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The Church

One of the most successful and enduring Australian bands of the post-punk era, the Church began their career with music that paid explicit homage to psychedelia and 1960s folk rock, and with the passage of time they refined their own unique sound, fusing pop, art rock, progressive rock, and other flavors. The Church were formed in Sydney, Australia in 1980 by Steve Kilbey (bass, vocals), Peter Koppes (guitar), and Nick Ward (drums). Kilbey, a former member of the Tactics, had previously played with Koppes in a glam rock band called Precious Little in the mid-'70s, but both were eager to do something different when they teamed up with Ward. Originally calling themselves Limosine, the new group solidified their approach while recording demos in Kilbey's home studio, and when guitarist Marty Willson-Piper joined the lineup, their signature style began to fall into place. Adopting the name the Church, the group began earning a reputation on Sydney's club circuit, and by the end of 1980 they had had scored a record deal with EMI's re-activated Parlophone label. The debut album from the Church, 1981's Of Skins and Heart, became a commercial success in Australia after the single "The Unguarded Moment" hit the pop charts. Around the time of the album's release, the band parted ways with drummer Ward, and Richard Ploog became their new percussionist. The Church promptly went into the studio with Ploog to cut an EP, Too Fast for You, and material from the EP and Of Skins and Heart were compiled into an album simply called The Church that was released in the U.K. and the United States.

In the spring of 1982, the Church issued their second full-length album, The Blurred Crusade, which was a success at home and fared well in England, but Capitol Records, their label in the United States, was not impressed with its lush, neo-psychedelic sound, and they opted to drop the band rather than release it stateside. The Church's more atmospheric and innovative side continued to take the forefront on their third album, 1983's Séance, which rose to number 18 on the Australian charts, but was little heard elsewhere. In 1984, the Church released a pair of EPs, Persia and Remote Luxury, and the two short-form releases were compiled into an album entitled Remote Luxury, which landed the group a new U.S. record deal with Warner Bros. After a long run of international touring in support of the records (including a only moderately successful trip to the United States), the Church took a brief sabbatical before returning to the studio to record 1986's Heyday, which became a major Australian hit, and helped solidify the band's international audience after earning enthusiastic reviews in the United States and Great Britain. That same year, Steve Kilbey began work on his first solo effort, Unearthed, which was released in 1987, and Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes quickly followed suit with solo sets of their own; all three would pursue solo careers during downtime from the group.

In 1988, the Church reconvened with new business partners -- Arista Records in the United States, and Mushroom Records in Australia -- and a new album, Starfish, which was recorded in Los Angeles with producers Waddy Wachtel and Greg Ladanyi, both longtime veterans of the L.A. studio scene. The album was a solid international success and featured the hit single "Under the Milky Way," but the experience was bittersweet; the members of the group didn't enjoy working in Los Angeles and often argued with Wachtel, and the album's success prompted Arista to urge the Church to re-team with Wachtel for the follow-up, 1990's Gold Afternoon Fix, though the band had hoped to work with former Led Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. Gold Afternoon Fix didn't match the commercial success of Starfish, and for 1992's Priest = Aura, the band produced themselves; they also worked with a new drummer, former Patti Smith Group timekeeper Jay Dee Daugherty, after Ploog left the group. The album became a favorite with fans, but its long, ambitiously structured tracks didn't connect with listeners who discovered the Church via "Under the Milky Way," and Koppes opted to leave the group, as did Jay Dee Daugherty. 1994's Sometime Anywhere found Kilbey and Willson-Piper joined by producer and drummer Tim Powles and a handful of session musicians; the album was adventurous and musically satisfying, and Kilbey and Willson-Piper staged an acoustic tour in support, but it was a commercial disappointment, and Sometime Anywhere would prove to be the Church's final major-label album in the United States.

The Church partnered with the independent White Records label for their next album, 1996's Magician Among the Spirits; the album fared poorly in America after its distributor abruptly went bankrupt, but it was a solid set of music that was embraced by fans, and it also featured a guest appearance by Peter Koppes, who also appeared on their subsequent concert tour. Koppes then joined Kilbey and Powles in the studio for sessions that produced the album Pharmakoi/Distance-Crunching Honchos with Echo Units, released in 1997 under the group name the Refo:mation, and Koppes rejoined the Church in time to work on the 1998 album Hologram of Baal, and took part in a subsequent international tour. (The initial release of Hologram of Baal included a bonus album, B**tard Universe, a 79-minute collection of improvised material from the quartet.) Hologram of Baal was followed by 1999's A Box of Birds, a collection of covers in which the band interpreted the likes of the Beatles, Neil Young, Hawkwind, Television, Iggy Pop, and the Monkees.

