Saturday, November 12, 2022

Teenage Fanclub

I've been meaning to do something off the back of Stereogum's 40 Best New Bands of 2022 and I still might but, well, it's forty bands and I've only heard maybe three or four of them and of about as many again. It'd take some work. I'm not feeling it right now.

While I was considering it, though, I picked one of the acts, almost at random, just to play while I thought about whether I had the will to go through the rest. When I ran my pick through YouTube, top of the pile was this:

American Teenager - Ethel Cain - Now, that's lucky. Or serendipitous. Or spooky. I was only thinking, a few days ago, how it's been a while since I did one of those keyword music posts, like Cats vs Dogs or Ponies. I really like doing posts like that and they don't have to be about animals, either.  

I've had it in mind for a while to do one using the key words "Teen" and "Teenager", mostly because I noticed they come up a lot in song title searches, even when I'm looking for something unrelated, presumably because, like having been a child, having been a teenager is something everyone has in common. Except children, ironically.

Ethel Cain's song is something of a double-threat, too, what with that "American" modifier. That's another potential collection, right there, songs and bands with "American" somewhere in the name. I'll file that one away for later. It's a good song, too, although it starts out as though it's going to be a lot rangier than it turns out to be. I liked Crush more but it doesn't fit the theme.  

Anyway, rather than plow on through the forty, I thought how about I do the other post instead... and then I searched my music folder by the keyword "teen" and got more than fifty results. So that sort of backfired on me, didn't it? Oh, well...I'm going to do it anyway.

Teen Titans - Puffy Ami Yumi - Fortunately or unfortunately, depending how you want to look at it, I've used quite a lot of these tunes before. Or I think I have. It's a good thing Blogger has an excellent search facility (It should do, seeing Google built it!). There's not much hope of me remembering what I wrote last week let alone a few years ago but at least I can check.

I didn't use Puffy Ami Yumi for the Teen Titans post a couple of years back. Missed opportunity there. It's a real banger, too. So often, theme tunes blown up to single-length don't sustain, but this one really does. There's a Japanese version if you'd prefer. And here's the theme song to Puffy Ami Yumi's own show. It's no wonder Shampoo were big in Japan...

Teen Titans - Beangrowers - What are the chances? as Harry Hill used to say. Beangrowers have to be the best indie rock band ever to come out Malta, which I guess is pretty much the definition of faint praise. Thay are big in Germany, though, which, since it's the third largest global music market, isn't nothing. 

They will always have a special place in my collection, not to say my heart, for being one of the very first new acts I "discovered" when I ended my decade-long mmorpg-inspired musical fast. They don't seem to have recorded anything since 2008, so I imagine they're inactive now. As Mrs Bhagpuss and I were saying only the other day, bands never split up any more, they just go dormant. They all come back in the end.

Miss Teen Massachusetts - Skaters - This is about as straight-up rock as I go nowadays. I like the guitar sound but really the reason I kept this when I found it was the video. It's a cliche but so what? It works.

Upset - Teenage Granny - I would have sworn I'd used this before but search says not and I choose to believe it. The video "won first place and best cinematography in the 2016 Shoot Lo-Fi Music Video Making Contest" but counter to the previous entry, I didn't download it for the images. I just love the way she says "I'm upset!

The filmmaker's from the Phillipines; the band, too. I say "band". It's actually one person, Alyana Cabral, who also turns out to be not only the guiding hand behind the wonderful Ourselves The Elves (Who have appeared here, albeit buried so deep in a portmanteau post I think it'd be safe to assume literally no-one ever saw them.) but also The Buildings, whose Manilla's A Trap is a longtime fave of mine. You can learn so much from a blog post, especially when you're the one writing it.

Oh, and that "filmmaker" is Alyana, too. Does no-one else in the Phiillipines ever get a go?

Teenie Weenie Boppie - France Gall - Some of the stuff that passed for mainstream television entertainment in 1960s France has to be seen to be disbelieved, especially anything Serge Gainsbourg had a paw in, as he did this, although as it's credited to " les archives de la Radio Télévision Suisse", maybe there was more going on in Switzerland back then than anyone realised, too.

