On the Download

The best in legitimate, artist-approved exclusives.

The new one from Hot Chip doesn't hit stores until next year, but thankfully, the London act is throwing its fans a bone. Put that secondary e-mail address to good use and sign up for the band's mailing list at its MySpace page (www.myspace.com/hotchip). In return, the Chip will reward you with a free download of "I Became a Volunteer," an exclusive track that won't be on the forthcoming Made in the Dark. While you're there, stream the album's first single, "Shake a Fist," the perfect soundtrack for laying the spam smackdown on all of those phony friend requests.

Joe Jackson has been off a lot of people's radar since his "Steppin' Out" days, but the man hasn't been wasting time. Besides crafting variations on his new-wave brand of piano pop, Jackson spends his days railing against anti-smoking legislation on both sides of the pond. You can read his recent essay "Smoke, Lies and the Nanny State" at his website (http://www.joejackson.com) or head over to Stereogum.com to download "King Pleasure Time," the first single from his upcoming Rain. Due in January, the album features two of the original Joe Jackson Band members and probably a few more song titles that will make nicotine fiends flick their Bics.

A few weeks ago, Saul Williams pulled a Radiohead when the hip-hop slam poet began offering his third LP, The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of Niggy Tardust, on his website (www.niggytardust.com) for free. Riding shotgun on Williams's effort is Trent Reznor, who has publicly condemned the record industry for unfair pricing, telling his fans in Australia and China to steal his latest disc. The Nine Inch Nails svengali recently became a free agent with the Year Zero remix album, his 25th release, due later this month, so we're projecting that Halo 26 will be on the house. Until then, get a free, 192-kbps copy of Niggy Tardust, or fork over five bucks for the high-quality version.

Before anyone had a chance to coin the term "mash-up," the Illegal Art imprint was making a name for itself with Deconstructing Beck, an underground LP made up entirely of uncleared Beck samples. Since then, the recording label has bolstered the legitimate careers of DJ acts such as Girl Talk and Legion of Doom while keeping its disregard for copyright legislation intact. Download the Illegal Art Sampler '07, a free EP that features artists such as Realistic and Oh Astro as well as "Voice Mail," a smorgasbord of Sugar Hill Gang tracks blended together by famed turntablist Steinski (of Double Dee & Steinski). Being bad feels pretty good, doesn't it? (http://illegalart.net/a).

 
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