The always politically-outspoken M.I.A. has apparently decided to join Copper Cab and South Park by wading into the choppy waters of the “gingers” debate. Her extremely NSFW, nine-minute video for new track “Born Free” is directed by Romain Gavras and follows a group of red-headed folks as they get rounded up and forced to endure some pretty awful things by a gang of black-attired goons.
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On April 26, 1980, Los Angeles punk band X released their debut. Named after the city which spawned them, the album was a definitive release which not only put the Los Angeles punk scene on the map, but also inspired countless other young bands to look beyond the standard aggro punk idiom.
Los Angeles was produced by Ray Manzarek, who not only contributed keyboards to some of its songs, but also made sure to throw in a tune by his old band, the Doors (“Soul Kitchen”) for good measure.
John Doe and Exene Cervenka were the acknowledged leaders of the group, writing the album’s eight original numbers and sharing vocal duties, but guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer D.J. Bonebrake were every bit as crucial to the band’s early sound.
If it’s not actually possible to hop into a time machine and relive the thrill of the early Los Angeles punk scene, perhaps this clip of “Los Angeles” from X: The Unheard Music will evoke some of its spirit.
Ethiopian-born and Bay Area-dwelling Meklit Hadero is one of those restless, creative souls that was literally born to be an artist. Easily straddling the musical worlds of African music and California artsy singer-songwriterdom, Hadero has worked for years within the San Francisco arts community. Her record label (Porto Franco Records) describes her perfectly: “If Joni Mitchell were East African and met Nina Simone for tea in San Francisco’s Mission District, she might end up sounding like Meklit Hadero.” Her full-length debut album, On a Day Like This… was released just last week and in this video you can sample the tune “Abbay Mado”, as well as get a glimpse of her creative process through a brief interview segment.
Porto Franco Records is offering up half of On a Day Like This… for free download in exchange for your email address. You can pick up those MP3s via the widget below.
If the 30 coolest people on the planet (30 because that is how many most likely remain) were to be ranked by awesomeness, innovation, and talent, PJ Harvey would have a strong showing in the top three. Because of this, Harvey can render whatever setting she finds herself situated in ineffably cooler, even when that setting involves an autoharp, “Istanbul” by the Four Lads (made famous by They Might Be Giants), the studio of a politics-focused BBC chat show, and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Need evidence? Just watch this video of Harvey performing the new song, “Let England Shake” below.
In an interview appearing on the same show, Harvey tells host Andrew Marr that half of her new album was written on the autoharp. Hey you, all thumbs indie kid: get your fill of autoharping now, because pretty soon that instrument will be untouchable.
Junior Boys lend their remixing talents to “Odessa” off Caribou’s recent release Swim. Timothy Gabriele said this about the tune in his recent review: “Swim seems mostly to focus on wronged females who must either ‘swim’ or drown. Foremost is ‘Odessa’, the lead single and definitely one of the most defiantly eccentric of the bunch. The song is about a woman who is ‘tired of crying and she’s sick of these lies / She’s suffered him for far too many years of her life’ and is now ‘Taking the kids / Driving away’. The main hook is a processed vocal sample somewhere halfway between a dolorous weep and a ghostly moan. Its pairing with persistent bass, colorful keyboard rolls, cowbell tings, and microfunk accents seems mismatched at first, but the song grows on the listener after repeated spins. It has the tendency to recall the first time one hears the off-putting tenacity of Japan’s ‘Still Life in Mobile Homes’ opening up Tin Drum. Its conjunctions sound too aberrant to be pop proper until one adjusts him or herself outside of the conservatism of a 50-year radio model.”