Freeloader

The best in legitimate, artist-approved downloads.

Some things are best in small doses, including synth-laden dance punk. That may be why Professor Murder sticks to EPs rather than full-length albums. Despite the critical acclaim that followed last year's five-track debut, the New York City quartet has opted to give away Professor Murder on a Desert Island. You can find the opener, "Flex-It Formula," along with the rest of the EP, in upcoming months at RCRDLBL.com, a new ad-supported, label-approved blog looking to get into the free-music business. Sounds like a great idea, as long as those in charge remember that online ads are also best in small doses.

Speaking of RCRDLBL, our sympathies go out to the handful of you who paid big bucks to score a copy of the Cold War Kids' ultra-rare Mulberry St. EP on eBay; your investment just depreciated a bit. The So-Cal indie outfit, which hit the studio last month to begin recording its next album, is now giving away its six-song debut release. You can also grab it at RCRDLBL.com, and while you're there, check out the first new material from Gang of Four in more than a decade. The U.K. post-punk legends are offering four demos from their upcoming digital EP free of charge. You don't need a course in economics to tell you that supply and demand can be a beautiful thing in the digital era.

The MP3 player turns ten this year, and what better way to celebrate than with a covers collection that reminds us of a time when the CD was the king of convenience? Jason Drake, aka Cassettes Won't Listen, has posted One Alternative, a tribute to '90s indie acts such as Sebadoh, Pavement and Liz Phair. The digital-only EP is available to download free at www.cassetteswontlisten.com, along with a set of instrumentals and a cappella tracks for you aspiring remix artists. In March, the Brooklyn producer will self-release his full-length Small-Time Machine; as with the rest of Drake's material, you won't be able to find it on one of those primitive polycarbonate discs.

Finally, if you still own a copy of Sugar's Copper Blue, its cobalt-tinted jewel case probably stands out like a sore thumb in your collection, beckoning you to remember frontman Bob Mould in his heyday. After tinkering with electronica for the past few years, Mould is getting back to the glorious sound that once kept us glued to MTV's 120 Minutes every Sunday night. His seventh solo outing, District Line, hits stores in February on Anti- Records. The album's first single, "The Distance Between Us" (available to download free at AOL's Spinner.com), is rife with crunchy guitars and power-pop hooks.

 
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