Tag Archives: Vampire Weekend

New Vampire Weekend video: Harmony Hall

Video: Vampire Weekend -- “Harmony Hall”

Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall (Official Video)

Directed By Emmett Malloy. From Father of the Bride, due later this year on Sony. Single out now.

You’ve probably already heard this song, right? Vampire Weekend’s major label debut has been on microwave rotation on all my preset satellite radio stations since it dropped about a month ago. In fact, it’s #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart for the week dated March 2. It’s also #18 on regular old Alternative Songs (not Adult) and #12 on the Rock Airplay chart, receiving 4.9 million radio impressions. So I guess it’s a legit hit.

Good for them.

I’ve liked this band since the first time I heard “Oxford Comma” and I’ve been following them ever since. It’s hard to believe that was over eleven years ago, but as Ezra Koenig knows, we can’t let the low click of the ticking clock bother us too much. It’s been almost six years since Modern Vampires of the City, so there are high expectations for the follow up.

When Rostam Batmanglij quit the band in 2016 to go solo, I was worried about the effect his absence would have on their future. Batmanglij produced and arranged the previous albums and was a seemingly irreplaceable part of the Vampire Weekend sound. Turns out he came back for “Additional Production” on the new single. So that’s cool.

“Harmony Hall” works well as a re-introduction. It’s got those vaguely “African” sounding guitars, clever, collegiate lyrics (“the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness”), and the recycling of a punch line from a song from the previous album (“I don’t wanna live like this but I don’t wanna die” from “Finger Back”). Still sounds like Vampire Weekend.

The piano sounds like early 90s UK rave pop (if that’s a thing). I spent a semester in Scotland in 1991 and all the dance music at the student union had that same piano in it. I appreciate that Vampire Weekend keeps finding new ways to remind me of being in college.

Vampire Weekend: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Rostam video: Bike Dream

Video: Rostam -- “Bike Dream”

Rostam - "Bike Dream" [Official Music Video]

From Half-Light, out now on Nonesuch Records.

I’ll admit I didn’t want to like this song. I’m still kind of mad at Mr. Batmanglij for quitting Vampire Weekend. I totally realize how juvenile that sounds, but what can you do? Gotta feel your feelings, right? So I was fully prepared to dismiss this out of hand, but I’m a sucker for street views of Paris and this video features our hero riding around La Ville-Lumière (plus Berlin and Copenhagen), so I gave it a chance.

Rostam’s voice comes off as a little too twee at first, but it grows on you and the fact that it sounds like he’s smiling while he sings is ultimately charming.

He told NPR, “The melody and lyrics for this song were originally written over completely different music. At some point I realized it was nearly in the same key as another beat I was working on that had a kind of T-Rex vibe to it. I put them together, and the song came out of marrying those two things. Though I played piano and electric guitar for the song, I used my playing to create measures of music that I could loop and layer with the sound of vinyl crackling. The idea was to reverse engineer the sound you get from sampling an old recording and building new music out of that. […] I don’t want to explain too much about this song lyrically, but I will say it’s about wanting the person you’re with to be two different people, maybe two different kinds of people.”

Two boys, one to kiss your neck
And one to bring you breakfast
Get you out of bed when
You’re sore from the night before

Rostam has also pointed out that “the two boys in the chorus aren’t actually two boys, but two versions of the same person. […] the boyfriend that’s not cool with himself vs the boyfriend that is.”

Rostam: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

New Vampire Weekend video: Holiday

Video: Vampire Weekend – "Holiday"

Nice! Vampire Weekend has transformed into the Beastie Boys for their latest video from Contra. Seriously, I never realized that Ezra Koening could look exactly like King Adrock. Who knew?

Directed by the Malloys, the video features our heroes dressed in 18th century garb while cruising down the street in their 64 Impala, macking on bimbos, and hitting the beach. It’s essentially “Hey Ladies” in powdered wigs.

Vampire Weekend: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

New Vampire Weekend tennis video: Giving Up The Gun

Video: Vampire Weekend – "Giving Up The Gun"

I think they’re trying to get the “cool” people to hate them. Vampire Weekend‘s latest video off Contra features a tennis tournament directed by The Malloys with cameos from Lil Jon, RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan, Jake Gyllenhaal, and a Jonas Brother. RZA plays the judge. Lil John plays a French speaking coach. Ezra Koenig makes eyes at the camera, doing his best to look as dreamy as possible.

Bourgeois trappings aside, Robert Christgau correctly points out that despite attending Columbia this is “no closer to ruling-class power than it is to the affluence of the average American geekboy who gets to insult music he resents online.” Still, indie blog Hipster Runoff has predicted that VW will be 2010’s Kings of Leon. Next stop: The “Today” Show for a morning concert? We’ll see…

Vampire Weekend: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Sasquatch! Music Festival Lineup Announced

Sasquatch Festival 2010 Being relatively new to Portland I am still getting up to speed on the various summer festivals out this way. One that gets the most talk is the Sasquatch Festival, which true to Pacific Northwestern ways includes camping in the Columbia Gorge. Getting in and out of this festival can be a challenge, I’m told, but who cares when you can return to your Westy for a nap and a couple veggie burritos?

This year’s line up looks pretty tasty, by the way, including the recently reunited Pavement, Massive Attack, My Morning Jacket, Ween, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Kid Cudi, LCD Soundsystem, The National, Band of Horses and others.

Marking it’s ninth year, this year’s Sasquatch Festival returns to The Gorge in Quincy, WA May 29-31 (Memorial Day Weekend).

Tickets go on sale Saturday, February 20 at 10:00am through TicketMaster (booo!!!).

