Caught in the Net - Norah chases a hip audience

The music of Norah Jones is often maligned by more discerning (or is that discriminating?) music critics: milquetoast pop jazz for the masses, they cry.

With her latest album, 'The Fall', she tried to go in more interesting directions. The former Tom Waits collaborator Jacquire King produced the LP and she recruited an array of highly regarded session players. The general consensus though was that the album was a missed opportunity: it contains some good music, but she hasn't pushed herself far enough. Her new spin-off, 'The Chasing Pirates Remix EP', is another attempt to entice a more diverse audience. A number of tracks were leaked to music sites online. First up was a fine electro hip-hop remix of "That's What I Said" by Ad-Rock and Mike D of the Beastie Boys, tinyurl.com/ydzlzun. Next was a remix by Santogold and Snotty on her single "Chasing Pirates"; turning it into a dark synth workout, tinyurl.com/ yhcjxhq. Finally Droogs also took on "Chasing Pirates" pitching her somewhere between Tom Waits and Beck, but with softer vocals. tinyurl.com/yjkedkb.

The hour of Doom

MF Doom, or DOOM, as he has been calling himself lately, released one of the most acclaimed rap albums of the year, 'Born Like This'. "Gazillion Ear", using beats by the late producer J Dilla, is a standout track on the LP. Earlier this week DOOM released a series of remixes of the song. The "Gazillion Ear Remix EP" includes a version by Thom Yorke and one by Jneiro Jarel and Dave Sitek, among others. To mark the release, DOOM's label, Lex Records are giving away another "Madvillainz" remix of "Gazillion Ear" by his regular collaborator, Madlib. It doesn't appear on the EP, but is a free download when you sign up to the DOOM mailing list at tinyurl.com/ycmx3o4.

A good time for Liars

Throughout the decade Liars have produced some of the best boundary-pushing art-rock around. Despite early hype and glowing praise from Thom Yorke, they've always seemed somewhat underappreciated to me. Hopefully matters will improve with their fifth album, 'Sisterworld'. The first song from the new record has emerged and is a free MP3 from thesisterworld. com. The track starts quietly with hushed harmonies before some guitars arrive to kick up a perfect storm.

So many songs for your consideration

Stylusmagazine.com was an excellent music website, which sadly closed in 2007. But in grand rock fashion they're staging a reunion with a one-off end-of-decade issue, which will arrive shortly at thestylusdecade.com. Elsewhere, 'All Songs Considered', on US radio network NPR, compiled a diverse A-Z list of the "decade's 50 most important" records across numerous styles. Happily they're streaming a song from each record at tinyurl.com/ye4yfbu.

Animal instincts

"California English, PT 2", the B-side on Vampire Weekend's single "Cousins", has been doing the rounds, tinyurl.com /yf64hov. With hazy ambience, floating vocals and crashing percussion, it seems that the band have been enjoying Animal Collective. Their new LP isn't due until January, so if the B-side and the two tracks from it that have already emerged aren't enough to give you your fill of artful guitar pop, you could do worse than checking out Princeton. The LA based band's song "Calypso Gold" is getting a UK release on the new label Jodie & Victor (tinyurl.com/ ylq74ng); hear the song (and more) at princeton-band.com. Another one of their songs "Korean War Memorial" is a free download at tinyurl.com/yavwqak.

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