Monday, January 24, 2005
Custom FF figures courtesy the long defunct Paul's Page
glisten: guest edition
The Tofu Hut Rolls DEEP, son.
We step up today with a super special, highly eclectic fantastic foursome: Chantelle Fiddy, Anthony Miccio, the Red Headed Stranger and David Boyle.
Make 'em feel welcome, ya'll.
Chantelle gonna clean house, y'heard?
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Chantelle Fiddy is the Hut's overseas correspondent on the UK hiphop phenomenon that is grime.
She's fuckin' wicked. So is this track.
Visit her site for more pearls of wisdom.
NB: A version of this article appeared in i-D magazine, 2004.
D Double E - "Freestyle"
English language scholars looking for modern day inspiration need look no further than MC D Double E, the self professed Newham General and modern day reviver of poetry.
Despite not cutting the grades when at school, D Double E and his lyrics are cutting it now. His bars, which can at first glance or listen, imply irreverence or a level of distastefulness (come on this is grime), detail a prevalent street philosophy, one where false childhood conceptions on life and illusion-ridden lifestyles are played out.
“I don’t eat bangers and mash/but I roll in the banger with mash/and if you get moved I’ll be banging the mash/quicker than a flash/bang be gone in a flash”
But to date, in many ways, DEE has been a victim of his own success. On his home turf of Forest Gate, East London he’s a hero with cult status. Walking down the road kids point him out, shouting, “ooh, ooh, it’s me, me” like he needs a reminder of his classical lyric. It’s these supposed gimmick lyrics that bring raves to a standstill, fans nearing hyperventilation, that have overshadowed his underlying talents and led to many people viewing him as little more than a novelty act.
“I just did it one day, made my voice echo on the mic and it stuck. I’ll walk into a dance in Manchester, Birmingham wherever and I all can hear is ‘ooh, ooh.’ It’s a big feeling trust me. But it’s very serious, you have to listen, I mean, I was ahead of my time, I’m doing lyrics still now that I wrote at 15.”
For DEE, it seems people are finally opening their ears. Having battled his way for the last ten years, from jungle through to (what he calls) ‘gayrage’ and now grime, it’s since parting with N.A.S.T.Y. Crew last year, alongside his co-d’s Footsie and Monkey. that his authority within the scene has become uncontestable.
“The way of getting light now (as an MC) is clashing. It’s like a cheat,” murmurs D Double E, shaking his head. “Thirty MC’s on a set, its going to be good right, but what can you do on your own? I know what I can do, I was on radio when these (yoots) were all locked in their yards on curfew.”
As his verbals and stature have grown in appeal, so it seems have his strides into mainstream territory. The only MC to have appeared on a Dizzee Rascal release (despite it not making the Showtime album, like why?) recognition away from the traditional territories is coming.
“We just did a PA at Homelands and boy, I felt like I was no one. I didn’t get that vibe like when I do a rave and everyone’s watching me. Those crowds are different, but they listen hard and the deep eruptions I heard when the music stopped must mean they heard it properly, the reality, right?”
Let buzz be the judge.
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: Anthony Miccio is a poprocka and th' Hut's expert on all things big, radio-friendly and glistening that might otherwise escape our more rockist readers earholes.
Anthony dispenses wisdom and choice bon mots at Anthony is Right.
I'm somewhat surprised to note that these tracks, if a bit innocuous and hardly innovative, ARE actually fun and not at all bad listens! Tickle me pink! Or maybe just a stripe down the middle.
Kelly Osbourne - "Contradiction"
Kelly Osbourne - "Come Dig Me Out"
While watching the brouhaha following Ashlee Simpson's public flubs, I could only think of two things: poor girl and glad this never happened to Kelly Osbourne.
Ok, it never would have happened to Kelly anyway cuz she'd tell the planet to collectively blow itself, but I would have been even angrier that hypocrites and couchwarmers respond to a teenager's slightly-less-than-professional half-time special (usually the artistic highlight of your night, I know) with scorn rather than indifference since Kelly is responsible for one of the best pop-rock albums in recent years.
Osbourne and collaborators Ric Wake (Celine Dion associate) and Powerpack (who knows) may not have any right to make trashy, insightful glam-punk but they did a tremendous job with "Shut Up!" and we're just gonna have to deal. Osbourne says she wrote almost all the lyrics and frankly I'm inclined to believe her, as Sharon's shrewd confidence and Ozzy's ability to pen naked confessions of mental anguish are united here.
