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Friday, January 15, 2010

First Review of 2010

Okay, so before getting to our regularly-scheduled weekly review repost, I'd like to just update you on a few things: Through Darkness and Stars, the follow-up to The Unearthing is actually coming along ahead of schedule, so I am going to courageously moving the launch date forward to early spring.

There will be a second spring announcement, but that one's under wraps for now!

In other news I just want to extend my thanks too guest contributor, JR Turner. Her column on the music she listened to inspired me, and I'll be writing a piece about the music I listened to, as I wrote different things.

In particular, I find that the other eBook I hope to get out there for the first half of 2010 (So you all have a little summer reading on your Kindles and Smartphones) is music-heavy. As I've written, rewritten and honed Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind over most of the last decade (about the decade preceding it) the playlist has grown to the point that most chapters have at least one song attached to them. I can't wait to talk about them!

But in keeping with the music theme, I present this week's music review by me, for CONFRONT MAGAZINE:

Vampire Weekend: Contra

This album is a radical departure from Vampire Weekend’s previous effort. It’s darker, angrier, almost violent sounding disc.


The Brit-poppy Reggae and Ska flavoured musical stew that is New York City musical quartet Vampire Weekend’s very sunny, very enjoyable and upbeat music is very much intact on their second outing, ‘Contra’.

‘Contra’ opens without much intro; Ezra Koenig starts putting out the lyrics right with the first note of “Horchata”, which was released as a downloadable single back in October. The happy vibes continue across the other nine tracks on ‘Contra’, and the album manages to provide whimsy and joy without being saccharine, cloying or otherwise obnoxiously cheerful.

The tropical rhythms are juxtaposed against lyrics rife with cryptic references to personal experiences and obscurities, but if you sit back and listen without wracking your brains over hidden meanings, songs such as the infectious “Holiday” “Run” or “Cousins”, for example, become just utterly enjoyable.

Vampire Weekend have mastered the “Island Sound” on their second disc. The music is more technically complex, but the band maintains the near-manic pacing necessary to the fusion of genres that make up their sound. As widely received and praised as their self-titled debut was back in 2008, ‘Contra’ should finally win them the sort of acclaim they deserve.

Vampire Weekend

XL Recordings

Steve’s Rating: 8.5/10