Larry Ryan: Caught in the Net

Depending on you how feel about using gunshots for percussion, "Paper Planes" may have been the standout track of MIA's 2007 album, Kala; regardless, sampling The Clash's "Straight to Hell" was inspired. The song has enjoyed a long Indian summer, propelling to number four in the US charts after featuring as the theme tune for the latest stoner "bromance" film, Pineapple Express. Meanwhile, remixing the track has been an obsession in hip-hop in the past year. Even Fifty Cent got involved –

The Mad Decent blog streams the latest effort with Trey Songz rapping over the top –, and the site has one of the original remixes by MIA collaborator Diplo, with Bun B and Rich Boy supplying vocals – Said remix features on the Paper Planes (Homeland Security Remixes) EP, released on iTunes in February.

"Swagga Like Us", by US rapper TI, also uses a sample from the MIA song. From his forthcoming album Paper Trail, the song was leaked to the web last month, and features vocals from Jay-Z, Lil Wayne and Kanye West; listen on the Hype Machine site –

West is also streaming several versions of "Love Lockdown" on – his blog. It's expected to be the first single from his new album, 808s & Heartbreak. West also contributed to the Barack Obama campaign album, Yes We Can: Voices of a Grassroots Movement – buy it at

In April, Radiohead invited all-comers to remix their song "Nude". More than 2,000 people did. Almost a year on from the honesty-box release of In Rainbows, the band is getting back on the remix horse. Since Monday, another track from In Rainbows, "Reckoner", has been available on their site to download and remix – Until 23 October, you can upload your effort to the site. Diplo has already posted his attempt. Show-off.

Lisa Hannigan is less musically adventurous than MIA, but still worth attention. She's best remembered as the foil to Damien Rice's warblings, but her new album, Sea Sew, might change that. The record, while falling very much into the bracket of singer-songwriter, is a quiet delight. Currently only available in shops in Ireland, it can be heard and ordered at

For something altogether louder, take note of Baltimore's Ponytail. This four-piece, sounding like Yoko Ono fronting a chaotic psychedelic rock band, make a wonderful racket. Three crazed songs are available on their MySpace page. Look out for "Celebrate the Body Electric" and see a live performance at com/watch?v=emg_2tD-by8.

Head down the eastern seaboard and you'll land in Washington DC – home of a vibrant hardcore punk scene in the Eighties, with bands such as Bad Brains and Minor Threat. Ian MacKaye, founder of the latter, bears a passing resemblance to one Ben Kingsley. In an odd turn of events, Sir Ben stars in a tribute video to the band, now showing on the website of Mean magazine.

In the elegantly shot clip, Kingsley rocks out to the band's signature call to arms, "Minor Threat", enjoying the tropes of a hardcore punk: pogoing, goading fans, stage-diving. It's a somewhat disconcerting role for Kingsley but given the clean-living credo of DC punks, it might be the closest he gets to reprising the spirit of his most famous role, as the Mahatma – although Gandhi would probably have balked at the moshpit.


Diddy TV
Whether one is laughing with or at Diddy in his video blogs on the YouTube channel, entitled DiddyTV, is up for debate, but they're certainly enjoyable and baffling. From his heartfelt tribute to Kanye West – "I'm in love with hip-hop again" – to his disbelief at John McCain's selection of Sarah Palin – "John, you are buggin' the fuck out, man" – it's worth a look. Most recent is "Swagger Like Puff", a lo-fi remix video of TI's "Swagger Like Us" (see main column), complete with props, miming and bizarre dancing.