Free downloads: Sarah McLachlan and Emmylou Harris, Peter Gabriel, more
1. Sunglasses: "Stand Fast"
True to its optical-oriented name, Sunglasses sets sun alongside shade for artistic contrast. On one hand, this track has the chirpy melodies that could land alongside Beck on the sand, while the programmed beats could saturate any dance floor, making this summertime tune the ultimate day-to-nighttime transition. No matter how you wear your Sunglasses, it's catchy.
2. Sarah McLachlan and Emmylou Harris: "Angel" (live)
Though it looked as though the Lilith Fair was dead and buried as of 1999, Sarah McLachlan (pictured) and several gals with guitars (Heart, Cat Power, Jennifer Knapp and even Mary J. Blige) are back this summer for a celebration of women in music. This duet between the festival's founder and the godmother of country sounds downright divine, showcasing each chanteuse's beautiful pipes. It's bound to whet appetites for attendees wondering what bill mates will tag-team this round. (Find it by scrolling lower on the Lilith homepage after submitting an email address.)
3. Peter Gabriel: "Mirrorball"
English art rockers Elbow have often been compared to Genesis, Peter Gabriel era, which makes the former Genesis front man's remake of an Elbow track all the more fitting. With his husky vocal tones intact, Gabriel pays the younger lads the ultimate compliment by including this ethereal track on his covers collection "Scratch My Back," which seeks to assimilate his aging fan base with younger bands and vice versa.
4. Trans Am: "Apparent Horizon"
Very few bands can chalk up tours alongside both Tortoise and Tool, let alone conjure a sound that's just as credible in indie communities as hard rock circles. But as this out-of-this-world robotic rocker indicates, the underground veterans can balance the weird and fierce with artistic fearlessness.
5. Monks of Doom: "Light In the Sky"
Originally formed in 1986, Monks of Doom was an offshoot of famed college rockers Camper Van Beethoven, who eventually had members splinter off into radio-friendly alternative act Cracker and another landing in Counting Crows. Catch the group's spacey, progressive rock-tipped cover of Steve Hillage's "Light In the Sky" in honor of some June reunion shows in San Francisco.
6. The Roots: "Dear God 20"
With so much time on the late night talk show circuit as of late, it was beginning to look like The Roots retired from the studio. Thankfully that isn't the case on this preview of the June 22 CD "How I Got Over," which finds the group's signature full-band rap stylings, alongside folksy duet partner Jim James & Monsters of Folk.
7. The Letter Black: "Hanging on by a Thread"
Considering these newcomers' and their female-fronted approach to hard rock, it's easy to compare the group to Evanescence or Paramore. Though there are certainly hints on this towering guitar cruncher, the group is much heavier than either of those aforementioned acts and would certainly fit right in step with anyone on the Ozzfest circuit.
8. Steve Kilbey: "Out of This World"
Remember that jangle-pop classic "Under the Milky Way" by The Church from 1988? Even if the Australian act was never able to match that Top 40 status in the subsequent years, the band's since amassed a cult-like following that also finds front man Steve Kilbey recording alone on occasion, with this recently-remastered tune from 1986 sounding like a suspiciously similar precursor to the group's ultimate prize.
9. Against Me!: "Daytrotter Session"
Very few punk bands manage to achieve a 13-year history, let alone the ability to stay on the scene's cutting edge. Gainesville's Against Me! is still chugging on with raw tenacity, convincing lyrics and the ability to still sound militant across four tracks cut live in the studio, without the support system of a sweaty club or any overdubs.
10. Spinner Spotlight: Full CD Listening Party
The Dixie Chicks may never recover from their political fallout, but that can't take away a slew of past hits and coming of age experiments throughout this retrospective "Playlist." Also catch complete album streams of Hanson's "Shout It Out," Hawthorne Heights' "Skeletons," Erasure singer Andy Bell's latest solo CD "Non-Stop" and "Listen Up! The Official 2010 FIFA World Cup Album," which includes songs by R. Kelly, Wyclef Jean and John Legend.