Tag Archives: MIA

Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

The Thousand Points Of Light Memorial Waterfall lies dry at the center of the Super 7 Mega Mall food court tetrahedron, and everybody’s got an opinion as to why. Hair triggers, we have them. In this new reality of hot takes and burning questions, it’s fun to clamber onto a roof and shout “BELL BOTTOMS” over and over into the night sky. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion strut their way outta “Frontier Justice” in its college radio days and into this new consciousness, the latest FJ delivery system being Spotify. And speaking of that new consciousness, on this set JSBX drops into the void between Danny Brown‘s stuttering, claustrophobic “Ain’t It Funny” on one side and Lady Gaga‘s “Diamond Heart” on the other. Young, wild Americans, both.

Spotify: Frontier Justice 2/19/17 (35 songs, 2 hr 3 min)

At the top of the set, Norway’s Sigrid makes her debut with “Don’t Kill My Vibe” and M.I.A. returns with the typically martial “P.O.W.A.” Minor Threat and Agent Orange remind us that the establishment was riling up the youth in the early moments of the Me Decade, Patti Smith remains royalty, and “Said It Already” is new, incisive and grooving from young Londoner Ama Lou. Elsewhere, Tommy Genesis oozes volatility and effortless after-hours club cool on “Art,” and Dai Burger wants to be your class president. Did you know Michelle Branch is back? Hopeless Romantic is her first full-length in 13 years; it was written and co-produced with Patrick Carney of the Black Keys, and sounds like it. Angel Olsen released one of 2016’s best records in My Woman — The engrossing, cinematic “Sister” is a highlight — and digging deep into the Spotify Sound Vaults reveals classic material in a new light: Elvis Presley brings both vulnerability and bluesy swing to an alternate take of “Heartbreak Hotel,” and The Supremes are full of funky soul on “Bad Weather,” the 1973 nugget produced and written by Stevie Wonder.

There’s some Ratt along the way, because after all, what goes around comes around (and they’ll tell you why), L.A. Witch is back with cool new stuff for Suicide Squeeze, RTJ remind us to stay hungry and pissed, and Eminem is no less than unhinged on “No Favors,” one of the many standouts on Big Sean‘s terrific new record I Decided.

Making playlists isn’t protest. It’s not political action. But it can be a soundtrack for both dancing and dissent, and do its best to uphold the art of discourse, which in these polarizing times is increasingly under attack. And if you want to completely check out, there’s always room on Goat‘s delightfully weird magic carpet. Here, “Try My Robe.”

JTL

You can also try an Apple Music playlist. Let me know if this works. -ed.

Continue reading Listen to Frontier Justice 2/19/17

M.I.A: Bob Your Head In Tune To The Beat

Maya ArulpragasamM.I.A. at Central Park’s SummerStage

New York, August 7, 2005

Ahhh, shit.

The words “MAXIMUM CAPACITY” sent a cold shot down my spine on an otherwise pleasantly warm afternoon. You see, my year has led up to this day–starting late last year when someone had recommended Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1, the block-rocking mixtape from the suddenly iconic M.I.A. and her deejay Diplo. While initially unimpressed, Piracy eventually won me over. By the time Arular was released in March, I was salivating. And both albums have dominated the iPod since.

It only seemed natural that Maya Arulpragasam would perform a free show to wind down the 20th anniversary of the Central Park SummerStage series–she has become the face of the most revolutionary form of music since punk, and quite possibly the future of pop music as we know it. So what better way to conclude one of the more diverse musical series in the country than to begin to look forward to the next era?

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M.I.A. and Diplo – Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1

M.I.A. and Diplo – Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1

OK, fanboys: stop drooling.

Yes, she’s beautiful. And Piracy Funds Terrorism, Vol. 1, the saliva-inducing mix-taped preview to her forthcoming full-length, Arular, is seriously good. Granted. As far as potential world-shattering pop stars are concerned, we could do worse then the Sri-Lankan-by-way-of-London M.I.A., who’s been absolutely everywhere these days. But one mixtape does not an icon make, and everyone should be weary of heaping too much praise on our hero before she’s actually presented something deserving.

Piracy Funds Terrorism buzzes through your average club “bangers”—Diplo takes some old favorites for a second spin (Salt-n-Peppa’s “Push It”, Miss Elliott’s “Pass the Dutch”, Dead Prez’s “Hip Hop”) and M.I.A. effortlessly graces his works/re-works with enough hooks and choruses to put every other “diva” to shame.

But M.I.A., birthed into a family of political activism and parental revolutionaries, is sort of cheating us. When displaying her skill as an artist and writer in non-music related mediums, her intelligence and scope of world issues is apparent. It seems slightly disappointing then, given her background and the title of the tape itself, that she doesn’t use this inclusive effort created separate from the politics of the music industry to introduce some breadth of culture and conflict to a more mainstream audience—to take her place as “it” girl, and potentially far more, and try and spark change.

However, on second thought, that’s what guys like Bono do everyday and I know for a fact that I’m not the only one who’s a little sick of him. Maybe M.I.A.’s contribution to world change is her ability to start a dance revolution. If that’s the case, for now, she’s succeeded.