Camping is available for May 28, 29, 30 and 31 and can also be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com

Sasquatch Ticket Information

Beginning February 20:

Single tickets, per day / $70.00

Discount 3 day pass / $170 (available on sale weekend only)

February 20—May 23:

Single tickets, per day / $70.00

May 24—May 28:

Single tickets, per day / $80.00

Day of show:

Single tickets, per day / $86.00

Full line-up after the jump…

Our recent Festival coverage:

Lonely at Lollapalooza 2009

Rothbury 2009: Not a Dead Head? You’d Still Have a Blast

Scion Rock Fest 2009

Notes from the Pitchfork Music Festival

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Spoon Debuts at No. 4: Not Too Shabby

Spoon - TransferenceThe big story with this week’s sales data is the fact that the Hope For Haiti charity album is the first digital-exclusive set to top the Billboard 200. Billboard also points out that “as Hope for Haiti is sold through indie digital distributor INgrooves, it gives the Billboard 200 back-to-back independently distributed No. 1 albums, following Vampire Weekend‘s Contra last week.” So how about that? Hope for Haiti is the 13th “indie” album to top the chart.

And there’s even a legitimate indie debut this: Spoon‘s Transference (Merge). So along with Contra, that makes three independently distributed albums in the top ten. That’s gotta be a first, right?

1. “Hope For Haiti” – 171,000 (debut)

2. Susan Boyle – “I Dreamed a Dream” – 86,000 (up 12%; cume: 3,357,000)

3. Lady Gaga – “The Fame” – 62,000 (down 3%)

4. Spoon – “Transference” – 53,000 (debut)

5. “2010 Grammy Nominees” – 49,000 (debut)

6. Vampire Weekend – “Contra” – 43,000 (down 65%)

7. Alicia Keys – “The Element of Freedom” – 40,000 (down 16%)

8. Ke$ha – “Animal” – 35,000 (down 47%)

9. Black Eyed Peas – “The E.N.D.” – 35,000 (up 7%)

10. Taylor Swift – “Fearless” – 32,000 (down 5%)

Additional sales data via Yahoo.

Indie Chart Toppers

Ice Cube - PredatorLast week, when Vampire Weekend‘s sophomore effort was the top selling album in America, Billboard announced that Contra was “only the 12th independently distributed album to top the Billboard 200 chart since SoundScan began powering the list in May of 1991.” Curious what the other eleven were? Here they are:

1991 – N.W.A. – “EFIL4ZAGGIN” (Ruthless/Priority)

1992 – Ice Cube – “The Predator” (Priority)

1994 – “The Lion King” (Walt Disney)

1995 – “Friday” soundtrack (Priority)

1995 – “Pocahontas” (Walt Disney)

1995 – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – “E. 1999 Eternal” (Priority)

1995 – Tha Dogg Pound – “Dogg Food” (Death Row/Priority)

1997 – Bone Thugs-N-Harmony – “The Art of War” (Priority)

2007 – Eagles – “Long Road Out of Eden” (self released/Wal-Mart)

2008 – Radiohead – “In Rainbows” (TBD/ATO/RED)

2009 – Pearl Jam – “Backspacer” (self released/Target)

2010 – Vampire Weekend – “Contra” (XL/ADA)

Not a lot of what you’d really think of as “indie,” is there? That’s because Billboard defines an independent album based on the title’s distribution:

If an album is sold by an indie distributor (or, one of the major label’s indie distribution arms), it is classified as an independent title and can chart on our Top Independent Albums tally. Classification is not based on a label’s ownership, or if an act is signed to an independent label.

In the mid-90s Priority Records was sold to EMI and Walt Disney Records switched to Universal Music Group Distribution, which led to a ten-year absence of indie releases at the top of the album chart until the Eagles came along and changed everything!

Vampire Weekend is Number One

Vampire Weekend - ContraEven if you don’t like Vampire Weekend‘s music, you’ve got to admit that it’s cool that a truly independent album debuts at Number 1 on the Billboard 200. Billboard points out that it’s “only the 12th independently distributed album to top the Billboard 200 chart since SoundScan began powering the list in May of 1991.” So congratulations to the Beggars Group. Is this further evidence of the declining influence of the major label system? Let’s see how the rest of 2010 shakes out…

1. Vampire Weekend – “Contra” – 124,000 (debut)

2. Susan Boyle – “I Dreamed a Dream” – 77,000 (down 18%)

3. Ke$ha – “Animal” – 67,000 (down 56%)

4. Lady Gaga – “The Fame” – 64,000 (down 3%)

5. Alicia Keys – “The Element of Freedom” – 48,000 (down 23%)

6. Lady Gaga – “The Fame Monster” EP – 36,000 (up 14%)

7. Mary J. Blige – “Stronger With Each Tear” – 35,000 (down 26%)

8. Taylor Swift – “Fearless” – 33,000 (down 12%)

9. “Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel” – 33,000 (down 12%)

10. Black Eyed Peas – “The E.N.D.” – 32,000 (down 10%)

More sales data after the jump…

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Vampire Weekend – Contra

Vampire Weekend - ContraVampire WeekendContra (XL)

If you were to ask me around the time that everyone was blowing themselves over the debut Vampire Weekend album what I thought about them, I would have eagerly chastised the notion of a few spoiled Ivy Leaguers who cited Graceland as a primary influence. Sure, the inspiration was novel for its time, but Graceland? Christ, I was in college around the time that Simon released that plagiarized “masterpiece” and I can cite no peers who offered, “Let me throw on that new Paul Simon album” during any social setting. You wanna know why? Because we were tired of hearing our Dads remind us that Chevy Chase is “hilarious” in the music video for “You Can Call Me Al.”

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