There’s no shortage of websites cataloguing the many free promotional MP3s out there. Releasing a free preview MP3 ahead of an album, and for smaller bands releasing the MP3 for free ahead of a physical single release, now seem to be absolutely standard marketing techniques. And frankly they work – there are certainly records I would not have bought without exposure to a free download.
So while I won’t make a habit of doing this, here are the ones I’ve particularly enjoyed over the last few weeks. Some require submission of an email address – up to you whether you give them your data or not!
I Am Kloot – Lately
A preview of the new Kloot record, produced by Guy and Craig from Elbow. In fact, Mr Garvey produced the band’s debut, Natural History, which I found a bit disappointing – it didn’t seem to capture the menace of the band live. But this seems a world away from that understated approach, offering Kloot’s most ambitious sound to date and showcasing John Bramwell’s captivating voice to great effect.
Thomas Tantrum – The Last Kiss
Talking of captivating voices… Megan Thomas has progressed from sounding like an engagingly pissed-off schoolgirl to something more akin to a classic-sounding chanteuse in the space of a single album. Thomas Tantrum’s choppy and tricksy rhythms remain, but work very differently supporting such a different voice, albeit (surprisingly) from the same singer.
The Like – He’s Not A Boy
This is one of four tracks currently on The Like’s Myspace, and easily the weakest, with a slightly annoying, fiddly little melody. On the evidence of the Myspace tracks overall, however, under Mark Ronson’s production tutelage, The Like have progressed from a capable rock band (whose first album was better than I gave it credit for at the time) to a truly great girl pop act.
Kathryn Calder – Slip Away
I must have written on here before about how much I am looking forward to Kathryn Calder’s debut solo album, after her work in the New Pornographers and Immaculate Machine. This is utterly lovely; for more, see her Myspace or my last podcast (ditto for The Like, come to think of it).
Pull In Emergency – Everything Is The Same
A new-ish London band apparently, this is an unrestrained scroungly grrl rock clatter that could have been recorded in the second half of the 1990s and is all the better for it. Again, I’m looking forward to the album.
Kula Shaker – Peter Pan RIP
This one is a slightly more equivocal recommendation. After all, it is Kula Shaker… but there’s no cod Indian mysticism on display here, and while the instrumentation might recall late ’60s folk (possibly) and the lyrics not be anything marvellous, I do think the tune is rather engaging.
The Coral – Butterfly House
I’m not a big fan of seventies rock, so this maybe has more novelty value for me than it does for others, as it’s pretty close to Blue Oyster Cult territory. But it still ranks as the first interesting song I’ve heard from the band since their debut album.