About The Cold Cut...

The musings of a teenage audiophile. Indie, Rock, Hip-Hop, Rap, Dance, Dubstep, Garage, Metal... music crosses all boundaries. The Cold Cut is devoted to giving you a taste of what's going on in music at the moment.

About Me

A 17 year old taking his first tentative steps into the world of blogging. In my first year, its been up and down, from the slow first months to a busy time around the one year anniversary.

Kanye West ft. Daft Punk/Jay Z/Ludacris/Talib Kweli/Common/Adam Levine and now Chris Martin: Going solo anytime soon?

I'm not exactly sure of the reason behind it, but lately loads of rappers and hip hop artists have been reigning in singer-songwriters to guest on their record: the latest to join their ranks is Kanye West, who has roped in Chris Martin of Coldplay to sing on Homecoming, one of the leaked tracks off Graduation, out 10th September. As much as I love Kanye and Coldplay, this song is a dud from start to finish- there's nothing distinguishing about it- and I found myself slightly bored about a minute in, something which rarely happens without reason. It's a bit of an anti-climax to release/leak this after the brilliance of Stronger (my favourite hip-hop track this year, hands down)...

Another worrying thing I've noticed about Kanye is he can't seem to sustain a record by himself anymore- at least 5 or 6 tracks on each of his albums have the dreaded featuring stamp. Keep this up Kanye, and you could find yourself becoming the new Timbaland: On his new album Shock Value, Timba is only on his own for one of the 19 tracks... I appreciate that having a variety of different artists looks great from a business perspective, but sometimes, we (the paying customers) just want to hear the artist by themselves rather than with a plethora of random "hip-hop legends/singers".

Well, that's the rant over- Homecoming is included at the bottom of this post, and now I'm going to go and give it a few more listens before I decide is total rubbish. Just to put my conscience at rest, what do you guys/girls think? Am I right/wrong? Please let me know... This hasn't deflated my expectations for Graduation- I still think it's going to be a great album, only worse than it could have been... Follow the link below to download the track:

Kanye West ft. Chris Martin- Homecoming

Graduation can be pre-ordered here

M.I.A.- Kala Review

A couple of weeks ago I highlighted the release of Kala, M.I.A.'s second album, which I now possess- this is a comprehensive review of her Mercury nominated album. First off, what's changed since Arular? Well, she seems to have focussed her sound, only not in the way you would expect. If it's possible, there are even more genres forced together on this album, but the change made has been towards the albums' production: front and centre this time lies Maya's voice, which has progressed towards the point where she is singing alongside her trademark rapping, something which is quite unsettling when you first hear it on infectious opener Bamboo Banga. This soon passes, though, and by the time you reach leaked single Bird Flu you wonder where her voice was last time around (Bird Flu features the original sample of a chicken- appropriate, don't you think?). Then comes the one-two punch of Boyz, my personal favourite, a relentless track with lyrics that I can't even begin to comprehend, and then Jimmy, a remix of a song from Disco Dancer, 1982 Bollywood Film. The rest of the album has a consistently great mix of beats and raps, with standouts being 20 Dollar, XR2 and sleek album closer Come Around, featuring Timbaland, who was one of the producer's on Kala.

Kala is a much more intelligent album than it's predecessor, which is saying something considering Arular was hailed for its political poignancy. If you listen closely, there are numerous pop culture references hidden on the album: on 20 Dollar M.I.A. features the lyrics of The Pixies 'Where Is My Mind?' as it's chorus, and Paper Planes openly samples The Clash's 'Straight To Hell'. On top of this, there are numerous Bollywood references and cultural secrets, something which I didn't notice but are evidently there (check out fansites for proof). But never mind that- this is an album that transcends cultural differences: I love all the songs on this album, even though I can't make sense of at least 5 of them. But is there anything I don't like about it? Well, it's verging on being a bit overlong at 12 tracks full of beats, but the mix is better than last time around because of slower tracks such as Paper Planes, which has a full choir in the background, alongside gunshots of course.

