Happy 2011! Here’s your first batch of the year of the best free downloads on the web.
1. Bright Eyes – ‘Shell Games’
Bright Eyes will be releasing their seventh studio album, ‘The People’s Key’, in February – and you can fetch a free sample with this lead single now. The album’s already available to pre-order, and a few packages come with bonus tracks for you interested superfans.
2. MIA – ‘Vicki Leekx’ Mixtape
MIA leaked this New Year's treat with the world on December 31st with this free mixtape, chock full of previously heard outtakes from her most recent album, along with some new material. With the help of artists including Diplo, Rusko and Danja, this 36-minute-long WikiLeaks-inspired release is available for free download now.
3. Klaxons – ‘Landmarks Of Lunacy’ EP
Hey Klaxons fans – there’s a free mixtape from the band on their official website! You can also click here to read the lyrics to all five of the tracks. As the band wrote in their brief little intro to the download, “It’s time to let the music do the talking.”
4. Cage The Elephant – ‘Around My Head’
Kentucky’s Cage The Elephant are kicking off 2011 with a new release from their forthcoming album ‘Thank You, Happy Birthday’. Hurry and get it from iTunes, where it’s currently being featured as the single of the week.
5. The Red River – ‘When We Are Wild’
This one comes from Long Beach, California’s The Red River. It starts off with a simple keyboard beat, but slowly builds into a keeper of a tune when the vocals kick in. You can watch the band performing the song live in a backyard below, and download the original track for free below that.
6. Sondre Lerche – ‘Lewis Takes Off His Shirt’ (Owen Pallett Cover)
And now here’s a lovely cover from Norway’s Sondre Lerche. “In the end, I broke a string doing a song from what is probably my favorite record of the year, Owen Pallett’s ‘Heartland’, he wrote on his website, “which means most of my friends know what they’re getting from me this year. And now you know too.”
7. Talib Kweli - 'Cold Rain' (prod. Ski Beatz)
Brooklynite rapper Talib Kweli is set to release 'Gutter Rainbows', his first solo album in four years, at the end of this month. Here's the first single from it, produced by fellow New Yorker Ski Beatz.
8. jj – ‘Kills’ EP
Swedish duo jj released this ten-track mixtape on Christmas Eve. Each track samples bits from some huge hits – including MIA’s ‘Paper Planes’, Alicia Keys/Jay-Z’s ‘Empire State Of Mind’ and Kanye West’s ‘Power’. Check out the video for ‘Kill Them’ (you might recognise Akon’s ‘Right Now (Na Na Na)’ in there) below. Download the mixtape for free from The Tough Alliance’s label, Sincerely Yours.
9. MNDR - 'Jump In' (Discmann's Off The Wagon Remix)
MNDR was one of our favourite breakout stars of 2010 - so what better way than to kick off 2011 than with this remix from Denver's Discmann. The duo's debut album, 'Fade To Black', is set for release on January 10th.
10. MINKS – ‘Cemetery Rain’
In the latest “stocking stuffer” Music Mondays release from Urban Outfitters, you can download free tracks from Braids, Tennis, Sophie Hunger and Sister Crayon, as well as this breezey lo-fi track from MINKS. The duo will be releasing their debut album, ‘By the Hedge’, later this month.