First time here?  You may wish to take a look at the site index for a list of all posts, see the most popular content, or go to a random post.  You can subscribe to the site feed to be kept up to date on the latest posts as they are made.  If you want to contact me for any reason at all, please leave a comment after any post or send me an email.

Search This Blog


Artist Spotlight: TRV$DJAM

Back in June, I posted about TRV$DJAM's then-new album, FIX YOUR FACE VOL. 2 - COACHELLA '09.  This album blew me away when I first heard it, and when I discovered that the first volume of Fix Your Face could also be obtained for free, I decided that I should learn more about the innovative duo of DJ AM and drummer Travis Barker, with the intention of giving them a more comprehensive writeup sometime soon.  This past week brought us the sad news that DJ AM has passed away, so I think this would be a good time for a post in memory of DJ AM and in celebration of the incredible music that TRV$DJAM produced.
I've been trying to come up with some words to describe their music, but I have been failing miserably.  Instead, I think it is better to just point you to their download page, where you can download the two Fix Your Face mixtapes.  Ideally, you should make sure that you have enough time to listen to each one in its entirety (about 43 minutes for the first one, and about 50 minutes for the second one), and just let it play.  If you're like me, there will be a lot of songs on both volumes that you're familiar with, and perhaps quite a few that you're not so familiar with.  But the way that they blend seamlessly into (and sometimes over) one another will likely be something that you haven't heard before.  To take so many songs from such a wide variety of genres and eras and make them work so well together is a work of genius, and anyone who considers themselves a lover of music should definitely give these mixtapes a listen.
RIP, DJ AM.  Thank you for the excellent music for which you will always be remembered.


Album Spotlight: Diablo Swing Orchestra - The Butcher's Ballroom

Sometimes I find it difficult to pick something to write about on this blog.  Other times, the choice is obvious.  This is one of the more obvious choices.  Last week, an album called The Butcher's Ballroom by the Diablo Swing Orchestra appeared almost simultaneously on two blogs that I follow - namely, Free Albums Galore and Free Metal Albums (in fact, if you are a regular visitor to this blog, you may already have spotted this album in the sidebar under the Free music from around the web section, as both of those blogs are included there).  Marvin at Free Albums Galore wrote an excellent review of the album - as soon as I read the phrase "an insane combination of heavy metal, swing jazz, a traditional European music smorgabord, and a classical soprano voice that probably broke wine glasses in the studio," I knew that this was an album I had to check out.
It didn't take me very long to see that Marvin was absolutely right about this album.  This is probably the weirdest sounding album I've heard since I discovered Thumpermonkey Lives!; I think that if I hadn't already been used to hearing music that is a little on the strange side (such as Thumpermonkey Lives!, Mr. Bungle, and Devil Doll), my own head probably would have exploded upon hearing The Butcher's Ballroom - it really is that crazy.  The Diablo Swing Orchestra have managed to take all of the disparate genres listed above and craft a sound that is utterly unique; instead of sounding gimmicky (which would have been all too easy to do), it just works.  The swing metal of the opening track, "Balrog Boogie", does a great job of establishing the mood of the album; if you haven't been scared off after this song, then sit back and enjoy the ride, as it only keeps getting better.  "D'angelo", one of two short ballads on the album, is absolutely beautiful, consisting only of acoustic guitar and operatic female vocals; the other, "Qualms of Conscience", is a solo piano piece.  One of my favourite moments on the album is the transition between the sitar-infused "Gunpowder Chant" and "Infralove", which starts with an electronic beat before hopping into a number of different styles.  My favourite song overall is the final one, "Pink Noise Waltz", which throws just about everything in the band's arsenal at the listener, going from metal to a piano solo to a flute solo to a chugging NWOBHM groove to a cool jazzy outro.
The Butcher's Ballroom really is something that needs to be heard to be believed.  If you like adventurous, experimental music that doesn't conform to any preset standards, this is definitely something you should hear.  It can currently be downloaded as a 76.18 MB zip file from Jamendo.  Happy listening!


