Tuesday, 28 June 2022

A LITTLE LOVE - EXCITER THE 12" SINGLES BOXSET

 


On 13th June 2022, the next instalment of the Depeche Mode 12" Singles boxsets arrived with the Exciter era edition landing with a satisfying thud on doormats all over the world. What extras would we get this time? Would there be stickers? Would they bother including Easy Tiger? Read on....


Before we get into it all, as this is the first Depeche Mode thing I've written since Fletch passed away, I couldn't go on without mentioning him. I've held off writing this because it didn't feel right and to be honest it still doesn't really. However, if I have brought one thing to the world, it's Depeche Mode related reviews that annoy people, so it is time to start talking about the band again. I've no idea if Andy ever read the nonsense this blog trots out, but if he did, I hope he enjoyed it. Rest in peace Fletch.



As with the previous boxsets, this one comes in a thick cardboard box with artwork based on the album art as you can see.


The back of the box contains the tracklisting. What's that noise you hear? Well that's the Pedantry Klaxon. It is sounding because there are timing errors on the back. On the newly formed L12BONG32, a new 12" stuffed full of Freelove remixes more of which presently, the third track on side A, Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation, previously only available on a promo 12" is listed as having a running time of 8 minutes 51 seconds. It is in fact 8 minutes 43 seconds long. Also, the first track on Side B, the Deep Dish Freedom Remix of Freelove is shown as being 11 minutes 25 seconds long when it is in fact 11 minutes 45 seconds long. This is EXACTLY the sort of thing you expect on here - admit it.


There is also the usual photo menu piece of paper thing that accompanies these releases. I imagine it has a name but I have no idea what it is.


The first 12" in the box is 12BONG30, Dream On. 


It contains the same three tracks as the original 12" and you can read all about them and everything else Dream On related in my in-depth review of the single here - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html


The Ultra 12" Singles Boxset introduced us to the concept of new L12 12" singles and the Exciter box follows that trend. We get an L12 for Dream On and it is unsurprisingly called L12BONG30. As there is no 12" single to replicate, it cleverly replicates the outer and inner sleeves of LCDBONG30.


It's a very nice concept but it's unfortunately flawed and that flaw repeats itself on all the new 12" singles in this box. The new inner sleeves are too thin meaning that the heavyweight 12" inside them causes the edges to tear. There is just now tear on my Dream On sleeve but there are two on each of the new I Feel Loved and Freelove 12" singles. I know of quite a few other fans who have experienced the same thing. It is a pity as these new 12" singles are well thought out and rather lovely things.


L12BONG30 is a 7 track record. Side A features Dream On (Single Version), Easy Tiger (Full Version), the sadly inevitable Easy Tiger (Bertrand Burgalat & A.S. Dragon Version) and Dream On (Dave Clark Acoustic Version).


Side B features three remixes of Dream On: Octagon Man Mix, Octagon Man Dub and Kid 606 Mix. The Octagon Man Dub was previously only available on a promo 12" for entirely understandable reasons.


The next single from Exciter was I Feel Loved, the only release from the Exciter era to have two 12" releases. 


12BONG31 is faithfully reproduced. The full review of that single from last year's blog nervous breakdown is here - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_8.html


One joy of the 12" Singles series has been the attention to detail and there's a nice touch in this 12". The original had a sticker on the front telling you that it contained remixes by Danny Tenaglia and that sticker is neatly tucked inside the record here giving you the option to add it or keep it tucked away.


L12BONG31 turns up just as you would expect it to.


The label on the record is lovely as are all the Exciter era labels. I'm sure you agree.


The second new 12" in the box is XL12BONG31 which mirrors the inner and outer sleeves of LCDBONG31.


If you wanted a bigger picture of Dave's hand than you have on your CD single, you are in luck.


Side A features the single versions of I Feel Loved and Dirt.


Side B has two remixes of I Feel Loved: Extended Instrumental and Desert After Hours Dub. 


Freelove comes next and 12BONG32 turns up just as you would expect it to.


If you think this post goes into unnecessary depth, try the full single review where you will find all the tracklists for these releases - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_15.html


This 12" contains another treat in the form of another sticker that you can apply should the mood take you.


The third and final new 12" in this box again looks to the LCD release for inspiration.


It is again a lovely thing but suffers from the thin paper/heavy 12" problem I mentioned earlier.


Side A contains three tracks - the glorious Freelove (Flood Mix), Zenstation and Freelove (Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation).


On Side B we have two remixes of Freelove which like the Josh Wink Vocal Interpretation were only previously available on promo 12" - Deep Dish Freedom Remix and Powder Productions Remix.


The final 12" in the box is the Goodnight Lovers 12", 12BONG33.


