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?

Songwriting in the 1980s

80s

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, ever since we’ve been doing the Picks of the Years thing. What got me really started on this was the way that the 1980s divides people. For some, it is the Decade That Taste Forgot and for others it is Pop Heaven. Personally, I reckon that the 80s were like all the other decades, there was good and bad.

One thing that is very 1980s is a kind of glossy slickness, perfect production and a big, wide-screen sound, but never fear, you won’t be hearing anything from the artists in the picture above.

Of course, there are other sides to ’80s music but it is the songwriting, production and general “bigness” of the whole thing that I have been thinking about. Even the intimate and emotionally-charged songs seem to have a sense of epic scale about them. OK, so sometimes it ends up being a musical equivalent of Top Gun, but that just screams out “1980s” anyway.

So, here is a playlist that showcases the glossy sound, the production, the soulful flourishes (without being soul music) and the all-round epic qualities. All of the artists are British, some are bigger names than others, one or two are probably not as well-known as they should be but all of the tracks I’ve picked show up at least one facet of what I’ve been rambling on about.

 

A Case for Late 80’s Pop

Nothing new to anyone on here, just a quick and cheap post I guess to try to convince Bish that pop didn’t suck after 1984, i think it got even better. More polished – probably peaking around 1987 for the swooniest pop for my money. (A monster year overall. We have our work cut out on that one.) Then it started to sort of unpolish itself, and started to go other places by the end of the decade. Which was all good.

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Blimpy’s Best LPs of 2014 go up to 11 – Part four

seraphine

New household member and French princess Seraphine says she only listens to old school jungle and sometime glitch-step. I don’t quite believe her silky continental sophistications as I’ve seen her secret stash of Serge Gainsbourg, rare groove and booty bass LPs.

2. “Annabel Dream Reader”The Wytches

I’m a 90s kid through and through. Cut me and I bleed jangly indie, shoegaze and pre-major-label grunge (when it was called alt. rock). I’m pop but Sub Pop. I’m sub Sub pop Pop. Pop.

Some folk might think that the terms wretched, noisy & abrasive are negative words to describe music with. I think things went bad when the only audible influence bands took from Nirvana ended up being Nickleback, Puddle Of Mudd, Creed, et al. There are so many bands influenced by Kurt, Thurston, J Mascis whose music sounds nothing like them,  but it was Bleach or Nevermind that made them pick up a guitar.

Rarely a band dares to occupy a space made sacred by Saint Cobain over twenty years ago. Rarer still is a band with the ideas or the chops or the tunes to pull off anything worthwhile.

Filtered through a sixties freakbeat awareness, pre-nevermind rhythm section and a throat shredding south coast accent, The Wytches scream their fucking heads off in memorable pop tunes as distortion reigns supreme. From the fuzz comes transcendence. Touch me; I’m quick.

1. “Soft Friday”Coves

Noise ridden wall of sound pop melodies fuzzy skygaze shoegaze hazy days; the (beautifully sub-40 minutes 10 tracker) Coves record has myriad sparkling & eclectic psyche pop delights that I haven’t stopped listening to since April. 

I just love it so much.