We've barely broken in the new year and one of 2010's most anticipated releases is already upon us. Vampire Weekend's sophomore release, Contra, hits shelves next Tuesday, but they're already sharing it in entirety via their MySpace page, and it's not too far a cry from their much loved debut (Vampire Weekend).
In support of the release, these Columbia University chums play Letterman on Tuesday night, playing their version of world music dressed up in preppy cardigans and scarves.
Their Upper West Side Soweto, this time with Contra, includes a tad bit more experimentation, recalling in title and (sort of) theme The Clash's Sandinista!, except instead of gun-toting rebels, Contra appears to be about a girl. These well-off New Yorkers have little else in common with St. Joe Strummer and co. -- in fact singer Ezra Koenig's lyrical gift and vocal ease align him more with Paul McCartney. Like Macca, the Koenig is able to move us while still singing from the perspective of a class of society far above our pay grade.
Moving from starched white collar to t-shirt and ripped jeans, Vancouver B.C.'s young duo Japandroids take a much different approach to their music. Stripped down to just guitar and drums, the band is punk rock at it's core, yet when they're singing "I don't wanna worry about dying, I just wanna worry about those sunshine girls" on the excellent track "Young Hearts Spark Fire," they don't feel that far off in spirit to the much richer Vampire Weekend. The duo, Brian King on guitar and David Prowse on drums, tear apart Late Night with Jimmy Fallon on Monday night, singing a song (likely, the aforementioned "Young Hearts Spark Fire") from their critically acclaimed debut, Post-Nothing.
Finally, if you've been thinking like I have that there's probably been a bit too much Elvis Costello this season on Spectacle: Elvis Costello with..., you might be hesitant to see that this week's guest is, in fact, Elvis Costello. Well, what if I told you that Mary-Louise Parker is in Costello's interview chair? Stepping in last minute for Elton John, the Weeds star surprisingly held her own. I guess it shouldn't be that surprising, if you've read any of her music pieces she's written for Esquire magazine. Still... might be a bit too much Elvis.
Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, January 4
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: David Gray
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Japandroids
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: OK Go (REPEAT)
SYNDICATION: The Ellen Degeneres Show: Rickie Lee Jones, Ben Harper
SYNDICATION: Live With Regis and Kelly: Flo Rida (REPEAT)
Tuesday, January 5
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: Vampire Weekend
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Yonder Mountain String Band
IFC: Dinner With the Band: Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings (REPEAT)
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Shwayze
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Black Lips (REPEAT)
SYNDICATION: Live With Regis and Kelly: Twisted Sister (REPEAT)
Wednesday, January 6
CBS: Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Nellie McKay
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: Ke$ha
NBC: Late Night With Jimmy Fallon: Clipse
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Bat for Lashes (REPEAT)
SUNDANCE: Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...: Elvis Costello
SYNDICATION: Live With Regis and Kelly: David Gray (REPEAT)
Thursday, January 7
Friday, January 8
CBS: Late Show With David Letterman: The Dodos
NBC: The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien: OK Go
Saturday, January 9
NBC: Saturday Night Live: Alicia Keys
NBC: Last Call With Carson Daly: Metric (REPEAT)
PBS: Austin City Limits: Allen Toussaint