The original release was available on red vinyl and black vinyl as you can read about in alarming depth in my single review - http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_15.html 

If you ordered the single from Mute Bank in 2002, you got a poster with the record. The original poster looks like this:


As you can see, it's a lovely thing. This boxset gives his another treat by including a reproduction of the poster in the Goodnight Lovers 12" but there is a slight problem. See if you can spot it:


Have you seen it? Yes, that's right. The release date is a year out. Having gone to the wonderful length of including poster, it's a shame to see this error.


As ever, we have a reproduction promo poster, this time for Dream On.


And finally, we have a download card. I have no idea what one would actually download music to these days but it's nice to have the option.

Like the previous boxsets, this one is lovingly put together and the work that has gone into making it sound and look good is superb. The poster mistake can be forgiven I think but it's a shame that the lovely new 12" inner sleeves are easily damaged by the heavy 12" singles. 

At some point soon we will no doubt get news about the Playing The Angel 12" Singles box and that will be interesting. There were 9 official 12" singles plus a few promos so it's bound to be a big one. When that comes along, I'll open it and post pictures here so you don't have to.

Tuesday, 31 May 2022

ANDY FLETCHER - A TRIBUTE

 


When the news about Andy Fletcher's death broke last Thursday, it is fair to say that every Depeche Mode fan was left stunned. For all of us, the last few days have had a shadow over them as we come to terms with this. Memories have been shared on social media, friends have got in touch with each other to see if they're ok and tributes have poured in from the numerous people Andy's life touched. It is not often that someone is universally considered to be a good guy. Fletch was one of those people.

Look at all the band and music industry types who have offered their condolences or tributes for example. While Dave and Martin may be the members of the band with the higher profiles, Andy's role, often understated by many, was obviously a key one, not only in Depeche Mode but also in the way he advised and nurtured other artists and young acts. When Kevin May and I interviewed people for Halo, every person we spoke to talked fondly of Fletch from his key role in the production process, where his input and comments were vital, to talking to and being there for support bands on the tour.

There is no getting away from the fact that without Andy Depeche Mode would almost certainly have ended years ago. When asked what he did during a radio interview seen in 101, he famously said "I bum around" but he did much more than that. As Martin's best friend, he was vital in keeping everything together, a crucial mediating voice in the band especially in the post Wilder years where Dave started pushing for more songwriting involvement.  He had the best job in the world; he was the biggest Depeche Mode fan there is and he got to be part of the band. 

While the last few days have been overwhelmingly sad for all of us Depeche fans, it's impossible to imagine how Andy's family, Martin, Dave and everyone associated with the band must be feeling. The fans are all mourning the loss of someone who has been part of our lives from the moment we first got into the band but those close to Andy have lost something much more than that. 

I was determined not to make this post go on and on about how sad I am and how sad all Depeche fans are because what we are all feeling is inconsequential compared to the feelings of people who actually knew Andy. Instead, let's end on a few Fletch highlights. These are some of my favourites but there are of course many, many more. Rest in peace Fletch - you were a one off.

Firstly, 3 from 101 though there are many more to choose from:

1. Fletch tries his hand at guitar playing
The scene in Nashville where Martin and Andy visit a guitar shop is superb. Andy picks up an acoustic and strums a few bars. "Impressive," you think, "I didn't know Andy had it in him." Then Martin arrives, plays what appears to be several tunes at once and Fletch heads back to the transport outside. For God's sake Martin, stop showing off.




2. "People are people so why should it seem....."
"Well, you got three of the words right."

3. "I'm Andy Fletcher from Depeche Mode and you're listening to the alternative dance party from hell"

From elsewhere:

1. Andy drinks a cocktail in the Just Can't Get Enough video - seriously, how happy does he look? That was a man who knew he was about to give up the day job and spend his life doing something much more fun.

2. Fletch gets his kit off, Rock Werchter, 7th July 2013

Anything Dave can do, Fletch can do better. Or something.

Picture courtesy of Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group

3. The Fletch dance.

You know the one - clap, grab your mic, wave, walk around the keyboard and repeat. See 101 and The World We Live In and Live in Hamburg. For later years, see The Fletch Arm Lift. 

There are of course many, many more examples. Fletch brought a sense of humour to Depeche Mode and that was crucial as it offered a counterpoint to the other sides of the band. He brought so much more to the band too of course and that's what we are all missing today and will continue to miss for a very long time.

Thanks for everything Andy. 



Thursday, 26 May 2022

ANDREW "FLETCH" FLETCHER 8 JULY 1961 TO 26 MAY 2022

 


I'm writing this in a dazed state having just heard the horrible news about Fletch. Most if not all of you will be feeling the same just now. It's beyond shocking and impossible to comprehend for now. The band's official announcement was made earlier this evening:


All of my thoughts are with Andy's family at what must be a terrible time for them.

Thank you for everything Fletch. Everyone from every corner of the Depeche Mode world will miss you terribly.



Saturday, 19 March 2022

HALO - THE STORY BEHIND DEPECHE MODE'S CLASSIC ALBUM VIOLATOR: PUBLICATION DATE AUGUST 2022

 



Halo - The Story Behind Depeche Mode’s Classic Album Violator will be published in  August 5, 2022.