I have to go back to Sleater-Kinney's early releases to think of a similar cathartic mix of command and frustration. I'd feel that way even if she didn't name her best track "Come Dig Me Out." The sound is more Donnas and the cred is more Ashlee, but the spirit is pure S-K (minus the self-stifling indie guilt).
Her new single in the UK is co-written by Linda Perry and inspired by Kraftwerk and Nostradamus. Intriguing.
Buy "Shut Up!", Kelly's '02 debut album, from Amazon.
Buyer beware: Shut Up! was re-released as Changes in 2003, with the only additions being a few live tracks and a horrific duet with Papa on the titular Sabbath cover.
Visit Kelly's official site.
It's in stasis right now but information about her new album on Sanctuary Records, her critically acclaimed TV show Life As We Know It and her new clothing line (Stiletto Killers) is forthcoming.
"I like smelly, ugly boys. They need the really cute "I haven't showered in a week but I really have, I meant to look like this" look. You know what I mean?"
The Young Conservatives offer a differing viewpoint.
TALES FROM THE RED-HEADED STRANGER
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: The Red Headed Stranger is the nom de plume of the Hut's country music scholar. He's just getting started.
Incidentally, he was so pissed that someone would presume that he was a "literary device" that he shot up my mailbox.
God bless his heart. He's a little cranky.
The last time I was on the Tofu Hut, I offered a song ("Traveling Soldier") from singer/songwriter Bruce Robison. Here's one more:
Bruce Robison - "Can't Get There From Here"
"Can't Get There From Here" carries none of the cultural baggage of "Traveling Soldier", except perhaps in the way it expresses a peculiarly Texan kind of ennui. It's about the way sadness and frustration can roll across the vast, flat land and leave you wondering if there's another person within hundreds of miles who could understand how you feel. It's about wanting to change your life, but not having the time, energy or direction to make it happen. The singer can't even quite complete the joke he's trying to tell you: "You heard the one about the farmer's daughter?/She just needs a little atmosphere."
"Can't Get There" is from Robison's best and most recent album, 2001's "Country Sunshine". Robison's co-writer on the song is Nashville's wonderful Allison Moorer (more on her at a later date), but "Can't Get There" is suffused with his personality – it may be as much Moorer's as his, but her own version (on her Miss Fortune album) winds up sounding like a cover. Such is the infectious power of melancholy.
Buy "Country Sunshine", direct from Robison's Boar's Nest Records label.
our man in the field
FORKSCLOVETOFU SEZ: David Boyle is the ODB of the Hut's Wu-Tang squadron.
He's nuts and I love him; the songs are really only getting better, in my opinion.
David's stuff is crunk as fuck, totally DIY and heartfelt. I wish more people were doing what he was.
More of David's political commentary and music can be found at his website D-Bo.com.
Again, standard political disclaimer: Please note that while the Tofu Hut does not necessarily agree with all of David Boyle's politics, we are enamoured with his exuberance and almost irrationally crafted leaps of sonic (il)logic.
But I can't imagine that Lydon would argue with the sentiment.
This is D-Block, mighty mighty D-Block:
David Boyle - "God Save the Queen 2005" (Prince Harry Remix)
I have just finished recording my new song. Feel free to offer it on your site or you can direct interested parties to where I'm hosting it along with the complete lyric list.
I enjoyed the chance to mash "God Save the Queen", "Holidays in the Sun" and "Anarchy in the UK". NO THANKS to "Heil Harry," that wicked Buckingham brat; even if his swastika stunt did inspire the song.
If nothing else, you've got to hear it for the "Hava Nagilah" part at the end.
Here are some of the words:
"Heil Harry? / You thought Belsen was a gas? / Time to visit Auschwitz my lad? / Tsunami of insensitivity? / A cheap holiday in other people's misery?/ Adolf Hitler ist ein Londoner?
Don't be told what you want / Don't be told by the BBC. / There's no future / there's no culture / there's just a swastika for you!
Oh God save history / your colonial parade / Oh Lord God have mercy / all crimes are paid.
When there's no future/ how can there be sin / we're the black natives / in your Belmarsh prison / we're the poison / in your Windsor machine / we're the future! / Your dark future!
Oi! Down with the Nazis! (clap) and monarchy too! (clap) Britain's head of state (clap) should be black or a Jew!!! (clap) Long live Israel!"
In other news, I see that Linkin Park and maybe some others have set up a
relief organization, Music For Relief, for the tsunami victims in Southeast
Asia, at Music for Relief. I have donated $5 myself to the American Red Cross International Response Fund which is where the Music For Relief money goes; it ain't much, but if 300 million Americans all donated $5 that would be $1.5 billion...
Hope all is well in tofu town,