5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: Tom Waits, Justice


Rejoice, because we’ve conquered our CMJ hangovers and got down to the serious business of our regular Monday roundup of albums streaming for free over the course of the coming week. And there’s a particularly exciting link to share this time around: the new Tom Waits album, Bad As Me, which is now available for your listening pleasure via NPR. Clearly, everything else that’s streaming this week is going to pale in comparison somewhat, but there’s still plenty of other goodness to be had: the new Justice album, along with upcoming releases from Florence & the Machine, and Joker. And, um, the Lou Reed/Metallica album. It’s all after the jump, so click through and get listening!

Tom Waits — Bad As Me

The level of interest in this, Tom Waits’ 17th studio album, is a measure of both his enduring appeal and his ability to remain relevant and innovative over the course of a long and constantly fascinating career — we’d struggle to name another artist who could command as much interest in their seventh album, let alone their 17th. This is Waits’ first full-length of entirely new material since 2004’s excellent Real Gone, and here’s the good news: it’s pretty great. First impressions are that its sound is perhaps a little less abrasive and out-there than the vocal percussion-dominated landscape of its predecessor — but don’t worry, Tom hasn’t gone all soft on us, and there’s still more than enough music curiosities and lyrical virtuosity to keep fans very, very happy. The album’s out digitally tomorrow; in the meantime, have a listen here.

Justice — Audio, Video, Disco

Elsewhere, the new Justice album is also out tomorrow — it’s not quite as long-awaited as Bad As Me, but it’s still been quite some time since Cross made the Ed Banger stalwarts into global dance superstars. Has it been worth the wait? Um, well, we’ll leave that up to you. But one thing’s for sure — Audio, Video, Disco is an unashamed swing for the bleachers, a populist record that’s laden with some mightily cheesy ’80s stadium rock sounding guitar sounds, some chart-friendly melodies, and at least one bit that sounds alarmingly like the Stonehenge dance from This Is Spinal Tap. It’ll be interesting to see how much further into the mainstream it moves its creators, and what the music press will make of it. You can make your own mind up right here.

Florence + the Machine — Ceremonials

Prefix has a couple of pretty interesting exclusive streams happening this week — for a start, there’s an early-ish listen to the new Florence + the Machine album, which isn’t due out until next week. You’ll have to forgive us for repeating ourselves here, because just like the Justice album, Ceremonials sounds like an ’80s-influenced bid for the charts — but while Justice are channeling poodle metal and synthpop, Florence Welch is mining the era’s liking for power balladry. Take “Shake It Out,” which contains the line “It’s always darkest before the dawn” and wouldn’t have sounded out of place on American Top 40 with Casey Kasem. What’s happening to music these days? Anyway, the album’s streaming here.

Joker — The Vision

Happily, Prefix have also got the debut album for 20-year-old UK dubstep prodigy Joker streaming this week. We’re generally not huge fans of the 2-step end of the dubstep spectrum — we prefer the dub to the step, if you will — but there’s no doubt that Joker is a precociously talented producer, and that he’s a worthy manifestation of 4AD’s new-found love of dubstep (cf. Zomby). His album’s streaming right here (just below the Florence one).

Lou Reed and Metallica — Lulu

And finally, in case you missed it the first time around, or you just haven’t been game enough to listen yet, the Lou Reed/Metallica album Lulu is still streaming via the collaboration’s official website. We got bucketloads of manure left on our virtual doorstep for including Lou Reed on our list of overrated lyricists a couple of weeks back, so let it be said that Lulu starts with the following lines: “I would cut my legs and tits off/ When I think of Boris Karloff.” Need we say more? No?