MAY - JUNE 2003

week of May 18-24

"It's Party Time" - Lisa Germano   NO LONGER AVAILABLE  [buy MP3 via Amazon]
A slightly twisted, compelling little song from Germano's recently released CD, Lullaby for Liquid Pig. This song used to be available on; now it can be found on The link provided here takes you to a page where you'll see the song listed. Click on "MP3" below the song; you'll then have to give your email address and age group to have access to the free download.

"Why Can't I" - Liz Phair (STREAM ONLY)  NO LONGER AVAILABLE  [buy MP3 via Amazon]
I've been waiting for the follow-up to her criminally neglected Whitechocolatespaceegg CD for a long time. The album--called simply Liz Phair this time (one extreme to the other, it seems)--will be out on June 24th. This advance track, however, has me shaking my head a bit: on first listen, it sounds way over-produced and generic. This is Liz Phair? Well, maybe I'll get used to it. Maybe the rest of the album is different. Maybe I was having a bad day when I heard it.

"Blackbirds" - Erin McKeown  NO LONGER AVAILABLE  [buy MP3 via Amazon]
A spiffy stomper of an electrified folk song from a young singer/songwriter starting to make a name for herself. This comes from the Boston Phoenix MP3 studio, quite a source for downloadable music from the Boston music scene. (Link takes you to the page where you'll find the song; click on "Blackbirds" at that point to download.)

week of May 25-May 31

"Charge" - Angie Hart  NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Angie Hart used to be the voice in the Australian band, Frente, and I always had a soft spot for their catchy pop. This is a song she recorded, apparently, for the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" soundtrack, and it can be found in a rather extensive MP3 archive on the web site devoted to her current band, Splendid. They don't have anything released yet in the States, but you can check out some B-sides on this site as well.

"Divine Hammer" - the Breeders  NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Here's a spunky blast from the long-ago-seeming early '90s. The chiming guitars chime so engagingly that you don't notice it's not the most involved song in the world. But it still sounds pretty darned cool. Note that the audio quality on all Breeders' songs online is AM-radio level.

week of June 1-7

Hail to the Thief - Radiohead CD   NO LONGER AVAILABLE
I don't often highlight streams in "This Week's Finds," but this one's too good not to let you know about it. The British music magazine NME is streaming Hail to the Thief on its web site. Look for the place to click on the home page. You will need to enter your email address, but nothing else if you don't want to. This won't last forever, so check it out! Then, buy it (starting 6/10) if you like it. This was a special promotion and is no longer available. But four years later, it turned out that the band's next album, In Rainbows, was made available in its entirety as a download and you can have it for free if you don't want to pay for it--details here.

"Tres Cosas" - Juana Molina
Legendary New York City DJ Vin Scelsa recently remarked that Juana Molina is what Jane Siberry would sound like if she were from South rather than North America. As I have Jane's music coursing through my veins, this comment certainly got my attention. And in an unexpected and difficult to describe way, I think Vin is onto something: at once earthy and ethereal, Juana, from Argentina, sings in a different language and in a different musical context than Jane, but there's some ineffable commonality here. Juana's got six eight fetching MP3s up on her site. On first listen, this one caught me most quickly, but all are worthwhile. Note that the MP3 is no longer available directly; it is a .zip file that must be converted.

week of June 8-14

"My Blue-Eyed Jane" - Steve Forbert  NO LONGER AVAILABLE  [buy MP3 via Amazon]
Last year, hard-working singer/songwriter Steve Forbert recorded a deeply felt but little-heard album of the songs of  Jimmie Rodgers, a Depression-era country music star. The story is that Rodgers was from Meridian, Mississippi, as Forbert also is; he decided it was time to pay his respects. This song emits an unabashedly old-timey ambiance, which strikes me as a breath of fresh air in these harsh times. Forbert has never hit the big time (he was one of a succession of quote-unquote "new Dylans" who came onto the music scene through the 1970s), but his distinctive voice, high and raspy, still appeals. His 1978 debut, Alive on Arrival, sounds as good today as ever (even if his third album, the underrated Little Stevie Orbit, isn't even in print anymore).

