Contra by Vampire Weekend vs. Transference by Spoon: Oh, it’s on like donkey kong smoking a bong eating a foot long!

Photography by Ashot Gevorkyan

Okay. Today is epic. A whole different kind of epic you may be used to here on TSURURADIO. But, before we begin, just a little reminder for you to enter into our TWITTAGIVEAWAY to win some hot vinyl!!!


Okay, you ready?

No, you aren’t. You are just sitting at your pooter, how can you possibly be ready? Okay, first, you need to stretch. Go ahead, get those “hamis” all ready for battle. Crack your neck for good effect, maybe jump up and down a little bit. Smack you fist together, shake out the butterflies, and make a menacing face. Grrrrr!

Next step…


Okay…. NOW you are ready, because today we are pitting possibly two of the most hyped & anticipated albums of 2010 against each other in a battle to the DEATH!!! That’s right, today it’s a BATTLE ROYALE!!!

Vampire Weekend’s Contra vs. Spoon’s Transference!!!

Is it a fair comparison? I think so. Hype is the name of the game these days, getting on the top of Elbows & Hype Machine and having Stereogum & Pitchfork pimping your every move, is the only way to succeed in today Music-Is-A-Disposable-Commodity climate, right?

The only thing more challenging than manufacturing hype is “bringing the goods” as hype raises expectations, high expectations, that abstract “feeling” in the back of someone’s brain can be impossible to fulfill sometimes. Ah, then there’s the collective backlash that can occur from hype-overload! Man, I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO glad I’m not in a band.

Anywhozydoozy, the difference between these two lies in the “why” they are being hyped up and “eagerly anticipated”. Spoon’s is based on their history of quality, creativity, and expansion of their sound & their love from the Pitchforks & Stereogums out there where Vampire Weekend’s seems to be more along the lines of “keeping it going” by keeping the blogs talking about you from their buzz-worthy CD-R that floated around to their hugely successful debut to the countdown release of “Horchata” to the video release for “Cousins” to the actual album getting a myspace stream and next up is the late-night talk shows, just boop de boop de boop de boop… keep it going, keep it going.

So, though the reasons for the season may be different, here we are at the beginning of 2010, after an utterly amazing 2009, and already and so far the two albums on everyone’s mind & mouths & blog posts are these.

First up, Spoon. Never got into Spoon all that much. I like their Camera song, but Ga Ga Ga (etc) kinda left me wondering what the fuss was about. So it was without much, by way of expectations, that I dropped this bad boy on the iPod.

What I found was simply some pretty damn creative indie-rock (for lack of a better term). That’s it. The end. Sounds boring, right? It ain’t, oddly. It’s start off acousticy and grainy, with a bit of drive & darkness, not much, just a smidgen. Then we hop into the bouncy “Is Love Forever” before falling into the never-ending “Mystery Zone” and by never-ending, I mean never-ending. The bass-line just keeps going and going and going to even the band has had enough and just turns the song off. This is basically the whole album, up and down, left and right, but never straying too far from the overall sound & aesthetic they self-produced for this effort. Light & breezy & dabs of falsetto on “Who Makes Your Money”, clunky & piano smacking “Written In Reverse”, etc, etc, just one sweet gem after another.

Is it mind-blowing? No. Is it genre-shifting? Game-changing? Other journalistic bullshit? No, no, and nopers. It’s just good & intelligent rock.

1. “Before Destruction”
2. “Is Love Forever?”
3. “The Mystery Zone”
4. “Who Makes Your Money”
5. “Written in Reverse”
6. “I Saw the Light”
7. “Trouble Comes Running”
8. “Goodnight Laura”
9. “Out Go the Lights”
10. “Got Nuffin”
11. “Nobody Gets Me But You”
Stream the whole album here

Then there’s Vampire Weekend. I have nothing against these boys, per se. I’m not part of any backlash, frontlash, or even eyelash. I liked their first album. My only complaint is the nagging feeling like they speak in inside-jokes and I’m constantly left outside the loop. But they were fun and had a great mix of sounds and there was definitely some creativity there, so I approached Contra with not much as far as expectations, more of a curiosity to see how they’d move forward.

