2008-04-15

Free Music Tuesday: Tristan Prettyman

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1. Madly - Tristan Prettyman
I'm so excited about this week's free track. I saw Tristan Prettyman open up for Jason Mraz a year ago, and it was clear she was going to be the next big thing. This girl is tall, gorgeous, and has a killer voice. Since she adopts the laid-back surfer attitude, many have dubbed her the female Jack Johnson.

To be clear, the video above is a song from her last album. Her new album: "Hello" just came out today, and is a steal at $5.99 on iTunes. I have a feeling her mellow vibe is going pick up quickly, so I'd grab this album before the price skyrockets up.

Get the free track.

2. Bien Sudao - Tony Dize
Tony is a Puerto Rican who has apprenticed under the best duo in reggaeton, Wisin & Yandel. Now he's out on his own for the first time. The track is reggae meets hip-hop. Very danceable.

2008-04-13

John Mayer likes Dave Barnes, so you should too.

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"How do I say this diplomatically? I don't love everything I hear," Mayer writes on his blog. "I think that's fair to say. When I hear something I do love, it stands out. And if it's in the singer/songwriter genre, it sticks out like a sore thumb. Dave Barnes is that sore thumb. My thumb aches for Dave Barnes (one word: T-Shirt!). I was trolling the internet a while back – for songs – and came across a tune of his called 'Grace's Amazing Hands' and I was immediately floored."

"Dave and I have kept up over the years, but it took listening to his tunes recently to realize that I've been comatose when it comes to calling out his name in public... He's one of those rare talents that comes so complete out of the box that you can't ask to change a thing, even if you think at first you want to. It just is – and it's great. Dave has never pounced on me, he sends his CD and then – rightfully so – let's the music do the promoting. And he's right in thinking it works. Even though I'm late as hell in responding."

His new album is called "Me and You and The World", and it's so up and coming, it's both in the iTunes top10 right now, AND it only costs $5.99. If you're into the John Mayer/smooth voice/r&b over acoustic guitar thing, you should definitely grab this one.

2008-04-12

She & Him: Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward

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Ever since I saw Zooey Deschanel sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" in the movie Elf, I prayed that someday she would release an album. Zooey has an unbelievable voice: it sounds at once classic and modern. Strong yet vulnerable.

So obviously I was psyched when Zooey teamed up with indie star M. Ward to put out She & Him: Volume One.

It's an eclectic collection of original material and covers. It covers alt-country territory tread by Neko Case before, as well as 60's motown. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and each track improves on multiple listens.

The first track to tempt your ears with is "Why Don't You Let Me Stay Here?", but I really think the entire album is deserving of a listen.

Grab "She & Him".

2008-04-11

If you like Tegan & Sara, you'll like Girl in a Coma

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This week's iTunes Editor's Music Choice is a band out of of San Antonio, Texas called "Girl in a Coma". Inspirations here are immediately apparent as the lead singer sounds like a female Morrisey, while the band name draws from the name of a famous Smiths song.

The album is well done top to bottom. Surprisingly sophisticated chord progressions, nearly perfect vocals, fantastic harmonies. I'd start with "Their Cell", my favorite track.

The album, "Both Before I'm Gone" is on sale this week only for $5.99.

2008-04-10

Free TV: The Riches, The Paper

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1. The Paper - Race For Editor-In-Chief (20:24)
The Paper is a new MTV reality show about a bunch of journalism students putting out their school paper. I haven't watched the full episode, but in the preview I saw on tv, there was a chick with glasses singing really loudly and that was pretty annoying. But hey, it's 20 minutes of faux-reality from MTV, and maybe it will be the next Hills.


2. The Riches - Various Clips (under 2 minutes)
I'm obsessed with the Riches. Such a good show. Basically, Eddie Izzard (who is my favorite!) and Minnie Driver are Irish con-men that are released from prison, and then happen to get in a car accident with a very wealthy couple called "The Riches". The Riches are killed, so they assume their identities, including freakily good southern accents. Definitely worth checking out.

2008-04-09

Weepies Album available for Pre-Order

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You know the Weepies, even if you don't think you do. You've heard their music on commercials, or maybe on Grey's Anatomy, or in a dozen or so movies. To me, they were the seminal album of 2006, every song so simple and so achingly gorgeous. I've been waiting with baited breath for the arrival of their new album, Hideaway.

