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Song Spotlight: Megadeth - "1,320'"

If you missed out on the free download of Megadeth's "Head Crusher", which was only offered for one day in July, this one is especially for you.  "1,320'", another song from their latest album, Endgame, can currently be downloaded for free from their page at Roadrunner Records.  Like the former song, this one is another dose of old school thrash metal that fans of their older albums will feel right at home with.  The song starts off with the sound of a race car revving its engine, followed by an insane sounding guitar riff that would fit right in on Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good!, the band's 1985 debut album.  The final minute and a half of the song consists of Dave Mustaine and new guitarist Chris Broderick trading blistering guitar solos with each other, much in the same way as Mustaine and Marty Friedman did on "Hangar 18" from 1990's Rust in Peace.

I'd also like to take a moment to discuss the value of free music here.  Before I downloaded "Head Crusher" in July, the last Megadeth album I had purchased was 2001's The World Needs a Hero.  I could not bring myself to get excited about their next two albums, 2004's The System Has Failed and 2007's United Abominations.  I think the main reason for this was the fact that I didn't really know who the band was anymore - my favourite albums all come from the 90s when they had their most stable lineup with Marty Friedman on guitar, Nick Menza on drums, and co-founder David Ellefson on bass.  One by one, all of those guys departed the band for their own reasons, leaving me doubtful that Mustaine could ever come close to what he produced with that lineup.

All it took was a single listen to "Head Crusher" to make me realize how foolish I was to think any such thing.  In my post about that song, I said that it sounded "pretty good" and that I was considering checking out Endgame once it was released.  Well, I did just that yesterday, and it has been in fairly constant rotation ever since.  I'm very glad to have found my way back to a band I once proudly considered one of my favourites, and to discover that they are still producing excellent music, no matter who may be in the band.  I think it's even more awesome that it was a free download of a single song that led to the band regaining a lost fan - had I not been able to hear "Head Crusher" for myself, I probably would have carried on without even acknowledging the release of Endgame.  Instead, it is now a serious contender for my favourite album of the year.

So to summarize: free music is awesome and bands stand to gain a whole lot by releasing even a little of their music for free.  If you haven't heard any Megadeth before, or if you like their old music but not their newer stuff for whatever reason, you could do a lot worse than to check out "1,320'".  It's a 3.54 MB MP3 file, and no registration, email address, or anything else is needed to download it - just click the DOWNLOAD TRACK button, and get ready to enjoy.  Happy listening!

URLs: (go here for the "1,320'" download)


Artist Spotlight: Two Seconds Away

One aspect of this blog that I am very proud of is the fact that I take the time to listen to the vast majority of the music I post about.  It might seem like a small thing, but the fact is that there is an enormous amount of free music out there, and it would be very easy to simply post a huge list of links every day, leaving it up to the reader to decide what is worth clicking on.  Writing reviews of the music I post about helps me to make sense of it all, and I hope that it allows you to decide if something is worth your while to download or if you should just wait until the next post.

With an introductory paragraph like that, you probably already know what I'm about to do.  Yes, I'm going to post about something I haven't completely listened to, but I think you'll agree that it is for good reason.  The artist in question is Two Seconds Away, a duo from Kansas City that has been releasing music for free, one song each week for the last year, as part of a project called New Music Monday.  The only real catch was that each week's song was only available for that week, after which it was replaced with the next week's song.

You might rightfully ask why I haven't written about these guys before - like, when it would actually have been possible to download new songs as they were released.  The answer is quite simple: because I hadn't actually heard of them until this past weekend, when a news article informed me not only of their existence, but of the fact that they would be re-releasing all 52 of these songs for a limited time (a total of 52 hours, to be exact).  The article stated that this giveaway would last from September 25 to September 27, but when I visited their website I couldn't find anything except the final song there.  I decided to start following them on Twitter to find out what was going on, and they soon informed me that the giveaway would actually be starting today and continuing until Wednesday.

I have at least been listening to this music as I've been preparing this post, and I have been really enjoying it.  A lot of it seems to have a laid back, almost folk feel to it, but there are times when distorted guitars and keyboards add more dynamics to the music.  I hear some Edwin McCain, James Taylor, and even Chris Gaines (Garth Brooks' short-lived pop rock alter ego) in some of these songs.  For music that was created under such tight time constraints, the songs are all very well written, and the production is very clear and clean as well.  It should be interesting to hear what happens when they rework some of these songs into a proper album, which is their current plan.

Okay, the more time you spend reading this, the less time you have to download the music.  If you haven't done so already, please head over to their newsletter subscription page, enter your name and email address, and once your subscription has been confirmed, you can download the music in 4 .zip files.  The total size of all of the files is about 303 MB.  Just get it downloaded for now, and then you can take all the time you want to listen to it.  I hope you enjoy it - I'm up to the beginning of the third volume now, and it has been very enjoyable for me so far.  Happy listening!