The lyrics are well worth reading in translation. A sample verse or two:

"Teenie Weenie Boppie
Took some LSD
A cube of sugar and here she is
Already in agony
What are these flowers with exquisite colours
That drift with the current?
It's Mick Jagger in the Thames
Drowned in his fine clothes"

I imagine it rhymes in French. It's been covered, in English, by Beck and Kim Gordon's Free Kitten among others but you can't beat the original.

Teenage Superstar - Emily's Sassy Lime - I guess it was inevitable that in putting this post together I'd run into some great examples I didn't already have. And then I'd listen to them and use them. I only have so much willpower, after all.

The band's name is a palindrome, by the way. Did you spot that? I didn't. I had to be told.

Teenage - 恋する円盤 - Apparently that's Japanese for "Disk In Love" or so Google Translate would have us believe. Seems unlikely but then again... It's a cover of a tune originally writen and performed by Veronica Falls, who look and sound like they should have been second on the bill between The Rosehips and Tallulah Gosh in 1987 but who in fact didn't even exist for another two decades. 

I much prefer the 恋する円盤 version. That xylophone solo!

I could honestly keep this up until bedtime but I suppose we'd better bring it to a close. It's a rich seam, that's for sure. I might need to do a follow-up or several...

Teenage Crutch - The Shirts - You could be forgiven for thinking she's singing about a "Teenage Crush". She's not. The Shirts weren't that kind of band. Like Holly and the Italians, they always seem to slip through the cracks of punk retrospectives. I had a minor crush on Annie Golden back then but as always it's the music that lasts. 

And finally...

Cigarette Song - Teenage Riot - Not to be confused with German noise terrorists Atari Teenage Riot or the Sonic Youth song from which both bands most likely took their name. Inventory Full neither endorses nor condones cigarette smoking, even if it is cool.

I could do a whole post of videos with people wearing animal masks. I must have watched dozens of the things. I prefer them by orders of magnitude to the ones where people throw food at each other or, worse yet, the ones where people have their faces pushed into cakes.

Won't be filling a post with those, that's for sure.


  1. Thay are big in Germany, though, which, since it's the third largest global music market, isn't nothing.

    Yeah, but... David Hasselhoff. I can't explain why he was so big in Germany.

  2. I loved me some Digital Hardcore. A lot of it was over the line into noise or a bit adolescent (as in this is what a certain bent of 14 year old would think is "totally awesome and groundbreaking"), but I still find the tracks on the right side of whatever that dividing line is (for me) wonderfully energetic. The one off Bomb 20 album still holds up really well if you like that kind of thing. It's fast, angry, basey and oddly majestic in some places.

    The DHR sound kind of got replaced by breakcore in the 2000s, which used a lot of the same hyper beat loops and noise/ static but was a lot easier to dance too. There used to be a website called C8 where you could download a ton of that kind of thing for free. Some company bought the URL, and though it looks the same as the original hitting any of those download links was a great way to jack up your computer the last time I visited. I kind of stopped electronic music closely sometime in the 2010s, but I often wonder what the modern "Noise music" scene is up to. Glitch Mob at least has some of the same sensibilities repackaged in a way that is much more mainstream palatable than any of that older stuff I was into.

    1. I like a bit of Atari Teenage Riot and Alec Empire now and again. Can't claim to know much about the whole Digital Hardcore scene, though. Are Melt Banana in there somewhere? I like them, to the extent that I've watched a lot of videos with my mouth open in disbelief.

      Generally, though, I prefer my electronica less metallic and more dance and/or pop. I like a crystalline or computerized tone rather than a grungy one, which is probably why I really find myself responding to a lot of hyperpop. Genres are so out of control now, though, it's just too confounding to try and pick them apart. I hate to say I like what I like but it's a cliche because it's true.

    2. Melt Banana was not on my radar at all, though their "Teen Shiny" album sounds exactly like a typical DHR release. There were about six bands on the label that I followed closely though the 90s and bought anything I could find on CD. However, the label kept going for a long time after I moved on and I see a lot of bands on their website I don't recognize now. Apparently even Bjork put out an album on the label at some point.


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