Writing by Neil Kulkarni

Monday, 26 November 2012

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

SEX PISTOLS, Never Mind The Bollocks / Spunk/ Filthy Lucre Live, Album reissue reviews, 1996, Melody Maker





(Melody Maker. 27th July 1996)

First, the reissue of the one great album, complete with demos, then the arrival of a live record of Finsburv Park. Now much do you need to hear of THE SEX PISTOLS?

Never Mind The Bollocks / Spunk (Virgin)Filthy Lucre Live (Virgin)

And so they’re slotted in, the punk chapter in every Big Book Of Rock. Flick through the index and they’ll be there between Santana and Del Shannon in bold type; the next time they do one of those 100 Best Albums Of All Time radio votes they’ll be nestling neatly at about number twenty-six, betwixt Blonde On Blonde and Dark Side Of The Moon, processed, placed, understood. McLaren, born smirking and uncaring, will recline with a cigar and a smug sense of vindication and wait for his cheques. The band will stand another round in the local. Lydon, who you hope is past caring, will fly home and feed his plants and die. The Sex Pistols are history, meaningful figures, boring, everything they resisted, everything it was inevitable they’d become. But Never Mind The Bollocks, as a human transmission, as a piece of plastic, as an idea, even through the putrid rose-tints of retrospect, even with the distance of time and the accumulation of official sanction, is still a bomb beyond appraisal, impossible, UNDENIABLE.


I was five when this was released. It sparks no recollections. I remember Sham 69 on “Tiswas", The Boomtown Rats, Sid Snot, and that’s punk for me. But Bollocks reaches over time, culture, memory and f**ing chokes you. “Holidays ln The Sun” engulfs you, with too many thoughts, too much to be sated, a sound that’s still unsurpassed, still unmediable, still resistant to everything but its own demented logic. “Bodies” is the closest music has ever got to pure nihilism, grooves steeped and knee-deep in loathing, gasping in disgust sinking in infinite hatred. “Anarchy” will place demands on the rest of your life if you are mad enough to let it, “Pretty Vacant” is for jukeboxes and Dave Lee Travis, the rest is kindling or gospel depending on your mood or your inclination.


What’s true is that it’s all uncomfortable, all unbreakable, it’s all still here, out of time, but creating its own context in ‘96 as you let it in. What’s curious is how a band of chancers and ne’er ­do-wells could pretty much perfect rock music 30 years after it started and 20 years before it began to die. No other band before or since had sounded quite so driven, quite so urgent, quite so up at you and gouging. What’s weird is that Johnny Rotten’s voice doesn’t sound like a relic from a bygone age, it sounds as unanswerable and distressingly human as it ever did. What’s strange is that this stuff touches you, after 20 years that have been cursed by its continued worship and acceptance.

Oh, forget the live LP (not because it’s sad or a betrayal or a live album, just because it’s dull basically, Bollocks with a sagging paunch and a few thousand cider-punk screams) and forget the extra tracks (on Spunk the bootleg demo LP hawked about before the original release of Bollocks; interesting for the deeper wail of Lydon’s proto-P.I.L. vocals but not much else). Forget the filling in of gaps in the story (stories have endings), the footnotes and footholds and explanations. Forget the archaeology and listen to “Holidays In The Sun”. It makes you want to change the world, it makes you want to kill the Pistol’s stranglehold on pop for good and go one better. That’s all that matters, that’s enough for now.
NEIL KULKARNI

