The holidays are a time for catching up with old friends and that's exactly what we're doing in this installment of Mandatory Music.

Of course, it's thanks entirely to the fact that this week saw the release of new music from a handful of acts who we haven't heard from in a while. But instead of agonizing over which outfit does the best job with your hips and making mental notes of all of the conversation starters that will easily transition into ways to subtly mention your recent bragging points, all you've got to do to prepare for this reunion is make sure you can scroll down.


'Lampshades On Fire' from 'Strangers to Ourselves'

Hard to believe, but it's been almost eight years since we've heard anything new from Modest Mouse -- that's two winter Olympics and the entire Obama administration. If you've almost forgotten about the indie rock outfit out of the Pacific Northwest, 'Lampshades On Fire' (from the band's upcoming sixth full-length, 'Strangers to Ourselves') provides a perfect re-introduction. Meandering, quirky and funky, it features Isaac Brock evoking David Byrne with fatalistic lyrics over an eclectic, upbeat and addictive vibe.


'Trust Fall' (Live)

Speaking of bands who might not necessarily be in the front of your mind, modern rock mainstays Incubus are set to return in 2015 with not one, but two EPs that will together follow-up 'If Not Now, When?' released in 2011. The SoCal natives premiered the new song 'Trust Fall' at KROQ's Almost Acoustic Christmas last weekend and although it's not clear which EP it'll appear on, guitarist Mike Einzinger said, "It’s pretty indicative of where we are now." One thing is certain: Wherever they are, Brandon Boyd still isn't wearing a shirt.


'Golden Facelift' from 'Broadsheet Music: A Year In Review'

Toronto indie collective Broken Social Scene have been on indefinite hiatus since 2011, but that hasn't stopped the band from popping up again every now and then. They headlined the Field Trip Arts & Crafts Music Festival in 2013 and have had songs appear on a handful of compilations. The most recent of which is the previously unreleased 'Golden Facelift' appearing on 'Broadsheet Music: A Year In Review,' featuring songs inspired by news stories of 2014. Although 'Golden Facelift' was originally recorded during the sessions for 2010's 'Forgiveness Rock Record,' the band said in a statement they believe it's fitting to release it now. Stream the entire album here:


'Lightning Strikes'

While 'Lightning Strikes' is credited to GoldieBlox, it's difficult to really give her much of the credit considering she's a cartoon character. It's actually Metric frontwoman Emily Haines behind the new track, 'Lightning Strikes.' GoldieBlox is actually a toy company dedicated to inspiring the next generation of female engineers, and the sugary pop song and companion video (featuring an animated cameo by Haines herself) are meant to teach girls about persistence in the face of obstacles. The whole thing is too cute for words.


'Sitting Up On Our Crane' from 'Man It Feels Like Space Again'

For the uninitiated, Pond are a collaborative psychedia group based out of Perth, Australia, and perhaps best known for featuring members of critical darlings Tame Impala. But Pond have amassed an impressive catalog on their own since forming in 2008, and frontman Nick Allbrook told the Guardian their upcoming sixth full-length, 'Man It Feels Like Space Again,' boasts “the good parts of what we’ve done on other albums." From the sound of 'Sitting Up On Our Crane,' that means a tighter, sleeker sound but one that still begs for repeated headphone listens.

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