'mogwai young team'
26th may 2008
2 x cd [chem106cd]
4 x lp [chem106lp]
us: 2 x cd [chus016]
japan: imperial 2 x cd [TECI28485] 23rd july
mexico: noiselab 2 x cd [NS2 428]
yes! i am a long way from home
summer [priority version]
r u still in 2 it?
a cheery wave from stranded youngsters
mogwai fear satan
disc 2: "appendices"
young face gone wrong
i don't know what to say
i can't remember
honey [spacemen 3 cover]
katrien [live in chicago, 15/10/97]
r u still in 2 it? [mary anne hobbs session, 28/10/97]
like herod [live at t in the park, 12/07/97]
summer (priority version) [live on wnyu, 19th june 97]
mogwai fear satan [live at cu birthday party, 12/03/00]
like herod (jazz up) [japan only]
re-mastered 10th anniversary edition. sleevenotes by keith cameron.
us release date - 27th may 2008 via chemikal underground.
4 x lp is packaged in a gloss black box, with the original album artwork reproduced on the inner sleeves. limited to 2000 copies worldwide.
Mexican CD (Noiselab Records) has a Japanese-sytle "Obi Strip", slipcase cover and two sets of stickers.
young face gone wrong [previously-unreleased outtake from the 'young team' recording sessions, summer 1997]
i don't know what to say [from the 'young team' sessions. originally released on radio 1 sound city cd (nme 1998)]
i can't remember [originally released on 'glasgow' compilation 7" by plastic cowboy 1998]
honey [originally released on a spacemen 3 tribute by rocketgirl in 1998]
katrien [recorded live at lounge ax, chicago 15th october 1997]
r u still in 2 it? [recorded live for the mary anne hobbs show, bbc radio 1 28th october 1997]
like herod [recorded live at t in the park, strathclyde country park 12th july 1997]
summer (priority version) [recorded live at wnyu, new york city 19th june 1997]
mogwai fear satan [recorded live at chemikal underground's 5th birthday party: the garage, glasgow, for the john peel show, bbc radio 1 12th march 2000]
like herod (jazz up) ["an alternative mix that is so barely different that anyone paying 79p for it should feel robbed". thanks stuart.]
"young face gone wrong: a made up condition where you can't tell if someone is old or young because of their weird face. see lead singer in ting tings." - stuart, july 2008
stuart interview [may 2008]|
dis meets mogwai’s stuart braithwaite at the monorail vegan café and record store in glasgow’s king’s court around that time. the band’s nominal frontman is surprisingly relaxed, given that he’s in the midst of remotely mastering the band’s latest album 'the hawk is howling' and admitting that the band hasn’t even considered rehearsals for the band’s two forthcoming 'don’t look back'-syle performances.
"we’ve been asked to do 'come on die young' for don’t look back (atp-curated album revival shows), and we didn’t fancy it," admits stuart. so why now, at summercase? any particular reason? "they just asked us very nicely," he states simply, knocking away suggestions that they were honoured by the request. "no, it was not really flattering. we just thought, ‘let’s do it’." not that he has anything against the like of sonic youth, belle & sebastian et al performing on the ever-growing run of the successful series: "i think it’s good because it’s done in that way that’s kinda completist. it’s better than seeing bands who are doing greatest hits set." besides, he adds, "we’re not going to trawl around the world for four years doing it, plus there’s only three or four songs we’ve never played off it."
arguably the most successful post-rock band ever, the band’s debut sprung from humble conditions and was created for very little money in an atmosphere that best seems to be described as ‘tense’. braithwaite has been quoted some time ago as saying that young team was "a total disaster. we were young and naïve and had too little time. we should have said: ‘no, the record isn't done until six months later’. instead, we sat and mixed whole nights and felt bad. we didn't talk to each other. when the album was released, we just wanted to forget everything."
today though, he’s far more levelled in his thoughts. "listening back, i’m really proud of it. at the time we were really unhappy with it. it’s the least enjoyable record we ever made, we really weren’t getting on that well, which is really unlike us because we’re amazingly good friends and were beforehand. i think we put us under a lot of pressure. there was a deadline to finish it, which now looking back, i think, ‘why was there a deadline when we’d already released a record (ten rapid)?’. we probably just imposed it ourselves. it was all a bit stressful, [and at the time] we were disappointed with it."
