Hey What’s Up With…is an on-going series in which we check in on some of Giddy Up America’s favorite bands and musicians that we haven’t heard much about lately. This is the first installment.
Believe it or not, it’s been four long years since Vampire Weekend released an album. Four years. It doesn’t really feel like it, until you think about it. Then it totally feels like it. The passage of time is fickle that way.
The band released their highly anticipated third album Modern Vampires of the City in May of 2013. The fine folks at Pitchfork named the album their best album of the year. I didn’t feel nearly as strongly about it, but hey, we all have our preferences and opinions, right? My biggest beef with the album was that it didn’t have the punch, swagger and enthusiasm of their first two albums: Vampire Weekend and Contra. It was more atmospheric, more meditative in a sense.
The album’s lead single “Diane Young” was somewhat of a rope-a-dope. It felt like old Vampire Weekend, but ultimately wasn’t entirely representative of the rest of the album. It’s kind of sneaky when bands do that. I’m not a fan. That Irish Hobbit Ed Sheeran is the most recent artist to do this because come on, there’s no way there is anything else on his new album that sounds like it’s lead single “Shape of You.” I’ll save the Sheeran-bashing for another time, though. That’s not why we’re here.
Another single from the album, “Step,” was far more representative of the sound and vibe of the album.
So let’s get back to it and ask Hey, what’s up with Vampire Weekend? The band was all over the place following the release of Modern Vampires, but then they just kind of disappeared. In January of 2016 the band’s guitarist Rostam Batmanglij left to do his own thing, meaning that whatever comes next for Vampire Weekend will be their first project without him. But would there even a be a project that would be Rostam-less?
The band’s frontman Ezra Koening took to Instagram in late March to provide a little bit of an update on the band and what they were working on, saying that they’ve been slowly writing and recording songs for a forthcoming album.
every day I get comments & questions about the next Vampire Weekend album. obviously, we gotta take our time & get it right but the fans deserve some information. I know it feels like it’s been an eternity since the last one but time…is strange. this is what’s been happening: 2013- MVOTC release 2014 – still touring/promoting 2015 – mental health year (putting 3 albums in stores was taxing), worked on a vibey project you’ll hear abt soon 2016- writing LP4, long days in the library researching w/ the grad students 2017 – recording, trying to finish ASAP what else can I tell you without playing myself? hmm, it’s a lil more springtime than the last one. guitar’s not dead. there are songs (currently) called “Conversation” & “Flower Moon.” Flower Moon is hard to finish but I think it belongs on the album. working title is still Mitsubishi Macchiato cuz it is a helpful concept. I should probably stop there cuz all of that information is subject to change & I can't tell you the really good stuff anyway 🍍🔥🍍🎶🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗🌘🌚
Yet with nothing more to work off of, we are still left to wait and wonder. It’s a shame they aren’t able to release something in the next few weeks as Vampire Weekend is reliably solid summertime music. They really have managed to create this weird, updated version of Paul Simon’s Graceland-era music and to do so without sounding cheap or lazy or lame. The band’s track record is so interesting and eclectic that it makes fans miss them even more than they normally would. At this point, there’s really nothing out that sounds like Vampire Weekend. That goes for what they’ve released so far and will be applicable in regards to whatever they release next.
We just don’t know when that’ll be.