Today's entry marks the first in an occasional series in which I'll be going through the 21 tracks on the 2007 best of CD very kindly sent to me over Xmas by friend and fellow obsessive music blogger David Belbin. As you can see from his sleevenotes, this is an especially fine and deft selection and in at least two high profile cases solves the "one decent track on an otherwise duff album" dilemma. But I must start with NYC indie band Vampire Weekend, which by common critical consent are the first notable new act of 2008. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" may well turn out to be Gen X's own "Common People" since its subject matter is a similarly sardonic viewpoint on the Rich Girl who Doesn't Quite Get It, although the post-Roxy amphetamine rush of Cocker's vocal and Chris Thomas' production is here replaced by amiable post-Graceland guitar lines and slightly out of step drumming - instead of explicit condemnation, Vampire Weekend's observations are more bemused than anything else (the transition from "As a young girl/Louis Vuitton" to "As a sophomore/With reggaeton" is especially telling); the singer wants to get closer to her - the squealed "MADE!" in the phrase "is your bed made?" and the obscured verb which may be either "fuck" or "talk" in the line "Do you wanna ? like I know I do?" Yet an important spiritual barrier remains, as evidenced by their protestation of "But this feels so unnatural - Peter Gabriel too (definitely not Peter Gabriel 2, by far the most avant-garde of any of his solo albums)!" and the more politicised observation of the perhaps rhetorical question "Can you stay up to see the dawn in the colours of Benetton?" Thereafter there is a slow drop-out with some bewitching wordless vocal whoops over hymnal organ - not that far removed from "Apples And Oranges" - before a final tail-wagging uptownship jive takes the song out. In fact it's the perfect soundtrack for quietly sunny Sunday mornings in South Kensington, and there's an album due at the end of the month. Of course the Canadian likes of Apostle Of Hustle and Islands have been advancing upon this template for some time now, so it's nice to see that the influence is finally crossing the border. "Is your sweater ON???!!!???" should mark the premature but welcome beginning of 2008's summer.