5 Albums You Need to Stream for Free This Week: VCMG, Lee Ranaldo

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Mondays are difficult enough without being robbed of an hour of sleep along the way, eh? If you’re anything like us, this morning’s a bit of a struggle, but nevertheless, we’ve found our regular selection of five excellent and/or noteworthy records streaming for free across the vast echoing expanses of the internet. This week, we’re particularly excited about Lee Ranaldo’s new record, along with Vince Clarke and Martin Gore’s first collaboration in 30 years. There’s also new records from the Decemberists, Lucero, and, um, the Ting Tings. Click through and get listening.

VCMG — Ssss

If you’re wondering who on earth VCMG are, well, the band name is an acronym for none other than Depeche Mode founding members Vince Clarke and Martin Gore. Clarke wrote early Depeche Mode hits like “Just Can’t Get Enough” and “New Life,” but left the band in the early 1980s (subsequently founding Yazoo and Erasure). This record is the first time that Clarke and Gore have worked together since, making it a pretty big deal for anyone with any sort of interest in all things Depeche Mode-related. The album’s an interesting listen, full of the sort of squelchy-synth techno that should be soundtracking leather-clad dancers gyrating on podiums. Hear it via XLR8R.

Lee Ranaldo — Between the Times and the Tides

We’ve already written pretty extensively about how much we were looking forward to hearing this record, so we’re thoroughly chuffed to report that it’s up on Rolling Stone‘s site a week before release. The songs on Between the Times and the Tides sound both instantly familiar — they’re just like every Lee Ranaldo-helmed Sonic Youth song — and yet also fresh and dynamic, and there’s also enough variety to hold your interest throughout. There’s even a pretty acoustic ballad (“Stranded”). Listen here.

The Decemberists — We All Raise Our Voices to the Air

Meanwhile, fans of the Decemberists will revel in the band’s new live album, a double-CD/triple-LP affair recorded over the course of four nights on last year’s US tour. The Decemberists are one of those groups you love or hate, but if Colin Meloy’s wordsmithery and the band’s cerebral take on folk rock are something you enjoy, there’s plenty to like here. The record’s out tomorrow, and it’s streaming right now via Spinner.

Lucero — Women & Work

Gravel-voiced blue-collar rock types Lucero have a new album called Women & Work — a title that neatly summarizes its subject matter — out tomorrow. If you happen to be making a beer commercial that requires good-time country soul to accompany footage of bearded buddies clinking bottles, look no further. In all seriousness, though, Lucero are good at what they do, and if such things float your boat, you’ll want to click here.

The Ting Tings — Sounds from Nowheresville

And finally, after an interview that made them look like possibly the biggest pair of spanners in existence, The Ting Tings release their second album this week. Is it any good? Um, well, listen via Spinner and make up your own mind.