Caught in the Net: Flying Lotus's Beck-hander

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The Independent Culture

In the 90s it was noted what a great record deal Beck had, allowing him to put out independent releases while signed to a major label.

It's the sort of creative freedom most bands crave, and while Beck isn't putting out independent records every day of the week, he does still seem to have plenty of freedom (see below). It's heartening to see other artists enjoying the freedom to try out new ideas. An example is the acclaimed LA producer Flying Lotus (left). Last week he dropped three new tracks on his Myspace, tinyurl.com/2abjzm. According to Pitchfork, his label Warp declared them, "side-items to keep his mind from going numb while mixing [his new album". All three follow in a similar vein to the sort of trippy/psychedelic/scratchy instrumental hip hop that Flying Lotus built his reputation on with his 2008 album 'Los Angeles.' One track is a head-melting, spooky remix of the doom-laden Lil Wayne song, "I Feel Like Dying". The other two, "Data Entry" and "Lullaby", are instrumentals. Of those, "Lullaby" with a lovely glockenspiel/music-box coda stands out.

Stand 'n' deliver

To my ears the last Hot Chip seemed to run out of steam a bit after 2006's excellent LP 'The Warning'. It will be interesting to see how they fare with their new record which is due in February. The new album is called 'One Life Stand', which is a nice name, so that's a good start, I suppose. They have put out the first song from the album and you can get it as a free download if you splash out on a pre-order for the LP on their website, hotchip. co.uk. The song, "Take It In", is turning up around the web too, tinyurl. com/yjx6mws. I particularly like the deadpan lead vocal and the metallic electro riff that propel it. Hopefully, it augurs well for the new record.

Stranger than folk

Fresh from the acclaim of their debut album 'Sigh No More', alt-folk rockers Mumford & Sons have launched a nice new website, mumfordand sons.com. Beyond just the music, frontman Marcus Mumford runs an online book club here with fans – first up for discussion was 'All The Pretty Horses'; bassist Ted Dwane is keeping a photo-diary while the band tours, and organ man Ben Lovett is blogging about food and the recipes he cooks up while they are on the road.

Just one day together to cover it

The standout feature on Beck's revamped website (Beck.com) is his "Record Club" project, wherein he gathers together a collection of musicians in a studio for a day to cover a classic album in its entirity. For the lastest round, Beck has assembled an all star-cast: Wilco, Feist and Jamie Liddell. They spent a day covering 'Oar', the 1969 solo record by Skip Spence. The songs will be posted on the site in weekly instalments; the first is the lovely ambling "Little Hands".

Music's new angle

Powerful US music industry magazine and chart compiler 'Billboard' has launched a new website to stream live concerts. Viewers will be able to see concerts for free online with a choice of five different camera angles from which to watch from; so no more freakily tall men blocking your view of the bass player. See them at billboard-live.com. Meanwhile, further down the food chain, or perhaps on a different diet altogether, Pitchfork.com have kicked off an interesting new video feature called "Tunnelvision". It's a sort of aggregator of independent videographers chronicling the music scene across America. The programmes provide a handy way of keeping track with indie music, tinyurl.com/yam d76p.

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