Author Topic: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)  (Read 5016 times)

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Online close2u

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I have been having a massive dose of listening to the back catalogue of The Church in recent weeks and months.
One of Australia's ... correction ... one of the world's greatest and most consistently excellent rock bands.
They have released more than twenty (plus dozens of solo and side project) albums.
I first came across them via a video of The Unguarded Moment on a British TV show called The Old Grey Whistle Test. It was their end of year review broadcast on new year's eve.
Luckily I recorded it (on an old style VHS video machine) so could watch it over and over.
I loved it. It was a modest hit from their first album. I bought that album, then the next, the next etc. I had six albums on vinyl plus a few EPs too. They were totally 100% my favourite band through the early 1980s. Not even REM, The Waterboys, The Pogues etc could match them in my view.
They had everything: lush acoustic ballads; full-on rock; psychedelic wall-of-sound prog; early goth soundscapes etc. And ethereal, fascinating, enigmatic lyrics delivered in a sing-speak vocal with a unique timbre.
Then along came the CD age and a period where I didn't have much money to spend on buying music.
So I lost touch with them. I wish I hadn't as the next album after the last I bought is one of their best, their magnum opus: Priest=Aura.
I have spent a few weeks now revisiting those long-loved classics. And listening to some of the newer albums too. I've just bought a live recording (A Psychedelic Symphony) of the band from 2011 at Sydney Opera House marking their 30th anniversary (backed by a 72 piece orchestra). It is fantastic. It would be a good place to start if you have never listened to them.
For years, a keynote feature was the guitar interplay between Peter Koppes and Marty Wilson Piper.
Marty is not playing with them just now. They have a recently released an album (Further Deeper) with Ian Hoag (formerly of Aussie rock band Powderfinger). It is also great.
Basically they are a great band that for decades (apart from a brief period when Under The Milky Way hit big in the 80s) have been shockingly overlooked and ignored.

You will like The Church if:
you like layered, textured music with melodic hooks
you like acoustic ballads
you like psychedlic rock
you like dual guitars intertwining and overlapping
you like lyrics that hold hidden depths
you like soundscapes to relax to
you like great music with intensity and dynamic range

Just go listen will ya!

 :)
« Last Edit: August 19, 2021, 05:46:37 pm by close2u »

Offline Joerfe

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I remember them! Thanks for reminding me, Close. they are awesome.
/Jesper

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Offline Dr Winterbourne

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They are a fantastic band. Their singles are good, but their albums and live shows are great. Starfish is an album I can put on on repeat all day while reading etc. And priest = aura is magnificent. And then live they choose from the best of their songs rather than their biggest hits, often making epic space rock jams out of album tracks. Definitely one of those lifetime achievement bands that function on all levels.
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Online close2u

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Here's that long ago video from 1982 that first got me hooked:




Offline Drubbing

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The Church are certainly not overlooked in Australia. I think we have more than our share of bands that simply couldn't make a name elsewhere, that are icons here. I think the tyranny of distance just made it impossible to make a mark

For every AC/DC, there was a swag of bands like the Angels and Billy Thorpe's Aztecs
For every Crowded House, there were bands like Cold Chisel the Hoodoo Gurus, who Justin has just featured a lesson on.

Offline Dr Winterbourne

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The other night in a Czech pub some guy asked what I listened to when I was 15. I played him Fess' Song by the Radiators, and he bloody loved it.
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Offline bogner0

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i have one too.



 ;D
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https://goo.gl/QVYRDS

Offline antwilk1981

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I'll give them a listen, thanks Close

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Offline glpguitar

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Awesome band, thanks Close!

Online close2u

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The Blurred Crusade - entire album as a playlist
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 11:03:14 am by close2u »

Offline Dr Winterbourne

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I love the track 'You Took' off of that album. Hints of where their guitars would take them.
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Offline rsophiuchi

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'The Unguarded Moment' is one of my favourites along with 'Under the Milky Way'.

Online close2u

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in 2011  they played Sydney Opera House with an orchestra.
Their encore was the song Tantalized from the Heyday album.

It rocks.


« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 11:03:42 am by close2u »

Online close2u

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I remember them! Thanks for reminding me, Close. they are awesome.

A fellow fan! :)

Definitely one of those lifetime achievement bands that function on all levels.
100%
They were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall of Fame in 2010.

i have one too.

Starfish is the seminal album for many fans as it had their biggest ever hit song Under The Milky Way.
There were 5 albums before it all worth a listen.
And many more since of course.


I'll give them a listen

Have you had a listen yet antwilk?

Awesome band, thanks Close!

And still awesome. Even their least good albums have outstanding songs on.

I love the track 'You Took' off of that album. Hints of where their guitars would take them.

Yes, the dual guitars provide such amazing sound and texture.
I asked a guitar teacher long, long ago to help me play that very song.
He was a music snob who liked his clever jazz ... the most 'pop' thing he listened too was Steel Dan.
He dismissed my choice as rubbish because it only had a few simple chords.
I told him it was about the different layers that build up.
He remained closed to it.

'The Unguarded Moment' is one of my favourites along with 'Under the Milky Way'.

They are both great.
Listen more - there are so many songs as good as / better than those two.
:)

Online close2u

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Here is a sweet acoustic ballad from their latest album Further / Deeper.



Online close2u

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Dr Winterbourne mentioned the song You Took.
It's on the Blurred Crusade linked above.
Here's a stand alone version for your pleasure.



Online close2u

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The Church play the UK in a  rare visit in June 2018.
https://thechurchband.net/2018/04/new-uk-shows/

June 19th @ Newcastle - I have two tickets …  8) 8) 8)

Here's a recent video:




Offline Matek

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Love this song.