Album Spotlight: Inward Eye EP

It's always great to find music for free, and I'll never stop writing about the lesser known, independent artists that have long been a staple of this blog, but I get a real thrill out of it when the music is something I've actually heard before.  Recently I was just searching for information about The Trews (read more about them, including how to get a couple of free downloads, at Music Musings) on and came across a couple of comments about a band called Inward Eye, who have an EP available for free download.  Inward Eye have a great song called "Shame" that I've heard on the radio quite a few times now, so of course I had to check out the EP.  To my utter surprise and delight, "Shame" is actually included on the EP!
Inward Eye is a trio of very young musicians (with an average of 20) from Winnipeg, Manitoba.  They cite artists like The Kinks, The Clash, The Who, Green Day, and the Rolling Stones as influences, and it's easy to hear a lot of these influences in the 4 songs included on the EP.  I also hear a bit of Alice Cooper in "Shame", with the verse and prechorus having a bit of a "School's Out" vibe, but the chorus launches the song into another dimension entirely, with a staccato guitar riff and absolutely crazy sounding falsetto vocals.  "Blind Paranoia" has more of a punk edge to it, with a great melodic chorus and a bridge that has more out of control vocals and builds in intensity until a couple of bars of hand claps lead back into the chorus.  "You Know I Know" seems to be some kind of "progressive punk rock" song - I've never really heard anything like it.  It starts off very fast and aggressive, sounding like an old Clash song, before going into a somewhat idiosyncratic bridge, complete with whistling, and later into a slower, Led Zeppelin-like jam to close the song; I can easily envision live performances of this song stretching well beyond the 3 minutes and 45 seconds of the studio version.  The final song on the EP, "The Times They Aren't A Changin'", adds synthesizers to the mix to great effect; this is the most Who-like song on the EP, and a great choice for the final song of a debut EP, as it leaves me wanting to hear a whole lot more from these guys.
The EP can be downloaded from Inward Eye's official website; clicking on the FREE EP DOWNLOAD graphic pops up a box where you enter your email address, birthday, and country, along with an option to sign up for Inward Eye email updates.  The download is a 25.5 MB zip file containing the 4 songs as 256 kbps MP3s as well as cover artwork.  I hope these guys go far - if this EP is any indication, they have loads of talent and energy to spare, and I'm looking forward to hearing a lot more from them.  Happy listening!



Album Spotlight: Electrocute - Pirates of Thrash

Shiver me timbers - is it International Talk Like a Pirate Day already?  I almost forgot!  I feel like such a landlubber...

Yarrr, I would have liked to have a more detailed review of this album fer ye, so I hope ye'll forgive me and not make me walk the plank.  Give a listen to Pirates of Thrash (which I found out about from Free Metal Albums) by Turkish thrashers Electrocute and then make yer judgement.

(Okay, please give me a break for just one paragraph - my throat is getting sore even trying to type this stuff!)

"Fall in Hate" opens the album with a brief piano prelude before giving way to a classic thrash metal sound in the vein of Metallica and Megadeth's first albums.  The vocals are a little on the rough side, but they fit the music quite well, and are varied enough to keep things interesting - I like how they descend into a death growl on the last line of the "Fall in Hate" chorus and rise to a falsetto in "Electric Defenders".  There are some fun moments on the album, such as Hell's phone call to the President at the beginning of "Evilsent", and the sound of waves and swords at the beginning of the title track.  If you enjoy old school thrash metal, this album is definitely worth a listen.

I'll try to be more prompt about this next year (and brush up a little more on me lingo!).  In the meantime, I hope ye enjoy this, me hearties!



A few brief updates

I've had a lot going on lately, so my apologies for not having a whole lot of new music on here in the last little while.  I do have a few brief updates on some things, though.

First of all, the free "Stairway to Heaven" MP3 disappeared almost as quickly as it appeared, which leads me to believe that it was not a legitimate download in the first place.  I don't quite know what to make of that, actually, as has long been one of my most trusted sources of free, legal music downloads.  I'm hoping that it's not that easy to beat their system and upload anything by any artist.

Next, David over at Music Musings has also posted about the Suburban Home Records free album giveaway.  His post goes a step beyond just asking for recommendations and offers a form for people to submit their own reviews of any of the site's freely available songs; all of the reviews can be seen in a Google Spreadsheet.  Currently there are only reviews there from David and myself, so if anyone else would like to contribute, please go see David's post.  After listening to most of the freely available songs (there are nearly 3 hours worth, and I have them all in a playlist which I like to randomize), I am leaning heavily towards Two Cow Garage's III as my pick, but I'm still going to give this at least another week before I make my final decision.  Remember, this offer expires at the end of this month, so check it out soon if you are remotely interested.