For the next three years, the members of the Church busied themselves with other projects, but the first decade of the new millennium would prove to be a prolific time for the band: beginning with 2002's After Everything Now This, the Church would release nine full-length albums between 2002 and 2009, including a set of songs created with science fiction author Jeff VanderMeer to accompany his novel Shriek and a set of acoustic reinventions from the Church's back catalog. In 2011, the Church set out on an ambitious U.S. tour in which they performed three of their albums in full on- stage -- Starfish, Priest = Aura, and 2009's Untitled #23 -- before sold-out crowds in nine cities. Untitled #23 was released in the United States by the independent Second Motion Records label, who in 2010 began a series of reissues of the Church's extensive back catalog to commemorate the band's 30 years together. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Numbers

Comments

WHAT. IS. WRONG. WITH U PSYCHOS. POSTING. THAT B.S. CRAP ABOUT. PEOPLE DYING IF THEY. DONT. POSTS. THAT STUPID MESSAGE ABOUT. BEING KISSED BY THIS PERSON AND HER R HIS NAME. WILL APPEAR.
krj972
You don't see talent like this too often. Glad to see (and more importantly hear) they are still around.
I'm glad folks still appreciate them.
An ex girlfriend took me to see them in 1999, after I had considered them sort of passe. I was blown away. Great musicians and songwriters. GREAT.
Golden opiated afternoon fix
Hologram of Baal is my favorite
Metropolis all the way
Everyone needs a little churchin up now and again
Is the church still around?
nunnayobiz42 0
:)
LOVE MUSIC PUMP UP YALL
Saw them in Charlotte, NC last year...amazi n g . . . . t h e stuff they produced in Sweden several years back is also amazing! Good music and talent always endures....
Under the Milky Way Oh Yea!
Pandora shows the Numbers single and //U but not Gold Afternoon Fix in the discography? Glad to have my Church!
Great band, especially live. But I wish Pandora played OTHER Church songs -- so many of them are FAR better than Under the Milky Way! Somethign from Heyday, Priest=Aura or Untitled #23, for example.
1320802354
I've loved the church for years.
Don't forget recordable cassettes... .
bigtoe68
@ garykissel.. . . I highly doubt you were copying cd's in the 80's, unless you worked in the industry or were extremely rich!
Really? A don't read this on the Church station, either you are too young or stupid.
Don't read this cause it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day ofyour life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary. Put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters. This is scary cause it really works
Don't read this cause it actually works.
A crime that this band didn't become huge. Just an extraordinar i l y diverse body of work.
vic_dlg
Love the church
krj972
To the charlatan below. This crap you post is nothing but an electronic version of what people called a chain letter (snail mail) back in the day. It was B.S. then and it is now. Oh and the Church rocks!
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes when done press f6 and your lovers name will come on the screen in big letters this is scary because it actually works!
grochowjenn
Love this music!!! Reminds me of old days...lying under the stars with my best friend
my kinda oldie
Wow! Reminds me of my junior high years.
Top notch!
Love the Church, Unique music. wish you were still playing..
didn't get the airplay/foll o w i n g that their talent displayed... not many if any alternative bands had two guitars either...the y were loud in concert!
jefowl
Starfish is one of the great rock albums of all time....PERI O D ! ! !
(to peb) - That is a bit harsh. A band has to grow. These guys have had some ups and downs but they are still creating wonderful music. See them live next time you get a chance.
They never could quite match the genius of their first single Unguarded Moment
Saw this band twice in the 80's and they were great both times. Fond memories.
I was Okinawa when this came out. Still don't know what you might find..
Most excellent song
Picture of the album cover appeared onscreen and I was immediately taken back to the late 80's. I must have owned this cd, or more like l borrowed it so I could record it being the cheap pos that I am
I love this song. I miss the 80's
kotenko_gem
A band that continues to improve. Sooo good!
One of the most underrated modern rock bands ever!
Lost is one of my all-time fave songs by my all-time fave band...bliss .
sweet song......
WXRT ceased to be great when they changed their marketing from Chicago's Fine Rock station to Chicago's Finest Rock station. Subtle change in words but Finest doesn't mean Fine - necessarily.
I need to go back to church
oceanview.su n s e t s
God I'm back..... and then it's gone...
robbgobert
Shame they didn't get the radioplay they deserve. Their work deserves to live beyond any of us.
jpjanzen
Great band I have been listening to them since the 80's. I was lucky to have one of the best radio station in the country to listed to WXRT in Chicago. By the way that is not hype in the 80's and part of the 90's they where one of the top 5 stations in the country.
for my bf..
only one of two bands I will travel a significant way to see play live. saw them recently doing an acoustic retrospectiv e and they still bring the magic.
They never stopped after the 80's. Just kept cranking it out. I know I wasn't listening the whole time but I am again now. It's fun filling out the catalog after all this time. I'm rediscoverin g them and finding that they never strayed from their core ideals. Good stuff across the board.
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