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Vampire Weekend: “Horchata” The singing crab from Disney’s The Little Mermaid is going to be pissed. His lawyers are probably on the phone with Vampire Weekend’s people right now, wondering why they failed to clear the use of his faux-Caribbean accent for “Horchata,” the kickoff track from the New York—based band’s upcoming LP, Contra. “You’d remember drinking horchata/You’d still enjoy it with your food on the side-ah,” sings Ezra Koenig. Are those marimbas in the background, or is somebody banging on a bed of clams?
Mocky & GZA: “Birds of a Feather” It’s a bit of a stretch to call this song, assembled by Canadian producer Mocky, a collaboration. The rapper merely plops into the middle of the song, drops a single throwaway verse—-a free-associative rant about birds—-and abruptly vanishes. Plus, the tweeting birds and sunshiny jazz-pop seem a little out of character for the man who helped found Wu-Tang Clan.
Usher: “Papers” Honestly, you’d think women would be a little more discreet when hanging out with Usher. The guy’s constantly blabbing about his deepest and darkest secrets. His breakout album was called Confessions, for God’s sake. Then again, it must be pretty hot to hear somebody like Usher sing your dirty business. “Papers,” the first song to leak from Usher’s new record, tentatively titled Raymond vs. Raymond, finds him giving everybody the skinny on his recent divorce. Apparently, it sucked. “At 10 I lost my mama/And I been through so much drama/And I turned into the man that I never thought I’d be/I’m ready to sign them papers,” he sings, presumably from his analysts’ couch.
Bear in Heaven: “Dust Cloud” It’s hard to imagine how Brooklyn space-rock band Bear in Heaven can make it through a band practice without having a box of Dramamine on hand. “Dust Cloud,” from the group’s second full-length, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, surpasses mere wooziness and goes all the way to seasickness. Do not walk and chew gum and listen to this song at the same time.