There are some things you can’t get in the United States. Sometimes, that’s a bad thing: Want the latest technology? Sorry, only in Asia. Want non-FDA approved skin care products? Check in Europe.
However, this lack of products on the U.S.-side of things is sometimes good; who needs that toxic Chinese stuff anyway? Keep those out!
Unfortunately, music belongs in the first category. After all, who doesn’t want awesome music, whether it be club-friendly beats or riff-heavy punk rock? And there is an increasingly disturbing amount of bands getting their visas denied and being refused entry into the United States.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some of these “illegal” beats. Unlike in the past, when it was impossible to get your hands on, say, books banned by the Catholic Church, the Internet let’s you enjoy some contraband musical notes without you having to smuggle CDs through dark alleys at the risk of being burned at the stake.
So what music is being kept out of the US, and who is worth listening to? Only the best.
First off is British rapper M.I.A. She’s quickly forged a name for herself in the competitive rap market. In just a year, she’s made her own tracks (featuring hits “Galang” and “Hit That”), as well as worked with established artists and producers like Amanda Blank (on “Take it Easy”), Missy Elliot (on “Bad Man”) and Timbaland (on “Come Around” off of the UK-version his latest CD, Shock Value).
If M.I.A. is so good, why does the U.S. think she’s so bad? Well, because her family has some links to the dark side of terrorism. M.I.A.’s dad helped found The Eelam Revolutionary Organization of Students, which, like other “revolutionary” groups, turns out to be rather bad; it’s a militant group of Muslims. With the current war on terrorism, the U.S. does not shine its favor upon the daughters of radical, violent revolutionaries.
Next on the list of banned music is Handsome Furs. Then there’s Raise Hell, which proves that not everything is peaceful in Sweden: It’s a death/metal band that lives up to its name, which is perhaps why its guitarist was denied a visa and the band was forced to cancel its tour. And it’s not a mystery why The Mystery Jets had to postpone their tour Stateside; in an email to fans, the band said that their visas have been delayed. “It happens, and to the best of bands…” Mystery Jets. Very true!
Perhaps the most notable banned group is You Say Party! We Say Die! The band’s name cries “hipster,” and they were too hip for their own good. For the past couple of years, they’ve been sneaking into the U.S. from Abbotsford, Canada (about an hour’s drive from Vancouver), to play at shows. Obviously, like our illegal immigrant friends down south, they didn’t know that it’s against the law to work in the United States without permission. After being caught twice, they were banned from entering the U.S. again until 2011.
That’s really too bad, because You Say Party! We Say Die!, hipster name and all, make some really good music. In fact, that’s what I’m listening to right now as I type this. Think of it as dance punk; rock with happy energy. Their current CD, Hit the Floor, is their follow-up to debut Lost All Time. Try tracks “Teenage Hit Wonder” and “Like I Give A Care.” I can just see them singing that latter track while waiting in line at the Canadian-US border. I can’t wait until they’re un-banned and allowed to come to the United States again.
But why wait? Check out these bands online at their websites (noted at the end of this article). And when they’re finally allowed to come back into the country we call home, you can boast to your friends that – not only did you like them before other people heard about them – but you liked them when they were illegal.
Where to find these bands online:
Handsome Furs: http://myspace.com/handsomefurs
Raise Hell: http://raise-hell.net
The Mystery Jets: http://mysteryjets.com and http://myspace.com/mysteryjets
You Say Party! We Say Die!: http://myspace.com/yousaypartywesaydie