5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: RHCP, Patti Smith


Every Monday we scour the internet to bring you five of the best and/or most noteworthy releases that are streaming for free prior to release. This week, the biggest news is the imminent arrival of the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album, and there’s also a new Patti Smith singles compilation, along with the wonderful desert blues of Tinariwen, a somewhat questionable new CSS record and LA bass wizard Thundercat’s debut solo album. Much goodness awaits you… after the jump!

Red Hot Chili Peppers — I’m With You

Old school Peppers fans like, y’know, us, are both excited and somewhat apprehensive about hearing the band’s new album I’m With You, which will be streaming on their website from midday today (Pacific time). It’s their first record without guitar-genius-in-residence John Frusciante since 1995’s One Hot Minute, and although Josh Klinghoffer is an able replacement, it’ll be interesting to see in what sort of direction Frusciante’s absence sends the band. All will be revealed here within the next few hours.

Patti Smith — Outside Society

We’d like to think that most of our readership will be at least cursorily familiar with Patti Smith’s output, but even so, there’s definitely a place in this world for a decent best-of compilation. As we mentioned in our roundup of albums to listen to in August, there’s something a little disingenuous about calling this her first complete singles compilation — Land, released in 2002, was pretty comprehensive — but still, Outside Society brings together all her singles (including her excellent “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover) and is a fine thing to have on your stereo on a Monday morning. Listen here.

Tinariwen — Tassili

We are big fans of Malian desert blues ensemble Tinariwen — for a start, they wear some pretty fantastic robes, and we’ve always wished it was socially acceptable to wear robes outside the Polyphonic Spree. But in all seriousness, and putting sartorial considerations aside, they’re also fantastic musicians, re-appropriating the sound of the blues and taking it back across the Atlantic to meld it with the sounds of the Tuareg. We’re clearly not the only people to have taken note of their charms — their new record Tassili, which is streaming at NPR all week, features cameos from Nels Cline, Tunde Adebimpe and Kyp Malone, and is already on constant rotation chez Flavorpill. Listen here.

CSS — La Liberación

Former flavors of the month CSS are back with a new record called La Liberación, which is out next Monday. It sounds like… well, it’s not great, to be honest. First track “I Love You” is frankly alarming vocodered ’90s EuroDisco, and indicative of a trend: no matter how much indie cred CSS have, a lot of this sounds like awful chart pop. There are some vaguely decent moments — leisurely lead single “Hits Me Like a Rock,” the punky title track, and the endearingly bratty “Rhythm, to the Rebels,” but this is a very mixed bag, at best. But anyway, make up your own mind here — the album is streaming all week at Spinner. You can also download “Hits Me Like a Rock” via Pretty Much Amazing.

Thundercat — The Golden Age of Apocalypse

The Hype Machine’s weekly feature album generally makes for interesting listening, and it doesn’t let us down this week — the site is streaming the solo debut of Flying Lotus-affiliated bass virtuoso Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, and it’s a weird and wonderful piece of work. FlyLo produces the album, and it’s got his fingerprints all over it, but it’s still very much Brumer’s baby — his bass playing is remarkable throughout, and the album’s strange mixture of jazz influences, squelchy, funkified synths, FlyLo’s intricate production and Bruner’s intimidating basslines makes for constantly fascinating listening (there’s at least one bass solo that rivals Stanley Clarke’s ‘School Days’, and that‘s saying something). Check it out here.