Alex Lebl, Contributing Writer
Random Access Memories
Release Date: 5/2/13
After eight years, the French dance duo has returned to bring some boogie back to your ears. Although Daft Punk arranged the music for Tron: Legacy, this album marks its first wholly original record since Human After All in 2005. The new album, which features cameos from Julian Casablancas, Panda Bear, Nile Rodgers, Giorgio Moroder and many more, is shaping up to be one of the most influential EDM (electronic dance music) albums of all time.
Rogers says, and most of the collaborators on the album agree, that Random Access Memories is “going back to create something new,” so Daft Punk is poised to deliver possibly its best work. If the first single “Get Lucky” (which broke the Spotify 24-hour streaming record) is any indication of the rest of Random Access Memories, expect an older-sounding album with new twists, fusing disco and funk elements with the band’s unique French house style for a real gem of an album. The wait is already killing me!
Portugal. The Man
Release Date: 6/4/13
This band has been developing its sound since its debut Waiter:“You Vultures!” in 2006, with each successive album being better and having a different sound than the last. Portugal. The Man finally received more mainstream recognition with its last record, In the Mountain in the Cloud, which truly is its best album to date.
The band has been developing its style over the past few years, incorporating more strings and horns in its songs.
Evil Friends is the first release in which the band is able to team up with famed producer Danger Mouse, and his influence can be heard in the first single, also titled “Evil Friends.” The gritty, noise-rock sound that characterizes Danger Mouse’s production work fits perfectly into the band’s style, accentuating lead singer John Gourley’s voice (and mustache) and giving Portugal. The Man an edge that suits it surprisingly well. This album promises to be one of the biggest albums of the year, so be sure to catch Portugal. The Man playing through the album during its nationwide tour in late May.
Modern Vampires of the City
Release Date: 5/14/13
It really has been far too long since Vampire Weekend has come out with an album. Contra was a fantastic record, and the band has kept its fans waiting a long time for new music. But it appears to be well worth the wait, since all the previews of songs from Modern Vampires of the City are extremely promising.
The lead single, “Diane Young,” is delightfully catchy and has a slightly harsher sound than that of the band’s other work. The song plays with pitch-shifted vocals and drum samples that are simply a wonder, and which show that Vampire Weekend has a lot more to offer in terms of good music.
The band recently did an episode of American Express Unstaged on YouTube that gives fans an early listen to a few songs from the new album (with “Ya Hey” being one of the highlights), as well as some of the old favorites.
Modern Vampires of the City looks to be a change of direction for the band, but all signs indicate it will be just as good as its other releases.