The top five biggest music releases of this week, compiled neatly for your downloading pleasure.
1. Vampire Weekend – “Cousins” Less ethnic than their first new single, “Horchata,” this one finds Vampire Weekend (+ cousins) out for a surf via occasional speed picking and drum rolls.
2. Dirty Projectors – “Emblem of the World” A new song off the Dirty Projectors’ Temecula Sunrise EP, “Emblem of the World” begins with a cascading guitar tremelo that is soon followed by the band’s classic angel (Deradoorian) harmonies and the pitch jumping spasms of Dave Longstreth’s voice.
3. Yeasayer – “Ambling Alp” Swishing waters, mutating synth madness, and echoing 80’s drums – in short, everything we hoped for in the new Yeasayer release. Their sophomore album, Odd Blood, is out February 19. Get the details here.
4. Julian Casablancas – “Ludlow St.” This song showed us that Casablancas wields the banjo like a viking would an axe. The man can shred. He’s also talented at merging simple 1960’s Dylan chord progressions with lobbing hip-hop beats and alien synthesizers.
5. Them Crooked Vultures – “New Fang” The super-duper group collaboration of Dave Grohl (Nirvana, Foo Fighters), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age), and John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) have released their first single from their upcoming self-titled debut. Dig it.
Bonus video: Jay-Z and Alicia Keys perform “Empire State of Mind” at the World Series: