Who Dat?

 Posted by
Jan 132012

Who dat?

Recently, I stumbled across a bit of promo fluff for an upcoming album by a musical entity I’m sure you’d all recognize. Your job is to guess who it describes. Your secondary task is to assess the teeth-grinding idiocy/insightful brilliance of the blurb in question. Here’s the blurb:

mixing pop art punch with soulful communication, jazzy explorations into psychedelia and dub with razor-sharp melodies, abstract soundscapes with clear-eyed forest-folk.

I look forward to your responses.



  51 Responses to “Who Dat?”

  1. ladymisskirroyale

    Could it be Jagger’s next collaboration?

  2. hrrundivbakshi

    Good guess, but no. Thanks for playing!

  3. Paul Weller?

  4. Mick Jones’ BAD III?

    Man, that’s some free-range, whole-grain rock writing!

  5. hrrundivbakshi

    DINGDINGDINGDINGDING! Damn, you’re good. How many No-prizes this months does that make for you?

    Now, the hard part: your feelings on the one-liner describing the upcoming album. Speaking for myself, it made me want to hurl my laptop across the room. Whether or not it’s accurate.

  6. Is it everybody playing everything (except country)?

  7. I’ve had to clear out a spot on my non-existent mantle for all these No-prizes.

    Well, I’m not really a Paul Weller guy, but I’ll say this: I can think of people I’d like to hear make music based on that description (Thurston Moore, for example), but Weller ain’t one of them.

  8. alexmagic

    Ha, I was actually going to do a joke Paul Weller guess based solely on the silhouette at the top of the post before I even read it, assuming that the image was unrelated to the content, but now I’m curious if that really is Weller.

    If so, it was the strands of hair on the right side (his left) that gave it away.

  9. Google made this too easy.

    Actually, the description “..abstract soundscapes with clear-eyed forest-folk” could easily apply to Pink Floyd’s “Several Species of Small Furry Animals…”

  10. BigSteve

    Thank god the forest-folk (?) is clear-eyed. I hate bleary-eyed forest-folk.

  11. BigSteve

    One part of me is glad Weller is still plugging away, which is admirable in its own way. The other part of me is glad I stopped buying his records.

  12. You suddenly have two entries in the Comment if the Month sweepstakes.

  13. misterioso

    Wow! Well played, Oats!

  14. Make that 3 contenders! It’s getting hot in here.

  15. misterioso

    I’m still on team Wella, though the last record of his that really, really caught me was Heavy Soul (and that was quite a while ago), his work is still pretty solid. (Although I suspect I am several releases behind.) But as promo blurbs go, that does not exact make me want to rush out and get the new release.

  16. Don’t ESPN’s Mike and Mike joke that 65% of Jayson Stark’s trivia questions result in an answer that includes Roy Oswalt?

  17. trigmogigmo

    I would have thrown out a guess that it was describing some crazy new Julian Cope record. If only it also mentioned neolithic-Krautrock.

  18. To be fair, Weller’s last solo record was the first thing he’s done since 1987 that didn’t suck balls.

  19. misterioso

    In 1987 the Style Council released The Cost of Loving. Which sucks. Big time. Whereas Weller’s first 4 solo records (Paul Weller, Wildlife, Stanley Road, Heavy Soul) range from good to great and the last couple have been quite ok.

  20. High five, misterioso! I agree that there are a couple of worthwhile songs on each of those albums.

  21. Ah, my mistake: the song I was referring to, “How She Threw It All Away,” was released in 1988, not ’87.

    The albums mentioned above are dad-rock bullshit in direct opposition to the modernist aims of Weller’s ’77-’88 work. I suspect he was so taken aback by the label’s rejection of his acid house album in ’89 — which was rightly deserved, because even as acid house albums go, it was just fucking dreadful — that he withdrew into himself and went back to the first music that inspired him. Which is fine, but those records add nothing new to his influences. At least Waking Up the Nation attempted to shake things up a bit.