Everything starts off nice enough, “Horchata” picks up where “Oxford Comma” and the rest left off. It’s light, fun, and full at the same time, though I have no idea what horchata is, why I would drink it in December, or why I beat the pavement with my fists & boots, but hey, that’s okay.

But then we drop into “White Sky”, “Holiday”, “California English”, and I don’t know, it doesn’t really go anywhere. It just maintains. “Taxi Cab” is cool enough, has a child-like quality about it and “Run” starts off pretty cool, though it reminds me of Talking Heads a bit too much for some reason. I’m only taken back by their other single, “Cousins” where, though I don’t necessarily care for the song, it at least has energy, some viv and vitale!

We finish off with the quasi-title track, “I Think Ur A Contra”. Once again, I feel left in the dark on what the hell they are talking about. I’m starting to feel my poor-ass-ghetto upbringing has kept me out of some key preppy-pop-cultural phenomenon. Not sure, but the song kinda drags, ends, and the album starts all over again.

So, overall, the album is kinda, well, boring. But did they bring enough to kick some Spoon ass??? Is a less than great Vampire Weekend offering good enough to beat a potent, though relatively straight-forward Spoon album? Let’s find out….

1. “Horchata”
2. “White Sky”
3. “Holiday”
4. “California English”
5. “Taxi Cab”
6. “Run”
7. “Cousins”
8. “Giving Up the Gun”
9. “Diplomat’s Son”
10. “I Think Ur a Contra”
Stream the whole album here

And the winner is…..

You ready?

You think you know the answer, don’t you?

Hope you have your guard up…

July Flame by Laura Veirs!!!

Weren’t expecting THAT, were you? Snaps! Snap-a-roni, the Tsurucisco Treat!!!

Sorry boys. But before any final blows could be laid, before the final slow-motion upper-cut of all upper-cuts could be unloaded, Portland’s favourite granola girl dropped in the ring and shot you both with her organic peach bazooka!


Here she is pictured being restrained against Los Campesinos!

That’s right, neither of you boys of nuffin on Veirs, man. She put you in her juicer and drink you for breakfast with a locally grown apple and some homemade organic gluten-free bread! You can read all about it here.

Damn, you don’t fuck with Veirs man. You just don’t fuck wither her!


Our Link Love…

Spoon: Myspace | Official | Label
Vampire Weekend: Myspace | Official | Label
Laura Veirs: Myspace | Official | Buy

Tsuru And The Bride | Etsy | Society | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

PS… If Veirs hadn’t dropped in, Spoon would’ve totally put Vampire Weekend in the hospital. Haha!

8 comments for “Contra by Vampire Weekend vs. Transference by Spoon: Oh, it’s on like donkey kong smoking a bong eating a foot long!

  1. Tim
    January 13, 2010 at 12:57 PM

    I certainly wasn't expecting that – but so so true!

  2. sarcasmandthecity
    January 13, 2010 at 2:31 PM

    So, so true. Already bored of "Contra", but continue to be mesmerized by July Flame. Nice suprise!

  3. Tsuru
    January 13, 2010 at 2:35 PM

    Thanks guys!!! I was worried about some VW fan hate! You both made my day!

  4. singingdoll
    January 13, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    Loved the buildup to Laura Veirs! That was great!

    Just so you know, horchata is a type of sweet drink. I have had it at Mexican restaurants, where it's made of rice (as in rice milk), vanilla, and cinnamon. Other versions can be made from almond or tigernut, among other options. It tastes just as you describe the song that shares its name: "light, fun, and full at the same time." And I guess I wouldn't mind drinking it in December? (though it's a cold drink, so I'd prefer it in summer)

  5. Tsuru
    January 13, 2010 at 11:03 PM

    Ah! I've had that, just never caught the name! Good stuff!!! But yeah……. give it to me in summer, please! ;)

  6. Anonymous
    January 18, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    I agree, the new Spoon and VW albums don't live up to all the hype. This is the year for Yeasayer and Owen Pallett. They both already have albums out and they blow everything out of the water. I've listened to Odd Blood over and over and over.

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