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Catching Z

Ryan Dombal recommends cool new tracks by Rick Ross (featuring a verse from Jay-Z) and others

EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE Jay-Z grabs the mic for a verse on the free-to-download remix of Ross's ''Hustlin'''
Image credit: Jay-Z: Bob Riha Jr/WireImage.com
EXECUTIVE PRIVILEGE Jay-Z grabs the mic for a verse on the free-to-download remix of Ross's ''Hustlin'''

A rare verse from Jay-Z, and more

RICK ROSS FEATURING YOUNG JEEZY & JAY-Z, ''HUSTLIN' (REMIX)''
Think about it: Jay-Z — the best rapper alive — currently toils away in an office. An office! Does he use the water fountain? Does he get peeved when he can't find the sugar for his coffee? Who knows, but the most stylish record exec on earth recently took a quick break from his day job to lay down a verse on this blinding remix of Ross' ominous hip-hop smash. For good measure, Atlanta kingpin Jeezy lends his larger-than-life flow to the track — and outshines Ross and Jay with reckless glee. Though Jay's verse is hardly his best work, it's always nice to hear his unmistakable timbre on the radio (or, you know, Internet). Now, if he would only finish (start?) that long-rumored comeback album... Download the track for free here.

SPACE NEEDLE, ''BEFORE I LOSE MY STYLE''
In the mid-'90s, this experimental-rock three-piece came and went without much notice. A new reissue, plainly dubbed Recordings 1994-1997, sets out to rectify this oversight by collecting the band's most potent material in a tidy package. Their most immediate track is a slow-moving ballad with overtones of the Velvet Underground and Pavement. Singer Jud Ehrbar shrugs off the song's titular refrain with slacker elegance, and the song's accompanying synth-'n'-feedback symphony eventually engulfs his existential angst. Download the track for free courtesy of Eenie Meenie Records.

PSAPP, ''TRICYCLE''
The playful, glitchy sound of this London duo doesn't fit into any typical radio format. Still, you're probably familiar with the band thanks to shows like The O.C., Nip/Tuck, and Grey's Anatomy, which have all featured music from the group. And, in this case at least, such 21st-century marketing is quite welcome, since Psapp make quaint electro-acoustic hybrid songs worth the sneaky exposure. With its crafty use of little toys and plinking pianos, ''Tricycle'' sounds like it was made by a mini-orchestra of very talented toddlers. Download the track for free here, or watch the video courtesy of Domino Records.

BEIRUT, ''INTERIOR OF A DUTCH HOUSE''
Only 19 and already a (blog) superstar, Zach Condon, a.k.a. Beirut, is one Web phenom worth the praise. His debut album, Gulag Orkestar, is a mix of Eastern European whimsy and old-fashioned indie-rock wailing. This Internet exclusive predates the material on that album, and its production is a bit ''home demo,'' but the chintzy drum-machine beat, yodel-y background vocals, and muted trumpet are charming all the same. Condon sounds well beyond his teens, as his Rufus Wainwright-type croon hints at many a bewildered hangover. Download the track for free courtesy of Beirut's site.

Originally posted May 23, 2006
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