I've split the reviews into the different areas of Cope output:
Compilation of early singles and b-sides. Some of the songs appear on Kilimanjaro in different versions.
Debut album, full of singles. This received rave reviews at the time, though today many fans prefer Cope's [radically different] later styles. I love a lot of the songs (especially "Sleeping Gas"), but as an album it's a bit wearying.reissued in 2000 with 6 bonus tracks
Their second and final studio album. More varied and album-like than the debut, it received mixed reviews at the time. I like the groovy, catchy moments, and "Great Dominions" is a favorite!reissued in 2000 with 8 bonus tracks trav's pick (best Teardrops album)
Compilation of scraps from the aborted third album. Cope says he had very little input, and it's been mostly dismissed. I think it's pretty cool!
Another compilation, this time of b-sides, alternate takes, etc. It's a great listen, except for the long interview at the end.
Pretty nice collection of Peel sessions. I dug the stripped-down version of "Ha Ha I'm Drowning" so much that I immediately decided to cover it for Interpreters Volume 3!
This is a collection of early demos. It's kinda rough, and lacks liner notes. It's also kinda boring (to me), although I must admit that Cope's early stuff isn't my cup of tea; I prefer the jammier later stuff. My favorite track on here is the long version of "Mik Mak Mok".
Cope's solo debut, doesn't contain the song of the same name (see Saint Julian). Some songs are remakes from Everybody Wants to Shag... WSYM got great reviews at the time and next to Peggy Suicide is probably his most consistently liked album.reissued in 1996 with 3 bonus tracks
Less poppy and more acoustic than WSYM. Generally blasted by the press at the time for its departure from in-your-face pop in favor of moody meanderings, it has aged very well, approaching "classic" status.reissued in 1996 with 3 bonus tracks
This is Cope at his poppiest. Some fans love it, some hate it, but the fact is, this gave him his biggest hits ("World Shut Your Mouth" and "Trampolene"). It's the first Cope album I heard, so I have an enduring fondness for it.
B-sides companion to Saint Julian. Pretty hit-or-miss, though as usual, when he hits, Cope is stellar; that's why we like him! Contains a brief interview (during "Transporting").
Saint Julian meets Peggy Suicide on the street but doesn't know what to say. "Nice day, isn't it?" says the Saint. "Umm, yeah," says Peggy. "Well, I, uhhh, I gotta go..." This isn't a bad record, it just can't decide whether it's lightheaded pop (a la Saint Julian) or serious, heartfelt psych-garage music (a la Peggy and the other later albums).
The first of Cope's experimental albums, this is a very loose collection of acoustic ditties recorded in 2 days. It's a fascinating look at Cope shaking off his pop reins, and contains some great (albeit lo-fi) sing-along songs!reissued with Skellington 2 on one CD trav's pick (best experimental album)
Semi-sequel to Skellington, this adds more instruments but is even more experimental and less accessible. It has an early version of "Safe Surfer" (from Peggy Suicide). This is Cope's hardest to find album; until recently, very few people had it on CD.
Guitar-laden "garage" music, this 70+ minute monster is regarded by most fans and newbies as Cope's most enjoyable and artistically brilliant album. It's also the first of a three-album religious/natural Trilogy.cassette release adds "Uptight" trav's pick (best studio album)
The first CD is the original album (still missing "Uptight" which was on the tape and vinyl). The second CD is a bunch of non-album tracks from that era; it's mostly remixes and experimental stuff and, while not nearly as solid as the actual album, it's a fun listen.
Unlike Jehovahkill Deluxe, the remastering sounds fine. The problem, however, is the booklet. It's missing some liner notes, and has duplicate pages. So don't throw away your original Peggy Suicide CD!
Accessible, extensive (70+ minutes), and varied compilation covering everything listed above, from The Teardrop Explodes (early 80s) through Peggy Suicide. It also includes excellent liner notes and a complete list of his pre-1991 albums.trav's pick (best compilation)
Compilation of BBC sessions. Most songs are similar to the album versions, with the notable exception of "Soul Medley", a funkified collage of Zappa and Cope songs. FG2 also contains several non-album songs.
The second in the Trilogy, this introduces Krautrock elements, primal yelling, and an absolutely gorgeous sleeve containing poems and pictures of burial mounds. This album is not as immediately likeable as Peggy Suicide, but many fans regard it as his masterwork.
Great concept (2-CD reissue of Jehovahkill with lots of unreleased songs), great packaging, but horrible sound. The production is plagued with crackle and hiss, sounding much worse than the original release.
