Welcome to the monthly series where I write about the ideas and inspiration behind the Spotify playlists I release on the first of every month. There tends to be a personal story behind each of these, so I’ve committed to some friends, readers and myself to use this space to practice leaving my ego behind to make room for vulnerability. It’s scary being so forthcoming on the Internet, where strangers, friends and coworkers alike all reside, but I keep coming back time after time because of the responses I get from people saying thank you for writing about things that typically aren’t talked about openly. Thank YOU all for letting me open up and get real through good times and bad, time after time. On we go.
As I was working on February’s playlist in January, things all seemed to come crashing down once again.
What I hoped would be a month of new beginnings presented itself as a month of unforeseen endings. If you’re able, bear with me through this story; it’s longer than the average. But at the end of it, I hope you’ll feel a closer connection to this music, to me, and to the theme of finding change and turning points when they’re least expected.
Outside Lands: That time when San Franciscans make their annual trek into the foggy depths of Golden Gate Park to tap into their inner rocker, raver or head bopper depending on the vibe they’re going for (and/or how many drinks they had the night before).
Show-stopping performances came from newcomers and veterans alike throughout the course of the weekend, but a few stood out to me as especially noteworthy. [Continue reading to get the skinny on all the best performances, songs and secrets from the weekend from guest writer Molly Murtaugh.]
After The Facts Reviews are detailed album reviews set two or three months after an album release. The purpose of these are to let the hype around the project settle before critically analyzing the work. Even the most cautious observers can get caught up in the excitement of a new release.
As album opener “Obvious Bicycle” buzzes softly in the background while I write this, I can smell the dew in Central Park, hear a train roaring in the distance, and see the dense layer of fog ruminating above New York City just like the album cover suggests. Let me prelude this review with saying Modern Vampires of the City represents “The City That Never Sleeps” in the same way Woody Allen movies of the late ’70s paid homage to the great metropolis. In a swift, 43-minute motion it soars as big as a picturesque odyssey of a lifetime in the city and as small as a simple morning in a New York café sometime in the past–both focusing on the setting’s most intimate and immediate details. It is cinematic in that there are characters, questions, and an ever present setting (which could be argued is a character). It is Vampire Weekend’s best album to date because in places where the Vampires of old would hide their New York roots in pseudo-African, peppy rock songs, these Modern Vampires step out from the shadows to deliver confident and mature anecdotes that utilize both new and old songwriting techniques. After a long-winded yet apparently crucial hiatus, the four guys from the Big Apple were able to mature into people comfortable with embracing but still questioning their ever changing identity. So naturally, these are the topics discussed on the album: the importance and restlessness of time and the introspective bravery of self-realization and spiritual questioning.
We’re about half way through July, and almost 7 months into 2013. We’ve had a lot good moments, and I’m sure there’s more to come, but it’s time to do one of these lists! Ya know, cause Sunset writers are your favorite writers out there and you treasure our opinions the most. Other music sites are rolling out their “Best of 2013 So Far,” so we decided to hop in on the action and have all of our writers give you their favorite album, EP, mixtape, and song thus far! Please do remember, these are subject to change come the end of 2013. I hope it does change by the end because what’s listed below is some really, really, really, ridiculously good music.
Also, shout out to our guy, Eric, for the sick artwork.
- Lydia: Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic
- Arjun: Kanye West – Yeezus
- Jordan: Kanye West – Yeezus
- Andy: Kanye West – Yeezus
- Dusty: Kanye West – Yeezus
- Eric: Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City
- Alicia: Disclosure – Settle
- DPrep: Magna Carta…Holy Grail
- Lydia: Bipolar Sunshine – Aesthetics
- Arjun: Bipolar Sunshine – Aesthetics
- Jordan: Bipolar Sunshine – Aesthetics
- Andy: N/A
- Dusty: Sir Sly – Gold
- Eric: Electric Guest – Good America EP
- Alicia: Yuna – Sixth Street EP
- DPrep: Bipolar Sunshine – Aesthetics
- Lydia: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Arjun: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Jordan: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Andy: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Dusty: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Eric: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
- Alicia: Kilo Kish – K+
- DPrep: Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap
There are so many bands on the cusp of success; some bands make it, some bands don’t. For a band to make it, they need to have their ducks in a row and um, all of their eggs in one basket. Robby Hunter Band has done these things–not recklessly but quietly and methodically. Their music is beach-tinged, summer heaven with hints of Caribbean flare. The video below is funny and self-aware and right in time for the season of the sun. This is music for you to zone out to with a Corona and lime, a bathing suit, and the girl of your dreams. Check it out, and err… dibs on the model in the video.
Hit the jump to read our exclusive interview with the guys where we talk about whether they have ever fought over a girl in real life, what artists they think should be more popular, and future plans for the band. Continue reading “Video Premiere + Interview: Robby Hunter Band – Hard on Me” »
Aaaaand here we have Modern Vampires of the City, the latest album by Vampire Weekend, in its entirety. The band performed on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, which sparked a ton of rumors about an early release of the album, yadda yadda yadda. Once the dust cleared and the fakes were weeded out, we were left with this: an iTunes stream of a lot of people’s most anticipated album of 2013 (and that’s REALLY saying something, seeing as 2013 has been amazing so far and shows no signs of slowing down). If you like it, go ahead and pre-order for next week’s release.
