Friday, September 17, 2004

Links to free music, vol. I

As promised (and much sooner than I expected), I am including links to free music you can download. Stuff you should know:

(1) Most of these are in mp3 format, which should be playable just fine on anything running Win95 and over. I refuse to endorse an mp3 player for your computer (without first receiving some sort of compensation, hint hint), so do a search on your own, pal.

(2) The links I provide, unless otherwise noted, are to direct sites (or files) where the mp3s can be legally downloaded for free. Sometimes, these sites are promotional, and the link may prove dead. That is not my fault, although you will have my sympathies. Attention RIAA: I am not posting copyrighted music, so leave me alone.

(3) A subscription site I will reference many times is Emusic. This site has high quality mp3s from independent labels, with something for pretty much everyone (jazz, punk, country, etc.). Register, and you get 50 high quality downloads for free, with no obligation to join so long as you quit within the first two weeks. Read that again -- 50 FREE SONGS. That is approximately 5 free albums, although you can buy songs individually. For $10 a month thereafter, you get 40 downloads. I have yet to leave any downloads on my subscription (working on that Thelonius Monk multi-album compilation). My only caveat: you will use up a lot of hard-drive space, so you might want to invest in an external hard drive (which can be obtained for less than $100) or burn stuff to CDs. Believe me, it adds up quickly.

(4) You can also likely find a lot of this stuff on iTunes, Musicmatch, or other similar sites. Frankly, I am too lazy to confirm that for everything I am listing. Let's be honest - if you are reading this, you clearly have enough time to check on your own.

The Mendoza Line
This fine group from Athens, GA has just released a new album entitled Fortune. A song off it that I like is It's a Long Line, which (as my wife pointed out) sounds kind of like a poppy Liz Phair song, but I think it is much better than the vast majority of the stuff Ms. Phair has put out lately. A particular favorite of mine is off of their 2002 release Lost in Revelry, a great barroom singalong called A Damn Good Disguise. I just downloaded this album off of Emusic, and shall report if the rest lives up to that song.

I went to Epitonic (which is a great site to which you also will find many references in my musicblog entries), and put "Rolling Stones" into the search box. This song, Pictures of Me, is what came out. I like this song (parts of which are very similar to Jumpin' Jack Flash) better than the stuff on their album Death of a Girl, downloaded from Emusic. Might just be a one-song band for me, I dunno.

Lee Marvelous
This is a traditional/outlaw/ band from Sweden. Yes, you read that correctly -- Sweden. Their song "One Step Right Behind Me" is reminiscent of Johnny Cash circa "The Man in Black". A few more songs of theirs are found here and here (higher quality mp3s there).

Elliot Smith
People know the late Elliot Smith even if they don't recall the name - he was featured very prominently on the Good Will Hunting soundtrack, and even performed at the Oscars. His song Between the Bars is on that soundtrack, and gives a nice introduction into his soft, melodic musical universe. Influenced by Nick Drake, but by no means a mere copy thereof.

Erick Jordan
Evidently, the song She's Got Me Now was recorded by an 18-year old kid from Pennsylvania. Wow. I am very interested to see what else this guy releases. Best part - he evidently is working with Bob Dorough, of Schoolhouse Rock fame (and the Jazz Hall of Fame also).

Cody ChesnuTT
You might have heard him on The Roots' song Seed 2.0 (which is actually a remake of his song), but here is a very funky song that is all him. I have not heard his full album, as 36 tracks is a pretty good commitment for someone with my attention span. However, I hear "he doesn't take himself too seriously, which leaves room for a lot of creativity and ambition." There are two versions of Look Good in Leather - clean and explicit. Take your pick, I won't judge.

The Silent League
Another one you can find on Emusic (album), Epitonic (song), etc. They have been called "symphonic pop", and I would agree. This is about as poppy as I get, so enjoy Breathe if that is your sort of thing.

This is the alter ego (yes, I looked that up to ensure it wasn't hyphenated) of former Replacement Paul Westerberg. Being from Minnesota, and being a teenager in the 1980s, the Replacements are my favorite band. This song, MPLS (which is an abbreviation for Minneapolis, FYI) is a bluesy romp that made me happy to hear, after being often disappointed by Westerberg's post-Replacements stuff. Of course, that could be because Let It Be (1984) and Tim (1985) were so damned good. You should buy those albums - combo purchase here. I should get money for this. . .