The Three Songs You Need to Download This Week

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There’s a lot of music online–more than most people have time to keep up with. That’s why you’ve got us. Every week, we’ll point you toward three excellent new downloads or videos from chart-topping stars, cult favorites and unknown geniuses.

1. Depeche Mode’s Remixes 2: 81-11 collection doesn’t come out until June 7, but there’s already a preview track available as a free MP3 over at Pitchfork: the little-known 1981 album track “Puppets,” remixed by the Norwegian crew Röyksopp. (It’s less a remix in the conventional sense than a totally re-arranged, modernized version of the song.) And if you’re curious about how “Puppets” sounded thirty years ago, check out this murky video of a 1981 live performance.

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2. Between 1987 and 1993, the Scottish singer/songwriter Momus recorded six albums–a heady mash of synth-pop, high-art references, dramatic chanson, “anti-anti-orientalism” and lasciviousness–for a label that’s ceased to exist. Those records are in legal limbo now, but they’re available (with Momus’s blessing) as free downloads from the avant-garde clearinghouse UbuWeb Sound. The place to start is probably Tender Pervert, his 1988 album about sexual identity and emotional perversity, and particularly the eight-minute epic “Bishonen.”

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3. Thao and Mirah–a.k.a. the duo of Thao Nguyen from Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn, two gifted songwriters with very different approaches–have joined forces for the new album Thao & Mirah, and they’re currently on tour across America. The Bay Bridged has a quartet of free MP3s (and videos) by them: dramatically re-arranged live-in-studio versions of three songs from the album, as well as a surprisingly haunting cover of Pat Benatar’s “Love Is a Battlefield.”

BONUS: If you wish Pandora would get a little more adventurous with its selections, check out The Music Genome Splicer, which suggests random combinations of Music Genome Project traits. An example: “Imagine a song with: Dry Recording Sound/Sexist Lyrics/Hammond Organ/Rap Metal Instrumentation/Modern R&B Stylings.”

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