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UK singer Mathangi Arulpragasam aka M.I.A. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Listen Up: Female musicians dominate blossoming spring playlist

Forty degrees felt especially cold on the first day of spring — and when break ended and I had to readjust myself to the Columbus climate, I was not ready. Instead of a jacket and winter hat, I should have still been wearing a tank and my Tobar drinking helmet. The return to reality can be so cruel.

But while spring may not have brought warmth quite yet, it has sprung new music. Its great stuff to listen to while we wait for the cherry trees to bloom and rooftop-chillin’ season to begin.

“Reflections in Real Time” by Kilo Kish

Lakisha Robinson is the kind of person who probably has a hard time deciding what to write under the occupation section when filling out forms. I would suggest “creative multitasker” for someone like her, whose work includes music, clothing and visual art.

The music she makes as Kilo Kish has brought her the most attention, an experimental fusion of hip-hop, electronica and pop coming through in three EP’s, a mixtape and now an LP.

“Reflections in Real Time” takes a tentative look at the times through the eyes of someone living in her moment. Robinson is a 20-something making art in the millennial age, where satisfaction is expected to be immediate and success is measured in Instagram likes. It’s an environment that can lend itself to existential crises, which Robinson attempts to navigate in real time.

Much of it should be instantly relatable for college students, and not just the uncertainty of which she sings. Weariness of a technological divide is a theme here, as are the pressures to keep up with an accelerating culture.

“Eyelash extensions in a no-filter world,” she sings on “Collected Views from Dinner.” “You should really get on Snapchat, connect with the kids.”

A lot of the time, you need to get away from the artists at the top of the charts to find someone whose music you can relate to. Kilo Kish is not famous, just like you, and she is living and making art without the filter of celebrity.

“MIA OLA – Foreign Friend” by M.I.A.

M.I.A. has been one of the most important political voices in music for her whole career. Chief among her causes has been human rights, and her recent work has seen her take on the response to the refugee crisis.

Her two new tracks consider her role as an advocate for displaced peoples, above an unrelenting rhythm and a well-placed “Lion King” sample. “At the border I see the patroller cruising past in their car / Creeping in my socks and slipper / Mexicans say ‘hola,’” she sings.

That sample may get her into some copyright problems, so she advised over Twitter to listen “b 4 Disney shut it down!” Make sure that you do.

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