There’s a plethora of great music out there for free, just waiting to be discovered and perhaps turn you on to something new. All without the need to enter the shady underworld of bittorrent. Here’s a few of my recent favourites:
Damien Jurado & Richard Swift – Other People’s Songs
Analogue retro-pop don Swift recently stepped behind the desk to add a little gloss to Jurado’s grizzled country noir, resulting in the stunning Saint Bartlett (more on that next week). Clearly a match made in heaven, as they’ve got together to release this charmingly titled covers record, featuring an oddball selection of songs by everyone from John Denver and Bill Fay to Yes and Kraftwerk. I hope this is going to be an ongoing partnership. The Aquarium Drunkard music blog has Swift’s liner notes.
|Calexico – Live in Nuremberg
Calexico were the first band we saw at the Pavement ATP back in May and they kicked things off with style to burn. Recorded in 2009, this live album sees the band transform songs from throughout their career. From humble beginnings as a side project for former Giant Sand rhythm section Joey Burns and John Convertino, they’ve grown to become a really tight group, flawlessly fusing country rock and californian folk with traditional Latin sounds and an experimental spirit.
|Various Artists – Digital Bang: Sub Pop Sampler
Amazon have a 22-track sampler from Seattle’s most famous ‘indie’ record label, which packages some of the label’s biggest successes – The Shins, Nirvana, The Postal Service and Iron & Wine, all of which have becopme ubiquitous soundtrack and coffee shop fodder – with fresher material from Wolf Parade’s new record Expo ’86 and new kids Avi Buffalo and Male Bonding.
|Real Estate – Daytrotter Session
Real Estate’s self-titled debut was a hazy glimmer of suburban summer released in the depths of last winter. It’s been a frequent soundtrack to my own lazy suburban bike rides and train journeys this year. If you enjoy the twilight atmospheres of Yo La Tengo’s quieter, sweeter moments, you’ll love ‘Suburban Dogs’ and the two unreleased tracks featured here.
Daytrotter feature a session daily: be sure to check out their archives.
|Gorilla VS Bear – August 2010 Mix
Have the desire to keep up with what’s cool and good Stateside but don’t have the time to trawl through blogs looking for MP3 rips of lo-fi tape releases? Check out single-centric blog Gorilla Vs Bear’s monthly round-up mixes. Download the August 2010 mix and sooth your inner hipster.
Beautiful cover art for your iTunes too.
If you do have time to trawl through music blogs, be sure to make Pitchfork spinoff Altered Zones a regular stop-off. Run by a conglomorate of music bloggers, it’s dedicated to the explosion of small-scale DIY releases and the re-emergence of tapes. The site promises mixes at some point but for now you’ll have to make your own.
|Mondo Boys – Tidal Wave, a Mixtape
Presented by LA blog Aquarium Drunkard, a favourite of mine, Tidal Wave is an eclectic mash-up of everything from Washed Out’s hip Cali electronic pop to recently rediscovered folky Bill Fox. Apparently compiled to help you “sweat out those last days of Summer” it’s great fun.
While you’re there, LA Burnout Volume 1 and Volume 2 are also fantastic: apparently capturing “the not-quite-there nature of the city, particularly what was being laid down in the 70s”. Both are clear labours of love and paeans to a unique city.