13 July 2010



Here's an excellent source of free indie rock, folk and country.

Daytrotter coaxes bands and solo artists into the studio to perform live, and captures it all in glorious mp3. Many notables have performed for Daytrotter, as diverse as Dinosaur Jr., the Drive-By Truckers and Kris Kristofferson. Lots of up-and-coming artists are doing sessions for Daytrotter too, including Joe Pug and We Were Promised Jetpacks (pictured above). Each session is embellished by a great rambling essay and a brilliant cartoon portrait.
All you have to do to get this stuff is register (it's free) and you'll receive regular update via email. With a login and password, you can then download session for free to your heart's content. And if you're after seriously good sound quality, you can pay a little for the upgrade.
Well worth it!


06 May 2010


Roger McGuinn's Folk Den

Singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn is the founder of the legendary Byrds (back then he was known as Jim McGuinn) and master of the electric Rickenbacker, the acoustic twelve-string and banjo. For about fifteen years now, McGuinn has been recording traditional folk songs, and making them available via this blog. There is a tremendous range of music here: traditional American folk songs, Christmas carols, sea shanties like 'Blow the Man Down' and Irish rebel songs ('Roddy McCorley'). A highlight for me is the incredible Byrds-like version of the Australian classic, 'Waltzing Matilda'.

Roger gives background information on each song, and also provides lyrics and guitar chords.

Hours of enjoyment to be had here!

You can repay Roger for all this free stuff by purchasing a four-CD box set that features 100 of his best Folk Den recordings.

Labels: ,

24 January 2010


Celtic Folk Punk and More

2010 begins with a heaped helping of noisy Celtic folk punk!

The blog Celtic Folk Punk and More (http://celticfolkpunk.blogspot.com/) is a great source of free and legal mp3s for bands inspired by varying degrees of Celtic folk and punk rock.

You will find samplers relating to bands from particular countries (e.g. Australia, Japan, Spain) to show that you don't have to be from Ireland, Scotland or Wales to play Celtic punk..

There's also features on long-defunct bands, such as the wonderful Scottish band of the late 1980s, We Free Kings.

Check back regularly, as there is always something happening on this site.


17 April 2009


NME's The Daily Download

It's been HOW LONG since my last post? What, over a year? OK, sorry about that! Life's pretty full on.

My first featured site in over a year comes from long-standing English music newspaper, the New Musical Express (NME). The NME's Daily Download site is an incredible source of new music, all of it free and legal. Every day (well, except for the Easter break) you will find a new mp3. Quite often it's from a well-known artist like Lady Sovereign or Franz Ferdinand, and more often not not it's a special remix. This site is also helping me to discover some of the newer trends in British music, like grime and dubstep. Well worth bookmarking, or - better still - setting up an RSS feed.

03 February 2008


WFMU's Country Fuzz Spectacular

Last June I discussed one of my favourite MP3 blogs, Radio WFMU's Beware of the Blog.
Today's site is a particular page within the above blog that is well worthy of several visits. It's the Country Fuzz Spectacular, a tribute to the use of fuzz guitar in country music. You might expect country music to rely heavily on pedal steel guitar and dobro, but here are some incredible songs from Nashville and Bakersfield that feature the most wicked distortion. In fact, it is argued on the blog that guitar distortion was invented by Nashville session guitarist, Grady Martin. Crikey, and I thought for all these years that the Kinks did it first!
This site features several prime cuts released between 1960 and 1978, with the best ones recorded in the mid-60s. Songs by some big names like Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Waylon Jennings appear here, along with several true nuggets from lesser-known artists like the Willis Brothers, Darrell McCall and Glen Garrison.
Thank you so much WMFU for bringing these gems to light.

26 January 2008


Paul Kelly

Legendary Australian singer-songwriter Paul Kelly is endeavouring to make mp3s of 100 of his songs available for free download!

The mp3s will be solo live recordings of favourite Paul Kelly songs old and new. He will release them a small number at a time, in an alphabetical sequence. For instance, as I write this, there are three 'A' songs available: 'Adelaide', 'After the Show' and 'Anastasia Changes Her Mind'.

Registration is required to access the free downloads. Then, when you're registered, remember to check back regularly to capture some great tunes from a national living treasure!

04 December 2007


The Triffids


I've never discussed a site relating to a particular band before, but in the case of the mighty Triffids, I think I can make an exception!