Friday, 16 November 2012

"Surprisingly moist" - HELMET LIVE REVIEW, 1995 Melody Maker




HELMET/KERBDOG
WULFRUN HALL, WOLVERHAMPTON
GRUNGE is dead? Oh grow up, for f**k’s sake. Journos who offer up post-structural cockamamie with one hand still have the other down their thermals wanking over their youth, fantasising the centre of a pop they can no longer find. “Grunge Is Dead” or “Britpop Is Back” they shout from pages covered in exclamation marks and super soaraway headlines, with their simplifying desire to pin down pop to a fixed trend, to tie it in with demographics or history rather than let it create its own messed-up mythology. The pop world that bounced you from cradle to classroom to club has gone for good – GET OVER IT! Grunge didn’t die with Kurt, it’s just undergoing therapy.
   So in London, the post-Nirvana consensus may be crumbling but our cheap talk is broken, BLAMMO, by the 12-year old kids motormouthing in soprano, sharing cigarettes, wide-eyed and loving every minute, by the sweat that bullets my eyes with every crushing beat. We don’t need to patronise the fans, they don’t need their scenes created for them. Go with the flow in all directions.
   Avoid this one though. Kerbdog are still young, still have one ace song (“End Of Green”) and are still f***ing dreadful. ET has said that people are too analytical and snobbish about bands like this, and should just be swept away by the adrenaline blast. Believe me, I’d love that to happen here, to let my body take control, flip out and flop wads all over the shop, but Kerbdog’s sluggish dynamics, unmemorable riffs and fundamental lack of chunder leave me frustrated and cold. They don’t rock, and surely that’s the least we can expect? Chinese burns all round.
   Helmet have never been my cup of lard before. I’ve always seen them as the worst kind of overpaid dirge-merchants from hell. No fun. The new album changed all that. T Ray’s production has beefed up the rhythm section until they achieve a kind of airborne mass, and the lose none of this irresistible punch and phatness live. “Biscuits For smut” humps over a coiled riff so good you’re amazed no one’s come out with it before: then you hear a similarity to PE’s ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ and “Funky Dollar Bill” and you admire the esteemed company. “Wilmas Rainbow” is beautifully clipped and precise, with all their maxi-shread heaviosity pedals on red-alert while “Tic” and “Rollo” are state-of-the-arsequake crunchy metal with extra Brotzmaan/Band Of Susans frazzle to send the moshpit doolally on songs they’ve never heard before. The rest of the set I don’t recognise and don’t really want to but the sound is always startlingly clear, chrome and glass shining through the encrusted mud I was expecting.
   They’re not much to look at and Helmet should ditch the old stuff and further explore that rubber-band bass, buy a wah wah and get some Big Chief down them, but they’re already an unexpected groovy treat and once they truly get on the good foot they could be some kinda awesome.
   Surprisingly moist.
NEIL KULKARNI 

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

"acid & mushrooms & amyl & anger" - everything I done writ about LOOP



(from 2006 Plan B Mag)
Loop
Heaven’s End/Fade Out
Chapter 22

What a world what a world what a big world to be drowned in: Loop were always just a little bit more engulfing, hostile, darker, scarier than Spacemen 3 and other space-rock kosmonauts of the late 80s– these reissues of their first two albums remind you of just how unearthly the fuzz and scrape and wah and throb they stacked up really was in those skinny tight times. ‘Heavens End’ is outright hostile-to-reality, an instant acid-hit to the temple, the album that ‘Psychocandy’ could only play at being: by the time of ‘Fade Out’ they were finding silence and funk in their whorl of sound – stick ‘Black Sun’ on and groove on the motorik-genius of the drums, their lightness and space. The best Loop tracks aren’t here (their unbelievable covers of ‘Thief Of Fire’ & ‘Mother Sky’ can  be found on the essential ‘Black Sun’ & ‘Collision EPs’ or find the mighty ‘Eternal’ singles-comp on vinyl) but see these reissues as a launchpad into the blackest of holes, the most tripped-out singularity. Main’s ‘Hydra’ EP next please, cheers.
Neil Kulkarni




PlanBMag 2008

Loop

A Gilded Eternity (Reactor)
The World In Your Eyes (Reactor)

We loved Loop ‘cos, like them, we belonged nowhere; like them, we were horrified/hated by the interminable tor(y)ture of the fag-end Eighties. What’s weird about reissues of things you loved as a nipper is being reminded of how you once used this stuff: Loop accompanied acid and mushrooms and amyl and anger in my adolescence, knocked together C-90s in the Walkman, can of gas up each arm for the stroll into town. Loud, they sealed you off, layered you against the horrors beyond the bedroom door – one of a few bands (Terminal Cheesecake, World Domination, Godflesh, MBV, Spacemen 3) to be fearless and British at the same. The fact that no recalibration is required to still love Loop tells me they’re timeless in ways my fanboy ardour couldn’t have predicted – you hear new things in these reissues that are intimately connected with the new antechambers that have opened up in your stonewall heart since then. When you hear the singles collated on The World In Your Eyes, you hear Loop’s birthpangs – potentially just another band hiding from mid-Eighties tweeness in the more visceral entanglements of Sixties noise (fuzzcandy stompers like ‘16 Dreams’, ‘Brittle Head Girl’ and ‘Spinning’ sound like one-offs from a band destined to get lost trying to repeat them), but in actuality a band always possessed of a drive to their escape, a determination to their evaporation that lifted them above the Verves and Primal Screams who’d later rip their shit to blow up bigger.


