Young Marble Giants Live
March 2, 2021 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Oh wow, I never knew the Hole version of Credit in the Straight World was a cover. Love the original!
posted by gwint at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

If you're like me and wondering what a "Young Marble Giant" is, Wikipedia has this to say:

Young Marble Giants were a post-punk band formed in Cardiff, Wales in 1978. Their music was based around the vocals of Alison Statton along with the minimalist instrumentation of brothers Philip and Stuart Moxham. Their early sound was a sharp contrast with the more aggressive punk rock that dominated the underground at the time. Young Marble Giants released just one full-length studio album, Colossal Youth, in 1980.
posted by grimjeer at 9:16 AM on March 2, 2021

posted by y2karl at 9:27 AM on March 2, 2021


Young Marble Giants -- Final Day
posted by y2karl at 9:40 AM on March 2, 2021

I love that out of the twenty or thirty odd people at that Western Front show, one of them was MeFi’s Own dinsdale.
posted by Kattullus at 9:42 AM on March 2, 2021 [8 favorites]

I love this so much. I was just listening to "Colossal Youth" yesterday" as I wandered around the rainy woods behind the house. It's one of my favorite records.

Thanks for the post.

*(In case you're wondering: I followed it up with Antena's Camino Del Sol, because I was clearly in a mood)
posted by thivaia at 9:58 AM on March 2, 2021

Spot the YMG sample on the latest Madlib thing
posted by anazgnos at 10:03 AM on March 2, 2021 [4 favorites]

This is great. Their demos are also good and I almost prefer Allison Stattins other group Weekend more (their demos as well). As always, search out the Peel Sessions.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

posted by Conrad-Casserole at 10:24 AM on March 2, 2021

Alison Statton was on my list of Singers I Wanted to Hear Live. At the time it was vanishingly unlikely to hear any of them (the list included Elizabeth Fraser and Green Gartside, who was in the middle of one of his hiding-away periods), but I eventually saw them all. I was lucky enough to see YMG three times after their reformation, including Dingwalls (tiny club, completely rammed) and the Union Chapel.

When Final Day came out, it was a quiet clarion call (if that's not too much of an oxymoron) to say that something else was possible, something post-post-Punk. Possible, but not likely - I think they represented an aesthetic that only really came into its own with Trip-Hop, which unsurprisingly came from Bristol, which is next door to Cardiff if you ignore Newport. I lived in Newport for three years and would broadly recommend that strategy.

I don't really have anything of substance to add that anyone else couldn't put better, other than that the YMG back catalogue is achingly wonderful, and Colossal Youth ought to be on any right-thinking person's list of the Alternative Greatest Albums Ever Made.
posted by Grangousier at 10:59 AM on March 2, 2021 [7 favorites]

Though there was It's a Fine Day by Jane and Barton, which is definitely the same aesthetic. Mike Read used to play it on the Radio 1 morning show sometimes. I think it drove some people mad, but not as much as O Superman, because it was shorter.
posted by Grangousier at 11:27 AM on March 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

they turned up on a streaming service playlist I had about 6 years ago, and I was shocked that they weren't a NEW band, and that I had never heard them before. They have been regulars in my listening ever since. I love this sort of magical stuff the internet does well.
posted by th3ph17 at 11:51 AM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Sadly, my vinyl copy wore out some years ago. For a more recent take on the YMG style, I recommend A Flower White by Susumu Yokota and Nancy Elizabeth Cunliffe which is a fine homage to the oeuvre.
posted by aeshnid at 11:51 AM on March 2, 2021 [3 favorites]

I had never heard of this band before my partner and I decided during the pandemic that we were going to do a project where we decided we were going to listen to notable albums by year starting in 1964, so as to avoid having to actively pick what to listen to every day . I came across YMG's Colossal Youth on Wikipedia's 1980 in Music article (these were a huge influence on what went on the list for each year) and the description of them sounded exactly like something that I would enjoy and I DID. What a good find that was! Good post! Excellent band.
posted by urbanlenny at 12:22 PM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

(personal favourite fairly obscure post-YMG track: The Gist - Fool For a Valentine.)
posted by progosk at 12:44 PM on March 2, 2021

I remember owning Spin's "Alternative" book in the mid-90s, which I still maintain was a decent gateway into lots of great music that wouldn't ever have been profiled in the magazine proper. It had these top 10 lists from Lee Ranaldo and Mark Arm etc. etc., and Colossal Youth was, by far, the most common record to see on those lists. But it was impossible to find in my town, so it wasn't until the early aughts that I figured out what all the fuss was about, and as a result YMG always had this air of mystery for me (probably aided by that shrouded cover photo).
posted by Beardman at 3:46 PM on March 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

It's a Fine Day by Jane and Barton,

That album takes me back... I was rather astounded when the remix version charted.
posted by ovvl at 6:11 PM on March 2, 2021

Oh this is great, I love this band.
posted by jessamyn at 8:36 AM on March 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

Devine & [Alison] Statton: Turn The Aerials Away From England - a sweet + jangly call for Welsh cultural independence.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:43 AM on March 3, 2021

I wasn't turned on to YMG until about my late 30s, but I instantly had a pretty extreme emotional reaction to them, like I had finally gotten a hug I never got before. It's not even the lyrics, it's just the whole package, the delivery and choice of notes, the syncopation. They aren't for everybody, but they're definitely for me.
posted by rhizome at 11:18 AM on March 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Incidentally, the name of the band and their album comes from a caption in a book about ancient sculpture (reproduced on the back of the Final Day EP):
Colossal statue of a youth...

Young marble giants greeted the sailor as he entered the home stretch to Athens. Two basic intuitions of Greek art -- tensed vitality and geometric structuring -- are as yet disunited; the sculptor partly carves, partly maps an abstract concept of human form onto the rectangular block.
posted by Grangousier at 11:48 AM on March 3, 2021 [4 favorites]

A statue from the Archaic period in Greece called a Kouros.
posted by y2karl at 12:02 PM on March 3, 2021

See also the archaic smile.
posted by y2karl at 12:17 PM on March 3, 2021

Young Marble Giants prove conclusively the adage, "Less is more." One of my favorite bands ever.
posted by not_on_display at 12:17 PM on March 3, 2021

Here is the single version of Final Day
Only 1 minute 38 seconds long but, for my money, the most chilling song about nuclear annihilation (amid a strong field of contenders):
When the rich die last
Like the rabbits
Running from a lucky past
Full of shadow cunning
And the world lights up
For the final day
We will all be poor
Having had our say
Put a blanket up on the window pane
When the baby cries lullaby again
As the light goes out on the final day
For the people who never had a say
There is so much noise
There is too much heat
And the living floor
Throws you off your feet
As the final day falls into the night
There is peace outside
In the narrow light
posted by rongorongo at 9:25 PM on March 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

It's a rare day indeed I am honored with a name-dropping on metafilter lol. Dug up my copy of Final Day to post the quote that Grangousier beat me to. For completeness sake I will expand the ellipsis,

c. 390 B.C. marble 3.05m.
Pit east of Temple of Poseidon, Sounion

Athens, National Museum

(that's like 10 feet in American, giants indeed)
posted by dinsdale at 11:39 PM on March 3, 2021 [2 favorites]

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