Wow, XTC came out with a new boxed set and I didn't even know ! Coat Of Many Cupboards, which covers what Barry Singer calls the “early” years of 1978-1989, although for somebody who got into them around Drums and Wires, I'd put the cutoff point at either:
Drums and Wires, when quirky dissonance was not so prevalent in the music and you could actually understand what Andy Partridge was singing from time to time, or,
English Settlement, when they started to go in an acoustic direction, and just before their real difficulties in the music business began.
I'm curious as to what is actually in this boxed set:
True to their iconoclastic form, Mr. Partridge and Mr. Moulding have deviated from the familiar greatest-hits package on "Coat of Many Cupboards." Many songs are represented not by their original album versions but by early demos, outtakes, rehearsal dubs or live recordings. The compilation is, as Mr. Partridge described it recently, "something of a Savile Row suit, but with lots of food stains."