   Heaven’s End fully launched Loop into the beyond, but it was the series of singles that popped off between that album and A Gilded Eternity that really burned fissures in time. Tracks like ‘Collision’ and ‘Circle Grave’ soundtrack that incredible moment where Loop took leave of their sources, but the covers here are crucial – their version of Neil Young’s ‘Cinnamon Girl’ fuzzed into sludge but was fey enough to remain a uniquely English take, ‘Mother Sky’, originally a Can track, thrived on the space and sheer funkiness Loop that had honed by then and ‘Thief Of Fire’ impossibly blazed past The Pop Group’s original in a grey, earth-sized squall of delay and echo. Get The World In Your Eyes for all the above and because, unlike so much in the remastered/reissued world, it doesn’t send you scurrying to your original vinyl in search of warmth and detail. Robert Hampson and Kevin Metcalfe deserve major props for sensitively maintaining the lack and lunge that made those ol’ 45s sing so piercingly, reminding you of what a great hypnotic groove Loop could cook up beneath all that solar fire and supermassive blackness.


   By A Gilded Eternity, Loop sounded pressured, harried by their growing influence and isolation: at the time, I listened to it for three months at the wrong speed and was aggravated to find out that the doom-sludge masterpiece I was lovin’ was actually a sprightly, somewhat over-professional sounding slab of drone-rock. It still pisses over much that came after, but it’s The World In Your Eyes, Fade Out and Heaven’s End that are the holy tablets you should be seeking out, monoliths that have only grown richer and more rewarding in the 21 years since. While so much of 2009’s avant-rock’n’roll proudly paralyses itself in the sodden mud of replayed revelation, Loop are still casting a sempiternal stare down at our planet as they ellipse through the starbelts and clusters, animated by love and boredom and still belonging nowhere.

Neil Kulkarni speaks to Robert Hampson
Any embarrassment involved in hearing/ remastering this ol’ stuff?
To be honest, I hadn’t listened to Loop in the past 20 years, not only because I’m more interested in moving forward but because the way we split up – it wasn’t angry but it was painful – was something I didn’t want to revisit. I’m not really someone who bothers with the past but enough people and labels were hassling me to the point where I wanted to do it properly and completely, get the sound right, do it right before someone else did it wrong.”
Where do you think the Loop sound went?
You can say it got watered down by others but I really think we disappeared; these records were lost in a real way, totally forgotten. I was very ambivalent about this whole reissue process but now I’m happy. I feel like we’ve done the band the justice we never quite got when we were around.”
And what have you been doing since? Any chance of some Main reissues?
Heh – well, the Main stuff is in equal danger of disappearing and I’m looking into that. At the moment I live in Paris and I’m commissioned to compose by the GRM, the school set up by Pierre Schaeffer and Pierre Henry – I’m making acousmatic and concrete music and yes, I’m sure I never want to be in a band again. I’m better off alone!"


"a brief brilliant wonka-vite birth/perfection/death cycle" - WC AND MADD CIRCLE "CURB SERVIN’" - album review, 1995, Melody Maker



