DOV/l U E. (Apr; 80‘ JL MARTINA TOPLEY BIRD Quixotic lIfl’lfilx‘fll’llc'ii‘n O...

Tricky may have retreated into a black hole of his own de\.risiiig, but in this inspired debut. onetime collaborator Martina "lopley Bird (who lent her vocals to Mt'ixmguayei. stays just the right side of the darkness. Oil/xotic kicks off With the loping groove of ‘Need One'. melts into the mellow


Do you adopt a mid-Atlantic

accent and rap about ghettos

and glocks or keep hold of your glottal stops and talk about fish and chips and council housing? Rappers have always been keen to foreground their own background but it's not

law of Soul Food. goes proto-punk on 'l lit/anna be There'. and comes to a lilting clos ; with the lament of 'Da,s of a Gun'. This is the perfect album for a humid Summer day. COmpelling and beautiful. and .'.'|Tll an edge of genuine menace. And yeah, it does sound a bit trip— hoppy. iJames Smarti

druggy house album taking its cue from the

of Studio One.

As the title infers. however. Thomas rs exploring what dub means today. and his discoveries are often striking. Opening track

FUTURE DUB TONY THOMAS 21 st Century Dub (Soma) .00

Like many of his Soma c0unterparts. Tony Thomas isn't afraid to lock it in deep from early on and leave it there. The antitheSIS of anything that might be construed as cheesy. this is. put plainly. a

night at the end of Glasgow club night

album. In the end.

repeaterheaxj. sessions

'Good FOrtune' sounds like the best track of the

Pressure. and the stage is set for the rest of the

always an easy thing to do if

‘.‘.(,‘P. ;


y‘."."orlif Circuit 0....

Th.s ll‘.(3 alburi‘ tells significant stor‘, it‘ the 12?..- ot one of the best l;til‘{lt) ()l‘ the planet. loting the US befor the lragi war. Tarifa's Arabic Spanish music brought them tremendous hassle: the way they. looked. never mind a half—Palestinian oud player. indicated they were next for Guantanamo Bay.

Lift—off came in Canada. where the warm welcome inspired one of their best sets ever: a sequence of supremely sensual. sexy songs With dazzling solos wrapped around Benjamin's smoky flamenco~rumba voice. Wild jazx sax. awesome rifting guitars. amazing percussion and beautiful flutes. One of the


Jane's back

. .’v

The rain's holding off so shorts on. shirt off. it's barbecue time. Appropriately then, we start with “Sunshine Spirit' by The Masters of Truemanship (Yummi COO ). The first fruits of Edinburgh's newest label are suitably juicy but lack a certain spark to get the tinnies flowing yet. Trying hard also are The Rain Band who $0und like a Technique-era New Order fronted by that wee floppy lad from the Music on 'Knee Deep and Down' (Temptation COO ) which shows promise. And Red Bee Society with ‘Two Cops' (demo 0.. ) are no bunch of mouldy kitchen utensils either, infusing a little bit of Beta Band quirk into a dollop of trad rock charm to some effect. Be glad good food takes ages as you'll have time to take in Ben Harper's countrified niceties. 'Diamonds on the InSide' (Virgin m ) is a swooning lovely of a summer song.

There's always someone there to burn the bangers th0ugh. and this heartburn-inducing pair are it. Vitamin C's ‘Last Nite' (V2 ) is a soulless welding of the Strokes to Blondie

albums of the year and straight into my all time top ten. (Jan Fairleyl

and sounds like Kelly Marie. Similarly repulsive

is Christina Aguilera welded to some by-the-

numbers buzzpop from Speedway (Innocent ) with an abhorant “Genie in a Bottle'

your first language isn't American.

It's perhaps eager now than it was ten years ago —- through

Soul II Soul. the Streets, Roots wanna Both rip-offs from bootlegs from sometime ago Manuva. So Solid Crew and y GENERATOR with none of the charm of the Sugababes'

original robbery Freak Like Me. Yuck.

Altogether more digestible is Amon Tobin as he has his 'Verbal' (Ninja Tune .00 ) hacked up into a mixed Waldorf Salad by Kid Koala, Kid 606 and more. Much like the squelched indie fantasy league toppers The Nu Forest aka the Pastels with Jarvis Cocker. ‘l Picked a Flower' (Geographic O... ) is a real grower but will break y0ur heart just like dropping that last veggie burger on the grass. But mind this bunch getting frisky with the relish. It's The Sfipergun. a gang of umlaut- ridden angst wranglers who skitter along with ‘Heaven is for Losers' (demo 0.. ), an impatient. if textured. three-tracker. Worth live investigation, book them for your next wife- swapping party now.