[Oh. When you click the link, open in iTunes and then click on “Vampire Weekend” right there. That’ll take you to where you can stream it. For a teenager, I’m not very good at this “internet” thing.)
Vampire Weekend‘s upcoming album Modern Vampires of the City (out May 14 on XL Recordings) is shaping up to be one of the best releases of the year. So far, we’ve heard the raucous “Diane Young” and the angelic “Step.” The studio version of this track is more vintage VW. When Ezra nearly-yodels “ya hey” in the chorus, it reminds me a lot of “One (Blake’s Got a New Face).” I don’t know why. I think it’s because both choruses could definitely get annoying if executed by a lesser band. Watch the champagne-wasting lyric video for the song below, and try to tell me that this isn’t the anthem.
BONUS! Stream the concert video of the band performing the album opener “Obvious Bicycle” at Roseland Ballroom in NYC.
Robby Hunter Band is a trio (Robby, guitar and vocals; Pat Howard, drums; John Coughlin, bass) from Miami that blends hip-hop and funk stylings into an indie rock context. The resulting songs (so far just “Hard on Me” and “Corazón”) are the musical equivalent of a perfect day at the beach: friends, ice cold beverages, sun, sand, volleyball, and an ocean of endless possibilites–wait I’m not done–and at night, a campfire, tents, s’mores, a few more ice cold beverages, fireflies, a clear night sky of endless possibilities, and music. This music. Check it out.
P.S.: “Corazón” sounds a lot like a L’Homme Run track.*
*For those of you who don’t know, L’Homme Run was a side project of Ezra Koenig’s, lead singer of Vampire Weekend, back in college before VW. Actually, Chris Tomson, Vampire Weekend’s drummer, was part of it, too, so you could say it was the precursor to Vampire Weekend.
I want to be disappointed with Vampire Weekend, but I can’t–I love them too much. After a three year hiatus (that felt like an eternity), the Ivy league boys are back with the lead single to their highly anticipated third album Modern Vampires of the City, which is due out on May 6th. This one is a short, rock ‘n’ roll jam that would have had parents in the ’50s shouting at its devilish qualities. When lead singer Ezra Koenig (coming off a sort of recent cameo on Girls) slows down at the end, it’s perfect. Listen below.
[via Listen Before You Buy]
Look out for Diane Young’s
B-side other A-side “Step” to also be released today! We’ll keep you updated.
UPDATE: Stream the gorgeous second song below.
1. Obvious Bicycle
4. Diane Young
5. Don’t Lie
6. Hannah Hunt
7. Everlasting Arms
8. Finger Back
9. Worship You
10. Ya Hey
12. Young Lion
The summer between middle school and high school was a time of change (#cliché). Yet despite all of the changes, a few things remained constant. One of these constants was my friendship with Josh. We started hanging out in 7th grade, and by the summer after 8th grade, we were ready to make a movie together. The concept was simple. Summer’s Gone would be a coming-of-age story about two young filmmakers who created and submitted a film to a big festival. In the end they would get rejected because “being accepted would be too obvious,” and because they would end up “learning a valuable life lesson from the whole experience anyway.” We had this vision, and we went for it. Kind of. We made a kick-ass trailer for the movie and then moved on to another project.
When people think about the “Wonder Years” they either think about the TV show or their childhood. But for me and Josh, that summer before high school epitomized our wonder years–when we could be carefree and creative and have the time to do whatever we wanted to do. I’m sitting here in my dorm room typing this, which might be sad. But the purpose of me typing all of these words is to say that the wonder years aren’t over until you forget about them. The songs on this mix are from around the time Josh and I started making Summer’s Gone (some of them were even on the official movie soundtrack). I made this “flashback” mixtape as a way of eternalizing that summer before I forget about it, and hopefully these tracks will remind you of something important that you hope to never forget.
It feels so unnatural, Peter Gabriel too.
- Jack’s Mannequin – Holiday from Real
- Nada Surf – I Like What You Say
- Bowling for Soup – Almost
- Eve 6 – Inside Out
- Something Corporate – Drunk Girl
- Ben Kweller – Sundress
- Augustana – Boston
- Jimmy Eat World – Hear You Me
- The Killers – Read My Mind
- Keane – Spiralling
- Aqualung – Brighter Than Sunshine
- Griffin House – The Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind
- Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
- Vampire Weekend – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Teenagers Remix)
- Arctic Monkeys – Fluorescent Adolescent
- Spoon – You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
- Nada Surf – If You Leave (OMD Cover)
- City and Colour – The Girl
- Matthew Perryman Jones – Save You
Vampire Weekend’s own Rostam Batmanglij put up a new track on his Tumblr yesterday and it’s been circulating the Internet quite quickly. Upbeat pop with some droned out lyrics makes for a full ride through this track called “Don’t Let It Get To You.” This could very quickly become one of my favorite tracks of the month. Not going to lie, the instrumentals kind of make me feel like I’m skipping around circus grounds. Look out for carnies!!!!!