WC AND MADD CIRCLE
CURB SERVIN’
Payday
JUST when you thought it was safe to go back in a hip-hop club . . .
   If G-funk has died on the vine this year, it’s really because what made it great was a certain time and place (summer 94) and the feel it had of being a one-shot deal: a moment in which the normal speed of pop development accelerated into a brief brilliant wonka-vite birth/perfection/death cycle. It threw up a handful of great LPs and then vanished in ’95 with just the dull likes of Twinz, Bones Thugs and Coolio to sniff around its scorched gunpowdered fingers. At least until now.
This LP is absolutely stunning.
Where most G-Funk is getting samey because of its leanings towards the cleaner R&B-fied side of Parliament, WC have unlocked something closer to Funkadelic’s warped funkativity. Sure the trademark oozing bass, like Porsche tyres over hot black tar, is still here but the samples riding it are more twistedly bitable, less economically piercing than Dogg Pound or Dre, more lusciously lambently delicious than anything you’ll hear this year, failing a new Tribe Called Quest LP.
On “West Up!” the chorus swings like the  glorious party-down groove of Troublefunk: on “Homesick” a gorgeous prickly guitar underpins the most hyperventialiting breathy vocals this side of Slick Rick’s “Sittin’ In My Car”. “In A Twist”, “Feel Me”, “Curb Servin” and the staggering “Takin Ova” as well as featuring wonderfully vicious, cruelly funny lyrics, are just made for your bass button, so engorged with sound it’s nearly sickening, a mosaic of flickering heaven.
   Like The Flaming Lips’ “Clouds Taste Metallic”, like “Timeless”, this is an LP so FULL UP WITH EDIBLE STUFF you wonder if your speakers can take anymore, wonder if you’ll even listen to anything else for a week cos this aural honey is just so godamn addictive.
Just DROWN in this, people. Slurrrpppaaah.
NEIL KULKARNI 
 

"burns yo'ass like the map on Bonanza" - THE STOOGES, "The Weirdness", album review, 2007, PlanbMag


The Stooges

The Weirdness

(Virgin)

“Rock critics won't like this much” drawls the Ig 30 seconds in and he's gottabekiddin. Critics cream themselves insideout over restaged battles & this biz we call show is now half-run by the fantasy-pop parlour games of daydreaming fanboys. Nowt wrong w'dues & mortgages being paid – s'just you'd sooner take it in with some supper and a free refill when it hits Vegas than actually carry it around with you, let it in. Hey sug, the moment's past. It was fun while it lasted but we've both got to move on.
   3 songs into 'The Weirdness' and you feel a hot-flush, menopausally vexed that this old flame can still get you so horny. It's been so long since you first hooked up to the same powerlines, buzzed on that repetition, cut your arm on those violent angles, saw that truly modern vision of beauty that still burns yo'ass like the map on Bonanza . Openers 'Trollin', 'ATM ' and 'You Can’t Have Friends' remind you that for all the 'seminal/influential' superlatives it's the glimmering primeval joy of Stooges music that absolutely resists facsimile, and that JB-like jolt it gives you can't exist without a whole lot of hope, humour and love – things normally written out of the Stooges aura but that are crucial to 'The Weirdness'' triumph. And jeezlouise, check the sound -these old fucks swing like boulders on bungees, Ron Asheton spontaneously combusting, Mike Watt perfectly poised throughout and Scott Asheton blasting the boxed-in loud-as-fuck space Albini’s opened up for him. Even though at times it seems that what’s being captured here is a first take of something under-rehearsed, it don’t matter when the moments of lockdown are so tight and Ig’s imagination is so freewheeling – The Stooges in ‘07 make you realise that for all the lines of lineage drawn across the rock-historical map, there's precious little being said about what makes a band genuinely unique, and the space they inhabit that's exclusive to them. Once upon a time a mess of ideas from these guys coincided and collided and made a totally new statement about the world – nearly 40 years on and we're all looking remarkably good actually thanks for asking. And in some senses we're free at last.
   Just listen to the soul stomp of 'ATM', the riff you think is Sonic Youth's until you remember where they nicked it from on 'Idea Of Fun'. The title track just might be the bravest thing here – a gorgeous peal of wilting hothouse fragrance from Iggy's croon, clear nods east-to-Berlin and west-to-Hollywood-soundstages from the band, saxman Steve MacKay sounding like Andy Mackay – it's a dream to hear this band finally able to play the songs they want to play, the music they want to make right now. And just when you think that 'Greedy Awful People' and 'She Took My Money' are two badtime rockers too far, along comes a closing suite that strong-arms you into submission – 'The Death Of Christianity''s psyche melody and motorik thump, 'Mexican Guy' letting drone meet the Bo Diddley voodoo it's always yearned for and then 'Passing Cloud' slipping between stratosphere and streetsmarts as quick as the band switch from jazz drift to ten-ton riff. By closer 'I'm Fried' s'all you can do to realise, at last, that the band the Stooges sound most like now is The Stooges, and what a remarkable thing that is to sound like. And of course, atop the mountain, Osterberg is still the one of the smartest, cattiest, most suggestively poetic and murderously accurate lyricists America has left now that JB’s gone – just dig the good-time goosestep of ‘Free & Freaky’’s hysterical march into madness, the way he balances the infantile and ancient in ‘The End Of Christianity’ and ‘Idea Of Fun’, the wonderfully strung-out romance of ‘Passing Cloud’ and ‘The Weirdness’. Throughout it’s a persona that can only be Ig, a deftness of phrase and rhyme that would shame most mainstream rappers right now, and what comes shining through the sleazoid fug of ‘I’m Fried’ is that armed with this band, as this band is armed with HIM, the Stooges are downright fucking unstoppable. And you suspect that every other rock’n’roll record you hear this year is gonna sound a little forced, a little joyless, a whole lot less naturally godlike. Keep this ‘til summer and bomb yourself awake every morning with it. A band not just with a new label & new audience but with a new reason to be in your heart, headphones and home. Get stuck in.
Neil Kulkarni
  

