Tag Archives: Vampire Weekend

Clips post 6/26/12

Interview: Chris Baio (of Vampire Weekend) (Prefix)

IMG_9458

BlackBook Tracks #1

BlackBook Tracks #2

The Rapture and Tanlines Team Up To Rock A Summery Night In Brooklyn (BlackBook)

tanlines2

Northside Music roundup, featuring Jens Lekman, of Montreal, Niki & the Dove, Kitty Pryde, Kid Sister, and more. (The WILD)

2kittypryde2

Advertisements

Music Diary Project Days 6 and 7

I neglected to make an entry yesterday, mostly because I actually left my apartment for a respectable amount of time. I did listen to about half of Bishop Allen’s Broken String when I woke up, which is one of my favorite morning albums. There was a fair bit of watching Miranda and reading the last two Hunger Games books (I had to give in once my friend apparently cared enough to mail me all of them), and then Emily and I saw Destroyer and the War on Drugs, which was surprisingly short considering the span of Destroyer’s discography, but I’m not complaining. Then I ended up at a party where I ran away from the dancefloor every time someone put on Ke$ha, which was a lot.

Today I drove around while listening to the Scott Pilgrim OST, because nice weather apparently makes me want to listen to garage rock, as well as “Warm Heart of Africa” by the Very Best. Somewhere in there were also listens of both Vampire Weekend albums as well as Check Your Head and Licensed to Ill.

Also this weekend, Das Racist released their video for “Coochie Dip City,” which is far from my favorite song of theirs, but still worth a listen. According to Twitter, Tony Kanal of No Doubt and Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT have been added to the list of collaborators for their upcoming album Relax. Considering that the pool already includes Diplo, Neon Indian, Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend, and Twin Shadow, this is clearly only going to help Das Racist’s upward trajectory, but I can’t help but wonder if the combined effect might end up overshadowing DR themselves. Nonetheless, most of these people aren’t established as hip hop producers, so it will be interesting to hear them expanding their range.

Anyways, I’ve really enjoyed doing the Music Diary Project, I do think that it’s pushed me to think more consciously about my listening habits. I know my posts have gotten progressively less interesting as the week went along, but I like that I’ve been blogging more.

Music Diary Project Day 3

I started the morning off right with Cut Copy’s Zonoscope, which is surely one of the finest albums of the year. That led into You & I by Cut Off Your Hands in my music library, which I never got super into, though “In The Name Of Jesus Christ” is raw and delicate in all the right ways.

A classmate and I drove approximately two blocks to see whether or not we had to meet. We did not, and celebrated the opportunity to be even lazier. “S&M” by Rihanna came on the radio in her car.

I listened to the upcoming Architecture In Helsinki album Moment Bends while eating lunch, befitting the pleasant weather. Afterward, I drove to Grimey’s (I don’t live there) and then Frothy Monkey and had the Strokes’ Is This It playing in my car. More specifically, it was the international version that I bought when I was in Ireland last year, which has the above cover art and the track “New York City Cops,” which I immediately skipped to. I know it’s extra pretentious that my favorite Strokes song is one that doesn’t come standard in the country I live in, but it’s just such a great tune.

At Frothy Monkey, I listened to the new Beastie Boys song, “Make Some Noise,” and watched the trailer for Crazy, Stupid, Love, which includes “Two Weeks” by Grizzly Bear and “Black Holes and Revelations” by Muse. I put on Hype Machine’s mix of Destroyer songs, as I was asked to cover their show this weekend, and then listened to the Hood Internet’s Mixtape Vol. 5 while sorting my pictures from the Warpaint show last night.

In the evening, I was in a carpool to go have dinner for a friend’s birthday party, and the girl who was driving was going for some middle school church camp steez* with Plus One. Afterward, I was part of the contingent that ended up at Sweet CeCe’s, which had a GAC special on Sugarland playing on the TV. I attempted to foster a healthy debate on why Lady Antebellum is a politically incorrect band name.

When I got back to my place, Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig’s Paul Simon cover was one of the first things I saw on Twitter. Now, I am listening to Das Racist’s Shut Up, Dude.

*I never went to church camp when I was in middle school (or ever), but that’s what I imagine it’s like.

My Top 5 Music Videos of 2010

5. Arcade Fire – “We Used To Wait”

This is obviously on my list for its innovation and new level of fan interaction. (If you haven’t seen this before, it’s a collaboration with Google where you can put in your address and the video is customized with Google Maps footage.) Arcade Fire have always been good at crafting messages that are easy to make personal, so this really takes it to another level. Except when I tried to put in my address, I couldn’t see my house, which I was mildly disappointed in because I live very close to Google. (Fun fact: A guy I went to high school with had a summer job on the Google Maps helicopter photography team. That’s how you know you’re really from the Bay Area.)

