Caught in the Net: 'Kind of Blue' is still king

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The Independent Culture

"'Kind of Blue' is a one-shot deal, so dreamily perfect you can hardly believe someone created it."

So concludes Fred Kaplan in his interesting essay on the enduring brilliance of Miles Davis' masterpiece album, published by Slate.com on Monday marking, to the day, the 50th anniversary of the release of 'Kind of Blue'. The album remains an entry point for many people dipping their toes into jazz and with the help of numerous handily placed sound clips from the album and other jazz recordings, Kaplan's essay puts the record in context and explains why it is so important – slate.com/id/ 2225336. "Cool, romantic, melancholic" are words Kaplan uses to describe the music – little wonder then that it has turned up in a lot of films. Look out for Slate's guide to the best and worst uses of 'Kind of Blue' in movies, complete with the video clips - slate.com/id/ 2225486. Meanwhile a little closer to home, from Monday, London jazz-men Led Bib are giving away a free download of "Sweet Chilli", a track from their Mercury prize nominated album 'Sensible Shoes', at ledbib.com.

Easy, one at a time

It would be remiss not to mention the biggest online release this week. Following a mysterious leak and speculation last week that Radiohead would soon release a new song or even an EP, on Monday a song, 'These Are My Twisted Words', was officially released on Radiohead's website, waste.uk.com, as a free download, complete with spooky artwork. The song doesn't strike me as one of their most memorable but it feels like a grower. Recently Thom Yorke said the band didn't see themselves recording a full LP for a long time, so following their Harry Patch tribute, intermittently self-releasing individual tracks could be the shape of things to come for Radiohead.

Pianist's a motor head

Andrew WK is best remembered for his ridiculously amped up 2001 album, 'I Get Wet', and its numerous calls to party. He also co-owns a nightclub in New York called Santos Party House. Partying seems to be the operative word but taking a break from it, the classically trained pianist is releasing an album of eight piano compositions. Called 'Cadillac 55' – there's a general car theme – it's released in September, but three of them can now be heard on his website – andrewwk.com.

Port O'Brien – nautical but nice

The nautically inclined Californian indie folk rockers, Port O'Brien have gained good notices since their 2007 album, 'All We Could Do Was Sing'. They played three gigs in the UK earlier this week in advance of their third album, 'Threadbare', which arrives in October. The record's first single, "My Will Is Good", has an insistent driving rhythm and a beautifully mournful melody and vocal which burrow into your head. Download it for free at tinyurl.com/q87cxe

Album of a decade

Websites are already starting to memorialise the last decade in music. Gorilla vs Bear recently named their 20 favourite albums of 2000-09 – tinyurl. com/mz3rsy; with Panda Bear's 2007 album 'Person Pitch' in the top spot. Putting The Strokes' 'Is This It?' (2001) at number two might raise eyebrows, but it's hard to argue against the influence of the band's mix of scuzzy guitars, new wave hooks and skinny jeans. Pitchfork.com is getting in there too, with an eight-week retrospective, starting with a run-down of the decade's "top 500 tracks". Best of all, you can listen to most of them on the site while scanning the list, thus getting a happy reminder that a lot of brilliant songs have been made in the last 10 years.

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