Letterman]]'' where [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00ELxYWgXmQ Partridge looks absolutely uncomfortable]]). In response to the loss of touring income, Chambers left and moved to Australia. Partridge, Moulding and Gregory didn't bother to replace him, instead recruiting session drummers on an album-per-album basis. These drummers have included: Prairie Prince (The Tubes), Dave Mattacks (Fairport Convention), Pat Mastelotto (KingCrimson) and Dave's brother Ian Gregory.

Once Chambers left, the group completely changed their style, with the dreamy, pastoral folk-rock of ''Mummer'' serving as arguable NewSoundAlbum. From that point on XTC became a full-blown PsychedelicRock band, taking production cues from Music/TheBeatles (and BeachBoys), jangly guitars from TheByrds and idiosyncratic, humorous lyrics critical of society from TheKinks. Soon afterwards, XTC recorded the album commonly regarded as their masterpiece, ''Skylarking''. Besides critical accolades, ''Skylarking'' managed to gain them a controversial hit single as well, the Beatlesque rock of "Dear God", where Partridge basically embarked on a long NayTheist SmiteMeOMightySmiter rant, railing against [[GodIsEvil God's horrendous, callous treatment of humanity]]. God was so incensed by Mr. Partridge's display of testicular virility that he personally purchased 250.000 copies of ''Skylarking''.

Around the same time, XTC recorded some outright PsychedelicRock [[AffectionateParody Affectionate Parodies]], under their alter egos The Dukes of Stratosphear. As The Dukes, the band released an EP, ''25 O'Clock'' (1985), and an album, ''Psionic Psunspot'' (1987), where they were all credited under StageNames (Partridge was Sir John Johns, Moulding was [[SpellMyNameWithAThe The Red Curtain]] and Gregory was Lord Cornelius Plum) and did their damnedest to pass the material off as [[{{Retraux}} genuine Sixties psychedelia]]. The EP and album were initially available on vinyl only, but simultaneous with the album the two were compiled as ''Chips from the Chocolate Fireball'' on CD only. It wasn't until 2009 that the original works were released on CD separately, with bonus tracks and credited to XTC as The Dukes of Stratosphear. The Dukes were also jokingly thanked in the ''Skylarking'' liner notes for allowing XTC to borrow their instruments.

This wasn't the first time the band recorded material under pseudonyms:
* Partridge had released a solo album in 1980 as "Mr Partridge", ''Take Away/The Lure of Savage'', featuring dub reconstructions of XTC songs. These experiments were later collected on the ''Explode Together: The Dub Experiments 78-80'' compilation.
* Moulding and Chambers recorded the "Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen" single under the name "The Colonel" the same year.
* They recorded a ''{{Viz}}'' promotional single as "Johnny Japes and his Jesticles".
* They recorded the 1983 Christmas single "Thanks for Christmas" as "The Three Wise Men".
* They also appeared on their own tribute album ''Testimonial Dinner'' as "Terry and the Lovemen".
* Aside from the Dukes credit, the ''Skylarking'' liner notes also humorously credited "the [[Music/TheBeachBoys Beech Avenue Boys]]" (actually the band and Todd Rundgren) with backing vocals.

Benefiting from renewed attention, XTC managed to revive their commercial fortunes with their next two energetic PsychedelicRock albums, ''Oranges and Lemons'' and ''Nonsuch'', gaining three more hit singles from them: "The Mayor of Simpleton" and "King for a Day" from the former and "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" from the latter. However, they became embroiled in a long contractual dispute with their label Virgin Records and went "on strike" until they were released from their contract in 1998.

Now independent and benefiting from a large settlement obtained from Virgin (Partridge had discovered the label withheld substantial royalties from them), XTC formed their own record label and Partridge and Moulding installed recording studios in their own homes. A double album of material written during the dispute named ''Apple Venus'' was planned, which was eventually released in two volumes in 1999 and 2000, the second album containing their last major single, "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love". However, the band experienced a new setback when Gregory left in 1999 due to a conflict with Partridge and Moulding. Their fanbase became absolutely incensed by this announcement, with fans slamming Partridge and Moulding for forcing Gregory's departure. The band itself disintegrated shortly afterwards due to Moulding's decreasing contributions and lack of interest, with Partridge officially announcing XTC's breakup in 2006. However, Patridge, Moulding and Gregory are all still good friends with one another - in 2003, the three of them performed a charity gig as The Dukes of Stratosphear - so the chance of a reunion, while slim due to Moulding's continued disinterest in making music, is always possible.

