Parquet Courts - "Stoned and Starving"
This NYC post-punk band, an internet music press darling of late, will be at Cafe Bourbon Street on Jan. 7. You should probably go; judging from the Mission of Burma-goes-motorik rush of "Stoned and Starving," the hype is warranted.
Mystikal - "Hit Me"
In which Mystikal's kinship with James Brown is cemented once and for all. "Say it proud/ I'm black and loud" is so, so appropriate.
James Brown and 2Pac - "Unchained (The Payback/Untouchable)"
Speaking of the late, great Hardest Working Man in Show Business, here he is mashed up with fellow late great Tupac Shakur in an enjoyable mess for the "Django Unchained" soundtrack. If the movie is this gaudy and fun, I will approve.
Phosphorescent - "Song For Zula"
I love this orchestral/woozy/digital/latter-day Bob Dylan vibe for Phosphorescent. "Song for Zula" marks the Alabama-gone-Brooklyn band's Muchacho as a 2013 album to keep an eye on.
Marnie Stern - "Year of the Glad"
"Year of the Glad" is another sterling example of Stern's franticly virtuosic approach to pop, and you should definitely listen to it. But really the news here is her decision to name her next album The Chronicles of Marnia, a decision that pretty much won the internet this week.
Jessie Ware - "Sweet Talk"
As an antidote to today's absolutely horrendous news involving children, why not turn to this reminder of kids' inherent cuteness and innocence from British soul star Jessie Ware? "Sweet Talk" is off Ware's great 2012 album Devotion, out now on PMR.
Office Romance - "Twinkling Lights"
Office Romance features Les Savy Fav dudes Seth Jabour and Syd Butler plus Butler's longtime partner Amy Carlson, who stars on CBS series Blue Bloods. Not all of their gleaming indie pop songs double as Christmas songs, but "Twinkling Lights" does. The three-song I Love the Holidays EP is out now.
Free Energy - "Street Survivor"
The Philadelphia classic rockers seem to have transformed the guitar part from Chumbawumba's "Tumbthumping" into a power-pop masterpiece befitting "That '70s Show." Love Sign is coming Jan. 15 on Free Energy's Free People label. And, oh yeah, these guys will be at Ace of Cups with the great Sweatheart on Jan. 22.
Ra Ra Riot - "When I Dream"
Speaking of bands that are coming to Columbus next year, Ra Ra Riot will be at A&R Music Bar on Feb. 28. The Vampire Weekend-ish indie pop band is now synth-heavy and cello-free, but that doesn't keep gorgeous little synth flourishes from sneaking into "When I Dream." This track comes from Beta Love, out Jan. 22 on Barsuk.
Sufjan Stevens and a bunch of rappers - Chopped & Scrooged
Because you were hoping for a Christmas-themed rap mixtape from Michigan's meekest son — yes, the man who already dropped five discs' worth of Christmas music on us this fall — here it is for you. (And you thought The Chronicles of Marnia was punny.) Season's greetings, Jammers!