Free Indie of the Week

Ok, so I can’t promise this will be weekly, but here’s a recap of the best free indie songs on the web right now:

Crooked Fingers – Phony Revolution(from Glider Magazine) – I may not know what on earth they’re saying at the end of the song, but this one has such a unique but exciting sound, I had to put this one at the top.

Calexico – Convict Pool (From Download.com) – This is older, but I still think it’s one of the absolute best online Indie has to offer.

Barcelona – First Floor, People – This is one of two songs you get from the secret download page for Barcelona–what an entrancing song.

Army Navy – Saints (from Spinner.com) – Classic alternative beat and guitar licks. Loud but not annoying. Even uncharacteristically catchy and dare I say, radio-friendly? nah.

The Republic of Tigers – Buildings & Mountains  (ITunes free song of the week) – This one is classic Indie, a little electronic. But, hurry, you have until Tuesday the 23rd to download it, then it’s gone, and Itunes will probably feature another boring song no one likes (they’ve been on a roll with a few good songs in a row, they’re due for a long draught of lame songs)

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10 Albums better than Viva La Vida

Ok, I’ve blogged my discontent with Viva La Vida already, but as I delve into new or recent offerings by Indie bands, I can’t help but think that in spite of the lack of name recognition, they’re better than the new Coldplay album.

Perhaps this is the mark of a band that has officially shed it’s “indie-ness” that it can produce music on the basis of its name rather than on the basis of its talent (I can be harsh here because prior to Viva La Vida, I was smitten with the brilliance of Coldplay’s music…especially their last two albums).

So, in that vein here, in no particular order, is my list of Indie albums that are far more worth the $10 or so than Coldplay’s album (You might call this the 10 CDs I wish I would have bought instead of Viva la Vida):

1. Barcelona – Absolutes: I don’t care that this album was released a year ago, it’s only now that it seems they’ve started really marketing it on the Indie circuit. Fantastic album. Haunting harmonies. Singable melodies. And a freshness that defies the copy-cat-dom of mainstream music

2. Death Cab for Cutie – Narrow Stairs. It’s like they didn’t even miss a beat from Plans. It’s contagious, to say the least.

3. Weezer – Red Album: I know what you’re saying, it doesn’t belong on this list, might even be a slightly different genre of music. Well, not Weezer’s latest. It has incredible depth, both musically and lyrically. Check out “Miss Sweeney”…fantastic emotion for a song.

4. Polyphonic Spree – Fragile Army: I am usually loathe to say anything good about this band, because their style is so overwhelming that it bowls me over and makes me never want to listen to music again. Not this one. It’s diverse…at least, to the extent that Happy-Shiny 60s Power pop can be.

5. Iron & Wine – the Shepherd’s Dog: I’ve already blogged that this album is a major breakthrough. It’s infectious, and it’s better than the coldplay album.

6. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter – A cheeky pick by me here…but still, not a bad album…

7. Wolf Parade- At Mount Zoomer: I don’t know what it is about Wolf Parade. It might be their spacey tunes mixed with classic Oingo Boingo guitars but I like it.

8. Ferraby Lionheart – Catch the Brass Ring. If you’ve never heard of Ferraby Lionheart, they have a breezy Beatles sound, with a lead singer who has a down to Earth but memorable voice. For a really nice selection of downloads, check them out on music.download.com. “The Ballad of Gus and Sam” is Indie Perfection.

9. A Fine Frenzy – One Cell In the Sea: I’m a sucker for a good piano piece, this one has plenty…and this mention is in spite of the copy-cat “airy” voice she sings with.

10. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible: Yeah, I know this one came out last year, but it’s still one of my favorite Indie albums. I’ve been listening to it for a year, and I’m still not tired of the haunting rhythms, the moving melodies, and the downright perplexing lyrics.

The next Indie band to make it big on the radio is…

Barcelona.

Every once in a while, you catch a glimpse of an Indie band that has made it through the experimentation and exploration of their tastes and has finally settled on a style that fits them (or has finally decided to do what everyone else is doing…which one is it? You decide.).

Barcelona’s new offering “Absolutes” is on a Decemberist’s-Picaresque breakthrough. I’ve been following them a little, off and on, but this latest album marries Indie-ness (intelligent lyrics, nice use of flowing piano and guitar, experimental beats and rhythms) with a set of contagious harmonies that are sure to have radio stations drooling. With a Keane meets Snow Patrol formula, they’ve got some truly singable songs. Colors, bound to be the first radio single, is fantastic, as is First Floor People.

So, be listening for Barcelona on a radio station near you soon…remember, you read it here first.

Oh, and here’s a free download of one of their songs.

The band also has a “secret download” site if you give them your email.