I'm not going to recap the whole brou-ha-ha when the folks at PopWatch and Stereogum have done it so well already, but the short version is that Sasha Frere-Jones wrote an article in The New Yorker a few weeks back bemoaning the lack of black musical rhythms and influences in indie rock music today, using the music of Arcade Fire as a jumping-off point. Then, Win Butler, Arcade Fire bandleader, politely responded to Jones with a letter defending his band's music, and, more to the point, with an mp3 that lays out Arcade Fire snippets side by side with the (mostly) black music that inspired the band.
The mp3 is a wonderful listen, providing this musically literate-bu-barely-so fan with lots of ah-ha! moments, as the inspirations behind sounds I have been listening to in the few months since I became a fan were revealed. My favorite example is the way Butler shows how the slow opening to "My Body Is a Cage" is really just field slave chant. I never heard the connection, but now I never will be able to not hear it. Awesome stuff.