Originally meant to be two posts, I'm combining them into one
Vampire Weekend is one of the cool kids' indie bands of the week. Four Columbia University students and their friends turn their record collections and educations into homemade music that is alternately funky and arch. The alleged Afro-pop influence and connection is more name and timbre checking than real and deep, but its still refreshing. Also, any band that uses cello with a South African walking beat and steel guitars wins my vote.
If David Byrne had a sense of humour, the first Talking Heads album might have sounded like this.
Bought and have been listening to Moby's "Last Night". Moby is far from a cool hunter, in the sense of identifying and popularizing trends before they become huge. But in the same way he captured something of the spirit of house music in a way that made it accessiible with "Play," he does the same with new disco and "last night." No, it's not a cocaine and poppers filled tribute to Studio 54 and the Paradise Garage, but lights at a moment around 1984, after Joy Division had become New Order and released "Blue Monday" and Annie Lennox was inventing the sound of the disembodied Diva, when the Pyramid Room and Danceteria and Limelight were serving up the first syncretization of disco and punk.
Of course, the release of a compilation of August Darnell's work (not just as Kid Creole) makes Moby a moot point. Darnell, Giorgio Moroder, and Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers (Chic) pretty much defined disco in the 70s and 80s.