  22. I like the Jam better, but what’s “modernist” beyond a couple of trumped up album titles and sloganeering. They do third-generation covers, for crying out loud. Wellet had paternal rock instincts from day 1.

  23. misterioso

    Well, whatever. Sign me up for more dad-rock bullshit if it produces a record as good as Wildwood. As for “those records adding nothing new to his influences,” this tells me nothing about how good the record is. I’ll agree (to a point) that the records are not ground-breaking. I suppose the last, rejected Council album was more ground breaking. So what?

  24. 2000 Man


  25. ladymisskirroyale

    Good God, that’s amazing. And now I have some ink blots to show you.

  26. ladymisskirroyale

    Just why do you Hallers dislike The Style Council so much? I was listening to The Singular Adventures today on the way to work and thought about writing a post enquiring about this, but the mystery silhouette/answer beat me to it. Plus, I also was already hearing misterioso’s reactions in my head so figured I’d wait.

  27. It’s simple for me, and the depth of my dislike goes far beyond simply not liking the records and finding them highly disappointing. For me the Jam were part of the Boy Rock tradition, typified by the Who. With Style Council I felt like Weller betrayed the code of mixed-up, angry, idealistic boys. That really bugged me then and now, as a man who knows more than i did then, i still feel the same way. Put a name on it if you must, but I feel he broke the code. Solo songs like “Woodcutter’s Son” went a long way toward healing. If that’s dad rock so be it. This boy loves being a dad. This is the course i felt we were on with Paul. I know this is crazy, but why hide behind some intellectual BS?

  28. ladymisskirroyale

    But is it the style of music and the rather pretentious name? How did you FEEL you were betrayed? What was wrong with Paul just changing course, trying a new style of music and getting older?

  29. jeangray

    Scary I know, but I enjoy the Style Council better than I do the Jam.

  30. misterioso

    As long as you know how scary that is.

  31. misterioso

    lmkr, it means a lot to me that you have internalized my bitching and carping voice! (Seriously.) There are may be as many as 10 Council songs that I can bear, that are so good as songs that they rise above the appalling production, wussy arrangements, and overall preciousness that mars almost everything they put out. But at the moment I can only think of 4 or 5. Whereas I love everything on the first two Weller solo records (PW and Wildwood) and most of Stanley Road and Heavy Soul. I totally acknowledge and even respect his wish to explore something different from the Jam in those SC records. It’s just that they are mostly bad. He was good at other things.

  32. Sorry for the delayed response – I crashed right after my post last night. I’m going to start out where I left off: I’m not going to try to couch my reactions to the Style Council in any intellectual/musico stuff, which I’m sure I could find a way to do. Musically I had already jumped ship on the Jam by the time of their last full album, The Gift, when they started doing James Brown- and Curtis Mayfield-style funk workouts. (Clearly I am beginning with a musico beef, here, as I pledged not to do…) It was fine to include one of those things as the B-side to the amazing “Town Called Malice” single, but Weller was going full-force into white-boy funk. I’ve got nothing against white boys or funk, but the combination of Weller’s hectoring tone on those songs (much like the tone he got on all those 5-minute long football chants) and the band’s stiff rhythm section was not a good one. OK, game over for the Jam. I was fine with that. That send-off single “The Bitterest Pill” wasn’t bad, but wasn’t that when they also did a cover of Mayfield’s “Move On Up?” I’m a big Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions fan, but I don’t like that song, and the snob in me still gets bugged by the fact that so many knowledgeable music fans who, in my estimation, are lacking a personal history with black music love that song over all the much-better, less-overtly funky songs the Impressions did. OK, how’s that for some twisted background beefs?