If you don't know the story of the Weepies, it's a good one. Deb Talan, a folk singer, was a huge fan of another folk singer Steve Tannen. They saw each other in concert, and met each other, and totally fell in love. So they started writing and singing together. The Weepies, and a marriage, were born.

They named themselves "The Weepies" because they want their music to make you cry: both tears of sorrow and of joy. And with the recent birth of their first child, it will be interesting to see how they've woven that tremendous new experience into their work.

Pre-Order Hideaway by the Weepies for $9.99

2008-04-08

Free iTunes Tuesday: Algebra, White, and Antonio

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1. Algebra Blessett - Run and Hide
Looking at all of the articles about Miss Algebra Blessett, one can only hope that she really does like math, because her first name has cursed her to a lifetime of punny headlines. Even the bio on her website says things like "Ironically there are no textbooks or classroom instructions that could help one balance the equations of Kedar Massenburg's newest protege, ALGEBRA."

Poor Algebra. Listening to her album though, you can definitely start to imagine that she is the next big thing in R&B. Her flow is effortless, it reminds me a bit of a cross between Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu.

Sample her free track, and then consider picking up full album for the bargain of $6.99.

2. Time On Your Side - Emily Jane White
Emily Jane White is one of those rare folk singers that can really depress you. Her voice sounds a bit like Beth Orton, but on her website she mentions how most of her songs are about "isolation". Let's examine her lyrics.

Not much to do
When you've got time on your side.
You sit and think about your wasted life.
I try to move to change things through and through, hoo hoo.

Well, I'm thoroughly depressed. Let's move on.

3. Vengo Venenoso - Antonio Carmona
Excellent Flamenco track. Wanna dance?

2008-04-06

John Mayer - Say

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It's a pretty slow week for free stuff on iTunes. And I would highlight some great new releases, but I blew most of my music budget last week on the new Raconteurs and R.E.M. albums.

So I'm going to do something I never thought I'd do. Profile a John Mayer song from a crappy Jack Nicholson movie.

I used to be a huge John Mayer fan. Then I realized that he's a bit of a douche. I'm mean seriously - have you seen this guy talk? Then there's the huge butt-chin. Also, he dumped Jessica Simpson, which qualifies him for major douchage.

Strangely enough, however, I happen to like his new single, "Say". I'm going to try to forget it's from "The Bucket List", a movie that was so terrible the previews made me shudder with loathing. Yes, I'm just going to put my headphones out, block all of that out, and try to listen to the nice song, which is very nice, with a tingly guitar riff and flowing harmonies.

Close your eyes, and grab "Say" for $.99 on iTunes.

2008-04-02

Up and Coming Album Sale: Missy Higgins and Meiko

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iTunes is having a fantastic sale right now where albums of up-and-coming artists are available for $5.99 and $6.99.

Two of my favorites in this group come from the genre of "modern chick music", which isn't quite as angry as Lilith-Fair-era chick music, but is also just girly enough to struggle in crossover success into the male audiences.

1. Missy Higgins - On a Clear Night

I've loved Missy for what seems like ages, when she won a songwriting competition in high school and became a breakout success at the age of 16. She's Australian and absolutely huge over there. Here, her songs pepper the Grey's Anatomy soundtracks, but she hasn't had much radio play.

The striking thing about Missy is her voice. The Australian accent mixed with the strong, but still breathiness of her dark alto is undeniably awesome. "On a Clear Night" is the name of her new album for $6.99. Stand-out tracks are the quietly morose "Where I Stood", the jubilant "Steer" and the dainty "Sugarcane".

But if you want a song that will absolutely melt your girly heart, go check out "The Special Two" from her first album. About a girl who surprised herself by cheating on the love of her life, you'll be shocked she wrote this when she was 16.

Grab Missy Higgins' "On a Clear Night" for $6.99

2. Meiko - Meiko


Meiko (despite its spelling, pronounced "meek-koh") is one of those MySpace success stories. Still an independent artists, she's done very well on iTunes, keeping the #1 folk record for several consecutive months. I'm not sure I would classify her as folk, but who can figure out what folk really means these days?

The great thing about the album is that there's no laziness. It's quality songwriting and production all the way through. Stand-out track for me is "How Lucky We Are" which was apparently originally called "Sh*tty Apartment" but changed for the album release.

The self-titled album Meiko is an absolute steal at $5.99.