Discography:
* ''White Music'' (1978)
* ''Go 2'' (1978)
* ''Drums and Wires'' (1979) - First album with Gregory.
* ''Black Sea'' (1980)
* ''English Settlement'' (1982) - Last album with Terry Chambers.
* ''Mummer'' (1983) - NewSoundAlbum, marked their definitive break with Music/NewWave. Drums here were handled by Peter Phipps, who also worked with Music/{{Eurythmics}} and Music/GaryGlitter.
* ''The Big Express'' (1984) - Drumming duties here were split between drum machines, Phipps, and Andy Partridge himself.
* ''25 O'Clock'' EP (1985) - The Dukes of Stratosphear release. This time around the drummer was Dave's brother Ian Gregory.
* ''Music/{{Skylarking}}'' (1986) - Prairie Prince of Music/TheTubes stepped in as drummer, credited as "the part of the time bomb". Mingo Lewis provided extra percussion on "Mermaid Smiled" and "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul", and "That's Really Super, Supergirl" started with a drum machine[[note]]Prince claims that his girlfriend misunderstood his "time bomb" credit and thought he was responsible only for said drum machine, leaving him to inform her he actually did the drums[[/note]].
* ''Psonic Psunspot'' (1987) - The Dukes of Stratosphear release. Again, the drummer was Dave's brother Ian Gregory.
* ''Chips from the Chocolate Fireball'' (1987) - The Dukes of Stratosphear compilation, containing ''25 O'Clock'' and ''Psonic Psunspot''. Please don't tell us you already forgot who was the drummer.
* ''Oranges & Lemons'' (1989) - The drummer's stool was passed to Pat Mastelotto, of Music/KingCrimson and Music/MrMister fame.
* ''Nonsuch'' (1992) - Continuing the famous guest trend, the drums here are played by Dave Mattacks of Music/FairportConvention, with extra percussion credits for Andy and producer [[Music/EltonJohn Gus Dudgeon]].
* ''Apple Venus Volume 1'' (1999) - Last album with Gregory, who left midway through recording. Prairie Prince returned behind the kit.
* ''Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)'' (2000) - Four songs had Prince on drums, with the rest being played by Chuck Sabo.

You can vote for your favourite XTC album by heading over to the [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/crowner.php/Sandbox/BestAlbumXTC Best Album crowner]].
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!!XTC provide examples of the following tropes:
* AbusiveParents:
** The song "Runaways" gives them a sympathetic, rueful context.
** "No Thugs In Our House" is a sarcastic take on the harsh home life of a kid who is growing up primed to be a thug.
* AffectionateParody: The Dukes of Stratosphear incarnation was a faithful recreation of British psychedelic music in TheSixties, GratuitousPanning and all.
** "Brainiac's Daughter" in particular is one to the music of Music/PaulMcCartney.
* AfterTheEnd: "This World Over", after a nuclear apocalypse.
* AlbumTitleDrop: ''Oranges & Lemons'' is named after a lyric from "Ballet for a Rainy Day", a song on their previous album, ''Skylarking'', and it doubles as a reference to the old eponymous nursery rhyme. ''Nonsuch'' is titled from a lyric in "Chalkhills and Children" from ''Oranges & Lemons''. To top it all off, ''Apple Venus'' is named after a lyric in "Then She Appeared" from ''Nonsuch''. Andy has since admitted that the first two instances were unintentional, but after fans repeatedly pointed them out he decided to use a lyric from a previous album as the title of ''Apple Venus'' on purpose.
* AllDrummersAreAnimals: Terry Chambers apparently fit this trope during his tenure with the band.
* ArmchairMilitary: "Generals And Majors".
* AuthorAppeal: Partridge loves American comics and references this quite a bit, like in "Sgt. Rock (Is Going to Help Me)", "Brainiac's Daughter" and "That's Really Super, Supergirl".