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Monday, 12 November 2012

"Eternal youth forever" - VARIOUS ARTISTS TIGHTEN UP VOLUME 1 – DELUXE EDITION - album review.



(Trojan)
Dissolve. Into the ether. Surveying pop history like Jesus on the hill, wondering who to bless with a pentapeptide spillage of immortality. Eternal youth forever so fuck the artists, fuck the bands, the perishable liaisons and fading friendships, the reunion-tours waiting to happen - here's to the factories, the immutable galvanization that only raw commerce can create, the production lines, the white-hot centers of excellence that blaze new trails, the ferociously competitive local vipers nests whose sparks fuel the fire which burns the rocket fuel to the firmament. Atlantic. Motown. Stax. Tin Pan Alley. Def Jam. And of course Trojan and the Jamaican scene it peddled to Brit skinheads. What's always made the music on the Tighten Up comps such a great introduction to ska and rocksteady (and onwards to roots & dub) for the wary is their sheer irresistibility as pop music – the strength of songwriting nous, sharpened by a thirst for precisely the sweet deep fizz coming from those black American sweatshops I've mentioned, a thirst that had never dimmed since the 50s soundsystems first partied-up the island & primed it for independence. So this music found a new off-beat sway called Ska roundabout 64, slowed into rocksteady come 67, and got sent back and repackaged by Trojan for this grey-isle and ex-pat Kingstonians and mods appalled by hippiedom and has had a deep hold ever since. Hearing it, every time, after so many times, you can somehow feel it in your blood and bones and memories, especially round my way and probably your way too; Coventry, Bristol, London, Manchester, NYC, Düsseldorf – this sound, bass-heavy, aimed at the feet and the winding waist, shot through and gunning on a melodic instinct that never lets up, ran deep into pop's veins and remains one of the best party-starting guaranteed-floor-filling soundtracks the 20th Century ever gave us. But . . .



. . .surveying pop's current obsessive hell-march marshaling of history like Dante led by Virgil, wondering who deserves this smug curatorship, what all this re-telling and re-mastering gains us. Eternal youth forever so fuck this ease, fuck this orgiastic necrophilia (of which Trojan have long been amongst the most slaggish participants), fuck the re-issue market. Here's to mystery, to the search, to finding a Tighten Up comp (sans the pointless b-sides and bonus-track anorak-completion this 'deluxe' edition fleshes things out with) on vinyl 2nd hand and sticking with it. Because that was the statement that was made. And that is still the statement that will skewer you. Get a Tighten Up comp that clocks in at under 40 minutes, that doesn't give you opportunities to skip to your faves or burn them into a digital dispensability you can meld with your lifestyle, here's to compilations that fit on one side of a C-90, that stick 13 shades of pop perfection in your ear and kicks them home like a booted screwdriver, compilations who's random range and chaotic charge worked way better than this grotesque 2-disc gerrymandering of acetates and afterthoughts, this attempt to shame this music into behaving.  Volume 1 isn't the best Tighten Up comp anyhoo (that's got to be Volume 2 for The Pioneers, Soul Sisters and Upsetters) and has (as the b-sides reveal) too much of a placental link to American r'n'b to sound as unique and unforgettable as later Tighten Ups would. But don't let specifics blind you to the wider war: it's getting disgusting the sheer lack of effort that the reissue market engenders, the unearned undeserved backslaps hipsters can give their own posturing eclecticism, the way that all music becomes judged by how neatly you can slot it in to the lineage,  (as opposed to how a chased dead-end can bully everything else out of your head), the clamour for cash-from-the-cannon rendering all accessible/nothing meaningful. I know for a fucking fact that exposure to the instant-thrills of a Tighten Up comp on vinyl will lead you on to a love-affair that'll last your whole life, but this essentially tedious flogging of a long-devoured horse is in danger of being so flabbily, bloatedly tiring in it's obscurantism and spoddish 'collation' it might put you off the riches to come on the myriad trails outwards. Don't let that happen and put the bleedin' hours in you lazy fucks, spit out the teat, stop the pig-out, the feeding frenzy, the gluttony, stay hungry and fucking well concentrate. Into your shell. 
NEIL KULKARNI

