I can't ever recall pimping a commercial site before, but I discovered a music site called emusic.com that you should definitely check-out. Unlike I-Tunes and Napster, emusic.com has a very reasonable price model. For $9.99 a month, you will get 40 downloads. Emusic is not for people who are looking to download the latest Taylor Hicks "opus" (or maybe Pinto is a better term considering the mortifying ad soulpatrol does for Ford), but if you have more ecletic tastes, it's the best legal place to fill your MP3 player on the web.
Considering I've never made a penny off of this blog, I thought I would make up my own version of a gift list. Go to emusic.com and see if it's something you would be interested in joining. If you decide to join, send your email address to email@example.com, as the site has a friends referral program. I will in turn send your address to emusic.com. This program would enable you to get 25 free downloads and Scott (me) to double that with 50, if you join after they send you the invitation. I would greatly appreciate it.
A few artists you should check out, if you do decide to join emusic.com.
The best song of 2006? Let me submit, "Stop, I'm Already Dead", by Deadboy and the Elephantmen. From the minimalist school of the White Stripes, lead singer Dax Briggs has an incredible voice, ranging from Peter Murphy to a bluesy arena rocker. I first saw this band on IFC's excellent Henry Rollins talk show. This the album that David Bowie has been trying to make for the past 20 years.
While Deadboy fills the absence of a new White Stripes release in 2006, it should be mentioned that Jack White is as busy as ever, with his new band, "The Raconteurs." Titled "Broken Boy Soldiers", this new release is the best psychedelic album I've heard since the seventies. While White has never sounded more Robert Plant-like in his vocals, the music displays more of an influence from bands like Love and early Pink Floyd. Call me crazy, but moments on it sound like Uriah Heep if they had written a full album of tunes as good as "Easy Livin'."
Both of these albums are on emusic.com, as is the new Futureheads and Eagles of Death Metal. Were you late to the party on groups like Pavement and the Pixies? You can find them at the site as well. Even if you are not a fan of this genre, emusic has a nice collection of 80's classic rock bands like Triumph, Shooting Star, and Ted Nugent. Let me also point out a lot of great comics appear at the site like George Carlin, Bill Hicks, Dave Atell, Todd Barry, Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan, etc. (Honestly, I'm not getting a penny to promote the site, I just think it's a great place to download, without feeling the guilt and shame of illegally doing it.)
In other music news, let me give a thumbs up review to the new Dixie Chicks record. While a lot of attention has been given to how the Chicks are not selling well in certain markets, I have a ton of respect for them as artists. It's a lot easier to call out the President for his failings if you are in the rock genre like Green Day or Neil Young, but when the Dixie Chicks made their critical comments, Bush was high on the approval charts and it was considered blasphemy in the country music world to question him.
I'm happy to say that their new release, produced by Rick Rubin, is an artistic step up the ladder. While it might lack the depth of their second album, it leads off with 3 great tunes and has 3 or 4 more quality songs filling out the disc. I wouldn't say it's as good as "Rumors", but it might be the best Fleetwood Mac-type record done in the past 20 years. Some of my favorite artists are country acts like Lyle Lovett and K.D. Lang, who stopped trying to play the Nashville marketing game.