By Craig Hubert | There are music fans, and then there are NPR music fans. The public radio institution has become a central source of exclusive new album streams, with an emphasis on artists that don’t necessarily fit into the mega-pop landscape. This week NPR offers two new streams: the wiry and ruminative “The Odds” from The Evens, and Tim Hecker & Daniel Lopatin’s noisy, explorative “Instrumental Tourist.” Are they worth your precious web-listening time? NPRatings lets you know.
The Story: The third album from punk rock dream couple Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat and Fugazi) and Amy Farina (The Warmers and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists), under the name The Evens, a quieter and stripped down project from these veterans of noise.
Worth a Listen?: YES. More assured than their first two records, “The Odds” feels like the album the band was always destined to make – intelligent, mature, but not lacking the bite of their previous work. MacKaye’s nervous guitar arrangements compliment Farina’s focused drum attack nicely, and the record should please fans old and new.
Listen to “The Odds” here.
The Story: An improvised collaboration between Tim Hecker and Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never), two electronic musicians who pursue the outskirts of sonic exploration on albums that tend to lean toward the esoteric.
Worth a Listen?: MAYBE. “Instrumental Tourist” is pretty much the definition of a difficult listen – it’s not quite “Metal Machine Music,” but it’s close. The tracks move from sweeping, off-kilter layers of synths to scratching, grating scrambles of noise. Traditional ideas of rhythm are almost non-existent here, and the resulting record requires patience and attention.
Listen to “Instrumental Tourist” here.
Image: The Evens/Dischord.com