Apr 25, 2012

RhoDeo 1217 Aetix

Hello, Aetix again, coming up a somewhat more esoteric take on the eighties , Cocteau Twins were picked up by 4AD quickly, their sound, specially Elizabeth Frasers voice must have rung some big chimes in Ivo Watts (4AD) head. The band finally did end in tears as the meanwhile parenting couple finally split in 1997...Well  they left us with plenty to muse about..considering last weeks considerable interest, here's some of their Aetix albums

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Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie (bass guitar), both from Grangemouth, Scotland, formed the band in 1979. At a local disco, they met Elizabeth Fraser, who would eventually provide vocals. The band's influences at the time included Joy Division, The Birthday Party, Sex Pistols, Kate Bush, and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The band was named after the song "The Cocteau Twins" by fellow Scotsmen 'Johnny and the Self-Abusers' (Simple Minds). Their debut recording, Garlands (released by 4AD Records in 1982), was an instant success, as was the subsequent Lullabies EP.

Will Heggie left the group after the tour that followed the 1983 release of the band's second EP, Peppermint Pig. He subsequently joined Lowlife. The band's sound on its first three recordings relied on the combination of Heggie's rhythmic basslines, Guthrie's minimalist guitar, and Fraser's voice; the Cocteau Twins' next full-length LP, Head over Heels, relied solely on the latter two. This led to the growth of the band's characteristic sound: Fraser's voice, by turns ethereal and earthy, combined with Guthrie's effects-heavy guitars. Like its very dissimilar predecessor, Head over Heels was well-received by the public and press.

In 1983, the band participated in 4AD's This Mortal Coil project (this spawned "Song to the Siren" performed by Guthrie and Fraser), and during their work for that, they got to know Simon Raymonde, who joined the group later that year as bass player. With Raymonde, the band released a series of critically acclaimed albums and EPs that explored their new style.  Naming Treasure (1984), Tiny Dynamine and Echoes in a Shallow Bay (1985), and Love's Easy Tears (1986). Raymonde, who was called in to work on the second album by This Mortal Coil, did not participate in the recording of the fourth Cocteau Twins LP, Victorialand (1986), a predominantly acoustic record which featured only Guthrie and Fraser. Raymonde returned to the group for The Moon and the Melodies (1986), a collaboration with ambient composer Harold Budd, which was not released under the Cocteau Twins name.

While remaining a 4AD band internationally, the Cocteau Twins finally signed a major-label contract with Capitol Records in 1988 for distribution in the US, and released their fifth proper LP, Blue Bell Knoll, in October of that year. The style the group had begun exploring with Head over Heels reached its peak on Heaven or Las Vegas, released in late 1990. The most commercially successful of their many recordings, the album rose to the higher reaches of the UK charts immediately after its release. However, despite the success of the record and the subsequent concert tours, not everything was well with the band. They parted ways with 4AD following Heaven or Las Vegas partly because of conflicts with the label's founder Ivo Watts-Russell, and were close to breaking up over internal problems due in large part to Guthrie's addiction to drugs and alcohol.

From 1990 noted Japanese guitarist Mitsuo Tate joined the band, as did English guitarist Ben Blakeman.

The band's seventh LP, Four-Calendar Café, was released in late 1993. It was a departure from the heavily-processed, complex and layered sounds of Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas, featuring clearer and more minimalistic arrangements. This, along with the record's unusually comprehensible lyrics, led to mixed reviews for the album: The band themselves explained that it was a response to the turmoil that had engulfed them in the intervening years, with Guthrie entering rehab and quitting alcohol and drugs, and Fraser undergoing psychotherapy. The two had been in a long-term relationship, and by this time had a young daughter, Lucy-Belle, born in 1989.

Milk and Kisses (1996).saw the return of more heavily layered guitars, and Fraser began once again to obscure her lyrics, though not entirely. The band, augmented by an extra guitarist and a drummer, toured extensively to support the album and in live performances seemed to have found a cohesive freshness and power that had been lacking during their previous outing in 1993/94. A new song, "Touch Upon Touch", which debuted during the live shows and was recorded later in 1996, became the last Cocteau Twins song ever released.

In 1997, while recording what was to have been their ninth LP, the trio disbanded over irreconcilable differences in part related to the break-up of Guthrie and Fraser. While a number of songs were partially recorded and possibly completed, the band has stated that they will likely never be finished or released in any form. In 1999, Bella Union, the record label founded by Guthrie and Raymonde, released a double-CD Cocteau Twins compilation entitled BBC Sessions. The collection is a complete record of the band's appearances on UK radio programs from 1983 to 1996, with rare and unreleased material included.

Since March 2007, the band has started podcasts of exclusive material. On 6 October 2008 the Cocteau Twins accepted the Q Awards Inspiration Award. This was the first time they have publicly been seen together since the group broke up over 10 years earlier

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Treasure (1984) is the third album by the Cocteau Twins. With this album, the band settled on what would, from then on, be their primary lineup: vocalist Elizabeth Fraser, guitarist Robin Guthrie and bassist Simon Raymonde. The song "Ivo" is named after the album's record label 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell. This new line-up also coincided with the development of the ethereal sound associated with the Cocteau Twins' music. The opening two numbers of Treasure are simply flawless, starting with "Ivo," where gently strummed guitar and low bass support Fraser's singing; then suddenly added, astonishing chimes and steady percussion build up to a jaw-dropping Guthrie guitar solo. Topping that would be hard for anyone, but in "Lorelei," the Twins do it, with an introductory, breathtaking guitar surge leading into one of Fraser's best vocals, compelling in both its heavenly and earthly tones and rolls. Not a word may be understandable, but it isn't necessary, while the music, driven on by a pounding rhythm, is as perfect a justification of digital delay pedals and the like as can be found. As Treasure continues, the accomplished variety is what stands out the most, whether it be the gentle, futuristic-medieval pluckings, understated moody washes and Fraser whispers or the upbeat guitar lines. The concluding number ends the record on the peak with which it began. A mysterious mix of mock choir sounds, ambient echoes and noises, and Fraser's careful singing before finally exploding into one last heavenly wash of powerful sound. Treasure lives up to its title and then some as a thorough and complete triumph.

