You guys made some very educated guesses about what Vampire Weekend’s been counting down to all day. Some of them were even right! (The rest of you will just have to wait for a VW clothing line.) At the strike of zero, swiftly redirected to (again), where the band is offering up this free download of Contra’s opening track, “Horchata.” In the band’s Progress Report, Rostam told Jessica it was the track he was most pleased with, and one that abandoned guitars entirely in favor of kalimba, marimba, and a Yamaha VSS-30 he got on eBay. He explained:

You sing one note into [the VSS-30] and it maps it across the keyboard. Then it wavers in this way that lets you play melodies that automatically have an evocative quality to them, because the pitch is wavering so much. And ’Horchata’ is also a song that’s driven by background vocals, like a texture, and nothing on our first record has that happening.

And if you’re wondering what horchata is, you need to brush up on your rice and nut drinks. Listen for the wavers, the strings, and the lack of guitar:

Contra is out 1/12 via XL. And here’s some new tourdates for you:

10/06 – Montreal, QC @ Le National
10/08 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe Tavern
10/15 – London, UK @ King’s College
10/22 – Paris, FR @ Nouveau Casino
11/02 – Long Beach, CA @ The Art Theater
11/05 – Pioneertown, CA @ Pappy and Harriet’s
11/07 – Lafayette, CA @ Town Hall Theatre
11/08 – Santa Cruz, CA @ Catalyst
11/09 – Visalia, CA @ The Cellar Door
11/10 – San Luis Obispo, CA @ Downtown Brew
11/12 – Bakersfield, CA @ Chencho’s
11/14 – Lomita, CA @ VFW Hall
11/17 – Tokyo, JAP @ Tokyo Unit
11/21 – Sydney, AUS @ Oxford Art Factory

Comments (83)
  1. Matt  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    That sounds very good.

  2. Last night I had a dream Rostam was kicked out of VW.
    (Nothing against Rostam, dreams are weird/nonsense.)
    I wish I was joking, though; I need a vacation from RSS.

    • Stereotypical Williamsburg trendy hipster groupie girl with a trustfund and a coke habit  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      Usually I have dreams about the band too, but it usually just includes Rostam and myself between him and Ezra with a ton of sex omgzz did I just type that out loud?!? lol

  3. Yossarian  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    I like this song

  4. genevieve  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    i like it too!

  5. coop  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    ah, refreshing!

  6. Zooey  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    Yum. Makes me want to drink some horchata.

  7. drs  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    good song. horchata though? i mean really?

  8. Larso  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    I think there must be something wrong with me. To me, this is less refreshing than cloying. Less horchata than Purplesaurus Rex.

  9. Exactly what I would want/expect from VW.

  10. Dandy  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    Is something wrong with their stream and download? I just tried streaming it, and no dice. I just tried downloading it, and I got an error message with the mp3. I tried streaming it on Pitchfork, no dice. Maybe something is telling me not to listen to this?

  11. Emily  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    This is fun. I dig it. AND it comes out the day after my little boy is due. Can you say “Happy New Baby Present” ?? I can’t wait.

    • Oscar the Couch  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      …Hopefully the first sounds of music your kid has to hear are not this grossly derivative yupster garbage. Can I send you some real quality music to save the little critter from having his ears raped within moments of being here in our world?

      • uh  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        I think the cool thing about a baby is he wouldn’t give a fuck about things being grossly derivative… because he hasn’t heard what it’s derived from.

        unfortunately, he’s got his teenage years ahead of him in which he calls things being grossly derivative.

        but then, there’s the years when he understands that everything ever made is derivative and that often the best song is just an amazing synthesis of really obvious influences.

        so don’t worry man, your time will come too.

        • thyreseus  |   Posted on Oct 7th, 2009 0

          I don’t care that they’re grossly derivative – that argument doesn’t bug me at all – but I do care that they are lazy – because songs can be stories you know? They have a musical narrative and sometimes a lyrical one and this one just goes round and round and round – same vocal melody every time, same rhythms every time – it doesn’t grow or build or break down or add something in the 2nd verse or even have a bridge – the first 45 seconds are great – the artistry is great, the initial seeds of the songs are great – but man i wish they would FINISH it. Great. so they found a sound. yay. Now what about the songs? That’s what happened to me with the first record, I got into the demos and had pretty much heard most of it before it came out and the shelf life of those recordings were way shorter than the build up, hype, and release so by the time it came out i was bored of the tunes – good tunes, but no repeat listening potential at all – and songs that make discover something new in them every time you hear them are my fav.

      • genevieve  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        this is my problem with all the VW haters out there. i understand that you don’t like them, but i do. we have different tastes in music and it’s important to respect that. i’m not going to call you a deaf idiot when you comment about whatever music you like.

        thank you.