Song Spotlight: Radiohead - "These Are My Twisted Words"

Finally, I get to write about Radiohead on this blog.  While I'm not a huge fan of the band, they are somewhat responsible for my obsession with seeking out free music wherever I can.  In 2007, they made huge headlines when they released their album In Rainbows as a digital download for whatever price people wanted to pay for it, including nothing at all.  I initially felt a little guilty about paying $0 for an album, but the fact was that I was really not very familiar with Radiohead - I knew a few of their singles and that was about it.  I ended up really enjoying the album, and soon after that I checked a number of their albums out from my local library and ended up buying a copy of Kid A, which absolutely floored me when I first heard it.  A few months later when I started this blog, In Rainbows was one of the first things I wanted to write about, but I discovered that the free digital download was no longer available; at the same time, I learned that, unless something has already been available for years, it's often better to write about it sooner rather than later.
The subject of this post is Radiohead's new song, "These Are My Twisted Words" , which was officially released yesterday.  It can be downloaded free of charge from the band's w.a.s.t.e. online store; it can also be downloaded as a torrent from Mininova, where the band themselves leaked the track last week.  Downloading from w.a.s.t.e. gets you a 13.5 MB .zip file that contains the song itself (as a high quality 320 kbps MP3), an image file with artwork, and a PDF file with silhouetted images of trees that are meant to be printed out on tracing paper and then put together "in an order that pleases you".  The torrent does not contain the latter two files, although it does contain a text file with a rather cool looking ASCII version of the artwork; if artwork is the sort of thing that matters to you (and as someone who used to sit and listen to CDs while thumbing through the booklets, reading the lyrics and analyzing the artwork, I understand completely), you may want to check out both versions for completeness.
The song itself is a rather interesting one.  The vocals don't start until about halfway through the five-and-a-half minute song, and once they do kick in there do not seem to be any discernible verses or choruses.  Aside from the persistent, driving drum beat, the whole thing sounds very atmospheric and dreamy.  I'm sure that bigger Radiohead fans could write a lot more about it, but I do have to say that I really like it, and I'm looking forward to hearing what they come out with next.  Check it out for yourself, and happy listening!


Album Spotlight: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - Don Giovanni

This will be a shorter post than usual for a couple of reasons: 1) the album will not be available for free for very long, and 2) I haven't actually listened to the whole thing yet, so a detailed review is not possible at this time.  I know I often go on about how I listen to everything I post about so that I can write a proper review of it, but this is a rather exceptional album, so I hope you'll forgive me for this brief lapse in my own policy.

The album in question is Mozart's opera, Don Giovanni (or, more completely, Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni - "The Rake Punish'd, or Don Giovanni").  For the next couple of weeks, it will be available for free from (a site which I have previously reviewed here).  To my knowledge, Don Giovanni cannot be downloaded for free in its entirety anywhere else.  This particular recording features the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana and is conducted by Alain Lombard.  The download weighs in at a hefty 251 MB, so if you're on a slower Internet connection and are interested in this, you may want to set aside some time in order to download it.

Opera is a genre that I haven't really begun to explore yet, so I am really looking forward to digging in to this recording.  It is over 3 hours long, so I am expecting that it will take some time to really sink in.  Whether you're a longtime opera buff or completely new to the genre, I hope you will enjoy it as well.  Happy listening!



Song Spotlight: Metallica - "My Apocalypse Intro"

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

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!



Some site maintenance news

This blog's site index has been horrendously out of date for a long time now; before today, it was last updated in May of 2008.  Most embarrassingly, it has constantly been one of the most visited pages on the site.  I'm happy to say that the index is now fully up to date, and I will be making a much better effort to keep it that way.

I also decided to take the list of "Most Popular Posts" that used to be at the end of the index, expand it, and give it its own page.  Most Popular Content currently lists the most popular posts (excluding things like the site index and other pages that don't have any original content on them) of all time and from the last month and week.

The next big thing I need to do is go through each post and make sure that the links a) still work, and b) still lead to free, downloadable content.  I already caught a few posts that linked to content that could no longer be downloaded while I was updating the index.  I flagged the links to these posts in the index, and I'll be adding notes to the actual posts shortly; the rest of the posts will be checked as soon as possible.  In the meantime, if you see any links that don't lead to where they should, please leave a comment in the post or send me a quick email to let me know, and I'll take care of it right away.  Thanks!