Online close2u

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@ Matek - great song … I posted about my experience transcribing and learning that solo (many moons ago) here: https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=42341.msg370975#msg370975

Offline Dr Winterbourne

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I see Starfish and a lot of the hits getting love in this thread, but this is almost a perfect album. Pretty much every song is fantastic, and a lot of them feature in their live shows. Lyrically, musically and atmospherically it is just wonderful.

https://youtu.be/GBgtomcpPH8
« Last Edit: September 28, 2020, 11:05:54 am by close2u »
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Online close2u

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Re: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2021, 01:21:58 pm »
Following me covering a Steve Kilbey song at the forum Open Mic 3 recently, some further interest and discussion about The Church surfaced.

@kontenda and @BrianLarsen expressed an interest in listening further - they knew Under The Milky Way and nothing else.
I said to Brian I would make him a mixtape here. He invited me to put together 15 of my favourtie tracks and he would give it a listen.
An easy task you might think.
Uh-uh.
I couldn't do it.
I have spent that last 10 days or so trying my best to select just 15 songs, to distill the essential tracks, the crucial listening and the representative sounds of The Church. I simply could not do it.
They have 25 studio albums plus live albums plus other miscellaneous releases.
Every time I started a folder and copy / pasted tracks in it ended up being closer to 30 songs running over 100 minutes.
I tried taking just Track 1 from each of 15 albums. That didn't work - too many great songs were left out.
I tried taking 2-3 songs from only five albums and again too many great songs were left off.
It was impossible.
I went to a Church fan group online and asked what their 15 song playlist was - every respondent had a different list with only a few overlaps.

I tried a different approach and have now resolved and completed.
I have one collection of 15 songs. These I would consider as essential listening, great songs, yet fairly accessible.
I have a second collection of 10 mellow tracks, ambient, soundscape, psychedelic-prog, chill music.
I have a third collection of deep cuts - some less well known tracks, or some more dense, less immediate songs.

From each of the three collections I have made omissions that mean I could pretty much repeat the exercise with an entirely different 15 + 10 + 10 songs for the collections ... but editing has to happen and some need to be left out.

I have uploaded to a place from which they can be shared etc. But, for copyright I can not share links in a public place. I can pm.

Here are the track listings of the three collections.

The Church - Mix Tape 1 - In Essence



The Church - Mix Tape 2 - In Mellow



The Church - Mix Tape 3 - In Deep

« Last Edit: September 12, 2021, 06:54:02 pm by close2u »

Offline brianlarsen

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Re: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2021, 05:52:51 pm »
Richard, the list has been downloaded and unzipped, awaiting degustation  :)

I shall refrain from apologising for creating such a large amount of work for you, as I suspect part of you actually enjoyed trawling through the back catalogue of a favourite band, racking your brains how to resolve this conundrum.
I also get great satisfaction, when I'm able to convert others to music that is important to me, and to a certain extent you've already achieved that. I've already listened twice to the Sydney Orchestra recordings.
Good stuff.
I look forward to savouring your collection.
No doubt there will be others beside Paraic and me, who will enjoy the fruits of your labours.
Thank you kindly for your thoughtful prezzie  :)
x

Online close2u

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Re: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)
« Reply #22 on: September 12, 2021, 06:58:53 pm »
@Brian

Bon appetit. :)

Also - you're assumption is entirely correct. It was not work, it was pleasure. Spending days listening in depth to the full collection of a favourite band - with the purposes not just of enjoying but of trying to capture the qualities you enjoy for to share with others unfamiliar. :)

RE: the live recordings from Sydney Opera House ... what a showcase recording that is. I could have simply directed you towards that as a route in. I think there may be only one or two songs on it that I have placed in my essential mix which illustrates how many I edited out.

Offline kontenda

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Re: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)
« Reply #23 on: September 13, 2021, 12:29:25 pm »
Thanks very much Richard. I have downloaded them and then re-uploaded to my youtube music channel - all set to listen to them on my phone over the next few weeks. I had a quick listen to In Essence - a lot of different styles - I will get back to you with a full review after listening a bit more.
Cheers
Paraic

Offline embishop

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Re: The Church - one of the greatest bands ever (... that you've never heard of?)
« Reply #24 on: September 17, 2021, 05:23:18 pm »
What a great collection of songs / multi-tape mix tape, Richard! I’ve listened through a few times, and am really enjoying the music. My first impression is that my initial favorite is the Essentials mix-tape, but that the In Deep in particular also has a couple of gems. I sometimes find as well that my first favorite on an album gives way to other tracks once I know the songs, so my ultimate faves may change. Right now my faves are Laurel Canyon, Telepath, Kings, Fly, The Unguarded Moment, Another Century, Tantalized, Ripple …. Okay that’s quite a few! No particular order, and I also need to track down the lyrics and listen through with the words cuz that makes a difference for me as well. And there’s even one that’s made it onto my list of Things-I-Might-Play-At-An-Upcoming-JG-Open-Mic 😊

Some interesting music associations I got from the music as well - from the Beatles, to Green Day, to the Boomtown Rats, to Pink Floyd! (Remember people - what we hear is very subjective!! lol)

Such a great idea to put this together, it got me thinking and what I thought is that there’s no one band outside the general mainstream whose music I know so well that I could put together such a list out of 25+ albums. But, then I thought what would be really great is something similar with lesser known Canadian artists, the music playing when I grew up, when I had no idea at all that I got to hear them because of our ‘Canadian content’ rules on the radio (so that we heard more than the music from our much larger neighbour to the south!). So that’s on my To Do list now, put together my own mix-tape of Canadian Content Gems 😊

Mari
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