On the list of weird British bands that you’ve likely never heard of, XTC has to be one of the better. It was a couple of years ago and my very hip cousin suggested that I check them out. I’m not sure what the impetus of the conversation was (but I’m assuming it had something to do with my recent discover of the Shins [which XTC sounds nothing like] and my love of New Wave/art rock), and the second that I heard their single, “Dear God,” I was hooked. They’ve got a bunch of great albums, and their record, Skylarking, is one of the better albums of the 80s. Nonsuch was pretty awesome for the 90s as well (cause it has the very cool “Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead”). XTC made music for a long time and the first single that brought them any attention (moreso in their native England than here in the States) was the proto-New Wave track “Making Plans for Nigel.” It actually caused a minor controversy in England at the time because of the jab it took at the nationalized British Steel. I just think it’s a great example of XTC’s signature quirky song-writing along with their great ear for hooks.