Scott Brown
January 07, 2000 AT 05:00 AM EST

Music Sites

Will 2K: The Official Will Smith Site ( A well-produced home page for a well-produced homeboy, this Flash-driven site goes down easy, thanks in part to its spiffy goldenrod-on-turquoise color scheme and soothing ”bloop” sounds. ”Are you Will 2K compliant?” demands the opening banner, and boy, you’d better be, because the ”Will 2K” single and video (via Windows Media Player) are all you’re going to get. What’s more, the stark menu — Home, Listen, Watch, Contest, Buy — reads like marching orders. It’s like someone ordering you to get jiggy with it. B+ ( It’s a music teacher’s nightmare: ”Now you don’t have to read music to learn your favorite songs!” A pipe dream? Perhaps, but newcomer boasts the free iSong player, which synchs conventional notation with tempo-adjustable audio and an animated fretboard/keyboard. The result: aural and visual cues for the music-illiterate beginner. The 41 free online lessons and 138 licks (most for guitar) are nifty enough, but in-depth tutorials (read: whole songs) are available only by purchasing iSong’s $25 Power to Play CD-ROMs. Think of it as Clef’s Notes. A-

Wired Planet (www.wiredplanet. com) You know what you’re getting into with a site that offers a 24-7 They Might Be Giants webcast—and that’s about as mainstream as this Frisco-based ”resource for independent music” gets. Download the custom player and listen to streaming MP3 stations programmed by theme (Hip-Hop, Electronic, New Age) and transmitted with minimal congestion. Then flip to The Weekly Show for audio interviews with such notables as Del the Funky Homosapien. Sit back, relax, and broaden your bandwidth. B+

Mouse Jam (www.mousejam. com) Mercifully, this is not a dancing-Stuart Little site but rather a ”no talent…required” online mix-master studio. ”Just click like a MAD PERSON,” instruct creators Clifford Walker and Dorian Reyes, and they ain’t lyin’: Choose a jam, get your groove on, and throw in fills, flashes, and samples by clicking on an assortment of buttons. Only four jams are available right now, but even these happy few can sustain an idiot grin for hours. B

House of Blues ( If you thought the only deal House of Blues had to offer was half-price ribs on nights when Yanni plays, chew on this: a free archive of 200-plus concerts from HOBs across America, all streamed in multiple formats and some with video. The House is a little heavy on the has-beens (check out Berlin’s creaky ”Take My Breath Away”), but for exclusive live performances, the price is certainly right. It’s the full HOB experience—without the WetNaps. A-

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