Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Short Revisit: Frank Black & Teenage Fanclub

We're in the middle of moving (thus the brevity of this installment), but I came across this John Peel sessions EP from 1995, featuring Frank Black backed by Teenage Fanclub.

My memory might be a bit spotty, but by the time this EP came out, Frank Black was embarking on a new solo career that wasn't going quite as well as Kim Deal's was with the Breeders. It might seem odd now, but Frank Black was indeed being played on mainstream radio (though the Pixies never were), as I clearly remember hearing "Headache" on Calgary's AM radio, but that didn't even come close to how often I heard "Cannonball" at the mall. It was probably a good business move on Frank Black's part, then, to get this EP out, seeing as how Teenage Fanclub was still riding on the Bandwagonesque high (13 was rushed out shortly before this EP came out). At the time, Teenage Fanclub had an Album Of the Year under their belt and were definitely in the college rock 'A Circuit,' despite the fact that they don't get an iota of attention now.

The EP's not terribly momentous: Frank Black backed by anybody will inevitably sound like you'd think. Anybody familiar with the mid-90s Teenage Fanclub will recognize their guitar sound here and there, but it's pretty minimal. If anything, the EP is a good indication as to how much more poppy Frank Black's first two solo albums were in comparison to the Pixies.

More than anything else, the EP's just a funny reminder as to how transient and fickle taste can be. It's odd to see two bands go from ubiquity to nostalgia acts (well, more Frank Black/Pixies than Teenage Fanclub) in what is a relatively short period of time, and little oddities like this end up piling dust through the years. At the time, finding this was a little treasure; now, it's merely going in our storage bin.

(Note: the EP has since been re-issued following John Peel's passing last year.)

Here's Frank Black and Teenage Fanclub's cover of Del Shannon's "Sister Isobel":

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