By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Where should you start as a listener? CSS’s debut, Cansei de Ser Sexy (Sub Pop), is notable for its goofy indie-rock swagger, but I find them sloppy and under-rehearsed. Bonde Do Role’s With Lasers (Domino) tackles the same sound with a minimalist edge and more ruthless editing. Manu Chao is the indie-friendly pick. His new single, “Rainin in Paradise,” is relatively restrained; a tightly wound guitar line grounds it in the known. For pure dance-party adrenaline, though, try the trills, chicken squawks, children’s chants and tribal drumming of M.I.A.’s recently leaked “Bird Flu.” Rumor has it that her new album, Kala, will include collaborations with both Timbaland and Three 6 Mafia. No wonder she’s been pegged as a potential breakout star.
Whatever happens, these artists are intelligently addressing our new global economy, warts and all, and they have already made 2007 the year of outsourced indie rock. If they play their cards right, it could be the start of something much larger.
Daddy Yankee’sEl Cartel: The Big Boss and Bonde Do Role’sWith Lasers (Mad Decent/Domino) were released on June 5. M.I.A.’sKala (XL/Interscope) will be released August 21. Manu Chao’s first studio album since 2001,La Radiolina (Because Records), is released on September 4. The first single is available for free download on his Web site, www.manuchao.net/.
MetaJournalism-dot-com:As blogs have grabbed audience share from print and television, it started to seem like all you needed to become a cultural authority was mastery of the HTML tag and a friendly relationship with MySpace, Google and your fellow bloggers. Now, a new wave of sites are tackling online journalism with a bit more rigor. What they lack in critical voice, they make up for in statistical thoroughness.
The concept here is that the overwhelming amount of data on the Web can be utilized as a focus group on what’s worth listening to. Old-school Elbo.ws (www.elbo.ws) tracks blogs with an emphasis on their prose (not a great idea); a newer contender, the Hype Machine (www.hypem.com), smartly focuses on the music, acting as a Billboard chart for bloggers. The long-running MetaCritic (www.metacritic.com) ignores blogs in favor of “establishment” publications ranging from Pitchfork to Rolling Stone, tracking their combined wisdom. Critical Metrics (www.criticalmetrics.com) one-ups MetaCritic with sound samples and YouTube vids, then assembles all the information it gathers in a dense interface so lovely and Web 2.0–friendly that I’m tempted to say it’s the only site you need to keep track of new music.
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