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Video of the Moment #2927: Vampire Weekend

 
By on Thursday, 21st February 2019 at 6:00 pm
 

The preppy, boat shoe-wearing Vampire Weekend returned last month with a new song, ‘Harmony Hall’. If I were to guess what the promo video to go with the single means, I think it’s a nod to frontman Ezra Koenig’s new-found domesticity since the birth of his son Isaiah last summer. He’s breaking eggs and looking like he’s making breakfast, a children’s favourite, pancakes, and in fun shapes, too! There’s a bright green python in this video, too, who’s not looking so scary but instead, oddly making yawning motions. Snakes are long and represent fertility and the renewal of life in many spiritual traditions. The fruit the snake slithers and ‘walks’ on represent the circle of life. If anything, it’s worth watching this video just to watch a snake yawn! ‘Father of the Bride’, the band’s fourth studio album and their first album since 2013’s ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, is expected in April on Columbia Records. It’s been a spell since I’ve written about them, but you can read our past coverage on Vampire Weekend through here.

 

Vampire Weekend / November 2013 UK Tour

 
By on Monday, 8th July 2013 at 9:00 am
 

Those chirpy Afropoppers Vampire Weekend will be coming to the UK in November for a short arena tour. Tickets go on sale on Friday 12 July at 9 AM. Support on all dates will be Noah and the Whale.

The band’s third album ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ is out now on XL.

Tuesday 12th November 2013 – Birmingham NIA
Wednesday 13th November 2013 – London O2
Friday 15th November 2013 – Glasgow Hydro
Saturday 16th November2013 – Leeds First Direct Arena
Sunday 17th November 2013 – Manchester Arena

 

Video of the Moment #1229: Vampire Weekend

 
By on Sunday, 9th June 2013 at 10:00 am
 

There’s a lot being made about the, err, unusual use of a saxophone in the new Vampire Weekend video for ‘Diane Young’. If you have no idea what we’re going on about, then you’ll just have to watch the video below. Also, is the balaclava-clad man a homage to Pussy Riot? No idea.

Read guest reviewer Jordy Fujiwara’s impressions of ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’ here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG6lTQNW04I[/youtube]

 

In the Post #105: Vampire Weekend return with new tracks ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’

 
By on Thursday, 25th April 2013 at 12:00 pm
 

Words by Jordy Fujiwara

It’s been more than three years since the album ‘Contra’ was released, so it’s understandable that Vampire Weekend would look to build some considerable hype for the upcoming ‘Modern Vampires of the City’ album, due out the 13th of May on XL Recordings.

In addition to a partnership with VEVO, YouTube, American Express and, serendipitously enough, actor Steve Buscemi, the band has circulated two very interesting songs online. ‘Diane Young’ and ‘Step’ were uploaded to YouTube on the same day, enjoying almost exactly the same amount of views to date – about 1.4 million each. Both tracks are excellent in their own right, but what I find the most intriguing is how they are such polar opposites in many respects. So much so that I can’t help but assume the boys chose to preview these two for a reason. The videos are down below, but let’s talk about them first.

‘Diane Young’ is a very punchy, driving song that dives right in and doesn’t really slow down. It’s loud and unapologetic with interjecting ‘Miserlou’-style riffs and a thrashy-crashy reverb-laden percussion. ‘Step’ on the other hand has patient pace. The keys and a calm bass lead the melody. The song feels like it unfurls musically, as the octaves build soothingly through Ezra Koenig’s passionate delivery.

Lyrically, I feel like ‘Diane Young’ is much more straightforward (well, for Vampire Weekend at least). The verses are nice, structured AABBs. The bridge and hook are simple and catchy (“baby baby baby!”); you can get into this song without having to really grasp the depth of the story itself. That said, it is interesting to interpret Diane Young as “dying young” and explore the hints in the words that speak to death and living in or for the moment.

