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$30.00

Teenage Fanclub

Sweet Baboo

Fri, April 26, 2024
Doors: 6:00 pm

9:30 Club
Washington, DC

EARLY SHOW

Tickets are non-transferable until 72 hours prior to the show time. Any tickets suspected of being purchased for the sole purpose of reselling can be cancelled at the discretion of 9:30 Club / Ticketmaster, and buyers may be denied future ticket purchases for I.M.P. shows. Opening acts, door times, and set times are always subject to change.

Teenage Fanclub

The first sound you hear is a sustained feedback note that hangs in the air with the grace of a dragonfly before an acoustic riff spirals out of it, soaring upwards. It’s blissful and sun-soaked, like a late summer haze blurring out all the details on the horizon. When voices join the music, they arrive perfectly locked together, honed in on a single melody: “It’s time to move along/and leave the past behind me…” The message is simple. Don’t look back, only forward.

“Foreign Land” is the opening track on Teenage Fanclub’s eleventh full studio album, Nothing Lasts Forever. That track— and the rest of this beautifully rich and melodic album—is the sound of a season’s end, of the last warm days of the year while nights begin to draw in and thoughts become reflective and more than a little melancholy.

That reflection is everywhere on the record, whether on the autumnal folk rock of “Tired of Being Alone” that repositions Laurel Canyon to somewhere deep in the heart of the Wye Valley, the William Blake–quoting “Self-Sedation,” or on the song that preceded Nothing Lasts Forever’s completion, last year’s “I Left a Light On,” where a spark of hope is kept alight at the end of a relationship. One of the recurring themes on Nothing Lasts Forever is light, as both a metaphor for hope and as an ultimate destination further down the road. Although the band’s songwriters Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley found themselves touching on similar themes, it was pure coincidence. Raymond: “We never talk about what we’re going to do before we start making a record. We don’t plan much other than the nuts and bolts of where we’re going to record and when. That thing about light was completely accidental; we didn’t realize that until we’d finished half the songs. The record feels reflective, and I think the more we do this thing, the more we become comfortable with going to that place of melancholy, feeling and expressing those feelings. Recording vocals is a fairly intense process. We’re in close contact in those moments. If you’re spending time in close proximity, it’s inevitable ideas are going to rub off on each other.”

Norman: “These songs are definitely personal. You’re getting older, you’re going into the cupboard getting the black suit out more often. Thoughts of mortality and the idea of the light must have been playing on our minds a lot. The songs on the last record were influenced by the breakup of my marriage. It was cathartic to write those songs. These new songs are reflective of how I’m feeling now, coming out of that period. They’re fairly optimistic, there’s an acceptance of a situation and all of the experience that comes with that acceptance. When we write, it’s a reflection of our lives, which are pretty ordinary. We’re not extraordinary people, and normal people get older. There’s a lot to write about in the mundane. I love reading Raymond Carver. Very often there’s not a lot that happens in those stories, but they speak to lived experience.”

While the vocals and the finishing touches on Nothing Lasts Forever were recorded at Raymond’s place in Glasgow, the music was recorded in an intense ten-day period in the bucolic Welsh countryside at Rockfield Studios, near Monmouth, in late August. You can hear the effect of that environment on the record—it’s full of soft breeze, wide skies, beauty, and space.

Raymond: “We like to get something out of where we go, and you can definitely hear a stamp of Rockfield on the record. We recorded our album Howdy there in the late ’90s. Prior to that, I’d been a bit reluctant to go as everyone seemed to record there, especially if you were signed to Creation, but I thought I’d go and have a look at the place. When I went down there, I loved the fact that there’s no memorabilia about anyone who’s ever been in the studio. The only visual musical reference is a picture of Joe Meek on their office wall. Anyway, over 20 years after our first visit, we decided to go back. When you’re there, it feels like your place. We’re really rubbish at trying to find words to describe how our music sounds, but maybe because we recorded in Rockfield in late summer, there’s something pastoral about the record.” The band that recorded Nothing Lasts Forever—Blake and McGinley along with Francis Macdonald on drums, Dave McGowan on bass, and Euros Childs on keyboards—arrived at the residential studio without a fixed plan. Their confidence and ease with working together meant the record came together incredibly quickly.

