Every Monday we bring you a selection of five noteworthy and hopefully stereo-worthy albums that are streaming for free across the web. This week sees the debut of albums by Evanescence, Ben Lee, and William Shatner, plus a Ben Folds best-of… but don’t worry, there’s none of that here, because we’ve found some good music this week, too. Most notably, the M83 album is back online, and this time it’s not a dodgy Grooveshark upload. There’s also the new My Brightest Diamond, a soundtrack from Andrew Bird, neo-classical weirdness from Nils Frahm, and Johnny Cash singing “A Boy Named Sue” for Richard Nixon. Click through for a piece of the action!
M83 — Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming
We accidentally brought you a naughty stream of the M83 album a few weeks ago, although it got taken down not long after we posted the link. Happily, the album’s back online, and legitimately so this time around — it’s streaming via Amazon’s French site. Anthony Gonzales described the record as something of a return to the more ambient and atmospheric M83 sound of times past, and you can certainly see what he means — epic opening track “Intro,” for instance, could have walked straight off Before the Dawn Heals Us, although there’s also still enough poptastic Saturdays=Youth-esque action to keep newer fans happy. Click here to listen. (If you have trouble with that link, you can also try here.)
My Brightest Diamond — All Things Will Unwind
People who have been waiting patiently for the new Regina Spektor album will be delighted to know that the next best thing is here — there’s a new My Brightest Diamond album, and it’s streaming all week via NPR. All triteness aside, though, All Things Will Unwind is an interesting piece of work — it has the same spacious yet somehow intimate production that characterized Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, and while Shara Worden’s voice is something of an acquired taste, she’s certainly a fine songwriter. Click here to listen.
Andrew Bird — Norman OST
The last we heard from violin-wielding polymath Andrew Bird was his 2009 album Noble Beast, which was one of the more unexpected commercial successes of recent years, very nearly cracking the top 10 on the Billboard albums chart. Now he’s back with the soundtrack to indie movie Norman, a cheery-sounding film about a teenage boy dealing (or not dealing) with the fact that his father has stomach cancer. The score is suitably melancholy, and largely instrumental — we like it a lot. Listen here.
Nils Frahm — Felt
This week’s Hype Machine preview is the third album by German neo-classical pianist Nils Frahm. But wait, even if classical music isn’t your thing, you might want to give this a listen — the recording is fascinating, so intimate that you can hear the clicks of the piano keys being depressed and the sound of Frahm’s breathing. The music, meanwhile, recalls some of Brian Eno’s more ambient moments, which is always OK with us. The album’s right here if you want to have a listen.
Johnny Cash — Bootleg Vol. 3: Live Around the World
And finally, since we’re big fans of the Man in Black, we’re rather excited about the release of the latest in the ongoing series of Johnny Cash “bootlegs,” which are really compilations of the unreleased material he kept at his personal recording studio. This album is all live recordings — only ten tracks are streaming via Spinner, but they cover a pretty broad chronological spectrum, from the earliest days of Cash’s career (specifically, a show at something called the “Big D Jamboree” in Dallas in 1956), through performances at the White House and a USO Show in Vietnam, and finishing up in 1976 at another jamboree, this time in West Virginia. The highlights for us are the early version of “So Doggone Lonesome” — even the 24-year-old Cash is instantly recognizable — and the amusingly self-censored White House performance of “A Boy Named Sue.” We hope Nixon appreciated it, the old crook. Listen to it here.