Cocteau Twins - Treasure ( flac 245mb)

01 Ivo 3:53
02 Lorelei 3:42
03 Beatrix 3:11
04 Persephone 4:24
05 Pandora (For Cindy) 5:31
06 Amelia 3:29
07 Aloysius 3:26
08 Cicely 3:27
09 Otterley 3:59
10 Donimo 6:11

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This was the first LP by the Twins to receive major-label distribution in the USA, as it was originally licensed by Capitol Records from 4AD for North American release. Much to longtime fans' surprise, the Twins in fact were much more content with Capitol than 4AD, hinting at their eventual full departure from that label. While Blue Bell Knoll has some striking moments that are pure Cocteaus at their best -- the opening title track is especially lovely with a keyboard loop leading into Fraser's ever-wonderful vocals, a light rhythm, and a great final Guthrie solo -- it's still the band's least noteworthy release since Garlands. The feeling throughout is of a group interested in dressing up older approaches that have served them well, but aren't as distinct; the quite-lush arrangements by Guthrie are fine but the songs are a touch more pedestrian. Blue Bell Knoll has enough initial steam, however, to ensure that there are reasons to listen, happily. "Athol-Brose" has the inspirational feel that the Twins can easily create. "Carolyn's Fingers," the clear album standout, is perhaps the strongest individual Cocteau song since "Aikea-Guinea," with Fraser singing against herself over a rough, hip-hop-inspired rhythm while Guthrie peels off a fantastic main guitar melody and Raymonde contributes some supple bass work. But the heartgripping intensity that defines the Twins at their best is lacking somewhat nevertheless it was also appraised as "everything that atmospheric music should be and usually isn't.

Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll (flac 234mb)

01 Blue Bell Knoll 3:25
02 Athol-Brose 2:59
03 Carolyn's Fingers 3:08
04 For Phoebe Still A Baby 3:16
05 The Itchy Glowbo Blow 3:20
06 Cico Buff 3:50
07 Suckling The Mender 3:35
08 Spooning Good Singing Gum 3:52
09 A Kissed Out Red Floatboat 4:10
10 Ella Megalast Burls Forever 3:38

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In terms of chart positions, Heaven Or Las Vegas is the most successful Cocteau Twins album, reaching number seven in the UK. The album is noteworthy for the musical evolution the band was showing at the time. The lyrics of vocalist Elizabeth Fraser are more intelligible; many of them concern her newborn daughter Lucy Belle. Guitarist Robin Guthrie was experiencing problems with drug addiction, and as a result of his decreased time in the studio, bassist Simon Raymonde's playing is more in the forefront. From the start, Heaven... is simply fantastic: on "Cherry-Coloured Funk," Guthrie's inimitable guitar work chimes leading a low-key but forceful rhythm, while Raymonde's grand bass work fleshes it out. Fraser simply captivates; her vocals are the clearest, most direct they've ever been, purring with energy and life. Many songs have longer openings and closings; rather than crashing fully into a song and then quickly ending, instead the trio carefully builds up and eases back. These songs are still quite focused, though, almost sounding like they were recorded live instead of being assembled in the studio. But the Twins don't completely turn their back on Knoll's sound; "Iceblink Luck," has the same lush feeling and a newfound energy -- the instrumental break is almost a rave-up! -- and everything pulses to a fine conclusion. There are many moments of sheer Cocteaus beauty and power, 4AD label president Ivo Watts-Russell proclaimed that this LP was one of the best releases ever on his label. No surprise then the album is also included in the 2008 edition of 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Cocteau Twins - Heaven Or Las Vegas (flac 269mb)

01 Cherry-Coloured Funk 3:13
02 Pitch The Baby 3:17
03 Iceblink Luck 3:18
04 Fifty-Fifty Clown 3:15
05 Heaven Or Las Vegas 4:57
06 I Wear Your Ring 3:40
07 Fotzepolitic 3:30
08 Wolf In The Breast 3:32
09 Road, River And Rail 3:21
10 Frou-Frou Foxes In Midsummer Fires 5:37

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elsewhere recently re-upped

Cocteau Twins - Garlands (257mb)

Cocteau Twins - Head Over Heels ( 254mb)

Cocteau Twins - BBC Sessions (378mb)

Cocteau Twins - BBC Sessions 2 (316mb)

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ken said...

Argh, you people are horrible! I just discovered this blog and it's going to take me weeks to trawl through all the old postings. Have mercy--I have to go to work sometime, you know!

(But thanks for the music, and I really appreciate reading a little history/commentary.)

Anonymous said...


Can you please re- up Cocteua twins?

Thank you

Anonymous said...

Cocteau Twins in FLAC = HEAVEN !
thankyou so much.
Do you have the rest? Victorialand, Moon & The Melodies, Four Calendar Café, Milk & Kisses?