If you read our latest article on Vampire Weekend, about the first two singles of this album Step and Diane Young, you might already know how excited I was for ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’. Vampire Weekend’s first album is among my favourite indie albums of all time, then they released their second album ‘Contra’, an album that didn’t quite do it for me, and now they’re back with their third album and I must say, it gets me almost as happy as their first album. Though the youthful playfulness of their first album has been exchanged for a more well-thought mature sound, ‘Modern Vampires Of The City’ really shows the band’s artistry.
While the African rhythms and Peter Gabriel influences have moved to the background, even more than they did for the second album, the style is as you can expect, or at least I hoped for: ingenious, refreshing and warm. With songs like Step and Everlasting Arms, two of my favourites, being the band’s most emotionally heavy songs, the band has really shown versatility, even writing their most beautiful ever. For the more energetic listener, there’s also enough to be heard on the album, like the fun rocky Diane Young and new single Ya Hey.
There was a time that I predicted that Portugal. The Man was one of the few North-American indie bands - alongside Local Natives, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend - that would reach immense popularity. They had a melodic and similar sound; the lead singer had an authentic and recognizable voice and their music felt refreshing and energetic. But when push came to shove Portugal. The Man never reached the popularity that the other bands have achieved. Despite their album ‘The Satanic Satanist’, Portugal. The Man never made an album which seemed to fulfill their potential. Now the legendary producer Danger Mouse will be behind the decks for their upcoming album, which might be the change they needed.
Luckily for Portugal. The Man, almost everything Danger Mouse touches turns into gold. Not only established artists benefited from his production; also less famous artist gained popularity due to Danger Mouse’s production. The band’s new track called ‘Purple Yellow Red and Blue’ sounds like Danger Mouse indeed gives the band the helping hand it seemed to be needing. The sound is more steady and a little bit slower, it’s heavier in a certain way, while the production also gives John Gourley (the band’s singer) some more space. Let’s hope Danger Mouse also get’s the most out of Portugal. The Man’s upcoming album.
Sometimes not knowing an artist before listening to him or her, can make you obsolete, you tend to think: “Well I don’t know it yet, so I don’t like it.” Something slightly similar happened when I heard about Kurt Vile. I didn’t want to take the time to discover him, but I’m glad I did by listening to his most recent album; the first of him I heard, which actually is his fourth already. Usually you start comparing people’s fourth albums to the three before. This time around though I compared all his past albums to the newer one which I heard first and it made me happy to see I discovered Kurt Vile at the right time: at his best so far.
It seems like Vile took the best parts of his first albums, added stuff like Real Estate as influences and created his best work so far. Unlike his previous album Kurt Vile started writing properly structured songs, though they all have something in common: they start from a simple riff and end up to be great songs from time to time, though in the end you might feel like you listened to one long song, and that’s my only complaint: the lack of variation or peaks.
The band that delivered one of my favourite albums of 2007, Vampire Weekend, are gearing up for the release of their third album in a few months. They have been test driving the songs in the past few months, resulting in smartphone videos popping up on the internet, but now, finally, we get to hear songs that are actually going to be on the album in full form. Sharing two simple, but good looking songs and videos last week my expectations are high and I hope they will be able to approach the greatness of their first album -the second album was ok, but doesn’t really show the band at their best, if you ask me.
Step is the most calm and perhaps recognizable tracks of the two, having a similar vibe to the older Vampire Weekend, though it’s more touching and sincere than anything I have heard by the band before.
Diane Young on the other hand sounds pretty refreshing. Combining their quirky upbeat style with a more rocky sound and Ezra Koenig’s voice getting manipulated in a very cool way, it raises the bar for the complete album even higher than Stepdoes.
Shortly after Danny Perez’s well received video for So Good At Being In TroubleUnknown Mortal Orchestra is back with another great piece of footage. The track Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark) is certainly one of the lightest tracks on the II album and is accompanied by a video that embraces, or even amplifies this feeling. The parts are played by little marionettes that move around clumsily in a cartoonish, colorful setting. Though it gives the impression of a kids tv-show at first, the worries of the red-haired protagonist definitely aren’t joining in that idea, which is made clear right in the first shot.
The puppet we see is at first a dirty masturbating voyeur, but as we encounter the worried man behind the binoculars, he even starts to gain a little compassion. Unless his great remorse, he doesn’t seem able to escape his perverted past in a world full of accomplices and opponents where even horses laugh at him. Sad, the lead would like to ‘swim and sleep’, to ‘float away’ into ‘the sweet cool darkness’. To some this might be a ‘heavy subject’, but to me the collision between the cartoonish style and the pervy story reaches a tragicomical sense that perfectly fits the light UMO track.