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ROCK OF ASIAN: “Paper Planes,” The Brentwood Remix

July 21st, 2010 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

A few weeks ago, after M.I.A. gave another heinously unlikable interview during the run-up to the release of her new album, this time to GQ, in which she said she lives in Brentwood because she can’t afford New York, I suggested she begin taking a different approach to her public overshares if she wanted to stop alienating her audience:

You know what would be revolutionary and guerrilla-style? If you said something like, “I’m a mom now, and Brentwood’s safe” or “I’m rich now, where do you want me to live?” or “I like how unchallenging Brentwood is, I don’t have to be cool here” or even something hilariously bourgie like, “I picked Brentwood because I fell in love with this particular house.” You want to get heads spinning? Tell me you’re a Westside–and, uh, I don’t mean in the 2PAC sense–soccer mom.

And wouldn’t you know it? She did just that:

Yes, of course, the video isn’t real, but I kind of wish it were. She’s way more appealing when she’s owning her rock star lifestyle rather than disavowing it.

[via LA Times: Pop & Hiss: Investing in third world democracy and watching 'Ellen': M.I.A.'s suburban makeover]

Thanks, KT!

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ROCK OF ASIAN: Less Talking, More Rocking, M.I.A.

June 24th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Dear M.I.A.,

I know you’ve got a forthcoming album to promote, so you’re going to have to give a gajillion interviews loaded with controversial statements, so that blogs will have something to write about, so that Twitter will get a new trending topic, so that you’ll generate more buzz, so that the wheels will get greased, so that the whole machine behind making you a pop star will get cranking, but I’m going to need you to stop talking for a while, okay?

Because every time I read another interview with you, I like you less and less. And I like you a lot. And I’d like it to stay that way. But it’s kind of impossible when you say things like you’re living in Brentwood because you can’t afford New York. Not that I’m not curious about why you’re living in Brentwood. But, as HuffPo pointed out, real estate there goes for $636 a square foot. You know what would be revolutionary and guerrilla-style? If you said something like, “I’m a mom now, and Brentwood’s safe” or “I’m rich now, where do you want me to live?” or “I like how unchallenging Brentwood is, I don’t have to be cool here” or even something hilariously bourgie like, “I picked Brentwood because I fell in love with this particular house.” You want to get heads spinning? Tell me you’re a Westside–and, uh, I don’t mean in the 2PAC sense–soccer mom. But tell me you’re living in Brentwood because you can’t afford other places, and I want to punch you, as Diana would say, in the neckmeat.

You’re an artist and a storyteller, and we love it when you embellish the truth–as the GQ profile I’m talking about points out you often do–but we don’t like it when you’re dishonest, not so much in the factual sense, but in the emotional sense. So the only Continue reading ROCK OF ASIAN: Less Talking, More Rocking, M.I.A.

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M.I.A.’s “Born Free” Vid: Is Ginger-Hate The New Black?

April 27th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Have you seen M.I.A.’s much talked-about “Born Free” video yet?

It’s violent! It’s NSFW! It’s been censored by YouTube! It’s about GENOCIDE, people!

It’s also, frankly, a little silly.

The video depicts an American police state in which Gingers are rounded up and brutally exterminated, and by “brutally” I mean, in that beautiful cinematic way–replete with slow motion effects, big budget explosions, and a pastel desert sky–that filmmakers tend to favor, paradoxically, when they’re supposed to be showing you that killing is anything but beautiful.

And, YES, it’s a metaphor, but it’s also–as people have already pointed out–a South Park episode from 2005. A very funny South Park episode that made me giggle. Is that the desired effect of “Born Free,” to make people giggle at genocide? No? Then pick a better metaphor. Besides, Ginger-Hate is too trendy for M.I.A., it’s too cute.

But where this video really goes awry is with the song itself. “Born Free” sounds a whole lot like 9 minutes of you sitting on your bedroom floor, playing your records backwards. In other words, it’s kinda terrible. Especially for someone like M.I.A., who’s genius at delivering a message with a mean hook (see: “Paper Planes”).

About her music, M.I.A. has been quoted in the past as saying:

“Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs. Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked.”

And therein lies the problem: “Born Free” sounds like nothing alright…but can you dance to it?

[miauk.com]

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ROCK OF ASIAN: N.A.S.A. + Friends

August 19th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

We’ve mentioned how we <3 astronauts, right? Which brings us to the Brazilian funk duo N.A.S.A. Astronauts they’re not, although their sound–hip-hop fused with mashup vocals and Brazilian beats that you can dance to–has an undeniably intergalactic, music-of-the-future feel.


N.A.S.A. stands for North America/South America and is comprised of New Yorker Squeak E. Clean (Sam Spiegel), director Spike Jonzes’s brother, and Brazilian DJ Zegon (Ze Gonzales). Spiegel and Gonzales have probably the coolest friends on the planet–and beyond–people like David Byrne, RZA, Santigold, Lykke Li, and ROA faves Karen O, M.I.A., and CSS’ Lovefoxxx, who are all featured on N.A.S.A.’s debut album, The Spirit of Apollo, which took five years to complete. (Even Wu-Tang’s ODB makes a posthumous appearance, in “Strange Enough,” the last track he recorded before his death.)

