Free downloads: Hear Hold Steady, New Pornographers, and more
1. Dosh featuring Andrew Bird: "Number 41"
His full name is Martin Luther King Chavez Dosh, but for recording and underground celebrity purposes, Dosh will do just fine. The ambient/indie/electronic artist from Minneapolis teams with longtime collaborator (and rising star in his own right) Andrew Bird of Chicago for a percussion-ripe romp, wrapped around chugging marimbas and experimental keyboard effects.
2. Wolf Parade: "Ghost Pressure"
In correlation with its third album "Expo 86" (Sub Pop) and in advance of its tour, Wolf Parade unveils the dance/punk delight that is "Ghost Pressure," complete with eerie keys and sputtering vocals from charismatic front man Dan Boeckner (pictured). Those who like what they hear can catch the band this Saturday, May 8 as the Pop Up Festival in Germany, and this summer at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago July 17. All this in between and beyond a nearly endless stream of headlining shows all across the globe this summer.
3. Raphael Saadiq: Daytrotter Session
If only Raphael Saadiq were old enough to be a professional artist during the Motown boom: Then, he would've stood right alongside Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder on the soul-pop crossover charts. The longtime Tony! Toni! Tone! singer may have jump started his career with '90s bedroom ballads such as "It Never Rains (in Southern California)" and "Anniversary," but as far as this four-track live EP is concerned, he's channeling Al Green all the way these days.
4. Loudon Wainwright III: "Motel Blues"
As the father of Rufus and Martha Wainwright, this troubadour has obvious cross-generational appeal, though it's also easy to see where his famous offspring get their talent. Combining folk, blues and satire, this narrative about getting it on in a cheap rental room is just as poetically perfect as it is hysterical. It's from the 2008 album "Recovery," where Wainwright takes another stab at songs from his first four albums.
5. Miike Snow: The MySpace Transmissions
Don't think turntables, computer programming and electronica can translate to the stripped-down studio setting? All naysayers have to do is check out this download or video stream of Sweden's producer/musician trio Miike Snow hanging out on MySpace turf, mining an EP's worth of highlights from its self-titled long player and replicating its vibrant sounds and spectacular synths on the spot.
6. Marching Band: "Out Of Touch"
It takes a talented duo to spot one another, and in the case of Marching Band, that means paying an indie pop tribute to Hall & Oates. Consisting of Erik Sunbring and Jacob Lind (who used to be called Second Language), the pair preserve the smash single's original harmony-heavy tone, but peel back the dated production to expose the genuine song craft Daryl Hall and that other guy with the bushy mustache didn't get proper credit for until the upper 2000s.
7. Lights: "Saviour" (Adam Young Remix)
The female-fronted Lights just scored the opening act slot of a lifetime as far as its electronic piano pop is concerned. Not only did these breezy, quasi-dance tracks warm up Owl City's spring outing, but that act's leader Adam Young turned out to be such a fan that he put a personal stamp on this pleading punch of sonic excitement.
8. Woodhands: "Remixcapade"
Ever since debuting in 2008, Toronto's Woodhands switched between original material and covers/remix collections (including an international headline-grabbing stab at Eddy Grant's '80s favorite "Electric Avenue"). The punk and piano-peppered dance party continues throughout these six fabulous freebies, alternate versions of tracks from the group's most recent studio release "Remorsecapade" (Paper Bag Records).
9. My Brightest Diamond: "We Were Sparkling"
She may be a one woman band, but multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden has no trouble filling out this sample track with her gorgeous voice and understated (but nonetheless captivating) acoustic guitar. Apparently other artists have noticed as well because since recording this airy track, she's toured with The Decemberists, and collaborated with David Byrne and Fatboy Slim.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
Fans of several styles can sample red hot albums hot off the presses in their entirety in this streaming extravaganza. This week's highly recommended stream selections include Broken Social Scene's "Forgiveness Rock," The Hold Steady's "Heaven Is Whenever," The New Pornographers' "Together," plus the "Friday Night Lights: Volume 2" soundtrack, which features contributions from Jakob Dylan, Augustana and White Rabbits.