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Alternative & Indie - Released May 27, 2013 | XL

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 13, 2013 | XL Recordings

Distinctions 4F de Télérama - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
At the time of its release, Modern Vampires of the City was touted as a "deeper" offering from Vampire Weekend. While that's true to an extent, it downplays the equally heartfelt and clever songs on their first two albums. What is undeniable is that Modern Vampires is a lot less obviously showy than the band's previous work. They trade in Contra's bright eclecticism for a less audacious production style and smaller instrumental palette: guitar, organ, harpsichord, and the occasional sample combine into a rarefied sound that suggests a more introspective version of their debut, and the band bookends the album with some of its most literal and insular chamber pop on "Obvious Bicycle" and "Young Lion." Modern Vampires' quieter approach also showcases what might be most enduring about Vampire Weekend's music -- endearing melodies and carefully crafted lyrics. It also fits Ezra Koenig's preoccupations on this set of songs, chief among them the fact that we're all going to die. The band sums up all of this brilliantly on "Step," where the music's hip-hop beats and harpsichords reflect the allusions to Souls of Mischief and growing pains in Koenig's lyrics. Elsewhere, Vampire Weekend tones down the quirks that may have polarized listeners before; songs like "Everlasting Arms" and "Unbelievers" walk the fine line between cheery and grating so well that they could win over those who previously found them too peppy and preppy. Similarly, Modern Vampires of the City's political allusions are also subtler than they were on Contra, where the band brandished them like college students all too willing to display their awareness of current events: Koenig sounds offhanded when he sings "though we live on the US dollar/We got our own sense of time" on "Hannah Hunt," and even the album's most overtly political song, the darkly verbose "Hudson," adopts a more historical stance as it incorporates everything from 17th century explorers, pre-war apartments, and exclusive New York neighborhoods into its meditations on fate versus free will. Of course, Vampire Weekend can't completely stifle their exuberance, and the album's louder moments stand out even more vibrantly against the subdued ones. "Diane Young"'s brash, buzzy mix of doo wop, surf, and punk feels like a nod to Contra as well as Billy Joel's "You May Be Right," and Koenig sings "I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die" with so much joy on "Finger Back" that it celebrates life as much as it contemplates mortality. Ultimately, Modern Vampires of the City is more thoughtful than it is dark, balancing its more serious moments with a lighter touch and more confidence than they've shown before. Even if Koenig and company fear getting old, maturity suits them well. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 27, 2008 | XL Recordings

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music
With the Internet able to build up or tear down artists almost as soon as they start practicing, the advance word and intense scrutiny doesn't always do a band any favors. By the time they've got a full-length album ready to go, the trend-spotters are already several Hot New Bands past them. Vampire Weekend started generating buzz in 2006 -- not long after they formed -- but their self-titled debut album didn't arrive until early 2008. Vampire Weekend also has just a handful of songs that haven't been floating around the 'Net, which may disappoint the kind of people who like to post "First!" on message boards. This doesn't make those songs any less charming, however -- in fact, the band has spent the last year and a half making them even more charming, perfecting the culture collision of indie-, chamber-, and Afro-pop they call "Upper West Side Soweto" by making that unique hybrid of sounds feel completely effortless. So, Vampire Weekend ends up being a more or less official validation of the long-building buzz around the band, served up in packaging that uses the Futura typeface almost as stylishly as Wes Anderson. At times, the album sounds like someone trying to turn a Wes Anderson movie back into music (it's no surprise that the band's keyboardist also writes film scores); there's a similarly precious yet adventurous feel here, as well as a kindred eye and ear for detail. Everything is concise, concentrated, distilled, vivid; Vampire Weekend's world is extremely specific and meticulously crafted, and Vampire Weekend often feels like a concept album about preppy guys who grew up with classical music and recently got really into world music. Amazingly, instead of being alienating, the band's quirks are utterly winning. Scholarly grammar ("Oxford Comma") and architecture ("Mansard Roof") are springboards for songs with impulsive melodies, tricky rhythms, and syncopated basslines. Strings and harpsichords brush up against African-inspired chants on "M79," and lilting Afro-pop guitars and a skanking beat give way to Mellotrons on "A-Punk." It's a given that a band that's this high concept has hyper-literate lyrics: the singer's name is the very writerly Ezra Koenig, and you almost expect to see footnotes in the album's liner notes. Once again, though, Vampire Weekend's words are evocative instead of gimmicky. The irresistible "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" rhymes "Louis Vuitton" with "reggaeton" and "Benneton" and name-drops Peter Gabriel (though it's clear the band spent more time with Paul Simon's Graceland) without feeling contrived. "Campus" is another standout, with lines like "I see you walking across the campus...how am I supposed to pretend I never want to see you again?" throwing listeners into college life no matter what their age. Koenig has a boyish, hopeful quality to his voice that completes Vampire Weekend, especially on bittersweet but irrepressible songs like "I Stand Corrected" and album closer "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance." Fully realized debut albums like Vampire Weekend come along once in a great while, and these songs show that this band is smart, but not too smart for their own good. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 11, 2010 | XL

