Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Skandal, L Star & Tweeti, Screaming Soul Soundsystem & True Self Reviews

Yo pepes. What a gwarn? Don't know what that's all about, just feeling friendly. Do you ever get those times when you're just about to do something and then someone asks you when you're going to do it and you say 'I was just about to do it' but really it sounds like you're lying? Well that just happened to me. I just sat down to these long overdue reviews and Charlee at Vision who hooked me up with a couple of them phoned me to ask how things were going! Anyway, let's get on with it. Got 4 mini reviews of tracks for y'all today.

First up has to be Skandal's EP which is entirely produced by man of the mo, Chemo. You get 3 tracks: 'Dark Times', 'Venom' and 'The Warning' and you get the instrumentals too. Looking at those titles you can probably guess along what lines Skandal is running. What you wouldn't be able to guess though is that this has a really electronic, dubby, grimey feel to it and that's because Chemo has departed from the style of production he is famous for. 'Dark Times' samples Sizzla's chorus from his version of the 'Drop Leaf Riddim' (also used by Klashnekoff on 'Son of Niya') and is a veritable verbal assault as Skandal coherently let's you know just how he feels about life through some shadowy imagery. 'Venom' and 'The Warning' see Skandal lacing more grimey-yet-Hip Hop. 'Venom' is the I'm better than you track of the kind that has been the back bone of Hip Hop through the years. 'The Warning' does what it says on the tin; it warns of street life and crime and how one should avoid it. The E.P. should drop on the 19th of May, I'll keep you posted on where you can get that, these three tracks are heavy, Chemo smashes it and showcases his diversity and Skandal shows that he's a force to be reckoned with who has game to match his swagger.

L Star and Tweeti have dropped their 'Street Dreams' track ahead of impending release, the 'She Looks Good E.P'. The track samples, most obviously The Eurythmics 80's banger 'Sweet Dreams' and it goes without saying it's a floor filler (unless you really hate the original, but, let's face it, you gotta love it!). The remix is the one to check - it features CB favourite Skinnyman (sounding very unlike Skinnyman) and Flirta D. What the track gains in club status it lacks in structure, it's really just the 'Sweet Dreams' loop with four verses over, but to be honest, that's OK. If you're looking for a fresh T Shirt then head on over to Doin It' Clothing and cough up a few quid to make a positive statement to match this track.

Screaming Soul Soundsystem is a project from Ghetto Priest (of Asian Dub Foundation) and Sandman (of Underground Alliance (UNDALI)) and fuses sounds from different 'black' or 'urban' (both of those descriptions make me wince, but hey) genres of music. In the main track you get a big dose of Reggae on the more dubby side of things crossed with some Rap and Break Beat. The remixes courtesy of Mutant Hi Fi and Ruckspin & Planas cover the Dubstep base with much aplomb (they're actually good and musically produced). It's nice to hear a track about the current state of the 'system' that doesn't just blame the white man and that acknowledges the struggle of all. Although this track is quite eerie you'll find yourself singing along and thoroughly enjoying it. If I'd have done this soon enough you'd have benefitted from the entire single as a free download on their myspace page - that's over now but you can still listen to the tracks and I'd recommend you do.

Lastly, but not leastly(?!), from an even more independent source is True Self's 'Certified Suicide'. True Self raps over an awesomely chilled, self produced head nod beat, with voice that comes like a northern, British version of B Real. Thankfully this aint a track about weed OR pigs. True Self speaks on life and death and despite the title, this isn't music to slit your wrists to; it's surprisingly upbeat given its topic. If this Grimsby lad keeps up the grind, he could do well for himself but unfortunately in this country and at these times, it's all about the grind. Download the single here for 89p.

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