This was one of Australia's finest ever bands, incorporating elements of folk, country, blues and psychedelia and managing to produce a sound that could only come from across the Nullarbor Plain. They lasted for pretty much the entire 1980s and released a swag of crucial cassettes, singles and albums. The band's pedal steel player, 'Evil' Graham Lee, has set up a website to perpetuate the memory of the band. Many of their albums have been remastered and rereleased on CD in the past couple of years, so once again there is a real buzz about the Triffids.

The audio page presents a number of free mp3s, although it is suggested that you donate via PayPal for the pleasure of downloading these. There are dozens of tracks here, many of them either live or demo versions of songs that later became legendary. There are great acoustic versions of 'Wide Open Road' and 'Too Hot to Move', some live Velvet Underground covers, and tracks by Triffids-related acts like the Red Ponies and costar. Hours of enjoyment.

19 July 2007


salon.com Audiofile


Such exquisitely poor timing! Here I am, about to praise a terrific source of free MP3s, and I have just discovered that has been discontinued. Nevertheless, it is still worth a shout, because existing content will remain on the site. For now, at least.

salon.com's Audiofile was with us for about two and a half years. It provided a free MP3 daily. The range of music was huge - from big names like Bob Marley, Prince, Patti Smith, Sonic Youth and Tom Waits, to newer talent like Los Campesinos and the New Pornographers.

It will be sadly missed.

09 June 2007


WFMU's 'Beware of the Blog' MP3s


Free-spirited FM radio station WFMU, based in New Jersey, has a blog which links to loads of free MP3 downloads. Beware of the Blog - MP3s is worth bookmarking and visiting every week or so, because it is updated daily and will lead you to many out there sounds. It's far from conventional music. The free MP3s within range from novelty songs, esoterica and exotica to bizarre excursions in noise and psychedelia. You won't have heard of many of the artists they promote, but that's just the point. There is some wickedly wonderful stuff out there from the past five decades or so, and we need stations like WFMU to bring all this great obscure music to our attention.

WFMU has a related site called On the Download, which usually contains links to most of the MP3s described in the blog. I'd usually start there first, but it hasn't been updated since January.

06 April 2007


The Audio Archive


The Audio Archive is part of the Internet Archive aka Wayback Machine, a bold attempt to preserve online content stretching back to the mid-1990s. It's not just music, as here you will find a huge collection of radio programs, podcasts and spoken word content. But if it's music you are after, there are some sub-collections which will be of massive interest.

The Live Music Archive is a collection of live recordings covering a wide spectrum of music. At the time I write this, there are 38,473 live recordings featuring 2,380 different artists! Depending on the who submitted the recordings, they may be downloadable as MP3s, or they may be available for streaming only. Naturally, the artists here are those who free and easy about sharing their music, so you won't find any Metallica. Some of my favourites in the Live Music Archive include Billy Bragg, Camper Van Beethoven and the Minutemen.

There is a separate strand in the Live Music Archive for the Grateful Dead, with masses of live recordings right up to Jerry Garcia's death in 1995. Generally, the audience recordings are are available for downloading, while the soundboard recordings are strictly for streaming.

Among the MP3 music collections, there is a great sub-collection called NetLabels. These are virtual record labels, mostly with Creative Commons licenses, who are happy to have their music out there for free downloading. Typical genres in NetLabels include electronica, indie rock and ambient noise. There is even a 78 RPM Collection, featuring hundreds of old 78s in MP3 format. Scratchy but very interesting recordings from the early 20th century, from the likes of Sousa, Gershwin and many long forgotten artists.

Best of all, the Internet Audio Archive is searchable. You can choose to search the entire Audio Archive at once, or you can search individual collections. Results can be ranked by relevance, user rating, date or recording and date added to the archive. Date sorting is only possible from most recent to oldest. I would like to see the possibility of ranking from earliest date added to this fantastic site.

12 February 2007


Alternative Tentacles Records


You'll have to excuse me for not posting in a couple of months. My iPod died, and just a week after the warranty expired too! It means I have been somewhat out of action on the free MP3 front.

Jello Biafra's Alternative Tentacles has been one of the greatest punk and indepedent record labels for well over 20 years. The website, as well as having a store and information on all AT releases currently available, has a load of free MP3s.

These run the gamut of punk (Jello's legendary Dead Kennedys, Articles of Faith, The Fartz), alternative country (Slim Cessna's Auto Club), just plain weird (Lard, Zeni Geva) and much more. One highlight for me is celebrated street musician, the late Wesley Willis. Tracks like his 'Rock and Roll McDonalds' have to be heard to be believed.