Raymond: “When we got offered ten days in Rockfield, we weren’t ready in our minds, but then we just thought, ‘fuck it’ and went for it. If you’re sitting around waiting for the stars to align, you can end up never doing anything. We turned up and worked our way through ideas, and came up with some while we were there. The song ‘Foreign Land’ was born in the studio. If we hadn’t gone there at that point through happenstance, that song wouldn’t exist. We like to let things happen. As people, we find a deadline inspiring. We like to put ourselves on the spot and see what happens. We usually get away with it. This record is the cliché of the blank canvas, which thankfully we managed to fill.”

Norman: “We’ve all been playing together for such a long time—and I can include Euros in that because we’ve been playing together for nearly 15 years [the duo formed the band Jonny and released an album on Merge in 2011]. In the past, whoever had written the song would have been the director. ‘This is how I’m hearing the drums, if you could play the bass like this…’ We don’t do that now. Raymond or myself would just bring in the idea, and people would listen and play what works with it. We’d play for a couple of hours and that would be the arrangement. There’s a trust that comes from knowing each other such a long time, a kind of telepathy. Everyone knows where they fit in the puzzle.”

Raymond: “One of the things I love about music is that it’s beyond language. And it’s beyond analysis. As musicians, you’re playing and it happens. That is the definition of what being a musician is. If you start giving people rigid instructions, it loses the magic. Everyone in the band is a good enough musician that they can respond in the moment, so most of the arrangements for the songs form instinctively.”

One of the most striking lyrics on the record is on the closing track, “I Will Love You.” A gorgeous seven-minute, almost Kosmische acoustic daydream drone, it looks to a point beyond the fury and polarization of our modern discourse, to a time when “the bigots are gone/after they apologize/for all the harm that they’ve done”.

Raymond: “In many ways, us-and-them-ism has taken over the world. ‘I Will Love You’ is looking for positivity, but it’s being totally fatalistic at the same time: This shit will exist forever. What are you going to do about it? I came up with the line ‘I will love you/until the flags are put down/and the exceptionalists are buried under the ground’ while I was playing the guitar. I started wondering what that was all about and where it might go. It’s looking for positives within a fatalistic, negative view of human nature.” Looking for positives while faced with the grim realities of the 21st century feels very Teenage Fanclub—a band who’ve been a force for good for over three decades and who can effortlessly turn melancholy into glorious, chiming harmony.

Harmony that will last forever.

Sweet Baboo

‘One of Wales’s finest modern songwriters His music is charming and flecked with magic. The Guardian October 2022’

Sweet Baboo is the alter ego of North Walian musician and songwriter Stephen
Black. His career has spanned over 2 decades and has seen him release 7 albums
to date to critical acclaim.

His latest album ‘The Wreckage’ was released in January 2023 on his own Amazing Tapes from Canton Label to glowing reviews.

“You can hear how tenderly it’s been shepherded.” – ★★★★ Mojo

“Sly humour but the conviction of a sombre-faced balladeer” – 8/10 Uncut

“If OMD wrote songs about inept gardeners rather than Joan of Arc” – ★★★★ Shindig!

One of ‘music’s underappreciated heroes’ (Record Collector) his live shows are profoundly entertaining, full of catchy hooks, melodies and delight.

‘Beautifully judged (electronic) psych-pop record that hums with warmth’ Uncut
magazine on 2017 Wild Imagination (Moshi Moshi Records)

“With a blend of humility and affection, Stephen Black, [is] a honey-voiced man
with a goal of becoming the Harry Nilsson of Snowdonia.’ The Times on 2015 The
Boombox Ballads (Moshi Moshi Records)

Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V Street N.W.
Washington, DC, 20001
WWW.930.COM

815 V ST. NW WASHINGTON, DC 20001 • PRIVACY POLICY • EMAIL: info@impconcerts.com • PHONE: 202.265.0930