20 Watts

Editor’s Pick #195: Rainbow Arabia by caitlindewey

Rainbow Arabia = M.I.A. + Gang Gang Dance + LSD

PREVIEW: DOWNLOAD Rainbow Arabia’s “Omar K” MP3

20 Watts’ staff recently spent a good two hours arguing about the top albums of the decade. I was pushing really hard for an M.I.A. entry on the list — a request that everyone, including my managing ed, summarily dismissed. Okay, sure, “Paper Planes” was way overplayed. But the blend of party-ready beats and tribal ululations? The whole East-meets-West-on-a-dance-floor deal? The world needs more of that.

Fortunately the world has Rainbow Arabia, an “ethnotronica” duo so compulsively danceable — and so pleasantly disorienting — that even our picky staff might be won over. Hailing from Echo Park, Cal., Rainbow Arabia force world music through an electro-dance sieve, resulting in a global neon cacophony like few you’ve ever heard. Think M.I.A. meets Gang Gang Dance meets LSD. Intriguing, right?

Rainbow Arabia have released one EP, The Basta, and one “mini-LP,” Kabukimono, on Maninmal Vinyl.  They are not currently on tour, although they are playing a string of L.A. shows throughout November.

— Caitlin Dewey, Editor in Chief

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