We are a few weeks past the mid-way point in 2013 and there has been an abundance of great music so far. So I decided to make and share a list of the songs I have been loving the most this year. This is a list of the songs that I have enjoyed the most, and I chose to only include one song per album. And rather than ranking them, I decided to simply list in alphabetical order. You can also find and subscribe to the entire playlist via Spotify at the end of this post.
1. Ashley Monroe “Used”
2. Autre Ne Veut “Play By Play”
3. Bastille “Pompeii”
4. Bear’s Den “Isaac”
5. CHVRCHES “The Mother We Share”
6. Daft Punk “Get Lucky”
7. Dawes “From a Window Seat”
8. Donavon Woods “Put On, Cologne”
9. Frightened Rabbit “The Woodpile”
10. Ivan & Alyosha “Running For Cover”
11. Jason Isbell “Stockholm”
12. Josh Ritter “Joy To You Baby”
13. Justin Timberlake “Mirrors”
14. Kacey Musgraves “Merry Go ‘Round”
15. Keaton Henson “Lying To You”
16. Local Natives “Heavy Feet”
17. Night Beds ” Ramona”
18. Olafur Arnalds “Old Skin”
19. Phosphorescent “Song for Zula”
20. Rhye “Open”
21. Tegan and Sara “Closer”
22. Typhoon “Young Fathers”
23. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “So Good At Being In Trouble”
Vampire Weekend released their third album, Modern Vampires of the City, back in May and foolishly I didn’t pay close attention. I was disappointed by 2010’s Contra, and upon first listen, the single “Diane Young” didn’t appeal to me at all (which I have now grown to love), so I wrote off Modern Vampires without even hearing it. Boy was that a mistake. This a solid album that blows Contra out of the water, and will probably hold up better than their self-titled debut in the long run. The highlight for me on this album is the song “Hannah Hunt”. The more I listen to this song, the more I love it. From the 2:35 mark to 3:20, has got to be the greatest 45 seconds of their career thus far. Hope you love this song as much as I, and as always, I hope your ears bleed.
Everybody’s favorite east coast Jewish-American afro-pop quartet, Vampire Weekend, accomplishes a few things – perhaps more than they might have aspired – with Contra, their second full-length album. After keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij worked out some music management kinks last summer with his collaborative pool-party-mix triumph (Discovery – LP), Vampire Weekend’s sound as a full ensemble hits the ears of longtime fans as something abnormally fresh and worthy of stationary break-dancing. But Contra caters to the new listeners seeking a decent place to start too. With tracks like “Cousins” and “Holiday,” novices to the witty foursome can witness VW ever-so-subtly hark back to the catchy lineup of overly repetitive riffs and beats that was their self-titled debut. Fortunately for defenders of independent music, this band’s sound has shifted to the point of deserving a dignified double take.
Shamelessly depicting such nuisances as melodramatic Nietzsche-crazed youths in “Giving Up The Gun” and the paradoxes of modern college students psyche in “California English”, lead singer Ezra Koenig coolly sidesteps the hallowed sophomore slump curse as any forward-thinking songwriter would. Koenig relishes in his past follies, makes them intimate and personal – only now can he mock and poke fun without losing self-worth. The occasional voice cracks of “Run” and the boyish shrieks and swoons of “White Sky” add to the comforting idea that growing up is not the same as accepting boredom and dull ennui.
Rostam Batmanglij seems nonplussed with his band-mate’s new direction and certainly has plans of his own concerning track arrangement, instrument selection, and even unexpected cross-genre influences (“Diplomat’s Son” features an M.I.A. sample that cleverly fills the soundscape between Koenig’s verses). Much like a musical Kurt Vonnegut, Batmanglij boldly unveils new aspects of his creative style without reinventing his art to the point of disassociation. He defiantly recommences the old signature marimba base beats that earned the band much negative feedback from the critical “authorities” of the day; yet display VW’s deep respect for some of the world’s most sincere music – West African percussion.
Despite being dubbed the “whitest band” two years ago (by none other than the founder of Stuff White People Like, Christian Lander), Vampire Weekend lashes back after a brief hiatus of recharging and realignment with Contra, a track list more like the intersection of experience and fun than the straight-as-an-arrow highway that forms most sophomore efforts. Who needs music industry guidelines anyway?
Vampire Weekend has recently disclosed some details about their forthcoming album, Contra. You may have actually seen this preppy blonde photo floating around the blogosphere as of late, not knowing what it was. Or not. Either way, it will be the cover art for the new record which will be released on Jan. 12th through XL. Along with the cover art, the band has also released the tracklist. The one song on there that might actually mean something to any of you would “White Sky”, which they first unveiled live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Although it according to what frontman Ezra Koenig told Entertainment Weekly, it might sound quite a bit different. “The recorded version is very different from how we played it on Fallon,” said Koenig. “The real version is more like how we’ve been playing it live. There’s a lot of synth sounds, and it’s a little more pumped up.” No music has been shared with us yet, but I’ll fill you in once I get the chance to hear it. Here is the tracklist and a couple of Canadian tour dates coming up.
2. White Sky
4. California English
5. Taxi Cab
8. Giving Up the Gun
9. Diplomat’s Son
10. I Think Ur A Contra
October Canadian Dates
10-06 Montreal, Quebec – Le National
10-08 Toronto, Ontario – Horseshoe Tavern