‘Step’ takes a different approach. It is a very rich, lyrical song, chalk full of references, little allegories and clever phrasings like, “I just ignored all the details of a past life / stale conversation deserves but a butter knife”. The verses are much less structured than ‘Diane Young’, flowing more like poetry and relying on Koenig’s timing and meter to complement the music. Each line reads like a profound revelation, and you find yourself really trying to figure out what it might mean – for yourself, for life, for love… in other words this song makes you think. (If you want to really tear apart the lyrical meanings for either song, I suggest you head over to rapgenius.com and search for these tracks there – folks have put a lot of time and energy going through them both almost line by line.)

Finally, the videos. If the little analysis above doesn’t cement the idea that these two pieces aren’t just different, but almost diametrically opposed, then the videos will. ‘Diane Young’ is shot in rich colour – ‘Step’ is black and white. ‘Diane…’ barely cuts at all; it just recycles the same few seconds of slow-mo video; ‘Step’ cuts at practically every measure and is shot at regular speed. The video for ‘Diane Young’ is blatantly tied to the first line (“you torched a Saab like a pile of leaves”)’ ‘Step’s use of everyday scenes from New York is clearly not as overt, though the city is mentioned in the song and, of course, the band is from NYC. And glaringly, ‘Diane Young’ is not a lyrics video, where Step seems like it was almost built with karaoke in mind, which speaks to which song was felt to have more lyrical presence.

With all that in mind, have a look for yourself at the video below if you haven’t already. Can you spot any more differences? Together, they’re billed as a double A- single, and I think they make a lovely, complementary pair. If they represent two ends of the range of songs we’re to expect with ‘Modern Vampires of the City’, it’ll be a triumph of an album for these young and burgeoning artists.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mX46e4GtlXM[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mDxcDjg9P4[/youtube]

 

In the Post #96: Vampire Weekend premiere new track ‘Unbelievers’ on American late night show Jimmy Kimmel Live

 
By on Thursday, 8th November 2012 at 12:00 pm
 

Just as the world’s eyes turn to America in the wake of the general election, everyone’s favourite American indie pop superstars Vampire Weekend are back with a new song, ‘Unbelievers’. The band premiered the song on American late night talk show Jimmy Kimmel Live on Halloween night, dressed as skeletons.

The guitars don’t seem to have changed a bit; they’re still played with that boyish, bounciness that gives Vampire Weekend that unique edge. Erza Koenig’s voice still sounds like a young boy who’s feverishly anticipating puberty, and with the youthful exuberance that this song centres on, it works brilliantly.

Rostam Batmanglij’s quick fire pianos keep the minimalistic track going brilliantly, while various percussion bits, ably provided by engine room Chris Tomson, are just toe-tappingly good. The song’s bounce continues throughout into a number, which could easily do what ‘A-Punk’ did and be the standout track of festival season next year. It might be a rash claim, but I’m willing to back it.

Vampire Weekend managed the difficult second album ‘Contra’ without missing a beat and songs like ‘Giving up the Gun’ and ‘I Think Ur a Contra’ showed an added maturity from the band. They weren’t just there for the big bouncy summer tunes like ‘A-Punk.’ Nope, they’re about the long run. And ‘Unbelievers’ is just the start of what is going to be a very successful and interesting few months for Vampire Weekend as if the rest of the album is up to this standard. We just could be seeing these New Yorkers topping the U.S. charts again.

8/10

Watch Vampire Weekend’s live performances of ‘Unbelievers’ and debut album opener ‘Oxford Comma’ below. Ezra Koenig filled fan Web site Team Vampire Weekend in on their work progress, saying “We’ve been working like maniacs for a long time. The time [until the album release] is not so far away, we promise. So we’ll just hang tight to hear further from the Vampire Weekend camp then.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSeKa8VVWdM[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQvM6bdYrrM[/youtube]

 

The Guardian Open Weekend: Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 28th March 2012 at 11:00 am
 

One of the scariest ideas for a newspaper editor is to let the public into your offices. Just think of the havoc they’d cause? Stories leaked, interviews ruined and coffee supplies exhausted: it just doesn’t bear thinking about. But what if you invited your loyal readers into your hallowed domain and actively encouraged them to get involved and contribute to the success of the stories happening around them. But what newspaper would be daft enough to consider this notion? The Guardian.

