I always like to kick Monday’s off with something spirited and slightly on the pop edge, so I figured you’d be best suited if you jammed this new tune from Clip Art. The band has a really lofty vocal presence, somewhere between the early days of Vampire Weekend and Saint Motel, so those hooks are there. There’s a steady groove to open up the track, but when they get to the chorus they really unleash the power, boosting the song further into fun spectrum. This track will be featured on their delightful new album, Culler, which sees a release on March 31st.
Those of you that are fans of Vampire Weekend are really going to enjoy this new single from Eyelid Kid. The group employs the same sort of pop aesthetic using a nice percussive element to really move the song forward. But, it’s also in a direct contrast to the way that the vocals are delivered, flowing smoothly from the get-go, and occasionally accented by saxophone squawks. It’s like easy listening for people that have good tastes, or at least that’s what I like to pretend. Regardless, it’s a song you’ll definitely enjoy listening to on repeat several times today.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Eyelid-Kid-Time-Travel.mp3
Download: Eyelid Kid – Time Travel [MP3]
We are wrapping up Austin City Limits 2013 coverage with this giant summary of links and a massive amount of photos not previously shared. We had a ton of coverage, from tweets galore to interviews of ATH faves. You can see plenty of pics from Weekend One. I didn’t have the fancy wristband that gets you up close and personal for big camera fun. I did have the most fun of any ACL I have ever been to thanks to a group of amazing friends I call fambly.
As SXSW 2013 came to end on Sunday, dotted by emerald wardrobes and the overwhelming scent of corned-beef and Guinness, NYC’s Vampire Weekend rounded out their trio of shows for the week atop the Moody Theater stage. Serving as the opening act for the 39th Season of Austin City Limits and for many festival goers, the pièce de résistance, the quartet served up a short, yet tight set leaving many wishing for more. Follow the jump for the rest of the review…
This week we’re bringing you our first touch of insightful ACL coverage, geared to make your festival choices a whole lot easier while your spending your time at Austin City Limits. Year after year, festival planners struggle to get the great bands in, and when they get them, they just have to fit them in according to popularity, and availability. It’s not as easy as we all think, so we’re taking the time out to make those hard decisions of overlapping bands easy for you. This year, our first one comes by way of Sonic Youth vs. Vampire Weekend. Read more
We’re starting a new feature today, one that we hope you really enjoy. The section is titled “I Was Wrong,” and it’s based on things we’ve either said or reviewed on the site that we’d like to apologize for, since we’ve come to realize now that we were wrong. I know some people want me to apologize right off the bat for my Vampire Weekend review, but I’m not there yet, sorry. The first edition goes to The Walkmen and their album You & Me. When it first came out, I wrote this REVIEW. I found it boring and uninspired, especially after listening to “The Rat” on repeat for years. Now, as time has gone on, and I’ve invested more time in the record, and seen the band perform the songs live, things have changed up a whole lot. There are songs sprawling with emotion, catchy basslines that walk you through the songs, and then there is “In the New Year.” Sharp edged guitars ring in your ears before Hamilton’s vocals crash into the scene. Listen to this song, now! For that matter, go back and listen to the record, and see what I failed to see upon the first ten listens. I made a rash decision based on hurried listening, and I’ve come to regret that entirely. To you, dear reader, I’m sorry, I was wrong.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/the_walkmen_inthenewyear.mp3]
Everyone began salivating when news of a new Vampire Weekend hit the streets, but as the leaks of the singles came, people began to feel a bit uneasy as we neared the release of Contra. Sadly, the feelings of unease have not been quelled, as this record, despite wanting to be great, is nothing more than a mediocre rendition of the last.
Opening with “Horchata” seems logical, as you take one of the catchier numbers (and yes, it IS one of the catchiest) from the album, and put it up front. It makes complete sense, but it sets up the rest of the album for a bit of a lackluster performance. You get a lot of the same tinkering in this song too with non-traditional percussive elements–a sign that this album isn’t progressing too far.
So you find yourself sort of immersed emotionally in this album, and you hit upon “Holiday.” It replicates some of the energy that we discovered with “A-Punk,” yet not enough that one could really call it a standout track, like you could with the aformentioned “A-Punk.” Ezra’s voice at this point does seem really solid–in case you’re looking for positives.
Then you breeze through the rest of the album, fast-forwarding til you hit the slow-mover that is “Taxi Cab.” It’s really difficult to move beyond the banality that is this song; it’s the most bland piece of music I’ve come across in the last few months. It sounds like they wanted to create a touch of Enlightenment piano work atop their summery pop. But, a few repeat listens of this song will open your eyes to the strongest moments on the album, this song leading into that moment.
