Portishead's new album Third is due to be released on April 29. It's highly anticipated; their 1994 and 1997 albums were amazing and then the band imploded, unable to produce. Fans have been waiting nervously. But if your ethics are flexible you haven't had to wait quite so long; a near-final edit of the album was leaked to the Internet on March 6. First to BitTorrent, then to Usenet, then to YouTube. And the album is great. I've preordered my copy of the real thing.
If you were politely waiting for the actual release, yesterday a full copy of the album showed up for streaming on last.fm. It looks legitimate, branded "last.fm exclusive." Except the streams sound identical to the March 6 release. Including the abrupt end of the end of the first track, Silence, a rough edit. And including the IM popup sound 2:14 into track 5, Plastic, sounding like an error on the initial pirate's computer. Why is last.fm distributing these glitched tracks?
Update: turns out I was all wrong about last.fm's streams. The abrupt cut on track 1 and the odd sound on track 5 are both in the final retail CD. In fact, the CD sounds exactly like the leak on March 6 and the last.fm streams.
Portishead has officially released a video from Third