Kosmos

Back in November as part of the Monday Long Song thing he kicked off earlier this year Drew posted the nine minute version of Morning Wonder by The Earlies, a wonderful piece of music, sort of psychedelic folk with krauty rhythms. You can find it here with the download link still intact. In places it reminds me of this still amazing sounding Brendan Lynch remix of Paul Weller from 1993, Weller sent twisting around the kosmos by producer Brendan Lynch, on a dub- jazz- electronic mayhem trip.

Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)

Only a few years earlier The Style Council had their last hit single and Top Of The Pops appearance with their cover of Joe Smooth’s house classic Promised Land. Everything about this clip is great- Weller and Mick Talbot on twin pianos, Dee’s performance at the front, Mick’s beard, the fun they all seem to be having.

The Place I Love

Forty years old this year, this song dropped back into my life recently, a young Paul Weller’s rumination on place, identity, home and belonging. Tucked away in the middle of side two of All Mod Cons it can easily be overshadowed by its surroundings- A Bomb In Wardour Street and Down In The Tube Station At Midnight follow it- but its one of those songs which seems quintessentially Weller. Ray Davies is there in the lyrics and Motown in the music but no one else could have written these words at that point. It’s also one of the few songs on All Mod Cons that is written in the first person (most of the songs on All Mod Cons are third person and observational). Home and place are topics he’s come back to throughout his career but in some ways he said it all here and best in 1978, in two minutes fifty-four.

The Place I Love

Unity Is Powerful

Who could be fail to be moved by a call to arms set against some very funky mid-80s pop, railing against reactionary regimes and economic policies that keep people poor (with a slightly po-faced pop at Frankie Goes To Hollywood)? Who? Boris Johnson maybe. David Davis? Theresa May. The complete disintegration of the Conservative Party over Europe is a lovely idea. Long may it continue.

The Style Council’s 1985 single Walls Come Tumbling Down is ace and their appearance on Top Of The Pops to promote it is proper time capsule stuff, Weller centre stage looking sharp with wedge haircut, blue shirt, white jeans and Rickenbacker bass. But, let’s be honest, Dee C Lee upstages him, in black top and jeans with yellow cardigan combo, dancing non-stop, hotter than hot.

Headstart For Happiness is another Style Council gem, but personal rather than political and proof Weller could do wide eyed optimism when he wanted to. This is the version that closed Cafe Bleu, a delicious guitar riff and vocals shared between Mick, Dee and Paul, a song about being in love with being in love.

Headstart For Happiness

Mother Ethiopia

There are records that come along and surprise you sometimes, songs that show a change of direction, new influences, time spent with other musicians a willingness to experiment with new ideas and new sounds. And then there are the new 12″ single from Paul Weller.

There are three new songs, all out now digitally with a 12″ to follow in September, all titled Mother Ethiopia, recorded with soul band The Stone Foundation. This one is part 3, subtitled No Tribe No Colour and done with London based Ethiopian three-piece Krar Collective, with the vocals sung in Amharic by singer Genet Assefa. This is super loose and super funky Afrobeat and it’s likely to cause a certain amount of shuffling of feet and shaking of arses. The more conservative elements of Weller’s audience may be slightly perplexed by this and rush off home to put on Going Underground again- but make no mistake, this is really, really good.

Days Of Speed And Slow Time Mondays

That’s Entertainment always strikes me as a bank holiday song, easily singable in a beer garden on a rare early May Day of sunshine, pub jukebox cutting through the TV sport and noise. Paul Weller admits to writing it drunk, home from the pub, in half an hour and it’s easy to picture- once a couple of lines of the lyric came to him and the rhythm was there in his head, it must have just poured out. He even manages to make the ‘two lovers missing the tranquillity of solitude’ line work in among the urban and suburban poetry. Each line could describe a British bank holiday too from the screaming siren of the police car to feeding the ducks while wishing you were far away, from a kick in the balls to cuddling a warm girl and smelling stale perfume. Weller and The Jam at their best, although the demo version off Snap! always sounds better than the re-recorded one on Sound Affects.

That’s Entertainment (Demo Version)

Into The Cosmos

If you’re at a loose end and want something to soundtrack ninety minutes of your life you could do worse than this mix from the Quiet Storm family, a blogmind compilation expertly sequenced by Mark. This one took suggestions of songs inspired by the cosmos, the moon and the stars. It opens with William Shatner, takes in a wide cast of stargazers including Prefab Sprout, Billy Preston, AR Kane, The Upsetters, David Sylvian, Chilly Gonzales, Billy Bragg, Declan O’Rourke, Stereolab, I Am Kloot, Mayer Hawthorne, Sandy Denny and Labelle and finishes with Rutger Hauer and the ‘tears in rain’ scene from Bladerunner. See if you can guess what I suggested.

And this didn’t occur to me at the time but it could have been a fine addition to the mix, Paul Weller dubbed out and spaced out by Brendan Lynch back in 1993.

Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)

Things Can Only Get…

Election day, 7th May 2015. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to vote. In almost of the elections I’ve voted in since turning eighteen in 1988 I’ve voted Labour. Like many people the Labour party haven’t endeared themselves to me quite as much in recent times. I’m pretty envious of our Scottish friends who have an actual, meaningful alternative to voting Labour in the shape of the SNP, and the same is true in Wales. I would like to vote for a left wing political party- a party who put social justice above narrow personal self interest, who aren’t contributing to paranoid, stoked up fears about immigration, who will fund the NHS and who will support those less well off. You could suggest at this point that this option does exist for me and that I should vote Green. Which has crossed my mind. However I think when I go to the polling booth tonight I shall mark my cross against the name of the Labour party candidate. The bottom line, to my mind, has to be to get rid of the Tories, to vote this shower of shits out of office and I think that voting Labour is the most effective way to do that.

That brings up the dangerous question of voting Lib Dem tactically (and we can all see where that got us last time- the Lib Dems propping up a nasty right wing clique of bankers and ex-public school boys). Fortunately not a problem round here, the Lib Dems trail well off in third but some people may have to make that choice.

In 1997 after nearly twenty years of Conservative government the Labour party had the wind behind them and optimism in front of them. They appropriated D Ream’s pop-house anthem Things Can Only Get Better. I quite liked it until that point. Right now, I’m not sure if things can only get better but if we get five more years of what we’ve just had then things will get a lot worse.

David Cameron (part time punk, Eton mod and class warrior) has stated before that The Eton Rifles is one of his favourite songs. Eton Rifles is a bile-fuelled invective against public school boys (from Cameron’s old school) spitting and jeering at unemployed miners marching from Jarrow to London set to a piledriving post punk tune. As Paul Weller said ‘which part of it didn’t he get?’

Live on Something Else in 1979 (the same episode Joy Division were on).