This album is a definite improvement over her first offering, and really proves to all the hater's that M.I.A. is an artist with some real substance and staying power. Whereas many loved Arular purely for it's beats- disregarding Maya's vocals all the while- I hope the reception for Kala will be based on the beats alongside her rapping/singing. Another main difference between this and Arular is the overall quality of the music- all 12 tracks have a much more polished feel to them, in all senses; The colossal beats are more clean-cut, Maya's voice is now the centre of the songs and the album seems more like a production rather than a random collection of beats and raps. With Kala, M.I.A. has become the hip-hop artist so many people mistook her for, but not without sacrificing the differences which made her music special... Follow the links below to download some of the best tracks of Kala:

M.I.A.- Bamboo Banga
M.I.A.- Boyz
M.I.A.- Bird Flu
M.I.A.- Jimmy
M.I.A. ft. Timbaland- Come Around

Kala can be purchased here

The Courteeners: Manchester's Musical Messiah's

Since a little band called Oasis swaggered onto the music scene over a decade ago and promptly left a gigantic legacy, many bands have attempted to take that throne- in recent years I can highlight a few: Arctic Monkeys, Kasabian and The Libertines, all of whom made valiant attempts but have thus far failed. To be fair to them, whilst these bands have the tunes, none of them have quite fill the character-void left when brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher toned it down a bit. Alex Turner, whilst being a lyrical genius, isn't exactly the most thrilling of characters, The Libertines weren't together long enough to make an impact and Kasabian's Tom Meighan has come the closest but he still doesn't match up to the combined impact of the Gallagher brothers. In Liam Fray of The Courteeners, however, we may just have found someone with all the tunes as well as the attitude.

Let me explain- The Courteeners are the brainchild of Liam Fray, a one time acoustic singer songwriter who started the bands with local Manchester friends a couple of months ago. He was making huge waves before The Courteeners, though- he's been compared to Morrissey in his lyrical prowess by big names such as John Squire (of Stone Roses) . They've only released one song commercially so far- Cavorting- which was on a limited release. Full of no-nonsense lyrics and natural vocals, it's already a huge favourite at their gigs. And that brings me to their live performances... well, lets just say they managed to sell out Academy 3 in their hometown Manchester, before they had actually released any material. On top of this, most of the people there knew the words to all the songs, half of which haven't even been committed to disc yet... that's what you call a buzz. However, let me just say, go and see them before they're snapped up by some huge identikit music label: once they're commercialised I doubt you'll ever be able to see them perform live in the same way again...

Cavorting can be bought nowhere, because it's really good AND rare... (check out the £30 ones on eBay if you're really desperate). Check out their MySpace page here

Once Upon A Time In The West: The most pretentious album (non) art ever

Oh, Hard-Fi, what have you gone and done? It's not exactly in keeping with your "Staines is a shithole" image to pull some pretentious bullshit for your second album proper. Let me explain- Once Upon A Time In The West, the follow up to Stars of CCTV, comes out on September 3rd, minus any album art whatsoever. Sure, the sound is the same old Hard-Fi, but lead single Suburban Knights comes with the cover above- what's the point? I think it may be a little early in their career to pull off stuff like this: lead singer Richard Archer is already claiming that it's the new White album. A pretty risky call to make, but he has always been that little bit arrogant...

If you look at it objectively, there is a little bit of intelligence to the whole idea- although it makes the band out to be completely up themselves, its quite an innovative advertising idea. If only they had waited until later on in their career, they might just have gotten away with it. Alas, already people are giving their album one star on amazon, purely because they hate the album artwork. Thankfully, a bit more delving reveals that the album is going to be good: early reviews are very positive, which might just save the band from from looking completely ridiculous in the future. If Suburban Knights is anything to go by, it could turn out to be a really solid album- the single is full of catchy sing-a-long bits and classic riffs. Either way, this stunt has got them a bucket load of press, and any publicity is good publicity, right? RIGHT?

Hard-Fi- Suburban Knights
Hard-Fi- Cash Machine
Hard-Fi- Tied Up Too Tight

Once Upon A Time In The West can be pre-ordered here

No, I'm not running out of things to write about...

