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

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. … Read More

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The 15 Most Underrated Albums of 2012

It’s December, which means the music industry’s listomania is now in full swing. But wait, if on the off chance you haven’t written your own personal end-of-year list, then have a quick look at this one before you start anointing one of the usual suspects — Grimes, Frank Ocean, Kendrick Lamar, Swans, Fiona Apple, etc. — as the best of 2012. We love all those records, but there are a heap of great albums released in 2012 that we think haven’t gotten anywhere near the amount of end-of-year love they deserve. We profiled some of them in June — read on to find out our selections from the second half of the year, and let us know if you reckon we’ve missed any. … Read More

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10 Albums You’ll Love If You Like The xx

The xx’s understated, minimal approach to pop music has been one of the pleasures of recent years — in an era of turning everything up to 11, it’s rather heartening to see that a band can sell a heap of records with a sound that’s built on the virtues of subtlety and restraint. Their second album, Coexist, which dropped yesterday, isn’t a dramatic departure from the template they set out on their 2009 debut — it’s a record that provides subtle refinements of their sound, and works very well in doing so. And while that sound is distinctive, it certainly isn’t unique, so we thought we’d celebrate the release of Coexist by pulling together a selection of albums that will sit nicely next to it in your record collection — albums that have informed The xx’s sound, or that we think share stylistic similarities with it. Let us know if you have any to add! … Read More

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10 MP3s You Need to Download for Free This Week: A Place to Bury Strangers, Led Er Est

It’s Friday, and we’re back with another installment of our regular roundup of downloadable MP3 goodness, both from around the web and from our own servers. This week there’s a new eardrum-rupturer from A Place to Bury Strangers, along with new stuff from Led Er Est and White Denim, interesting remixes of Burial/Four Tet and Spank Rock/Santigold, the return of Tom Jones (yay!), and, um, a disco version of Sonic Youth. In other words, there’s plenty of interesting sounds awaiting you after the jump, and since they won’t cost a penny or land you an RIAA lawsuit, as your attorneys we advise you to start downloading immediately. … Read More

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Musical World Tour: London

We’ve rather enjoyed choosing our favorite songs about a different city every Friday. But thus far we’ve only looked at cities in the US — namely New York, Chicago, and Detroit — so this week we’re hopping on a plane and heading across the water to Europe. Our first stop on the other side of the Atlantic: London. Of course, England’s capital has had innumerable songs written about it, and as ever, this isn’t some futile attempt to define the “five best” — it’s just our five favorites. What are yours? … Read More

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Clubhopping Top 10: May's Essential Dance Tracks

Welcome to the Clubhopping Top 10, a monthly list of recent dance tracks that have caught us by the ears and feet (not necessarily in that order), with embeds so you can hear them for yourself. Oftentimes club music is (deliberately) transitory, but this month’s selection might be the cut-for-cut catchiest we’ve offered up here. It’s almost a roll call of recent names to watch/listen to, and it points to the shape of club music right now: robust, with new talent and old in a seemingly healthy tandem. … Read More

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The Mysterious Allure of Bands with Secret Identities

What is it about the air of mystery that can turn a good song into a great song? This question popped into our heads recently when we heard that Burial, the Banksy of UK bass music, will be dropping a new single any minute now. The former poster boy for modern musical anonymity (we now know that Burial is really William Bevan) actually inherited the crown from The Knife, the Swedish electronic brother/sister duo of Karin and Olof Dreijer who originally wore masks constantly and avoided live performance or press at all costs. That’s also changed in recent years, with Karin’s Fever Ray projects becoming one of the hottest live tickets and Olof engaging in a not-so-secret stripped-techno side project as Oni Ayhun. There’s obviously a long and storied history to musical anonymity, but in the current age of information overload, we as music consumers are so used to having access to a full personal profile of any public figure that a little mystery behind the music can be refreshing. We examine five who, to varying degrees, are keeping the “sound first, face later” trend alive and well in 2011 after the jump. … Read More

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A Dummy’s Guide to Thom Yorke’s Many Collaborations

The latest Thom Yorke side project — a joint effort with UK dubstep mystery man Burial and excellent producer Four Tet — is out this week, adding another entry to an extensive and eclectic list of collaborations. Indeed, it’s gotten harder and harder over the years to keep track of all the projects to which the Radiohead singer has contributed — so if you want to investigate his extra-curricular activities further, here’s a round-up, organized (roughly) from the best to the worst. … Read More

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Viva la Mix! #8: Downloads from Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, Burial, and Sally Shapiro

Are your ears suffering from a case of acute boredom? Are you ailing from a dreary commute made only that much drearier by the same tired tunes? Flavorpill’s got the answer, a brand new round-up of the best new music from our weekly Viva Radio program. Click through for downloads from our last radio playlist and be sure to check back and listen to the show itself — we update every week. … Read More

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Exclusive: Four Tet’s Kieren Hebden

As Four Tet, London producer Kieren Hebden has built a strong underground following with a series of studio albums, remixes, and extensive live and recorded DJ work. Music-nerd tongues are consistently wagging about his wide-open embrace of styles melding genuine instrumentation with abstract digitalia. Hebden’s all-inclusive interest also led him to partner with avant-jazz drum legend Steve Reid for three albums and several tours. In anticipation of an upcoming performance as part of Santos’ Mister Saturday Night series in NYC, Hebden took time to speak with our sister publication Earplug about collaborations, DJing, and his advice for boosting record sales. … Read More

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