The Three Songs You Need to Download This Week

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There’s a lot of music online–more than most people have time to keep up with. That’s why you’ve got us. Every week, we’ll point you toward three excellent new downloads or videos from chart-topping stars, cult favorites and unknown geniuses.

1. The Strokes’ Angles comes out next Tuesday–the troubled New York City rockers’ first new record in five years. The whole album is streaming at their site; there’s also a video for its first single, “Under Cover of Darkness,” directed by Warren Fu, in which the band gets to dress up in black tie (although singer Julian Casablancas still looks like the fifth Ramone) and cause trouble at the opulent Loews Jersey Theatre.

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2. It must be nice to be in R.E.M. singer Michael Stipe’s position: being able to wear absolutely anything and make it look fashion-forward. Lance Bangs directed the deadpan video for “Alligator Aviator Autopilot Antimatter,” from their new album Collapse Into Now; it features Stipe and his duet partner Peaches wearing some of the most over-the-top get-ups this side of a Matthew Barney movie, and looking exceptionally glum about it.

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3. The incredible Dutch art-punk band the Ex has been around for more than 30 years now; in the last few years, they’ve been expanding their palette, playing with septuagenarian Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya and writing songs around riffs from Congolese and Ugandan pop. They’re touring the United States at the moment, and their own site offers no fewer than 32 free mp3s, spanning their career; start with the raucous Afro-jazz-punk of “Ethiopia Hagere” and the big-band fury of “Kokend Asfalt.”

Bonus: this column mentioned the Mountain Goats’ current activities a couple of weeks ago, but it’d be a mistake not to call attention to what they’ve been up to online this week. In support of the Wisconsin unions, frontman John Darnielle posted a video of himself singing the traditional  “Power in a Union”; bassist Peter Hughes responded by with a video of the Minutemen’s “Themselves” at his own site. And now, as a benefit for Japan, Darnielle is auctioning the only copy in the world of his song “Eugene Sue.”