5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: Little Dragon, Shonen Knife

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Notwithstanding the arrival of cloud music juggernaut Spotify on American shores (which we’ll write more about soon), it’s a bit of a quiet week on the streaming album front. But never fear, we’ve still dug deep and found our regular selection of five noteworthy and/or interesting records to stream for free this week — from tasteful Scandinavian party pop to another They Might Be Giants record and, most pleasingly, Shonen Knife doing an entire album of Ramones covers. Listen after the jump.

Little Dragon — Ritual Union

Scandinavian electronic pop trio Little Dragon are about to release their third album — it’s due out next Tuesday, and is streaming ahead of its release all this week. To our ears, Ritual Union sounds like a throwback to those flawlessly produced, tastefully jazzy, house-influenced albums that people used to play at turn-of-the-millennium parties that fancied themselves as being a little more sophisticated than your average keg-fuelled piss-up (Saint-Germain’s Tourist springs to mind, in particular). If you’re into such action, the album is streaming via NPR.

Shonen Knife — Osaka Ramones

Meanwhile, Kurt Cobain-approved Japanese pop trio Shonen Knife are still going strong, 30 years since they first came together. The fact that the Osaka trio love the Ramones has always been fairly clear, and now they’re immortalizing their love for the bruddas with an entire Ramones tribute album, Osaka Ramones. The album’s 13 tracks are all pretty much exact recreations of the originals — right down to xeroxing Johnny’s guitar sound and the thunderous drums at the start of “Blitzkrieg Bop” — except for the fact that they’re sung by a 50-year-old woman in a strong Japanese accent. It’s all a bit daggy, but great fun nonetheless, and you can listen via Spinner.

Theophilus London — Timez Are Weird These Days

Anglophile Brooklyn rapper and Smiths fan Theophilus London is capitalizing on the hype this week with the release of his debut album proper Timez Are Weird These Days, which is out tomorrow. The record finds London apparently acknowledging his surname by inexplicably dropping in and out of a British accent, while the music features plentiful squelching synths, suitably alternative cameos (including Dave Sitek, Holly Miranda, and Sara of Tegan and Sara), and slickly produced beats. It’s the sort of thing that you’d think was made for Pitchfork, but curiously, they don’t seem to like him — perhaps he doesn’t say “faggot” enough. Anyway, the album is streaming at Spinner.

They Might Be Giants — Join Us

You can’t go back to Constantinople, but nevertheless, in a constantly changing world, you can always rely on They Might Be Giants to keep making records. Join Us is their 15th studio album, and it sounds pretty much exactly like every other They Might Be Giants album — slightly less overtly geeky than the days of yore, perhaps, but still featuring songs with titles like “Spoiler Alert” and verses like “This is Dan, and that’s Dan/ And that’s Marty on the drums with the lethal hand/ And he’s John and I’m also John/ And all of us are wondering/ When you’re going to die.” Listen at Spinner.

Ronnie Vannucci — Big Talk

And finally, no, wait… Yes, Ronnie Vannucci is the drummer in the Killers, and yes, drummers making solo albums is generally a bad idea (especially drummers from bands like the Killers), but if you like large-scale ’80s stadium rock-y music that sounds like it was made for cruising Californian highways with the top down, this is actually perfectly competent stuff. Vannucci can actually sing, believe it or not. And the album’s kind of endearing in its complete, unashamed Bon Jovi-ness. The NME are streaming it in full right here.