Free downloads of Scissor Sisters, streams of Stone Temple Pilots
1. Ethan Lipton and His Orchestra: "When You Die"
With a literary approach to songwriting and a vocal style that melds spoken word and singing, it's easy to hear how Ethan Lipton was influenced by Tom Waits and Leonard Cohen. He's joined by Matt Berninger and Cynthia Hopkins, who add some somber harmonies to this dirge-like download that ups the random ante when the Dryden Middle School choir chimes in innocently at the end.@andyargyrakis.com.
2. Scissor Sisters: "Invisible Light"
One of the most energetic and outrageous electro-pop bands of the past decade has been strangely silent since 2006's "Ta-Dah," though that's all about to change with this preview of 2010's "Night Work." The booming dance track is a partial throwback to the Pet Shop Boys crossed with a "Thriller"-esque spoken word interlude, all linked together by the falsetto-filled fabulousness of flamboyant front man Jake Shears (pictured).
3. Steve Hackett: "Fire on the Moon"
Coming off a recent Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction as a previous member of Genesis has raised Steve Hackett's mainstream visibility tremendously, setting the stage for another season of recording and touring. Along for the ride on this progressive rock stomper are none other than former bandmate Anthony Phillips on the 12-string guitar, plus guest bassist Chris Squire of Yes fame.
4. Jennifer Knapp: "Inside"
She was the first major female Christian recording artist to ever come out of the closet, earning a plethora of headlines from both conservative and liberal groups alike. Outside of all the media chatter, the singer/songwriter's first new tune in nine years falls right in line with her touring peers in the Lilith Fair, where she'll appear once again on spot dates. She's likely to play this tune, produced by Paul Moak (Mat Kearney, Martha Wainwright, Amy Grant).
5. Jon Lindsay: "My Blue Angels"
As a critical darling of Paste Magazine, plus someone with fellow artist fans such as Ken Stringfellow (R.E.M., The Posies) and Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown, Small Ponds), Jon Lindsay has no shortage of artistic credibility. He continues to entice with this lo-fi, country-twisted tale of understated elegance and left-of-center wit that's already earned comparisons to Rufus Wainwright.
6. Broken Bells: "SxSW 2010"
For those who missed Broken Bells highly buzzed about performance at SxSW this spring, here's a chance to catch some video footage of the duo and their backers playing to a packed party. Catch electronica-tipped indie rock renditions of "Your Head Is On Fire," "The Ghost Inside," "The High Road" and "Vaporize," plus an interview from all-star members Brian "Danger Mouse" Burton and James Mercer (from The Shins).
7. Carole King & James Taylor: "A Conversation"
Scroll all the way to the bottom of the merch page and surrender your e-mail address for an exclusive interview with the two timeless troubadours. Currently on tour together for the first time in 40 years (that's the big 4-0), the frequent musical partners split their time between reminiscing and catching up.
8. Flyleaf: "Set Apart This Dream"
The female-fronted Flyleaf is one of hard rock's fastest rising treasures, but besides platinum sales and Family Values Tour credits alongside Disturbed, there's always been a socially conscious side to their songwriting. This searing new tune tackles the increasingly tricky topic of sex slavery and seeks to empower victims of violence in any unwelcome format.
9. The Whigs: "Dying"
Bands are generally as solid as the company they keep, which considering The Whigs' recent tours alongside Kings of Leon, The Hold Steady and The Black Keys, makes the Atlanta trio on the verge of garage rock stardom. The group scowls then scurries through this anthemic dust-kicker, overflowing with distorted guitars and brash pedal board effects.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
Decide if you like it before you buy it with this continuously updated link to the week's top album releases. Leading the pack is Stone Temple Pilots' self-titled reunion record, complete with a clean-at-the-moment Scott Weiland in the lead singer position following his time in Velvet Revolver. Other titles include John Prine's "In Person and On Stage," Crystal Castles' "Crystal Castles II" and the deluxe edition of The Cure's "Disintegration."
Free Downloads is a weekly music column by Money College blogger Andy Argyrakis. It appears every Friday. Send Andy column tips to andy