My latest music discovery, via KCRW radio, is M.I.A. The acronym stands for "Missing in Acton" and is the stage name for Maya, a 20-something Sri Lankan who left her country as a refugee and grew up in projects south of London.
Through art school friends, she got connected to the music scene and eventually met Peaches who introduced her to the do-it-yourself music maker called the Roland MC-505 Groovebox. The result is a remarkably fresh and irresisitable, sycopated pina-colada puree of hip hop flirtation and political irritation.
Here's her site and a interview with her that appeared in The Independent.
A quote from the interview:
"I was doing work for bands, but my tutors just wanted me to make films of leaves in the trees or ripples in the water to represent the avant-garde and feminist whatever. I was like, 'I can't do that. My mum's about to get evicted from her council flat. I can't pretend life is glorious through this leaf on 16mm with some scratched dirt on it.'"