10 New Tracks You Need to Hear This Week: Grouper, The xx

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It’s Friday, which means that this week is nearly over and it’s nearly time for the holidays — woo hoo, etc. — and also that it’s time to survey the various new tracks that caught our fancy this week. (If you missed our post last week, we’re temporarily replacing our regular MP3 post with a more general roundup of new music, as downloads are few and far between at this time of year.) Anyway, this week we get into the festive spirit with, um, a new track from Grouper. There’s also The xx covering Wham! (you’ll NEVER GUESS which song), a couple of new-ish Burial tracks, rather excellent remixes of Lower Dens and Sky Ferreira, a couple of gloriously misanthropic Christmas anthems, and more. Click through and get listening, gentle readers.

Grouper — “Vital” It’s the holiday season, which as far as we’re concerned always brings shitty weather, an air of abiding melancholy, and lots of time for just sort of staring at the wall and reflecting on the year that’s passed and the year to come. In other words, it’s a perfect time of year for listening to Grouper, so hurrah for the arrival of a new track from her cheerily titled upcoming record The Man Who Died in His Boat, which is due out in February. This track sounds like it could have walked straight off Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, and you can stream it via Ad Hoc.

The xx — “Last Christmas” Meanwhile, on the Christmas-y front, here we have The xx doing “Last Christmas,” which sounds exactly the way you might imagine The xx doing “Last Christmas” would sound. You can download it via Soundcloud. (It’s not as good as the Manic Street Preachers’ version, though.)

Burial — “Truant” and “Rough Sleeper” Yessssss to new Burial. These two tracks have been doing the rounds over the last week or so, and both of them are streaming at the Hyperdub website, where you can go ahead and purchase them if you’re so inclined.

Lower Dens — “Candy” (Steve Moore remix) Last week we shared Trentemøller’s remix of Lower Dens’ mighty “Brains,” and this week we’ve got another track from the band’s remix EP — NYC producer Steve Moore reimagining “Candy” as a slow-burner of synth arpeggios and sweeping pad sounds. Listen here.

Flume — “Bring You Down” Precociously talented bedroom producer Flume has gotten plenty of attention in his native Australia over the course of 2012, and he’s turning his eyes to this side of the Pacific in 2013 — he’s signed with NY indie Mom + Pop (also home to compatriots An Horse, among others), and his self-titled debut is due out in February. This track is taken from said record, and you can stream it here.

School of Seven Bells — “Secret Days” If you missed School of Seven Bells’ recent EP Put Your Sad Down — and let’s be honest, we feel like pretty much everyone did — you can download its lead track for today only via KCRW.

Aloonaluna — “Pelican Cannot Frog” If the above Grouper track caught your mood as much as it did ours, you may well also enjoy this track from San Francisco producer Lynn Fister, aka Aloonaluna. It’s a beautifully atmospheric piece, four minutes of gentle ambient synth tones augmented by field recordings that apparently come from the Amazon. You can hear it here.

Sky Ferreira – “Everything Is Embarrassing” (Unknown Mortal Orchestra Remix) Conversely, if you’re sick of all this ambient sadsackery and want some pop music, you could do worse than this remix of Sky Ferreira’s awfully catchy “Everything Is Embarrassing,” which you can stream via Stereogum.

Erin McKeown — “Santa Is an Asshole” Finally, a couple of tracks to express our general sentiments about the “festive” season. First, a track from one Erin McKeown, who’s made what she’s billing as “the first anti-capitalist, pro-queer, suspicious of christmas-as-patriotism, sex-positive, not safe for work, multi-ethnic, radical leftist Anti-Holiday record.” This track addresses the fact that Santa is basically a judgmental prick, and it’s rather amusing — you can download it for free here.

Eccetronic Research Council & Maxine Peake — “Black Christ Mass” Even better, however, is this, which we discovered via The Quietus — it’s a quintessentially English deconstruction of the Christmas experience narrated via actress Maxine Peake (who you may remember as Veronica in the original Shameless), and it’s awesome. Listen and download right here.