Eoin Butler’s guide to downloads, singles and free audiostreams
PSY ft MC HAMMER Gangnam Style (live at the American Music Awards)
★★★★ The roly-poly rapper was unknown outside of his native Korea before Gangnam Style was uploaded to YouTube in July. Four months and 766,000,000 views later, he is a global pop superstar. Still, his decision to wheel out MC Hammer for this American Music Awards appearance last weekend suggests Psy is realistic enough about his own long-term career prospects. BRUNO MARS Locked Out of Heaven Atlantic ★★★ Mark Ronson’s involvement on both the production and songwriting might explain why the first single from Bruno’s Unorthodox Jukebox album steals so shamelessly from British New Wave bands of the early 1980s. Not mentioning any names, but The Police might consider opening a case file. DAWN MCCARTHY & BONNIE ‘PRINCE’ BILLY Christmas Eve Can Kill You Domino ★★★ On this early seasonal offering, singer McCarthy and Old West throwback Will Oldham roast chestnuts, hang mistletoe and relate the harrowing tale of a lonely man, childless and destitute, hobbling to an icy death on the roadside this Christmas Eve. Brimming with holiday cheer. GABRIELLE APLIN The Power of Love Parlophone
★★★ This year’s John Lewis Christmas TV ad is a touching story of the love between two snowmen. (Woah, political . . . I mean, a snowman and a snowwoman.) If that sounds almost unbearably twee and annoying, then you haven’t seen nymphish Zooey Deschanel-lookalike Gabrielle Aplin perform the soundtrack on piano in a deserted fairy castle. It’s a delight. YO LA TENGO Before We Run Matador ★★★ The Hoboken trio’s first new track in three years offers strings, horns and Georgia Hubley’s seductively understated vocal. But that can’t disguise the fact that it’s basically the same chord progression repeated for six minutes. And the video looks like compost decomposing in real time. It’s a grower, I’m assured. Much like fertiliser.