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
The scholarly Upper West Side Soweto of Vampire Weekend’s debut sounded self-assured, but on Contra, they step out of their ivory tower with just as much confidence. In all senses of the term, this is a sophomore album. The band still flaunts the collegiate sense of discovery that made Vampire Weekend charming -- and sometimes too precious -- but with more maturity and creativity. Another Discovery is just as much of a force on Contra as any of the band’s much-noted influences (Afro-pop, Paul Simon’s Graceland): Rostam Batmanglij’s electro-hip-hop-pop project with Ra Ra Riot’s Wes Miles, which released its album LP after the pair found acclaim with their day jobs. While Vampire Weekend aren’t as shiny and sugary as Discovery, some of that adventurousness rubbed off on Batmanglij’s Contra production, which plays to the band’s biggest strength: inspired juxtaposition. The album’s artwork, which pairs a blonde WASP princess in a popped-collar polo shirt with the term given to Nicaraguan rebels, hints at the flair with which Vampire Weekend play mix-and-match on Contra. They throw listeners into the deep end with “Horchata,” which features a four-on-the-floor beat, thumb piano, rubbery synth bass, and massed harmonies -- almost everything except the spry guitars that helped define their first album. “California English” goes farther, tweaking Ezra Koenig’s yelp with Auto-Tune, the bête noire of those who value “realness” in their music; for Vampire Weekend, it’s just another instrument for them to play with. On paper, Contra’s hybrids seem more contrived than they actually sound: “Giving Up the Gun” fuses baile funk, house and stadium rock into a sweet melody propelled by choppy rhythms. “Diplomat’s Son” is even more far-fetched and fantastic, adding samples of M.I.A. and Toots & the Maytals -- exactly the kind of things you’d expect to hear on a young globetrotter’s iPod -- to nostalgic chamber pop. The album bustles with so many sounds and ideas that it challenges listeners to decide where to put their ears first, particularly on the single “Cousins,” a blur of guitars and jump-cut drums that sounds like abstract punk. Despite this busyness, Vampire Weekend are looser and less cryptic than on their debut, allowing them to tell stories like “Holiday,” an Iraqi war protest set to skanking guitars (ever the font snob, Koenig can’t resist mentioning a headline in “96-point Futura”). Even the few quiet moments are complex: “I Think UR a Contra” closes the album by wanting, and hating, the kind of privilege that brings “good schools and friends with pools.” And though the band is committed to change, the same joy that soared through Vampire Weekend pops up on “White Sky,” which boasts a melody so irrepressible that Paul Simon just might want to borrow it. With Contra, Vampire Weekend make Auto-Tune and real live guitars, Mexican drinks, Jamaican riffs and Upper West Side strings belong together, and this exciting lack of boundaries offers more possibilities than anyone could have expected. ~ Heather Phares
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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2019 | Columbia

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In a little more than a decade, Vampire Weekend has taken it slow. After the eponymous Vampire Weekend (2008), Contra (2010) and Modern Vampires of the City (2013), Ezra Koenig’s band took a six-year break punctuated by the departure of the very influential Rostam Batmanglij who released an excellent solo record Half-Light in 2017. Their last album to date, Modern Vampires of the City, was a distinctive evolution in the works of the New York combo. The Talking Heads influence had been abandoned for a more refined and polished pop sound, found as much in the melodies and harmonies as in its style. Koenig, now the main creative force left in the group, has left New York and relocated to LA. Father of the Bride confirms his artistic ambition. His central style remains inherently pop, but each of the 18 songs in the album offer a different outlook. There is a bit of everything in this copious record; The Beatles, Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac, Supertramp, Paul Simon, Wilco, Grateful Dead and hundreds of other influences can be noted. The collaborators on the album are equally diverse: the pedal steel and impressionist guitars of Greg Leisz, the voice of Danielle Haim of HAIM, the guitar of Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors, Steve Lacy of the Internet and even Rostam enters the fold on two titles. While listening to the record, one might ask themselves if Ezra Koenig has made a White Album (the most eclectic album by the Beatles) all by himself… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative & Indie - Released January 24, 2019 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 6, 2019 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 4, 2019 | Columbia

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 22, 2007 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 17, 2009 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released June 8, 2010 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 20, 2008 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 3, 2014 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 2, 2010 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 11, 2010 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released August 16, 2010 | XL Recordings

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 25, 2013 | XL