For those of you who have been reading for while now, you might have noticed that I've been writing about some bands very frequently at the moment (example- Reverend And The Makers). Just to say that this is because I want to get all of these Lowlands stories out of my system so I can go back to writing about up and coming bands. And to put it to rest, NO, I am not running out of things to write about. Keep reading please!

iTunes: The search for an ever growing music library

In the age of iTunes and MySpace, I think it's easy to lose appreciation of what buying music is all really about. My iTunes library currently stands at a paltry 17.69 GB, something which I am not proud of and am trying to fix at the moment (my iPod died a few weeks ago, along with all the music contained on it)... However, if you were to convert that 17.69 Gigabytes of music into CDs, you might be shocked at how much tuneage that actually is. Going on the assumption that each CD is 12 tracks, and on average each track on a CD is 3 megabytes, I would own approximately 500 CDs. That's a lot of CDs, and yet 15 GB is a normal amount of music to own nowadays... is that good? Or bad? My opinion falls to the former- that's not to say I haven't noticed that more and more purists are complaining about mp3s, stating they can't compare to CDs or vinyls. Although this is essentially an mp3 blog, to a certain extent they are correct.

I can see certain things about mp3's that don't match up to CDs: you don't get sleeve notes, a CD case or the anticipation of going out to buy a new release. However, the positives for mp3's more than outweigh the negatives. First and foremost, they are cheaper- £7.99 for an album is way cheaper than in the stores, and this is applied across the board on iTunes, regardless of album length. On top of this, buying an mp3 is incredibly easy: just search, click and download. Also, on most online music stores you can see interactive charts and reviews, which give you an idea of what's good and what's bad. Another great thing is that mp3s can be bought individually- if you like one song from an album you don't have to buy the whole thing to get it. Finally, for the space conscious of you, the only thing mp3s take up is your computer's hard drive. Of course, this also applies to the machine's which play them- when I see my old CD player in my cupboard I can't help but laugh- imagine carrying around 500 CDs with you every time you go out for a run! An mp3 player? Small and pocketable, solely because mp3s are infinitesimally small (aka non-existent)...

And there you go- because mp3s are non-existent in the sense of the word, you don't get any feeling of their size or quantity. For this exact reason, I want 30 gigabytes of music when my current 17 is enough to fill up a sizeable space in the real world. But does this bother me? Nah, not really- long live the mp3! The cheaper, better sounding, more efficient way of listening to music... and just for the unconvinced of you, some tracks from my iTunes library:

Basement Jaxx- Good Luck
Cold War Kids- Hang Me Up To Dry
Guillemots- We're Here
Justice Vs. Simian- We Are Your Friends
Mark Ronson- Oh My God
Our Lady Peace- Somewhere Out There
Rilo Kiley- It's A Hit
The Rakes- Suspicious Eyes

The Killers @ Lowlands Festival, 10 PM Friday 17th August

As is usual at Lowlands, the main headliners each day start their set at 10 PM, after the much anticipated build-up at the largest stage, Alpha. Just before their performance, a buzz spreads through the crowd, numbering some 35,000 people on average, situated inside the 25,000 capacity tent or on the surrounding hills. On this occasion, I was lucky enough (read: patient enough) to be inside the inner circle, for which I had queued for about an hour, but what followed was well worth the wait/suffocation endured in the line. Out of nowhere, at bang on 10 o'clock, a video began to play on the massive screens which sit at either side of the stage. At first, all you could make out was some kind of horn, but the picture slowly zoomed out to reveal a leg, and a sache, one proclaiming "MISS", and then the full album cover for Sam's Town. Following this the band ran on stage in a typical fanfare, although not many front men these days wear shiny gold jackets/shirts and a massive wild-west esque belt buckle. Yes, Brandon Flowers took to the stage first, followed by a characteristically unmoving Mark Stoermer, who set up at his space and hardly moved from it throughout the set. Next came the afroed Dave Keuning also dressed in a shiny silver shirt, and then finally Ronnie Vanucci, whose trademark handlebar mustache was noticeably absent.

