Friday, February 22, 2008

Is your bed made? Is your sweater on?

So my new favorite album is Vampire Weekend, by Vampire Weekend. I'm not linking to anything of theirs (videos, websites, etc.), because I haven't seen anything. I'm trying to keep myself uncorrupted by hype to see if I really like them as much as I think I do. Does that make any sense? I feel like I came to their music legitimately (whatever that means) because I heard them on the radio first, and responded to their music and nothing else.

I was in the car with Nolan coming back from our music class, and I heard this song that was a crazy schizoid mish-mash of genres - it sounded like some sort of Afro-beat funk combo, but then the singer came in like your traditional semi-whiney alternative white dude, and I was all, "Eh?" Nolan said, "What's this song called, Mommy?" And I was like, "I have no idea, but I like it." And of course the DJ never tells you the name of the song when you want them to, so I made a mental note of the time (Saturday, 11am) so I could look on the XPN website's playlists and find out who it was. It takes a few days for them to get their lists up on their site, so I had to keep checking back. Then when they finally had Saturday posted, I couldn't tell which order the songs were played in, so I didn't know if the top of the list was the end of the hour, or vice-versa. So I ended up going through the list looking for all the names of bands I'd never heard of (which is 90% of them, since I'm such a clueless dork), finding that band/album on Amazon and listening to the sample to see if it matched up with what I remembered of the song in my head.

It took me a while, but I finally found them. Part of the reason it took me so long was the name "Vampire Weekend" sounds to me like a Jesus and Mary Chain knock-off - some sort of Goth wannabe band - so I didn't even try them until the end of the list.

So. The album. Vampire Weekend sound like Paul Simon and David Byrne had a musical love child, and then hired the Shins to be their nanny. Paul Simon and David Byrne happen to be two of my favorite musicians EVAH, and then VW also name-drop Peter Gabriel in one of the songs, thus completing the triumvirate of Angsty White Guys Who Incorporate (Some Might Say Co-opt, Or Even Steal) World Music Into Their Sound And Also Have Excellent Lyrics. The guitar sound is quite reminiscent of Simon's Graceland album, while the beats and riffs are not what you typically get on an "alternative" album. The only place I find the album to be kind of so-so is in the lyrics. They're fluffy and light and silly in places. Some of the songs are better than others (Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, Oxford Comma), but they're all short and inventive, and the album as a whole is fun and energetic and fresh - makes me want to find an excuse to go on a road trip, if only so I could zoom along and blast it from the stereo. (I know, I'll never be a music critic.)

I immediately downloaded the entire album, and then did that embarrassing thing where when you like something so much you pretty much force it on your friends/lovers/roommates just to gauge their reaction and see if they love it as much as you do. Poor KB. Ten o'clock on a Wednesday night, he's trying to go to bed, and I'm shoving my iPod at him going, "You have to listen to this!" (He was very diplomatic in his response - he listened to one song, said, "I can see why you would be into this," turned over, and went to sleep.)

I understand they're quite the media darlings at the moment, or that's what I gathered from reading some of the reviews on Amazon. I wouldn't really know - I haven't watched MTV in years, and I stopped subscribing to Rolling Stone when I left L.A. I guess that's why I feel that my experience of them is somehow more authentic, because I only know them from their music - I have no idea what they look like, how old they are, what country they're from, any of that. I know I could find out quickly enough with a search on YouTube, and probably will eventually, but for right now I just want to keep my infatuation pure.

Now I must go listen again.

Thanks for reading.


Erica said...

Cool! I will have to check them out. I am constantly looking for new music because I get sick of my tunes really quickly. Playing the same song repeatedly seems to do that for some reason...:) I also noticed that you have Tegan and Sara on your wishlist. I have The Con and if you want I can burn it and send it to you. I love those girls!

thptpth said...

That would be the shizzle - I haven't gotten around to ordering that one yet. (KB and I are implementing the monthly allowance idea that you and the J-man use. I blew my first month's allowance on a new battery for the Powerbook.)

How was the interview? Perhaps I'll call you this afternoon...

Zach said...

Hmm... never heard of 'em. Of course, I'm a complete music dolt.

I shall go listen at once.