- 10 Jul 15
Ahead of a Notorious weekend...
Irish eyes will be focussing again this weekend on Conor McGregor as he gets to MGM Grand grips with Chad Mendes. While Sinéad O'Connor will be singing him into the octagon - there's long been a mutual admiration society between the two – Free Music Friday has assembled an adrenaline-fuelled collection of downloads, streams and vids, which stuck on the dressing-room ghettoblaster beforehand are guaranteed to make it fourteen wins in a row for The Notorious.
Our favourite Free Music Friday thing this week is Nina Revisited... A Tribute To Nina Simone, which finds such celebrity admirers as Lauryn Hill, Usher, Mary J. Blige, Gregory Porter and Common reworking her peerless back catalogue.
Also majorly floating the FMF boat is this quirky little fella from Caribou/Daphni, the two-for-the-price-of-one dance sensation who will shortly be doing the Longitude biz.
Further appetite-whetting for the new Strypes album arrives in the shape of 'A Good Night's Sleep And A Cab Fare Home'. That guitar break/drum explosion at the 2min 1sec mark is pure '60s maximum R'n'B Who!
We're delighted to meet the acquaintance of Tripper Jones, a Denver psychedelic trip-hopper who has two free tracks begging to be iTuned.
We're inordinately fond of this three-track introduction to Simrit, a folkier Mazzy Star hailing from Nevada City who we'd love to see crossing the Atlantic. Also new and mightily impressive from the Noise Trade stable is the mini-album from Portland's Altadore, Wandering Ghost, which genetically splices Bombay Bicycle Club to Arctic Monkeys, and a sampler featuring July Talk, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Rural Alberta Advantage, Hey Rosetta! and other upwardly mobile types appearing at Barrie, Ontario's WayHome Festival.
To the streams now and [link]3voor12.vpro.nl/albums.html[/link] has hot new releases from Hollis Brown, Ezra Furman, Refused and Organisms; [link]www.theguardian.com/music/series/album-streams[/link] is the go-to place for Little Boots' eagerly-awaited return to the pop fray, Working Girl, and [link]www.nytimes.com/interactive/arts/music/pressplay.html?_r=3&[/link] has the lasted collaboration between Ghostface Killah and legendary film scorer Adrian Younge.
He's yet to make much of an impact here, but Stateside Christopher Paul Stelling is seriously hot singer-songwriter property at the moment. This free acoustic download set explains why.
Tears were shed last week in Chicago when after 50-years of defiantly doing their own thing the Grateful Dead bowed out with an ecstatically received series of Soldier Park shows. Their last stand can be streamed courtesy of WMWV Radio with some of the tunes, including their one and only hit single, 'Touch Of Grey', also up for free download.
For those of you who complain that Free Music Friday is something of a metal-free zone, here's a trio of belters from Pennsylvania technical death merchants Burial In The Sky who not only crank out a mean riff, but defy the laws of gravity/physics with their moniker.
At the glammier end of the spectrum, let us introduce you to LA's Rex & The Lying Heir who throw supremely good shapes, and have the coolest viola player in the world... ever!
One of the year's more remarkable videos is supplied by Helly Luv, a singer who was born in Kurdish Iran, moved to Finland as a child and is now based in the US. A keen human rights activist, she's shot the promo for 'Revolution' on the Kurdish Peshmerga frontline with Islamic State. Not surprisingly, her outspoken stance has not endeared her to militants.
"It's true, I have been on their 'most-wanted' list, but I believe anyone would be listed there wanting for freedom, peace and justice," she tells the Clarion Project. "The death threats come mostly from social media, but I don't listen to them. I want this war to stop, and I want peace for my country. If I can get the message out to other millions of people who probably don't know what is going on here, especially the young generations, I accept putting my life at risk for my country and people.
"To me it is an honour and privilege, because it means I am as powerful as their weapons. My message to them is very clear, they can just look at the video."
Madam, we like your chutzpah!
And that, ladies, gentlemen, boys and girls, is your Free Music Friday lot for another week. Keep those links coming to @stuartclark66 and make sure to give Mr. McGregor plenty of encouragement from your sofa!