Thursday, 8 November 2012

"up there with Gucci Mane, Wacka and Gorilla Zoe in the current glut of gobshites" - HIP HOP COLUMN END OF MARCH 2010, DJ MAGAZINE




Dubbleedge
The Trilogy/Choices Choices
Hidden Agenda
8/10
Love DJ IQ’s loopadelia ‘neath ‘The Trilogy’ – sounds like a shard of prime Algerian psyche from the late 60s, rotated atop a thumping, sweltering beat that pushes the heat into yr lungs. When the music’s this freakin’ great, it’s a Christmas bonus to have the D dropping his mess all over it, his freewheeling bemusement at his own skills always totally compelling. On the flip ‘Choices Choices’ lashes Jaques Demy, Roots Radics &  Premo into a dream collabo none of them ever envisaged. Fantastic stuff from one of the UK’s finest MCs right now.





SINGLE OF THE MONTH
Fliptrix
You’ll Never Change
High Focus
9/10
Ok, I’m assuming you’ve heard the stunning ‘My Soul’, ‘Madness ft. Kashmere’, ‘Dream Coat’ , ‘Get Involved ft Jehst’ & have been peeping the vid for ‘He Who Dares’? If you haven’t drag yourself away from all that illegal downloading you’re doing and hear one of UK rap’s most thrilling new voices. Fliptrix’s flow is an engrossing one, the music he unleashes it on always odd/twisted/bumpalicious enough to slay you and this preview from the soon-come HUGELY anticipated ‘Theory Of Rhyme’ is no exception. Hear everything you can from this man now.


Micall Parknsun
Everyday
YNR
8/10
Thought I was sick of tweaked voices and soul-vocal choruses but dammit if MP has managed to make it work again: ‘Everyday’ is just gorgeous, sumptuous with a string-loop that’s dreamy, chopped just the right side of the intrigue vanishing, one of the highlights from last year’s underrated ‘First Second Time Around’ lp. On the flip the Chemo remix of ‘Bang! Ft Jehst’ sucks deep on those days when Dre’s productions were squarely between East-Coast ruffness & oozing liquid G-funk. Nice.

Skitz
Born Inna System ft. Buggsy
Dragon Drop
7/10
All kinds of things happening here, rocksteady pulse, roots-reggae vibe, dub detail, dancehall digi-derangement: Skitz typically peerless sound-collage finds the perfect foil in Bristolian Buggsy’s sweet vocals. Hugely danceable but if anything ‘Born Inna System’ comes across more like a stunning album-opener – can’t wait to see what the forthcoming ‘Sticksman’ opus contains. Ace as ever from Skitz.

Chickaramanga
A Life Like This/Cool
Tres
7/10
Two wickedbad 7”s from Giant Panda’s producer – ‘A Life Like This’ sees L.A MC Droop Capone drop some nicely tight rhymes over a gorgeous slam of summer-ready funk that goes nowhere but does so brilliantly (specially when +8). ‘Cool’ sees Detroit’s Big Tone try and squeeze in his rhymes in-between a bustling, busy panoply of finger-popping jazz. Both lim-ed 7”s, if you’ve only got sponds for one make it the Droop Capone one but both are doozies.


Chima Anya
I Love Rap/Death/Hey!
Phoenix Down
7/10
CA’s ‘New Day’ LP is one of the debuts of the year already and here be 3 highlights – ‘I Love Rap’ be plain nuts, a wonkoid groggy melange of wibble and grind over which Anya stakes claims and makes threats, ‘Death’ snips a wee bit of Stevie’s ‘They Won’t Go’ but crucially has the same feel of dread and wonder as ‘Fulfillingness First Finale’ and ‘Hey’ is dub/dancehall inflected bashment perfick for dancefloor or drawing room. Seek.

