Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Artist of the Week : VAMPIRE WEEKEND

Vampire Weekend

This Afro/preppy/new-wave combination has a history-- Brits like Orange Juice, Americans like Talking Heads. For now, though, it's one of the most deservedly buzzed-about things around: People have been chattering over Vampire Weekend ever since a CD-R demo of three of these songs started circulating last year. The excitement isn't hard to fathom. People spend a lot of time poking around for the edgy new underground thing, convinced that plain old pop songs have been done to death. But Vampire Weekend come along like Belle & Sebastian and the Strokes each did, sounding refreshingly laid back and uncomplicated, and with simple set-ups that make good songs sound exceedingly easy. (The result being not "this is mind-blowing," or "this is catchy," but "I have listened to this, straight through, four times a day for the past month".)

No surprise, then, that their first hit mp3 would be a song called "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa", which is sly, quiet, and casual in a way that blows away so many other bands who actively try to get your attention. Their label seems to have understood this effect, and so they've left these demos sounding as natural as they were: This release just fiddles with the mastering, switches out a few takes in ways you wouldn't much notice, plays with the sequencing, relegates one song to a B-side, and adds a couple of great ones that you can nonetheless understand being omitted the first time.

Most of the credit will wind up going to Koenig, who's the star presence here. By the second song, "Oxford Comma", the band is ticking along on little touches of keyboard and the tap of a snare drum, and he's still keeping the empty space captivating: There's a little indie yelp to his voice, but mostly he's relaxed, conversational, and wry. It all comes off as simple, jaunty, and homespun, but there's a lot of precision lurking beneath-- exactly what happens when you combine a music major and indie-pop. (Read the full review @


Cleopatra Jones said...

I'm lovin' it, girl!

Great Choice!

Ginger Snaps said...

Sorry about the F bomb in A-punk. Love it too.

Jeninator said...


Ginger Snaps said...

Actually this one is edited. Nevermind!!1


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