        • azir  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

          take a hint from my comment below, and give vw an abortion from your life. you’ll thank me later for not wasting your time on such crap.

      • Mike  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        who actually says grossly derivative?
        i think the kid is lonely.

    • azir  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      if my mother brought me into this world listening to vw, i’d probably wish she had given me an abortion.

      • sam  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        I wish your mother had given you an abortion so you wouldn’t try to tell people to abort their children because they like a certain kind of music.

        Also, congratulations on the baby Emily.

  12. Burgla   |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0


    • Emily  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      Thank you!

      And isn’t it nice that one of the other things I’ll be able to teach my son (aside from liking a wide range of music) is that not everyone is going to like everything he does or everything he likes and to take the people who can’t seem to keep themselves from insulting perfect strangers with a grain of salt. And to remember that ultimately those people aren’t happy with something large in their lives, which is no fault of those of us who are being attacked by them.

      Have a nice day!

      • azir  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        as the saying goes, don’t count your chickens before they hatch (or babies before they’re born.) your still kid could come out stillborn or you can have a miscarriage between now and january. lets just hope for the good of everyone, the worst case scenario here is that vw breaks up.

        • Emily's Baby's Daddy  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

          How much hate you must have. And you’re the one saying people are wasting their time on worthless things? You don’t like music other people do, so instead of going to a post about music you do like and letting people enjoying the new song, you go and say things myself and I’m sure many others here would like to knock you out over? Its just music for crying out loud over a polarizing indie band and not some other serious debate. I’m sure your parents would be really proud to see how well mannered and respectful you grew up. It might make them regret having YOU. You must really be small minded or think a ton of yourself. Go take your insults over to a message board where 13 year old emo kids crap all over each others’ music tastes.

          Emily, I’m sure your baby will be beautiful and healthy, dancing right out of your uterus to A-Punk as he or she enters the world. Good luck and congrats!!

        • shut the fuck up, man. emily, congratulations.

        • UGH. There are not enough downvotes in the world for this disgusting comment.

        • azir, I don’t know who you are, but these kinds of comments are beyond inappropriate. You’re disgusting. People like you only look to ruin things for everyone else. You won’t care and I’m sure you’ll have a snide comment lined up and ready to let go, but jesus, think before you say things. You’re not the only person in the world, and though it might only be “the internet”, hateful comments are still hateful comments.

          Emily, as other have said, congratulations. Don’t let someone try to ruin such a great thing in your life. :)

          As far as the music goes, this is a fun song. I kinda miss the guitars, but hey, fun is fun!

      • Burgla   |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

        Ha! You know the deal Emily! Over 80% of the population can’t find there way out of that emotional mess (like a vicious game of emotional “hot potato” …pass it along! )

        Your baby will love you as much as you love him/her…and he/she may not even like VW ;-)

  13. Awesome, just awesome. Never listened to them before but it was quite impressive. With a name like Vampire Weekend I was expecting something heavier, was a pleasant surprise.

  14. i know it’s not “cool” to like vw, but dammit their music makes me happy and that’s all that matters.

  15. matt  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    Sounds okay. Borders on cheesy, especially during the more islandy instrumental parts. Hope the rest of the album has guitars.

  16. So, when is ‘White Sky’ gonna leak?

  17. all i needed to hear was this one song and I already care exponentially more about this upcoming album then i could every try to care about their first album.

    nerce jerb vermpar werkend.

  18. Vampire Weekday  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    Last time I saw these guys, they played a new song that sounded like they had been hitting the Animal Collective pretty heavy on regular rotation. This song confirms that their new album is going to sound like MPP and Vampire’s debut made a baby together (Keeping with theme of the comments above here…)

  19. Wes Anderson wrote – he wants his use of typeface back.

    • Phil  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      Thank you for actually realizing that. I half expected another sorry-eyed picture of Jason Schwartzman to pop up on the cover (no hate.)

      As for ‘Horchata’….it’s fun and poppy and all, but I’ve never been one to think VW is a band of any actual depth. Just some talented Columbia grads with a taste for world music. Good tune, nonetheless.

  20. bobby-o  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    this is song is so funny i forgot to laugh. seriously though, other people made it more than 20 seconds through without having to turn it off?

  21. I think Contra is going to come together very nicely. I’ve really been looking forward to it, and so far–with “White Sky” and “Horchata”–Vampire Weekend has delivered. Something about this song just puts me on a beach in New York right before sunrise.

  22. EveryoneLoveMe  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    “You shouldn’t have fought it” sounds dangerously close to “you shouldn’t have farted”

  23. toto  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    It’s a white boy making fun of different cultures through mockery (the Mexicans in this case). You can hear it in his cute, fake accent. I bet that son of a bitch wore a sombrero when recording the vocal track.

    Why do you hate brown people?

