May 14, 1999 at 04:00 AM EDT

What to Surf – Music Websites

Music Best of Breed
MIDI Karaoke
( way/3386)
Eager to vocalize, but hesitant to belt “Tainted Love” to a barful of tipsy critics? For crooning satisfaction without the self-consciousness, pour yourself a glass of Chianti and enter Colorado-based creator Alan August’s world of tinny, tuney delight. Choose from over 30 MIDI covers (including a smokin’ “Theme from Scooby-Doo”) and follow the scrolling lyrics (for Internet Explorer only; Netscapers must scroll manually). Tracks are immediately playable — no tedious downloads. The arrangements are unabashedly electronic in texture (read: beeps and bloops), but they’re still surprisingly robust. Have your lighter handy for that “guitar” solo in “We Are the Champions.” A bleeping blast. A

Those who consider scorers Danny Elfman and James Horner to be the real stars of today’s best movies should feast their ears on Hollywood Online’s cinemusic smorgasbord. Replete with industry news, RealAudio clips, and more than 50 composer filmographies, Movietunes even explores (all too briefly) the cannibalistic world of trailer soundtracks — who knew that was the Dragonheart score roaring behind the Patch Adams preview? A-

Harmony Central
Relax, garage rockers: Guidance can be found in this sleek musician’s almanac founded five years ago by Scott Lehman and Wilson Chan of Fremont, Calif. There’s everything from classifieds (search for that elusive rhinestone-encrusted capo) to advice on keeping your band together (step one: Prevent drummer from dying). All this, plus a built-in search engine designed specifically for the retrieval of tablatures. A

Cheers: This song-archive company with 200,000-plus selections allows patrons to customize CD mixes up to 70 minutes long, then mails them their creations. Jeers: A-list artists performing A-list songs are scarcer than vintage Beatles LPs in Kmart’s bargain bin. Still, the price ($19.95 for the full 70 minutes) is certainly right, depending on your affection for such top-drawer acts as the Swinging Blue Jeans. C+

krs’ radioworld
It really is a small world after all, thanks in part to this German site, which puts 2,500 of the planet’s broadcasters — traditional stations with online audio archives as well as Internet-only operations — at your fingertips. Search by language, by continent, even by player type (RealAudio is the device of choice), and you’ll soon be grooving to the Pope’s latest hits on Vatican Radio. A-

Let Me Fly
A vaguely ominous invocation to the Goddess herself (Jewel, in this case) and an extreme close-up of prayer-clasped hands grace the opening page of Scott Evans’ North Carolina-based (and Carolina blue) fan site. Chart Ms. Kilcher’s Top 40 success, check out advance word on her upcoming movie, Ride With the Devil, listen to her hits in RealAudio, and (you knew it was coming) read her groundbreaking poetry. B+

South Park Songs
Admit it: You’ve always wanted to know the words to “Kyle’s Mom’s A Stupid Bitch in D-minor.” While you’re here, sample the “Mr. Hankey Theme” MP3, and listen as Chef “explains about his balls” in RealAudio. At present, this unofficial site’s lyrics archive is a tad understocked, but Sydney-based creator Julian Ridden is seeking more bandwidth, so it shouldn’t be long before we’re “Getting Gay With Kids.” A-

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