Among the highlights of this week's music releases are a new one from arguably the most exciting artist working today, and a reissue of a misunderstood classic from an old favorite.---
No one has been more interesting to watch evolve the past few years than M.I.A., the Sri Lankan/British provocateur whose first two album, Arular and Kala, were studies in melting-pot music, her influences ranging from hip-hop to rock to funk all bubbling up in a stew of insistent songs that touch on both the intensely personal and political. Her new one, //Y/, has some extra heat thanks to her feud with a New York Times writer and her provocative "Born Free" video.
Also out today is a reissue of R.E.M.'s third album, Fables of the Reconstruction. It's a moody masterpiece that sounds 100 times better in its remastered state than its original, murky incarnation. This album was still a few years from the band's breakthrough, but does include a new openness from Michael Stipe to having people actually understand his lyrics. And the album has some of R.E.M.'s best tunes, including "Driver 8" and "Can't Get There From Here."
Other releases today include:
Crowded House, Intriguer
Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse, Dark Night of the Soul
Panda Bear, Tomboy
School of Seven Bells, Disconnect from Desire
Sun Kil Moon, Admiral Fell Promises