CX Kidtronik
Black Girl White Girl
Stones Throw
7/10
Awww man – you can almost smell the ire, the annoyance, the rage rising from all those backpackers when they hear what Stones Throw are up to. Put plainly this record is a fucking mess, a blathering barely coherent rant scythed by deeply primitive electro blare and beats taped via condenser mic. As such, it’s one of the most inept, thrilling, undeniable things Stones Throw have given us and if it fucks off the beardies keep it comin’.

Crown Royale
We Gotcha
MYX
8/10
DJ Rhettmatic GODDAMN he’s getting better! The way he lashes together the frantic and furtive, the sub-bass rumbles and sudden drenching showers of synth, the forward propulsion of everything he does no matter how old and rugged the roots. Buff1 provides verbals that just about manage to keep up but Youtube this track soon as you can to see the loon in charge behind the decks just tear shit apart. Excellent.

Joe Budden
Hello Expectations
NA
7/10
Inexcusable, irresistible – there’s a monomania to this that downright simmers through the speakers, the synth/prog backing coming on like Goblin at their funkiest and most deranged, Budden’s verbals spraying far and wide and hitting their targets at least 80 percent of the time. I’m NOT saying that the soon-come ‘Mood Muzik 4’ will be all good, but this little chunk of it is an absolute corker.

In Brief


Redman
Mind On My Money
Def Jam
6/10
I’m on tour – you’re on facebook’. Nice n sleazy does it every time, beautifully lubricated beats’n’noise, no ‘Green Island’ but what the hell is? I say let him thru one more time.


Raekwon
Wallys & Pringles Freestyle
NA
8/10
Just find it – haven’t heard Rae rippit over such gloriously sun-struck Latin-funk Beatnuts-beats before, the loop just one bass note hit once every eight bars and that’s IT. Two minutes that bring summer.

Lloyd Banks
Big Bully
NA
7/10
Banks might not dominate ’10 quite as much as his admirers seem to think he deserves but this is as good as ‘Beamerz, Benz, Bentleys’ and you gotta check out the video shot by 50Cent (seemingly on a camcorder).

Rick Ross
Fountain Bleu
Def Jam
3/10
In the world of mixtape mediocrities, RR is up there with Gucci Mane, Wacka and Gorilla Zoe in the current glut of gobshites – ‘Fountain Bleu’ is no better, and just as godawful as all of them.

Brotha Lynch Hung
Colostomy Bag
Strange Music
6/10
Well, with a title like that y’know I had to review this – BLH has been sending out sick shit on the underground for some time now and I suspect this track isn’t gonna have him gatecrashing the charts anytime soon. Great flow though.

TOP TEN CHART FROM LONDON ZOO (Dented Records)

1.  Foreign Beggars - 7 Figure Swagger ( Bar 9 Rmx ) (Dented)
“Love the fact UK badman Dubbledge is on a dubstep banger!”
2.  Flying Lotus - Tea Leaf Dancers (Brownswood Recording)
“A few years old now, but we can’t seem to stop listening to it.”
  1. Foreign Beggars - Shake It (Dented Recs)
This is one my favourites from the nu beggars album, nice and bubbly.”
  1. Omar/Reel People – Outta Love (Papa)
“The broken beat duo Souled on the beat and Omar on the vocals. What more can I say?”
  1. Matta - Inquisition  (Ad Noiseam)
“This Dubstep duo are set for big things, this being a prime example.”
6.  LDZ - Wave To The Floor – (DENTED RECS)
“This track never fails to rock our shows. Got to be on this list.”
  1. Strong Arm Steady - Telegram –(Stones Throw)
“Short but sweet beat with wkd sample and wkd flow to match. Love this.”
8.      Mos Def - Auditorium  (Downtown)
“Mos Def is still one my top mcs, and on this Madlib beat he can’t go wrong.”
9.      Illum Sphere - Psycho ( Samiyam Rmx ) (Fat City)
“Big fans of this LA-based beat maker, sloppy beats but in a good way.”
10. 16bit - Chainsaw Calligraphy ( Jakes Rmx) - Boka Recs
“This tune was siiick first time round but this rmx is next level dutty.”