Tag Archive for 'Teenage Fanclub'

Radio Kampus. 21st June 2017

It’s been a week of beautiful weather in Warsaw this week and the sun has been beating down hard on the city. Your local friendly new-music DJ is showing signs of his Scottishness; hair becoming more ginger, freckles becoming more prominent – but hey, that’s summer. We kick off with something perfectly summery and move on through a great show. Enjoy.

1. Teenage Fanclub – Your Love is the Place Where I Come From (Creation)

2. The Beach Boys – Don’t Worry Baby (Capitol)

3. Filthy Friends – The Arrival (Kill Rock Stars)

4. Bobby Conn – Hollow Men (Self-released)

5. Nive and the Deer Children – Walking (Glitterhouse)

6. Zamilska and Resina – Closer (Untuned)

7. Dead Janitor – Batch (Päfgens RMX) (Self-released)

8. Nils Frahm – Says (Erased Tapes)

9. Shuma – Na mory vutka kupalasia (Self-released)

10. FOQL – How to Stay Warm (Always Human Tapes)

11. cétieu – Friendly Fire (Barudă)

Radio Kampus. 28th December 2016

This week’s show was pre-recorded in a 6-year old’s bedroom in Airdrie in Scotland. Yes, I’m home for the holidays. If you listened live to the show on Radio Kampus, I was sitting in my parents’ house listening along with you. I hope, despite the absolute train wreck of a year it has been, you enjoyed a listen back over some of the notable music of the year.

Tonight’s show features a rather descriptive track by Stanley Odd – from the very town of Airdrie where I’m now sitting. We’ve got some music from those we’ve lost – Bowie, Prince, Viola Beach, and Leonard Cohen, and we’ve got some music from my favourite records of the year. Have a great new year celebration and let’s hope 2017 isn’t such a dick, eh?

1. Stanley Odd – It’s All Gone to Fuck (A Modern Way)

2. David Bowie – Sue (Or in a Season of Crime) (ISO Records)

3. Radiohead – True Love Waits (XL Recordings)

4. Prince & The Revolution – When Doves Cry (Warner Bros.)

5. Minor Victories – Cogs (PIAS)

6. Tófa – Cowering (Self-released)

7. Deerhoof – The Devil and his Anarchic Surrealist Retinue (Lado ABC)

8. Teenage Fanclub – The Darkest Part of the Night (PeMa)

9. Baloji – F.I.N.I. (Island France)

10. Anna Meredith – Taken (Moshi Moshi)

11. Viola Beach – Swings and Waterslides (Fuller Beans)

12. Resina – Dark Sky White Water (130701)

13. Leonard Cohen – Chelsea Hotel No. 2 (Columbia)

Radio Kampus. 23rd November 2016

A packed day, and a packed show this evening. Before heading down to the Radio Kampus studio, I had the pleasure of listening to Mateusz Franczak’s concert at Czułość. As ever, a beautiful performance and it set me up nicely for the show in the evening.

The playlist for this week features tracks from two albums that celebrate significant birthdays this year. There’s something from Iceland Airwaves, some indie-pop from France, and some dream-pop from Lebanon, among some new Polish releases.

1. Belle and sebastian – Get me away from here, I’m dying (Jeepster)

2. Chavez – The Bully Boys (Matador)

3. Lor – Windmill (Unreleased / TBA)

4. Freux – Step (Transatlantyk)

5. Filter Happier – Glow (Self-released)

6. Rumianek – Seaweed (Unreleased)

7. VAR – VARMA (Unreleased)

8. Niemoc – Przekątne (FASRAT)

9. Photon – November (Beko Disques)

10. Kaseciarz – Cathedrals (Instant Classic)

11. VIEON – Flight Simulator (Fly by Light MC Remix) (Valentine / Analogue Trash)

12. Teenage Fanclub – The Concept (Creation)

Teenage Fanclub – Here

HereAfter 3 months of quiet, patient waiting, it’s finally arrived; the new album by Teenage Fanclub. 6 years after the release of Shadows, the record, titled Here, was released this morning and it is no exaggeration to say it is spellbinding. Just as we slip into autumn, the boys from Bellshill return with a summer-pop album that doesn’t disappoint.

I’m In Love
The album’s opener, released as a single back in June, is classic Fannies. Power-pop the way it should be; bright, ebullient, and swift with a melody to be hummed all afternoon. By the time the guitar solo appears, the song feels familiar like a old friend.

Thin Air
Thin Air is a Gerard song both in vocal and in content – reminiscent of something from the second half of 2000’s Howdy. Two songs in and the guitars are much noisier than the previous two outings – almost, though not quite – a return to the early 90s. For a song named Thin Air, this one is adequately breathless.

Hold On
So far there has been a Norman song, a Gerard song, and now a Raymond song. Hold On takes the foot off the accelerator but not by much – there’s not too much loss of pace. Norman’s harmony appearing in the latter half of the verse is beautiful and the following chorus brings more distortion. This a much noisier album than I was expecting.

The Darkest Part of the Night
Even for a hardcore Teenage Fanclub fan, the ebullience of this album comes as something of a surprise. It’s more upbeat, optimistic, and energetic than I remember either Man-Made or Shadows. The Darkest Part of the Night benefits from some folky accompaniment of strings that lead to another joyful guitar solo via another absurdly catchy chorus. Glorious.

I Have Nothing More To Say
“Clear me a space, I’m in need of isolation”. Phasing guitars pull the album in a different direction for a while. This is more contemplative and evocative of something from Shadows. Heart-tugging and beautiful. A feeling of longing and a little nostalgia goes a long way.

