Caught in the Net: Mexicans are making waves

The music industry might not be voguish pandemic H1N1's first target, but it's played havoc with bands and artists around the world.

Apart from the obvious gig cancellations, rumour has it that Oasis have been confined to their hotel in Venezuela thanks to the deadly bug, with Michael Jackson also having postponed a trip to the UK over fears that it may put him at increased risk of infection. So, it's hats (and face masks) off to Spanish-language rock groups Los Estramboticos and Pastilla, who've taken the initiative and harnessed the spiraling internet usage of Mexicans confined to their homes by the outbreak to broadcast a special performance from Mexico City over the web to celebrate the Cinco de Mayo festival. "Entrance is free," the organisers have proclaimed, "and you can come without a surgical mask or fear of getting diseases." With a selection of upbeat indie-pop songs to rival their English-speaking counterparts, Pastilla are worth a listen at tinyurl.com/dg6go4, as are their hard-rocking partners in flu avoidance Los Estramboticos, at tinyurl.com/ctls3z.

The secret's out

Squeaky-voiced hipsters Passion Pit are taking a leaf from Radiohead's book and encouraging fans to remix their material and vote on the results, in advance of the release of their debut album 'Manners', following on from the much-hyped EP 'Chunk of Change'. The electro group, formed in Massachusetts, have split forthcoming album track "Little Secrets" into snippets available to download and play around with until next Friday. The five most popular remixes at that point will be released with a special vinyl edition of the single. Currently heading the pack is "I Said OK the Wind Said No", Evan Tetrault minimalist interpretation. tinyurl.com/cnh3n5.

This song is red hot

It's a few months since we mentioned 'Dark Was the Night, the 31-song compilation album released in February to raise money for HIV/Aids charity the Red Hot Organization, but the subject bears revisiting after a live performance featuring Feist, Bon Iver, David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, and TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, at New York's Radio City Music Hall this week, culminating in folk staple "This Land Is Your Land". See video at tinyurl.com/ctern6.

Coldplay out of step with recession

Perhaps in a bid to unseat Bono as the most generous man in rock'n'roll, Coldplay's Chris Martin has decided to toss some crumbs from the table and offer fans the chance to download new live album "LeftRightLeftRightLeft" free from coldplay.com, from 15 May. Those who find off-putting the band's suggestion that the give-away is "meant as a recession-busting mark of gratitude to everyone who's supported them", may want to avoid it, however.

Spaghetti folk

Psychedelic folk hero Devendra Banhart tends to split critical opinion, with many listeners finding his peculiar blend of lo-fi blues guitar and kindergarten lyrics an uncomfortable mixture of styles. Showing the man has a serious side, however, is new Spanish song "Lindo Cihuatlan", currently streaming on Stereogum.com. From the soundtrack of new Mexican footballing flick "Rudo y Cursi", starring Gael Garcia Bernal, it features alongside tracks from Black Lips, Dios Malos and Juana Molina. Creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky, it has all the atmosphere of a spaghetti Western, with a haunting melody reminiscent of a Sierra Nevada ghost town thrown in for good measure. Listen at tinyurl.com/dd3zcs

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