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Video of the Moment #2398: Dizzee Rascal

 
By on Tuesday, 11th July 2017 at 6:00 pm
 

Some may have perceived Dizzee Rascal as a bit of a lightweight in recent years, having turned his back on the style and sound that he had initially found fame with in ‘Boy in Da Corner’ back in 2003. To be fair, though, he wouldn’t have been the first artist to experiment with a more popular direction, right? Those naysayers should be cheering now, as the first tasters of his upcoming album ‘Raskit’ suggest he’s going back to his grime roots. ‘Wot U Gonna Do?’ follows ‘Space’, and judging from the populist support for it already, ‘Raskit’ will do very well in the charts when it’s released on the 21st of July on Dirtee Stank / Island Records. Watch the video for ‘Wot U Gonna Do?’ below. It’s been a bit since we’ve written about Dizzee Rascal on here, but you can read some older posts through here.

 

Video of the Moment #1081: Dizzee Rascal

 
By on Friday, 4th January 2013 at 6:00 pm
 

What would you do if Dizzee Rascal stopped outside your house with enormous speakers? You can see how a kid would react in this video for ‘Bassline Junkie’. There’s also some questionable things afoot in a prison, a club and a church. In that order. All involving Dizzee, of course.

There’s strong – if humourous – language throughout, so you might consider watching this first before letting your kid or your younger siblings watch this. Proceed with your own risk.

 

(Olympics 2012 flavoured!) Single Review: Dizzee Rascal featuring Pepper – Scream

 
By on Friday, 27th July 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Editor’s note: All of TGTF’s coverage of London 2012 Olympics is available through this link.

Whilst meaning no disrespect to the other five Olympic singles, out of all the performers invited to contribute, Dizzee Rascal surely has the most genuine claim to personal connection with the Games, as he was brought up in Bow, just a javelin’s throw from where the Olympic village now stands in Stratford. This fact surely didn’t escape the attention of organisers when choosing Rascal to provide a song; his personal narrative neatly encapsulates both the rags-to-riches tale of this particular part of east London, whilst reinforcing the best that its varied cultural mix can produce. ‘Scream’, whilst not specifically written with this event in mind (YouTube shows the tune doing the festival rounds this time last year), carries some particularly apposite lyrical content, with its talk of “Worldwide athletic champion”, even though such sentiment is inspired more by the Rocky films than any explicit affinity with the Olympic movement.

After that the lyrics get a bit hazy – yes, I am a white boy from Yorkshire, not a hood from the East side, so I can’t decipher every word of the rapid flow. But if I’m not mistaken, in the latter half of the song there’s a decent bit of social critique of the culture of his roots, of both male violence and female promiscuity, providing a much-needed voice of common sense where politicians dare not to tread, either because they are afraid of being opportunistically accused of racism by their opposition, or because they misguidedly turn a blind eye to social ills in minority communities, mistaking genuine poor behaviour for the perceived norms of a poorly-understood breakaway culture. The song wraps up with an inspiring evocation to be the “future flame” – very Olympian.

Musically, the piece continues Dizzee’s talent for taking very basic ingredients (a sampled harp riff, a few familiar synth tones, the most basic white-noise snare), and making a decent song out of it. Whilst there isn’t a proper chorus, there’s a lovely female vocal refrain sung by Dirtee Stank signing Pepper to break up the rapping. In fact the song never truly climaxes, but for the TV soundtrack purposes to which it will no doubt be put, that’s probably no bad thing. Overall, this is a decent song, particularly the lyrical sentiment, which covers a lot of ground in its sub-three minutes. A decent shock of individual inspiration to counterpoint to the bland, suffocating authoritarianism of the political and commercial concerns that have so dominated the run-up to the Games themselves. And in that sense, Rascal displays all the qualities of a successful Olympian athlete. Let the Games begin!

7/10

Dizzee Rascal’s ‘Scream’ featuring Pepper will be released on Monday the 5th of August.

 

Homegrown British Talent to Shine at London 2012 Summer Olympic Games

 
By on Friday, 29th June 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Seeing that everyone around the globe will have their eyes fixed on London next month with the start of the summer 2012 Olympics there, it’s only appropriate that we at TGTF Towers get involved with a post of our own. Regarding the musical selections for the Games, of course. Britain being Britain, the Olympic organisers were spoilt for choice on which artists to tap for this international showcasing event. Just in this week, we’re getting more names and details on what to expect ahead of the official start of the Games. (This post is mainly about the expected Olympic-related releases, but there is also word that there will be surprise gigs in London, which is another ball of wax entirely.)