During their hour slot they managed to work the audience perfectly- there were two peaks and one trough- starting off with a few old and new faves, and mixing the middle set with a few slower songs to give the crowd a break from the moshing (yes- moshing to The Killers! Dutch people...). In a weird way, the end was the best bit- after a sped-up rendition of Indie Rock And Roll they left the stage, returning only moments later for a cover of Joy Division's Shadowplay and All These Things That I've Done for their encore. Brandon, ever the showman, moved around the stage for the whole hour, moving from his huge piano to microphone and even playing bass on Read My Mind. The setup was also impressive: the back wall was adorned with Sam's Town in giant red letters, and anything stationary was covered in flowers (apart from the unmoving Stoermer). The piano and synths sets had huge sets of antlers on either side, something which Brandon adopted after their Christmas single, A Great Big Sled- which, by the way, is one of my favourite Christmas singles EVER. All in all, a rounded performance by a band who are at the top of their game- but where next for The Killers? Hot Fuss was a disco infused album, on which Brandon was into Dior salmon-pink jackets and pretty-boy makeup; next came Sam's Town, on which they all grew facial hair (barring Keuning) and adopted a Wild West look, similar to Bruce Springsteen's Born To Run era. That's a pretty big jump to make, and a daring one at that. But what next? Punk? Rap? Hip Hop? Who knows?

The Killers- Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine
The Killers- Bling (Confessions Of A King)
The Killers- Read My Mind
The Killers- Shadowplay (Joy Division Cover)

The Killers' albums can be bought here

Reverend And The Makers- Yes, they're going to be BIG

True to my word, I spent an intensely enjoyable hour watching Reverend And The Makers set at Lowlands, and within the first ten minutes it was blatantly obvious that this band is going to be huge. Reverend is a true performer, a talent which has been sadly wasted up until now- debut album The State Of Things comes out mid-September so his long wait for musical recognition is almost over. You've got to give it to the guy- rather than rushing his album to cash in on his Arctic Monkeys fame, he has crafted a great album (from the 11 or so songs that I've heard) and a brilliant backing band. The music quality live was pitch-perfect, and his voice in particular is very striking: check out 18.30 and He Said He Loved Me for proof.

Their set was full of energy, with serious contributions made by all members: at the moment the Makers are comprised of one hard working keyboard/synth player, a guitarist, bass player, drummer and my personal favourite, and all singing, all dancing hottie on keyboards/percussion. There was some definite chemistry between said woman and the Rev- their duet on close He Says He Loved Me was in my opinion the highlight of that whole hour, mostly because of the obvious fact that they are more than just band mates.

Out of all the bands I saw this weekend, this was without a doubt the one with the most energy: as soon as the band ran on stage they were all moving, and this continued throughout the set. That's pretty much what I expect from good bands- sweat and movement is a clear sign that they are putting in a huge amount of effort, and I think they should be rewarded for this. Seeing him so pumped up, jumping up and down on the spot throughout the set was great, and makes their live performance that little bit more interesting. Another great thing about this band is their interaction with the audience. The Reverend was spouting dutch phrases throughout the concert, another clear signal that he means business, and that he puts 100% into each and every performance. The Dutch certainly appreciated his "Geel Gout" and "Gounemorgen Lowlands"...

A triumphant return from Lowlands Festival 2007

Woohooo! That's the only succinct way to describe my completely amazing weekend spent at Lowlands festival. After leaving last Thursday lunchtime I worked my way north through the country towards Lelystad, the part of Holland where this three day event took place. Lowlands 2007 was nothing short of fantastic- the line-up was in my opinion inferior to last year's but the quality of the music was great throughout.

Following a 3 hour trek towards the festival gates I realised in arriving first I had been set the nigh-on impossibly task of saving enough space for the 19 (yes- one nine!) tents of my fellow Lowlanders. Difficult, but with a bit of menacing tent-pole waving we managed to fit everyone in before the 60000 other campers tried to infringe on our space. Lowlands is 3 days of alternative entertainment- over the 17th to the 19th of August I experienced some of the best music, comedy and film that the world has to offer. A bold statement, but you would be hard pressed to find a festival that is such a complete package.

