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Thursday 27 July 2023


The Blue Aeroplanes have never featured at these pages previously. I saw them in 1989 at Liverpool Royal Court supporting R.E.M. on the Green tour, a gig that lives long in the memory for the headliners but the support act were impressive too, a band with multiple guitarists, a dancer and a poet for a frontman- they finished their set with Gerard Langley at the front of the stage, arms outstretched while as the guitarists thrashed away behind him. I bought a double album compilation, FriendLoverPlane, not long after but don't seem to have it any more, one of those records that has mysteriously vanished at some point. Going backwards from there, their 1986 album Tolerance, out on Fire Records, is a good introduction to their work, the spoken word vocals of Langley and guitar heavy sound. The version here is from The Tolerance EP, also from '86. 

Tolerance (Remix)

In 1990, fresh from their tour supporting R.E.M. and signed to a major label, they released Swagger, an album promoted with singles Jacket Hangs and ...And Stones, all produced by Gil Norton who at that point was very much in demand as the man who produced Doolittle by Pixies. They got a lot of press, the record company clearly hoping for that early 90s dream, the indie band that crossed over, but despite it all it never quite happened. Probably for the best- they survived the experience and still record and gig today. Your Ages is from Swagger. 

Your Ages


Ernie Goggins said...

Haven't heard the Aeroplanes for a while. Thanks

Martin said...

Ah! Swagger is a fantastic album. The follow-up, Beatsongs is also very accessible to the new Aeroplanes fan, especially as it included their cover of Paul Simon's The Boy In The Bubble.

Nick L said...

Great post about a great band who are still great live on the rare occasions they play. I'd agree about Swagger and Beatsongs being the high points though. If memory serves I think Friendloverplane was a comp with unreleased and b side stuff from the same era. Aeros b sides are always top class though.

blureu said...

New album out this year is worth a listen. Still making great music.

Khayem said...

Given The Blue Aeroplanes were based in my birthplace Bristol and I was still living there in the late 1980s, I was slow to fall in love with the band. I think the R.E.M. connection was what drew my friend in (although he didn't get to the Green tour) and eventually, I succumbed to their charms.

I think the bassist Chris Sharp still owns iconic live venue The Fleece, which bastard developers and gentrified "locals" have been boxing in and trying to shut down for years.