Themes From Great Cities

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason. I have recently posted a few singles (7 & 12”) and the odd bootleg which have been received very well by all who visit. More of the same will continue as you, dear readers, seem to be enjoying them.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs and I’m just sharing the wealth. If other bloggers out there wish to share the rips from my posts, please as I do, host them yourself. To combat this, the FLAC files that are over 6 months old will be replaced with MP3 files.

Finally I am happy to re-up old posts where the link has expired. Please comment in the relevant posts comments box.



In 1980, a fresh-faced Welsh three-piece named ‘Young Marble Giants’ released their début LP, ‘Colossal Youth’. It was to be their only full-length album, a minimalistic and Spartan thing that defied the noise and the vitriol of the emerging post-punk movement. It has earned since its release three reissues, endorsements from the influential Kurt Cobain and indie legends ‘Belle and Sebastian’ and ‘Galaxie 500’. Yet somehow it remains obscure even to music obsessives, a bona fide cult classic whose unassuming nature has perhaps ensured that it stays under the radar. Perhaps it was a little unassuming for its own good; eschewing organic drums for a drum machine and paring post-punk back to its very essence was perhaps not a prudent move in an underground music economy where bands such as ‘Wire’, ‘Talking Heads’ and ‘The Clash’ held thrall. The artistic merits of the album, however, are indisputable- it is a very rare album that sounds like little else released before or since, and an even rarer one that sounds quite as wonderful as this does.

If there is one adjective that springs to mind immediately when listening to Colossal Youth, it is endearing: lead singer Alison Stattons unpolished lilt, the delightfully off-kilter drum machine, the prominent bass, the explorations of negative space and quiet guitar melodies; all these conflated ensure charm. The drum machine especially ensures an introspective and low-key atmosphere; would-be garage rock anthems ‘Include me out’ and ‘Brand New Life’ are tempered and pared down into punk conceptions at their most minimal. Elsewhere, the rollicking opener ‘Searching for Mister Right’ casts a spell from the get-go, all propulsive rhythm and ethereal vocals. ‘Salad Days’ is a gorgeous wistful ballad, conjuring images of sunshine and laughter long since past. Singling out specific tracks seems redundant however; this is an album that begs to be listened to as a whole, enthralling and addictive as it is. That said, the sparse arrangement of the album does begin to grate after a while. Moreover, though it may seem unusual to cite the albums consistency as a flaw, the lack of stand-out tracks and the similarity of the pervading atmosphere of each song does mean that the album can become stale after repeated listens.

I alluded earlier that ‘Colossal Youth’ is a post-punk album, but that is not strictly true. Though it gets classified as such, pigeon-holing the album into that genre does a disservice to the originality at work here. It resemblance to post-punk is tenuous, and I believe it is only called such because that at the time there would have been nothing else to call it. It bears more in common with the indie genre of today. Glimmers of it are found in the xx’s self-titled, in the gentle sonic explorations of Beach House, but no-one has made an album quite like this. It stands alone, humbly, entreating the listener not with noise or with gimmickery but with earnestness and a quaint, unsentimental beauty. I can only recommend you let it coax you in. Lose yourself in the beguile and sprawl; this one is a hidden treasure worth searching for.

This, the 2007 edition on Domino Records, is the one to buy in all its 180g audiophile glory.  With additions from the Testcard EP, the 1979 "Final Day" single, the Salad Days album, a compilation cut [*], and a 1980 session for John Peel, this becomes everything they ever did. All ripped to MP3 @ 320kbps.

Final Day 7” Single [Rough Trade RT043]
            A1 Final Day
            A2 Radio Silents
            B1 Cakewalking

Colossal Youth [Domino]
            A1 Searching For Mr Right
            A2 Include Me Out
            A3 The Taxi
            A4 Eating Noddemix
            A5 Constantly Changing
            A6 N.I.T.A.
            A7 Colossal Youth
            B1 Music For Evenings
            B2 The Man Amplifier
            B3 Choci Loni
            B4 Wurlitzer Jukebox!
            B5 Salad Days
            B6 Credit In The Straight World
            B7 Brand – New – Life
            B8 Wind In The Rigging

Testcard EP [Rough Trade 059]
            A1 Clicktalk
            A2 Zebra Trucks
            A3 Sporting Life
            B1 This Way
            B2 Posed By Models
            B3 The Clock

Peel Session [Strange Fruit]
            01 Posed By Models
            02 Searching For Mr Right
            03 N.I.T.A.
            04 Brand – New – Life
            05 Final Day

Salad Days [Vinyl Japan]
            01 Have Your Toupee Ready
            02 N.I.T.A.
            03 Brand – New – Life
            04 Zebra Trucks
            05 Choci Loni
            06 Wind In The Rigging
            07 The Man Shares His Meal With His Beast
            08 The Taxi
            09 Constantly Changing
            10 Music For Evenings
            11 Credit In The Straight World
            12 Eating Noddemix
            13 Ode To Booker T [*]
            14 Radio Silents
            15 Haymen
            16 Loop The Loop

1 comment:

  1. Andie...thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! We added you to our list.