The book is an oral history of the career-defining album and era for electronic pioneers Depeche Mode, stretching from August 1989 upon the release of the first single Personal Jesus to November 1990 and the end of the World Violation Tour.

Written and published by Kevin May and David McElroy in association with UK-based Grosvenor House Publishing, Halo features interviews with those who had key roles during the making of Violator and the subsequent tour.

David and Kevin also hear from those involved in the iconic artwork of the album and its single releases, videos, publicity and other figures associated with the band before, during and after Violator’s release in March 1990.

Each of the book’s eight chapters includes a first-hand account of the era from fans (“Devotees,” as they came to be known), exclusive photographs and a detailed timeline of an extraordinary period in the British band’s history.

Those sharing their stories include Francois Kevorkian, Steve Lyon, Andy Franks, Roberto Baldi, Pino Pischetola, Nils Tuxen, Paul Kendall, Richard Bell, Richard Smith, Pam Heffer, Angela Shelton, Gareth Jones, Neil Ferris, Bruce Kirkland, Billie Ray Martin and many more.

Halo will be available in paperback print and e-book formats.

Pre-order details and a list of online retail outlets where Halo will be available will be shared ahead of the August publication date.



David and Kevin, commenting on the release of Halo, remark: “We’re both thrilled and excited to be releasing Halo. We’ve tracked down and interviewed a wide range of figures involved in this remarkable era for Depeche Mode, from engineers and musicians in the studio at the time, to publicists, support bands, designers and even extras from some of the videos.

This oral history is for fans and general music lovers who are curious about how a masterpiece was created. It’s an opportunity to learn first-hand from many of those involved in the making of Violator, in their own words, how this seminal album was made, marketed, toured and the impact it had on music and fans.

This book has been a long time in the making, delayed by life, injury, a pandemic, work and all sorts, so we’re extremely grateful to those who have given us their patience to complete proceedings!”

Stay tuned for more details.


L-R David, Kevin



Thursday, 16 December 2021

DEPECHE MODE - THE SINGLES 1981 TO 2021 (FINAL)

 


Depeche Mode's debut single Dreaming Of Me was released in 1981 which is somehow 40 years ago. In that 40 years the band have moved from trilby wearing synthpoppers to metal bashing Berliners to accidental stadium fillers ending up as globe straddling titans of electronic music.

They have released a number of classic, era defining albums and are considered to be one of the biggest live acts on the planet. The thing is, Depeche Mode started out as a singles band, releasing three outstanding singles before anyone heard their debut album Speak & Spell. They have never stopped being a singles band either and there are very few, if any, bands who have released as many classic singles as Depeche Mode. Think about it - New Life, Everything Counts, Master & Servant, Stripped, Never Let Me Down Again, Personal Jesus, Enjoy The Silence, Walking In My Shoes, It's No Good, Precious - the list goes on and on.

I decided that this 40th anniversary had to be celebrated, As Depeche Mode don't do that sort of thing themselves, I have spent the last 18 months or so reviewing every Depeche Mode single released in the UK, looking in worrying depth at the reviews of each, the Top Of The Pops performances, the clothing, the at times remarkable and at times terrifying videos and the various formats each was released on. Below, you will find a link to each blog. Dive in and relive Depeche Mode's glorious career single by wonderful single.

Writing all these blogs has been a challenge but a fun one. Thank you to everyone who has read these articles and commented on them. Thanks too to depmod.com, dmlive.wiki, depechemode.com, Depeche Mode Classic Photos & Videos Facebook Group, Depeche Mode Press File for all of the help fact checking and info gathering. Any errors that you find in any of these blogs are all mine.

Finally, thanks to Depeche Mode. Happy birthday chaps - it's been an interesting 40 years.



Part 3: Just Can't Get Enough http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/10/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_26.html

Part 4: See You http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/11/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 5: The Meaning Of Love http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2020/12/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 6: Leave In Silence http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 7: Get The Balance Right http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_12.html

Part 8: Everything Counts http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_19.html




Part 12: Blasphemous Rumours/Somebody http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/01/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_28.html

Part 13: Shake The Disease http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 14: It's Called A Heart http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_4.html

Part 15: The Singles 81-85 http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/02/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_5.html




Part 19: Strangelove http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/03/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 20: Never Let Me Down Again http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/03/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_10.html




Part 23: Personal Jesus http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/04/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 24: Enjoy The Silence http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/04/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_13.html








Part 30: In Your Room http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/06/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html


Part 32: It's No Good http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/07/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 33: Home http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/08/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part.html

Part 34: Useless http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/08/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_13.html







Part 40: Goodnight Lovers http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/09/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_16.html





Part 44: Suffer Well http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/10/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_21.html





Part 48: Peace http://almostpredictablealmost1.blogspot.com/2021/11/depeche-mode-singles-1981-to-2021-part_8.html