And you finally arrive at the one-two punch that is “Run” and “Cousins.” Okay, so the beat on “Run” sounds too familiar to early Vampire Weekend efforts, but Ezra’s voice sounds much more influential at this point, coming off as one of his stronger vocal performances on the record. The brother song, “Cousins” is probably most reminiscent of the high-octane fun that you found in “A-Punk.” It’s hard to get beyond the yelping, but if you can put that aside, you’ll find Contra‘s strongest moments yet. It’s catchy, and yet not too stylistically repetitive.
But, as the album winds out, everything is lost. You’ll find some beats that will surely propel the band to SPIN glory, but you won’t really find too many other moments in the remaining songs that you’ll want to put on over and over again. “Diplomat’s Son” finds Ezra trying his best to sing a nice little Hawaiian ballad a la Iz, but it’s not enough to sustain listeners. Seriously bro, stop singing, and get to rocking. That all leads to the band’s misstep on the record.
Listening to Contra repeated times is sure to wear listeners down. The redundancy in the sonic appeal gradually fades as you go from song to song, and what once seemed interesting, just isn’t. Listeners, despite their best intentions, will surely come to the realization that whilst they wanted the best for Vampire Weekend, their needs just weren’t fulfilled. You’ll be left wondering why you spent your money on a record that you can easily forget the moment its over.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/01-Horchata-1.mp3]
Download: Vampire Weekend – Horchata [MP3]
So you haven’t found yourself a leak of the new Vampire Weekend album Contra yet? Well head on over to NPR for a streaming version which is made available prior to the Jan. 12th release of the album. Our amigos Ultra8201 also report that the band will be stopping in Austin in April and tickets for that show go on sale this Friday at 10am. Think that will sell out fast? Duh. Be warned that tickets are running at $25 and count me as one writer who doesn’t really think this band is worth that price tag. Maybe I’m just spoiled living in Austin… or maybe I’m right.
Even though the new album, Contra, doesn’t officially hit stores until January 12th, Vampire Weekend are slowly starting to leak out the hype. They let loose the first single, “Horchata” via their web site, and the site hints at future leaks, not to mention touring random Californian towns. Personally, this tune doesn’t reach out and grab you like “A-Punk,” but perhaps it’s one of those that gets better with time. You decide.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/01-Horchata-1.mp3]
Download: Vampire Weekend – Horchata [MP3]
When news that Rostam from Vampire Weekend and Wes from Ra Ra Riot would unite to create an album under the name of Discovery, the Internet was afire with fans of both bands, all hoping that they could combine the magic of their individual outfits into something that would supersede both. LP is the title of said album, and while there are definitely moments that seem worthy of accolades, it’s unclear at this juncture just how far the adoration will carry the group.
Opener “Orange Shirt” hits from the opening with musical beats reminiscent of Passion Pit, except it goes beyond that similarity, as Wes actually has a quality vocal to place atop the beats. However, the beats just don’t seem to hit too hard, nor do they really go anywhere; it’s sort of a stationary song in itself, and doesn’t quite build.
“Can You Discover” is somewhat of a remix, as the lyrics come from Ra Ra Riot‘s “Can You Tell.” Unfortunately, once you strip away the textures from the original, the song seems really simple, as if it was sort of an afterthought in its production. Also, using auto-tune on the vocals seems like a huge injustice, ruining the power of Wes Miles’ voice.
The middle of the album seems to be where you find the meat and potatoes of the album, or maybe it’s just the potatoes. “I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend” features Angel from Dirty Projectors, which adds a different touch to the monotony of the album, and it probably has one of the stronger beats on the album, but the keyboard meanderings get a little tiring. “Swing Tree” is in this section of the album, and it probably carries the most interesting production, at least up to this point in the album. The high pitched electronics don’t sound too basic, though the beat looped in seems to be one of the most common element throughout the album itself. And here, you also find “Carby” which has vocals from Ezra of Vampire Weekend. It’s probably one of the gems on the album; probably one of the few songs you could throw into a club mix.
In it’s entirety, the one thing that this album doesn’t have is the catchiness factor, which both members exude in their own right with their main gigs. Almost every beat seems mundane, as if they just took the samples from the radio, and reran them through some sort of mixer. It takes the heart out of the music itself, and all the moments of joy that we usually associate with these two artists are rendered useless for the most part. Overall, the album comes off as a generic stab at taking indie bands to the dance floors of the world, but ultimately, it seems like this might fail.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/07-carby-ft-ezra-koenig.mp3]
Download: Discovery – Carby [MP3]