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+ Donato Wharton - Body Isolations
+ Svalastog - Woodwork
+ Tim Hecker - Harmony In Ultraviolet
+ Rosy Parlane - Jessamine
+ Jarvis Cocker - The Jarvis Cocker Record
+ Múm - Peel Session
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+ Bob Dylan - Modern Times
+ Excepter - Alternation
+ Chris Thile - How To Grow A Woman From The Ground
+ Brad Mehldau - Live in Japan
+ M Ward - Post-War
+ Various Artists - Touch 25
+ The Mountain Goats - Get Lonely
+ The White Birch - Come Up For Air
+ Camera Obscura - Let's Get Out of This Country
+ Coachwhips - Double Death
+ Various Artists - Tibetan And Bhutanese Instrumental And Folk Music, Volume 2
+ Giuseppe Ielasi - Giuseppe Ielasi
+ Cex - Actual Fucking
+ Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche
+ Leafcutter John - The Forest And The Sea
+ Carla Bozulich - Evangelista
+ Barbara Morgenstern - The Grass Is Always Greener
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+ Peaches - Impeach My Bush
+ Oakley Hall - Second Guessing
+ Klee - Honeysuckle
+ The Court & Spark - Hearts
+ TV On The Radio - Return To Cookie Mountain
+ Awesome Color - Awesome Color
+ Jenny Wilson - Love And Youth
+ Asobi Seksu - Citrus
+ Marsen Jules - Les Fleurs
+ The Moore Brothers - Murdered By The Moore Brothers
+ Regina Spektor - Begin To Hope
+ The 1900s - Plume Delivery EP
+ Alejandro Escovedo - The Boxing Mirror
+ Function - The Secret Miracle Fountain
+ Sonic Youth - Rather Ripped
+ Loscil - Plume
+ 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
+ The Red Krayola - Introduction
+ Metal Hearts - Socialize
+ American Princes - Less And Less
+ Sondre Lerche And The Faces Down Quartet - Duper Sessions
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+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
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Treddin' On Thin Ice

Dizzee's boy ain't no Dizzee, but, boy, that seems like a stiff measuring stick with which to measure up Wiley, who measures up on all musical merits save his stature in regards to that irascible Rascal. And, whilst there are distinct similarities b'tween the Roll Deep cohorts, there's also plenty of disparities, musically speaking. Which means setting them in direct competition with each other is just another mediated media reflex, where, just like in television commercials, everyone must be rebelling against something, and every act must be an act of rebellion, a response, human life apparently being entirely reactive, and never proactive. On his debut longplayer, Treddin' on Thin Ice, Wiley fills in the elements of himself as human being, coloring in the sentimental side left out amidst the off-color sloganeering of his standalone singles. "Wot D U Call It?," the signature such side, is this album's calling card, served up as lead-off single and put forth as defining Wiley, his high-comedy lyrics detailing, with glee, about how his eskibeat-making Eskimo sound most certainly isn't garage/urban/two-step, such proffered iconoclasm the antithesis of hip-hoppers who cling to the tenets of the genre with a zealousness that shows them — like most religious believers — as being filled with fear; scared to stand on their own two feet. It's a great introduction to Wiley, but while he's sure an individual, he's not an individual putting forth one artistic dimension. Just as a single has two sides, so does Wiley, and his lyrical modes tend to be either The Joker or The Thinker. Just as likely as he is to spit "I'm turning over a new leaf/ Getting sharp like a knife in a sheath/ Staying sharp like a knife cutting beef" in a blur of words, Wiley also shows he's in touch with his feelings; and the flipside to "Wot D U Call It?"'s anthemic exuberance is "Problems," a b-side that surely deserved a place on the longplayer. It was here where Wiley first showed his sensitive side, where over the faux-string stabs and plastique bleeps he let out a plea to be taken for who he is, the song showing Wiley as being as adept as Dizzee in the way he can use words as repetitive rhythmic anchors. Here the words "why" and "sorry" serve the purpose so well you start wondering if they're samples. However, more than that, that song introduced the contemplative tone and laid-back pace that resounds throughout Treddin' on Thin Ice. Whilst his lawnmower-mouth vocals set lip-speed records, Wiley programs his beats at half-pace with plenty of space in b'tween, something which serves both his jocular joints (like "Goin' Mad") and his more sweetheart'd songs (like "Got Somebody"). Wiley's beats tend to be left pretty clean, too, seeming not so grimy as he rocks Teflon tones whose ersatz string-stabs and rhythmic squiggles and squelches cling to the synthetic nature of synth sound. Minus such grime, Wiley's music isn't musically belligerent, and this influences the tone of his words. And, so, even when he holds to hip-hopper form and starts slinging slang at rivals — like the brilliantly syncopated "I don't want to shatter your dreams/ But I'd annihilate you and your team" from the stand-out Roll Deep posse cut "Next Level" — these words don't seem threatening, such swiftly-delivered lyrics less mythology-making crotch-grabbing browbeatings and more just a statement of down-with-the-scene fact. In fact, Wiley often seems beholden to the truth, unable to tell a lie, so earnest and gormless that he can't doctor his songs with spin; the boy tells it like that when he says "If you ask me any questions/ Then I'll tell you how I feel" on "I Was Lost," a testament-to-humanity that serves as this disc's final fired salvo.

by Anthony Carew

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