The highlights of my weekend were sets by Interpol, Arcade Fire, The Killers, Editors, Reverent And The Makers, Justice and many more. No doubt these live performances will receive write-ups over the next couple of weeks. However, discounting the music, there is plenty to keep you entertained- I watched Quentin Tarantino's new film Death Proof this weekend as well as eating a variety of different food (all of which is delicious) from around the world and taking advantage of some of the freebies on offer. And therein lies the thing that helps Lowlands stand out from the rest- the music is great but there are plenty of other cool things to do if you get bored of the bands... anyway- 15 hours of sleep over the last 4 days hasn't done me much good so I'm off to bed now. You will all be hearing more about it over the next couple of days. Ciao

Lowlands festival

Over the next couple of days I doubt there will be much action on The Cold Cut. I'm going away to Lowlands music festival on Thursday and will be back on Monday next week. For now, I should be able to post a few time over the next couple of days but I just thought I should let everyone know in advance.

Not-so dead band showcase: Ours

I was browsing through my iTunes library the other day and saw with a sharp pang of familiarity the name 'Ours'. They were a bit of a favourite in my family whilst we lived in Houston a couple of years ago- I have fond memories of listening to them in the Chrysler convertible on hot summer days. Formed way back in 1992 by vocal prodigy Jimmy Gnecco, they sound like a goth Jeff Buckley, mostly because of Gnecco's fantastic voice. Unfortunately where Buckley became instantly famous after Grace, Ours have laboured for the last 15 years over two albums and some recordings, all of which received mostly positive press but failed to boost their commercial status. As I said a few posts ago, there isn't any reason for some bands' unpopularity, but with Ours it might be their lack of an instant identity- huge comparisons could be made to U2, and Jeff Buckley has serious parallels with Gnecco.

The current Ours lineup, with Gnecco in the middle

It's really great that they've continued making music, although its easy to see that its had a marked effect on the band- since the band's formation there has been a constant rotation of members (15 different people in the last 10 years) although Gnecco always remains. To be brutally honest, the name Ours is just a disguise: one to hide the fact that the band is just a showcase for Gnecco- he writes the songs, sings them and plays guitar on most. Its much the same situation as Bright Eyes- as talented as Conor Oberst is, he needs a backing band to perform his music. Unfortunately, Gnecco can't lay claim to anywhere near the amount of success that Oberst has had... This can't have been good for the general mental health of the band- how do face up to the fact that all your best efforts have been unsuccessful?

However, unlike Moke (see this post)- who gave up after two albums- Ours' albums have been getting progressively better and more technically advanced, and the critics have been taking notice. After reminiscing over a listening of their first official album Distorted Lullabies, I did a bit more research and found that a new Ours' album entitled Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy is being released very soon. Produced by world-famous Rick Rubin, the Ours' MySpace page states it is the album they were "destined to make". Sounds good- of course this could all be a massive lie, but here's to hoping they're right this time around.

Here's a couple of the best tracks from Distorted Lullabies, their first album, and some Jeff Buckley tracks, just for the sake of comparison.
Ours- Fallen Souls
Ours- I'm A Monster
Ours- Drowning
Jeff Buckley- Grace
Jeff Buckley- Hallelujah
Jeff Buckley- Last Goodbye

All of Our's music can be bought here

Introducing- The new Cold Cut

I've been meaning to update the overall look of this blog for a while now, and today I finally got around to creating a new header and some better templates. Hope you like it- there will be some more changes coming over the next couple of weeks.

Breaking news: Dev Hynes can actually sing!

A wave of sadness/joy was felt when Test Icicles broke up last year, shortly after releasing their first album, For Screening Purposes Only. Made up of three young guys by the names of Rory Atwell, Sam Mehran and Dev Hynes, the latter of whom has started his own solo-project in wake of their breakup. Lightspeed Champion, his latest creative output, is a completely different ball game to Test Icicles; whereas they spliced together genres (rapcore, punk-pop etc...) into a mess which only vaguely resembles music, Lightspeed Champion is all about Dev Hynes distancing himself from the chaotic punk band that whilst good, wasn't very commercial. Take his first single Galaxy Of The Lost for example; I was pretty shocked the first time I heard it, because it turns out Dev's got a great voice. Listen to the Test Icicles tracks below and you will no doubt realise that his musical talents didn't exactly come across in their music. So what a surprise then when Dev breaks out some slide guitar and harmonies in his first single! Its really great to see someone mix it up so much, and I think his strategy should pay off- he's been on TV a lot over the last couple of weeks and his live performances are going down a treat. Now we just have the ever-excruciating wait for his new album, currently untitled, to see if he can produce an album of songs of equally good quality. If by some miracle you read this: Good luck Dev, and I look forward to the new album!

