My Tunes: Kronos Quartet

David Harrington of the internationally respected string quartet

M.I.A., Kala

I love it when somebody does something and the bar just gets higher. That's what happened here. [British-Sri Lankan M.I.A. created Kala at different locations around the world after being denied a visa into the U.S. to record.] Our government is harassing a lot of people. It's getting more and more expensive for presenters to bring musicians in from ... Islamic countries. It's getting harder to get good information and music is information.

Ge Gan-Ru, Lost Style

Margaret Leng Tan [who performs on Lost Style] is, like, the foremost toy piano player in the world. On ["Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!"] she's playing all kinds of toys that she found in Chinatown in New York.

Various, Ethnic Minority Music of Southern Laos

Ethnic Minority Music of Southern Laos is one release of some 35 [releases] on that label. I think I have all of the Sublime Frequencies releases. The Iraqi piece we play I first heard when this particular label released a collection of Iraqi pop music from the '70s and '80s. Basically, I get everything they do — you never know what you're going to hear. There's amazing stuff on this.

Joe Meek, Vampires, Cowboys, Spacemen & Spooks: The Very Best of Joe Meek's Instrumentals

Some people will say this is cheese; I think it's cool. This is a great double CD. Before [Beatles producer] George Martin, this was the guy, but he died tragically. I think through an accident of timing he got overshadowed, but I love him. I feel better every time I hear "Night of the Vampire."

Bettye LaVette, The Scene of the Crime

Someone sent me The Scene of the Crime, which I can recommend. I have a great idea — at least I like it — for an album of songs, and now I've finally heard the right voice to join us. We'll see if she might be interested.

For more top tens from Margaret Cho, Vanilla Ice, Scarface, and some other random B-listers go to All Shook Down

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