it didn’t help that the band’s creative ethos stopped them from returning to older, or previously released material. "principles," he states, with a wry smile. "logically, we should have re-recorded ‘helicon 1’ or something. soon after, people were releasing the same song three times, but we couldn’t even [allow ourselves to] re-record one song!"
recorded at mcm studios in glasgow, where "there were rehearsal rooms too, and you could hear people covering oasis songs just as you were trying to have your deep moment," the band spent little more than £2,000 "on a compressor or something" and the record was produced for free by chemikal underground label co-founder paul savage, also a member of the delgados, in a studio owned by the label. costs were stripped right down. one notable aspect about the record in its new form is its remastering – a need that apparently has been noted for some time "well i agree," braithwaite concedes. "i’m a bit deaf now, but everyone’s always said that, that it needed to be remastered."
young men – not that they’re old now – when young team was released, mogwai achieved more in a short space of time than braithwaite admits to expecting or hoping for. "if you’d told me at the time when young team came out, i’d be surprised about the way it all turned out. it was pretty gradual though – it wasn’t like we woke up one day and were playing stadiums." but still, despite regularly playing to between two and five thousand people across the uk and europe at a time, the band don’t seem phased by their success, and are certainly not bound to the expectations of others. "we’ve always maintained the upstart mentality," stuart grins, with a look that implies it’s not about to change any time soon.
pushed on memories of that time, he reminisces: "i remember about when young team went out we were supporting pavement in america and we were having a lot of fun. it was a good time. when you’re young and good things happen you just go along with it, and it was amazing. and now i look back and i think, ‘that was awesome’. we were young, just 20, 21. we were making pretty good music, going great places and meeting good people and it was great. we were lucky to experience that so young.."
and they’re still experiencing it now. all hail the howling hawks.
aquarius records review [june 2008]|
long before every band in the world had quite verses and loud choruses, before every band listed godspeed you black emperor as an influence, there was mogwai. and yeah, they owed their very existence to slint and the pixies, but unlike many of the bands that would follow, they wrapped up all that pixie-dust and all of those slintisms into something brooding and epic and at the time we first laid ears on young team, like -almost- nothing we had ever heard
before. for being a seminal post rock classic, this record has spent much of its time out of print and unavailable. finally, it’s available again, this time housed in a swank slipcover and with a whole extra disc, featuring a handful of tracks from comps and singles, including one previously unreleased, and a bunch of killer live tracks. folks who already love this record, are just the sort of folks (like us mind you) that will almost for sure have to buy this
again for the bonus stuff, but if you somehow managed to make it all the way to 2008 without owning a copy of young team, this is your lucky day.
what’s the big deal about young team, yeah, mogwai, heard 'em, they have a bunch of records out right? yeah, and they’re all great, but this one. this one, this is it! the one. the record that launched a million other records. half the bands we love and freak out about wouldn't even exist if it weren't for this record. or if they did, they sure as heck wouldn't sound the way they do. sure there was spiderland. and the theory that everyone who heard spiderland started a band. and the pixies. same thing. and let's not forget nirvana. between slint, nirvana and the pixies, the template for angsty loud/soft indie rock was pretty much defined forever. until young team that is. mogwai most definitely owed a huge debt to the above mentioned big three, but there was just something special about young team. the ultimate brooding post rock stumble into massive epic metallic crush record we had ever heard. this is heavy, but oh so pretty, dark and romantic, but also creepy and seriously ominous sounding. soft super blissed-out meandering almost-ambient soundscapes, dark brooding passages of near silence, eventually shattered into a million pieces by bursts of frenzied, rhythmic noise a la godflesh, crushing and metallic and machinelike, but always ready to drift and fade back into soft swooning tranquility. but even the loud heavy parts are strangely melodic and ridiculously catchy.
