It’s dead easy to list the most obvious influences of Scotland’s Teenage Fanclub. He’s read them so often, founding band member Norman Blake can rattle them off at the drop of a tam: Big Star, Byrds, Beach Boys. Pigeonholing the Fanclub’s melodic-yet-rocking sound becomes a little more dicey. Though most of the cornerstones of power pop—Posies, Flamin’ Groovies, Matthew Sweet, Velvet Crush, Tommy Keene, Alex Chilton—don’t think much of the label, it seems to be the only one that’s stuck. If they keep this up for another five years or so, Teenage Fanclub, which opened for business in the mid-’80s when Blake met fellow Scots Raymond McGinley and Gerard Love, might surpass the Groovies for career longevity, a career award that usually precedes only the obit in a band’s publicity dossier. And yet, the group’s new album, Shadows (Merge), is as vital as anything TFC has ever cut, adding fuel to the proposition that some artists come up with their best work after turning 40. Blake and Love will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our Q&A with Blake.
Norman: Seems to me that there has been a phenomenal rise in the popularity of the ukulele over the last few years. It’s quite understandable, really, as it’s an instrument that’s cheap and very easy to play. (Most chords can be shaped with just three fingers.) OK, you’ve been beavering away in your bedroom and have now mastered your uke and would like to perform for the public. You’re going to need some tunes, and if you’re a Beatles fan, you’re going to need some Beatles tunes. That’s where the creators of this wonderful website come in. George Formby, eat your heart out.
Video after the jump.