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Picks for the week of November 7-13, 2007

Thursday Nov. 8
444 Jessie St
San Francisco
Tickets are sold out

Global Sound

M.I.A.: MUCH HAS been written already about the staggering patchwork of global sound on M.I.A.'s new album, Kala, and rightfully so. Not since the heyday of Afropop king Fela Kuti—1977's Zombie, maybe—has a record sounded so goddamn international. Maya Arulpragasam was born in London, was in and out of her parents' homeland Sri Lanka and lived in India, as well. None of that was all that obvious musically on her post-electroclash first album, but Kala is literally all over the map. Kuti himself would be impressed by her fusing of pan-African influences with the current British rapgirl zeitgeist; she also samples Sri Lankan films, and even includes her own version of an ‘80s Bollywood tune, “Jimmy.” But there's something else going on here, too—Kala practically charts a history of alternative rock. Arulpragasam has ripped her pages straight from the Sex Pistols' playbook: she doesn't cover the songs of her heroes on this album so much as rip them to shreds and rebuild them into new classics that are unmistakably and completely hers.

Steel Pulse
Tuesday Nov. 13
Moe's Alley
1535 Commercial Way
Santa Cruz

Blues Explosion

Heavy Trash: LIKE A team of mad scientists bent on creating an evil breed of half-man half-beast, New York duo Jon Spencer (of the eponymous Blues Explosion) and Matt Verta-Ray join forces to form Heavy Trash, a band that melds traditional roots music with the gritty sounds of punk. The resulting hybrid is a rambunctious and rough-shod gallop over the building blocks of rock & roll—something purists will never quite grasp. But the rest of you avant-garde sympathizers will surely appreciate the contrarian nature of Heavy Trash, a group that proudly declares to have destroyed and rebuilt several American roots genres, including blues, rockabilly and honky-tonk. Deconstructive? Yes. Innovative? See for yourself.

Steel Pulse
Thursday Nov. 8
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
320-2 Cedar St
Santa Cruz

Jazz Notes

Mimi Fox: THE WORD on this Vallejo-born jazz guitarist, a three-time Downbeat Rising Star, is that she's finally getting her due. It's about time. Fox has won five straight Downbeat International Critics' Polls and taught at Berkeley's JazzSchool while honing her skills. Recently appointed adjunct professor at New York University, Fox has an easy, swinging style marked by clean picking and playful rhythmic change-ups that informs originals and old standards alike. On her new double CD, Perpetually Hip, Fox plays her own compositions with a band and does a solo take on a few classics, notably with a creative arrangement of “When the Saints Go Marching In.” Tonight Fox comes off a Wednesday night master class at Kuumbwa—free and open to all—to perform with keyboardist Wayne De La Cruz and fellow JazzSchool educator and drummer Alan Hall.

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