5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: Stephen Malkmus, The War on Drugs


Every Monday we scour the internet for a selection of what’s streaming for free this week, in search of records that are noteworthy releases or just plain good listening (or, ideally, both). This week we’ve got ye olde Stephen Malkmus back with a new record — produced by Beck, incidentally — along with Adam Granduciel’s ongoing War on Drugs, new albums from Hercules & Love Affair and Active Child, and a bunch of people doing, um, Muppets covers. It’s all after the jump, so get a-clicking!

Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks — Mirror Traffic

“I caught you streaking in your Birkenstocks,” goes the opening line of the new Stephen Malkmus record, his fifth since the demise of Pavement. Much has been made of the fact that this album is produced by Beck, but it’s not like alternative music’s favorite Scientologist has taken Malkmus in any particularly radical directions — to our ears, Mirror Traffic sounds like classic Malkmus, full of indie pop hooks and snappy lyricism. You can hear the album via the Guardian website.

The War on Drugs — Slave Ambient

The new album by Philly three-piece The War on Drugs — once home to a certain Mr. Kurt Vile — is out tomorrow, and for now it’s streaming for free in full (via the Urban Outfitters website, curiously). Slave Ambient‘s drenched in early-90s lo-fi charm, sounding at times like a lost Sebadoh record, which is entirely OK by us. If you’re in NYC, the band are also playing an in-store tonight at Other Music — either way, you can hear the record here.

Hercules & Love Affair — Blue Songs

Fashionable and formerly DFA-affiliated house revivalists Hercules & Love Affair are back with a new record, one that abandons all disco pretensions and does its very best to sound like it was recorded some time between 1987 and 1990. There’s nothing on there that quite rivals the band’s Antony-led megahit “Blind,” but all the dance-loving cutoff-short-and-sun-visor types who sold out two Cut Copy shows at Terminal 5 a few months back will most likely enjoy this immensely — as will anyone who wishes that the last 20 years never happened. Anyone who actually listened to this music 20 years ago, meanwhile, will probably find it hilarious. Anyway, you can hear it via Spinner.

Active Child — You Are All I See

This week’s feature album at the Hype Machine is the debut album for angel-voiced LA harpist and solo artist Pat Grossi, aka Active Child. It’s a pretty remarkable piece of work, its grand scope and undeniable weirdness making it vaguely reminiscent of Owen Pallett (who Grossi recently cited as an influence) but really with a sound all its own. Grossi’s voice may be a bit of an acquired taste for some, but having been only cursorily familiar with his work until now, we’re definitely converts. The album’s out next Monday, but you can hear it by clicking here.

Various Artists — Muppets: The Green Album

And finally, if you’ve ever yearned to hear novelty pop puppets OK Go cover the Muppets theme song, then look no further. Muppets: The Green Album is a collection of 12 Muppets songs covered by contemporary bands — apart from OK Go, there’s Andrew Bird, My Morning Jacket, various neo-punky types like Alkaline Trio and Atreyu… and, inevitably, Weezer. With Hayley Williams of Paramore on vocals. Jesus. If you’re feeling particularly brave or nostalgic, the album’s streaming right now via NPR. (And in case you’re wondering why this album exists, it’s because there’s a Muppets film due out in November).