Caught in the Net: Blueprint for a chart hit

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The Independent Culture

With his new album 'The Blueprint 3' having been leaked online this week, the hip-hop superstar Jay-Z (right, with Kanye West) appears to be in the process of transcending to another plane of cultural influence, all fuelled by a love affair with the internet which shows the man himself to be as forward-thinking online as he is in the real world.

A sign of how far he's come since pulling the 'American Gangster' soundtrack album from iTunes is the publicity push for the hotly tipped new LP, which includes an online video of the star acting out all of his previous record covers in a montage produced by the internet music service Rhapsody, which looks set to go viral in the build-up to the launch and you can watch at tinyurl.com/ lf6w98. The album – which from the sound of some positive early reception is shaping up to become a critical hit – is sadly unavailable to stream officially in its entirety on this side of the pond, but UK fans can listen to "Hate", featuring fellow music mogul Kanye West at tinyurl.com/m547qr and "Run This Town" featuring Rihanna and West at tinyurl.com/nvs28v .

Inspired choices

Infinitely more palatable than the Nickelback-only radio station launched in the US this Summer, alt-rockers Weezer are the latest band to play DJ with their own online offering available from this week. Lead singer Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the gang are taking a hands-on approach to programming, choosing a variety of bands to showcase their interests in advance of the release of new album 'Raditude', out at the end of this month. Everything from Schubert to Frank Zappa has been playlisted so far, in what guitarist Brian Bell has described as "a little insight into the things that turn us on and things we've been inspired by". http://tinyurl.com/lkw6yb

First rule of Chess Club

As well as relaunching their MySpace webpage, London-based Chess Club Records have recently done a sterling job on Twitter highlighting free music. Offerings from Brighton-based Sons of Noel and Adrian, and Wildbirds and Peacedrums have featured as well as their own bands, such as London's Exlovers. Having given away acoustic track 'The Sky Won't Weigh Me Down' this week, Exlovers' Stephen Street-produced EP is out 14 September. tinyurl.com/mdwl9q

Solo fox quick to find his rhythm

It may be a little early in their careers for solo projects, but Joshua Tillman, Fleet Foxes' vocalist and drummer (and with harmonies as sweet as theirs, that order is deliberate) obviously has more than enough talent to go around, as evidenced by a new track from his MySpace page. "Though I have wronged you" incorporates piano, handclaps and a vocal elegance familiar to anyone who's a fan of the Seattle folksters. Listen at http:// tinyurl.com/ng4rh4

Eager to comment

Compiling a list of the top 500 tracks of this decade might seem like a task to be left until the new year, but in this modern age of bleeding-edge artistic commentary, music website Pitchfork have gone ahead and announced their selection already. Ever the contrarians, the list is topped by OutKast's little-known 2000 single 'B.O.B' (which also headed up their previous list of the best singles from 2000-2004), but there's a fair mix of better-known and more left-field inclusions also. Having cut a deal with music download site Lala, the tunes are available for discount download in the US only, although clips of each are available from the Pitchfork website, at tinyurl.com/qn9ygo .

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