WELCOME BACK to Three Music Thingz, where I ask music people for three thingz that are essential to their music-making. Thing vibes. Thingmanship.
Today: we have The Terminal Buildings. The Terminal Buildings sound like a band of many, but in fact are just one person named Finlay, who records everything "myself in my flat in Glasgow." The latest release from The Terminal Buildings is a compilation called Coming to Terms With the Terminal Buildings: Best ones 2021-2023, which are favorites picked from the past three years of bountiful song production. It's a clever way of creating your own greatest hits, and not the first time Finlay has done it; previous comp Never-ending: The Best of The Terminal Buildings 2018-2020 covered the first couple years of The Terminal Buildings' output. I love the idea of compiling your own work, creating your own contemporary artifacts, Nuggets-style.
Each song is a charming lil fuzzy power pop gift wrapped up in a bow. Real "dancing in your socks in the living room" vibes. I particularly like "Mr L.A.," off 2022's Straight From the Can, a gentle cowbell-percussed number about a showbiz charlatan. Finlay is prolific as hell, with 18 Bandcamp releases since 2018, and you'll learn why such a bountiful song schedule is a priority for him...if you simply read on...to the thingz......
- My home recording setup
I think my least favourite aspect of playing music is the logistics — setting up, faffing about with cables and stands, tidying away. So I like to keep a pretty minimalist 'home studio' where I can knock out tunes fairly quickly, it keeps me from getting bored of the process. I have a couple of cheap mics, an audio interface, and my laptop running the Reaper DAW. I've even taken to using a 4-track recorder app on my phone for some of the more recent songs. The one I use is called J4T Multitrack Recorder, it's nice and straightforward but surprisingly powerful, I recommend! By doing everything myself, in theory I have maximum control but the practical limitations have a way of shaping the sound, and I like how that introduces an element of unpredictability.
- Prolific songwriters
It's a bit of a cliché but I find that the songs I spend the most time on are rarely the best ones. It's more fun for me to rattle off quick tunes, put them out there and move on. I think trying to write a great song is kind of a numbers game — write enough and at least one of them is bound to be good! I'm inspired by artists with daunting discographies like Robert Pollard, John Darnielle, and especially Rose Keeler-Schäffeler of Keel Her.
- Compilation albums
When I was a kid and first buying music, I tended to get a lot of greatest hits CDs since they were an economical entry point to a band's discography. Even though they're often just a jumble of the most commercially palatable hits, I still have a bit of a soft spot for the format. Done well, it can nicely conclude a section of the artist's history, especially when it's fractured across EPs and standalone singles — a good example is The Pastels' Truckload of Trouble. When I have slower spells of not writing so much, I like using retrospective compilations to sum up each chapter of The Terminal Buildings (and as an excuse to put out something with few-to-no duffers on it, so it kind of allows me a do-over).
Here's the link aggregation for The Terminal Buildings.