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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
+ Deloris - Ten Lives
+ Minimum Chips - Lady Grey
+ Badly Drawn Boy - Born In The U.K.
+ The Hold Steady - Boys And Girls Together
+ The Blood Brothers - Young Machetes
+ The Places - Songs For Creeps
+ Camille - Le Fil
+ Wolf Eyes - Human Animal
+ Christina Carter - Electrice
+ The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
+ Junior Boys - So This Is Goodbye
+ Various Artists - Musics In The Margin
+ Rafael Toral - Space
+ 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
+ Robin Guthrie - Continental
+ 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
+ Supersilent - 7
+ Band Of Horses - Everything All The Time
+ Dudley Perkins - Expressions
+ Growing - Color Wheel
+ Red Carpet - The Noise Of Red Carpet
+ The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea
+ Espers - II
+ Wilderness - Vessel States

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Dizzee Rascal

Tony loves that Dizzee's now so comfortable with himself as multi-level'd concept that he can talk about "Dylan" in the third person, turning himself into the abstract self on a second set that finds Dizzee diz handling his biz, navigating the stormy waters of the rock biz, and daring to pretend like he's gone showbiz. He's talking about Dylan, and Diz, at a distance, mostly on a tune titled "Hype Talk," in which hearsay and myth-making mingle in a song largely about what 19-year-old Dylan Mills has been doing since he b'came famous, setting ruminations thereon to aggressive ersatz-sounding rhythmic stabs that go light on the grime and heavy on the thunk. On "Flyin'" he runs through another list of popular preconceptions and accusations leveled at him since he "broke" out of East London ("You can say I'm arrogant/ You should probably say I'm vain/ You can say my head swoll/ Since I seen a little fame"), even using and abusing the word "sellout," a term long rendered meaningless by its vapid hip-hop parroting. But what's made Rascy such a compelling figure since he stormed the overground with his prestigious-award-winning Boy in da Corner album in the ought-three is the way he's looked at the same old clichés with an individual personality. His tales from rundown tenements are hardly new topical turf on which a lyricist can tread, but Dizzee dares look at them differently by daring to look within himself. Whilst he'll occasionally make a mild boast — and pressure girls to take their tops off at his shows, and get stabbed at a nightclub — Mills tends to avoid all the regular hip-hop shit of myth-making, nostalgia, and faceless, nameless, bodily-part-specific women. Numerous salivating critics who fawned over Boy in da Corner (including Tony) picked up on the fact that Dizzee Rascal didn't make blanket statements, but asked probing questions, leaving them lingering, begging for an answer that he never delivers.

He does something similar here, and it's most obvious when he talks about those notions of selling out/ leaving the ghetto/ fame — subject matter that's often the central concern of rappers following up a success, and, of course, the central concern of Showtime, an album that finds Dizzee's off-the-wall production and frenetic beatmaking sounding more alien and digital than ever before. With even fewer nominal pop-songs than last time — save for the awful single "Stand Up Tall," which is very out of place here — it's a disc in which Dizzee diz, lyrical wiz, is more forthright as lyricist, using the blank canvas of an "album" to sketch together a thoughtful, carefully-sequenced set in which his voice, and its elastic accent, ring clear. Here, in doing so, he talks of his newfound fame with a real sense of contemplation. Rather than tiresomely boasting about nouveau-riche wealth or trying to re-establish his "street" credentials, Mills is more interested in looking at the social repercussions of his changing life, going from deep in his E3 history to critiquing his current upward mobility. He shows how adept he is at exploring this on a soft-touch song — all twee keytone melodies, glowing synth drone, and Morr-ish elecktro twitters — called "Imagine" (which has naught to do with the John Lennon song), which addresses such sentiments in a surprisingly artful way, looking at the human beneath the socio-political stereotype, honing in on the humanity inherent in constituents of both council estates and country estates. No line in here is more meaningful and significant than when he says "try and put it in perspective." And the best thing about Showtime is that it shows Dizzee Rascal hasn't yet lost his.

by Anthony Carew

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