I seem to have subconsciously decided that Nuggets is weekly now, so in theory I’m going to keep throwing these up on Saturdays. It struck me earlier that if I intend to do this all year that’s just insane but we’ll see how it goes, eh? A quick trawl through any of the huge number of netlabels out there shows just how much free music is actually available these days. Some big bands may give away a few freebies (Woodpigeon, Nine Inch Nails, Coldplay, etc), these netlabels release enormous amounts of material in a dizzying array of genres. Not surprisingly, a fair amount of that is uncommercial music like ambient and experimental music, but look around and it’s not hard to find substantial caches of rock, folk, electronica, metal, and so on. Far from exclusives, the stuff I go on about in Nuggets are some of the best things I’ve found from these netlabels and free music blogs – handpicked, if you like. There’s a lot of guff out there for every decent release, as you’d expect. Anyway, onwards! There’s something of an industrial theme this week…
Nine Inch Nails / Jane’s Addiction / Street Sweeper Social Club – NIN|JA Tour Sampler
You probably realise that Trent Reznor, nice man as he is, gave away the last proper NIN album for free. What you might not realise is that to drum up interest for the NIN|JA tour in which NIN, Jane’s Addiction and rap-rock band Street Sweeper Social Club toured together, the three bands contributed two tracks each to this EP, which was given away free. I’m not a huge fan of SSSC, but “Chip Away” by JA is intriguing and the two songs given away by NIN are both worth a listen. “Non-Entity” and “Not So Pretty Now” were both recorded for the 2005 album With Teeth, but for some reason Reznor dropped them in favour of other tracks. The latter song is the best, a hilariously thrilling romp. I liked it so much that I wrote about it for one of TLOBF’s “Now Playing” features. Even if the other songs don’t seem likely to grab your attention, “Not So Pretty Now” is simply a must have and makes downloading the EP thoroughly worthwhile. I can’t seem to see the EP hosted on the NIN site anymore, however it can be found here among other places. Next is a bit more NIN…
Halo33 – Nine Inch Nails Remixes
This time though, it’s remixes. Halo33 is the moniker of one of the foremost community remixers in the NIN world, a community that sprang up when Reznor started to allow fans to download the multitrack files for the project’s songs so that anyone could remix them freely. Since then, huge numbers have been created and can be heard at remix.nin.com. Halo33′s remixes tend to be more sparse than the original tracks, and on this EP (which mostly covers the aforementioned With Teeth album from 2005) they focus on accentuating the subtle elements which were present, but almost inaudible before. Most of the remixes here are of my favourite track from that album, the brilliant “Only”, which had a music video directed by one David Fincher. There are also remixes of “The Hand That Feeds”. Far from definitive, I mention these mixes just as a little taster of the rather huge world of NIN remixing, which generally I find more interesting than remixes in general. You can get the NIN Remixes EP from Last.fm, where it’s hosted as free downloads. I recommend the DownThemAll Firefox add-on to swiftly download multiple files like this. Rather handy, I think you’ll find, and often a neccesity for successful free music-hunting.
Fresh Body Shop – The Ugly Army
From NIN to NIN remixes to NIN clone! OK, that’s a slightly unfair thing to call the work of Fresh Body Shop. Once a one-man project which seems to have turned into a band, this project is based in Nantes, France and has released several free albums and EPs. The best I’ve heard so far is this seven-song EP/mini-album entitled The Ugly Army. NIN are clearly the main influence, and the vocals are very similar to (albeit not as good as) Reznor’s. FBS are a bit more accessible than the average NIN track, but nevertheless there’s a hard edge here. The title track has a great little chorus; “Mary” sounds surprisingly Nirvana-esque to me (although I can’t quite pin down which, if any, particular song it sounds like); and “The Hunt” has some intriguing, sinister lyrics. As I say there’s quite a lot more FBS stuff on Jamendo so if you like this there’s no need to stop here. The Jamendo page for this particular record, from which it can be downloaded, is here. Until next time folks… whether there’ll be a theme or not, I honestly can’t say!