Gone are the days of touring endless bars half-full of drunk college kids for $50 and free beer until your band scrapes up enough money to record a demo and hope some label takes a chance. Even then, your band would need to make a hit music video or get on a magazine cover before becoming “big.”
In the age of MySpace, YouTube, FaceBook and thousands of music blogs, it is possible for a band to go from “total unknown” to “next big thing” in the blink of an eye. Vampire Weekend is one of these bands.
A few of the band’s songs have been circulating the Internet since late 2007. The subsequent hype and “you got to check this out!” groundswell reached epic proportions – cresting with the release of the band’s self titled LP on
The song most are familiar with is “A-Punk,” a clip of which is shown after a number of MTV shows. Featuring the band’s signature surf-rock guitars and a healthy dose of sing-along-able “ohs” and “heys,” it’s easy to see why this song was chosen to represent the band’s style.
Indeed, Vampire Weekend’s music conjures images of Hawaiian shirts and sandy beaches. Keeping in theme, the band’s lyrics reference
Album standout, “Walcott” is an upbeat, piano-filled story about the trappings of
Off of “Walcott”: “Walcott/Mystic seaport/Is that that way/Don't you know/That your life could be lost?/Out of Cape Cod tonight.”
Vampire Weekend’s influences are clear on “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa.” Lyrically referring to Peter Gabriel and stylistically sounding a lot like Paul Simon. There’s bongo, maraca, simple, short guitar and kitschy lyrics. “Is your bed made?/Is your sweater on?/Do you want to/Like you know I do.”
“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” represents what Vampire Weekend are about. They’re fun, a little immature, simple musically and pretty damn good song writers.
Vampire Weekend is an interesting record. It may seem unappealing – too happy, sunny or goofy, to some listeners. But after one listen, you just want to hear that one song again. Soon, one song turns into two. And then three. Suddenly, you’ll have listened to the whole thing three times.
Try as one might, it is very difficult to resist the charms of these four Columbia-schooled New Yorkers with their argyle sweaters and button-down shirts. Their two and a half minute pop vignettes will be playing in your head the minute you turn the record off – if you can, that is.
Vampire Weekend, "A-Punk."