4. Jay-Z – “On To The Next One”

I had never really spent very much time thinking about Jay-Z before watching this video. The aesthetic is just mind-blowing, stark and elegant, no excess. This has become my favorite song of the year. (I was unsure if it qualifies as a 2010 song, but it does according to my frantic Googling, so I’m going to go with that.)

3. Das Racist – “Who’s That? Brooown!”

This is another interactive one, as there’s also a game version. (I didn’t do very well on it, I’m pretty sure I let the band get eaten by sharks when I tried to play.) Done in an 8-bit animation style, this video isn’t exactly the height of visual refinement, but it still has a lot to offer. There are hoverboards, Kirsten “I’m suing Vampire Weekend for $2 million” Kennis as a villain, some light Sarah Palin mockery, and more!

2. Vampire Weekend – “Giving Up The Gun”

Obviously, I love this song. This is just a great combination of aesthetic purity, layers of cultural references, humor, and a reasonably compelling narrative. It actually sort of reminds me of “On To The Next One” with the way space is used. “Giving Up the Gun” got a decent amount of attention for its bizarre collection of cameos, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Lil Jon, RZA, and Joe Jonas. Even though this year has been such that the Joe Jonas appearance isn’t as funny now as it was when the video debuted in February, these guests add an ever-so-slightly surreal aspect to it.

Also, it’s hard to resist anything that involves people setting stuff on fire with their eyes.

1. Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”

I have spent the past two-plus months pretty much wanting to live in this video. I mean, why wouldn’t you? This may not be a particularly ambitious promo in terms of telling a story, but you can’t beat that vibe. You could call the cameos gimmicky, but everyone’s legitimately connected somehow, and Kanye and Pharrell are just so undeniably cool that it shouldn’t even be a question. It’s kind of disappointing that this song never really took off in America the way it has in Europe. Its catchiness is out of control. I’m looking forward to hearing more from Alain and Armand.

Update + Vampire Weekend iTunes session

It may be winter break, but I’m staying involved with American Songwriter. A picture I took of Matt & Kim was featured in AS’s top photos of 2010. I also reviewed Vampire Weekend’s iTunes session that came out today. As much as it’s obvious that I love them, I sincerely feel like these live versions feature some exemplary musicianship. The extended version of “Holiday” really shows off their dedication to songwriting and the willingness to play around with different sounds that is what sets Vampire Weekend apart. Here’s a video from one of their previous performances of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m Going Down”:

Top Eight Thursday: 16 December 2010

1. Foals – Total Life Forever
2. Chromeo – I Can’t Tell You Why (The Eagles cover)
3. Vampire Weekend – Fight For This Love (Cheryl Cole cover)
4. Foals – Spanish Sahara
5. Das Racist – I’m Up On That (ft. Homeboy Sandman)
6. Cold War Kids – I’ve Seen Enough
7. Sleigh Bells – Infinity Guitars
8. Major Lazer – When You Hear The Bassline

Listen here

I haven’t totally dug into it yet, but I’m regretting not listening to Foals’ Total Life Forever sooner, it’s a great album. Vampire Weekend covered “Fight For This Love” for Live Lounge today, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a significant part of this afternoon watching Girls Aloud videos and remembering how much I enjoy them. I had the pleasure of seeing Cold War Kids at Third Man Records on Sunday, and the new stuff sounds great.

Grammys 2011: How far can indie artists go?

Thanks to the power of social networking, I had a wee chat with Filter Magazine’s Twitter account this morning regarding the nominations for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.

@FILTERmagazine: Do any of you care about the Grammy noms that were announced last night? Like, actually care. Genuinely curious here.

@TheWristbands: There were some surprisingly good choices in there. Vampire Weekend, Arcade Fire, Janelle Monáe, etc deserve recognition.

@FILTERmagazine: But does this recognition mean anything anymore? Debatable!

@TheWristbands: At the very least, it shows that some people have better taste than Katy and Bieber. Hope for the future of creative voices!

@FILTERmagazine: except they both also got noms…

@TheWristbands: Which I wish was a joke. Ultimately, the independent minds will still be respected in the future for more than quick $$$.

I’d like to expound on this in more than 140 characters. If you have paid attention to independent rock music at all this year, you know that Vampire Weekend’s Contra and Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs were not only released to significant acclaim, but they debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts. This has been accordingly rewarded with both albums being nominated for Best Alternative Music Album; The Suburbs is also up for Album of the Year. The success of these albums is a triumph for indie music. However, as noted above, they do not represent the whole of the nominees list by any stretch.

If you know me or have read this blog, you know that I primarily listen to indie music. Over the years, my reasoning behind this has evolved from a high school desire to be cool and different to actually qualifying what I like and dislike. I listen to Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire because I appreciate things that challenge me intellectually and creatively. Katy Perry and Justin Bieber have nothing to offer me in those respects. It is not so much that they are highly commercial as that they do not present anything particularly interesting or thought-provoking. This is why Kanye West, one of the biggest pop stars in the world, was hailed in the indie community long before he collaborated with Bon Iver–he has a strong artistic vision that is very much his own and not manufactured to the specifications of middle America.

