M.I.A. (John Shearer/WireImage.com)
Have we recovered from her last one yet? Her debut, "Arular," was a galvanizing hand grenade of dirty, South American beats, rebel politics and a non-stop supply of Diplo remixes. Now that she's played shows with Gwen Stefani and did her own tour of the global underground, she's returned with new tracks like the frantic village beat barrage "Bird Flu" and Baltimore Club-influenced "XR2." The rest is sure to be hot like fire.
Gabby Glaser, "Gimme Splash"
She was the quietly hot member of Luscious Jackson, rocking her side of the stage like one of the original "Charlie's Angels." And people forget how awesome Luscious Jackson could be. Her new songs retain that same dirty '70s love vibe, with full-fledged jams like "Spirit of Long Island" invoking images of Sly Stone and early Santana. "Balls Out" bashes like a long-lost Breeders tune. Solid.
Also ready to drop:
50 Cent, "Curtis" This is the big one, the summer popcorn blockbuster of hip-hop in the making. Does Fiddy still got it like that? Holla!
Mya, "Liberation" Hey, Mya's album comes out on the same day as M.I.A.'s album. That's awkward. Radio-friendly R&B with high gloss, anyone?
UGK, "Underground Kingz" After numerous release date changes, the Houston rap heroes come back hard today. At least that's what the label keeps telling us.
Art Brut, "It's A Bit Complicated" Sardonic UK art-rockers display both brains and brawn on this punchy follow-up to their brilliantly observant debut.
Velvet Revolver, "Libertad" More big rock band survivors doing what they can to live down their past legacies with Stone Temple Pilots and Guns 'N' Roses.
Justice, "Sign of the Cross"
Meet the only electronic band that matters right now, French dynamic duo Justice. They've completely ruled the underground dance floor worldwide with massive club anthems like their instant classic remix of Simian's "We Are Your Friends," the 2003 release that can still ignite a party. Their debut full-length finds them creating a hard, distorted mutant disco that bumps with the funk of early Daft Punk cut up in Aphex Twin's chop shop. The kiddie-powered "D.A.N.C.E." is already a nightlife staple, and bangers like "The Party" and "NewJack" are sure to follow suit. These guys want to dance you to death, and if you're not careful, they just might.
INTERPOL LEAD SINGER PAUL BANKS (Spencer Weiner/Los Angeles Times)
SUMMER MUSIC PREVIEW
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