5 Albums to Stream for Free This Week: Sleigh Bells, Dirty Three


It may be a public holiday, but there’s no rest for the wicked, and all that — and so we’re still bringing you our regular Monday roundup of new albums that you can stream for absolutely nothing this week. If you’re after something to shake you out of your long weekend lethargy, then look no further: there’s suitably raucous action from Sleigh Bells to blow away the proverbial cobwebs, along with a tantalizing track-by-track unveiling of the new Bruce Springsteen record, the record that Warren Ellis reckons is the Dirty Three’s best ever, and a solo debut from one half of Hype Williams (the band, that is, not the director). Click through and start listening.

Sleigh Bells — Reign of Terror

We’ll be honest and say that we never entirely bought into the Sleigh Bells hype when they were anointed the latest saviors of rock’n’roll a couple of years back. With the benefit of a bit of distance, however, we’re starting to come around to their charms, all of which are in evidence on their second record: bone-crushing beats, buzzsaw guitars, acres of compression and Alexis Krauss’ striking voice. The Sleigh Bells sound is still certainly an acquired taste — the music steers troublingly close to Enter Shikari territory at times — but if you’re a fan, then we doubt this album will disappoint. It’s streaming all week via The New York Times.

Dirty Three — Toward the Low Sun

Back in December last year, when we posted our list of the albums we were most looking forward to in 2012, we noted that Warren Ellis had described Toward the Low Sun as “the definitive album for the Dirty Three.” Having had some time to digest the album, we’re still not sure that it quite trumps Horse Stories or Ocean Songs, but it’s definitely a whole lot better than its predecessor Cinder. And either of the Grinderman records, for that matter. The album’s streaming via Australian music website TheVine.

Bruce Springsteen — Wrecking Ball

This one is a bit of a tease, unfortunately — the tracks on the new Bruce Springsteen album are being unveiled one at a time, meaning that it’s going to require a fair amount of patience to hear the whole thing. But if you’re dedicated, you’ve got two sources to choose from — both Consequence of Sound and The Guardian are posting a track a day over the course of this week.

Dean Blunt — The Narcissist II

UK duo Hype Williams have made some of our favorite records of the last couple of years — Han Dynasty was particularly great — so we’re keen to hear pretty much anything new they’ve got going on. Like this album, for instance, which is a new solo project for Dean Blunt, one half of the duo and evidently a pretty fine producer in his own right. The Narcissist II‘s sound doesn’t diverge too radically from Hype Williams’ output — atmospheric, woozy-sounding synth pads, lo-fi production, a faint but unmistakeable sense of menace — and that’s absolutely fine by us. Check it out at Blunt’s Soundcloud page.

Scuba — Personality

And finally, here’s some dubstep to round out our selection — specifically, the third album by veteran UK producer Scuba, which is that rarest of beasts: a dubstep album that doesn’t evoke the sound of walking through London after midnight, huddled against the cold under flickering yellow streetlights and hoping no one beats you up before you make it to the night bus. Indeed, Personality is downright breezy as far as this genre goes, all house-inflected vocal samples and bouncing beats — pretty much perfect for a day off work, actually. It’s streaming until its release on February 27 via Fact.