Free downloads: Lollapalooza, Beyonce, La Roux, Chicago; Black Crowes streams
1. Various Artists: Lollapalooza 2010 sampler
As summer flies by, remember that there's still another major bash before school starts up. Kicking off Friday and stretching though Sunday, Chicago's Lollapalooza will attract music fans from across the globe. The massive lineup includes Phoenix, Hot Chip, The New Pornographers, Drive-By Truckers, Mavis Staples, Blitzen Trapper and The Walkmen.
2. Beyonce: "Wishing on a Star"
Flashback to Beyonce's first solo sessions outside of Destiny's Child in 2004, when she cut a version of The Cover Girls' "Wishing on a Star." The diva shines on this neo-soul spin of the already familiar ballad that foreshadows the star power she now exudes, anchored in legitimate vocal talent.
3. La Roux: "In for the Kill"
For the mainstream masses, the group name La Roux may be relatively new, but to anyone who frequents dance clubs (or health clubs), the newcomers are quickly giving Lady Gaga and international imports Alphabeat some stiff competition. That's because the duo is insanely infectious at every turn of contagious phrase, packing hook-heavy keyboards to boot.
4. Various Artists: Free Music Tuesday
Our pals at AOL's Radio Blog have combed through the masses of new material to cherry pick four top tunes spanning several genres straight from the studio. Check out progressive rockers' Hawkwind dropping "Inner Visions," comedian Hal Sparks offering a short stand-up segment called "Sweet Tea," Latin jazz artist Eubie Nieves introducing "Mr. Mushroom Man" and alternative rock act Bronze Radio Return introducing "It's OK Now."
5. Wild Beasts: "We Still Got the Taste Dancin' on Our Tongues"
England's Wild Beasts first rode on the coattails of Domino label mates Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys, though the foursome quickly made a name for itself with a heady combination of art rock, dream pop and post-punk. This jungle-beat blaster serves as an intriguing sample from the group's sophomore CD "Two Dancers."
6. Angels of Babylon: "Kingdom of Evil"
Heavy metal supergroups tend to give Spinal Tap a run for their money, but the brand new band Angels of Babylon comprises some of the scene's heaviest hitters. Catch ex-Manowar drummer Rhino and Megadeth bassist David Ellefson teaming with vocalist David Fefolt and guitarist Ethan Brosh for an ear-piercing blend of shreds and screams straight from the dark side. You decide if it goes up to 11.
7. Chicago: "Another Rainy Day In New York City"
Topping the 100 million album selling mark puts Chicago as obvious contenders for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and though the band may tread the nostalgia circuit on the road, at least the guys sound tighter than ever. To celebrate a completely revamped website, catch a horn-slapped jam free of charge, loaded with the group's signature harmonies and instantly nostalgic jazzy pop.
8. Patience Gloria: "Consequences David"
Available as a free download, Patience Gloria's sophomore CD marks a darker chapter compared to the band's sunnier beginnings. Much of that has to do with the subject matter, which includes losing a loved one ("As Long As It Takes") and tracing a failed relationship ("Permanent Break"), all the while channeling the spacey side of The Flaming Lips and the melodic appeal of Nada Surf.
9. Thad Cockrell: "To Be Loved"
Meant to attract people who like the "smell of fall, singing, joy, hope and drum beats," Nashville-based singer/songwriter Thad Cockrell blurs the lines of country and retro gospel. He's giving this EP away for nada, but he asks that takers give back with Facebook, Twitter and/or email address trades, plus a tip if they're so inclined.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
It's hard to believe The Black Crowes have been together for 20 years, though perhaps that's because of the somewhat lengthy solo hiatus during the first half of the 2000s. Nonetheless, the group salutes this anniversary of sorts with "Croweology" (Silver Arrow), which marks its first-ever entirely acoustic project. The double disc set features a re-imagined mixture of hits and fan favorites from the blues rockers' extensive catalogue, dating back to 1990.