The news of what we would hear to herald in the 2012 event started last winter, when in November 2011, it was revealed that Manchester’s Mercury Prize-winning and reigning (no longer) indie band Elbow (pictured above) would be providing the song ‘First Steps’ to soundtrack the BBC’s coverage of the momentous occasion. The song in its finished form made the rounds on telly in this promo advert in May to coincide with the Olympic torch relay that made its was all over the country.

For ‘First Steps’, Elbow decided to use a recorded choir vocal instead of Guy Garvey’s, presumably to make it more about the public and less about Elbow. In his typical self-deprecating style, Garvey has said of their contribution, “for our music to be sound-tracking it, there was a big feeling of responsibility but also we’re just dead proud to be doing it. And strange as well with none of us really being athletic.”

On Wednesday, the BBC reported Muse would be providing the Games’ official song. Called ‘Survival’, it’s already proving to be as polarising as the strange dubstep-infused trailer they released as a teaser for their next album, ‘The 2nd Law’. While there is no argument that there is an incredible amount of tradition, pomp and circumstance surrounding the XXX Olympiad, what strikes you first about this this new song ‘Survival’ is how un-Muse it is. To me, it sounds like they are trying far too hard to sound like a 21st century Queen, emphasising on making a more bombastic sound that embraces the theatrical instead of either going for something poppy, which might make it all the more enjoyable for the masses, or staying true to the Muse vision.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gO61AdifK9k

But beyond what we have heard in full from Elbow and Muse are all the other question marks: what are the contributions from other artists going to sound like? The BBC also let loose on Wednesday that special singles from Elton John vs. Pnau, Dizzee Rascal, the Chemical Brothers and Delphic will also be released during July and August.

Let us first consider the first of these. Pnau is an Australian dance duo whose song ‘Sad’ “includes elements from a number of Elton John original sound recordings including ‘Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word’, ‘Crazy Water’ and ‘Curtains’ to name but a few”. Before hearing it, I thought well, this could go either way: it could be a horrible, ill-advised sampling experiment gone wrong, or it could be something refreshingly new and different. Then I found the official video. What is this? It reminds me of Empire of the Sun in a way, and not in a good way. In any event, remember them, because you can expect Pnau to become a household name; how they (or their management) was able to score Olympic promotion just in time for the release of their debut album is quite a marketing coup.

Dizzee Rascal needs no introduction. He’s been making the rounds at many summer festivals, including both Evolution and Beach Break Live that we’ve managed to cover. As you might have already expected, Dizzee surely knew he was going to have this honour long ago, as the below ‘Your Britain’ video shows him talking about his childhood and having a look round at the stadium where presumably he will be performing on opening night. I think it’s safe to say we can expect a high-octane, bounce-a-minute stonker from him that will get people bopping all over the world.

Then we are left with the Chemical Brothers and Delphic. This is where we only guess what will happen, which is rather interesting because the two bands, while both dance-oriented and from Manchester, are at opposite sides of the career spectrum. Neither band has released anything since their last albums in 2010: ‘Further’, the Chems’ seventh, and ‘Acolyte’, the debut for Delphic. While there has been a long time of incubation, shall we say, since we last heard anything new from either of them, they have probably only had the last 6 to 8 months, at most, to think about how they want to be remembered with the memory of the 2012 Olympic Games.

The Chemical Brothers have not talked publicly about their involvement, but Delphic excitedly Tweeted “We cant [sic] tell you how much it means to be involved with a world spectacle so great it only comes around every 4 years. this time on our patch”, which says to me not only have they given this a great deal of thought, but they also considered the gravity of the situation and what it means when the eyes of the world (or, perhaps the ears are better suited in this case) are put squarely on you.

We here at TGTF will be looking forward to the coming weeks for word on all these official releases. This is definitely one Olympics where the excitement regarding the music specially made for the event equals or exceeds the excitement for the actual sport. Reuters has reported the remaining releases are scheduled to drop as follows: Elton John vs. Pnau on 16 July, Delphic on 23 July, Chemical Brothers on 30 July and Dizzee Rascal on 6 August. The Muse single ‘Survival’ is available for purchase now.

 

Beach Break Live 2012: Day 2 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 27th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

The rain continued into Day 2 of Beach Break Live, but the spirits were still high. Powering through torrid conditions is what us Brits do best. We used to venture into Wales all the time through awful conditions, steal a few of their women, then come straight back and we’d have the best of times. Ok ,maybe the 10th century is a little different, but still, there are similarities.

To start the day of pillaging-free fun off were TGTF favourites Brother and Bones who played the main stage for the 3rd year running, saying that “Beach Break had kind of become a bit of a home away from home”. Opening the set with the somewhat ironically titled ‘Here Comes the Storm’, they were met with a mass of shivering students, none too familiar with their music. Their set mixed in some oldies and some tracks which are being recorded for their new EP. (More on that later on our exclusive interview with the boys.) They closed their short set with heavy as hell ‘Don’t Forget to Pray’, which certainly had the rain-soaked audience headbanging along with the boys from Cornwall. While the reaction may not have been great, they were by far the highlight of the main stage acts early that day.

