Regular readers will know that we sit down every Monday morning to track down five noteworthy and, ideally, listen-worthy albums that are streaming over the web for the week ahead. Clearly, trying to do this in the album release wasteland that is December is a bit of a mission, but never fear: we’ve still managed to track down a variety of interesting stuff for your pre-release listening pleasure, including a labyrinthine album of Dylan covers for Amnesty International, a John Zorn Christmas album (no, really), and various other curios. It’s all after the jump.
Various Artists — Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International
Here at Flavorpill, we’ve occasionally been accused by angry comments section denizens of not being suitably reverent toward Bob Dylan. But let it be said that whatever we think of the gravelly-voiced old chap as a singer, we’ve never failed to appreciate his ability as a songwriter, and as such we’re rather excited to hear a whopping 75 of his songs covered and reinterpreted by a huge variety of artists to celebrate Amnesty International’s 50th anniversary — there’s everyone from Mariachi El Bronx to Marianne Faithfull (and, inevitably, the likes of Sting and The Dave Matthews Band, but let’s pretend they’re not there, eh?) The covers are all on a sprawling album called Chimes of Freedom, and you can hear it now via Amnesty’s Facebook page — all you need to do is “like” the organization.
John Zorn — A Dreamer’s Christmas
And meanwhile, here’s a Christmas album from John Zorn… wait, what? If the idea of the man behind eclectic NYC venue The Stone and a slew of strange and wonderful avant jazz albums making a Christmas record sounds like an unlikely one… well, you’re not alone. But then, Zorn has always been one to confound expectations — after all, he’s made everything from klezmer to cartoon music over the years, and according to NPR (where this album is streaming all week), he’s been wanting to make a Christmas album for ages. You can hear the results here.
Urania — Carpathian Woodoo
Hungarian band Urania describe their sound as “ambient/drone/space rock,” which sounds absolutely OK with us. They have a new record that’s streaming via their Facebook page at the moment — it’s called Carpathian Woodoo [sic] and contains cheerily titled tracks like “Eastern Blood Cult” and “AK-47.” If this sounds like your idea of a good time, then get involved by clicking right here.
The Lower 48 — Where All Maps End
Lovers of folk-influenced, acoustic-y, Bon Iver-esque music may well enjoy the work of Portland, Oregon band The Lower 48, whose new album Where All Maps End is streaming via AOL’s Spinner site all this week. Someday someone will write a weighty tome about the appeal of ersatz down-home music, consumer products, and aesthetics in an uncertain post-millennial age — but on a slightly hazy Monday morning, it won’t be us. So we’ll just invite you to listen here.
Kool Keith — Drugs
And finally, drugs, he’s done a few (or it sounds like he has, anyway). The ever-entertaining Kool Keith has a new remix EP, consisting of six reworkings of perhaps his best-known song: “Drugs.” The remixers on duty include Switch, Hot Chip, and Amon Tobin & Doubleclick — the EP’s streaming at AOL Music, so click here to get six different lots of “Drugs.” Yikes.