1. Chester Bennington: "Let Down" demo
The lead singer of Linkin Park (pictured) channels a softer side on his own, as demonstrated in this short-but-sweet work in progress demo. Fans of the group may find it reminiscent of the ballads on 2007's "Minutes To Midnight," but should brace themselves for the quieter, almost therapeutic direction, especially when compared to the rap/rock hybrid for which he first found fame.
2. Phil Selway: "Live 07 04 2010" tracks
The name might not jump off the page, but considering he's the drummer for Radiohead, curiosity for this title is likely to be instantly piqued. Though this isn't his official solo debut (that's coming later this year), "Live 07 04 2010" is an eleven-track concert introduction (minus the clapping), accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Lisa Germano. Gear up for a soft-spoken, almost hushed unplugged experience mirroring fellow experimental heroes Grandaddy.
3. Alice Cooper: "Detroit City"
Hardly a summer goes by when Alice Cooper doesn't hit the road, bringing along all his shock rock props that make Marilyn Manson look like a sissy. And the aging but still-sharp classic rocker is back at it again for 2010, packing up the guillotine, boa constrictors and famous face paint that could've come straight from a horror flick. "Detroit City," off the menacing "The Eyes of Alice Cooper," proves he hasn't lost that metallic edge or devious delivery.
4. Deerhoof: "Hitch Hike"
Movie soundtracks are a dime a dozen, but it's rare to have a book with an accompanying CD. However "Rules To Rock By" from Josh Farrar certainly earns that distinction, if only because the text gears towards young adults with its tale of the fictional teen group The Bungles, which gleans musical inspiration from real-life indie favorites Deerhoof. Naturally, that latter act turns in a tune to prove why it's a worthy subject, applying a lo-fi art punk twist on this obscurity from the Swedish band LiLiPUT.
5. Rooney: "I Don't Wanna Lose You"
From time on tour with Weezer, The Strokes and Travis, L.A.'s Rooney built a sizable fan base that's since warranted visits to "Late Night With Conan O'Brien," "The Late Show with David Letterman" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" In this case, the headlining level act channels power pop through a kaleidoscope of the above acts, with apparent nods to The Cars and Fountains of Wayne, ensuring a sunny sound with plenty of power chords.
6. Wintersleep: "New Inheritors"
Hailing from Halifax, Wintersleep remains largely undiscovered in America, but there's plenty of buzz surrounding its self-released June 1 album "New Inheritors." Catch a sample via the dark alternative soul sound of the title cut, which includes mixing from Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub), and hear first-hand how the group scored homeland opening slots for Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam and the Editors.
7. Meat Loaf: "Prize Fighter Lover"
The "Bat Out of Hell" series may have run its course, but that doesn't mean the consistently melodramatic Meatloaf can't churn out a non-conceptual studio album. The "Rocky Horror Picture Show" actor turned theatrical rocker offers this bellowing outtake from his May 11 release "Hang Cool Teddy Bear," laced with plenty of classically-inspired excess and epic delivery.
8. Pansy Division: "Twinkie Twinkie Little Star"
The world's most influential queercore band never stuck to punk's straight-laced laws, and as its latest album "That's So Gay" indicates, members are even more proud to be out than ever before. The cheekily titled "Twinkie Twinkie Little Star" is a forceful rocker with a self-deprecating sense of humor that's made the group renowned among the mainstream masses.
9. Steel Train: "You and I Undercover"
Having just come off the road with Tegan and Sara and scoring a slot at the coveted Coachella Music Festival, this New Jersey-based indie rock act's stock is at an all time high. See what all the fuss is about with this steadily building, organically-framed tune that oozes with pleading vocals and lyrics of emotional unrest.
10. Amanda Palmer: "Do You Swear To Tell the Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But the Truth ..."
Now that she's free of major label clutches, the Roadrunner Records-less Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls fame continues to toss out free tunes with regularity to her adoring cabaret punk peeps. On this semi-naughty freebie, she forgoes politically correctness for an acoustic tale channeling childhood memories through the lens of an adult. Quick tip: For those that want to steer past the "name your price" box accompanying this tune, simply type in "0" for immediate access.
Free downloads from Linkin Park's singer, Radiohead's drummer and Alice Cooper