stodge, cos of the multi-track production / arrangements tend to gassy bloatation and starchiness
but stodge also in the hamburger-helper / meatloaf sense of padding out the music scene...
see at any point in rock history there's a LOT more going on in terms of records being released and concerts played and radio plays and chart entries than what History will subsequently tell us about an era
there's the picture it'll paint of what mattered and what counted and what Happened...
but that'll in reality only ever have been a fraction of all that was going on
there's always a lot of stuff that doesn't fit the narrative
there's the totally anomalous, off on its own path
or there's the stuff that's a lingering, persistently popular continuation from a previous phase of music
and sometimes that'll be earlier phase bands sticking doggedly to what they're about
other times they'll be slogging on but tenaciously adapting to the times.... proggers or pub rockers going New Wave.... punkers and postpunkers going New Pop.... shoegazers going Britpop
proving that there's a lot more fashion-following and a lot less integrity/consistency than we'd perhaps imagine in music
so let's hear it for some (not-so-)Great British Ballast, with a sampling this round from the late Seventies
Pub-rock survivors Ducks Deluxe reformulated, or some members of the group at least, as New Wave-ish pop slags The Motors
Would you believe that tune was John Peel's #1 single of 1977? In the so-called Forgotten Festive Fifty (Not the listeners's choice, his own personal fave).
Touted in '78, this lot
Radio One deejays put their weight behind a lot of the ballast of the era, they seemed to have an unerring ear for what would be quickly evacuated from memory
Another group that were a sort of staple of the scene - passed over by a million glazed eyes scanning the music papers, the name tugging at your eyeball form out of those little boxed ads for individual concerts at the Rainbow or Marquee or full pagers for their tours / new albums -
i think of these groups as a bit like the fish fingers or beans on toast, or shepherd's pie .... staple stuff that pads out the family's dinners but nothing to look forward to...
probably a lot of people went to see this sort of group on the off chance, as a second choice - or perhaps nothing else on in their small town in the provinces... nothing much else in the local record shop that week but you got the itch to buy something so you try something...
with all these sort of groups, pictures, unappetising pictures, swim into my mind's eye
roadies's hairy arses as they haul the PA through the back entrance of mid-size concert halls in Leicester or Middleborough
... brown ale breath
... the fug of cig smoke in a van cramped with gear and musicians
... a desultory blow job in a toilet stall
... greasy spoons on the M1 at 2 AM on the way back from a show up north
This lot were bringing back the blues... and sharp suits
"good live bands"
how Paul Young started...
Well, actually, there was this wasn't there...
Made me think of this for some reason
Now Brand X weren't stodge at all, in fact they were rather excellent - bejewelled and spacious in their sound ... but very much against the New Wave grain... I remember their full pages ads in the music papers very well and not being able to get a fix on what they were, me not having the full map of music scene in my head yet .... was intrigued by the blank name... but not sure if I ever heard them at the time (they wouldn't have been played on late night Radio One)
Another kind of stodge is the kind of hamburger-helper scene-filler that makes Change seem more total because, look, LOOK at the numbers.
In fact you only really need the first-div stuff (generally more individualistic anyway) but all that second and third-div make-weight stuff (generally more standardised and conformist in sound) fills out the scene and helps establishes the dominance of the new musical episteme.
New Wave stodge
Punk stodge #2
Punk stodge # 3
There's many many more from the late Seventies of course
Perhaps I should do the Brit 90s next - no end of stodge there