Or if you want Uncle Tommy to really piss in his deck chair. hand him a hot dog just as Desalvo kick in. With 'Tonguescraper pts 1 & 2' (demo oooo ). guitars trangl, drum rumble! and a man poking his wee head out from between Beelzebub's cheeks lets out roars in a completely controlled. if unnervingly good. way. And we never even got to mention the fruity afters: Kempston, Protek and Fuller's wonderful warped 803 bit episms with ‘12K Boost' (Chemikal Undergiound O.” ). They must bow down. however. to the guests of honOur. Making a chic re-entry with more silky smoky. tangy magic are Jane’s Addiction with ‘Just Because' (Cap/fol“). a savagely funky return to familiar, if fanfare-filled. rocktastic territory. Single of the Fortnight. Sit down fellas and have cheeseburger.

(Mark Robertson)

countless garage and drum 8 Gang Starr: still got poke bass MCs. the UK now has its own spoken word tradition. Eighteen-year-old East Londoner Dizzee Rascal is being pitched as the man to take British rap one step beyond. He's already had sizeable underground success With 'I Love You', an urgent, inVIgorating meld of fractured jungle drums and blokeish posturing. The reSulting album. Boy in Da Corner (XK. 0.0 l is an impresswe debut. although hardly a muSical sea Change. When Dizzee's good. he's sensational ‘Fix up. Look Sharp' is a formidany Simple mix of drums. samples and rapping that could tear apart any dancefloor but often he ends up s0unding a little too Ode8 8. Neutrino.

No such dangers from why?, part of Sole's California-based anticon collective. and a man who sOunds about as gangsta as a potted plant. Instead. oaklandazuasylum (SOuthern O. l is an introspective and occasionally extremely dull mix of careful guitarwork. laid back drums and musmg vocals. The cover features a man lying face down in a swnnming pool. which is either a reference to Billy Wilder's Sunset Boulevard or a useful listening tip. French duo Soul G & Tony Match have produced a Similarly textured. it slightly more upbeat. record in Pineapple Corner (Magoo .0. l. an atmospheric. jazzy album well suited to cosmic dinner parties or dancefloor rambles. if not to actually getting down.

The biggest fun of the fortnight comes from Kid Acne. a man from Sheffield With a beard and a collie who raps about Fray Bentos. Russ Abbott and Abiakebabra. does some neat beatboxing and generally seems to have had a grand time producmg COunCi/ Pop (InViSible Spies .00 ). Shame he COUIdn't tit mom decent hooks into an album that's eaSy to listen to. but hard to whistle. Fourteen years and seven albums down the line Gang Starr could be looking ab0ut them With a sense of quiet satisfaction. but energy and anger still bulges Out of The Ownerz (Virgin I... ). Premier's often blissful beats clashing with Guru's doom-laden reportage. to great effect. These tunes are smart as well as street.

And here by assooahon more than anything else l8 Destiny Child's Supreme Beyoncé Knowles, She Successfully ropes in Missy Elliot. Sean Paul. Outkast's Big Em and her sometime beau Jay-Z on Dangerous/y in Love (Columbia .0 ). Technically this is as hip hop as Elton John and as innovative as Oasis. as she smothers hip hop's funk roots in her own Aretha-lite ooze. Tl‘e Singles are storming 'Bonnie 8. Clyde' and 'CraZy in Love' but that's the Jay-Z touch. Beyonce's appearance is merely coinCidental. (James Smart)

A Drug Problem That Never Existed (lpecacl 0.00

Fact: Queens of the Stone Age are the best band in the world. Bearing this in mind. the Side prOject from lunatic DaSSist and joint commander in chief Nick Oliveri is Similarly exemplary. Like an even sleazier QOTSA. down and dirty to the max. Tracks like opener Mom I Hear You Callin" and 'Girls Like Christ' are true dispatches from rock's scabrous underbelly. But for every scream-athon there's an exqwsdely crafted acoustic number such as Dav / Die or A// / Can Do. A rock beast in every sense of the word. (Henry NOrthmorei

,. 2 THE LIST 105