Tangled Web: A weekly column featuring intriguing online music-related issues & destinations. This Week: The Electras, Keane and New Music Canada.
THE ELECTR-IC CANDIDATE: "The Tangled Web" is nonpartisan, but as the only of the two U.S. presidential candidates to have a rock'n'roll history, John Kerry merits a mention here. Kerryrocks.com provides a brief history and an aural sampling of Kerry's work as the bassist for the Electras, a band he formed in 1961 with some high-school chums.
The Electras cut a self-titled album of mostly surf-rock-inspired instrumentals, though only 500 copies were originally pressed. It has since been reissued by RCA and is available through the Electras' official Web site.
Kerryrocks.com is also hosting a "contest" eliciting submissions by wannabe lead singers, who add their vocals on top of Electras recordings. The site offers downloads of original tracks and has posted a number of submissions for visitors to peruse.
A KEANE EAR: The Orchard, the digital distributor/marketer of independent music, has linked with Fierce Panda Records, one of its label partners, to re-release a rare track by U.K. buzz band Keane.
The cut, "The Way You Want It," is one of three songs on a single originally released last year by Fierce Panda in a U.K.-only limited-edition run of 1,500 copies. The song doesn't appear on any of the band's other releases, including its full-length debut "Hopes and Fears" (Interscope), currently No. 80 on The Billboard 200 in its 13th week of release.
"The Way You Want It" is on sale via iTunes in the United States and Metrotunes in the United Kingdom, with availability soon to be expanded to other major services including eMusic, MSN Music Club and Napster.
FRESH AND NORTHERN: As one might guess from the site's moniker, New Music Canada offers a wealth of new music from Canadian artists.
Like a number of like-minded sites promoting "unsigned" or "unheralded" music, NMC hosts a multitude of artist pages describing bands' music and cross-linking them with influences and soundalikes. Loads of tracks, bios, photos and upcoming concert dates populate the listings.
But NMC also offers musically inclined online bargain hunters another plus -- the site is streaming only, so users can listen to all the songs for free. Nary a download to be found.