It was a while until the next notable act hit the stage. But when he did, my wordm it was worth it. Reeling from the success he has seen this year, Labrinth stormed the stage with a huge presence. The audience responded to his brilliant stage show and his array of hits. However, there was only one song which everyone was waiting for, and that was ‘Earthquake.’ Would it be too cheesy to say he caused an ‘Earthquake’? Verdict: he did.

To follow up was another artist who saw his stock rise over 2011, Wretch 32, whose set seemed a little more laboured than Labrinth’s. While it was a good mix of covers and established hits, it lacked something that the earlier act had. Still, in ‘Traktor’ he has a solid festival favourite, which had everybody in the agricultural spirit.

DJ Fresh was up next, with a set which carried on the mediocrity. When you’d watched Nero and Chase and Status the night before, it’s difficult to think how an artist with a repertoire pretty much as long as ‘Hot Right Now’ can stand up to them.

Finally on the Main Stage was the heavyweight of the festival, Dizzee Rascal. Bouncing on stage with masses of energy, he banged out the hits. From his old school ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’ to his newest single ‘The Power’, during which he was joined on stage by DJ Fresh. By then, the atmosphere was jumping and people were going mad for Dizzee, hanging on every word and clawing their way to the front. That’s what Dizzee inspired. Closing the set with ‘Holiday’ and ‘Bonkers’, he left Pembrey as king of the site.

 

Evolution Weekender 2012: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Friday, 15th June 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Author’s note: This festival is not meant for me. The admissions policy admits anyone of 14 years of age or over without a chaperone, making this event one of the most significant dates in the social calendar for pre-legal-drinking-age schoolchildren. The fact that there were several bands on the bill that appealed to me seems nothing more than a coincidence in hindsight. So I pray the reader will forgive what may come across as something of a grumpy outlook in the forthcoming prose. I would have loved to have heard the bands properly, but the sound of a thousand squeaky voices dominated. Here we go…

Not long into his first song, headliner Dizzee Rascal halts proceedings to allow several paramedics to safely extract a particularly distressed child from the crowd. Security had spent at least 15 minutes before he took the stage pulling crying children over the fence to safety, whilst commendably providing umpteen cups of water from a dustbin to those youngsters who had spent the interval awaiting his appearance, only to find themselves crushed hard against the barrier as stage time approached. The less mentally able members of the crowd took it upon themselves to throw the generously proffered drinks backwards over their heads, drenching those behind them, and wasting the potential succour that fresh water could have given those who were unprepared for the demands of such a populous event.

At all times the conduct of the security staff remained beyond reproach – they rescued all who were in need, and provided refreshment and comfort to those who decided they were prepared to remain and brave the onslaught. What remains questionable is the target demographic of the event itself. Live music events with large numbers of attendees are usually an adult affair. Allowing 14-year-olds to attend alone, guarantees that substantial numbers within the crowd are emotionally and physically unprepared for the climax of such a busy event. Imagine grown adults being hoisted desperately crying from the barrier of the pyramid stage at Glastonbury, just as the headline act is about to appear – it simply doesn’t happen.

The most drunken and incapable members of the crowd were the youngest. Who on Earth consents to their teenage daughter leaving the house in her underwear with only a bottle of vodka for company is beyond me. Whoever they are, they should read this and hang their heads in shame, for they have knowingly exposed their children to grave risk of injury and distress. In future, this event may consider requiring under-18s to be chaperoned into the main arena. Since the dance-orientated Ballast Hills venue was full from early afternoon, your correspondent cannot comment on conditions there. It may be that that venue was more appropriate for those of a more inexperienced and excitable temperament, being a wide, grassy space, rather than a long, narrow, fenced car park.

All that said, there were some fine musical performances. Miles Kane proved that if the promoters cannot afford the services of Paul Weller or Arctic Monkeys, he can act as a reasonably adequate substitute. His plum tailored suit was a particular highlight.

Maximo Park delivered a set greater than their tenuous grasp on relevance; Paul Smith remains an excellent frontman, despite his band lacking a killer dynamic. Newly-unveiled album title track ‘The National Health’ was a particular highlight. But it falls to Dog is Dead to be the unlikely winner from a very peculiar day of music. Their easygoing jangly guitar pop didn’t harm anyone, nor did it cause a crush, and perfectly served the clearing clouds. And damned with such faint praise is the first of the two days of Newcastle Evolution Festival 2012.



Martin’s musing of day 2 at Evolution will be posted early next week!

 
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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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