My mother often said that in life there are very few free lunches, but in music, if you look hard enough you can find anything for free.
This is not to say that we should all dine at the all you can eat buffet that is bit torrent and illegal file sharing sites because music needs paying customers to survive. Thankfully, for those of us who live within the letter of the law, a number of artists give listeners the chance to test drive their latest work before fans have to open their wallets and make a decision.
Take for instance rising star Justin Vernon whose band Bon Iver is gearing up for the release of his second full-length record on June 21. The album will see release in the United States via the impeccable tastemakers at Jagjaguwar, but you do not have to wait a couple of weeks to hear what Bon Iver has created. The entire album is streaming at NPR as part of their First Listen series that has historically previewed a number of fantastic albums.
Bon Iver has two sold out New York shows on its schedule with support coming courtesy of The Rosebuds. If you neglected to get tickets to their Aug. 9 performance at United Palace or the following evening at Prospect Park, then you would be wise to hit Craigslist sooner than later as the price will only rise once the record lands on shelves.
There are a couple other streams making their rounds on the internet that are well worth a listen.
The first is a live mini-album by Deerhunter that is currently streaming on Rhapsody as part of their Rhapsody Original series. The album was recorded on March 18 at Club Deville in Austin, Texas, during one of the band's 2011 SXSW performances. This stream should serve as a warm-up to Deerhunter’s Aug. 22 show at Webster Hall, but don’t expect them to play a carbon copy of the album at the show because they are always dynamic and full of surprises.
Finally, I’d like to point you to virtual goldmine that is Spinner, where you can stream a number of new albums from artists like GIVERS, The Vaccines, Black Lips, Sondre Lerche and Dawes, but for now let’s focus on the self-titled debut by the highly buzzed about Cults that is currently streaming.
Wednesday night the band played a private, industry only showcase at The Box at the behest of their label, but Thursday they play to a sold out room of real people at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. If you slept on these tickets you will have to wait until Aug. 7 when they share the Central Park Summerstage with Friendly Fires and The Naked and Famous. We highly recommend you get there early if you want to see this first-come-first-serve free event.