The steady drizzle of free, high-quality music is turning into a downpour. What that means for the future of the record industry, the development of new artists, and the very viability of a musical career is yet to become entirely clear, but for the moment why not fold up your umb-er-ella and soak yourself in City Slang's free digital sampler release?
There is a price but it's just in the internet currency of information, and I don't mind being emailed by a label with a magnificent alt-rock pedigree; if they want to come and knock on my door, the kettle's on too.
A couple of clicks and a zip and I own six tracks from Slang artists. I would have paid for all of them.
Caribou delivers "After Hours" (from the album Andorra) - just over six minutes of swooning Notorious Byrds Brothers-ish melody, tastefully decorated with electronic swells and backwards bumps the psychedelic McGuinn would have divorced his chestnut mare for. Caribou-man Snaith delivers the goods - beautiful retro-psychedelia.
Menomena's lo-fi "Evil Bee" from the album Friend and Foe creeps in on echoing piano chords and is unafraid to take risks - there's some brass playing in there that truly deserves the verb, to parp - but it fits the throw-it-all-at-the-wall aesthetic of a track that becomes surprisingly grandiose before slinking out again.
"The Fucked Up Kid" is a fine and dandy title for a track from Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew, from another slangster band with an expansive yet contained sound. Fine emotional vocals are a standout of this indie-pop outing.
Most of us, most mornings, wake up and say, if only there were more French language Canadian power pop, don't we? Well perhaps we would if we were more often exposed to Malajoube whose "La Monogamie," excerpted from Trompe L'Oeil, is a real beauty. Okay, so my French is nowhere near good enough to understand the lyrics, but I still like getting hit in the face with melodic walls of sound - as all good people do.