Ten free and legal downloads sure to strike the ear of the cash-strapped college student.
1. Underworld: "Scribble"
Dance duo Underworld's most visible contribution to the scene came via its soundtrack-stealing role in "Trainspotting," which featured the club classic "Born Slippy." Though that was a decade ago, the group hasn't lost sight of current trends--and connects with an entrancing rave-up for the next generation that's going to give equally enduring peers The Chemical Brothers a run for their computer-programmed money.
2. The Black Crowes: "Good Morning Captain"
When Chris Robinson (pictured) and his brother Rich aren't feuding, they're making some of the best retro-rock strewn with psychedelic influences since the hippie era. The group dives deep into the southern blues for a live version of this barnburner from its latest CD "Before the Frost ..." Listeners would best be served by lighting a stick of incense before digging in.
3. Moby: "Gone To Sleep"
Considering he's generally relegated to the electronica bin, an acoustic track by Moby might not appear all that desirable on paper. But as this performance from NPR's "Project Song" proves, the DJ can also tackle the singer/songwriter mode with pop sensibility and lyrical substance, as interpreted through the airy vocals of Kelli Scarr.
4. Alkaline Trio: "Live on the Interface"
Even if Alkaline Trio has yet to hit the top of the commercial charts, there's no denying the group's influence in punk and hardcore circles. Longtime fans and newcomers alike will no doubt be satisfied with this music, culled from Spinner's "Live on the Interface" sessions, which also features a guest appearance from Tegan Quin of Tegan and Sara fame.
5. Dum Dum Girls: "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout" and "Pay For Me"
The four females who compose this SubPop buzz band love their oldies, but also model themselves after the raucous likes of Hole or The Raveonettes. Try a pair of their harmony-laden guitar cackles with a sample of "Bhang Bhang, I'm a Burnout" and the brand-new CD "I Will Be" full-length, plus the "Pay For Me" bonus that was previously only available on vinyl.
6. Bruce Kaphan: "Gleaming Towers"
The pedal steel guitarist might not be known just yet by name, but chances are his strums are already familiar via collaborations with R.E.M., Jewel, The Black Crowes, David Byrne and John Lee Hooker. This solo instrumental ambient selection shows off his nimble chops and ingenious playing technique that's already earned critical kudos from R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, Jeff Beck and Thomas Dolby.
7. Hearts of Saints: "The Secret"
Hailing from a small town in Kentucky might make Hearts of Saints an underground secret thus far, but a recent distribution deal through Sony is sure to expand its audience. Catch the lead off track to this year's self-titled CD, which recalls the driving dance beats of The Killers or The Strokes crossed with old-school U2 over the surging production of Ainslie Grosser (MuteMath).
8. Trina: "Mixtape"
She's yet to rise to the heights of Rihanna or M.I.A., but that doesn't mean Trina can't command attention behind the mic. Get an extensive sample of the rapper in action courtesy of DJ Scream's remix record, which boasts 16 career-spanning tunes, plus guest appearances from Diddy, Keri Hilson and Swazy Baby.
9. Empires: "Damn Thing's Over"
Take the gorgeously gloomy cymbal crashes of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club crossed with the theatrical bent of My Chemical Romance and that's pretty much where Chicago's Empires fits into the current alternative rock class. Although the band's still building momentum, this gripping fresh cut of epic proportions helped line up summertime gigs alongside Motion City Soundtrack, Eagles of Death Metal and She & Him.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
Don't forget to check out this week's lengthy list of full album streams, starting with "The Music of 'Glee': Showstoppers," finding the ultra-famous cast turning in cheeky renditions of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance," Aerosmith's "Dream On" and U2's "One." Other spin-worthy selections include LCD Soundsystem's "This Is Happening," Janelle Monae's "The ArchAndroid," plus a pair of Duran Duran retro delights in the form of its remastered self-titled debut and "Seven and the Ragged Tiger."
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.
Free downloads: Black Crowes, Moby, 'Glee' soundtrack stream