Was in the mood for some 90s indie the other day and reconnected with my old faves Teenage Fanclub. Though I'm glad to see they're still going I regret to say they don't seem to have the spark they used to. Very glad to see these two very early tracks, 'Speeder' and 'Primary Education' have been uploaded on Youtube recently. Rough and ready, riffs, close harmonies, silly noises, drum machines - just as it should be. On the B side of Everything Flows apparently, though I had them on an odds and ends comp called 'Deep Fried Fanclub' which was subsequently nicked along with my bag at The Railway pub in Putney. Harsh.
I met them in Valencia when I lived there (about 2006) when me and a mate hung around after a gig. Raymond said nothing, Gerard was a bit cold and Norman was extremely warm and welcoming (even giving us a couple of free cans of beer). I mentioned my preference for a more rough sound which didn't seem to go down well. The EP 'Teenage Fanclub Have Lost It', I seem to remember, was released to fulfil contractual obligations, but here again we see the lack of polish and experimentation (which I favour) which is lacking on the later records. Here's a couple of tunes from that - 'Everything Flows' and 'Starsign'
When I met them, I also mentioned my overall favourite album was Thirteen. This also didn't go down well as apparently the band weren't happy with the final mix. It still sounds great to me though. One of the best is this track 'Tears Are Cool'. Surely there's a US indie to be made with some geekycool guy or girl wandering about in the rain to this song?
They also did a lot of good B sides. How about this, where, (I realise now) they sound like BJM? 'Maharishi Dug The Scene' (very BJM title too)
My favourite B side (though I've still yet to explore the full back catalogue of their fertile early years) is this epic cover of Yo La Tengo. Moody postrock to rival Mogwai or Fridge.
This is not Teenage Fanclub as most people know them, I think. Songs From Northern Britain was critically acclaimed but was the start of something earnest, po-faced, and, it must be said, undruggy. The tracks I've linked to today I hope give an impression of the Teenage Fanclub that sometimes was, could have been more and I hope could be again. Someone send Norman a big bag of skunk, some mushrooms and some MDMA please. He can slip it into Gerry and Ray's single malt.