2008-04-01

Free iTunes Tuesday: Cut Copy, Flavio Cianciarulo

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1. Cut Copy - Lights & Music
I'm ridiculously pleased that this is the free song of the week, since I was prepping an article on Cut Copy anyway. They released their new album, "In Ghost Colours" last week and tempted by the $6.99 price and great review in Spin Magazine, I downloaded. It is love.

Cut Copy's unique sound mixes elements of indie rock and dance music, and the result sounds like the soundtrack to the most raging, awesome party that you've ever wanted to throw. If you listened to New Order in the 80's, you get the general gist.

The free track and first single, "Lights & Music" is cool, but my favorite track on the album is "Feel the Love". I guarantee that it'll be showing up in a car commercial sometime soon.

So grab "Lights and Music" today for free, and if you like it, I strongly urge you to grab the whole album for $6.99.

2. SeƱor Flavio - Mandita
I am told that Mister Flavio, aka Flavio Cianciarulo, "is a founding member of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, one of the greatest rock bands on any continent, from any era." This track in particular is supposed to explore 80's rock, a la UB40.

I like the overall track which is upbeat and poppy with lots of hurried rhythmic lyrics. But then this rather scary man who is apparently in third-stage emphysema pops up and starts yelling angrily for the kids to get off his lawn. Or at least, that's what it sounds like. It's in Spanish, I can't tell. It's not for me, but maybe you'll enjoy it...

2008-03-30

Music Podcast of the Week: KCRW's Top Tune

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Want to be a music tastemaker? Want to have your friends envious of you because you're able to pick the up and coming bands months before they hit the big time? Well, you need to be listening to the right source for free music.

The right source is KCRW. They are the exclusive owners of the crystal ball that rotates CDs when you look into it. Either that or they've kidnapped a number of radio executives and are torturing them to play the songs of their choosing. And now they have a song-of-the-day podcast featuring some of the best music o' the future.

The podcast is brand new, so it will take some time to get a good selection of music, but I daresay it will be awesome.

Grab KCRW's Top Tune Podcast.

2008-03-29

Beat It Cover by Fall Out Boy and...John Mayer?

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Wow. When I woke up this morning, I certainly didn't expect to end up listening to a "Beat It" cover by Fall Out Boy. And then to discover that John Mayer was the one shredding the guitar during the course of the song? I'm so freaked out, I'm seriously considering going back to bed.

There's no video yet, thank Thor. I have serious doubts that Pete Wentz can moonwalk. And I know for a certainty that John Mayer will think that he can moonwalk, but his attempt will be an epic fail.

Check out "Beat It" on iTunes.

Free iTunes TV: Green River Killer, Green Power Documentaries

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Many of the past week's free TV episodes are still available. But you want to hear about the new ones, right?

1. Capture of the Green River Killer (10:03)
Get a preview of this upcoming Lifetime miniseries, based on the true story of Washington's Green River Killer, and his eventual capture. James Marsters (who played "Spike" on Buffy) is in it. Which makes it totally worth watching.

2. Big Ideas for a Small Planet (25:38)
I'm super into the environment lately. Shrinking my carbon footprint and everything. I've been drawing inspiration from a number of green blogs, and am participating in Earth Hour tonight.
So this award-winning documentary that covers developments in alternative energy that may help us avert the climate crisis is timely, and definitely worth a watch.

2008-03-26

More from Heidi Montag

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I don't understand.

Does Heidi Montag have an actual album coming out? Or is she just going to keep drizzling out singles and homemade videos because Spencer hasn't been able to figure out how to work the CD burner?

Regardless, Miss Heidi has another single out titled "No More". This is one case where you can be glad for vocal effects as it transforms the song into something vaguely listenable. I've got 10 bucks on another bikini video magically surfacing for this one. We can only hope.

Download Heidi Montag's "No More".

2008-03-25

Free iTunes Tuesday: Lady Antebellum, Hayes Carll, Chana

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Country fans: this is your week for free iTunes music. Let's dig in:

1. Love Don't Live Here - Lady Antebellum
I'm not sure what to say about this one. It's a nice country song, full of twang and harmonies and break-up angst. I guess I could point out that the singer Charles Kelly is the brother of Josh Kelley, who is married to Katharine Heigl. That's kind of interesting, I guess.