It’s no secret that many indie fans love bemoaning the superficialities that saturate the mainstream. It seems unlikely that albums of the same ilk as The Suburbs and Contra will ever compose a significant portion of the top 40. However, the inclusion of artists such as Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Florence + the Machine, and Janelle Monáe shows that not only are creative, intelligent people making music, but that creative, intelligent people are listening to it. And with that, we may some day have a more creative, intelligent culture. (This is unlikely, but we can still hope.)

A little about Avi Buffalo and a lot about why I’m a journalism major

I have been reading quite a bit of Pitchfork Reviews Reviews lately, so I apologize in advance if this sounds sort of like that. I don’t want to jack his style, which is arguably embarrassing for a journalism major, but I do like how honest he is.

Last night, I went to see Avi Buffalo at Exit/In. Before they went on, I went up to the merch stand to see what was on offer, and I started talking to George, their merch guy, and a girl whose name I can’t remember. Avi Buffalo are doing a special tour EP where all of the cases are plain cardboard so that people can draw on them, and the girl was killing time by doodling on some of those covers. George offered me one, and because I’m not very good at drawing, I just indecorously scrawled “CALIFORNIA” with “screw Katy Perry” in smaller letters. George told me he actually likes Katy Perry, and I wanted to talk about it, but it didn’t feel right at that moment.

One of them asked me what I did, and I said that I was a journalism student, that I decided to switch after a year of being a music business major. They wanted to know why, and I said it was because I was more interested in the cultural aspects of music and the entertainment industry. The girl asked me to explain. I launched into this ramble about how Vampire Weekend are one of my favorite bands because, in addition to making good songs and really caring about what they do, they also bring up all of these questions about class that you normally see more in the British music scene, like in the mid-90s with Blur and Oasis. She asked me if Vampire Weekend were British, and I said, “No, they’re American.” She said, “We don’t like to talk about class here,” and I agreed. George said something about how Avi Buffalo had opened for Vampire Weekend one time, and I sort of haphazardly plowed on and started talking about how Das Racist are really interesting because they metabolize a combination of highbrow and lowbrow cultural references into much more blatant statements about class and race in America. Then Avi Buffalo started to play and the girl and I left to go watch them.

The band were pretty good, but I could definitely tell that it was the first night of the tour. Their keyboardist just left, so Avi had to juggle playing guitar and putting on the loops of the parts that they didn’t have a fourth person to play. They still sounded tight as a three-piece, and I wish them the best of luck on this tour. While they played, I started thinking about how young they are, fresh out of high school, and how young Arctic Monkeys were when they first signed to Domino and broke the UK record for fastest-selling debut album. I was younger than Arctic Monkeys were then, and I’m older than Avi Buffalo are now, and I had to stop myself from having a mini-crisis over the impermanent nature of youth.

After the show, I went back to the merch table to buy one of the customized tour EPs and I attempted to engage George in a conversation about why he likes Katy Perry. He said it was because she’s just fun, but she certainly doesn’t have a monopoly on fun, and there are plenty of fun artists who don’t make bothersome statements that undermine the legitimate discrimination that LGBT people face on a daily basis. People say that Lady Gaga exploits the gay audience for her own personal gain, but Katy Perry has done that on a much grander scale with her songs. Regardless of her intentions, Gaga ultimately maintains a consistently positive message. And, again, I think I’m a journalism major because we need to talk about why Katy Perry and Lady Gaga matter, even though sometimes it seems like they don’t matter.

Creative promotion: to go away on a summer’s day never seemed so clear

I’d just like to share this Vampire Weekend luggage tag that I picked up yesterday out of the leftover promotional bits and bobs at Grimey’s. As it’s a tie-in for the “Holiday” single release, it’s presumably intended for your vacation identification needs. It might be grasping a little, but I enjoy it.

P1010518

P1010520

Top Eight Thursday: 16 September 2010

1. Chromeo – I Could Be Wrong (ft. Ezra Koenig)
2. Kisses – Midnight Lover
3. Chromeo – Night by Night
4. Summer Camp – Ghost Train
5. Kisses – Kisses
6. Ra Ra Riot – Massachusetts
7. Summer Camp – Jake Ryan
8. Kanye West – Monster (ft. Bon Iver, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj, Jay-Z)

Listen here

My flavor of the month and my flavor of the year teamed up, so of course that’s number one. As per “Midnight Lover,” I would like to take them all out for a nice steak dinner, though I’m pretty sure I’ve read that Mssrs. Macklovitch and Koenig are meat-free and I’m also trying to cut down my carbon footprint. I’m late to the Summer Camp bandwagon, but that’s better than missing it completely.