    Moving onto the Code of Teenage Boys, and the code is specific to this teenage boy… To me the Jam’s best attribute was their ability to rally the mixed-up emotions of a boy’s life. “Thick as Thieves,” “Wasteland,” “Absolute Beginners,” “But I’m Different Now,” “To Be Someone,” “Strange Town,” “Start,” and all my other favorite Jam songs hit on the qualities that meant so much to my love for the Who. (I did not, for the record, dig most of the Who’s early James Brown covers – I liked their own music.) The great Jam songs were all about desire – and fire! Then Weller comes out with the Style Council. I was fine with the band name, in fact, I still think it’s cool. I should have seen the cable-knit v-neck sweaters coming, and truth be told I wore those things in high school and thought they were kind of cool in an “I wish I were a preppy rich kid” kind of way. All that stuff would have been fine with me as part of his new direction had I liked the music AND had I not been so annoyed by the self-absorbed Cappucino Kid line notes, the video in which Weller and Mick Talbot are sprawled out on the grass stroking each other’s hair, and Weller’s sudden denial of his Jam past. And like those music friends who suddenly discovered “Move On Up” and raved about how it was the best Curtis Mayfield song, I kind of felt superior to Weller for his public embracing of a kind of soul music that I felt was geared to “white folks” and collectors (one and the same). (You know, I’ve only read a couple passages from some person’s “Things White People Like” series of blog posts/books, but when I talk this way I’m tapping into a shared sensibility.) I didn’t like feeling superior to a guy I had just a year earlier spent a few years thinking was MUCH cooler than me. Have you ever felt that you’ve gotten cooler than one of your heroes? It’s weird. I wasn’t comfortable with the new order.

    Weller kept that Style Council schtick going for too long, if you ask me. A year or two would have been fine, but he spent about a decade in that pose, didn’t he? The longer it went on the more he seemed to me to be one of those guys who smoked pot, or something, for the first time a little too late in life. There’s some stuff you’ve got to get out of your system before the age of 25, such as experimenting with drugs, fashion, or your sexuality; such as getting drunk enough to eat raw oysters, get a tattoo, or join a polar bear club; such as making a leather jacket or a tobacco pipe and sweater with elbow patches the key part of your physical presentation. And let me apologize here for any hurt feelings caused by these admittedly stupid proclamations: I’m sure just about anyone here has experimented in some way beyond my “acceptable limit,” myself included.

    Anyhow, I wasn’t expecting Weller to fall prey to the new fashions of 1980s UK fashions. I didn’t need anything beyond a couple of ABC, Orange Juice, Haircut 100, New Order, and Human Leauge-type singles from that v-neck sweater/pouffy hair scene. I didn’t need Weller to spend a decade trying to chase the dream of finally, belatedly being a Fancy Boy. (Costello tried going Fancy Boy, too, for Punch the Clock. A couple of my friends went Fancy as well at this time. Even I’d made maybe a week-long attempt at going Fancy sometime during sophomore year of college. Man, that wasn’t for me.) I needed Weller to be pissed off and idealistic and romantic and – a big and, because in retrospect I see he’s probably always maintained his values through whatever style of music he was chasing – turn out some big-ass, stomping, fist-pumping anthems. I felt he was not being true to himself, and he certainly wasn’t being true to me. I’m a fanboy now and then.

  33. ladymisskirroyale

    Hmmm (stroking chin here). Interesting, very interesting.

    Mr. Royale also drew the line with the Cappucino Kid persona.

    Your comment about a possible dabbling in contraband leading to a significant change made me think of Ronald Reagan, initially a democrat and somewhat liberal in his leanings until he was hired to be an announcer on a conservative radio station.

  34. machinery

    The problem with the Style Souncil and Paul Weller is he went from angry kid on the streets to a high class fop in one fast leap. Never have two personas been smashed together so forcefully. Suddenly each one looked like a sham.

  35. tonyola

    Marky Mark punk-rapper in his tighty-whities to Mark Wahlberg serious actor, anyone?