  24. Christmas and the Beads of Sweat  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    There’s this little Smile era piece of Beach Boy’s material called”You’re Welcome”…Something so sweet about it…I suppose they capture a little of that…I coupled Yes “We Have Heaven” with Mutantes “Adeus Maria Fulo”…then thought of” Raspberry Beret”

  25. ben  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    I’m afraid I find this song kind of boring. Hopefully this is just a teaser track and not a full blown single?

  26. brian  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    home run

  27. Daniel  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    Vampire Weekend ripping off Animal Collective on top of all the other stuff they’ve ripped off so far. Who didn’t see that one coming a mile away from Williamsburg?

    • right  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

      Correction, they are ripping off Paul Simon. Take it to the source.

      • Daniel  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

        Um, that’s why I wrote “on top of all the other stuff they’ve ripped off so far” because I assumed everyone knew they had already ripped off Paul Simon by now.

  28. Horchata, Masada
    Masada, Horchata

    Let’s call the whole thing off!

  29. Nick  |   Posted on Oct 5th, 2009 0

    I love that Vampire Weekend inspires such debate at extreme ends of the spectrum. Personally, I love rock bands that make “real rock fans” angry, because it reveals the level of their douchery. Syd Vicious wore a uniform on stage. Ezra wears a uniform. They had wildly different styles, but it’s pretty clear that Ezra’s choices are way more threatening and anger-inducing to the rock community, which to me is awesome.

  30. three pointer, and one! and this is only the beginning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! oh yeah baby. ooooh yeah. can’t wait for more of this exciting, well-planned out, pre-release contra shit.

  31. Jesse  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    I like it, but I don’t like like it. I think it’s a little too heavily layered, and if the entire song isn’t balancing on the tip of ezra’s voice, like every song on their debut, it loses something important from their sound. Some of the percussion is kinda nauseating.

    What I do like, though, is that their keyboardist clearly learned something from starting Discovery. The more electronic they get the better as far as i’m concerned. It’s either now or on their third cd.

  32. Max  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    Little sister music – not bad, just lame.
    Music with cashew-sized testicles.

  33. Dexter  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    This is a great well made song. I love it. Paul Simon popularized African influences in American pop landscape at a certain time. It wasn’t like using those influences was entirely new when Graceland came out or it was the first time it had been done.

  34. Bill  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    I like the part in The Little Mermaid where they all drink Horchata and sing this song together.

  35. whattaguy  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    sounds like rugrats the movie

  36. Sweet Leave Me Alone  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    If you need more songs about what wealthy people are eating, drinking and wearing, Contra will be right up your alley.

  37. tato  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    i would kill for some horchata!

  38. Diego  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    I never liked Horchata, the drink I mean. Its popular in Honduras and Nicaragua, so Contra must be a reference to Sandinist-Contra war.

    • Ezra said in an interview that Contra wasn’t about one particular thing. The root of the word means ‘against’ and it’s meant to be vague/ambiguous.

  39. mike  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    what people don’t seem to want to talk about is the songwriting. its not very good. there is one really nice hook. the instrumentation and vocals do little to add to that one hook. the song doesn’t move. the lyrics are plain bad except for the line “ask how my day went” which is a nice line, i guess. vampire weekend can write a decent melody, but i would hesitate to call them good songwriters.

  40. Panda  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    JC;The Indie Band > VW ?

  41. Ben  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    Finally, I don’t have to question my dislike of Vampire Weekend. This song seals it.

  42. Griffin  |   Posted on Oct 6th, 2009 0

    If they hate then let ‘em hate and watch the money… well I guess the money’s been piled up for a while. Either way, this song shows a lot of growth.

  43. Like the song. It’ll grow….It’ll grow…
    Love the artwork, so would Wes Anderson.

  44. Say what you like about the song, Horchata is DELICIOUS.

  45. ashashash  |   Posted on Oct 7th, 2009 0

    I prefer Animal Collective proper to this shite. This band frustrates me.

  46. Alic....  |   Posted on Oct 7th, 2009 0

    Unfortunately, it’s recorded so badly it’s hard to care whether or not there’s a guitar part or not.

  47. Poo  |   Posted on Oct 7th, 2009 0

    Who gives a fuck about a horchata? Not me…

  48. doodle_bug  |   Posted on Oct 8th, 2009 0

    You know, at first I was a little skeptical about a Dora the Explorer movie, but this soundtrack keeps getting better and better. Eat your heart out, Where the Wild Things Are!

  49. Spikelee3000  |   Posted on Oct 9th, 2009 0

    You haters can hate all you want, but your whining won’t stop this album from being one of the biggest indie releases of 2010. Suck it, hipsters..

    • doodle_bug  |   Posted on Oct 10th, 2009 0

      …said the pot, calling the kettle “black.”

      Last I checked, Hipsters make up the vast majority of VW’s fan base. Which apparently includes you, friend-o.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2