2005 was a cool year for me in that it saw new releases from Nada Surf and Teenage Fanclub. Some would say shells of their former pre-Seattle angst/pop selves. Instead of being angst ridden about not being angst ridden, the albums were about shifting gears into adulthood. The new Teenage Fanclub is in full-on adult mode, sounding like Scotland's answer to '70s band America (without sounding like Neil Young). Plesant and full of pop craft, but for those who bailed long ago, move it along, nothing much different about this album than the last one from '05, Man-Made.
Nada Surf have sorta plied the same retro trade, sounding more like they spent the last decade listening to older brit pop. '05s The Weight Is A Gift is a very laid back Byrds-like affair. Once again, very well done, but there were alot of acts putting out albums like this (Guster, Gomez, Vetiver, the aforementioned Teenage Fanclub) to really stand out and retain the '90s fanbase looking for that youthful angst fix.
I like these two albums (I did skip NS '80 album Lucky) and I might even spring for the new Teenage FanclubShadows, but what I heard in the rekkid store the other day kinda took me aback, in that I liked it. A covers album, If I Had A Hi-Fi ...yeah, I know, nothing says "I've done run slap outta things to say" like re-recording other people's music, but this effort works for me. I guess it might have something to do with the fact that they do a great job of making some of the covers 'their own' while at the same time showing ecclectic tastes. They cover familiar bands without covering those bands' better known songs. Almost all are deeper cuts from not-so-household names (Spoon, Kate Bush, The Go-Betweens, Dwight Twilley), except Enjoy The Silence (Depeche Mode) and Question (The Moody Blues)...no that last one isn't a misprint and while its one of the most straight forward take here, its sounds great as a power pop anthem. Nada Surf has made one of very few exceptions I've heard in the land of cover/tribute albums - an album of covers I'd actually own (bought it).
Nothin new, just a couple of acts that still do what they do well.
I haven't heard the new Teenage Fanclub. Honestly, I've never owned anything of theirs outside of Bandwagonesque, but that is a damn fine record. I was thinking about seeing them on their current tour... I'm guessing the adult stuff might sound okay live mixed in with their nostalgic jams? Or more immediate anyway?