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Top ten tracks from over the Xmas break

Been offline? Catch up with Kanye’s NYD surprise and new ones from JUCE and Shamir

IDYLL – “BAD BOI”

Released: December 17

Combining glittering synths and tentatively sweet vocals with sensual confidence, the second release from this twisted female duo from Chicago is a seductive (and salty) sign of R&B-leaning jams to come. File them alongside gloom-pop peers such as Purity Ring and Skin Town for the moment – but expect them to make strides all their own this year.

BIG NOBLE – “STAY GOLD”

Released: December 18

This rich experimental creation comes as part of an ongoing collaboration between Interpol’s Daniel Kessler and sound designer Joseph Fraioli, in which they blend Kessler’s distinctive slow-building guitar with Fraioli’s electronic manipulation and field recordings. An ambient and expansive taster of their debut album as a duo, due February 2.

SHAMIR – “THE HOUSE THAT BUILT ME (MIRANDA LAMBERT COVER)”

Released: December 22

We’re used to hearing Las Vegas’ nu-disco child Shamir's hip-house, but here he unleashes his inner country star in a warm, lo-fi cover of a 2009 Miranda Lambert track. It was recorded live, in one take, for part of Rookie’s “Theme Song” series. “The song is so beautiful,” Shamir explained to Rookie. “You’re talking to a person living in a house that you’ve built with your family from the ground up, and grown up in, and have all these memories about. You’re letting the person know how special the house is, and all that you’ve done in it.”

A. G. COOK – “WHAT I MEAN”

Released: December 22

Here's another frantic, neon-soaked creation from PC Music, this time released as part of Annie Mac’s ‘Free Music Monday’. A. G. Cook's synthetic, chopped-up dance track reveals a distinctively acid house flavour – and his holidays were more productive than most, also sharing “Bubs”, a "holiday special" with Oneohtrix Point Never.

GFOTY – “CHRISTMAS DAY”

Released: December 25

Trust PC Music to make a Christmas carol for tweenage vloggers. “It’s not about the money, it’s the gifts today” GFOTY wispily speak-sings over a punchy rhythm and erratic chimes. As with all the best (and worst) of festive indulgences, it’s manically addictive, and as if spiked with MSG.

THOM YORKE – “YOUWOULDN’TLIKEMEWHENI’MANGRY”

Released: December 26

Overdid it on the festive spirit? Look no further than this wonderfully maudlin electronic construction from Thom Yorke, which was released on Boxing Day. “I can't come when you call / I am not who you thought / You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." Yorke’s characteristic falsetto dissolves over layers of melancholic ambience and airy patterns of glitches and blips. It’s a beautifully downbeat creation, and about as far from Christmas cheer as one could sonically get.   

JOEY BADA$$ – “ON & ON (FEAT. MAVERICK SABRE AND DYEMOND LEWIS)”

Released: December 28

The latest cut from Brooklynite Joey Bada$$’ upcoming debut B4.DA.$$ is made up of contemplative, mirror-facing, real-talk verses strewn over meditative, throwback production. Maverick Sabre’s eerie vocals seamlessly intertwine with the layers of the track, like half-hidden thoughts. “My clouds grey, I hope my pain don’t show,” Bada$$ raps. “Looking in the sky, I wonder where them rainbows go.”

JUCE – “THE OTHER ONE”

Released: December 29

The most recent offering from London girl band JUCE unfurls like an Eternal track produced by Dev Hynes; their silken vocals spread over popping, funk-dipped beats like honey on toast. “I’m not the other one!” they harmonize, in the great 90s R&B tradition of calling out a useless lover. It’s a beautifully soulful and empowering start to the year.

 – “NEW YEARS EVE”

Released: December 30

What were you doing as the clock struck 2015? Watching fireworks? Vomiting on a friend? Or were you listening to MØ’s new track on repeat? “I’m a gross teenager trapped in a grown-up shell”, sings the Copenhagen rebel-pop princess on the track that seems coated in the warm, teary nostalgia of the most loved/loathed night of the year.

KANYE WEST – “ONLY ONE (FEAT. PAUL MCCARTNEY)”

Released: January 1

“This Paul McCartney guy gonna be huge” were the kind of tweets that immediately followed this auto-tuned lullaby from Kanye West and Paul McCartney. But aside from the fact that there’s a whole generation that don’t know The Beatles, it's a sweetly heartfelt track – with a first verse written from the perspective of West’s late mother Donda – that stands high above the Twitter hubbub. “You know I never left you,” he sings, “Because the roads that lead to heaven’s right inside you.”