Spoon – Written In Reverse

One of my favorite tracks from probably the most consistent band of the ’00s. I see them as having followed a Beatles-esque trajectory – they released a few poppy albums that were solid but didn’t break any molds, then Gimme Fiction was their Rubber Soul (moving in a new, more complex direction, but retaining some old qualities), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga was their Revolver (getting weirder while remaining amazing pop-rock), and Transference their Sgt. Pepper (embracing full-blown weirdness, doing things few, if any, people have done before with the genre). This version of “Written In Reverse” isn’t quite as smoothly mixed as the studio version, and lacks some of the flourishes like the weird background piano at parts, but it’s very cool to see the band at work together like this, something that I feel has declined recently in the music world.

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Sisyphus – Calm It Down

Sisyphus is a group made up of Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, and Serengeti, all artists I’ve (probably unjustly) neglected thus far, but this track immediately got my attention. It fuses hip-hop, electronic, and indie music in a pretty seamless way. It’s catchy, has a fun beat, and manages to work as a light almost-dancey pop number and a groovy indie track for just kicking it. My only criticism is that at the end, when it tries to get a bit more sentimental by dropping everything but the vocals and piano, it feels a bit hokey. Anyway, it’s a fun song for all you college kids out there.

Your Serious Moonlighters Christmas Mixtape – with James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Queen, The Pogues, and more.

Since tomorrow is some type of holiday, I decided to compile my favorite songs regarding that holiday into a playlist for you guys to enjoy, as a way to get away from the typical xmas radio trash but still stay in the musical spirit. Enjoy.

Cults – I Can Hardly Make You Mine

This is the single from Cults’s new album Static. “You Know What I Mean” being one of my favorite songs of 2011, but their first album not particularly impressing me, I was intrigued to see if they had charted any new territory. They have. The sound is a lot more guitar-heavy, and garage-y than their first album, but the melody sounds like it could fit on any of their older songs. This makes me want to listen to Static, which you can get here, and see if it’s an improvement.

Vaults – Cry No More

Vaults are an English band, who don’t have any other music than this online. If this song is evidence, though, they’re a band to look out for. The track has already hot almost 400,000 plays on SoundCloud, and deservedly so. It’s pretty much just vocals, bells, and strings, with some synth later on. The lyrics are cryptic, but definitely make me feel like going out and kicking some ass in a hunger-games-esque setting.

Sia – Elastic Heart f. The Weeknd

A pretty cool song from Sia and Abel, from the Catching Fire soundtrack. It’s nothing too crazy, but definitely a solid pop song, and I really like the little vocal sample that runs throughout. The Weeknd even managed not to make me sigh and pine for the days of House of Balloons. At least, not compared to how much he did on Kiss Land.

Robin Thicke & Ron Burgundy – Ride Like the Wind

I can’t believe this exists, but I’m so happy that it does. It’s everything I hoped and more. Cheesy ’80s music is one of my favorite things, as is Anchorman, and the combination of the two is unbelievable. Also, despite my distaste for Robin Thicke, I can console myself by saying that Will Ferrell absolutely made the right choice for this song (nobody out right now is nearly as sleazy as Robin). And there’s a flute solo.