There is also a huge range of spoken word material, from left-wing luminaries like Mumia Abu-Jamal, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Howard Zinn and Jello himself. Well worth a listen.

09 December 2006


RockAndMetal's Rock Artist Directory


I am focusing on the 'rock' stream of RockAndMetal Dot Com, but keep in mind that there's a 'metal' stream as well.

RockAndMetal Dot Com/ is a gateway to the websites, music and videos of, surprise surprise, rock and metal acts. The artist directories contain links to official websites, record company websites, sample tracks and free MP3s (where available) for each band in the directory.

This is a great resource because it links directly to the MP3 files. Just right-click, save as and they're yours. There's a search box if you are looking for particular bands. The main difficulty with this site, however, is that it's so hard to browse. The Rock Artist Directory is divided into so many genres, such as Alternative rock, Art rock, Blues, Emocore and Stoner/Sludge. Within each genre, one can view only a tiny alphabetical sequence of artists at a time. For example, Punk is divided into the sequences #-C, D-G, H-M, N-R, S-T and U-Z, and within each of these are 10-20 further subdivisions, e.g. DAA-DAQ, DAR-DD, ad nauseum.

So, it's a tricky site to use but you're bound to find some excellent free MP3s here.

24 November 2006


Soccerclips Music Archive


This is part of a wider site, Soccerclips, to which football (soccer) fans from all over the world can contribute video footage or wallpapers relating to their favourite club. It also features a lot of football-related commercials and even videos of supporters' groups (including some extreme hooligan-ish ones). The Music Archive is what interests me most.

The size and range of the content is incredible, but the site's design leaves a lot to be desired. It contains (at today's count) 2290 pieces of music available for streaming and for free downloading as MP3s. While the site meets my 'Free' criterion, beware! Some of the contributions may not meet the 'Legal'.

The main problem with this site is difficulty of access. The songs are spread across 77 pages at present, and the only way through it is to browse, page by page, with most recent additions listed first. There is no search facility. Therefore one needs to scroll through many listings - and descriptions aren't always very informative - page by page, in search of songs related to one's favourite club or national team.

Still, for those who have the patience it's a tremendous source of football songs and chants. What's that old quotation about defeating your enemy by singing his song? Here's the place to go to do all your background research into your enemies' songs!

16 November 2006


The Dubroom


How's this for a change of pace? Here's a fine site devoted to the art of dub reggae, with loads of mp3s and podcasts for free download. You'll be able to check out some works by new and established artists, from Jamaica and from elsewhere.

There are some classic tunes by dub reggae legends like Augustus Pablo, King Tubby and Sly and Robbie. You'll also enjoy some newer acts like the Basque Dub Foundation and Joseph Israel. Each page only covers two letters of the alphabet, so you need to click a lot. Nevertheless, great stuff!

08 November 2006


Fingertips Music


Fingertips Music calls itself 'The Intelligent Guide to Free and Legal Music', and this is a pretty fair description. Here you will find free MP3s from unsigned bands from North America, Britain, Europe and sometimes from Australasia. You'll also get a few heavyweights of the underground, like Wilco, Tom Waits and Yo La Tengo.

Fingertips has an A-Z Master List, usually three new tracks every week, and a podcast.

Well worth keeping your eyes and ears on this one.

07 November 2006


triple j free music: mp3 downloads

OK, I'll start our adventures with an Aussie site:


Triple J is Australia's national youth radio network, surprisingly still funded by the Australian government.

The download site features about half a dozen free songs at a time, with additions and subtractions every few weeks.

It's a great source of rock music on independent labels. There's a good amount of Australian content. In the past 12 months I have downloaded some excellent songs by local acts like Josh Pyke, Blue King Brown, Laura Imbruglia, Bertie Blackman and Darren Hanlon. You get some good overseas up-and-comers too, like The Cribs (UK).

Hurry, though, 'cos tracks don't stay up for very long!



Ever since I got that iPod for Christmas last year, I have been on an eternal quest for websites with free and legal music MP3 downloads.

There's a lot of good stuff out there, but it's easy to get bogged down in all the commercial pay-per-download sites. Adding the word 'free' to your Google search doesn't reduce the number of hits by too many!

This blog aims to highlight some of my preferred free MP3 download sites. I tend to focus on independently produced rock, folk and punk (and combinations of all three), but you're bound to find some music of interest to you on these sites as well.

I'll try to add a site each week.



This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?