Speaking of time-limited offers, another one is about to come to an end: the Microsoft Windows Sponsored Songs on ReverbNation.  David has a couple of recommendations for that giveaway as well, and there is also the spreadsheet I made that lists all 1008 available songs in a format that is somewhat easier to navigate than the website.  These songs should be available for another week, during which time I'll be taking a final swing through the site to grab anything I may have missed earlier.

For those who don't know about my interests outside of music, I like to develop video games in my spare time, and I recently completed and released my first game, Picture Puzzle Revolution.  The music and artwork in the game are all taken from the last two Nine Inch Nails releases, so if you enjoy their music and are up for a rather insane challenge, please check it out.  

One last thing: in case you haven't heard elsewhere, the Smashing Pumpkins will be releasing their upcoming album, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope, for free over the Internet, one song at a time (for a total of 44 planned songs).  I am not a huge fan of the Pumpkins, but I do quite enjoy some of their work, and I know that many of this blog's readers do as well - my post about Machina II has long been the most-visited page on this site.  I'm really looking forward to seeing how this new album plays out.

Okay, that's all for now.  I hope to be back here soon with some more new music for you to check out.  Thanks for reading!


Free album from Suburban Home Records

This will be different from my usual posts, mainly because I don't actually have anything to review yet.  Until the end of September, Suburban Home Records is offering one free album from their catalog to anyone who wants it.  All you need to do is enter your email address, pick the album you would like to download, and wait for your download code to arrive (as they are checking submissions manually, they say that this may take some time, but the code will eventually show up).

There are more than 40 albums by more than two dozen artists available, but other than Drag The River (whose Live at the Starlight is separately available for free), I have never heard of any of these artists before.  I was wondering if anyone who reads this might be able to make a recommendation, either through prior knowledge of any of these artists or (gasp!) by taking a chance and downloading an album.  If you do, please leave a comment here, and if I get enough submissions, I will make a separate post about the recommendations towards the end of the month.

To assist you in this assignment, here are a couple of resources: the list of bands on the label (each band can be clicked on to bring up a page with more information), and a selection of free MP3s from each artist.  I'll be checking out as many of the free songs as I am able to and reading up on the artists, and hopefully something will leap out and say "Me!  Download me!"  We'll see.

In the meantime, have fun with this.  I look forward to hearing about everyone's findings.  Expect to hear more about this in a couple of weeks.  Happy listening!


Album Spotlight: Noise Addict - it was never about the audience

From out of nowhere, Noise Addict's it was never about the audience has come along to become one of the best albums I have heard this year, free or not.  This is a collection of 15 songs in various eclectic styles, many of which are very catchy.  After one listen to the album, two songs really stuck in my head, and they stayed there until I listened to it again; I listen to an awful lot of music, so for anything to be this memorable, it has to be pretty special.  One of these songs was "Big Ups", which features barbershop-esque backup vocals ("da doooo BOP!", etc.), a drumbeat that occasionally stutters, and a soaring chorus.  The other was "Lasagne", which features songwriter Ben Lee's 7-year-old stepdaughter on lead vocals; the impromptu nature of the song and all of the laughter in the vocals makes it a joy to listen to. 
Subsequent listens to the album have revealed more gems.  The opening track, "That's How It Goes", takes a quirky look at the life of musicians, with lyrics like "Bands keep making music 'cause they didn't go to college, and as people are not suited to working in an office."  The multilayered, lower-register vocals in "Get Well" remind me of Brad Sucks.  "The Faster Side of Normal" adds strings to the mix, to absolutely beautiful effect.  "I Heart Your Band" marries a garage rock sound with lyrics about a fan's undying love for a band, even during such periods when they thought they were U2 or added a horn section.
The album closes with "Let's Do Our Thing", which is unlike anything I've ever heard before.  The verses are instrumental, with understated guitar solos taking the usual place of vocals, while the choruses feature layers of vocals, piano, and other effects.  It has such a warm, gorgeous sound, but it really needs to be heard to be believed - it's that unique.
it was never about the audience can be downloaded in a variety of formats; the default is 320k MP3, which weighs in at 80 MB, but "Audiophiles and Nerds" may wish to download it in other bitrates (I chose VBR high), or in other formats such as FLAC, OGG, or Apple Lossless.  An email address is required, which subscribes you to the Noise Addict mailing list, but they say that you can unsubscribe from it at any time.  Happy listening!


Song Spotlight: Led Zeppelin - "Stairway to Heaven"

[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  All of the free downloads that I've ever seen on 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 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!