Coldplay — Mylo Xyloto
Gwyneth Paltrow might have got her copy of the new Coldplay album before everyone else, but the rest of the world isn’t far behind. As of this morning, Mylo Xyloto is streaming via music blog Electric Mariachi — we’re not entirely sure whether it’s supposed to be there, and the site’s servers seem to be struggling under the load, but still, we figured we’d share the link until such time that anyone tells us we shouldn’t. If you’re a fan and you want to hear what in-no-way-even-slightly-overrated-lyricist Chris Martin and the rest of the band have been up to over the last year or so, all the answers await you right here. (If the servers are still groaning, you can also try here.)
Matthew Herbert — One Pig
When we published our roundup of albums you need to hear in October, the new Matthew Herbert was most definitely on the list. If you missed our write-up, the album basically follows the life of a single pig, from birth until it’s slaughtered for human consumption. Herbert recorded the sounds of the pig’s life, and he’s used them to create a pretty remarkable record — One Pig walks a fine line between music and sound art, but is surprisingly engaging listening, never feeling contrived or overly cerebral. Of course, it’s also decidedly disconcerting, and raises plenty of questions about how we treat animals and how our food is produced in 2011. The album’s streaming via Spinner — listen here.
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds — Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
If there were ever any lingering doubts that Oasis was Noel Gallagher, this record should put them to rest — especially if you take it in comparison to the decidedly underwhelming Beady Eye album. Much of the advance publicity for Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds has focused on the fact that the production and arrangements have encompassed a much broader spectrum than Oasis ever did, and while this is true, to our ears this still sounds like a classic Oasis record — steeped in a distinctly English songwriting tradition, full of the sense that you’ve heard these songs before somewhere (and we don’t mean that in a bad way). All the Gallagher hallmarks are here — the sort of melodies you hum on your morning walk, suitably soaring choruses, lyrics that don’t really mean anything but sound vaguely meaningful nonetheless. Fans will lap it up, and rightly so — it’s the best thing Gallagher’s done since about 1995. Listen via Soundcloud here (and then go off and read our friends at the Quietus’s fantastic Noel interview here).
Class Actress — Rapprocher
If psychoanalytical synthpop is your bag, then the new Class Actress album will fill you with unconstrained joy. According to singer Elizabeth Harper, this album’s title refers to “the psychoanalytical definition of the word rapprochement, which describes when a child is between 18 and 24 months [old] and moves away from its mother for the first time… [bandmate] Mark [Richardson] is getting a PhD in psychology, so we spent half the record talking about psychoanalytical theory.” Heavy concepts aside, this is basically a great album of pop songs — and “Weekend,” in particular, should really be the summer anthem of 2011, even if summer’s already over. The album’s streaming at Spinner — listen here.
Gringo Star — Count Yer Lucky Stars
Oh, if only we’d known of Gringo Star when we did our roundup of celebrity-inspired band names earlier this year. The Atlanta four-piece’s album is this week’s Hype Machine feature album, and is the most English-sounding record to come out of the south since, y’know, ever — full of vaguely psychedelic ’60s summer atmosphere that suggests the band’s Beatles-y name is more than just a rather amusing pun. If you liked the Gallagher album, you’ll probably dig on this too — listen here.