Teenage Fanclub, Creation-era reissuedInital run has comes with a bonus 7".
Having long been out of print, Teenage Fanclub will re-release their classic Creation Records albums on vinyl. Each album has been re-mastered for the first time from the original tapes at Abbey Road Studios, London under the guidance of the band, Norman Blake, Gerard Love, and Raymond McGinley. They will be packaged in faithful re-productions of the original vinyl artwork and available on heavyweight 180g single vinyl. The band have also selected rarities, favourites and tracks previously unavailable on vinyl to include on a 7” with each album. These 7” singles will each feature two tracks and will only be available with the initial pressing of each album.
One of our longest and deepest friendships, both as a shop and collectively as individuals, is with the band Teenage Fanclub. When we first opened our doors in 2002 there was no one more encouraging and supportive than the members of this most important group. For the first time, Teenage Fanclub's Creation Records-era albums have been repressed in their entirety, each one packaged with a bonus 7" and the event had everyone in Monorail reminiscing about these songs and how they made their way into our lives. In fact, Teenage Fanclub seemed to be a sort of common thread for most of us here. We each came to the band in different ways, we all approach the music from wherever we're coming from after all. We thought we'd share some of these memories with you and, for your convenience, add some pre-order links to purchase the records, if you wish.
"You could say I’d been well-primed to fall for them: my big brother and sister had raised me on a steady diet of The Monkees, The Ramones and R.E.M., and by the time I came of age in the early 90s, I was deeply in thrall to American music, specifically boys with long hair and distorted guitars.
Plus ça change, am I right? In early 1994, just before I went back to school for second year and had to adjudicate endless debates about Blur vs. Oasis (for the record, at the time I thought I was too cool for either of them, but I’ve since softened), they took me to my first festival. I canvassed them for memories of watching Teenage Fanclub, since, apart from it being one of the best days of my life, my memories are a little hazy. The group text predictably descended into them bickering about whether my brother had shirked his responsibilities by getting wasted and spending an hour thinking he’d lost me, so I’m going to have fill in the blanks myself.
My brother and his pals took turns putting me on their shoulders for a better view, and they played Star Sign and The Concept and What You Do To Me and Kim Deal joined the band onstage for one of them or maybe Mr Tambourine Man? and that was it, those hooks and smiles and harmonies and guitars. I’ve spent the last 25 years just looking for that magic, every day.
I’ve probably bought Bandwagonesque at least five times, variously lost and given it away four of those times, had an A0 poster of it on the wall of my first share house thanks to my favourite, sorry second favourite record shop (House of Wax RIP), moved to Glasgow, seen Teenage Fanclub another bunch of times, and yet here I am, Guiding Star has just come on and I’m crying so thanks very much to Michael for making me do this, and thanks to Teenage Fanclub for making it so hard to choose a record to write about." - Tara
"I guess it’s never been quite as popular as the albums either side of it but Thirteen’s a total gem. It was pivotal, they started in a hurry and finished at a speed of Teenage Fanclub (which is, ok, I admit faster than a speed of Pastels). In between I think they mapped out their own future, maybe rejected quite a few easy things that would have made them a bigger, less personal group. What can I say about this time? They were away an awful lot after Bandwagonesque and that probably influenced them to book CaVa studio in Glasgow, just off Kelvingrove Park. It was a big old space and they certainly used it very well, made themselves at home with a subbuteo room and other comforts. Norman's obsessions at the time - cheese, olives, chess. This would have been unusual for Creation to deal with.
They were still young, Brendan was on drums, they were a rock group with amazing, heartfelt songs and a slightly rough round the edges charm. I remember the first time I heard The Cabbage at a party (Stuart Murdoch’s) and thought, this must have been what it was like to hear an early version of a Beatles song. Other songs were just as good too, Gerard had become as prolific as Norman and there was really nothing to choose between them as writers. Raymond was a slightly darker horse but it was his sometimes wild playing that made the group. Andy Macpherson (who'd worked with The Who) engineered it, his impassive face the very definition of a seasoned pro. Tony Doogan, then a youthful tape-op on one of his first big sessions was more forthcoming... “The take goes out on bar 126 and comes back in on bar 130”, he once announced, marking himself out as one to watch.