2. She Left Me For Jesus - Hayes Carll
Wildly clever country song. All I need to do to sell you on this one is post the lyrics of the chorus:
"She left me for Jesus, and that just ain't fair.
She said that He's perfect, how could i compare?
She says that I should find him, and I'll know peace at last.
If I ever find Jesus, I'm kickin' His ass."

Love it.

3. La Duda - Chana
I was hoping to report that "La Duda" translated to "The Dude" because that would be an awesome name for a song. But it translates to "The Doubt", which is still pretty cool.

La Chana is Rosanna Tavarez, a vocalist and songwriter of Dominican heritage who grew up in New York and Miami. This track is kind of awesome: dance rock meets power pop. It reminds me a lot of CSS. Highly recommended.

2008-03-24

Death Cab for Cutie is back! And they will possess your heart. Tho' not in a demonic way.

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Ben Gibbard's Death Cab for Cutie found mainstream success with their last album, "Plans". Many of their cult fanbase accused them of selling out, and certainly the album was a bit less thoughtful than the quirky work of their past.

It will be interesting then, to see how Death Cab bridges art and mainstream with their upcoming album "Narrow Stairs".

If their first single, "I Will Possess Your Heart" is any indication, they are embracing their art sides all the way. Over eight minutes long, the song has a four minute instrumental introduction. That's right. Four minutes with no vocals. After all, the band is full of master instrumentalists, why not show off what they can do?

It's likely the radio version will cut out those four minutes and get straight to Ben's lovely singing voice and DC's harmonies. But check out the newly released single and see whether you like the new Death Cab.

Pick up Death Cab for Cutie's new single: I Will Possess Your Heart

2008-03-23

New Danity Kane album features exorbitant hair extensions, Missy Elliot, and robots.

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I won't own up to it. I never watched the P.Diddy "Making the Band" reality show that put Danity Kane together. "Show Stopper" was never a huge guilty pleasure for me. And Aundrea is certainly not my favorite of the group.

Which is why I'm completely neutral and qualified to comment on Danity Kane's new album: "Welcome to the Dollhouse". Pluses here: the album is really well done. The arrangements are complex and interesting. The songs are all danceable and catchy. The first single "Damaged" was voted on by the fans as their favorite new song off the album and features a couple of great hooks. Missy Elliot makes an appearance on "Bad Girl".

Still, part of me mourns every time I hear a Danity Kane song. If you watch the show (which I don't), you know that these girls have legitimately great voices. They are extremely talented. But the way that their vocals are produced, layering on *heavily* the AutoTuner and the digital effects, means that all of the individuality is washed out of their sound. They could be any five hot girls off the street. Or Fembots, for all we know. Is it too much to ask for one song that turns off the vocal effects and lets us hear them raw and real?

Still, I'm digging it. Secretly. Shhh. Don't tell. And pick up Damaged.

2008-03-22

Free iTunes TV: Greek, Life of Ryan

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Pretty uninteresting free tv this week, I'm afraid. A few more episodes of things we've seen before, and a bunch of repeats from past weeks.

1. Greek - Pilot (52:22); Black, White, and Read All Over (45:58)
An ABC Family show about being greek in college? I'm sure there will be lots of squeaky-clean drama fun for the whole family. Still, you get two entire free episodes to hook you.

Greek also has about seven 30 minute videos on their casting for each episode, if you want to check that stuff out. The same link above will take you there.

2. America's Prom Queen - Casting Episode (11:10)
Yeah. This is still there, plus a free episode called "Prom Princesses". I'm not really sure why America needs a prom queen, since prom queens are mostly a high school popularity contest. Without standing on the backs of your teenage peers, how vital is a prom queen title anyway? Well, Jai Rodriguez, one of the Queer Eye guys is a judge, so maybe it's worth a peek.

3. Life of Ryan - Flashback (20:58)
A full episode of that Life of Ryan show with the angsty skateboarding kid. I think this is a Season Two clip show with some deleted scenes and stuff.

Sorry it's so sparse. Hopefully next week will be better!

2008-03-21

Heroes Soundtrack is made of awesome, new songs from good bands.

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When I clicked on the newly released Heroes Soundtrack, I was pretty surprised what I found there. After all, the show isn't like "Grey's Anatomy", renowned for its music. It has a pretty decent original score, but only a few of those tracks are featured on this album.

