Money College: Hot free downloads with Ben Folds, Andrew Bird, New Pornographers
1. The New Pornographers: "Your Hands (Together)"
It's been three years since The New Pornographers (with Carl Newman, pictured left) released "Challengers." But the Canadian indie rock heroes haven't missed a beat on this preview from 2010's highly-anticipated album "Together." Though it won't land until May 4 on Matador Records, this intense-but melodic-tease is certainly a fulfilling amuse bouche.
2. Paste Magazine: Songs for Haiti
Anyone who's given to a Haiti relief fund no matter what the specific charity (or anyone who lies and says they did, though they'll probably feel guilty about it afterward) scores complimentary access to a massive vault of songs. Catch far from shabby donations from Andrew Bird, Ben Folds, Bob Mould, Duncan Sheik, Jamie Lidell and literally a treasure trove of others.
3. Dark Dark Dark: "Dark Dark Dark"
Catch the title track off the atmospheric indie rockers' March 9 EP on Supply and Demand Music. With members hailing from New Orleans, New York and Minneapolis, expect a hypnotic hodgepodge of ominous harmonies, swelling pianos and grandiose storytelling.
4. Nine Inch Nails: The Slip
Though industrial icons Nine Inch Nails said farewell to fans last year on an instantly sold-out tour, Trent Reznor and company have better news for fans at the tip of 2010. Besides "something else that isn't Nine Inch Nails" as he wrote on the band's official Web site, there will indeed be new tunes from the group as well. The singer went on to post: "I am in a state of rediscovery and reinvention that feels unfamiliar, unsure and exactly what I need."
While faithful are waiting with baited breath to find out exactly what he means, there's always this full-fledged freebie download of its latest studio CD "The Slip," once again loaded with pummeling electronics and growling guitars.
5. Miike Snow: Minimix
Yes, there are really two "i's" in this band's moniker, but there are also plenty of other unconventional details surrounding Sweden's Miike Snow. The DJs/production wizards consisting of Andrew Wyatt, Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg are now a full-fledged experimental, electronica act, following remix sessions of Passion Pit and Vampire Weekend. Catch a sampler of sounds from its self-titled CD mashed up by Punks Jump Up.
6. Rihanna: "Rude Boy (Diplo Rudeboyz Remix)"<
The hip-hop diva's latest album Rated R isn't filling dance floors as fast as 2007's Good Girl Gone Bad, but this re-visitation of a recent tune is particularly amusing. Diplo takes a stab at the turntables to interject Rihanna's "Rude Boy" with bits of M.I.A.'s similarly titled "Boyz" and the results are nothing short of brilliantly blended.
7. Sister Hazel: 20 In '10
After making a major splash on the 1990s college rock scene with ditties like "All For You" and "Change Your Mind," Sister Hazel faded into the "what ever happened to?" abyss to the public at large. But for those keeping close tabs on the group, the Gainesville guys apparently never went away, as evidenced by these 20 tunes recorded after their major label emancipation in 2003 through today.
8. Gorillaz: Plastic Beach stream<
Forgive us in advance because this isn't a download per say, but rather a free stream that's so impressive its impossible to pass up. Fans of Gorillaz, also known as the other project from Blur's front man Damon Albarn, will be able to hear the band's third disc in its entirety and decide for themselves if it's worth officially downloading. Special guest stars confirmed for the party include Lou Reed, Mos Def, Snoop Dogg and De La Soul.
9. De La Soul: "Big Mouf"
Speaking of De La Soul, see what the late '80s hit purveyors are up to this century with the fresh single "Big Mouf." While it may not be as memorable as "Me Myself and I" from back in the day, there are still plenty of percolating hip-hop grooves laced with jazz-infused rap.
10. Jennifer Knapp: "Dive In"
The past and present Lilith Fair singer/songwriter was in hibernation for the last seven years, but she just announced a spring tour (including a SxSW showcase) and new CD hitting streets May 11. This marks the first single from Letting Go (Red), which features production from Paul Moak (Martha Wainwright, Mat Kearney), spanning the folk, country rock and pop disciplines.