Listen for yourself to the first few seconds of "Slow Rider":
This 70 minute experimental album contains four lonnnnnng songs. They are instrumental and groovy: "trance" music. Perfect background music.
These were a bunch of ideas recorded shortly after Jehovahkill. Most are semi-boring instrumentals. Not bad for background music, but nowhere close to being essential.
Another experimental album, combined with its prequel on one CD. It's not as consistently fun as Skellington, but it shares the same spirit and has some nice moments. They were released together on one CD called "The Skellington Chronicles"; I'm not sure if Skellington 2 was ever released separately.released with Skellington on one CD
This conclusion to the Trilogy is much shorter than the first two, and has a hastily assembled acoustic feel along the lines of Skellington but with better production. Many people regarded it as a disappointment due to its relative brevity and lack of profundity.
Highly experimental new-age album. It's two songs full of shrieking synths, scary lo-fi sound effects, and no rhythms. It toggles between being boring, frightening, and then almost-listenable. This is probably Cope's least liked album.
Genuinely poppy songs, this prompted many sighs of relief after the inspirational desert of Autogeddon/Queen Elizabeth. Regarded by critics and many fans as his best album since Peggy Suicide.
Short and sans instrumentals, this is nonetheless an incredibly varied album. It ranges from pure pop ("I Come From Another Planet, Baby" is a hands-down classic) to rap to Autogeddon-esque guitar to lounge/jazz... Each person seems to find something to like and something to dislike on this record.
Another experimental album, this time a sequel to Rite. Like its predecessor, this has 4 long, groovy instrumentals. Most people seem to like it better than the first one. Great background music.
This follow-up to the experimental disaster Queen Elizabeth is surprisingly easy to listen to. It's more rhythmic and less annoying. However, don't get your hopes up, because that's not saying much!
Experimental album consisting of a single 70 minute "chant." Imagine Queen Elizabeth slowed down to 1/10 the speed... I think this is my least favorite Cope album!
At last: a rarities compilation! The sound quality is a little rough on some of the songs, but there are a few real gems here: my picks are "Propheteering", "Mighty Carl Jung", "Oh Yeah, but Never Like This Before". Very nice!
This "Souvenir CD Concert Programme" is five songs of mostly lo-fi Krautrock stretching nearly an hour. Imagine Floored Genius 3 meets the instrumental songs in Jehovahkill. Pretty cool but not essential; I've only listened to it about once every couple years.
Excellent trancy grooves. This is the most intense and trippy of all the Rite projects. It's probably my favorite post-90s Cope release so far!
Spoken-word plus music that's kind of like Rite, kind of Queen Elizabeth. Not all that memorable for the music. Since I'm not really into the history stuff Cope rants about, I don't get much out of this.
They call this "ambient metal". I call it "Queen Elizabeth 3".
I guess this is a new studio album; I'm not sure. It's like a mixture of Brain Donor and Autogeddon-era Cope. Some of the songs are gentle; others are real rockers. I love "Eccentifugal Force"!
Listenable, though not very memorable, except for a great version of "Sleeping Gas".
This sounds like Brain Donor meets Skellington and "Land of Fear". The production's lo-fi and loud, the songwriting's hit and miss, and the theme is death. The vibe oscillates between aggression and depression, but there are a couple specks of poppiness buried in the murky gloom.
Brighter than Citizen Cain'd but still mired revelling in MC5-ish heavy metal. I can see why Cope suggests that it's an exhausting listen; it's relentlessly pounding guitars and organs. There's not much finesse or sing-along poppiness here, just lots of uncompromising, noisy hard rock. If you like Brain Donor (or Spinal Tap), you'll probably like this stuff. My favorite song is the 21+ minute "Death and Resurrection Show", which is one long jam and worth the price of the CD.
This is the "final" Rite release. It contains two very long, very cool trance grooves. They're the first and last Rite recordings, and are both excellent. Highly recommended!!!
So-so live album. Cheap artwork and grungy production. Cope stretches out songs with his rambling, psychedelic rants/lectures. If you like Cope's monologues (and Citizen Cain'd), you might like this stuff. Personally, I prefer Cope's instrumentals these days (like Rite Bastard).
The good news: no more heavy metal. The bad news: it's still the same muddy / messy production with mostly dirge-like songs. Some moments are catchy, but the charmless lo-fi production is wearisome. It sounds more like Droolian than Jehovahkill. I think Cope needs to get himself a real producer!
