Articles tagged with Vampire Weekend

A feeling you thought you’d forgotten

Vampire Weekend's messy dorm room
We’re only in the second week of the year, and already we’ve got our first must-hear album. Vampire Weekend‘s sophomore LP, Contra, was released yesterday, and it’s ever better than the band’s 2008 debut. Mixing tropical pop with 8-bit electronics and the occasional foray into jittery reggae, it expands the group’s sound while retaining the good-natured charm that made the first album so much fun.

I spent last month listening to it on repeat, and you can read my review in BeatRoute. It’s the feature review of the month, meaning I had 800 words with which to espouse the album’s awesomeness.

Download the marimba-driven “Horchata” below. You’ll need headphones to fully appreciate this one, as it subtly transforms every few bars, with vocals and instruments shifting between speakers and alternating between effects.

Also be sure to head over to the band’s MySpace and listen to “White Sky,” which is the true standout of the album. (Unfortunately, I can’t legally offer it as a download.)

MP3: “Horchata”
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A sweater on the ocean floor

Vampire Weekend - Cousins
“Horchata” was the first single off Vampire Weekend‘s upcoming album Contra, and it suggested that the band would be subtly branching away from its Afro-pop beginnings while retaining the same relaxed, collegiate style that made its debut such a big hit in 2008.

The album’s first video, however, takes things in a different direction. The song is called “Cousins,” and it’s a frantic, jittery rocker that sounds a bit like “A-Punk” after a few shots of espresso. It’s not as catchy as the band’s best work, but it does show off some impressive guitar chops—check out frontman Ezra Koenig’s fills during the song’s instrumental passages.

As for the video, it’s a memorable execution of simple concept: a camera running back and forth down a track in a back alley while the band perform around it. For much of it, they ride along in a small cart in front of the camera, lip syncing and generally acting like goofs. It gets fancy near the end with confetti canons exploding during the song’s triumphant coda and showing the band in white paper (just like the picture to the left).

“Cousins” is out on 7″ on December 15 via XL. It will also appear on Contra, due out January 12.
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In December, drinking horchata

Vampire Weekend - Horchata
Logic would dictate that releasing an album in early January would be commercial suicide. Then again, Animal Collective managed to pull it off earlier this year with the breakthrough Merriweather Post Pavilion. In 2010, Vampire Weekend will be taking the same gamble, issuing Contra on January 12.

After a mysterious countdown clock appeared on the group’s website, the group released the new single “Horchata” as a free download yesterday. It bears many of the hallmarks of the group’s self-titled debut, with collegiate strings, gentle melodies and charming, faintly smug lyrics. But rather than the Afro-pop that characterized the band’s previous work, the new song sounds faintly tropical; with plunking marimbas, clattering percussion and faintly burbling electronics, the instrumental passages recall a more straightforward version of High Places.

It’s a fun tune, although it doesn’t sound quite as natural as the Graceland-isms of the debut. This is mainly because singer Ezra Koening affects a slight accent (is that Jamaican he’s trying to do?), making the whole thing come off as a bit of a pastiche. Still, the songwriting is as hooky as ever, so don’t write off Contra just yet.

Head over to the group’s website to download the track. Contra is due out January 12 via XL.
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