“most favorite songwriters in the whole world.” – Kurt Cobain
“I’ll always hold the Vaselines in my heart.” – Krist Novoselic
“Once upon a time, a beautiful, teenage Glaswegian couple formed a band and recorded a single, perfect album. Then they split, and so did the group, and their tiny label disappeared, too. They may have ended up nothing but a footnote, if Kurt Cobain hadn’t personally pestered Sub Pop into distributing their collected works for generations of lo-fi pop outfits from Scotland to Los Angeles to worship.” – The Quietus
Twenty years in the making, the second Vaselines album is here.
Formed in Glasgow in 1987, The Vaselines released two singles and one album, Dum Dum, on the 53rd & 3rd label. Splitting up in 1989 (in the same week their album was released), they might have faded into obscurity but for the intervention of a certain band from Seattle. Nirvana covered three Vaselines songs, helping to fuel a growing after-the-fact appreciation of their seedy, two-and-a-half chord, garage pop manifesto.
Founding members Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee remained musically active throughout the intervening years: the former with Captain America aka Eugenius and finally as a solo artist; McKee with Painkillers and Suckle.
Eugene and Frances collaborated intermittently in the intervening years. They toured jointly and played a few of the old songs together in the wake of their respective solo project releases in 2006. But an acclaimed, unannounced appearance at a fundraiser in Glasgow’s Mono for Malawi Orphan Support in 2008 was the real catalyst for their latest, exciting bout of creativity.
Ensuing tours of America (including a stand-out appearance at Sub Pop’s 20th anniversary festival, SP20), Brazil, Japan and some UK festival dates saw The Vaselines “re-connect” with wildly appreciative audiences who had blinked and missed them the first time round. Buoyed by the success of their live return, the two punk rock chums decided to go back into the studio.
Recorded outside Manchester at the Analogue Catalogue studio in Mossley with Julie McLarnon engineering and produced by Jamie Watson who produced that first albumDum Dum, Sex With An X was recorded the old-fashioned way: twelve songs in thirteen days (plus two b-sides). The Vaselines ca. 2010 is Eugene and Frances with guest musicians Stevie Jackson and Bob Kildea from Belle & Sebastian on guitar and bass, and Michael McGaughrin from the 1990s on drums. It may have taken The Vaselines 20 years to get round to making this baby, but it was worth the wait—bringing their solo careers to a climax. The irony has not been lost. Who says indie music can’t be fun? No hand-wringing on these tracks—just good clean smut with a twist of bitter.
…belongs to The Vaselines.