Artist of the Week: Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend (2006) is an American indie rock band from New York City formed by Ezra Koening (vocals and guitar), Rostam Batmanglij (keyboards and guitar), Chris Baio (bass) and Chris Tomson (drums). The band is a rare case of critical praise with commercial success: in spite of being signed to XL Recordings independent label from the beginning of their career, they have already reached the top of Billboard twice and have had three consecutive top twenty albums in the UK.
After a year in which they were the most hipped unsigned band on the planet (via social media-buzz and music magazines instant crush), Vampire Weekend released their eponymous debut in 2008, a record that delivered a couple of hits («A-Punk» and «Oxford Comma») and showed to the world their sophisticated combination of preppy indie rock with joyful, Afro-pop inspired melodies and rhythms, that deserved them comparisons with artists who had already attempted a similar approach such as Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel (though Serge Gainsbourg did it many years before any of them). The release of the first record of Rostam Batmanglij and Wes Miles (Ra Ra Riot) side project Discovery (2009’s LP) influenced Vampire Weeekend’s more electronic sophomore album (2010’s Contra) and definitely projected the quartet as an icon of indie cult artists turned into planetary stars.
After a rather original promotional campaign (hosted by no other than Steve Buscemi himself), their new record Modern Vampires of the City is here to prove that Vampire Weekend’s music has still new and stimulating paths to explore.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.