Just About Every ’90s Alternative Side Project Album Is Streaming for Free This Week


This week, it seems, is the week that the grand overlords of ’90s indie return to the land. This morning saw a bunch of new records by the decade’s alt-rock luminaries appearing on the Internet for advance streaming purposes, so we thought we’d do the decent thing and round them up in one place for you. The most prominent, of course, is the debut album by Thom Yorke’s Atoms for Peace, which appeared online overnight, but there’s also new work from Trent Reznor’s How to Destroy Angels, Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving, and a (very) belated solo debut from ’90s godfather Johnny Marr. Click through to have a listen.

Atoms for Peace — AMOK

The most prominent of the projects you can stream this week is Thom Yorke’s all-star Atoms For Peace, the former Eraser-era live band that’s grown into a full-fledged studio endeavor. The group’s debut studio album is entitled AMOK, and after a couple of weeks’ worth of hints/teasers/songs hidden in wacky websites, you can finally listen to the damn thing in full. The record’s as accomplished and polished as one might expect, sounding more like the aforementioned Yorke solo effort The Eraser than anything else. It’s so smooth and well done, in fact, that it ends up sounding curiously sterile to our ears — it’s the sound of four men who are very good at what they do, doing it in a hideously expensive studio. Still, it’s worth hearing — you can do so via NPR.

How to Destroy Angels — Welcome Oblivion

There have been few projects more loathed by fans than Trent Reznor’s new-ish venture with his wife Mariqueen Maandig, which has been controversial ever since its inception in 2010 (and beforehand — Reznor memorably quit Twitter in 2009 after getting sick of people “spewing hate at Mariqueen and I.”) The fact that fans seem to despise HTDA’s output so much probably says as much about latent misogyny in fandom and the Yoko effect as it does about the music itself, because it’s… well, y’know, it’s not life-changing, but it’s not awful, either. You can make up your own mind, anyway — the album is streaming at Pitchfork’s new Pitchfork Advance site.

Johnny Marr — The Messenger

Marr has been in the news of late, most notably in this rather great NME video, wherein he discusses the genesis of “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now” and plays the song for the first time in some 25 years. This may well be something to do with the fact that he has a new album to promote — it is, in fact, the first solo record in his long and illustrious career, and it’s streaming at Rolling Stone as we speak. It’s a surprisingly bombastic piece of work, largely devoid of the lightness of touch that made The Smiths (and, later, Electronic) so appealing. Still, if you’ve ever wanted to hear Marr devote an entire album to rocking out, then be our guests.

Chelsea Light Moving — Chelsea Light Moving

And finally, there’s the debut album by Thurston Moore’s post-Sonic Youth project Chelsea Light Moving, which sounds, entirely unsurprisingly, like a Thurston Moore solo album. There’s something strident about Moore’s presence on this record — there’s lots of distortion and lots of bratty, pouting vocals — and it’s hard not to see the specter of everything that went down with his former band in everything he does here. Still, with Sonic Youth apparently gone for good, it’s pretty great just to hear the band’s members active and still making music. This isn’t quite on a par with Lee Ranaldo’s quietly excellent Between the Times and the Tides, but it’s still worth hearing. You can do so via NPR.