Blue Aeroplanes to start the week. Around since 1981. Still together, with personnel and label changes – still as distinctive as ever, fronted by Gerard Langley, whose impenetrable shades follow him everywhere.
The Blue Aeroplanes first performed under that name at the King Street Art Gallery in Bristol in 1981. They consisted mainly of former members of the Art Objects, with the addition of Nick Jacobs, former guitarist and vocalist of Southampton band The Exploding Seagulls. The same line-up played three or four concerts over the next couple of years, either at the gallery or for benefits, including a Karl Marx centenary performance at the Victoria Rooms, with the addition of trumpet and didgeridoo. The Blue Aeroplanes’ first album Bop Art was released on their own Party Records in 1984, and was rapidly picked up by the Abstract (US) and Fire (UK) labels. It contained material that had been considered as a follow-up to Art Objects’ only album, Bagpipe Music. Gerard Langley’s largely spoken poetic lyrics were combined with a heavily guitar-centric band that went on to release Tolerance (1986) and Spitting Out Miracles (1987) and several singles and EPs whose B-sides were brought together in the compilation FriendLoverPlane (1988), all on the Fire label.
On 24 February 1990, the band released their most critically acclaimed album, Swagger, this time on a major label Chrysalis/Ensign. This was followed by Beatsongs which was recorded in the United States and released in 1991. This second album on the major label was their highest charting, reaching no. 33 in the UK album charts. A second compilation of rare B-sides and out-takes, FriendLoverPlane2 (Up in a Down World), was released in 1992.
Their latest album, Welcome, Stranger was issued in January 2017 and they spent a goodly chunk of last year touring to promote it, grabbing enthusiastic audiences and press in the process.
This session, for Simon Mayo at BBC Radio 1 is from February 14, 1988, around the time of the release of the Veils Of Colour ep.
This is a band that, if you aren’t already familiar with, you need to sit down for the next 10+ minutes and check this out. After that, you have 14 studio albums to choose from to continue your digging. Get to it.