Album Spotlight: Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 (Choral Symphony / Ode to Joy)
[Alas, this turned out to be too good to be true. I don't know when it happened, but the free download has been taken away.]
This comes as a total surprise to me, but Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" can currently be downloaded for free from last.fm. All of the free downloads that I've ever seen on last.fm have been approved by the artist, so I am assuming that that is the case here; however, another "song" called "Led Zeppelin is the worst band ever" (which is actually about half a minute of someone banging on a piano), which claims to be a Led Zeppelin song, also showed up today. I don't know if this means that last.fm has been hacked, or someone is playing a bizarre joke, or... well, I just don't know. All I do know is that one of the most iconic rock songs ever made can currently be downloaded for free from a site known for legitimate music downloads.
I may as well keep this post short, as I really don't know how long this song will remain available. If it isn't already in your collection and you haven't gotten your fill of it from listening to classic rock radio, go check it out. Happy listening!
Metallica have just released a newly-recorded intro to "My Apocalypse", the closing song from last year's Death Magnetic album. That song, in case you haven't heard it, is the most furious burst of straight ahead thrash metal Metallica have done since 1988's ...And Justice for All (and, I have just learned, the winner of the 2009 Best Metal Performance Grammy award). According to the band's MySpace page, they have really been enjoying playing the song on tour, but they just "felt like it could use something extra", so James Hetfield wrote a new intro for the song which can be downloaded for free from LiveMetallica.com.
The new intro stands in stark contrast to the rest of the song; instead of being a relentless sonic assault, this is all about building mood. The first 12 seconds of the roughly one-minute intro consist of nothing but a tolling bell, a gentle rainfall, and a crashing thunderbolt. The bell and the rainfall continue to sound for the rest of the intro, while a simple melody is repeated on a keyboard (or a processed guitar - it's hard to tell) over a subdued but steady drum beat. The final note of the melody is accompanied by another crash of thunder, and the drums continue for another few seconds. It would have been awesome if they'd just released a recording of the full song including this intro, but this is still quite cool - it adds an epic feel to the song, and I'm really looking forward to hearing the full thing someday (hopefully a full recording of the current tour will surface on the site after the tour is finished.)
If one minute of free Metallica music isn't quite enough for you, be sure to check out the rest of the free recordings on that site in The Vault. There are now more than 20 full concerts available; my brother wrote a guest post about some of his favourites last year if you need help finding a place to start. Happy listening!
If you're a Pearl Jam fan, you probably already know that they have a new album coming out in September called Backspacer. "The Fixer", the catchy first single from the album, is in heavy rotation on rock radio, and various other songs from the album have been played live by the band and by Eddie Vedder in his solo shows. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when "The Fixer" was not made available for download (although you can still stream it from Pearl Jam's official website, and probably a few other places); I guess I was spoiled when they made "Worldwide Suicide", the first single from their last album, available for free.
First, though, let's talk a bit about the free download that they promise. "Speed of Sound" is a song that will be included on Backspacer; however, the version available for download here is a solo demo version by Eddie Vedder. The song is very much in line with Vedder's work on the Into the Wild soundtrack from a couple of years ago (actually, it would fit very well on that album). Most of the song is just Vedder and an acoustic guitar, but there are some beautiful vocal harmonies and some sparse electric guitar lines that really add to the melancholic feel of the song. I quite like the song so far, and I am very curious as to how it will sound on the album; whatever the rest of the band decides to do with it, it could well end up being one of the highlights of the album.
and associated moods through wordless sound. The album is designed to tell
a story through emotion, in chronological order. Using old tastes, smells,
sounds, and sights, I would attempt to bring myself into the mindset of
various key moments that influenced me in some way, and attempt to
create those feelings again with the use of audio.”