Over at NPR, the new Okkervil River album I Am Very Far is streaming in its entirety this week – we got gently chastised for not mentioning the band as a Jagjaguwar roster highlight in our post on our favorite indie labels, so we should take this opportunity to affirm that we are indeed big fans, and that the new album sounds most excellent indeed. NPR reckons it’s “a bold departure” for the group, but to our ears it sounds like classic Okkervil, full of space and light – and it’s beautifully produced, too. Listen here.
Also at NPR is the new record by new jack swing survivor Raphael Saadiq, who was once a member of Tony! Toni! Toné!, although you shouldn’t hold this against him. These days he’s a purveyor of neo-’50s-style R&B, and if you’re partial to such action, this will sit happily next to Sharon Jones in your record collection. Click here to listen.
Meanwhile, endearingly strange Philly five-piece Man Man‘s new album Life Fantastic is streaming at Stereogum. We’ve always found the band’s records to be less enjoyable than their live show, because all the smashing plates and pots and pans and other strange noises are less entertaining when you don’t have the vision of a mustachioed lunatic to go with them. Stereogum suggests that this time around “the songs feel more focused and elegant,” and we’re inclined to agree, although we still suggest you take the opportunity to see Man Man live if you get the chance. Listen here.
Last week we provided a stream of the new Beastie Boys album, Hot Sauce Committee Part 2, played via a stereo speaker in the middle of Madison Square Garden. While that was a bit of fun, we’ve been waiting to hear the real thing, and now a MSG-less version is online over at Spinner.
And finally, The Hype Machine’s weekly album preview is Tamer Animals, the new one by Oklahoma band Other Lives. It’s a slow-burner, full of atmospheric strings, widescreen songs and lots of reverb – an early review we read this morning suggested that it made for perfect music for driving across America, which is a sentiment we endorse entirely.