Not to mention the fact that N.A.S.A.’s videos, like their music, are cosmic pastiches that are really fun to look at, directed by the likes of Shepard Fairey and Marcel Dzama. Their latest, “Whachadoin?” featuring M.I.A., Spank Rock, Santigold, & Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ guitarist Nick Zinner, is here:

[N.A.S.A. MySpace]

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BIRTHDAY CELEBRASIAN! M.I.A.

July 16th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Happy birthday to Mathangi “Maya” Arulpragasam, aka M.I.A., who turns 34 Friday! The past year has been a busy one for the British-Sri Lankan singer: she started her own record label, got nominated for an Academy Award, killed at the Grammys while 9 months pregnant, had a baby boy and became “Mamma M.I.A.”, and got voted one of the world’s 100 Most Influential People by Time magazine. And all that transpired after M.I.A. announced that she was retiring from performing. Which reminds us, please don’t do that to us again, girl. We need you around to shake shit up, give it a groovy beat, and paint it in Day-Glo colors for many more birthdays to come.

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ROCK OF ASIAN: Rye Rye

July 1st, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Normally, I scoff when a performer starts spouting bologna like, “What I really want to do is direct.”

But M.I.A. is special, y’know? She’s got vision, identity, real aesthetic. If lady wants to direct, the lady should direct! And she’s done that–the brash singer just unveiled her directorial debut, the music video for Rye Rye’s booty-shakin’, beat-tastic “Bang” (a track that also features M.I.A.’s vocal styling).

The spot is exactly as you might imagine: a glossed lo-fi homage to VHS, heavy with raw energy, physicality and retro neon spirit. It’s a throwback, to be sure, and not just one for the hipsters. Like the lady in the director’s chair, the vid couldn’t be more hot right now.

And so, we dance.

[via Pitchfork]

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ROCK OF ASIAN: Geki the Great

March 25th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Geki the Great is the guitarist for UK actress-turned-dance-punk artist Ebony Bones, whose debut album drops sometime this spring. Our pal Adriel caught Ebony & Co. at SXSW and dubbed the headdress-wearing Japanese guitarist the “Coolest Asian Ever,” although we may have to jack that title up to “Coolest Human Ever” and call it a day.


The whole band oozes cool in a posterior way that’s become the calling card of other British artists like M.I.A. and The Go! Team–they’re at once post-punk, post-funk, post-modern, and even a little post-gender and post-racial. And you can dance to it!

So hitch your horse to Ebony Bones’s “post” here.

[Adriel Luis]

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Baby In Action

February 16th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Congratulasians are in order for new mom M.I.A., who went into labor shortly after her February 8 Grammy Performance of “Paper Planes” (pictured, right), and recently confirmed that she has given birth to a healthy baby boy on Wednesday.

Something tell us that this fine songbird is going to be a pretty radtastic new mom–like, not the kind that pops out a live one, holes up at home, stops returning any of her friends’ calls (unless they’re offering to drop by presents for baby), and can only talk about breastfeeding, playgroup, antibacterial hand gel, and munchkin piss. The kind of cool mama that dresses funky fresh, can party-rage while wearing a baby carryall, celebrates her son’s first birthday by rallying taco truck catering and a Sweet Lady Jane cake for all of her friends, sneaks a flask into Disneyland, and spends downtime between feedings reading DISGRASIAN.com.

If we’re right about this, then we’re actually sincere about those congratulasians. And we want an invite to the taco truck birthday party.

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Thanks, Jen!

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The M.I.d.A.s. Touch

February 9th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

A few months ago, model/indie darling Agyness Deyn–who can pull off fug clothes–was photographed in a memorable Henry Holland dress that made her look as though she were on her way to entertain at a children’s birthday party before snorting rails with Boy George, having a colorful breakdown, and then checking herself into a mental institution.


Last night, a 9 months-pregnant M.I.A. performed at the Grammys with Jay-Z, Kanye, T.I., and Lil Wayne in the same dress. While some are hating on the garment–as though a model out on the town was still wearing it rather than an artist about to pop–I think it could quite possibly be the bitchin’est maternity dress I’ve ever seen.


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Thanks, Jasmine!

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Due Dasian

February 5th, 2009 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Further proof that Asian ladies are the hottest, baddest, hardest muthafuckin’ women on Earth: M.I.A. announced that she will perform at the Grammys on Sunday, THE DAY HER BABY IS DUE.

Glorious and laborious

Either contractions actually aren’t that bad, or M.I.A. really is Hardass as nails–regardless, color us impressed.

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Congratulasians, M.I.A.

October 13th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen


The “retired” M.I.A. played a show in Brooklyn over the weekend, where it was revealed that the singer is pregnant.

Are we bad people for being insanely jealous of an unborn fetus? Because we already hate the kid for being so dope, hot, musically-inclined, and rich.

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FisherwoM.I.A.n

September 3rd, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Surprise, surprise…M.I.A. is already contemplating coming out of retirement. Last week, the singer/rapper told Entertainment Weekly, “With the success of ‘Paper Planes,’ there’s pull for me to make another record. Even my Hardass Asian mum believes in me more…But I was planning my life as a fishing woman on the outskirts of Cambodia.”


Adding, “That’s a joke.”

Oh, Y.O.U. Such a K.I.D.D.E.R.

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Thanks, Henri! Thanks, Jasmine!

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