Getting my Freegal freak on

Freegal logoFreegal is a great big dirty beast of a thing. Christchurch City Libraries’ members can legally download three music MP3s from the Sony Music catalogue a week. But how do you decide that tracks to download? In the midst of so much choice, it gets tricky. Here are some of the bits and bobs I’ve found:

  • You can download a whole album, three tracks a week.
  • Grab hot new stuff (I’ve got Justin Timberlake, new Bowie, Daft Punk, Hurts … especially the gorgeous new track Rewind the film by Manic Street Preachers and Richard Hawley.
  • Do searches on favourite artists and bands and see what’s there.
  • Think of old faves and have a look. I recaptured my musical youth and found David Soul, Billy Joel’s epic saxy Until the Night, Elvis Presley doing Steamroller Blues that I remember from my parents’ copy of Aloha from Hawaii.
  • Try some serendipity searching – go to Genre and see what takes your fancy.
    • Alternative/Indie (rich pickings here – Spiritualized, My Bloody Valentine, The Editors, The Stone Roses, The Dead Weather, loads of Manic Street Preachers)
    • Techno/Electronica (Tiefschwarz)
  • There are audiobooks,  a Comedy section (Weird Al Yankovic and Peter Sellers) and one full of sound effects.
  • Random downloads based on song or artist name. If you can’t think what tracks you feel like downloading, have a play. I’ve grabbed some on a whim. Some turned out to be good and some were crap, but it was fun: I, Synthesist, Lost Cherrees (Sexisms sick pt 1 and 2), a track called Baconated Grapefruit, Cassette Schwarzenegger, The National Splits. And how could I resist Alien Sex Fiend’s Comatose full on industrial bongos from hell remix?

Favourite finds

CDs on display at Central Library Tuam
OMG! Todd Rundgren is on Freegal AND on cd. Squee!

Consummation by Nina Simone, Someone to watch over me by Sarah Vaughan, Nick Cave doing Leonard Cohen’s song Avalanche, a kicking remix of Duran Duran’s Rio, and Julian Cope’s Woden (a 72 minute ambient track! FTW!)

And proving the power of browsing, I’ve just located an album called Punks Poets Beatniks and Counter Culture heroes that has tracks from Allen Ginsberg, Roger McGough etc. Noice.

I’d love you to share what you’ve been downloading, and what gems you’ve discovered.

Any other tips for finding stuff?

Do tell!

7 thoughts on “Getting my Freegal freak on

  1. Kebabette 7 August 2013 / 3:51 pm

    @secondzeit has just shared on Twitter: “two Eagle Twin albums, a Nico live album, some William Basinski (long ambient tracks).” Excellent.

  2. Moata Tamaira (@MoataTamaira) 7 August 2013 / 4:07 pm

    I have never previously Freegal-ed but a phrase in this post made me wonder if they had old skool classic “Pass the dutchie” by Musical Youth. And they do! And a rather funky remix by Compound 7 too.
    Also, my heretofore unspoken passion for Singin’ in the Rain is indulged with the soundtrack album. Hurrah!

    • Kebabette 7 August 2013 / 4:21 pm

      Yes! Good finds there. Musicals and soundtracks are an area I haven’t explored. Going to check now if they have Xanadu … Nope. But they do have a Mull Historical Society EP called Watching Xanadu (am squirring that one away for next week’s downloads).

  3. Brendon 7 August 2013 / 4:37 pm

    While I know Freegal lists more than the Sony music catalogue, a list of Sony music artists can be found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Sony_Music_artists
    Browsing through this list is an awesome way to reminisce and also familiarise yourself with Sony singers and bands whose music you can download from Freegal. A win win for all!

    • Donna 8 August 2013 / 8:34 am

      Good tip Brendon!

  4. tosca 7 August 2013 / 4:55 pm

    I highly, highly, highly recommend the track Quarter Chicken Dark by Stuart Duncan, Chris Thile, Edgar Meyer, and Yo-Yo Ma, from the album The Goat Rodeo Sessions. I have the biggest, dorkiest crush on Chris Thile’s talent, (yes, I’m fully aware of how dumb that sounds) and what I would give to play mandolin the way he does!

    I heart Freegal Music. I’m working my way through their bluegrass and Cajun music. Probably because I’m a sucker for them 🙂 I adore times infinity that I was able to get Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars on Freegal. Initially heard their stuff on NPR Music’s YouTube Channel – their Tiny Desk Concerts are très awesome, and The Civil Wars’ voices AAHH. Love.

  5. Donna 8 August 2013 / 8:36 am

    Cheers Tosca, am intrigued by your picks. Love how Freegal unveils people’s secret musical crannies …

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