This Week's Best Album Streams: 27th February 2013
I don't know about you guys, but there's only been one thing on my mind this week: otters' tiny penises. Wait, no, stay with me! Apparently Britain's otters are seeing an increasing 'lightness' in their penis bones (hurrr) year upon year, due to pollution of our waterways. Basically what I'm saying is I'm glad I no longer go for a dip in that dirty brook down the park. But I did a lot as a kid so... is it too late for me?
Oh, yeah, I guess there's new music and stuff as well. That new AlunaGeorge track is pretty darn brilliant. As is the Low one! And Bowie's back! Again! And I refuse to listen to the new 'Replacements' song. Although I guess it is for a good cause. There's a whole lot of brilliant new albums available to stream in full, too! Look!
Friendzone – Kuchibiru Network 3 (Soundcloud)
'Friend zone' is a stupid term mainly used by men who cannot comprehend why a girl wouldn't want to get all freaky with someone as perfect as them, but conversely 'Friendzone' are a brilliant production duo who worked on the best songs off of LONG.LIVE.A$AP that didn't involve Clams Casino. This is the third in their Kuchibiru Network mixtape series and what lack in understanding of that title I make up for in opinions: it's very good, the first track is a bit like that one Ryuichi Sakamoto song for the post-club crowd, and the rest of it has a similar orchestra-on-sizzurp feel about it, whether you're listening to a Ryan Hemsworth track or a chilled-out Main Attrakionz joint. Oh, and free download!
Youth Lagoon – Wondrous Bughouse (NPR)
Wondrous Bughouse, like the Friendzone mixtape, is a bit of a headphone record – you don't really get the same effect of crinkled samples slowly unfolding or vocal echoes bouncing around an empty cave when they're coming out of your tinny laptop speakers (unless maybe they've got Beats by Dr Dre). Youth Lagoon – that's just a fancy way of saying paddling pool, right? – is still pretty dream-poppy, and I still don't really know what he's singing, but I do know it reminds me a bit of Bradford Cox's music, both in its wonkiness and loneliness.
BOY – Mutual Friends (Soundcloud)
So, there's a band of boys called Girls, and a band of girls called BOY? What is this? Upside down world? That's probably the sort of thing my grandparents would say, if their dialogue was poorly written and the internet didn't scare them. Anyway, there's not much comparison between Girls (R.I.P.) and BOY, so forget that. Where Christopher Owens played with his amply-stocked musical toy box with glee, Mutual Friends is a fairly simple record. The Swiss/German coalition sing small but perfectly formed songs around basic acoustic instrumentation, and it's very nice. And the first song is derived from a Fitzgerald quote – "I love her and it is the beginning of everything" – which I'm always down with.
Rhye – Woman (Pitchfork Advance)
So Rhye are a Canadian/Danish duo that I created out of my mind by thinking of all the best, blissed-out, sexiest music I've been thinking about over the past few years – the xx, James Blake, Beach House, The Weeknd, classic 90s R&B, that one Sky Ferreira song – so, you're welcome. Maybe that's not what actually happened, but it certainly sounds that way: Rhye is a gloriously dreamy album of breathy vocals halfway between Aailyah and Victoria Legrand tumbling between late-night piano, hop-skip drum machines, late-to-the-party synths and widescreen string sections. I think I'm in love.
I forgot to include this bit again last week. I'm a forgetful chap. So if you would be so good as to remind me of any good album streams that crop up in the coming weeks, please do Tweet me @tennis_everyone
So I guess iTunes is the proprietary platform for streaming albums now? Last week it was the place to hear the new Bowie, and this week it's holding an exclusive listening party for that guy from N*Sync's comeback record (which maybe isn't quite as anticipated as The Next Day, even if they both the performer in question turned out to be pretty good actors and have both had terrible haircuts). You know Justin Timberlake owns MySpace as well, right? [read more]
So how about those Grammys, eh? Yeah I don't have an opinion on the Grammys. And neither should you – they're a institution of fossils who somehow have retained their basic auditory functions, but perfectly preserved their Jurassic musical tastes. Which is why Mumford and Sons have featured heavily in the ceremony the past couple of years. [read more]
New year, new me. This is going to be my year. Oh, sorry, you already claimed it? Never mind then, I'll wait until the next one comes along, and hopefully I'll be quicker off the mark. Big changes are afoot for the 405, friends, but you can rely on me to stubbornly refuse to change. Unless this is your most hated feature, in which case, I'll continue to obnoxiously fuel your hate-reading. [read more]
I know what you're expecting. I can read you lot like an open book. Or maybe a hacked Kindle book. You think the top album stream I recommend you this week is The Next Day, the new David Bowie album that you can listen to in full on iTunes. But I like to confound expectations, ladies and gentleman, much like a magician, or a cruel parent who promises their child a new games console for Christmas and places a PlayStation Vita rather than... anything else, under the tree. [read more]