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 As the holiday season officially starts in, the music release schedule stays somewhat quiet this week. But let us share in the merriment a bit early with the The Boy Least Likely To‘s festive new collection, Christmas Special, out today via iTunes in the U.S.

The English indie-pop duo — multi-instrumentalist Pete Hobbs and vocalist Jof Owen — showcases a handful of new treats with three covers and two of their earlier Christmas-themed singles “Little Donkey” and “The First Snowflake”. But the best gift of all is their homage to Wham!‘s George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley on the sparkling new wave-y standout “George and Andrew”.

Also be sure to visit the band’s official blog for a free download of “Happy Christmas Baby”.

– Out in the UK this week is Mark Ronson‘s third single from his super-slick Record Collection LP, “Somebody to Love Me”. The dreamy soul-tinged number features vocals from Boy George and Miike Snow‘s Andrew Wyatt and its accompanying video is also quite endearing. Check it out:

WARNING: Some content is NSFW

In other music news:

– Nominations for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be announced Wednesday night (December 1) in part with the Recording Academy’s “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!” Will our dear Florence + the Machine land a Best New Artist nom after finally grabbing the world’s attention earlier this fall with her mega-hit “Dog Days Are Over”? Could British indie folksters Mumford & Sons earn props for their remarkable debut Sigh No More and land in the Best Alternative Music Album category? The show kicks off at 10 pm ET on CBS.

– Neo post-punk stalwarts Editors will release a career-spanning box set entitled Editors: The Complete Collection next February. Fans will be able to get their hands on a host of B-sides, demos and other never-before-heard rarities, plus seven 12-inch vinyl records, a plethora of photos, and loads more.

“We’ve raided the vaults, searched through old CD-Rs, cassettes and photo albums and gathered it all together,” frontman Tom Smith stated via the band’s official site. “We’d like you to have this music on any and every format we can produce and also share some photos and memories of the last 6 years in a volume that you can keep forever.” This sounds incredibly killer!

– In 1984, some of the UK’s finest rock acts (Duran Duran, Sting, Paul Weller, Bono, and more) gathered around Sir Bob Geldof and Midge Ure for Band-Aid and their chart-topping charity single “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Proceeds made from the song benefited Ethiopia’s famine victims at the time and since then it’s become synonymous with the holidays. Now, it seems that the Irish singer/songwriter is blaming himself for penning what he thinks is one of history’s most dreadful pop tunes.

“I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history. One is ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’, the other one is ‘We Are The World’,” Geldof told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “Any day soon, I will go to the supermarket, head to the meat counter and it will be playing. Every f**king Christmas,” (Digital Spy)

Let’s reminisce, shall we?

– English rose Marianne Faithfull is unstoppable. The 63-year-old singing goddess will issue her 23rd solo effort next March. Horses and High Heels, her follow-up to 2008’s covers collection Easy Come, Easy Go, will feature guest spots from Lou Reed, Dr. John, and MC5 axeman Wayne Kramer. Faithfull also maintains that her new material once more accentuates her signature eccentricity as a performer.

“Conventional happiness isn’t my way, you know,” Faithfull said. “But this is a very happy record. I’m not depressed anymore. And I think it’s all been well worth it. I did have a bit of a bad time in the ’70s, but I think things have been wonderful. So I suppose this album is a bit of a breakthrough.” (FAME magazine)

Today in trivia: Twenty-one years ago today, The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays made their performance debut on Top of the Pops. Both Manchester-bred bands were at the helm of Britain’s psychedelic “Madchester” scene of the time; the Roses performed their Top 10 UK hit “Fools Gold” while their waggish counterparts performed “Hallelujah” with special guest Kirsty MacColl. (This Day In Music)

by MacKenzie Wilson

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By MacKenzie Wilson