* BalladOfX: "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead".
* {{Bowdlerization}}: The single version of "Respectable Street," with "abortion" changed to "absorption," "contraception" to "child prevention," and "sex position" to "proposition."
* BreakupSong: "That's Really Super, Supergirl", "1000 Umbrellas".
* ConceptAlbum: ''Skylarking''.
* ConceptVideo: "The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead" draws parallels between the deaths of Jesus and JohnFKennedy. Heavy, man.
* ContemptibleCover: The original artwork for ''Skylarking'', rejected by Virgin and used for the 2010 remaster, featuring a shot of female pubic hair with flowers. Yet somehow, Virgin accepted as a substitute a cover that depicted a naked man and woman playing flutes.
* ControlFreak: According to Partridge, Music/ToddRundgren was one during the ''Skylarking'' sections. He'd already worked out which songs he was going to use from the demos he made them send ahead of their arrival to the studio and also had a running order before the band started recording.
* CoolShades: Partridge took up wearing John Lennon-style glasses at some point in TheEighties.
* CoverAlbum: ''A Testimonial Dinner: The Songs of XTC''. Notable because XTC performed on it themselves (however, due to the problems with their old label, they went by the name Terry and the Lovemen for their appearance).
* CoverVersion: They covered "All Along the Watchtower" on ''White Music'' and "Ella Guru" on the obscure Music/CaptainBeefheart tribute album ''Fast N' Bulbous''.
* CrapsaccharineWorld: "Scarecrow People" describes one.
* DemotedToExtra: A factor in Gregory's departure. Partridge bought a synthesizer that allowed him to create string arrangements, something Gregory had done in the past.
* DesignStudentsOrgasm: The cover art for ''Oranges and Lemons'', in full Psychedelic glory.
* DoesntLikeGuns: "Melt The Guns".
* {{Doting Parent}}s: Parodied with "Making Plans for Nigel" and "No Thugs in Our House".
** "They thought that it was just a [[NoSwastikas boy's club badge]] he wore"
** "Her son is innocent; he can't do wrong/'Cause Dad's a [[PunchClockVillain judge]] who knows exactly [[ObstructiveBureaucrat what the job of judging's all about]]"
* DoubleEntendre:
** According to Partridge, "Pink Thing" was written for his son [[Creator/HarryPartridge Harry]]. The lyrics read like one man's ode to his penis.
** "Things we used to do on grass" can be taken a couple different ways.
* FilkSong: See above with Partridge's love of comics.
* GodIsEvil: "Dear God".
* GratuitousPanning: Well, hey, PsychedelicRock. XTC's albums tend to be subtle about this or not use it at all, but it's very much in effect on The Dukes of Stratosphear material.
* TheGreatPoliticsMessUp: According to "Living Through Another Cuba", the U.S. And U.S.S.R. were due for another replay in 1998.
* GreenEyedMonster: "Crocodile"
* GriefSong: "Dying".
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding, at least before the latter's departure effectively ended the band. They grew up together and Partridge even described their relationship as a "male marriage."
* HighSchoolDance: "Life Begins at the Hop".
* HumansAreBastards: "Scarecrow People", "The Smartest Monkeys".
* HumansAreMorons: "Across This Antheap"
--> The stars are laughing at us, as we crawl on and on across this antheap.
* IAmTheBand: Averted by Partridge, who decided not to continue using the name XTC after Moulding left.
* IHaveManyNames: The Dukes of Stratosphear, The Three Wise Men, Johnny Japes and his Jesticles, Terry and the Lovemen, etc.
* InTheStyleOf:
** "Battery Brides" is done in the style of Music/BrianEno, if the "(Andy Paints Brian)" subtitle was too subtle.
** The various Dukes of Stratosphear songs are usually done in the style of specific psychedelic bands. For example, "Bike Ride to the Moon" and "Have You Seen Jackie?" are reminiscent of early Music/PinkFloyd, "The Mole from the Ministry" is a pastiche of Music/TheBeatles' "I am the Walrus", and "Pale and Precious" is based on ''Pet Sounds''-era Music/TheBeachBoys.
* InsignificantLittleBluePlanet: "Across This Antheap"
* IntercourseWithYou: "Grass". Outside, no less.
