Continuing the roundup, in all its low-tech glory...
Elliott Smith — New Moon
Most of the songs on this two-disc album from the Self-titled/Either-Or period (probably his best) are known to Elliott die-hards, and a number of them showed up on last year's unofficial "Basement II Demos." The big upside of this album is hearing the songs professionally mixed. The album shows how good of a songwriter Elliott was and how good the songs on "Elliott Smith" and "Either/Or" truly are. it comes out next week.
Elliott Smith — Fear City (MP3)
Elliott Smith — Miss Misery (Early Version) (MP3)
Jarvis Cocker — Jarvis
The former Pulp frontman's solo album was finally released in the U.S. a couple of weeks ago, and he is coming off a lot of buzz from his Coachella set. Songs like "Black Magic," with its rip of "Crimson and Clover," are pretty catchy.
Jarvis Cocker — Black Magic (MP3)
Lil' Wayne — Da Drought 3 mixtape
Lil' Wayne is becoming the Ryan Adams of hip-hop. Somewhere in the dozens of tracks from Weezy's Dedication and Drought mixtapes is a proper album as brilliant as his last, "Tha Carter II." On "Da Dedication 3," Weezy shows he's still one of the most creative, infectious rappers going right now, making brags out of everything from Mortal Kombat characters to hockey teams.
But the self-declared best rapper alive and sports fanatic needs to realize something: streetball players — with their crossovers, ally-oops and that thing where they bounce the ball off the defender's forehead — those guys don't make the NBA. Time's come for Lil' Wayne to put together a full game and live up to his Kobe comparisons.
That said, those street ballers are a lot of fun to watch, and "Da Drought 3" is no different. He takes Jay-Z's lame comeback song "Show Me What Ya Got," and absolutely KILLS it, something we wouldn't get on an official release to be sure. But somewhere into disc 2 (yeah, it's two discs) you can't help but think, "this is fun, but what if this was on an A+ beat with the pressure on him? That would be crazy."
Lil' Wayne — Dough is What I Got (MP3)
Lil' Wayne — Live from the 504 (recommended) (MP3)