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A New Kitty Ditty

This week: a bonus track from Shortlist Prize winner Cat Power goes online, plus new music from Dizzee Rascal, Mike Jones, A Band of Bees, and Dr. Dog

SITTING PRETTY Hear one reason why Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) is wrapped in Shortlist Prize glory on ''Up and Gone''
Image credit: Erich Schlegel/Corbis
SITTING PRETTY Hear one reason why Marshall (a.k.a. Cat Power) is wrapped in Shortlist Prize glory on ''Up and Gone''

A bonus track from Shortlist Prize winner Cat Power

CAT POWER, ''Up and Gone''
A year and a half after its release, the seventh studio album by Chan Marshall (aka Cat Power) is still being showered with adoration: Just this week, the 2007 Shortlist Music Prize jury affirmed once again that The Greatest is, well, the greatest. Marshall deserves just about all the praise she's received for that disc's horn- and string-festooned soul-folk numbers. Still, her longtime fans will likely find something sweetly ironic in the way that this bonus track — which iTunes is exclusively offering to celebrate her Shortlist win — harkens back to the shy, distracted acoustic strumming of Marshall's earliest work. (Buy it on iTunes)

DIZZEE RASCAL, ''Hardback Industry''
The Britrap poster boy opens this cut from his new LP Maths & English with a spirited salvo against biters: ''First up, it's important that you keep your s--- original/Try and keep that copycat s--- to a minimum/People want something that they never heard before/If it's been done, leave it, they don't wanna hear no more.'' Say what you will about Dizzee, the guy definitely practices what he preaches. He positively massacres this ominous beat — printed transcripts just can't do justice to his ruthless flow — and, as usual, he sounds like no one but himself while doing so. (Stream it at Dizzee's MySpace)

MIKE JONES, ''Like What I Got''
Mike Jones' indolent drawl often sounds like it could belong to any number of interchangeable Houston emcees — a fact that he not-so-tacitly acknowledged by naming his 2005 debut Who is Mike Jones? and repeating variations on that phrase in every one of his songs. His follow-up album, due next month, is called The American Dream, and it's another apt title: Jones' uncomplicated rhymes on this track make rap stardom sound so easy that anyone could achieve it with enough honest work. He'll never be hailed as a lyrical genius, but Jones has Everyman appeal down pat. (Hear it at AOL Music)

A BAND OF BEES, ''Listening Man''
Consider the petty indignities suffered by these blameless psych-pop revivalists. In their native England, they go by the simple, snappy name of the Bees; over here, they're forced to tack on the ungainly prefix ''A Band of'' (we already have a band named the Bees on this side of the pond). While their third LP, Octopus, came out back in March in the U.K., it had to wait until this month to hit American shelves. Is it any wonder that frontman Paul Butler is pleading for a little compassion on this standout song? ''Just a listening man/Trying to understand,'' he sings in a heartfelt tone, ''Just a listening man/Doing the best I can.'' The mournful horns and Hammond organ playing behind Butler complete the impression of stumbling across a lost Motown gem. (Stream it on the Bees' MySpace)

DR. DOG, ''Heart it Races''
Australian oddballs Architecture in Helsinki invited a few other artists to cover their new single, issuing them all together as an EP. It's a clever idea, with one obvious pitfall: What if the covers outshine the original? Luckily, the song in question — a peppy patchwork of steel drums and chanting voices — is pretty great to begin with, but the slowed-down, fuzzed-out take contributed by Philadelphia's Dr. Dog gives it a serious run for its money. Maybe Architecture in Helsinki should think about getting Dr. Dog to cover all their songs from now on. (Buy it on iTunes)

Originally posted Jun 13, 2007
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