This past weekend (24-25 March) saw the Guardian doors flung open for all to see as 5000 Guardianistas filed into Kings Place for two days of eye-opening discussion, heated debate and high quality journalism.

The charismatic, charming and ever-so-slightly odd Grayson Perry took the hot seat in Hall One as he was interviewed by Decca Aitkenhead who took the bulk of her questions from tweets that had been sent in, including one from Grayson’s wife who asked “What’s for dinner?” Grayson talked openly about his influences, the art world and other artists, stating “the only interesting thing about Damien Hirst is probably his bank accounts”. As Grayson answered questions both from Decca and the audience for an hour, he had the room hanging on his every word. Despite being quite media-friendly, Grayson is always a joy to listen to as he describes his relationship with Alan Measles, therapy and Claire. You can watch highlights of the interview here.

It wasn’t long before the Guardian heavyweights arrived at the Open Weekend to show the public how journalism is done. Chaired by Channel 4 news presenter Jon Snow, a debate entitled “What does the phone hacking scandal tell us about Britain?” featuring investigative journalist Nick Davies, Tom Watson MP, former Daily Mirror editor David Banks, Guardian journalist Amelia Hill and as a special treat the editor himself, Alan Rusbridger. Tom Watson – who has been at the forefront of the Leveson enquiry – blamed “weak political leadership” from as far back as Thatcher and that there almost certainly had been occasions when MPs refused to speak out for fear of a tabloid backlash against them. Nick Davies – the man who broke the Milly Dowler phone hacking scandal – even suggested that ‘dark arts’ were prevalent in TV news and that we’d have to wait until it came out. At times it was a gang of Guardian journos against the ex-tabloid leader, but even Davies slammed the Guardian for covering the ‘tabloid story’ of Jade Goody’s death. But for an audience of Guardian readers, it was like watching the masters at work.

One of the heroes of the phone-hacking scandal closed the Saturday in an interview with Alan Rusbridger himself. Steve Coogan revealed that overall it cost him £400,000 in legal fees and to gather enough evidence to take News International to court, and he only received £370,000 in compensation, but it was about the principle. Coogan had no qualms about the fact that the stories reported by News of the World were true, but they were “no-one’s fucking business” and that what happened to him wasn’t extraordinary but “typical”. He talked freely about being stitched up by Andy Coulson’s “bad behaviour” and how he was trapped by NotW. Watch highlights of the interview here.

One of the most hyped talks on Sunday was the “Will the internet ever be open?” debate, with guests Richard Allan (director of policy of Facebook in Europe), Rachel Whetstone (global head of communications and public policy for Google) and internet boffin favourite Clay Shirky (professor at NYU). China and Iran’s internet policies dominated the discussion as each of panel gave their thoughts on an internal internet and censorship. There was a definite degree of animosity between Allan and Whetstone and the audience were very aware of the online privacy issues that Facebook is the poster child for. Allan tried to quash these stories by explaining they don’t sell personal data, targeted advertising could go to all people of the same age with the same interests, but advertisers don’t have your personal information. This still didn’t settle with the audience.

For something musical (don’t forget you’re still readingTGTF), the Guardian’s music editor Caspar Llewellyn Smith hosted a discussion on “Music’s global revolutions” with guests DJ Abrantee, editor of fRoots magazine Ian Anderson, co-founder of Africa Express Ian Birrell and DJ/producer Johan Hugo, part of the Very Best. The primary theme of the talk was that African music, especially traditional music from Mali and Madagascar. As western music tries to reinvent itself and bands keep trying different things, bands such as Vampire Weekend are notable for being influenced in their later material by African tribal beats. Hip hop too has made itself known across the globe with different countries and institutions stamping their own sound firmly on it. But it’s the traditional, original sounds from traditional African instruments that impress these seasoned musical aficionados and are keen to see more African artists gain more exposure in the UK. Make it happen, people!

There are already rumours of another Open Weekend happening next year and if so then try your hardest to get there. Where else can you find some of the best journalists in the UK – arguably the world – under one roof, ready for your questions and input? The Guardian.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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