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Music Review: Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend

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A film entitled Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist recently came out. The film centers on kids spending the night together with the same taste in music. Their love for independent alternative rock bands unites them. In the film, a track by a New York Indie band, Vampire Weekend named “Ottoman” makes its debut and also appears on the  soundtrack.

When I heard about this band, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I couldn’t believe that a band that made such beautiful music flew completely under my radar. Vampire Weekend is praised by internationally recognized media outlets such as Rolling Stone, Spin, and NME.

Vampire Weekend was formed in 2006 by singer/guitarist Ezra Koenig. Their first single off of their Self titled-debut album “Mansard Roof” is strangely unique in that it has African Tribal influence combined with what sounds like the mandolin from “That’s Amore” backed by drummer Topper Headon.

The most popular song off the record is “A-Punk” which was criticized and called the weakest song on the album at first. Given it's mainstream-like tendencies, "A-Punk" is far from the standard and predictable song.

The best aspect about this album is that not one idea is repeated. I have not heard a hook like the one in “A-Punk” since the young Cobain sang about needing an easier friend than the insufficient one he was currently seeing.

“Oxford Comma” begins with a drum introduction that is similar to "The Stooges’ No Fun" by Chris Tomson, but goes into Koenig protesting a group of Colombian students who wish to preserve the Oxford Comma. With splendid keyboard work by Rostam Batmanglij, the single stands out as another brilliant work of art.

The last single on the album “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” was voted by Rolling Stone as one of the best songs of last year for a reason. It is a great sample of nearly all of the album's elements in three minutes. It goes on graceful tangeants including African Tribal beats, brilliant bass lines, great sounding clean guitar riffs, and lyrics about Genesis members. ‘Feels so natural/Peter Gabriel too’ is repeated throughout the chorus to add the comic element Koenig’s last band had, leaving out their notorious repetition.

I have to say Vampire Weekend struck me the same way the Talking Heads first album did. These songs are filled with fresh new ideas and a new original sound from a New York band. Vampire Weekend don’t rip off the Heads or try and sound like one deleted track from Remain in Light after another. Instead, they sound like what David Byrne would presently sound like.

They are currently touring Europe, in support of the album, and are selling out venues all over England and France. When they return to the United States, their first gigs on the East Coast are sold-out as well. If that doesn’t show a little proof that this is a great debut album, Vampire Weekend is set to release a new album in late 2009. Don't be left in the dark without this Cape Code indie band's debut.

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