Instead, what's on there are a bunch of unique, new songs from some of my favorite bands. Imogen Heap's "Not Now, But Soon" is a highlight. Death Cab for Cutie, The New Pornographers, My Morning Jacket, Nada Surf, Panic at the Disco, and Wilco have new tracks on here as well.

Mix that up with a few great tracks from David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and the Chemical Brothers and it's like listening to the greatest "Heroes"-inspired mix tape that was ever created.

Many iTuners will be annoyed that you can't pick up the singles individually, but IMO that's not as much of an issue when the whole album is this good.

Download the Heroes Soundtrack.

2008-03-20

Jason Mraz is "Yours", Adorable.

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I've been a huge Jason Mraz fan ever since I saw him perform live. He is just such a dynamic performer with such a huge, pure voice. It's impossible to listen to his music without being lifted up by some karmic, happy boost.

He is prepping for a new album coming up, and has released an 4 song EP called "We Sing" in anticipation of it. The lead single, "I'm Yours" is unspeakably adorable. Pick it up - it will immediately brighten your day.

2008-03-19

All American Idol Albums on Sale!!

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Always wanted to pick up that Kelly Clarkson or Daughtry album, but didn't want to shell out the full $9.99 for it?

Well this week, all American Idol albums are on sale for $7.99. Everyone you can think of is here from the currently-hot Jordin Sparks, to the gorgeous Carrie Underwood, Fantasia and Clay, and my personal favorite William Hung. Hung got an entire album? That guy is amazing!

Some of the lesser-knowns are also present. Did you know that creepy Constantine did an album? I didn't either. I don't even remember who Jim Verraros is. I do remember Bucky Covington, and what I remember frightens and confuses me.

Rounding out there group are eating disorder subjects Katharine McPhee and Kellie Pickler, the bouncy Blake Lewis, marine Josh Gracin, Elliot Yamin and his newly fixed teeth, scarily cheerful Taylor Hicks, two efforts from Kimberly Locke, the forgetable Diana DeGarmo, and Ms. Clarkson's most beautiful disaster: Justin Guarini (::shudder::).

Personally, I'm going to grab the Daughtry album and considering Katharine McPhee's, which was pretty well reviewed.

2008-03-18

Free iTunes Tuesday: Walk Like an Egyptian, R.E.M., and The Kills

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Very esoteric week for free iTunes music this week.

1. The Kills - Cheap and Cheerful
My understanding of the Kills is that they are two people who used to be nice, normal, and in unsuccessful bands. So they swore some sort of oath to the devil or something and started over. Their new strategy involved chain smoking and vomiting on stage, never giving press interviews, condemning corporate America, and making some pretty awesome music. Good track. Sounds a bit like Garbage. Grab it.

2. The Puppini Sisters - Walk Like an Egyptian
A 40's jazz-version of the Bangles' 80's hit? ::shrugs:: Why not?

3. R.E.M. - Living Well is the Best Revenge [Video]

R.E.M.'s latest release is getting stunning reviews. I've heard a few tracks and have been floored at how gorgeously angry they are. This video features R.E.M. crammed in a van, driving along a dark highway, playing their instruments acoustically, drumming on the steering wheel, and joyously making harmonies. It's the way that music should be experienced, and it's a joy to watch a band so candidly enjoying each other. I strongly recommend you download this.

4. Karyme Lozano - Ay Ay Ay

This was totally throwaway for me. If you're really into Latin music, grab it. Else, pick up the rest of this week's tracks.

2008-03-17

Free TV on iTunes: Pilots for New Amsterdam, Canterbury's Law, and more

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Lots of free TV popped up on iTunes this week. Let's have a look:

1. New Amsterdam - Pilot (43:56)
I watched this pilot on TV a couple of weeks ago. The show has gotten great reviews as kind of a Highlander meets CSI. John Amsterdam, the main character, was given a curse by some indian tribe in the 1700's where he can't die until he meets "the one". So he's lived hundreds of years, had multiple wives, sired dozens of kids, and had a gazillion occupations, but he hasn't met her yet.

Then, while chasing a suspect through the subway, he has a heart attack, falls down unconscious, and wakes up in a morgue. Was the "one" somewhere on the subway deck? Unfortunately, we're going to have to survive dozens detective mystery episodes with flashbacks to his early life to find out...