Work on the record eventually moved to Manchester, months later. Maybe in the end it was only Gerard there or they were by now doing it in relays. It was about things being right, not perfect. As it always was with them. Still not sure why some people don’t love it the way they do Bandwagonesque, maybe it’s timing, transition, things like that. I think it’s one of their best." - Stephen
"A new arrival to Glasgow, new to growing my hair long and dying it weird colours, new to seeing drunks in the streets, new to endless rain, just an all-round green weirdo, my first forays into claiming music as “my own” were guided by one of the few fellow weirdos at school who’d give me the time of day. Chris and I listened to Peel, read the NME, we even started a pirate radio station in a caravan park: Chris had The Internet and had downloaded a PDF guide to building your own transmitter. We used to play CDs through a reverb pedal and pretend the bands were in session. We once conducted an interview with Justine Frischmann, with my much softer accent attempting to impersonate Elastica’s frontwoman. We loved this music, but it was always “other:” impossibly glamorous in its cosmopolitan raggedness. Once I even suggested we sing in Mancunian accents in our nascent band. Music just wasn’t from Glasgow.
But one day I met Chris in Glasgow Central and he had a T shirt with a Formula 1 car on it that said “Teenage Fanclub.” He gave me a home-taped cassette with the album Grand Prix on it and said, enigmatically, “just listen to this, they’re from here.” When I got home I listened to the album and I couldn’t quite compute what I was hearing. It was much less aggressive than some of the music we’d been trying to learn on our cheap Argos guitars, it was simultaneously sad but victorious, it was summer pouring straight into my ears: for a listener who didn’t know what Big Star or Power Pop was it was a shot of joyful adrenalin. The kicker was that this band were from here. Although the Raymond/Norman/Gerry trio of angelic voices are certainly not in the Rab C. Nesbitt-range of Glaswegian dialect, there was something close, familiar and warming to their singing that made me want to get on my bike and freewheel down the steep East Renfrewshire hill I lived on top of. Throughout the rest of 1995, Grand Prix was there for the tribulations and ecstasies of growing up on the outside. It's an album that is both of Glasgow but also welcoming to everyone, it’s got its arms open and it’s there for whatever you’re going through.
We once had Teenage Fanclub in session on our station, but I’m not sure the group would remember. Either way, at our next band practise Chris said “we’re not singing in Mancuninan accents” and I agreed." - Michael
SONGS FROM NORTHERN BRITAIN
"One day in 2001 I was standing in Room 1 of CaVa, a palatial ex-courthouse recording studio in Glasgow where many records I loved had been recorded, picking out the riff in-between takes to Stereolab’s Metronomic Underground on guitar as it was rendered expertly by the bass player in our cobbled-together pop group. We were there to record a radio session for BBC Scotland and didn’t actually have a bass player, so just like that Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub said he’d come down and play on the session. The first time I met him I helped him unload the biggest amp I’d ever seen, a 70s Fender Bassman with 400ft by 200ft cab that he’d brought down to play on the session. It was very, very heavy but we managed it. We were just some people playing music but one of us was definitely pinching themselves.
Of course, by 2001 Teenage Fanclub were promoting 2000’s Howdy! and being the precocious, faddy little brat I was I hadn’t listened to it yet. Although the group had recorded some of my favourite songs of all time, I had lost track of them even before Songs Of Northern Britain had come out, already on the way to being an insufferable nerd, listening only to Captain Beefheart and free jazz at the time. More fool me, because Songs Of Northern Britain, with its optimism, with its comradely arm around your shoulder would have been a great help to anyone going through the mill as a late teenager. Like all Teenage Fanclub albums, particularly the late period, Songs… is so generous, unashamedly brash in its melodicism and happiness. Songs like I Don’t Want Control Of You have a clear message, it’s an ode to being real, jettisoning the pitfalls of novelty for the stuff that really matters. Listening to it now, properly, it’s a revelation, unassuming and humble, happy with what it is.
This music just helps, gives you what you need, shares the heavy load with you. Sometimes, that's enough." - Michael
"Howdy! is almost insanely happy, a twelve-part hymn to the joys of love and living and music and harmony" -Nick Hornby
"At long last! Howdy! back on record! I've got a feeling this will be one of the most sought after of the new editions. Originally released in 2000 at the height of CD popularity, Howdy! only ever got a single vinyl pressing and hasn't been available until now. They’re probably the band I've seen most in my life. It gets blurry trying to remember what gig was when but I'm pretty sure it was at The Barrowlands on week of release: the I Need Direction 7" had come out the week before and had set the tone for another classic album. I'm also pretty sure Paul Quinn, even though on the album, had left the band by this time and Francis was back on drums.
I always feel Howdy! is the most overlooked of TFC albums, I don't know why. It's a beautiful record that's got it all. My favourite Glasgow band!" -Dep