It’s a skill we all must master to succeed in this fast-paced world, where only the strong and trust-funded survive and the rest of us get to shop at Associated.  It’s a skill that the usual curator of this column, Coleman Bentley, needs to learn.

Mr. Bentley has chosen to forgo Trending this week in favor of penning a so-called “masters thesis.”  This is absolutely deplorable.  I refuse to deprive you of the best new music for another second, so I’ll be subbing for him this week while he “better his job prospects” and “learns things of value.”

2012 has been a great year for punk.  Bands like Metz, DIIV and a re-vamped Cloud Nothings staked a nice little enclave for themselves in the blog-o-sphere over the past year, and their well-rounded brother from Denmark, Iceage JUST ANNOUNCED that they’ll be back with their second LP on February 18th (via Matador, this time around) which you absolutely should pre-order now.  They also announced their first stateside show of 2012 at 285 Kent on January 25th, which just went on sale.

Frank Ocean made an absurdly strong showing on our 2012 buzz list and has gone down the “Rapper/R&B singer proving he has indie cred by covering/sampling Radiohead” road with a cover of Fake Plastic Trees that needs to be heard to be believed.  Ocean was also nominated for six Grammy Awards, and should probably sweep them all as the single biggest story in music all year.

We’ve been in the Christmas spirit all week, giving away tickets to Smashing Pumpkins, of Montreal and now !!! (chk chk chk), but we’re not the only ones who are taking the spirit of giving to an excess this week.  Sufjan Stevens apparently felt that a 5 disc Christmas EP box set wasn’t enough holiday cheer and today dropped a Christmas rap mix-tape (I shit you not) with the likes of Das Racist, Kitty Pryde and more, which is available for a free download here.

Lena Dunham copped a cool $3.4 mil for her book proposal, which Gawker posted earlier this week. For a fraction of that price (re: free), you can hear a new track from Santigold entitled Girls written for Dunham’s loved/maligned show of the same name.

James Murphy announced that he’ll be continuing his run as indie’s “player coach” this week, as he advised that he’ll be contributing to The Arcade Fire’s forthcoming LP, which should be out late next year.

Kinda light this week… everyone must be shopping.

As Coleman would say, “thanks for listening.”