Young Marble Giants and The XX – Discuss

I remember the exact moment I first heard Young Marble Giants.  I was listening to Marc Riley (one of the many former members of The Fall) on his BBC 6 Music radio show back in 2014.  He played this track called Brand New Life.  My ears pricked and I marvelled at it, thinking how fresh and modern it sounded – who could this new beat combo be?  Was I about to stumble upon the next big thing?  I was totally gobsmacked when I looked them up and found they have only ever released one album called Colossal Youth in 1980.  1980!!!!  Colossal Youth is a minimal masterpiece.  It’s so pared back yet Alison’s sweet vocals seem to lift it.  The music itself feels quite fresh, there are plenty of bands now working with that kind of under-production feel where less seems to be more (think; Sleaford Mods), so it was no wonder I thought it was a new release.

The other week, I stumbled across a comment somewhere comparing Young Marble Giants to The XX and I was like “YOU WHAT??! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??”  I don’t mind The XX, in fact I sort of quite like them, but really?  They are not even on the same level in my opinion, despite their Mercury Prize win.

It did get me thinking though.  Who can you compare Young Marble Giants to?  Maybe Bauhaus?  Possibly Joy Division to a certain extent.  Perhaps those suggestions are too obvious and tells you everything about the lack of depth to my musical knowledge.  And what do we really think of this Young Marble Giants/The XX comparison?  Is it fair?

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?

Little Axe and Moby – Discuss

I subscribe to Spotify – some of you won’t like that, I know.  I got rid of our turntable, CD player, speakers and amp and have yet to replace them, so the only way I get to play music that isn’t the radio is streaming tracks from either my iTunes library or Spotify through my Sonos.  Every week Spotify pushes a new playlist to me called Discover Weekly.  It is made up of tracks based on my listening habits – it’s how I came across Lift to Experience.  The other week a track popped up called Ride On and I thought “ooh that sounds like Play era Moby” but it wasn’t Moby, it was this guy called Little Axe and the album the track came from was The Wolf That House Built.

Play by Moby is the sort of album most people have in their record collection.  It was quite different to the work that came before it which was predominantly techno-ish club music.  Play melded a bluesy sound with electronica, it felt mellower to me than his previous work and as I’d pretty much stopped going clubbing by this time, it also felt a bit more grown up; an album you could stay in and chill out with.  For Moby it was a  breakthrough as it brought him international acclaim when it was released in 1999 (remember that year).

I think Little Axe is the stage name of musician Skip Macdonald, but I’m not entirely sure because in some places I’ve seen Little Axe referred to as a group.  Wiki doesn’t tell me much about Macdonald other than he’s worked with Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five which fails to explain the awesomeness of The Wolf that House Built released in 1994 and the later album Hard Grind released in 2002.  Both albums ooze blues, jazz and dub rhythms with a hint of electronica thrown in over repeating deep south samples.  The Wolf That House Built is so reminiscent of Play and yet it came a full 5 years ahead of Moby’s seminal work.

Yet again ‘Spillers I come to you to fill in the gaps in my musical knowledge.  What can you tell me about all this and who else should I be tracking down?

Discuss…

 

Gqom

I’m a sucker for a new sub genre, the more unpronounceable the better, so was thrilled to come across something called Gqom this week – apparently it represents “da sound u get wen u drop a rock on tiles”.

At first I was surprised that something that seems so Western and cutting edge like bass music/dupstep/electronica could find a voice in the poor South African townships of Durban, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense that a music that started out being made on Playstations by 15-year old black kids in deprived London tower blocks should resonate with 15-year old South African black kids in deprived Durban townships, especially when held against the college kid centred fratboyisms that twisted the urban grime of bass music into safe and inoffensive stadium-glo-stick-waving US EDM.

OK, enough rambling, here’s the lead track on a compilation album documenting the scene. The African musical influences are more than apparent and it stretches the genre in any number of new directions.

 

Listen to (and then buy!) the whole thing here and read all about the album and the scene.

Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea – A Week with Myself (Feat. Guest DJ Panthercub)

Scholar

Last week I had a research paper/book chapter thing to write, so I took the week off work, set up a desk by the window in the warmest room in the house overlooking the garden, and settled down to work. For someone like me who spends most of the day out of the house, has a young family and a partner not terribly au fait with the concept of compromise (not to mention taste in music on the slightly noisy side) this opportunity to be by myself and listen to whatever the hell I wanted to all day for a week was a very rare and precious thing indeed.

Over the course of the week I listened to about 50 of my own records and despite the mental taxations of the task in hand had one of the most enjoyable weeks in a long long time.

Finding even more time to myself to put it all together to make a podcast was pretty impossible, so I enlisted Panthercub as my official selector and made a fun game of it on a rainy afternoon. It ended up completely different to what I had in mind (I was thinking more noise and less electronica), but there you go, it was out of my hands!

ALL NEW PODCAST – Enjoy!

Panda Bears, if only we could ask them what they’re thinking

I have had “Mr Noah” by Panda Bear (his 2007 LP was my fave of that year) on repeat for the last two weeks & is the mpst bizarre earworm as I have no clue at all what he’s singing about, apart from he won’t get out of bed except for chips & egg? Maybe? And it’s definately dog themed….maybe….

I thought it may be fun if we have a guess at the lyrics, without googling (who wants the truth? not me!) and see what comes out of the morass?