<p>Cat Power</p>

Cat Power

Today in Christmas: The Kills, Cat Power, Blitzen Trapper and Macy Gray

Amazon giving away a free holiday song every day in December until Christmas

And so starts the week-long stretch to Christmas, with a few more new songs, covers and holiday news from The Kills, Cat Power, Blitzen Trapper, Macy Gray and more.

"The moon makes me want to eat you alive,” sings The Kills' Alison Mosshart. "Sleep if you do wake, dear."

Is that how you really feel, Alison? Don't look for little Baby Jesus in this classic carol re-make of "Silent Night," below. The singer's boozy howl is gorgeous, even if she seems transfixed more on death than she is on new life. Whatever, pass the coke.

Meanwhile, there's new news from Cat Power's camp. Chan Marshall Tweeted on Friday that there will be a new Christmas charity single and accompanying video out on Christmas Eve (Dec. 24); those who wish to download the as-yet-unnamed track will have a list of charities to choose from to put their donated dollars toward.

Due to the overwhelming use of all caps, I shall repeat only one of her Tweets, abridged, this one pertaining to a new studio album, anticipated since 2006's "The Greatest" and 2008's covers album "Jukebox."

"ALMOST DONE WITH ALBUM."

OK!

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EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day: Shelby Earl's 'This Christmas Is For Us'

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day: Shelby Earl's 'This Christmas Is For Us'

Alt-country cut will light your tree

I often find myself looking to veteran music critic Ann Powers, in matters of taste and prose. On the topic of Seattle songwriter Shelby Earl, I'll take a quote straight from her: "Over the years I’ve become friendly with a few musicians... In general, though, I’ve clung to that old idea that critical perspective and personal connection don’t mix. Until now. I’m writing this note to ask you to listen to an album by a friend."

I met Earl through mutual friends years ago, and it's been a thrill to see her successes this year. She released "Burn the Boats" this year through Immaculate Noise favorite Rachel Flotard's Local 638 Records label, the album featuring John Roderick of the Long Winters. The alt-country artist brings the same amount of heart and bits of sentimentality into new holiday track "This Christmas Is For Us."

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<p>Sleigh Bells' &quot;Reign of Terror&quot;</p>

Sleigh Bells' "Reign of Terror"

Credit: Mom + Pop

Listen: Sleigh Bells unleash single 'Born to Lose'

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In advance of the rock act's 2012 'Terror' album

When I first heard "Born to Lose," I thought, "Oh no, you did NOT just throw some synths in there..."

They didn't. But it does sound dreamier.

The New York rock duo keep up with their reputation of prettyprettypretty prettypretty UGLYUGLYUGLY prettyprettypretty sounds on this single, the first from forthcoming album "Reign of Terror."

If you were wondering what those blood-spattered Keds were all about, that would be the album cover. Pretty ugly!

"Reign of Terror" is out on Feb. 14.

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<p>Nicki Minaj in &quot;Super Bass&quot;</p>

Nicki Minaj in "Super Bass"

2011's Year In Music: Top 10 Songs

Make that a Top 50: Listen to Adele, Tom Waits, Kanye and Jay-Z, M83, Colin Stetson, Rihanna...

We are back to that time-honored tradition of compressing more than 300 days of good music into handy lists, this particular chronicle summarizing songs that moves us, make us move, or make us stop. And by us, I mean just me.

I liked that the discovery process this year was aided, in part, by Spotify, in an avoidance of the clunky CPU vampire that is MySpace or taking up bits of hard drive space for full mp3 downloads. My friends were posting what turned them on more and more on Facebook (sometimes unintentionally). Other people's Top 10s were showing up as early as mid-November. I'm not going to pretend I haven't seen some.

Since the delineation between songs and singles is becoming hazier, made squishy by terms like "leak," "preview," "premiere," "teaser," "alternative edits" and other language, I've tried to keep this list equally loose, sometimes going with songs that weren't official radio drops, tracks that arrived in 2010 (but came into their own in 2011) artists that aren't singles artists and songs that I wouldn't even say are representative of the artists that perform them.

They're just songs, folks. I liked them, and I hope there's some you like.

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<p>The Dirty Three</p>

The Dirty Three

Dirty Three releasing first new album in six years; Grinderman finished

What's Nick Cave going to do, and will D3 tour?

Grinderman have apparently called it quits, but all the better, to free up the hands of Warren Ellis: his other, epic band The Dirty Three are releasing their first album since 2005 next year.

"Toward the Low Sun" is dropping via Drag City on Feb. 21, and in March in the U.K. on Bella Union. The trio -- consisting of Nick Cave/Grinderman mainstay Ellis, one of my top five favorite drummers of all time Jim White and Mick Turner -- last released "Cinder" in 2005 on Touch & Go (may it rest in peace).

And speaking of proper RIPs, Bella Union head Simon Raymond used that exact expression as he wrote about Grinderman, in lieu of the new D3 set. Cave himself called the whole thing off.

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<p>Lana Del Rey in &quot;Born to Die&quot;</p>

Lana Del Rey in "Born to Die"

Credit: Interscope

Watch: Lana Del Rey is friends with tigers in the 'Born to Die' music video

Your ex-boyfriend is still a jerk, you can just tell

Lana Del Rey has released an opulent new music video for single "Born to Die," starring your a**hole ex-boyfriend.

