Audiostraddle Weekly: M.I.A.’s “Born Free” Video, Hate It/Love It?

There’s lots of new music debuting this week, so there’s no time to waste! Check out new stuff from M.I.A., N.E.R.D., Crystal Castles, Josh Ritter, The New Pornographers, iOTA & Junglehammer and more below!


After shooting down comparisons to Lady Gaga last week, M.I.A has gone on to release a 9-minute long controversial music video for her thumpin’ new single “Born Free”, which is a departure from 2007’s Kala and set to appear on her June album. The mini-movie has already been pulled from YouTube for its violent and sexually explicit content, however we’ve included it below. Watch it at your own risk. If you’re sensitive to that kind of thing, you may prefer to check out the audio version of “Born Free” at Stereogum. What do you think?



N.E.R.D. has leaked a new song called “Hot & Fun” featuring Nelly Furtado. It’s sort of hot and pretty fun, but it’s no “She Wants To Move” (remember the line “Her ass is a spaceship I want to ride”?). Listen to “Hot & Fun” below:



Out singer-songwriter Mirah will be touring with fellow indie-pop musician Thao Nguyen. Together, they’ll be called Thao and Mirah With The Most of All. The pair met while playing the Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco, and it looks like their collaboration is still going strong. Check out full dates for Thao and Mirah With the Most of All at Pitchfork.


Sublime kicked off it’s reunion tour, not surprisingly, on 4/20. 21-year-old singer and guitarist Rome Ramirez (left) has replaced Bradley Nowell, the band’s original frontman who died in 1996. The band now goes by Sublime with Rome due to legal issues. The band’s got some U.S. shows lined up for May and June, but a lot are sold out. Check out the tour dates at Sublime with Rome’s website.


Electronic duo Crystal Castles rush released the digital release of their new self-titled album on Friday. Though it was set for June release, an internet leak forced the band to speed it up. If “Doe Deer,” the first single from the album, is any indication of the new record, it’s going to be crazy. Check out the radio rip below:



Jam band Phish is jumping on the 3-D movie bandwagon and releasing a concert movie beginning April 30th. It’s playing at limited theaters, so read full details of Phish 3D at the movie’s website.


American Idiot premiered on Broadway to mostly positive reviews. Green Day even surprised one audience with a set. I’m skeptical about the no-dialogue, music video-esque plot, but I admit the musical version of “21 Guns” is highly addictive. Listen to the version featuring Green Day lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong below:




The New Pornographers: Do you love Neko Case? Or just catchy hooks and three-part harmonies? You can hear both with The New Pornographers’ fifth record. Listen to Together at NPR Music two weeks prior to the album’s official release.

Josh Ritter: Josh Ritter fans, stand up! His upcoming album, So Runs The World Away is also streaming at NPR.

The National: High Violet, the band’s follow-up to highly acclaimed Boxer, comes out today.

Hole: Courtney Love‘s band Hole releases their new album today. It’s called Nobody’s Daughter. Listen to the album streaming on Hole’s facebook page.


A PSA from Crystal: I want to let all Sydneysiders know that the amazing jazz collective Junglehammer have announced the launch of their 3rd album, Romeo Tree, will be at The Sydney Opera House Studio on Friday May 14. Junglehammer are fronted by one of my all-time favourite musicians, out singer/songwriter iOTA, whose talents some you may recall from Hedwig & The Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Show, in addition to a brilliant solo career. This is a show that really shouldn’t be missed, so get your tickets before they sell out. I’ll see you there.


Audiostraddle’s giving away a Gossip prize pack – consisting of the Music For Men album and a rather unique Gossip tshirt – to 5 lucky readers. Find out how to enter.

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Jess G.

Jess is a writer/producer with a knack for audio and online production. She grew up in California and now lives in Washington, DC, where she recently graduated from Georgetown University. Jess' jacket collection is obscenely large, and so is her music library. In her spare time, Jess enjoys riding her bike in the city, blogging, writing songs, and eating good food.

Jess has written 44 articles for us.