* KidsRock:
** Todd Rundgren got the daughter of a friend, Jasmine Veillette, to sing the first stanza and last line of "Dear God".
** Lily Fraser, the daughter of the owner of Sawmills Studio, recited "psychedelic nonsense" (Andy's description) in between some songs on ''Psonic Psunspot''. Andy said that their first plan was to ask Derek Guyler to do so, as a tribute to Stanley Unwin's monologues on Music/TheSmallFaces' ''Ogden's Nut Gone Flake'', but Guyler's agent asked for 10.000, which was their entire recording budget. Lily did it instead for "a pat on the head and ice cream money."
** Andy's daughter Holly does backing vocals on "Playground".
* LargeHam: Andy Partridge was one in the band's touring days despite suffering from stage fright and being on Valium.
* LeadBassist: Colin Moulding.
* LesserStar:
** David Gregory. Though he didn't write songs, he contributed a lot to the group's distinctive sound.
** Terry Chambers. His drumming was one of the defining elements of the band's early records.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle: ''Skylarking'' is named after Percy Shelley's poem "Ode to a Skylark".
* LyricalDissonance: Don't let the vocal harmonies or upbeat backing track fool you, "Big Day"'s lyrics are a bit more skeptical and realistic towards marriage. And under all those catchy Beatles riffs, "Earn Enough For Us" is [[http://www.lyricsfreak.com/x/xtc/earn+enough+for+us_20147942.html a huge Angst-fest]] about being married and [[PerpetualPoverty broke]].
* MamaDidntRaiseNoCriminal: "No Thugs In Our House".
* {{Manchild}}: Andy Partridge loves comics and collects toy soldiers.
* MeddlingParents: "Making Plans for Nigel".
* MinimalisticCoverArt: ''Go 2'' and ''English Settlement'' are good examples.
* MoneySong: Or, rather, ''[[BrokeEpisode lack]]'' of money song - "Love on a Farmboy's Wages", "Earn Enough for Us", "Paper and Iron" and "Bungalow"
* MundaneMadeAwesome: The band themselves. In a ''Rolling Stone'' article in 1989 to promote the release of ''Oranges and Lemons,'' Andy Partridge said that they were the "''ninjas'' of the mundane."
* NayTheist: "Dear God".
* NewMediaAreEvil: Andy Partridge hates Spotify because of its low royalty payouts to artists. Given how much the band was jerked around by Virgin, it's not that surprising.
* NewSoundAlbum: ''Drums and Wires'' was their first album with David Gregory and emphasized the guitars. ''Mummer'' saw the band shifting to a more pastoral sound after Partridge's breakdown, coming to full flower with ''Skylarking''.
* PerformanceAnxiety: Partridge's stage fright was the reason why XTC stopped touring.
* PreachersKid: Or judge's kid, in the case of "No Thugs in Our House".
* PresidentEvil: "Here Comes President Kill Again", complete with a MeetTheNewBoss punchline.
* PsychedelicRock
* RecordProducer: They got ToddRundgren to produce ''Skylarking'' and ended up with acrimony. Partridge is still kind of pissed off by Rundgren's JerkAss-ish behaviour. They haven't really complained about the other producers they worked with.
* ReligionRantSong: "Dear God"
* {{Retraux}}: Their material as The Dukes of Stratosphear.
* ShapedLikeItself: "I'd Like That":
-->"Each drop would make us grow really high, really high, like a really high thing".
* ShoutOut: The cover of ''[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/96/XTC_English_Settlement.jpg English Settlement]]'' depicts the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uffington_White_Horse Uffington White Horse]], a local landmark not far from Swindon, and the cover of ''[[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/af/XTC_Nonsuch.jpg Nonsuch]]'' uses [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/12/Nonsuch_Palace_-_Speed%27s_Map_1610_colour.jpg John Speed's depiction of Nonsuch Palace from a 1610 map of Surrey]].
* ShrinkingViolet: "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty" and "Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her"
* SillyLoveSongs: Hilariously so. "My Love Explodes", "Stupidly Happy", "Rocket from a Bottle", "The Loving". "Then She Appeared", "That Wave", "You're The Wish You Are I Had".
