Free downloads: Bloc Party, Gym Class Heroes, Pitchfork sampler and more
1. Kele: "Tenderoni (Larry Tee and Beckwith Remix)"
During his tenure with Bloc Party, front man Kele often flirted with the dance floor, but wound up coming across like a newer version of ominous rockers Joy Division. On this solo sidestep (which gleans its title inspiration from Michael Jackson and Bobby Brown), he trades the guitars for some Chemical Brothers-inspired programming with the foreboding vocal style of Depeche Mode's Dave Gahan.
2. Travie McCoy: "Billionaire"
When he's holding down the mic for mall punkers Gym Class Heroes, he goes by the name of Travis McCoy, but in solo ranks, the singer/former boyfriend of Katy Perry is a little more casual. This acoustic tune sounds like a sandals on the beach sing-a-long that benefits from an unexpected shot of hip-hop, thanks to guest rapper Bruno Mars.
3. Lee Dewyze: "Princess"
Long before he won "American Idol," Lee Dewyze was slugging it out on the self-released circuit, recording the low budget "Slumberland" CD, which includes this easygoing jangle popper. Despite the limited resources on this early 2010 release, he's clearly a talented singer and emotive songwriter who calls to mind rootsy rockers ranging from Cat Stevens to Counting Crows.
4. Pitchfork Music Festival: 2010 Sampler
What began in 2005 as an extremely underground affair for self-proclaimed music snobs has steadily expanded to a wider indie rock audience. Several cases in point permeate this year's line-up, which can be sampled across this 10 track grab bag of new bands from hipster labels like Domino, Secretly Canadian, Arts & Crafts and Dead Oceans.
5. Taproot: "Fractured (Everything I Said Was True)"
When Taproot scored a major label deal in 2000 with Atlantic, the hard rockers were instantly grouped with the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkit and Staind. Though the band hasn't been able to maintain the public profile of those peers, a new contract with Victory helped energize and update an already striking nu-metal sound.
6. After Edmund: "Dance Like You're From the Future"
Between an opening gig on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution and a 2009 Grammy nomination, Georgia's After Edmund is earning some much deserved attention for its supernatural keyboard sounds and distortion-filled experimental alt-rock. Give the guys a buck for an EP pre-order and they'll pass on this early lead single for free, which could quite possibly be what a figurative dance club in outer space sounds like.
7. Kid Savant: "Cher aKido"
With members' roots ranging from Chicago to Indianapolis, newcomers Kid Savant dubs its sound as "electronic dream pop," and given the swirling synths and lush arrangements packed therein, that description certainly hits the nail on the head. The trio delivers a slumber-like sequence of sorts on this near seven minute exposition, loaded with chilled out pianos, understated percussion and hypnotic vocals.
8. Tracey Thorn: "Why Does the Wind (Morgan Geist Remix)"
Any Everything But the Girl fan who's been concerned about the more somber singer/songwriter nature of Tracey Thorn's solo material can get their fix of the band's dance-infused decadence with this mash-up. With percolating beats blasting at full force, this could very well be the band's "Missing," minus the '90s production and radio overkill.
9. Jaill: "The Stroller" and "Everyone's Hip"
The psychedelic pop collective has steadily ascended from humble Milwaukee beginnings to attract the attention of Seattle's indie haven Sub Pop. In anticipation of its debut disc "That's How We Burn" (out July 27) catch two tunes conceived in a lo-fi mindset that are sure to engage audiences as this summer's opening act for the venerable The Hold Steady.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
Just before R.E.M. became a household name, the trio (then a four-piece band), turned in the critically acclaimed collection "Fables of the Reconstruction." Now that the disc is 25-years-old, EMI is reissuing a remastered version, loaded with cornerstone cuts like "Maps and Legends" and "Driver 8," plus demos and rarities. Representing that same era, also catch Crowded House's latest studio CD "Intriguer," plus the posthumous collaborative collection "Dark Night of the Soul" between Sparklehorse's Mark Linkous with the still alive and well Danger Mouse.
Money College Free Downloads is a weekly music column by Money College blogger Andy Argyrakis. Send Andy column tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.