Another gravelly goodie from Tom Waits
TOM WAITS, ''BOTTOM OF THE WORLD''
The craggy troubador continues to embody the downtrodden spirit on this new song taken from his upcoming three-CD set, Orphans. Against a spare, shambling arrangement, Waits' ravaged caterwauls speak of his desperation: ''I'm lost at the bottom of the world,'' he wails. We wouldn't want him anywhere else. Download the track for free at eMusic.
JACK & JEFFREY LEWIS, ''MOVING''
Quintessential downtown NYC singer-songwriter Jeffrey Lewis specializes in exposing city life's tiny details and giving them heartfelt heft. Here, he sings about the strange process of packing things up en route to a new apartment. ''You're not sure but you're gonna claim the blinds were busted like that when you came,'' he mumbles in the rambling narrative. Quaint and conversational, the song is marked by a nostalgic sense of mortality. Download the song for free here and buy it on iTunes.
THE HOLD STEADY, ''CHIPS AHOY!'' This group's singer the bespectacled Minnesota native Craig Finn doesn't really sing. His unique ranting style isn't mindful of traditional vocal phrasing or dynamics. While it can take some time to get used to Finn's technique, his sly, literary lyrics about getting wasted and wasting opportunities are worth it. Backed by charging '70s-style riffs and keyboards, ''Chips Ahoy!'' observes a preternaturally lucky girl who buys drugs with the money she wins at the horse track. Download the track for free courtesy of the Hold Steady's website.
PETE ROCK & EDO G., ''BOSTON''
''I'm a savage like Fred without The Wonder Years,'' raps Beantown MC Edo G. on this paranoid, Pete Rock-produced track. Such cleverness is displayed throughout this 2004 song, which is being revitalized, along with 14 other little-heard jams, on the new Rock compilation Underground Classics. Featuring the sample-master's unmistakable, jazzy beats, which have influenced many including Kanye West, the disc achieves a consistency rarely heard in the singles-oriented world of hip-hop. Download the track for free here.