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+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
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+ Cex - Actual Fucking
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+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
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+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
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+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
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+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
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+ Boris - Pink
+ Deadboy And The Elephantmen - We Are Night Sky
+ Glissandro 70 - Glissandro 70
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #2)
+ Calexico - Garden Ruin (Review #1)
+ The Flaming Lips - At War With The Mystics
+ The Glass Family - Sleep Inside This Wheel
+ Various Artists - Songs For Sixty Five Roses
+ The Fiery Furnaces - Bitter Tea
+ Motorpsycho - Black Hole/Blank Canvas
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44.1 kHz Archive

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Dizzee Rascal
Boy In Da Corner

Maybe this is the sound of head-kicker UK swung-from-the-gutters grimy-garage stepping out of the underground, out into the glow of a new day. Or maybe this new day is the first day of a whole new world of hip-hop, and this sound sounds a new year zero, its current currency reduced to nothingness, worthlessness. The newly crowned king of this head-kicking cipher would be battle-hardened Dizzee Rascal, an 18-year-old phenom from East London, authoring belligerent beats equal parts bare-knuckled violence and astonishing productional precision. His compact-digital debut deserves LeBron-like media coverage; his coronation at head of all this underground/overground/new-ground/breaking-ground we-be-born-again vengeance comes with coming-of-age dramatics usually reserved for genre films. His nascent reign starts as hip-hop again reinvents itself; this time, as some belligerent missive from English tenements ("don't talk to me about royalty 'cause/ Queen Elizabeth don't know me so/ how can she control me when/ I live street and she lives neat?"). This disc is the most savage razing of the genre's extraneous elements heard since that first Prefuse 73 disc. And it all starts with "I Luv U." Initially offered up in friends-and-family amounts on some white-label side last year, Dizzee's shit-hot single has now been primed for popular consumption by the checkbook-waving A&R brothaz at XL, the cats who took folk on the precipice of popularity like Basement Jaxx and White Stripes and sold them large to the world at large. They've now inked up Dizzee's Roll Deep Crew, and fast-tracked the crew's hottest head first, getting his gear out large to the world at large first; he being the first to step off from this new zero, and all. And, as single, "I Luv U" is a square kick in the box for all those regular faux-sexual-tension boy/girl bits churned out by the biz, in which some gruff-voiced hip-pop dude and some large-haired R&B warbler trade verses with as little sex or tension as possible. Amidst freaky syncopated rhythms stabs and dack-cacking atonal bass so shit-kicking it wouldn't be out of place on a Pan sonic record(!), Dizzee and guest girl Jeannie Jacques drag the listener by the hair into some (shit)kicking and screaming world of teenage infidelities, swapping verses of vile spat out with spit and bile, vivid and vicious in a fashion that's hard to fashion into communicative syntax. Like, it's impossible to describe the track's fucking excitement in words. Even better than that are the words Rascy rolls with on the cut that comes after, "Brand New Day," in which he, like a poet who composes what the world poses, talks about the increasing hostility of the youth in his council estates. This seems to reflect back on the culture originally exported by hip-hop, seeming like kids the world over have bought the myth of those mythologizing themselves, like 2Pac's gangsta-pantomime in a hall of mirrors. But, then, where 50 Cent is slave to playing out that role all over again, essentially living life as cliché manifest, Dizzee is way above all this. For this is not hip-hop as you know it; and, even then, it's rarely garage as you know it, either, with only a few cuts (like the upbeat beat-up "2 Far," on which he and Roll Deep colleague Wiley lawnmower-mouth the mic) seeming to really strut in a two-stepped meter. See, Boy in da Corner defies genre in a defiant manner, refusing to be defined, refusing, even, to be dismissed.

by Anthony Carew

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