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The Most Memorable Albums of 1999 (Part 1)

PopMatters is 20 this year -- until October when we are 21 -- and a 2009 special section celebrates the popular music that defined the year of our birth. Today we kick things off with albums from January through March, highlighted by Eminem's debut and stellar pop from XTC and Blur.

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Counterbalance: XTC - Skylarking

You might not hear of bands talking about XTC as a big influence, but they were certainly in the mix that became the music that was to come.

Music

Prinzhorn Dance School: Clay Class

Somber, minimalist punk rockers from Britain serve up a solid sophomore effort, full of ominous bass lines and oblique lyrics.

Music

Jim Moray: A Beginners Guide

Whatever he might say to the contrary, Jim Moray has married into folk music. His excellent albums represent a series of innovatively renewed vows.

Music

Parcels from a Patchouli Past: An Interview with Andrew Partridge

With a newly remastered, limited edition presentation of the Dukes of Stratosphear's entire catalog just out, the guiding guru of XTC's alter-ego band discusses the past, the present, and a particularly severe case of 'bad vibes'.

Music

Andy Partridge: Monstrance

Now, as middle age meanders across Partridge's considered cult career, it's obvious he's looking for another, more solemn outlet for his talent.

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Andy Partridge Retrospective

Music

The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul

Having worked for years in a hinterland between obscurity and popularity, Andy Partridge has finally hit the fulcrum as he's gained his artistic freedom, and recognition of his band XTC's influence on pop history has suddenly blossomed.

Music

XTC: Skylarking

So, as an album, Skylarking is beautiful and whole and just shy of perfection enough that it doesn't come off as too clean.

Music

Andy Partridge: Fuzzy Warbles, Vol. 1 / Fuzzy Warbles, Vol. 2

For fans of Andy Partridge and his music, these first two Fuzzy Warbles are a wonderful way to pass the time until the next official XTC release.

Gary Glauber
Music

XTC: A Coat of Many Cupboards

Cult status or no, XTC's raw deal at the hands of Virgin Records is slightly rectified herein, and helps repair a rift of under-representation that spanned decades and resulted in a bruising industry battle.

Music

XTC: Wasp Star (Apple Venus Volume 2)

Wasp Star is the kind of album that can reinvigorate the listener in the belief that pop music is wonderful and hasn't degenerated into carbon copy boy bands.

Patrick Schabe
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