2. Canterbury's Law - Pilot (44:41)
I did not watch this show when it debuted on tv, but I know a few things about it. One, it stars Julianna Marguilles who I always adored on ER. Two, she places a lawyer who is mean to everybody but really good at what she does. Sort of a lawyer equivalent of House, and the polar opposite of Eli Stone. I have a hard time picturing Julianna as a Bia-tch, which is probably why I'll eventually tune in.

3. Greek - Pilot (52:22); Black, White, and Read All Over (45:58)
An ABC Family show about being greek in college? I'm sure there will be lots of squeaky-clean drama fun for the whole family. Still, you get two entire free episodes to hook you.

4. MLB 2008 Season Preview (1 hr); MLB 2008 Fantasy Season Preview (44:10)
MLB.com brings two significant season previews for the upcoming season. Great way to get psyched up for the upcoming season. (Go Indians!)

5. AxMen - Man vs. Mountain (44:12)
Another meaty full episode from the History Channel's series on loggers. I was watching this last night. Men really are men, and many limbs have been lost. It's kind of sad, actually.

2008-03-15

Free Jack Johnson videos in Podcast form

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I'm not entirely sure whether this is within copyright laws, but there is an awesome podcast on iTunes this week that offers many of the videos from Jack Johnson's new album: "Sleeping through the Static". If you download it, you can watch all of the videos for free. Pretty sweet deal!

The podcast itself is in French, but that doesn't really matter. Free videos! Check it out quickly.

2008-03-14

Leona Lewis: the newer, less crazy Whitney Houston

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Leona Lewis won an American-Idol like show in the UK called "The X Factor". With her stunning looks and a voice capable of both belting remarkably high notes and shimmering soft ones, she's gotten a number of well-deserved comparisons to Whitney Houston.

Her first US single is Bleeding Love, and I strongly encourage you to check it out on iTunes. It's incredibly catchy and pleasing to the ears. A good guilty pleasure.

2008-03-13

Free TV: Medical Mysteries, America's Prom Queen, and more

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1. Mystery Diagnosis - Survivors 2006 (40:55)
A baby boy is stricken with nonstop vomiting. A woman drinks three gallons of water night and day. A man who doesn't sweat. This Discovery Channel show looks into some very cool medical mysteries.
2. America's Prom Queen - Casting Episode (11:10)
I'm not really sure why America needs a prom queen, since prom queens are mostly a high school popularity contest. Without standing on the backs of your teenage peers, how vital is a prom queen title anyway? Well, Jai Rodriguez, one of the Queer Eye guys is a judge, so maybe it's worth a peek.
3. Unhitched - Behind the Scenes (9:20)
If you liked Karen from the Office, this is her new series. Did you know that she's apparently dating the guy that plays Jim in real life? In this series, she helps a group of defunct guys get divorces and start to repair their love lives. I think.

2008-03-12

Usher asks if we'll make love in the club. World responds: "Yes!"

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Usher is getting ready to drop his new album, and the racy first single has already raced to the top of the charts.

Love In This Club features Usher trying to convince his young lady friend that they should risk imprisonment, shed their clothes, and start getting it on in the middle of the dance floor.

I'm not sure why they can't wait until they get home. I guess she's that irresistible...

Still, the track is almost as hot as Usher himself. Pick it up on iTunes today.

2008-03-11

Free iTunes Tuesday: Duffy, Madita, and Los Mono

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1. Duffy - Mercy
iTunes loves giving us female UK-imports resembling Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse, so why not do another one? Mercy has 50's-retro appeal. Duffy's voice is lighter than Winehouse and scratchier than Lily's, but has an appealing quality all of it's own. Definitely one of the best free singles in a while.

2. Madita - Better Brother
If you've liked the Feist and Yael Naim tracks that iTunes has skyrocketed to popularity, chances are you'll also like Madita. Her album swings from ethereal, Portishead-like tracks to Sara Bareilles-like jazz/pop. Very promising new find. It's another must-download.

3. Los Mono - Promesas
Very groovy latin-electro-funk track. To me, it sounds a bit like LCD Soundsystem with latin lyrics. Had me dancing, and didn't once get boring.

2008-03-09

Jason Castro breaths new life into Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujiah"

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I was shocked when I opened the iTunes store this week and saw that one of my favorite songs, "Hallelujiah" had shot to the top of the charts. Jason Castro, the dopey looking guy with dreadlocks, did a passable version of it on American Idol, which has reminded everybody how awesome the song was in the first place.



