Elisa Bray: Caught in the Net

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The Independent Culture

Festive spirit is all around as bands are giving away songs to their fans online. First up are Manic Street Preachers, who are putting out the free download single "Ghost of Christmas" as a "merry Christmas gift" to their fans, at www.manicstreetpreachers.com/07/index. The message from bassist Nicky Wire reads: "The song is old-school Christmas, the anti-X-Factor, for us it's actual fun."

Also making a stand against the X-Factor hold on the Christmas No 1 though in a typically tongue-in-cheek manner are rap electro duo Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip, who are giving away "Letter From God to Man" via their MySpace site www.myspace.com/lesacvspip between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.

Stephen Fretwell, too, is giving away his newly recorded, spirited version of "Oh Christmas Tree" (billed as Fretwell And His Fireside Friends) to fans, via his website http://stephen fretwell.com/, from Wednesday. And there's a free EP, Halcyon, from the young American electronica artist Canon Blue to download from www.myspace. com/canonblue. The beautiful, instrumentation-laden songs will provide the perfect wind-down soundtrack to festive overindulgence.

Elsewhere, you might recognise the men behind new act the Diamond Hoo Ha Men if you go to their website, www.diamondhoohamen.com. Duke Diamond and Randy Hoo are the alter egos of indie-rockers Supergrass and took the name from the new Supergrass single, which is out on Parlophone on 14 January. There is a "history" of how they formed on the website, and you can catch them live as they continue their series of small-scale shows.

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