Lightspeed Champion- Galaxy Of The Lost
Lightspeed Champion- Mr Fisk (Live on BBC 6 music)
Test Icicles- Circle Square Triangle
Test Icicles- What's Your Damage?

This is the video for Galaxy Of The Lost- pretty weird huh? Check out his myspace...

Moke- 90's London's best kept secret who never made it big

For every generation or progression of music there is a band who are unmoving, who inexplicably never get the popularity and commercial acclaim they deserve. For my father's generation he would be quick to tell you it was G.E.N.E, and in Moke I have unfortunately found the most recent representation of this principle. It's a really sad thing, because after listening to their two critically acclaimed albums (Superdrag and Carnival), its obvious that they deserved to make it big. Follow this link to Amazon and you will see that both albums received stunning reviews across the board, but things were obviously not meant to be for this London based four piece. Even worse, they might just be erased from musical history altogether due to a new Dutch band of the same name who I guarantee will be big within a year or two.

So- the music industry's a hard one... you only have a short time to find bands like these ones before they disappear: but why should this happen at all? There was no obvious fault in Moke (other than their name- not particularly special) as a band: they were all competent musicians, wrote great music and gave amazing live performances; this was the same with Gene (who will have their own full length post soon enough). So what about them repelled the CD buying public? Decide for yourself- there are a few tracks by both bands below; but the main lesson from this is if you like a band, support them by buying their music. Otherwise, they might not be around for much longer...

Moke- Comb Your Mind
Moke- Face To Face
Moke- Take It Out On Me
Gene- Fighting Fit
Gene- As Good As It Gets
Gene- For The Dead (Live- John Peel Sessions)

You can buy Moke's albums here, and Gene's here
And just as a passing thought, the new Moke:

Bat For Lashes: A one woman army who might just break the rule-book

With the mercury prize shortlist released a couple of weeks ago, there has been the usual talk of how the prize always goes to an artsy-fartsy jazz group or a classical artist. Well, those people can rest assured: the only dud this year is an album by Basquiat Strings, which sounds hugely thrilling, wouldn't you agree? Well, given that I (and everyone I know) haven't even heard of Basquiat Strings we can be fairly sure that it wont win... which basically means that the 11 other bands (all of whom are great to some extent) can battle it out for the title. Personally, I wouldn't object to the Arctic Monkeys winning again or the Klaxons taking home a first trophy, but given the premise of the Mercury prize it should go to someone who is producing innovative music. This years main contender in that category is Bat For Lashes, the solo project of an extremely talented Natasha Khan, who wrote her Mercury nominated debut album, Fur And Gold, whilst working at a nursery school. I've been told her live shows are fairly special, just as Bjork's are; most of her songs send shivers down your spine: listen to the songs below- the Wizard, the first single from Fur and Gold, is especially different. I hope I'm not alone in thinking that it would be great for someone who started so small to win a prize as big as the Mercury Award....

Bat For Lashes- What's A Girl To Do?
Bat For Lashes- Trophy
Bat For Lashes- Sarah
Bat For Lashes- The Wizard
Bat For Lashes- Bat's Mouth


Hey guys and girls; I've been investigating easier ways of file hosting over the last couple of weeks and this is my final solution. I'm using FileDen now but all you need to do is right click on the links to download the files- just select save file as or the nearest substitute depending on which browser you are using. If you have any problems, please comment below, and I would also like to know if it works. You can also click through to listen to the track before downloading it...

Click to hear M.I.A.'s new single Boyz, or download by right clicking and choosing save file as/save link as

Chromeo- 80's funk throwback, and oh so much more!

