Album: Kala

Label: XL Recordings

Released: Aug 21

****1/2 (out of five)

M.I.A.’s second album Kala mashes primal beats and samples from across the globe into a resolute new mosaic.

Bhangra techno, Afrikan drumlines and Baile funk are swirled with grime-step and electro-clash smears — all while checkin’ old-school Bollywood and alt-rock.

Even with M.I.A.’s snarky Brit drawl, her defiant rhymes are sly beyond their years — and considering they rep some 20 Dollar machine-gun streets, she might just be tougher than Chuck Norris.


Album: Andorra

Label: Merge

Released: Aug. 21

***1/2 (out of five)

Dan Snaith (a.k.a. Caribou) is back to cascade some finely orchestrated electronica-pop compositions that vividly evoke the psychedelic era.

Bursting with layers of airy harmony, computery blips and faint swaths of flute and strings, the album’s light timbre is pleasant but may flutter a little too much for some.

Andorra might best be heard chilled out with headphones. However, if someone ever builds a time machine, Snaith can go back to late-60s San Francisco and really blow some minds.

Architecture In Helsinki

Album: Places Like This

Label: Polyvinyl/Sonic Unyon

Released: Aug. 21

*** (out of five)

Australia is an interesting place. Everything native to the continent seems wonderfully unique, though somewhat needlessly extreme. Such is the case with Aussie band Architecture In Helsinki. This album brashly combines post-punk, techno, and hyperactive, collective pop. Unfortunately, the group’s youthful energy isn’t enough to fuse these musical forces seamlessly. The CD wins points for its funky experimental swagger, but on the whole Places Like This seems uneven and messy.