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Drawings by Alyson Fox
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This time of year can be fairly sluggish as far as new albums go. You have to be paying close attention to catch the sonic gems. But, rest assured, they're here in abundance—you just need to know where to look. Our latest Winter Playlist is a mix of some of our all-time favorite artists peppered with a few new discoveries we've been into as of late. Give it a listen, pass it on, but then go out and buy some of these albums—for holiday gifts or for yourself. After all, it's almost time to hole up and hibernate, and if you're like us, you could probably use a few good records to see you through it. Enjoy.
pjharvey_playlist_75x75 PJ Harvey—White Chalk
"The Devil" [MP3]
This is PJ like you've never heard her before: haunting, hushed, and intensely private. While nothing can come close to her mid '90s classic, "To Bring You My Love," her new album "White Chalk" is as stark and raw as we've heard her in years. The piano takes your breath away. This is by far one of the best opening tracks of the year. Buy this album
boh_playlist_75x75 Band of Horses—Cease to Begin
"No One's Gonna Love You" [MP3]
Band of Horses have always been hit or miss for us. But when they hit, they hit hard, as evidenced by this track off their recent album "Cease to Begin." It's got all the urgent romantic yearning you'll ever need when you hold that boombox over your head, and let Ione Skye know just how much you love her. Buy this album
gb_playlist_75x75 Grizzly Bear—Friend EP
"He Hit Me" [MP3]
Care for some girl-group pop deconstructed by handsome young men? This '60s gem co-written by Carole King during her Brill Building days has been a live staple of Grizzly Bear's for the past year and we finally have a proper recording of it thanks to their fantastic "Friend EP." Instead of a wall of sound, Grizzly Bear shows incredible restraint, making each note and each lyric count. Buy this album
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inrainbows_playlist_130x130 Radiohead—In Rainbows
"Reckoner" [MP3]
A stunning track off a virtually flawless album from one of our generation's true musical treasures. This song sounds like a more organic re-recording of Kid A material—electric piano, strings, drums, and Thom Yorke's inimitable voice. It's Radiohead, what more can we say? Buy this album
ltemple_playlist_75x75 Luke Temple—Snowbeast
"Saturday People" [MP3]
This relatively unknown songwriter from Massachusetts has unleashed one of 2007's undiscovered musical treasures. With a voice uniquely his own and decidedly divisive, Luke's songwriting will hook you instantly with bouyant melodies and amiably shuffling percussion, hop-scotching through the dead autumnal leaves. Buy this album
vw_playlist_75x75 Vampire Weekend—Vampire Weekend
"Oxford Comma"
There has been much buzz about these preppy Columbia grads, with their top-siders and Lacoste polos. But enough about their style—they make great Paul Simon-influenced jangly pop that discusses the pitfalls of dorm life, vacationing on Cape Cod, and the Oxford Comma. Cloying? Perhaps. Insanely catchy? Definitely. Buy this album
beirut_playlist_75x75 Beirut—The Flying Club
"Nantes" [MP3]
21-year-old prodigy-turned-chanson Zach Condon brings back the vibe of post-war France with this beautiful piece of Parisian crooning. The marching band and organ grinder backing would be gimmicky in other hands, but somehow it all comes off perfectly when Beirut does it. Buy this album
spoon_playlist_75x75 Spoon—Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
"Finer Feelings" [MP3]
Spoon, the band who made "bar rock" cool again, has delivered an album full of tight, albeit simple tunes that appeal to almost anyone with a pulse. "Finer Feelings" is a perfect example of a song both you and your fratty brother can love equally. Buy this album
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cadence_playlist_75x75 Cadence Weapon—Breaking Kayfabe
"Oliver Square" [MP3]
Who knew the streets of Edmonton were so hip hop? Cadence Weapon, that's who. With video game squawks and heavy bass pumping throughout this innovative rap album, "Oliver Square," while obtuse, is a track that displays Cadence Weapon's unique stylings and sly pop sensibility. Buy this album
rmurphy_playlist_75x75 Roisin Murphy—Overpowered
"Overpowered" [MP3]
Roisin wears outrageous outfits and makes amazing videos, and, frankly, that's how we first discovered her. But don't mistake those disco stylings as hipster Kylie rip-offs. It's actually quite amazing in its own right. This is the song you'll hear on the dance floor all year—if you live in London, that is. Unfairly destined for American obscurity, we should help Roisin make it to the top and crank this as loud as we can. Buy this album
yeasayer_playlist_75x75 Yeasayer—All Hour Cymbals
"Sunrise" [MP3]
This is some weird, multi-culti, skatterbrain shit. And by that, we mean amazing. The opening track from Yeasayer's debut album "All Hour Cymbals" is a little bit Animal Collective meets Peter Gabriel, which is a really, really good thing. Buy this album
burial_playlist_75x75 Burial—Untrue
"Archangel" [MP3]
Everyone was atwitter about this mysterious Burial character. On first listen, it sounded a bit like a track from a late '90s "Chill Out" compilation. Not so! It's just a mellow form of dubstep, and, guess what? It's great (plus, we liked those compilations. So there.) Buy this album
All MP3s are for sampling purposes only. Please go out and buy the artists' records. If anyone would like for us to remove a track, please email us at feedback@refinery29.com.The winter winds blow in a brand-new Playlist...download and pass it on.
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