I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive
At a much more sedate pace now, the tempo slows for the introspective I Was Beautiful When I Was Alive. There’s a subtle breakdown before Raymond’s distinctive voice shifts the song into a quicker gear. This feels like it could have appeared on the Four Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty-Six Seconds compilation.

The First Sight
The second half of the album opens with The First Sight and a cute melody of a guitar riff. The song explodes from verse to chorus in a burst of distortion and some brass. The guitar solo, much like the others on the record so far feels like it’s played with something of a smile.

Live In The Moment
Starting, as it does, with a bass-line that is redolent of Dire Straits, this is a Teenage Fanclub song on the darker side of the band’s spectrum but as with most of this album, the solo is stand-out. It’s not flashy, it’s toned very darkly and there’s some call-and-response with the brass. Minor key fannies is still as enjoyable as ever.

Steady State
There’s something sleepy, warm, and almost ambient about the interaction between guitar and electric piano that begins Steady State. It feels soft and like being underwater, it feels out of focus and blurred. It’s a beautiful background for a lyric like “the steady state of life is calling”.

It’s a Sign
“Every day is a stained glass ceiling”. The song begins with Hal Blaine-esque drums and breaks into something latter-day Belle and Sebastian would be envious of. It’s a Sign is as buoyant as Teenage Fanclub can get. A stunning piece of summer.

With You
The penultimate track takes on a more contemplative tone, with warm, arpeggios on guitar, soft Raymond McGinley vocals and a lovely organ break. “Life is short, life is long, with you I’ll see it”. Very much my own relationship to the Fannies.

Connected to Life
Nostalgia, and Norman, return in the pretty, and folky, Connected To Life – a song that brings to mind some of the prettier moments of the Scottish folk I used to hear when I was young. The song is garnished with feedback, and some guitar noise that calls to mind – though much more understated than – something like Undertow from R.E.M.’s New Adventures in Hi Fi album.

All in all, after a first listen, the album is an incredible return for the band and it’s hard to believe that it’s only their 10th album since 1990. It’s difficult to argue the album is anything other than a magical, sparkling, chiming addition to their catalogue. With latent admiration Dave Grohl once said of the band that they were purveyors of melodies “candy-ass sweet” and “shameless”. There’s nothing on this album to disprove this. One can only hope that rather than a final album, it will be the beginning of another chapter.

The Guardian’s “Six Songs of Me”

A few years ago, the Guardian ran a popular segment on their music blog called Six Songs of Me that I always enjoyed reading. This morning I looked back over some and it inspired me to create my own choices, so here they are.

What was the first song you ever bought?
While the first record that I ever owned is significantly cooler than the first song I ever bought, I thought I’d stay true to premise and admit to it. The first album I owned was a cassette of Pet Sounds by the Beach Boys, gifted to me by my dad when I wouldn’t stop playing it. The first I bought with my own money, well that’s another matter. It was the mid-80s and pre-pubescent boys had a wealth of cute teen idols to choose from; Kylie Minogue, Debbie Gibson, Pepsi & Shirley; to name but a few. Mine though was Tiffany and I played the tape of her album to an early grave – if indeed tapes have graves.

What song always gets you dancing?
It’s hard to avoid the kinetic desire to shift from one buttock to the next and back as soon as this recognisable Wurlitzer part picks up but when that snare kicks in and the handclaps start, it’s time to get up out of your seat and hit the dance-floor. Seeing Belle and Sebastian play The Boy with the Arab Strap live is a joyous experience with the band inviting audience members to the stage to dance with them – it’s a song that has never failed to make me happy and to get me dancing, wherever I am, from the shower to the indie disco.

What song takes you back to your childhood?
I’m lucky to have parents, particularly my dad, that are even more musically literate than I am. While my dad can’t play a note, he’s undeniably an encyclopaedia of popular music. It takes a certain kind of man to name your two children Neil Stephen and Graham David after the four members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. His favourites though are the Beach Boys – Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al and Mike (and Bruce). I grew up with memories of the Beach Boys at Live Aid, Help Me Rhonda on the record player and of course, the previously mentioned Pet Sounds Cassette which starts with this. Listen to that intro guitar. Listen to the vocal harmonies. I didn’t stand a chance.

What is your perfect love song?
As an indie-pop fan, it’s surely impossible to pick just one perfect love song from what is essentially the history of pop music. From the Beatles to Belle and Sebastian, pop tunes have always tried to express love in the most perfect, succinct way possible. Even choosing just one song from one band is excruciatingly difficult; take the band I eventually decided upon for instance; Big Star. I had to overlook the naive beauty of pubescent love of Thirteen to choose what, for me, is a slice of perfection: I’m in love with a girl.

What song would you want at your funeral?
A funeral song is a tricky one to decide upon. Do you want to be sombre? Celebratory? Do you want people to cry? To smile? I always thought I’d pick one from column a and one from column b. Vaka has always been my column a. Mind you, it has to be said, it took a dent as my funeral song when my brother and his wife used it as the music that accompanied her walk down the aisle. Oh come on guys!

Time for the encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Growing up as a music fan in Airdrie, just a mile or two away from the “post-industrial wasteland” of Bellshill in Lanarkshire, it was impossible to miss how important this small county in central Scotland was (and still is) to the pop music that came out of the country. Mogwai, BMX Bandits, The Soup Dragons, The Delgados and, of course, Teenage Fanclub. Chiming, bright guitars, distortion, vocal harmonies and boys from Bellshill. It’s hard to argue that Teenage Fanclub don’t represent everything I love about music. Radio is my favourite of theirs and one last song that makes me, me.