  1. the MIA video is spot-on.
    if you don’t watch it because you don’t like the content, remember that it’s actually happening.

    aaaand i really wish Thao was going to be closer than 6 hours from here

  2. I actually loved the “Born Free” video. But I kept thinking about South Park the whole time.

    • That’s EXACTLY what I was thinking the entire time too…I kept expecting Cartman to pop out at some point…I’m a terrible person…

  3. Ugh I was ALMOST at that show in sf with Thao and Mirah. My friends however are more on top of things like purchasing tickets before they sell out than I am. Boo.

  4. re: The New Pornographers – I adore Neko Case! If she goes on tour with them this summer I have to see her.

  5. M.I.A.’s video is relevant, shocking, important, with great artistic integrity. Doe Deer is also brilliant. On my way to pick up the new HOLE album. What a great week of released material.

  6. OMG i fucking love the national. i am so excited to hear this new album. ahhh! Also, new pornographers should be good. can you tell that they’re canadian?

  7. A few things:

    1) I love audiostraddle. there’s enough music I haven’t heard yet to learn and love something new, and enough music I already love to make me feel really cool.

    2) I’m so happy other queers love The National. I’ve felt like the only one for so long!

    3) M.I.A.’s “Born Free” video is raw, honest and chills-inducing.

    3.1) I had the “Born Free” mp3 about a week ago. I feel cool.

  8. You know what, I think the M.I.A video was not without artistic merit, but to me it seemed like little more than overt political commentary via a series of violent money shots. Obviously the message was to point out the absurdity of genocide, but a lot of it just made no sense, seemingly there only for the purpose of theatrics (the explosions, particularly.)

    Also, did the soldiers really need to have the american flag so conspicuously placed on their sleeves? Where it could have been a powerful, general statement against genocide that transcended multiple cultures, the message just comes across as an extremely tacky “Bad Americans. Baaaaaad Americans.” How hip you are. You want a high-five?

    All that aside, it was artfully done and obviously, since we have such opinions on it, M.I.A has done her job right. Plus, at last, something is finally being done about the ginger menace.

    • I really agree that there shouldn’t have been the American flag on their uniforms. There would have been a much more meaningful message if people could relate this genocide to other part of the world. MIA, America isn’t the worst country.

    • I felt very uncomfortable with the American flag and I kept wanting it to not be there, but I think that is the whole point. we should feel uncomfortable with it. we should feel like it is inappropriate. we should feel like she is putting something in our own yard that we don’t think is in our yard, so that we actually start doing something about it.

      M.I.A.’s politics have never been anti-American. She has been very critical of the war on terror, yes, but she has tended in the past to focus on governments mistreating their own people. and I think that the point being made here, with the american flags, is that we HAVE to stop feeling disconnected from the civil wars and genocides happening today/right now/TODAY all over the world. Because the meaningless slaughtering of real human beings is happening and not nearly enough people are paying attention, and very similar things could in VERY similar ways happen here [western developed nations] and so we need to stop pretending like it’s not our world and we’re not the same as everyone else and we need to start paying attention.

      anyway. i thought the video was pretty fucking amazing.

      • Gena, that’s a really good point actually. I hadn’t thought about it in terms of anti-complacency rather than anti-American. Something tells me that wasn’t the intention of the artist/director, but that could just be me being cynical.

        • Maybe that is just what I want to see. I get all riled up about genocide. It’s happening, everywhere. No one is paying attention. Like seriously, no one. Admitting my own biases/what I want to see, I still don’t think M.I.A. has ever been anti-American and certainly not just for the sake of it and certainly not enough (even if she is critical) to make a video that is supposed to be blatantly anti-USA. She has attempted through her art and music to draw people’s attention towards serious human rights issues primarily happening in developing/war-torn nations, that has been her focus all along, and so I think this is a “wake up America, etc.!” video. But then again, who knows.

  9. “America isn’t the worst country” – LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

    Maybe the message was exactly that of showing, amongst other things, that America is the biggest danger out there?

  10. The MIA is great. Is it considered so outlaw-ish because it depicts the round up of white men? Seems so. I say it doesn’t happen enough.

  11. I am liking the new MIA song. Jury’s out about the vid. I keep thinking it’s the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” for some reason, which is clearly inappropriate.

    <3<3<3 The National, New Pornos & Neko Case!

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