36 Songs, 1 Hour, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Many great pop bands have come from Glascow, Scotland, and one of the earliest was the Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee partnership, The Vaselines. Together they purveyed charmingly raw, shambling, indie rock inspired by the likes of the Velvet Underground and their Glaswegian percursors, the (also great) Pastels. In 1992, Sub Pop Records issued the band’s first stateside release, The Way of the Vaselines. For many, this compilation of their woefully small catalog — two EPs (Son of a Gun and Dying For It) and a lone LP (Dum Dum) — was a bittersweet send-off to the group, and the expectation of anything new was but a dream. This 2009 reissue of The Way Of, repackaged and renamed, does contain some “new” material that diehard fans will be thrilled to hear, comprised of unheard demos and earnest, if uneven, live tracks. As on the original release, tracks 1 - 7 are from the two EPs, and the remaining studio tracks are from Dum Dum, where the duo beefed up their sound with a full band. The rest is ... well, the rest is simply superb frosting on a well loved treat.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Many great pop bands have come from Glascow, Scotland, and one of the earliest was the Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee partnership, The Vaselines. Together they purveyed charmingly raw, shambling, indie rock inspired by the likes of the Velvet Underground and their Glaswegian percursors, the (also great) Pastels. In 1992, Sub Pop Records issued the band’s first stateside release, The Way of the Vaselines. For many, this compilation of their woefully small catalog — two EPs (Son of a Gun and Dying For It) and a lone LP (Dum Dum) — was a bittersweet send-off to the group, and the expectation of anything new was but a dream. This 2009 reissue of The Way Of, repackaged and renamed, does contain some “new” material that diehard fans will be thrilled to hear, comprised of unheard demos and earnest, if uneven, live tracks. As on the original release, tracks 1 - 7 are from the two EPs, and the remaining studio tracks are from Dum Dum, where the duo beefed up their sound with a full band. The rest is ... well, the rest is simply superb frosting on a well loved treat.

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About The Vaselines

Conventional wisdom dictates that the Vaselines might have been relegated to footnote status were it not for Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who regularly cited the little-known Scottish quartet's influence in interviews with the music press. Cobain's gospel-spreading no doubt accelerated their rise to cult sainthood, but truth be told, the Vaselines would have gotten there sooner or later on their own accord. Lewd but naïve and abrasive yet tender, the band's shambling, primitivist squall remains a perfect distillation of pop at its most guileless and euphoric.

The Vaselines were formed in Edinburgh in 1987 by singer/guitarists Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee, who were later joined by Kelly's brother Charles on drums and James Seenan on bass. Soon signing to Pastels frontman Stephen Pastel's newly formed 53rd & 3rd label, the Vaselines embarked on their first-ever studio session, which yielded their debut single, 1987's fantastic "Son of a Gun." The follow-up, "Dying for It," appeared a year later, with the inclusion of viola player Sophie Pragnell plainly acknowledging the band's debt to the Velvet Underground. The demise of 53rd & 3rd proved fatal to the Vaselines as well, however, and the group dissolved the same week its lone studio LP, 1989's Dum-Dum, was released via Rough Trade, although the following year the original lineup briefly reunited to open for Nirvana in Edinburgh. Nirvana would go on to cover the Vaselines' "Molly's Lips" and "Son of a Gun" (both later compiled on their Incesticide collection) as well as perform "Jesus Doesn't Want Me for a Sunbeam" on their legendary MTV Unplugged appearance.

Renewed interest in the band resulted in the 1992 Sub Pop release of The Way of the Vaselines, an assemblage of all 19 of their official recordings. Eugene Kelly later went on to front Captain America (subsequently and rather unfortunately renamed Eugenius), while McKee spent the better part of the decade out of sight, resurfaced in Suckle, and released a solo album in 2006. Kelly and McKee eventually re-formed their band and played a series of shows -- including a small U.S. tour -- across 2008 and 2009. They recorded their second proper album, Sex with an X, and released it on Sub Pop in 2010. The next few years were spent with the duo working on solo projects before they reunited to record their second full album, V for Vaselines. The Ramones-inspired album featured many of the same players who helped make Sex, including Belle and Sebastian's Stevie Jackson and Teenage Fanclub's Francis MacDonald. The album was released on their own Rosary Music label in late 2014. ~ Jason Ankeny

  • ORIGIN
    Glasgow, Scotland
  • FORMED
    1986

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