This is a messy mix of live tracks and oddities which apparently were judged not quite good enough for official release. I'm not gonna argue too strongly otherwise. There are, however, a few neat melodic movements and some decent grooves, and none of the songs are completely horrible (which means this is a notch higher than Brain Donor calibre). Overall, I'd recommended it for fans who like Cope's raw and noisy side, but people who only like poppy Cope should keep their distance!
This is my favorite "real" Cope album since Interpreter. The production is all over the place, but there's more catchy moments here than on the past few albums combined. Cope's obsession with death keeps rearing its head, but this time instead of being aggressive about it, he takes it in a witty and/or genuinely touching direction. I really like this gentler, funnier side of Cope!
This is an allegedly live gig that you can buy as a download from Head Heritage. It's a single long song. It's mostly Queen Elizabeth-ish (which means mind-numbingly boring), but can be kinda pretty at times, especially at the beginning and other bits where Cope sings.
What a nice surprise! After the mess of Wasted Fuzz Excessive, I was expecting another sludgy dud, but instead we get this half-Skellington-esque, half-Droolian-esque set. It's full of humor and catchiness, despite the subject matter (terrorists and politics). The production is lo-fi, but very listenable, especially on the first several songs. The last few are a bit too noodly and weird for my tastes, but overall this release makes me feel like Cope is on a bit of a creative roll!
This has a decent energy, but is a bit raw. Some of the singing and music is pretty catchy, but other parts are sluggish. In other worse, some aspects of the music are good, but some are not so good. This is pretty much the standard for Cope nowadays. I wish he's try to make pop songs again!
Slow, but melodic. At first listen, this didn't impress me very much. There are no killer, catchy tracks. It's more "Las Vegas Basement" than "East Easy Rider". With explosions. And bass drums. It's not horrible, but won't win any fans. It won't lose any either, though, since it is not obnoxious. No heavy metal posturing, thank God. Thank Odin. I give it a B- because although it's best as background music, it's a rather pleasant listen.
This is the debut album from Cope's new band of leather-clad "misfits". It seems to be the same bunch of guys who played on Cope's Black Sheep album. The music is very different, though. There's nothing catchy or poppy here. It's more like an acoustic krautrock version of Brain Donor's later stuff. Instead of repetitive and sludgy electric guitars, we have repetitive and sludgy bass drums and acoustic guitar strumming. It's just a bunch of heavy-handed, relatively tuneless thump-thump-thumping. No finesse. No memorable melodies. The only exception is the repetitively pretty "Leila Khalad", which rips off the melody from the Teardrop Explodes song.
Brain Donor is Cope's new Heavy-Metal/Krautrock band. If you like loud guitar jams, this will be right up your alley.
Half studio outtakes, half live album. Some of the live material sounds suspiciously like overdubs from the debut album. It's still a fun listen, though.
Five songs. No hooks. Tons of sludgy, testosterone-filled garage-boy jamming. A few mumbled cryptic references to Norse something or other. Whose cup of tea this is I just don't know. It's not as horrible as Odin but it's close.
More sludge. More brain-dead bass lines, muddy guitar, and inaudible vocals. This stuff sounds improvised. It reminds me a lot of Trex (which is not a good thing). Brain Donor seems to be devolving with each album.
Compilation of music videos, from the Teardrop Explodes through the mid-80s. Very enjoyable, and finally available on DVD!
Road-trip with Julian through the UK countryside while he looks at standing stones and other ruins. It's interesting how into this stuff he is. The background music is all Cope, some of it hard to find.
Hilarious, touching, and insightful autobiography covering the Teardrop years (1976-1982). I've read it twice and loved it both times! Get it!reissued with Repossessed in one book trav's pick (best book)
Well-researched and empassioned survey/primer of Krautrock. This got me into Can, and increased my appreciation of Cope's own Kraut-flavored songs and experiments.
Huge encyclopedia / gazeteer / coffee-table-book about standing stones, burial mounds, and all that old stuff. Very attractive, but its size and scope are very intimidating; I've had it since 1999 but still haven't started reading it.
Somewhat depressing autobiography detail Cope's "hermiting rock star" days (1983-1989). Although its tone is nostalgic, desolate, and paranoid, it paints Cope as a much more "human" figure, someone to whom we (or at least I) can relate.released with Head-On in one book
This follow-up to Krautrocksampler focuses on psychedelic Japanese rock. There's tons of detail, but I think you've got to be a fan of the music to get much out of it. Right now I much prefer Krautrock.