The newly minted Interscope signee furthers her propensity for femme fatality in this chilly clip. Del Rey stars along a tattooed dude who obviously is no good for her, because -- according to the vid, helmed by Del Rey and musician/director Woodkid -- she is royalty and has the tigers to prove it.

Like "Video Games," I dig the production on the track, and its soft edges. She just sounds bored, and bored is boring.

There's been plenty of buzz and anti-buzz around Del Rey, partly due to the unconcealed plastic surgery on her career branding, from singer/songwriter Lizzy Grant to what's still-manifesting today. Interscope has obviously learned some lessons about coloring in a blank (albeit, dark) slate and willing talent, as they did with Lady Gaga. But then there's the attempt to capitalize on the internet echo-chamber, as it failed with Die Antwoord earlier this fall.

Anyway. "Born to Die" debuted earlier this month and will get an official retail drop on Jan. 23 and the album of the same name is out on Jan. 30.

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<p>Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in &quot;Rock of Ages&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx in "Rock of Ages"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Watch: 5 things we learned from the 'Rock of Ages' trailer

How's Tom Cruise, who are the new enemies and where the hell is Bryan Cranston?

The first trailer for the Hollywood makeover of Broadway musical and '80s metal music driver "Rock of Ages" has arrived. Adam Shankman -- who brought "Hairspray" to the big-screen in 2007 -- is at the helm, and has revealed plot points and actual hairspray in this early glimpse.

Below are five things we've gleaned from the preview of "Rock of Ages," due June 1 next year:

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<p>The Magnetic Fields' &quot;Love at the Bottom of the Sea&quot;</p>

The Magnetic Fields' "Love at the Bottom of the Sea"

Credit: Merge

Magnetic Fields announce new 'Love' album for Merge, plus tour dates

Stephin Merritt is back with songs that don't play for longer than three minutes

Just as we surmised when it was announced Stephin Merritt and Co. were playing South By Southwest: Magnetic Fields has prepared the way for a new album, "Love at the Bottom of the Sea," due on March 6.

It will be their first album for Merge records in 13 years, their last for the indie label having been another "Love" set: they issued three-parter "69 Love Songs" in 1999, and then put their last three albums out via Nonesuch (former home to Wilco).

"Love at the Bottom of the Sea" -- a title that sounds  equal parts desperate, slow-moving, fatalistic and romantic -- is Magnetic Fields' 10th album, it utilizes a stable of Merritt's usual collaborators, including Claudia Gonson, Sam Davol, John Woo, Shirley Simms, Johny Blood and Daniel Handle. Merritt sticks to his signature brevity, too, on the 15 tracks, with no song exceeding three minutes in length.

Pre-orders are up now with extra goodies for the first 100 folks who sign up, and early vinyl purchasers will have dibs on eggshell colored records. Lovely.

Magnetic Fields will be supporting the release with its SXSW showcase, plus a slew of tour dates, below.

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<p>Rooney Mara in &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo&quot;</p>

Rooney Mara in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo"

Watch: 'Dragon Tattoo' combines Trent Reznor Karen O for 'Immigrant Song' film opener

Opening credit sequence to David Fincher's new adaptation is pretty-fluid

It's no new news that Trent Reznor had Karen O's help in re-creating Led Zeppelin's classic "Immigrant Song" for "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." What's fresh is the way David Fincher introduces it in the opening credit sequence to his adaptation.

Check out the very liquid, very dark animated video clip to the much-anticipated film.

I already have some feelings about the Nine Inch Nails' frontman's contributions overall, and those are to come. But the lo-rez version of this opening clip has nothing on the reality on the big-screen version. It's visually abstract and then sensually sick as it rolls on, much like the movie itself. See it in the theater if you can.

The approach to "Immigrant Song" is especially poignant, a woman singing Robert Plant's part, the lyrics literally about over-lording and imperialism. It's a very masculine song, from it's infamous riff and it's rallying cry. Vikings, too, are also ironically associated with that good old-fashioned rote "raping and pillaging."

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<p>Radiohead's &quot;The Daily Mail&quot; b/w &quot;Staircase&quot;</p>

Radiohead's "The Daily Mail" b/w "Staircase"

Radiohead officially releasing 'Daily Mail' and 'Staircase' tracks

'From the Basement' DVD/Blu-Ray release imminent; more tour dates TBA

Despite not having been on "The King of Limbs" album, Radiohead's "The Daily Mail" and "Staircase" have made the rounds enough this year to be considered part of that album.

Never the less, the British band has decided to finally, formally release those two songs, recorded during TKoL sessions, as MP3s and WAVs starting on Dec. 19. The two must be purchased together, and are available now for pre-order through the band's website.

Dec. 19 is also the date which fans can purchase Nigel Godrich's "The King of Limbs - From the Basement" DVD of the group performing TKoL in full, plus the two tracks above and the song "Supercollider." (The latter was released as a 12" single b/w "The Butcher" earlier this year.) Any order also includes a free download of the intimate concert performance.

These arrive in time for the holidays, but also ahead of Radiohead's North American tour. Check out all announced dates here; a press releases promises "more live dates to be announced soon."

Radiohead didn't tour or play many shows at all this summer and fall (with a few stops in New York), and spent some of it milking expanding on TKoL with their remix releases. That's a whole lot of merch at the table this spring.

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