Chromeo are a band with a sense of humour. In an age of Kele Okereke's (Bloc Party) and Tom Smith's (Editors) who try to win fans through the pure force of their moodiness, Chromeo are a breath of fresh, and fun, air. Describing themselves jokily as "the only successful Arab (Pee) Jewish (Dave) collaboration since the beginning of time", Pee Thugg and Dave 1 magically produce 80's funk music with all the characteristic electronica elements: When was the last time you heard a modern band playing the keytar? Well, on their sophomore album Fancy Footwork- just released- they've done just that, as well as using synths and a talk box to create music that can first and foremost be compared to Prince in his electrofunk heyday.

A review of Fancy Footwork in Q this month recieved a harsh 3 stars, although that's not really surprising: Q, being a music magazine, takes everything too seriously and can't take the album for what it is- heaps of fun. This is the kind of album where you can't help a smile spreading from cheek to cheek when you hear it: listen to Call Me Up and try and tell me you didn't enjoy yourself. When Q began to analyse it piece by piece they were ripping apart the spirit of the album: its a fun, funky, party album which should be listened to and cherished, without trying to look for some deeper meaning.

Chromeo aren't afraid to embrace comparisons: on Fancy Footwork I swear I can hear Michael Jackson screeching, and the Prince parallels go without saying, but that doesn't take anything away from it. I hope you will agree; check out the four tracks from the new album below. Oh, and given the comparison to Kele from Bloc Party above, I thought I would include a Chromeo Remix of a Bloc Party B-side. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em? I hope not...

All these tracks can be downloaded from this project, or by following the links individually
Chromeo- Outta Sight
Chromeo- Call Me Up
Chromeo- Tenderoni
Chromeo- Fancy Footwork
Chromeo- Needy Girl (Bloc Party Remix)

Fancy Footwork and Chromeo's first album, She's In Control can be purchase here

M.I.A.- Will she tone it down for Kala?

"You no like the people,they no like you
Then they go and set it off
With a big Boom
Every gun in a battle is a
Son and daughter too"
Mathangi Arulpragasam is a pretty special woman: known simply by the acronym M.I.A. in the musical world, she's a Hounslow, London born rapper/singer of Sri Lankan Tamil descent. Yes, that's Tamil, as in the Tamil Tigers; its just so happens M.I.A. is the daughter of Arul Pragasam -a Tamil activist turned militant. Her first album Arular (named after her father- Arular was his political name) is a massively catchy mix of beats and synths which earned her a Mercury Prize nomination last year. Arular was a highly original album, what with its cultural diversity and clever raps; the album was political, too, as the main topics were the poverty and war that M.I.A. had been subject to as a child in her homeland. Growing up in Sri Lanka, her family was constantly on the move due to the unsafe atmosphere created by the civil war between the Tamil Tigers and the Sri Lankan army. After relocating to London at the age of 10, she learnt the English language and ended up going to and Arts college, where her interest in music was sparked. Second album Kala comes out on 20th August, and although I might not buy it I will definitely purchase some of the songs: particularly lead singles Bird Flu (very poignant when it came out) and Boyz.

There is more to M.I.A. than her music, though, as interesting as it is. Her foundation in the arts college was not purely in music, and she's released artwork over the last few years which also relates to her interesting childhood. This is evident on her album artwork, videos and website, all of which feature a consistent day-glo style (see her website, myspace page and Kala cover, which is below) which has evidently been strongly influenced by M.I.A. herself.

Kala looks set to be a bit less in your face than Arular, which was impossible not to notice because of its heavy beats and mish-mash of styles; you can forgive her that because she was out to make a lasting impression, and I can honestly say that it worked. Kala should be an interesting album, and if she hasn't toned down the lyrics then M.I.A. can look forward to a second critically acclaimed album under her belt. Hopefully, the songs will be a little bit more melodic, although not so much as to destroy her main selling point: how the hell do you explain what M.I.A.'s music sounds like to your friends?

All these tracks can be downloaded individually or from this project.
M.I.A.- Bird Flu
M.I.A.- Boyz
M.I.A.- Fire Fire
M.I.A.- Bucky Done Gun
M.I.A.- Pull Up The People
M.I.A.- Sunshowers

Kala can be pre-ordered here