“I just feel like Vampire Weekend was, ‘OK, they’re an internet band,’” Aaron says, recalling Spin’s thought process. The dawn of the streaming era further awarded curiosity and genre diversification, and further disincentivized the industry to cough up a new putative savior of rock every six months. By Carl Wilson. And nobody was complaining much about it. Two years later, 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City likewise debuted at no. “I was so curious about what sort of Columbia-kid band would be working with Nasty Little Man that I was sitting next to, I think, his girlfriend at the time,” Abebe continues, “and I had to kind of lean over and ask, ‘What band is this?’ She said, ‘Oh, they’re called Vampire Weekend. “Indie rock” still carried considerable weight as a lifestyle brand; the notion of a hot new young rock band was not yet a ridiculous anachronism. And they got you. “I was living up around Columbia at the time,” he recalls, “and I was just riding the subway home and overheard this young guy talking to somebody about, like, ‘Should our band work with Nasty Little Man? “A-Punk” indeed sounds like a straight-A student’s idea of punk; “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” sounds like a louche campus loverboy’s come-on that doubles as a humblebrag about how many passport stamps he’s got. “Because if you haven’t realized the intertwined, recombinant nature of music by now, you shouldn’t even listen to anything new. For every Pitchfork favorite that later hit some semblance of the big time—whether that’s Arcade Fire winning the 2011 Album of the Year Grammy or LCD Soundsystem throwing itself a luxe (and premature) goodbye party at Madison Square Garden that same year—there was a band like Clap Your Hands Say Yeah or Black Kids, lavishly praised at first contact but ferociously dismissed with the very next breath, such that one’s dopey band name might become shorthand for “instant success followed by just-as-instant failure.” The music-internet economy needed a new challenger every few months, but the turnover rate was vicious, and so many of those once-hyped bands never quite got around to feeling … real. “If anything, it leads more people to discover that music. But the band’s cavalier approach to genre and fundamental monied tweeness ruffled feathers by design. And it just so happened that Vampire Weekend wrote better songs and were cuter.”. I don’t know. But in 2007 they were instant, improbable heroes and supervillains all at once. Even by contemporary blog-hype standards, it was a meteoric rise with a deliriously rich culture-war subtext: one of the last major indie bands kicking up a major extended rock-critic argument. But Vampire Weekend, with their 2010 sophomore album, Contra, proved themselves an anomaly once again. CREDIT: Vampire Weekend Responds To Saab Controversy Car fanatics were none-too-thrilled with the lyric video for Vampire Weekend’s “ Diane Young ” and its Saab-arson visuals. Then you just waited for a few idle words to perk up the right ears and light up the right blogs. Rock bands, even of the ironic or postmodern or deconstructed variety, are just another niche now, still a potent lifestyle for some but an increasingly inconsequential subgenre for most. Maybe there’s some pull to this.’”. “And then Vampire Weekend starts playing,” Sanneh continues, still marveling at his suspicious friend’s conversion in real time. Kris Chen, who signed Vampire Weekend to XL Recordings—home to Radiohead, M.I.A., and, soon, Adele—first heard them in early 2007 after looking the band up on Myspace: “I saw them listed for a Mercury Lounge show,” he says via email, “and thought it was such a peculiar name.” He reached out immediately and made the band a mix CD—“maybe to capture everything I heard in their music, or maybe to express songs I loved”—with a tracklist running from exquisite Brazilian troubadour Milton Nascimento to reggae songbird Horace Andy to Scottish post-punk scamps Orange Juice. I think people argue, certainly, about what’s appropriate credit and all that kind of thing, but I tend to enjoy those kinds of culture clashes.”, In 2010, that culture clash still drove much of the conversation around Vampire Weekend’s Contra, which further rankled those critics who found the band exasperating from the start. In retrospect, in broader sonic terms, Vampire Weekend inadvertently helped bring the This Band’s Gonna Be Huge era to a close. That larger debate can be boiled down to the song title “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” (which references a Congolese dance style) and the cheeky Myspace genre tag “Upper West Side Soweto” (which nods to both South Africa and Paul Simon’s vivid but not-uncontroversial reimagination of South Africa). On August 15, 2011, it was announced that Kennis had dropped her lawsuit against XL Recordings and Vampire Weekend after they paid Kennis an … Vampire Weekend’s last album, 2013’s Modern Vampires of the City, was a further maximalist leap and another critical and commercial success: the no. Thoughtful men gently strumming and/or politely shredding guitars are just another niche now, leaving Mac DeMarco and the War on Drugs and the National and the like to rule their amiable kingdoms while laboring under no great motivation to expand them. Their fourth album, Father of the Bride, is out Friday; its best song, lead single “Harmony Hall,” evokes the piano-bashing Rolling Stones at their jolliest, Fatboy Slim at his mellowest, a big-tent jam band at its warmest and least alienating. Contra is, for what it’s worth, the band’s best record, expansive and detailed and bracingly melancholy, though Hopper disagreed in a memorably hostile Chicago Reader review that described it as a “fuckless episode of Gossip Girl written by Jimmy Buffett.” Hopper’s piece also tackled the whiteness issue head-on, along with Koenig’s many interviews addressing it, setting the comment section ablaze and inspiring a relatively cordial Tumblr back-and-forth with Abebe about how critics should address matters of race and class. you can tell how the weather went from sunny to drizzling over the course of the day if you look closely. The gulf between desperately selling yourself and confidently helping Apple sell more hardware. Content ©2020 The Ringer All Rights Reserved, winning the 2011 Album of the Year Grammy. Actually, it's all we've been listening to since it leaked last week. Each new tune sounded like a demo but felt suspiciously complete: the prim Afro-pop filigrees, the Ivy League erudition, the wise-ass hyper-melodiousness. The “alternative” label was superfluous by then; they’d become one of the biggest rock bands in America, period. They’d crossed over to the real world so successfully that it didn’t matter anymore what the internet thought. Vampire Weekend and XL always claimed they followed proper steps to license the photograph, blaming Brody for any wrongdoing. “I think people slowly stopped giving a shit about indie hype bands,” says longtime New York City critic and current Jezebel editor in chief Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, who panned Vampire Weekend’s debut album in The Village Voice alongside a much more positive review written by Mike Powell. “‘Maybe internet bands are the thing that are really going to blow up.’ And we’ve got to jump on that, you know? That's me, many years ago,'" Kennis told Vanity Fair in 2010. But that was a huge risk, because Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Tapes ‘n Tapes, and all those other boring bands never went anywhere. The Oxford comma is so polarizing, the band Vampire Weekend used it as a song title and there’s an entire Twitter account dedicated to celebrities’ opinions on the punctuation. “That spring, after a conversation where I said I could visualize their next 18 months, they rightly challenged me on that assertion,” says Chen, now an executive at Nonesuch Records. The winks pile up: the flirtatious ones and the strategic-cultural-reference ones. “And then they’d hear who they were, and they’d be annoyed.”, Whether you loved to hate them or hated to love them, few modern rock bands inspired stronger feelings faster. For a restless and forever-mutating music press, the whole cycle felt as irresistible as it was inevitable. 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