this record is so fucking great. even now, more than a decade after it was first released, and after we've heard more than enough bands do their own versions of young team. maybe the best way to really drive home how massive and amazing and incredibly influential this record is, would be to list a handful of bands who most likely owe their entire existence to this record. no disrespect to any of these groups at all (we love them every single one of them) but you gotta give credit where credit is due... the sons of mogwai include godspeed! you black emperor, isis, timeout drawer, snowblood, the ocean, magyar posse, gregor samsa, aereogramme, this is your captain speaking, explosions in the sky, sigur ros, pelican, mono, grails, tarentel, jimmy cake, switchblade, minsk, conifer, tides, eden maine, rosetta, red sparrowes, indian, baroness, cult of luna, mouth of the architect and we could go on and on. so if you love any or all of the above mentioned bands, and how could you not, and yet you've somehow never heard young team, you are in for it in a big beautiful way! the return of one of indie rock's most epochal releases, back from the grave to remind us all just how devastatingly fantastic this record is!
the bonus disc features four extra tracks, one unreleased, seemingly a trifle, super short, but in its 3 minutes it manages to evoke some serious moodiness, and has us wishing it was way longer. a second, previously released, clocks in at less than 2 minutes, and is culled from some obscure comp, but again, it’s a gloriously bleak moodscape. the third bonus track is more of an actual song, with skittery electronic sounding drums, and washed out minor key strum, all very dark and drone-y, and then there’s mogwai’s gorgeous cover of spacemen 3’s “honey”, paying homage to another band that obviously influenced their sound, their version is not quite as druggy as the original, but bathes the vocals in reverb, adds glockenspiel and chimes, and turns it into something almost choral. the live stuff is
raw and urgent and intense, and loud, listening to “mogwai fear satan” live is almost like being there, the drums a frenzy of crashes and endless fills, roiling beneath dense clouds of druggy fx drenched clouds of soaring guitar, truly transcendent.
file this next to spiderland and surfer rosa and a handful of other epochal indie rock touchstones. needless to say, ridiculously recommended and essential.
"sunday times" review [25th may 2008]|
it’s 10 years since young team, mogwai’s debut, arrived as a corrective to the pointlessness of late-period britpop. so, time for a reassessment? not really. it still sounds as extraordinary as it did then, even if it no longer carries the shock of the new. though not the first postrock album, it was the defining record of a genre that took grunge’s quiet/loud dynamic and enhanced it by the cunning plan of removing the words. audiophiles will note that this new edition has been remastered; the rest of us will bask in a bonus cd of live tracks and radio sessions that could easily justify an existence as a stand-alone album, then hurry back to the original bit where like herod suddenly goes very loud indeed.
dusted magazine review:
bass guitarist dominic aitchison is listed as “demonic” in the liner notes to mogwai’s young team. yep. sounds about right. the scottish quartet’s debut album is a vicious one, full of viscous guitar feedback, serrated riffs and a healthy dose of anger. it’s the glorious sound of guitars being unleashed to their full volume potential. it’s the sound of four dudes getting together and making a racket.
the thing that made mogwai so beloved, though, was the presence of the complete opposite as well. “like herod”’s explosive climaxes would be nothing without equal bouts of patient melodicism. “radar maker” and “with portfolio” would merely be ambient curiosities, if they weren’t besieged by a torrential downpour of guitar on either side.
young team is often called mogwai’s finest moment, though guitarist stuart braithwaite once complained that when it was recorded, the group was “young and naïve and had too little time.” the truth is that it’s both. far from the disaster that braithwaite believed it to be, young team benefits from youthful indiscretion. there is raw energy flowing through it, even though mogwai clearly were already working within the soft-loud/crescendocore template that would define them.
this recklessness is perfectly captured by arab strap’s aidan moffat on the album’s only true vocal cut, “r u still in 2 it?” he never sings, just speaks, “we should go into town and spend some money,” and goes on to offer mundane options for entertainment. a movie, a drink. but then the group comes in and reminds you what that disaffected cool is hiding: “will you still miss me, when i'm gone?” at this point, mogwai were still romantics—no matter how much demonic feedback they couched their work within. they were also never better.
this reissue of the album has been remastered and contains a second disc of b-sides, rarities and live performances. we recommend “honey,” which originally appeared on a tribute to the spacemen 3.