  36. I like two songs by the Style Council. I only like one by the Jam.

  37. Mod, your tastes and mine intersect in some key yet odd areas. A preference for earlier Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions rather than the later funk stuff, and a love of Don Covey are but two examples. But this dislike of Move On Up catches me by surprise and is confounding to say the least. It seems like (and I’m hoping it just is) an over reaction to those who sing it’s praises but couldn’t be bothered to check out any of his other offerings. I would hate for you to spitefully throw the baby out with the bathwater. Please sequester yourself in the can and rethink your position on this.

  38. misterioso

    I admit I lost my way in reading this, but I am sure you said something derogatory about Move on Up. What the? Maybe not the best Mayfield song but a great song by any measure. And the Jam’s version rocks, too.

  39. It’s not a terrible song, but on my double-album Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions collection, spanning the early stuff through the Superfly stuff, it’s in the bottom quarter for me. It goes on too long. I don’t like the slick EW&F-style brass, and I especially don’t like all the bongo jamming going on from start to finish. It’s just too much of a decent thing.

  40. hrrundivbakshi

    One fist-pumping anthem from the Style Council, coming up!


  41. Thanks for the effort, HVB, but that’s serious sub-Move on Up crap. Thank god Weller took his Traffic, Cocket, and Humble Pie records from his folks’ basement and ditches that band.

  42. I know I say this every time the Style Council comes up here, but I remember being a massive Jam fan in junior high, being seriously bummed that they broke up, reading all the press about the Style Council was going to be a massive change in direction, buying the import single of “Speak Like A Child” at Rocky Mountain Records (And Tapes!), taking the bus home, running upstairs to put it on the turntable…and discovering that it sounded exactly like a late-era Jam single.

    I repeat: if you gave someone all the Weller singles between “Absolute Beginners” and “Have You Ever Had It Blue,” not only could they not tell you where one band ended and the next began, I suspect they couldn’t tell they were two different bands.

  43. Just to clarify: we’re all aware that Paul Weller was not The Cappuccino Kid, right? Those liner notes were written by Paolo Hewitt, a journalist friend of the band.

  44. Thank you for reminding me of two fine Style Council songs. In the “My Everchanging Moods” video am I seeing right: is Weller actually playing with a sweater tied around his waist? Good god, that may be the most committed act of rock fashion in history!

  45. Yes, thanks for that reminder. Still, Weller signed off on that crap. The man at the top had to take responsibility.

  46. That’s a good point. In my case, beside the “Absolute Beginners” single, if that followed The Gift (I’m bad with release dates), I’d already lost interest in the band when they were in that clear transition period. Looking back I shouldn’t have been so let down when the shift became official.

  47. Hmm.. I missed that pink sweater around the waist the first time. Perhaps I subconsciously blocked it out.

    In any event, I’ve always liked when a band gives the people something to look at in addition to something to listen to. It doesn’t matter if Weller and company’s choice to dress up like dandies is misguided, it’s still some visual mach shau. Besides, I can’t help but think it’s a bit of a goof (notwithstanding Weller’s fashion forward tendencies), and I give them credit for keeping a straight face while wearing some of that stuff.

  48. misterioso

    I agree with your general point that there is not so clean a break between Jam and SC as some would have it; nor between SC and the earliest Weller solo material. I think it entirely fair to say that the weakest of the late Jam material (stuff like Shopping, Pity Poor Alfie, and the quasi-soul covers) is indicative of the direction of SC. Strong late Jam material like Absolute Beginners, Town Called Malice, Bitterest Pill has much in common with strong SC material like My Everchanging Moods, Walls Come Tumbling Down, Solid Bond–but the Jam’s version of Solid Bond kicks the SC’s where its balls should be.

  49. “Absolute Beginners” came out the year before The Gift. I can never remember if it came out before “Funeral Pyre” (the band’s other non-album ’81 single) because I first heard both songs on that US EP that came out just before The Gift.

  50. Right, that’s the EP I heard that batch of songs on. I was also a big fan of “Liza Radley,” which hasn’t worn quite as well as “Absolute Beginners.”

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