You don't have to have supernatural powers to sense which direction the music industry is headed. With that sentiment in mind, we've sorted through the riffraff of the digital universe to provide you with links to the best in legitimate, artist-approved exclusives. It's instant gratification at its finest, minus the spirit-crushing regret and premium price tag.
Chicago's sports teams might not be doing so well lately, but the Windy City still has something to cheer about with the Ponys. Although the garage-rock foursome won't release its Matador debut for a few weeks, you can score a free MP3 of the first single from Turn the Lights Out, "Double Vision." (www.matadorrecords.com/the_ponys)
Australian producer Neil Mason made record execs tremble when he released the online-only Green Day mash-up album American Edit. Ten days after it was posted, Warner Bros. filed a cease-and-desist order and, well, you've heard this one before. But Mason's Team9 is back in the studio, promising a new album that should be ready to download (for a limited time, at least) in the upcoming months. Until then, help yourself to an abundance of free MP3s at the Team9 site, including mash-up matchups such as the Flaming Lips vs. Clipse, Midlake vs. Jimi Hendrix and Thom Yorke vs. the Beatles. (www.team9.net/mp3s.htm)
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North Carolina's Little Brother just got smaller because of the recent departure of super-producer 9th Wonder, but MCs Phonte and Big Pooh aren't letting it slow them down. Along with its third LP on the way, the hip-hop duo is giving away And Justus for All, a collaboration with mixtape guru (and official DJ of the Cleveland Cavaliers) Mick Boogie. The digital-only release, available to download at Nahright.com, is made up of mostly new material and includes guest spots from Talib Kweli and Rhymefest. And for a bonus, head over to Rappersiknow.com for an exclusive MP3 of Phonte adding a little soul to Toto's "Africa" (www.nahright.com/news).