* SlobsVersusSnobs: "Respectable Street".
* SmiteMeOMightySmiter: "Dear God".
* StageNames: Everybody who played on The Dukes of Stratosphear albums is credited using a nickname.
* StalkerWithACrush: "25 O'Clock". Just in case somebody might miss it, Colin screams the chorus as if he's preparing to ''kill'' whoever the song is addressed to.
* SurrealMusicVideo:
** "Dear God".
** The two they made as the Dukes of Stratosphear: "The Mole from the Ministry" is very much an AffectionateParody of ''Film/MagicalMysteryTour'' and "You're a Good Man Albert Brown" is a psychedelic Punch and Judy show.
* SympatheticMurderer: "I'm the Man Who Murdered Love"
-->''Before you throw me in your dungeon dark / Your Honour, they'll be putting statues up in every park''
* TruckDriversGearChange: Occurs in "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty", "Respectable Street", "Rocket from a Bottle", "Towers of London", "Ball and Chain", "Senses Working Overtime", "Great Fire" (which is itself a rewrite of "Senses"), "The Everyday Story of Smalltown", "Bike Ride to the Moon", "Another Satellite", "You're a Good Man Albert Brown", "Pale and Precious", "Easter Theatre".
* UnableToSupportAWife: "Love on a Farmboy's Wages", "Earn Enough For Us".
* YouKeepUsingThatWord: Andy initially chose the title of ''Nonsuch'' after seeing a picture of now-demolished Nonsuch Palace and assuming "nonsuch" meant "nonexistent". It actually means "unique".
* YourCheatingHeart: "Another Satellite" is about Partridge's collapsing marriage to his wife Marianne and his relationship with Erica Wexler. Andy's been with her ever since his divorce.
* WallOfText: The cover of ''Go 2'' designed by famed art collective Creator/{{Hipgnosis}} (of Music/PinkFloyd fame), which says this, verbatim:
--->This is a RECORD COVER. This writing is the DESIGN upon the record cover. The DESIGN is to help SELL the record. We hope to draw your attention to it and encourage you to pick it up. When you have done that maybe you'll be persuaded to listen to the music - in this case XTC's Go 2 album. Then we want you to BUY it. The idea being that the more of you that buy this record the more money Virgin Records, the manager Ian Reid and XTC themselves will make. To the aforementioned this is known as PLEASURE. A good cover DESIGN is one that attracts more buyers and gives more pleasure. This writing is trying to pull you in much like an eye-catching picture. It is designed to get you to READ IT. This is called luring the VICTIM, and you are the VICTIM. But if you have a free mind you should STOP READING NOW! because all we are attempting to do is to get you to read on. Yet this is a DOUBLE BIND because if you indeed stop you'll be doing what we tell you, and if you read on you'll be doing what we've wanted all along. And the more you read on the more you're falling for this simple device of telling you exactly how a good commercial design works. They're TRICKS and this is the worst TRICK of all since it's describing the TRICK whilst trying to TRICK you, and if you've read this far then you're TRICKED but you wouldn't have known this unless you'd read this far. At least we're telling you directly instead of seducing you with a beautiful or haunting visual that may never tell you. We're letting you know that you ought to buy this record because in essence it's a PRODUCT and PRODUCTS are to be consumed and you are a consumer and this is a good PRODUCT. We could have written the band's name in special lettering so that it stood out and you'd see it before you'd read any of this writing and possibly have bought it anyway. What we are really suggesting is that you are FOOLISH to buy or not buy an album merely as a consequence of the design on its cover. This is a con because if you agree then you'll probably like this writing - which is the cover design - and hence the album inside. But we've just warned you against that. The con is a con. A good cover design could be considered as one that gets you to buy the record, but that never actually happens to YOU because YOU know it's just a design for the cover. And this is the RECORD COVER.
** The back cover, as well as the original vinyl labels, [[http://www.discogs.com/viewimages?release=1415818 follow suit with this design]].
* WeddingDay: "Big Day".
* WellDoneSonGuy: "Hold Me My Daddy".
* WordSaladLyrics: Some of their lyrics, like "Mermaid Smiled". When that happens though, it's usually because Andy decides to express something using confusing metaphors.
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