Caught in the Net - MIA sees red in violent new video
Friday 30 April 2010
The video for MIA's new song "Born Free" is certainly intended to shock. The ultra-violent clip by the French director Romain Gavras portrays what could be called a ginger genocide, wherein police round up a bunch of red-haired teenagers and then set about killing them – if you can bear watching to the end it gets very grizzly. See it at miauk.com. Given her penchant for political statements it can possibly be seen as a comment on the situation of the Tamil people in her family's Sri Lankan homeland, or on racial profiling. I've got red hair (for my sins) so I'm not sure how I should feel about this video, but it doesn't strike me as the most nuanced of affairs. The track itself, which sees MIA layer her rapping/talking/ singing trick over fuzzy-electro punk, is decent enough, but perhaps piggybacks a little too much on top of a sample of Suicide's "Ghost Rider".
Grizzly Bear are feeling lucky
Grizzly Bear, following 2009's much-loved album Veckatimest, now make a return of sorts. In an unlikely move the four-piece have contributed a song (possibly new or just previously unheard) to an ad for the Washington State Lottery. Following the same path of last year's efforts, it's an intricate dash of artful pop – dash being the operative word, given that we only get to hear 60 seconds of the track. The promo directed by the brilliant Patrick Daughters, who directed the band's "Two Weeks" video alongside memorable work for numerous other bands, is rather lovely, too. See the whole thing at goo.gl/Aqdg.
No need for a crowd in new series
For No One (fornoone.tv) is a new music performance series from Chicago. Created by Daniel Ryan – seemingly with the help of the 4AD label – the series offers an "intimate glimpse of bands playing to a room without a crowd". The first take is a sumptuously shot video of The Big Pink performing an extended version of "Crystal Visions", the opening track from their 2009 debut album. It's sort of like a one band Later with Jools Holland, but without the crowd, or Jools, or all that "boogie-woogie".
Indie supergroup remain upbeat
The Vancouver indie supergroup The New Pornographers return with their fifth album Together. The band, which has at least seven regular members and three lead vocalists (Neko Case is among them), also recruited high-profile guests for the record, including Zach Condon of Beirut and St Vincent's Annie Clark. As befits a powerpop band releasing an album in May, it's an upbeat collection of songs. Hear the record in full before next week's release on NPR's Exclusive First Listen series at npr.org/music.
A Premier homage to the rap Guru
Following the recent death of the US rapper Guru, his former partner in Gang Starr, DJ Premier, has marked the sad occasion with a mix on his blog at goo.gl/6wOK. The "Keith 'Guru' Elam Tribute Mix" is a free download from the site and features two hours of material charting a fruitful, nearly two- decade long collaboration.
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