Drake’s Take: New Releases 01.12.10

New year, new Drake! I know there are a lot of haters out there, but for the record, I’m in the first camp (“those who enjoy it”) when it comes to Vampire Weekend. I’m pretty sure about this because someone asked me to stop dancing this morning while I was listening to “Horchata” on my iPod. -ed

Drake’s Take: New Releases 01.12.10

It’s first substantial week of new releases, thanks to Vampire Weekend’s sophomore release, along with new releases from Owen Pallett/Final Fantasy, Laura Veirs, Freedy Johnston, OK Go, Jason Boesel and Ringo Starr and the tremendous score to the movie The Road by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

Playlist: New Releases 01.12.10

Vampire Weekend – Contra
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Vampire Weekend - ContraI get the impression that there’s kind of two camps for Vampire Weekend fans… those who enjoy their music, and those who secretly enjoy it but claim not to like it because they take offense to the band’s Ivy League education or the fact that they (mis)appropriate African music. To that I say phooey. If you didn’t like Vampire Weekend (or, rather, secretly liked it but show public disdain for the aforementioned reasons), Contra probably won’t change your mind, as they’re still employing African Soweto style (and have yet to renounce their Columbia University background). But for existing fans, there’s the perfect amount of added weirdness that’s artful and yet palatable. Take the opener, “Horchaata,” which has a wordless and tribal chorus that’s akin to something Animal Collective would do. It’s the perfect opener, announcing both that they’re still VW, yet willing to take some risks. Meanwhile, the final two songs are all about risk… that and The Clash. “Diplomat’s Son,” I assume, refers to Joe Strummer (who was the son of a diplomat) and it samples M.I.A., making a meta-reference thanks to the Clash-sampled “Paper Airplanes.” And the last song, “I Think Ur a Contra,” bubbles and floats us to the finish line, sounding nothing at all like anything on their debut. The journey there is worth the ticket.

Download: “Horchata” [mp3]

Owen Pallett – Heartland
Stream / Purchase [mp3]

Owen Pallett - HeartlandOk, here’s the deal as I understand it. Owen Pallett is giving up the name Final Fantasy after this release — he wanted a clean break, but his decision came too late and it was cost prohibitive to do it. However, it takes little time to make the change digitally, so if you’re downloading, it’s Owen Pallett. Physical release = Final Fantasy. MP3 = Owen Pallett. Got it?

MySpace Album Stream

More on the radar (and in the mp3 player) this week:
Laura Veirs – July Flame
Freedy Johnston – Rain on the City
Nick Cave and Warren Ellis – The Road – Original Film Score
OK Go – Of the Blue Colour of the Sky
Ringo Starr – Y Not
Jason Boesel – Hustler’s Son / “Hand of God” [mp3]
T-Model Ford – The Ladies Man
Polysics – Absolute Polysics
The Gilded Palace Sin – You Break Our Hearts, We’ll Tear Yours Out
Ray Wylie Hubbard – A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment (Hint: There Is No C)

Ween – The Pod
Elvis Costello – Live at Hollywood High