Vampire Weekend - Step
Vampire Weekend amp up the hype for their highly anticipated third album with a new Youtube lyrics video for the track ‘Step.’ I remember hearing the sampled lyrics ‘everytime I see you in the world you always step to my girl’ from the early 90s Souls of Mischief track Step To My Girl. I’m not sure where the origin of those original lyrics are from but regardless, Vampire Weekend harmonise the lines beautifuly and come in great form with Step.
Modern Vampires of the City is due to be released May 13th, and no doubt fans will be relishing the new record while many critics will be keen to criticise the band, whether it be due to experimentation or lifting influences from other artists.
Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes
Paul Simon - Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes (Live in New York, 2011)
You can’t help but let the uplifting vocal and instrumental expressions of this song pick you up and carry you away on a foot tapping frenzy. Written twenty-five years ago, this song still gets people of all ages dancing as was proven at the Paul Simon concert held last week in Melbourne.
Paul Simon has been a powerful force in influencing modern music today. Bands such as Vampire Weekend have drawn inspiration from the groundbreaking 1988 album Graceland, from which Diamonds on The Souls of Her Shoes appears. The album is noted for its African musical influences and genre-defying upbeat vibe.
Vampire Weekend received a lot of backlash by fans of Paul Simon’s solo work for ‘lifting’ similar influences, such as afrobeat and eastern African folk music in the wake of their 2008 breakthrough album. However Paul Simon defended the group.
‘I felt bad. I wanted to go and tell them that I didn’t think they were taking anything. So that’s what I told them. They said, “Do you think we are?” and I said, “No, I think you’re going to the same sources that I went to. You’re drawing from the same well. You’re trying to write interesting songs.” In a way, we were on the same pursuit, but I don’t think you’re lifting from me, and anyway, you’re welcome to it, because everybody’s lifting all the time. That’s the way music grows and is shaped.’
The 71 year old is still an excellent performer and musicians continue benefiting from his illustrious 50+ year musical career.
Vampire Weekend are due to release their third album in May this year.
Ra Ra Riot - Boy
Syracuse based band Ra Ra Riot bring out the drums, bass and violins to give Boy it’s fast paced tempo. The track featured on the group’s 2010 sophmore LP The Orchard .
Boy was mixed by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla, who is no stranger to production duties having hosted an array of indie talent. The breakneck bassline speed is a nice contrast to Wes Miles’ falsetto singing.
Download - Boy (control-click & save)
Highlife - F Kenya Rip
New Yorker Sleepy Doug Shaw (of White Magic) started a sideproject named after the west-African genre ‘highlife’.
F Kenya Rip was taken from Highlife’s debut EP in 2010. Shaw creates a vibrant soundscape with sunny harmonies, Afrobeat percussion and of course glorious guitar riffs. Shaw remains relatively faithful to his obvious African influences and they shine best on F Kenya Rip.
Afrobeat and highlife music has definitely made a revival in modern indie music and it’s great to hear artists like Shaw paying homage to a lively style of music we otherwise might not have heard.
Download - F Kenya Rip
The Very Best feat Ezra Koenig - Warm Heart of Africa
Artists from 3 continents come together on this song. How excellent is that.
The Very Best is Esau Mwamwaya, Etienne Tron and Johan Karlberg. Esau from Malawi in East Africa and the others are UK residents.
The Very Best formed after Esau came to the UK in 1999. He was working at a second hand furniture shop in east London and sold a bicycle to Etienne. Etienne introduced him to Johan and the group was formed.
In 2008 The Very Best released a mixtape and their full length album a year later, sharing the same title as this single, Warm Heart of Africa. Just from listening to this song, you can hear the African musical influences coming through.
The drum and synth driven track features Ezra Koenig from Vampire Weekend who joins in to share vocals with Esau. An appropriate guest spot considering that Vampire Weekend draw influence from afrobeat and other African elements in their music.
The collaboration is colourful and joyful. The different languages and range in musical genres covered in this song enhance what otherwise might be a repetitive track.
The group are due to release more music in 2012.
Relive the vibrance with an mp3 of the song (right click-save as). Enjoy!
Going to Paris
The Eclectic Moniker
The Eclectic Moniker - Going to Paris
I’ve been deliberating over which song to feature next from Danish group The Eclectic Moniker after posting about 2 Officers in August. I’ve finally decided on this one. Going to Paris is catchy and upbeat and makes you feel like you’re in a tropical climate no matter the weather outside. Their music sounds a lot like Vampire Weekend and in many ways the bands aren’t too dissimilar. Head over to their Bandcamp site for more music.