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Blogcritics Goodie Bag: Akon, Cat Empire, Faithless, The Walkmen, Tony Soprano’s Top 15 Playlist, and Indiestore picks

After winning music fans over with his 2003 multi-platinum debut Trouble, Senegalese singer Akon returns with more stories from his personal journey via his sophomore CD Konvicted. If Trouble was Akon's ode to redemption (before his music career took off he served time for car theft), Konvicted picks up at rebirth. His mission now is to reinvent himself through his salvation – music. Listen to "I Wanna Love You" featuring Snoop Dogg and "Smack That" featuring Eminem, and watch the video for "Smack That" on Yahoo!Music.

Multi-platinum Australian artists The Cat Empire have just signed to Velour Music Group — the burgeoning NY-based independent label that's home to artists including Sonya Kitchell and Kaki King. The band will release a limited edition EP this fall, followed by their American debut full-length, Two Shoes, early next year. The Cat Empire are: Felix Riebl (vocals, chariotti, percussion); Harry James Angus (vocals, trumpet); Oliver McGill (piano, keyboards, backing vocals); Will Hull-Brown (drums); Jamshid Khadiwala (turntable, clave); Ryan Monro (bass, backing vocals). Listen to the song "The Chariot" or watch the video. The video for "The Car Song" is also available.

Faithless will release their fifth studio album To All New Arrivals in the UK later this month. The first single to be taken from the album is "Bombs" for which you can see the video and listen to mixes.

Awesome Inc. has posted live footage from the CMJ conference. Check out the interviews and performances by Apes and Androids, Harlem Shakes, Lo-Fi-Fink, Scandal Scouts, and Thunderbirds Are Now!.

Check out the new featured NapsterLive Session from The Walkmen. Recorded at Napster's Los Angeles studios in June, the session includes live versions of "Another One Goes By," "Good For You's Good For Me," and "All Hands And The Cook" from the band's 2006 release A Hundred Miles Off. Music fans hungry for more exclusive live recording sessions can visit the NapsterLive index for a full listing of available NapsterLive sessions ranging from Editors to Kelly Clarkson.

Fans of HBO's Sopranos who want to take a walk down Memory Lane with none other than the head of the family need look no further than Napster. The Kitty's newly-launched Tony Soprano's Top 15 Playlist features handpicked tunes that "the big guy" has listened to throughout the critically-acclaimed series' run. Ranging from Sinatra's "Oh What It Seemed To Be" to Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water," each track reflects a different facet of TV's favorite neurotic crime boss.

This week's Indiestore picks selected by former NME and Rolling Stone journalist Neil Mason:

  • Toffeetronic "Toffeetronic" – We are absolutely loving Toffeetronic. The work of one Matt Gunn, they're like… like… like Kraftwerk after a night on the pop, an M62 Orbital. It's music that makes 77p seem a stupidly small amount for something so splendid. But don't take our word for it…
  • Slipper Songs From The Haunted Dancehall – Oh, lookee here – a brand-new album of warped jazztronica from Sam off of Loop Guru and the whole shebang is exclusive to indiestore. Ghostly samples, smooching grooves, swollen melodies – it's our night-time listening of choice. Hurry while stocks last.
  • Karima Francis "The Author" – Calling Manchester home, Karima has a voice which belies her 19 years. With a rare, raw power, it's the kind of voice that could break almost anything you like at 20 paces. Get a load of this lone, but nevertheless, free track now.
  • Pom Z "On Fait Quoi Maintenant?" – Here at indiestore we are suckers for a bit of banging Euro pop. Face it, who isn't? And who could resist Pom Z with their Barbie backing track and primary school vocal? Erm. Make a spare three minutes and 50 seconds in life your today. Achetez et téléchargez!
  • Body Machine "What We've Become" – You would certainly be forgiven for claiming that Canterbury's Body Machine sound a bit like Bloc Party. They sound a lot like Bloc Party… or Gang of Four depending on how old you are. No bad thing if you like Bloc Party which happily we do.
  • Recreation "Falling" – An interesting one are Southampton's Recreation, of the two tracks on their indiestore, "Falling" is the best by several light years in a sort of Coldplay meets Buffalo Tom kind of way. There's some real potential here of that there is no doubt.

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