Surfing the Web for new music, video and MP3 downloads can be a serious time investment. Picks from Times staff and contributors will help take the drag out of click-and-drag music choices. Some downloads may contain explicit lyrics. All are free, except as noted.




"California Girls"

Gretchen Wilson

Wilson bucks cultural stereotypes as a country girl on the beach, Daisy Dukes and all, but her barb is directed in much the same direction as Pink's recent "Stupid Girls." Paris Hilton receives the usual drubbing, but so do California girls in toto. It's not a particularly new idea -- merely a gender transference of John Denver's "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" or hundreds of other like-minded tunes -- and the video doesn't deepen the discussion (how often do we return to Wilson in the exact same stance on the beach?), but the mere appearance of a country artist on a California beach is significant.


"Wylin Out (Kut Masta Kurt Remix)"

Mos Def and Diverse

Adult Swim is offering for a limited time six downloads (an EP) under the name Chocolate Swim, and there is nary a bum track in the mix. This collaboration between Mos Def and Diverse features a sinuous sitar track and a vocalist straight out of Bollywood. When Mos Def enters, he's provocatively double-tracked, not an effect you hear often in hip-hop. But it is Diverse who astonishes with his tongue-twisting phrasing. With tracks like these, the recent work of OutKast, the mixing of such as Danger Mouse and DJ Shadow, hip-hop embarks on a new, imaginative, even "orchestral" chapter.


"Elevate Myself"


This summer tour is the last gasp, after which grandaddy will be no more. The king grandaddy, likeable Jason Lytle, has called it quits after 14 years, and this amusing animated video may be a window on that decision. It's an argument for transcendence, for rising above the mediocre grind, for creative detachment. As with so much of Lytle's work, the lyric is smartly executed to a very hummable melody. One hopes that his solo career will produce the same high quality of work.


The 55 Bar Live Downloads

Wayne Krantz

These will cost you $4.95 each, but it may be the best fiver you've laid down for music in a long time. Krantz is a quiet phenomenon, determinedly, almost perversely, low profile. For the last 15 years, aside from road excursions with Donald Fagen, Steely Dan and an occasional small group of his own, Krantz has played his Stratocaster on Thursday nights at the 55 Bar in New York with a trio. The music is incendiary, particularly when drummer Keith Carlock (Sting) plays with him, reminiscent of Tony Williams Lifetime or even (here we go, we can hear the shouts) the Jimi Hendrix Experience. The least interesting elements are his fusion funk. It is when he goes chordal and throws in the ring modulator that things get wild. Listen to the crowd reactions. They're not asleep.


"The Comeback -- Big Slippa Remix by Ratatat"

Shout Out Louds an aquarium bass, a guitar that would have found a home in the Gang of Four, a tight, funky drum track and a throttled vocal, it all leads to the glorious chorus: "Let's call this the comeback." Most listeners will never want this catchy song to end; in fact, it's too short -- particularly for a remix. The perfect hot-day-driving-on-the-freeway soundtrack. Shout Out Louds is a new pop band that demonstrates Sweden's continuing primacy, along with Scotland, in breeding excellence.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World