Caught in the Net - Something in the Air

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The Independent Culture

Recently in Arts & Books we profiled the next group of female musicians poised to follow in the footsteps of La Roux, Florence and the Machine, Little Boots et al.

Among them was the laid-back and lo-fi LA duo Best Coast, led by Bethany Cosentino. Another LA duo, Pearl Harbor (after some to-ing and fro-ing they opted for the American spelling), are friends of the Best Coast pair, and their music could be filed alongside them. Pearl Harbor offer appealing doses of airy surf-pop, with off-kilter guitars and dreamy vocals. They've released a digital EP, "Something About the Chaparrals" on the Mexican Summer label – get it at mexicansummer.com. More can be heard on their MySpace, tinyurl. com/lznesl; also there you can order two of their four-track CD-R demos. Hear three songs by the band and read an interview at independent. co.uk/lryan. In the light of these ethereal duos, and the equally dreamy female led LA indie band Warpaint, not to mention the floating electro sounds of LA based singer Glasser, there is definitely something in the LA air this year, aside from the smog.

Drum machine

You may have thought the book on bizarre versions of "Little Drummer Boy" was closed by now, with Bing Crosby and David Bowie's unlikely 1977 TV duet (tinyurl.com/sp6sd – it's a must-watch), and Bob Dylan's take on the song from his recent Christmas LP. Now Lindstrom has reopened the book. The Norwegian electro producer collaborated with the singer Christabelle for a new record, "Real Life Is No Cool". It comes with bonus CDs featuring a 40-minute version of the aforementioned song. Get the record and hear snippets of the hypnotic take at tinyurl.com/y fl8ydy, and a longer snapshot at tinyurl.com/yacdnmb. The ball's in your court, Bowie.

Cookie crumbles at last

Since winding down The Beta Band in 2004, the group's main vocalist Steve Mason (right) has occupied himself with solo projects under the name King Biscuit Time and Black Affair. Next he plays it straight with an LP released under his own name. The record, 'Boys Outside', was produced by Richard X and arrives in March. The first song from it is "All Comes Down", a floating, quietly rousing piece of "folktronica". It's a free download from 'The Quietus' at tinyurl.com/y9ymyh9.

Holly Miranda taxis in with a cover

London videographers Black Cab Sessions have been a fixture in online music in recent years, with their simple formula of live performances in the back of a black cab. They're still going strong with a lovely video of up-and-coming singer Holly Miranda performing a stirring acoustic cover of Lauryn Hill's "Ex-Factor", all while driving through the streets of Brooklyn in a black cab. Later today their next video with Mr Lif will arrive on the site: blackcabsessions.com.

Change of pace

The last week or so has resembled something of a Grizzly Bear remix- based Venn diagram. First an old, but little-heard remix spread around the web by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor of "Boneless" by German art-rockers The Notwist. He retained the song's melancholy feel but gave it a slow, stately feel, replacing the speedy guitars and piano drive with woodwind and crashing percussion. It's great. Download it at tinyurl.com/y94gwo6. Next up "chillwave" producer (yes, that's a genre) Alan Palomo – aka Neon Indian – put out some remixes of Grizzly Bear. He's done two nicely swirling and trippy takes on "Cheerleader", a song from the band's acclaimed 'Veckatimest' album. Download both at tinyurl.com/yetcpkn.

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