Ian in Your Ear: Vampire Weekend's Sophomore Triumph

Ready to start the New Year off right? I was, too, and my prayers were answered when I looked at the usually empty January release schedule and noticed that one of my fave bands (hey, I have a whole Pandora channel devoted to them) is back with their follow-up disc. Even better? Vampire Weekend's latest, Contra, doesn't disappoint in the least.

The Ivy League alums (they formed while attending Columbia University) whip up another savvy and inventive disc of blissful pop (much of which is inspired by their NYC salad days). Loved the infusion of their signature African drums again on the opening "Horchata" and their ruminations on life on "Run," where they admit, "We mostly work to live, until we live to work."

For more on the band and to check out the video for their bustling first single "Cousins," click over to their Web site here.