(True story – an over enthusiastic fan once rolled a cabbage across the stage as Teenage Fanclub played “The Cabbage” during a tour of Japan. Guess they didn’t get the heartbreaking translation of that particular tune.)
On the heels of a very successful Bandwagonesqe and a huge Saturday Night Live appearance Teenage Fanclub released Thirteen. It was rich with harmonies, had awesome songs, and Kurt Cobain was quoted as calling the Fannies the “Best Band in the World.” So with all that is it any surprise that in October 1993 the band that took in the award for Spin’s #1 Record of 1991 faced a backlash from critics. Thirteen wasn’t just disliked by rock writers, it was destroyed.
It didn’t make sense to me then, and in retrospect most critics have turned their opinion around to treat it more like a classic; one that I have always thought wasn’t just a great record, but ultimately stands of one of my favourite all time albums. It has the pop sensibilities of Big Star, the guitar effects of the “shoegaze” era and the driving bass of the 90’s alt rock period. It was a full package record that could be comical (“Commercial Alternative”) one moment and heartbreaking (“The Cabbage”) another.
So what are the vinyl options?
The original 1993 pressing was only done for audiences in the UK and Europe on standard black vinyl. Used copies can be found for around $30.00 dollars and up. Actually I saw an autographed copy for about a $100, but once you add shipping… well… it’s a little more than most of us would spend.
On the other hand, Thirteen was remastered and reissued in 2011 for US fans by Org Music. The first batch was 180 gram white vinyl while everything after was 180 gram black wax. So far I have yet to see any complaints about sound while trolling the internet audiophile sights. Prices start around $30 but some resellers are jacking prices up as availability has begun to dwindle.
Really, Teenage Fanclub created a body of work that is power-pop bliss and Thirteen is a perfect example of a genre defining record that really deserves more respect than it received. You really should give it a listen.
Just adding to the crazy amount of Nirvana related news that has popped up in the last few weeks (you know… Montage Of Heck, Soaked In Bleach, ex-police chief asking for murder investigation – just to be sure it wasn’t) Universal is reissuing their eponymous greatest hits package. In addition to a blu-ray edition, there will also be two vinyl versions. The first will be a standard 33 rpm, while the second will be a double album on 200 gram vinyl playing at 45rpm.
Sounds like a promising set… it comes out August 28th.
I understand the thirst for blame and justice; that insatiable desire to find meaning in a senseless death, but can we please give this a rest. The second Kurt Cobain documentary this year, Soaked In Bleach, wants to re-examine the case surrounding the demise of the Nirvana front man. So Courtney Love has filed a cease and desist order against any theatres wishing to screen it in hopes of putting a stop to a film that essentially promises to be defamatory.
Of course, I’ve only seen the trailer, but… whew… it’s got ominous music, re-enactments, interviews with experts, and a whole lot of people that want Courtney behind bars. It has a compelling narrative filled with anecdotal ‘evidence.’ What it can’t explain a way is the very reason I don’t believe a shred of it.
Courtney Love has become one of the most vilified people on the planet. Over the years she has been in and out of court for the most asinine and trivial of reasons. If Police in Seattle, let alone other agencies can’t find evidence of her guilt, especially when everyone involved wants her to be guilty, how am I supposed to suspend my disbelief long enough to accept that a filmmaker and private detective have done it. Both of whom will get very big reputations by attaching their names to this… um… case, for lack of a better name. As they say in the trailer – “that’s called motive.”
Then, and this is a much bigger leap, I’m supposed to accept that Courtney Love is a criminal genius. Ms Love has been called a great many things by a great many people, but not once has anyone ever convinced me she has what it takes to be an evil mastermind. Maybe she could play one in an Austin Powers sequel, or perhaps that rumoured Poison Ivy in Joel Schumacher’s failed to materialize “Clooney Batman” sequel, but honest to goodness villainess?
Like the other Kurt documentaries, I don’t go. I put on some records, listen to music from a much angrier age, and re-envision Kurt decapitating the In Utero angel at Maple Leaf Gardens all those years ago.
He was pretty screwed up…