"Hallelujiah" was originally written by infamous songwriter Leonard Cohen, and then was covered by everyone in existence. My favorite two covers are Jeff Buckley's (who died after putting out an achingly beautiful album), and Brandi Carlile (singer of "The Story").

But there are so many good covers out there to choose from. Have a listen to the diverse set of people singing this amazing song:

2008-03-05

Free iTunes Tuesday: Ana Laan, Eric Durrance

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A bit of a quieter iTunes Tuesday this week. We've just got two free tracks, both a little on the chill side.

1. Ana Laan - Paradise
The startling, romantic voice of singer Ana Laan was born in Madrid and matured in Stockholm, Sweden. The daughter of a Spanish professor of literature and an American mother, Ana was raised in a home where learning was revered and multi-culturalism was the norm.

The song sounds a bit like if Lily Allen or Kate Nash did a Latin track. Very cute.

2. Eric Durrance - Wait Till I Get There
Country track. Eric Durrance is embarking on his solo career and coming out with a new record in a couple of weeks. The man is hot, and has a melting voice.

The song itself is pretty sad - the lyrics tell the tale of him rushing home to say goodbye to his grandpa before he dies. The song will probably make you tear up a bit.

2008-02-29

Free TV: American Idol, quarterlife, and more

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Lots of good free TV and entertainment on iTunes this week:

1. American Idol - Josiah's Journey (4:30)
Josiah was kind of a weird diva/brat/sweetheart that didn't make American Idol's final round. A whiz with a keyboard, he famously dismissed the band from the stage in his final round of auditions only to kind of suck. It was too bad - he definitely had talent and provided some much needed drama to the show. Check out his journey for free.

2. The Mean Mrs. Dickstein (15:00)
Do you like Sex in the City? Then you should download this free short story on tape, written by Cynthia Nixon. It chronicles some events of her living in New York City, and I believe she narrates it as well. No link for this because Apple is lame. Go to iTunes and search.

3. An Introduction to the 12 Second Sequence (10:00)
Jorge Cruise offers 10 minutes of get-in-shape inspiration.

4. Bakugan - The Battle Begins! (22:15)
Yay for free anime episodes! In Bakugan, Drago must ally with his human friend Dan to eliminate the evil Naga and restore balance to the parallel universe! Awesome!

5. quarterlife - Featurette (9:01)
quarterlife is a new show that depicts the lives of a bunch of 20-somethings living in New York. Yeah, it's Friends with graphic designers.

6. Eli Stone - George Michael Video "Faith" (2:58)
It's only three minutes, but at least it's three minutes with George Michael...

2008-02-26

How old are the Jonas Brothers, anyway?

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For all of you Jonas Brothers fans out there, here are the ages of the Jonas Brothers.

  • Nick Jonas is age 14, born 9/16/92.
  • Joe Jonas is 18, born 8/15/89.
  • Kevin Jonas is age 19, born 11/5/87.
So, for all of you cougars out there, two out of the trio are 'of age'. You can stop feeling guilty for leering at them. I think they're dreamy.

S.O.S. is their latest single, and it's already burning up the airwaves. Check it out.

Ashley Simpson is pregnant! Better catch her in a bikini now.

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Rumor is that Ashley Simpson and Pete Wentz, infamous bassist for Fall Out Boy, have made a baby and gotten engaged.

One wonders how the impending visit from the stork is going to impact publicity for Simpson's upcoming album, "Bittersweet World", scheduled to drop on April 15th.

Still, in honor of their news, here are two celebratory gestures.

First, "Outta My Head", the debut single from Ashley's upcoming album.

Second, a picture of Ashley Simpson in a bikini. You know what these two things have in common? Yes, that's right. They're both hot.

Edit: Turns out those pregnancy rumors were just a cruel joke purported by Ashley and Pete. So this won't be the last bikini picture after all!

Were you charmed by "Once" at the Oscars? I was.

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I didn't really watch the Oscars. I had them on in the background while I was doing some work. But for three solid minutes, I was riveted to the screen while Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova performed the song "Falling Slowly" from the motion picture "Once".

The song is just beyond enchanting. Words don't do justice, so watch the video above. And of course, it won the Oscar. Good for them.

The entire "Once" soundtrack is infinitely lovely. But at the very least, pick up "Falling Slowly" to add to your collection.

Danger, Mavado, and Macaco for free this week on iTunes

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Free singles this week on iTunes are a bit meh this week, methinks. But let's take a look anyway.

