Elisa Bray: Caught in the Net

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The Independent Culture

Let's face it, trawling through YouTube to unearth high-quality music videos can be time-consuming. Step forward Pitchforkmedia.com, which has launched its shiny new online music TV station. While MTV caters for the commercial side of music taste and YouTube showcases everything but the kitchen sink, http://pitchfork.tv/ is the first music video channel dedicated to documenting independent music. It promises to bring fans closer to the artists through mini documentaries, secret rooftop and basement sessions, recent and vintage concert footage, exclusive interviews and hand-picked music videos, all posted by Pitchfork online. Pitchfork.tv will also become the first online video channel to stream full-length feature films for free on demand – a new film will be aired in its entirety each week – plus music DVDs, also viewable on demand. In future, you can expect a playlist option, too. There's a decent search engine, which will be essential when the site builds up its catalogue of material.

There are already all sorts of things on offer on the site: Pixies' 2004 reunion tour film Loud Quiet Loud; performances from Liars playing songs from their 2006 album Drum's Not Dead; the Brooklyn shoegaze psychedelic noise trio A Place To Bury Strangers; and Portland punk rockers The Thermals. There's a documentary of a trip to Philadelphia with Man Man, an interview with the Swedish pop star Robyn, and a tour of Death by Audio in Brooklyn, home to A Place To Bury Strangers and described as a "semi-legal" venue.

The best music videos up so far are Boards of Canada's ambient "Dayvan Cowboy", with its stunning footage of a parachutist and a surfer in action; the gorgeously ethereal Baltimore dream-pop duo Beach House's "Gila"; and the French electronic artist M83's "Graveyard Girl"; the last two are exclusive premieres.

The site's first music video and biggest coup was an exclusive Radiohead performance of "Bangers & Mash", recorded from the band's producer Nigel Godrich's basement studio exclusively for the site, with Thom Yorke (far left) singing from the drum stool.

On the same day, Radiohead launched their own social networking site W.A.S.T.E. Like Facebook, you can sign up to the web-based forum for free, share photos, invite friends and upload videos, and fans can view tour dates. Waste-central.com is another site on which to watch videos by artists including Battles, Nick Cave – and Radiohead. For a free download of Radiohead's "Videotape", performed during their intimate 1 April show at the BBC Radio Theatre, go to bbc.co.uk/musicevents/radiohead/download/.

Other free music this week comes from the mighty White Denim from Austin, Texas, who impressed at this year's SXSW festival. "Goldie Locks" is the latest in a trio of their songs available for free from Drowned in Sound's download site at http://rcrdlbl.com/artists/White_Denim/music. "Paint Silver Gold" and "World as a Waiting Room" are still up there.

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