This Week's Best Album Streams: 8th May 2012
I won't be alone in saying the only music I've cared about since Friday has been the Beastie Boys' back catalogue. As I charged along Camden's pavements during the Crawl it was the Beasties I was listening to; even while watching the bands, I was just waiting to put my iPod back on.
Adam Yauch's death was truly devastating, not since Kurt Cobain's suicide has someone so embedded into my musical upbringing, died. It was 1992 when my Nirvana obsession was broken by Yauch's Gratitude bass riff, then, two years later Sabotage's groove confirmed the love in. Finally seeing them at Reading '98 was an epiphany.
Beasties Boys enduring appeal is their ability to grow up, yet remain excitable, by progressively changing their sound; if they were still phallus wielding brats, we'd be bored. So rather than dwell on a back catalogue I managed to look for the best new music being streamed, and here's a little something for ya.
So please find time to listen to these, go out and buy them. Or if they're not for you, then give your record spending money to a cancer charity. RIP Adam Yauch.
Exitmusic –Passage (npr.org)
Brooklyn duo Exitmusic have made an album of unbelievable beauty which is epically indulgent, by welding dream vocals with delicate fuzz and cloud dust. It's like being seduced in a church by your first love. Aleksa Palladino's voice is Low playing Sigur Ros, subtlety uplifting and woozily majestic. Passage is one this year's most beguiling records; creepy yet wondrous.
Zulu Winter – Language (themusic.com.au)
The Killers it's OK to like's debut album is as airily dark as promised. There's a Prefab Sprout funk to Key To My Heart and Silver Tongue which complement their area anthems, and Lets Move Back To front is genuinely uplifting. It encapsulates the grey mood of 1985- the year Bono wooed Live Aid, and if you squint Zulu looks like U2.
Silversun Pickups – Neck Of The Woods (guerillacandy.com)
Silversun Pickups are quickly becoming a major force in alternative rock by fusing Smashing Pumpkins' fuzz-gaze with radio friendly angst, exemplified by Mean Spirits. The Pit meanwhile gives an 80's electro edge, a statement to their stadium ambitions, which are bolstered by Here We Are's gentle claustrophobia. Its variety and precision make this a wonderful rock record.
Simian Mobile Disco – Unpatterns (stoneyroads.com)
By ditching the collaborations SMD have pulled off a full on electro album, an album in the classic sense. There isn't an arms in the air banger, although Cerulean and Interference's Garnier grooves come close, so it needs to be taken as a whole and listened to at home. While not overtly clubby its perpetual beats ooze the essence of dance.
PS I Love You – Death Dreams (exclaim.ca)
From the squealing riff of Sentimental Dishes it's clear this record's brimming with excitable chutzpah. There's also the rumbling bass of Don't Go and the teasing fuzz of How Do You to back up their understated shredding magnitude. Yes, it sounds very 90s, yet there's a nervous impulsiveness to its dissonance which makes for a woozy fuzzbox delight.
Bong Ra – Monolith (3voor12.com )
Bong Ra is harder than the rest; whether the Country Side Alliance Crew or Wrong Music all are redundant in the Dutchman's devil eyes. Monolith's gabbacore is fairly accessible by Bong-Ra's standards due to Sole's vocals and a bass-step edge. Nonetheless it's an infectiously vital record which maximises the darkness of a terrorbox basement transplanted into The Glade's main stage dustbowl.
Heavy Blanket – Heavy Blanket (pastemagazine.com)
J Mascis is hardly a stranger to maniacal riff shredding, so his instrumental group Heavy Blanket packs no surprises. What it does show is an alt-rock god going his stuff purely because he can. Away from the shackles for structures and vocals, the lurching bass and pouncing drums frame a master producing what is basically one long, albeit satisfying, guitar wank-off.
Gossip – Joyful Noise (guardian.com)
You have a black heart if these slick pop gems don't get you jiggling. OK, it sounds like it's by any generic popstar and there isn't the rugged ESG pumping we're used to, well there's a bit on In To The Wild, but in a Charli XCX /Alex Clare world it's perfectly passable. A second listen might be pushing it though.
I'm at The Great Escape for four days, so if you discover a great stream, help a bro' out and Tweet me @HIDavidNewbury
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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]
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]
God bless indie music. Bands and artists with a DIY aesthetic, struggling against The Man to create beautiful innovative music which John Peel would be proud of. And the fans, hip outsiders who name check the right bands and are quirkily cool. Yeah right. The biggest selling indie artist is bloody Adele and this week’s top 20 indie chart contains The Osmonds and Gilbert O’sodding Sullivan. [read more]