Do you remember AOL? We used to call it Internet Lite and you could have built a small mansion from the free AOL CDs that seemed to fall out of every magazine you picked up. I assumed that it had just withered in the face of the rise of broadband and "proper" Internet providers.
Well, it seems they are still about in some form because this week I found my way to the AOL Radio Blog and in particular, the Free MP3 Downloads they offer. Loads of stuff here and they seem to have started a Free Music Tuesday feature that I'll have to keep an eye on.
Here are some of the downloads that caught my eye:
Hawkwind were the first band I saw live in concert (see Concert Memories #01: Hawkwind - I must get on with writing more of these concert memories!). AOL are offering Inner Visions from a new album called Blood Of The Earth. Look for the Download Free MP3 link on the AOL site underneath the brief paragraph describing the band. It is a direct link to the mp3 file. And talking about the "brief paragraph", I love their description of the track:
"This song features trippy keyboards and what sounds like an attack from video game spaceships."If you have never heard Hawkwind, this is a great introduction. They more or less invented Space Rock, and the Inner Visions track is an excellent example of that genre. My copy of Quark, Strangeness and Charm will definitely feature in today's playlist!
I make no secret of my love for Gabriel era Genesis and Steve Hackett is from the same vintage - a key player in defining that early Genesis sound. The track on offer from AOL is Fire On The Moon. (From Space-rock to Fire On The Moon...Do you see what I did there?) This is an outstandingly good track. Quiet, contemplative start and then the chorus kicks in! Big drums, atmospheric keyboards, bombastic bass line, vox humana, kitchen sink... and about halfway through a great guitar solo from Mr Hackett (with the promise of another to come at the end).
My only problem is the vocals are slightly weak but otherwise this is a great track. Well worth the price of a free download!
An artist of a similar vintage is Asia.
I really like Yes and therefore have always felt that I ought to like Asia more than I do... But somehow they never grab me. This track, Finger On The Trigger, is good but I'm not sure it inspires me enough to go and look for songs I'd have to pay for.
Now for something completely different.
I'm not sure why I had a listen to Kings X. The name sounded familiar but when I looked at my iTunes collection I didn't have anything of their songs. (Perhaps I got confused with Symphony X?) However, this track, from Kings X, Alright, I really like! Much more of a straight-forward rock track although according to Wikipedia, the band have prog metal leanings. I'm very tempted to go and find the album this came from and see what the rest of the tracks are like.
Any other suggestions?
That's my pick from the current crop of AOL free downloads. What tracks catch your eye?