Ten free and legal downloads sure to strike the ear of the cash strapped college student.
1. The Like: "Fair Game"
Remember the days when girl groups reigned supreme and Phil Spector spent his time in recording studios instead of prisons? It turns out the foursome who make up The Like sure does and that's why this harmony-heavy single recalls The Ronettes in all their bee-hive hairdo glory, crossed with modern production techniques that suggest the Dum Dum Girls or the Pipettes.
2. The Dead Weather: "Die By the Drop"
Stop trying to count the number of bands Jack White (pictured) belongs to and simply resign to the fact that it's swelling by the second. At this very moment, his energies are turned towards The Dead Weather, who just turned in a sophomore CD called "Sea of Cowards" a mere year after its debut. Expect plenty of raw licks, gut bucket blues and growling guitars from the famed Nashville foursome (which also includes members of The Kills and Queens of the Stone Age).
3. John Butler Trio: "Hear Ya Live" session
Though the group has a more massive following in Australia, John Butler Trio has managed to inflate its audience in America thanks to some live slots alongside Dave Matthews Band, plus a jam band dynamic that weaves in everything from blues to bluegrass to funk and roots rock. Catch an acoustic mini-concert in support of its new CD April Uprising, anchored by the front man's fast action finger picking.
4. Tracey Thorn: "Oh! The Divorces"
Her name may be somewhat obscure on its own, but for 18 years, Tracey Thorn's voice was the center of Everything But the Girl (the group who scored the club smash "Missing"). On her own, the singer/songwriter is much more soft-spoken in nature, but her gorgeous, tender-hearted vocals remain across this tip-off track from her latest solo CD "Love and Its Opposite."
5. Damien Jurado: "Cloudy Shoes"
Over the past fifteen years, underground singer/songwriter Damien Jurado has taken a stab at everything from folk to indie pop and even electric rock under the production direction of Pedro the Lion's David Bazan. On this gentle but immediately hum-worthy tune, he turns towards retro pop grandeur with some extra behind the boards support from shoegaze superstar/fellow unsung hero Richard Swift.
6. Norma Jean: "Leaderless and Self Enlisted"
Hard rockers Norma Jean have been a longtime staple of the Vans Warped Tour delivering merciless screams and complicated chord progressions as the masses mosh. This preview from the July 13th release "Meridional" follows in the band's pummeling tradition, while highlighting increased energy and chemistry given its constant rearing on the road.
7. Candy Hearts: "Ripped Up Jeans and Silly Dreams"
Not only do these New York newcomers come up with cheekily rhyming song titles, but the female-fronted outfit is also giving away its entire new album for free (or the increasingly popular pay what you want method). There's plenty of garage rock/summertime punk ditties strewn about this charming 13 track collection, loaded with just the right balance of warm and fuzz on players' tightly wound guitars.
8. Bachman & Turner: "Rock n' Roll is the Only Way Out"
Randy Bachman's the more famous in this newly reconvened duo, originally earning stock as a member of The Guess Who and then teaming up with Fred Turner to form the nucleus of Bachman-Turner Overdrive. This classic rock romp finds the fellas a little weathered compared to the towering choruses of "Takin' Care of Business" and "Let It Ride," but they're still able to kick out a commercial-worthy jam loaded with fiery guitar licks.
9. Villagers: "Becoming a Jackal"
Domino Records is amongst one of indie rock's most discreet labels (signing notables such as Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys over the years), making this new group's debut buzz worthy out of the gate. "Becoming a Jackal" is a folk/pop pleasantry with wide-eyed lyrics from front man Conor J. O'Brien, who culled the cut from his earliest days as a songwriter (age 12 to be exact).
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
Want to sample this week's new albums in their entirety to find out if they're worth the price of a purchase? Check out a lengthy list of all tastes and styles spanning up and comers to golden oldies, available now for complimentary streaming. Highlights include The National's "High Violet," Sage Francis' "Li(f)e," Meat Loaf's "Hang Cool Teddy Bear," plus a special 30th anniversary edition of Judas Priest's "British Steel" with remastered sound quality.
Free Downloads is a weekly music column by Money College blogger Andy Argyrakis. It appears every Friday. Send Andy column tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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