And the fact is, over the past couple of weeks, a lot more people HAVE heard the debut CD by NYC quartet Vampire Weekend. After a performance on “Saturday Night Live” a couple of weeks back, their album vaulted back into the Top 30 on the Billboard chart.
I found out about the band a month or so before, thanks to a coworker who went to Columbia University along with the four members of VW. They’ve gotten tons of blog press over the past couple of months, and are allegedly the first band to appear on the cover of “Spin” magazine before their first album was released. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that means anything or not.
At any rate, these kids are pretty interesting. Their music is hooky and catchy (as all pop should be…I’m not even gonna call it “indie pop” for the benefit of all the dorks with tight pants and ironic mustaches), and carries a couple of interesting influences. First and most obvious would be the African music influence. A good friend of mine who is also a musician harumphed “all they did was rip off old Hugh Masakela records”. While it’s true that they probably listened to a lot of Afrobeat stuff (in addition to much of the African-influenced work of Anglo bands like Talking Heads, Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel), their music has a fun, tossed-off quality (they actually remind me of The Ramones in spots) that makes it more unique than your average retread. Their songs also have a bit of a classical influence. The string sections are a bit fuller than on your average pop record, and when was the last time you heard a pop/rock album with a flute?
Although they’re a bit on the pretentiously literate side (come on, they’re frickin’ Ivy Leaguers…what did you expect?), thanks to Vampire Weekend, not only do I have a cool new danceable album in my collection, but I now know what a mansard roof and an oxford comma are!
Check ’em out for yourself:
Their official website is:
Check out the video for “Mansard Roof” here:
…the video for “A-Punk” is right here: