Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Teenage Fanclub - Secondary Education (2018)

Following on from the success of Teenage Fanclub's fifth album 'Grand Prix', 'Songs From Northern Britain' became their highest-charting release in the UK, reaching number three, and contained their biggest hit single to date in 'Ain't That Enough'. Their last two albums showed a distinct change in style by the band, eschewing larger pop culture trends like grunge and Brit-pop in favour of further honing their sparkling, guitar-based sound, a choice that only worked to endear them to their loyal cult fan base. For this album the band had once again conscripted producer David Bianco, who helped them expand their sound with a bevy of acoustic instruments, strings, and brass, resulting in songs like 'I Don't Want Control Of You', 'Take The Long Way Round', and 'Your Love Is The Place I Come From' feeling more personal, reflecting upon themes of nature, romantic fidelity, and the passing of time. In 2000 they left Creation Records and moved to Columbia, where they recorded 'Howdy!' at David Gilmour's Astoria studio, and at Rockfield Studios in Wales. Producing the album themselves, they embraced an even more ambitious mix of orchestral arrangements and varied instrumentation, and the record included a handful of songs that would become fan favourites, like 'Dumb Dumb Dumb', 'My Uptight Life', and 'I Need Direction'. It was also the first album recorded with keyboardist Finlay MacDonald (no relation to Francis), and the last with drummer Quinn, who left the band toward the end of recording and went on to front his own project, the Primary 5, being replaced by original drummer Francis Macdonald. 
The band stayed busy over the next few years, playing live and collaborating with spoken word artist Jad Fair on the album 'Words Of Wisdom and Hope', and they also assembled a retrospective anthology, which included three newly minted songs. It was three more years before they began work on their next album, eventually traveling to Chicago to record with post-rock icon John McEntire at his Soma recording studio. Released on the band's own imprint PeMa, 2005's 'Man-Made' marked a return to their earlier format as a quartet, and was characterized by discrete flourishes of keyboard, piano, and viola. Another five years passed before the self-produced 'Shadows' appeared in 2010, and it was the first to feature instrumental contributions by regular touring keyboardist/guitarist David McGowan as a full-time member. Around this time Blake relocated to Toronto, Canada, and while the band reunited for several live shows, it would be several years before they would begin work on another album. In 2016, they finally returned with their tenth studio album, 'Here', produced by the band in France and at McGinley's home in Glasgow, and it showcased a more ruminative, folk-inflected sound. It also landed them back at number one on Billboard's Heatseekers chart for the second time, 25 years after 'Bandwagonesque' first charted. 
Along with touring, the band was active off-stage, working at London's famed Abbey Road Studios on vinyl reissues of their five albums for Creation, but in 2018 Love amicably parted ways with the band after expressing his disinterest in flying to accommodate their tour schedule. Their eleventh studio album, and first without Love, arrived in March 2020, and 'Endless Arcade' found the group reflecting on themes of aging and heartache, primarily influenced by the break-up of Blake's marriage. In September 2023, they returned with the equally lyrical and introspective release, 'Nothing Lasts Forever', which was heralded by the '60s-style psych-rock-influenced single 'Foreign Land', and that brings up to date for these much-loved Scottish indie-rockers. Throughout the late 90's and up to the singles released from 'Howdy!' they continued to add up to four previously unheard songs to each of the b-sides of their singles, but when the time between albums started to stretch to up to five years, they filled the gap by contributing to compilation albums, split singles or collaborations with other artists, and when digital singles started being released in the mid-2010's then b-sides were no longer included. These final three albums in this series collect together all these additional tracks recorded by the band and given away to fans as b-sides, as well as the two stand-alone singles that they released in 2018. 

Track listing

Disc I - 1995-1997
01 Some People Try To Fuck With You (b-side of 'Mellow Doubt' 1995)  
02 Getting Real (b-side of 'Mellow Doubt' 1995)
03 Have You Ever Seen The Rain (b-side of 'Mellow Doubt' 1995)
04 Between Us (b-side of 'Mellow Doubt' 1995)
05 You're My Kind (b-side of 'Mellow Doubt' 1995)
06 Kickabout (b-side of 'Ain't That Enough' 1997)              
07 Broken (b-side of 'Ain't That Enough' 1997)
08 Femme Fatale (b-side of 'Ain't That Enough' 1997)
09 Jesus Christ (b-side of 'Ain't That Enough' 1997)
10 The Count (b-side of 'I Don't Want Control Of You' 1997)
11 Middle Of The Road (b-side of 'I Don't Want Control Of You' 1997)
12 He'd Be A Diamond (b-side of 'I Don't Want Control Of You' 1997)
13 Live My Life (b-side of 'I Don't Want Control Of You' 1997)
14 How Many More Years (b-side of 'Start Again' 1997)
15 Nothing To Be Done (b-side of 'Start Again' 1997)

Disc II - 1998-2003
01 Long Shot (single 1998)
02 Loops And Stings (b-side of 'Long Shot')
03 On This Good Night (b-side of 'I Need Direction' 2000)
04 I Lied (b-side of 'I Need Direction' 2000)
05 Here Comes Your Man (b-side of 'I Need Direction' 2000)
06 Christmas Eve (single 2000)
07 Thaw Me (b-side of 'Dumb Dumb Dumb' 2001)
08 One Thousand Lights (b-side of 'Dumb Dumb Dumb' 2001)
09 Tell Me What You See (from 'Why Don't We Do It In The Road?' Beatles' tribute album 2001)
10 Always In My Heart (single with Jad Fair 2002)
11 Let's Celebrate (b-side of 'Always In My Heart')
12 Same Place, Different Place (split single with Supreme Vagabond Craftsman / Bridget Storm 2003

Disc III - 2003-2018
01 The World'll Be OK (new song from '4,766 Seconds' compilation album 2003)
02 Empty Space 
(new song from '4,766 Seconds' compilation album 2003)
03 Did I Say 
(new song from '4,766 Seconds' compilation album 2003)
04 Association! (single 2004)
05 Fallen Leaf (b-side of 'Fallen Leaves' 2005)
06 Please Stay (b-side of 'It's All In The Mind' 2005)
07 Like A Monkey In A Zoo (single with Jad Fair 2006)
08 Happy Soul (b-side of 'Like A Monkey In A Zoo')
09 Secret Heart (b-side of 'Baby Lee' 2010)
10 Easy Come Easy Go (b-side of 'I'm In Love' 2017)
11 Country Song (single 2018)
12 Eyes Wide Open (b-side of 'Country Song')
13 Dark And Lonely (single 2018)

Thanks to Ken for the suggestion


  1. https://mega.nz/file/uzAwHSpT#6juasYcsFhwQIz-6ueEj-YJ6SD8FQMxP6TWWdsXptEQ

  2. Thanks for this! I didn't know about the more recent b-sides!

  3. The Sparky's Dream b-sides on volume 1 and disk 1 of this set are as great as anything they released on album propers. Again many thanks. Here are a couple of others that have come to mind - Neil Finn, Crowded House and The Lilac Time.

    1. Lilac Time already done, but Crowded House could be fun.

  4. I forgot to log on before sending the previous message just to let you know. Again thanks for doing this