The Joup Friday Album – Paleface – ‘Paleface’

a1242855208_10I’ve been taking a vacation from cyberspace. I’ve been feeling like one of those dusty-tummied Cowboys lassoed to the accoutrements of a panicky filly that scatters after getting a bum full of buckshot. I miss information filtering down to me rather than it being Zoetroped in front of my pried-open glazzballs. Of course some of the unavoidable bullshit gets through to you like poo-particles up your nostrils from the methane on the subway train, such as Kanye West’s recent mandate that Beck should surrender his Grammy to Beyoncé. Which was rightly met with condescension and fist-plugged chuckles, because of course what West should have said is that Beck should at least have been mumbling the name Paleface in any acceptance missive that might have trickled through his Thetan-free PR Team.

Paleface and Beck were roommates in New York in 1990, while fruiting bodies of the embryonic Antifolk scene that was culturing in the Lower East side at that time. Beck was ‘inspired’, to put it politely. Paleface took Folk, Hip Hop and elements of Punk and slathered it with a free-association, thrift-shop lyrical glaze that looked set to change the face of Alternative music in the last decade of the 20th Century. Paleface was signed to Polydor in 1991 after Beck had returned to Los Angeles with his tail between his legs, and blueprints for for a new approach to his act in his back pocket. Paleface meanwhile, for one reason or another, stumbled through misguided managerial misteps to the mid nineties where his third album ‘Gett Off’ was slated for release by his second clueless label Sire around the same time as Beck’s ‘Odelay’, and we all know how that turned out.

Paleface faltered under the pressures of label coercion to get his unique ‘brand’ afloat without the phenomenon of a ‘Loser’ to buoy it, and returned to indulging his vision on his own terms – in the venues where he sold his self-released EPs, while Beck as we all know has taken his dislocated place among the self-important stars.

I’m being bitter on Paleface’s behalf, playing Kanye to Paleface’s Beyonce, while Paleface himself isn’t any part of these self-congratulatory backslapping industry dinners. Paleface harbours no ill-will or jealously and is simply grateful for his life as the road-worn, acoustic-guitar slinging troubadour, which is ironically akin to the romantic ideal to which baby Beck aspired.

If you were thinking of picking up that Grammy Award winning ‘Sea Change’ retread, Beck doesn’t need your money, take a chance on throwing it Paleface’s way so he can carry on practising his art. Follow the link to listen to Paleface’s Self Titled 1991 debut at Bandcamp.

Shawn, open up my eyes to a choice pick from your archives.

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks

Chester Whelks is a peripheral figure on the fringes of existence. Predominantly bothering the local music scene of his native Manchester, England, he has a very finely attuned Justice-button, and knows how to call a spade a ‘Multi-Purpose Murder/Concealment Device’.

One Response to The Joup Friday Album – Paleface – ‘Paleface’
  1. Tommy Reply

    I don’t know how I managed to miss out on this for the last 20+ years! It’s amazing! Thanks Chester!

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