"The Birds Are Leaving" - Boo Hewerdine
Balding, bespectacled Boo Hewerdine is an unlikely-looking rock hero. But the guy is intermittently brilliant, and largely unheralded. I saw him perform a miraculous concert with fellow Scot Eddi Reader a couple of years ago; he sang this lush, aching song that night. And here it is. Sometimes technology is beautiful. (Note: don't be disconcerted by the seven or eight empty seconds at the beginning of the song. It will start eventually!)

week of June 15-21

"Such Great Heights" - Postal Service
Synth-pop lives: this British duo updates the sound of bands like Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Pet Shop Boys with a subtle injection of the itchier electro sounds of the '00s. Underneath, it's classy radio pop--the kind they don't really play on the radio anymore.

"Everyone Wants to Adore You" - Greta Gertler  NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Lovely, sophisticated pop from a genre-crossing Australian born singer/songwriter. There's a touch of Annie Haslam in her voice, but Annie Haslam reborn as an eclectic young NYC-music-scene-influenced bohemian. Gertler's got a smart web site featuring two excellent songs from her 2003 debut CD, The Baby That Brought Bad Weather, and this is exactly what all musicians should do--give you a couple of songs that are compelling enough to make you want to go and buy the whole CD. Of course, not everyone's songs are quite that good.

week of June 22-28

"Little Eyes" - Yo La Tengo
Listen to the space these guys put into their music, whether slow or fast, loud or soft. This song zips along at a jaunty clip, yet remains suffused with the band's characteristic airy weightiness, if that contradiction makes sense. This is from the band's most recent CD, Summer Sun.

"Sven-G-Englar" - Sigur Rós  NO LONGER AVAILABLE
Pretentious or magnificent? You decide. But give it time: this track expands over 10 minutes, floating along in a strange, exotic, yet compelling fashion. This Icelandic band is definitely an acquired taste, but that's why it's perfect to investigate them this way, via a free download. Listen a few times; you might be hooked and want to buy the album, or you might be repelled and glad you didn't sink $17 into something based on glowing reviews. While this one is no longer available for free, the band does offer a generous number of full-length free and legal MP3s on its web site; read more here.

week of June 29-July 5

"Retrieval of You" - Minus 5  NO LONGER AVAILABLE  [buy MP3 via Amazon]
The Minus 5 are a shape-shifting, side project of a band founded by a guy named Scott McCaughey (best known, if at all, for being in the band the Young Fresh Fellows) and Peter Buck (rather more well-known for being in the band R.E.M.). The rest of the lineup has changed from album to album. Their most recent release was called Down With Wilco because on this CD, the Minus 5 is McCaughey, Buck, and the four guys in Wilco; the songs have a definite Wilco-ish air, as you'll see in this spiffy little tune.

"Tony Adams" - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros
I just found this on Amazon, and it's worth pointing out to those who never found out that ex-Clash-man Strummer put together a fine new outfit late in the '90s and was really sounding great heading into the new millennium. This was the first song on the first of two albums he did with the Mescaleros before his death at the age of 50 this past December. Right away, from the opening measures, it sounded vital and compelling. Joe was a cool guy, and he's missed. For the record, Amazon free and legal MP3s have long since disappeared; this is now available via

"Ghost Riders in the Sky" - Deborah Harry  NO LONGER AVAILABLE
When they were bad, they were pretty bad, but when they were good, Blondie was absolutely magnificent. So even though I do not need to hear yet another cover version of this old war horse (I mean, once Peggy Lee did it, were any other versions really necessary?), well, what can I say? It's Debbie Harry, and it's got that sound. So you know, I'm not linking you directly to the song because Debbie's web site asks people not to do that, for whatever reason. To find it, click on the word "sounds" along the menu down the left side, then click on the version of "Ghost Riders" that comes from "mirror site 3"--that's the only one that seems to work.

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