Music Lovers

December 29, 2009, 2:39 PM

App of the Week: Cult Bands, Live and Free


Lots of apps provide free music, but only one I know of plays original music, recorded live in its own studios, from a variety of artists. It is called Daytrotter, and it just happens to have a free iPhone app.

Daytrotter operates out of Rock Island, Ill., where it says it entices artists to stop by its studio on their ways elsewhere. The musicians then lay down a few live tracks, often using borrowed instruments.

Almost 800 sessions have been recorded by more than 700 artists, and all can be heard free on the iPhone.

Daytrotter specializes in lesser-known bands, although many have developed strong followings since their early appearances there. Artists like Death Cab for Cutie, Raphael Sadiq, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend and the Ting Tings have made appearances. Daytrotter said it adds artists each day.

Fidelity is quite good on most recordings, if sometimes charmingly crude. Just take a listen to Bell X-1’s sweetly mellow rendition of “I Fought the Law and the Law Won.”

What the app doesn’t offer is free downloads of songs, reviews and videos. For that, you still have to go to the site.