Sufjan Stevens – All Delighted People EP

sufjanstevens-alldelightedpeopleAsthmatic Kitty, 2010

At an hour’s running length, All Delighted People should really be called an album rather than an EP. But then Sufjan has never been one to follow protocol, and his latest outpouring shows him at his enigmatic and – at times – inspired best. The instrumentation is eclectic and orchestral, matching the songwriting as it swerves from minimalism to gushing extravagance. Stunning 17-minute closer “Djohariah” is worth the download price alone.

Vampire Weekend – Contra

vampireweekend-contraXL, 2010

Some more ebullient, foppish and well-read Afro-pop from the New Yorkers. Compared with their debut, Contra sounds richer, with added layers of instrumentation and orchestral arrangements, and is a more substantial and consistent record on the whole – if not as immediately catchy. Most of all, it sounds like a band enjoying themselves.