1. 11h30 - Danger
First of all, this guy calls himself "Danger". Since he's French, I thought I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and assume Danger meant something different in French. But, no. Danger just means "danger" in French. I don't know about you, but I only respect people whose middle name is Danger.

Then there's the fact that his album cover has a big black pyramid on it. Let me repeat that. The guy who makes thumping electro-house music put a big black pyramid on his cover. Daft Punk much, anyone?

After all of that, you start thinking. Wow, this guy has some serious cajones. I wonder if he's all tricked out in a robot costume or something. But, no. This is what Danger looks like:
That is one dangerous looking goatee!

Despite the fact that this guy is obviously trying too hard, the single rocks. I'm not kidding. I think I might get the entire album if this is indicative of his direction. The guy has started using guitars (yes, guitars!!!) in his house music. Thank the stars for Danger.

2. Last Night - Mavado
Mavado is a reggae singer, and I guess that's why I can't understand a single word he says. The single is repetitive and boring, but the lyrics are intoxicating indecipherable. Take this sample from the second verse:
"And Dem A Wonda Weh Mi Watch Be
Want Fi Buss Mi Head
An Want Fi Mek Docta Cant Even Patch Mi
Bout A Born Mi Born A Nuh Woman Hen Hatch Mi
Tell Informa Mission Gun Mi Hav Di Factory
Swear Seh Dem Kill Mi D.N.A It Did Match Mi"

Genius!

3. Mama Tierra - Macaco

This Spain export reminds me of a latino Sugar Ray with his record-scratching sounds, vocal echos, and quick rhythmic vocal lines. But also like Sugar Ray, it's infectious. Worth a try.

Reader Reminder: Check Your Email!

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Faithful readers, may I offer a suggestion?

IF YOU WANT TO WIN FREE ITUNES, CHECK YOUR EMAIL!!!!

The last two free iTunes $10 prizes we have tried to give out have not been claimed. Which is a shame for the rest of you that are really hungry for free iTunes.

If you win, we send an e-mail from freeitunesmusic at gmail.com to your e-mail address that is subscribed to our newsletter. Please make sure that e-mail address is added to your spam filters so you see it coming through.

I have just sent an e-mail to this week's content winner. So check your mail!

Those of you who want to sign up for our $10 weekly free iTunes drawing, read contest rules here.

2008-02-25

Juno Soundtrack sets world record for quirkiness

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I finally saw this "Juno" movie everybody's been raving about. And now I understand it's strange power over all of my friends. I'm so ready to go out and buy some converse shoes and a telephone shaped like a hamburger. Because that's what quirky people do.

The music of Juno is just as quirky as the movie itself. None of the singers try too hard, lest they be perceived uncool. In fact, rather than singing many of the artists seem to talk melodically. The instrumentation is all kept to an absolute minimum.

Kimya Dawson, who scores six songs on the soundtrack, serves to remind us that even though the world is totally messed up, we can still revel in its quirky pleasures. On "Loose Lips", she tells us that even if we want to cut, burn, or kill ourselves, to remember that she loves us. "Call me up before your dead, we can make some plans instead. Send me an IM, I'll be your friend." Aww, that's so sweet.

The Juno soundtrack has been in the iTunes top 10 for...well basically forever now. Pick up your quirky copy this week.

2008-02-24

We don't wanna be in love with Good Charlotte, but we can't help it.

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Good Charlotte. Lessee, what do I know about them? I know that like five years ago they were one of the first emo bands. They were all cute and young, and had huge hits like "Lifestyles of the Rich and the Famous".

Then they disappeared for a while. I think they did another album, but nobody listened to it. Word was that they messed around too much with their sound, and lost their core fanbase. Plus they were growing up and getting less cute, which never helps.

Their recent album is back to basics, retooled in a more young-adult way. So well, in fact, that now they're touring with Justin Timberlake. Good for them.

I also know that the lead singer, Joel Madden, was dating Hillary Duff for a while, but then got Nicole Ritchie preggers. Are they engaged now, or what? And isn't Joel's brother in the band? What celebrity is he knocking up?

Regardless, I love their new single "I Don't Wanna Be In Love". The full album, "Good Morning Revival", is also discounted at iTunes for a limited time at $7.99.

Pick up "I Don't Wanna Be In Love".
Pick up "Good Morning Revival" for $7.99.