♫ Free Music Weekend

The Anniversary RoseOver 40 free tracks! There has to be a new season coming as far as the music industry is concerned, because there’s a tide of free sample tracks both on Amazon US and Amazon UK this weekend. The UK selection is heavy with old names you might have expected to be in comfortable retirement by now. The US selection is far more varied and inventive. I’ve listened to them all so you don’t have to – just grab the ones that sound good to you.

A note on downloads. Amazon UK still only allows downloads from UK IP addresses and to UK accounts. Amazon US seems to have dropped the IP blocks so those of us with US accounts are once again able to shop from anywhere – no idea how long that will last, and of course all these tracks will corrode over time and become chargeable.

UK

Richard ThompsonHaul Me Up
The chocolaty tones of aging folk-rocker Richard Thompson enrobe this live sampler from his forthcoming new album, full of pub-rock energy yet still with the fiddles and folk that hark back to Fairport Convention.

Tom JonesBurning Hell
Talking chocolate voices, Tom Jones is still going strong and this new track is actually remarkably strong. The electric blues guitar construction and insistent drum make for a good sound even for a Jones sceptic like me.

Brian WilsonThey Can’t Take That Away From Me
This freebie is presumably from a forthcoming album “Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin” and yes, that’s as middle-of-the-road muzak as it sounds. This track tries to be Beach Boys Meet Gershwin but to my ears their minders didn’t get their zimmer frames close enough for it to actually work.

Burns UnitTrouble
A sucker as always for band with a female lead, this is still a likeable, poppy-rocky track that I’ll be listening to again.

I Am ArrowsNo Wonder
I like this one. The word “charming” has to tag the clangy piano, softly-spoken male vocals, glockenspiel detailing, falsetto harmonies and slightly depressive lyric, yet it all holds together beautifully.

David GreyA Moment Changes Everything
That’s unmistakably David Grey’s voice but the music is a little overwhelming and the tune lacks the hook you might expect from him. Guessing old fans may not like the forthcoming album.

Sub Pop Sampler
They’ve been so thrilled to actually have a free sampler on the UK store that Amazon has been promoting it to death on Twitter. But it’s worth the download. Full of big names, there are some good tracks on here not least of which is the deep and moving Naked As We Came by Iron & Wine.

USA

ElsinoreYes Yes Yes
I have to agree, yes, yes. This is a good, strong, textured and varied track with a rich bass that I’m enjoying listening to. Starts almost rocksteady and evolves into lyrical and tasty.

FoalsThis Orient
If I was a huge Foals fan I suspect I’d be raving about this one. As it is, I find it likeable shoegaze rock that will happily fill the time before I put Engineers on again (the band with Simon Phipps as lead singer).

Black CrowesJealous Again
When you need a new track the twelve-bar-blues is always a safe formula.

NilsWhat The Funk?
Escaped B-side from a 70s blacksploitation movie turns into reasonable guitar smooth jazz when it manages to escape the robed choir.

Tru Thoughts Jazz Sampler
A likeable and inoffensive selection of jazz with several highlights. Nothing to lose with this download.
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