"Dedicated To The Winners & The Losers..." - Raekwon

Monday, May 12, 2008

What I Imagine Vampire Weekend Sounds Like Without Ever Having Heard A Single Note From Them

"Blacula > Vampire Weekend."

Despite being fanatically devoted to all things hip hop, I like to attempt and keep up with other burgeoning trends in music that the internets have decided to inexplicably champion; not because I'm interested in listening to it (Because lord knows, I'm not!) but because I feel it's my patriotic duty as a card-carrying member of the Zulu Nation (Well, not really...) to hate on anything that my erstwhile nemesis, Tom Breihan, likes. (It's a calling, really.)

Recently, the Global Hipster Conspiracy At Pitchfork Media have decided that this year they are going to champion a band called "Vampire Weekend" as the poster boys for modern whiny indie rock. They have recently deigned to give Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut an 8.8 out of 10 which is akin to receiving a virtual blowjob from Jenna Jameson and Tera Patrick and on their notoriously difficult-to-please scale. (To give you a reference point, "Sgt. Peppers"would probably receive a 6.5 if it were released today by their standards.) Now I thought it would be interesting to my readers if I reviewed their newest album without having listened to any of their actual music (much like Robert Christgau does when he reviews rap albums not produced by Arrested Development or Outkast). Granted, I'm not sure that their album sounds like anything I'm about to describe but I feel that their album should sound like this. And because, I speak nothing but the pure existential truth about everything, this should be considered the definitive review of Vampire Weekend's self-titled debut. I will not accept opinions to the contrary.

The Name:

From what I understand, Vampire Weekend is not a speed metal band or from Scandanavia. I find this troubling. There is absolutely no acceptable reason a band should be called "Vampire Weekend" unless they are playing their guitars at speeds where one could lop off a finger and are singing about worshiping the devil without irony. Completely and totally without irony. Now because this supposedly isn't true, I can only assume that they are trying to be ironic hipster douche bags which means I automatically have to subtract 2 points from their Pitchfork score. So right off the bat, we are looking at an album that is at best a 6.8. This doesn't look like it's gonna be very good.

Their Appearance:

Judging by this photo of the band, this is a band that uses a lot of acoustic guitars and is probably as a rocking as Joni Mitchell singing about her period. There may or may not be a violinist in the group and probably the hardest drug they've ever taken is their little brother's stolen Adderall that they use to stay up and study for their comparative literature exams. All of these are signs that the band is probably wack. I'm of the opinion that if you are going to be in a rock band than you cannot dress like you sing in all men's accapella jazz choir or at any point belonged to the chess team. Grow some long hair and throw on some tight leather pants, guys! Have some respect for your craft! It's against the rules to wear collared oxford shirts on stage and you are immediately disqualified from any chance of rock stardom. Judging by the photo, the dude in the beard probably plays bass, the dude in the head band is probably the lead singer, the guy with all the scarves is definitely the drummer and the nondescript Seth Cohen looking motherfucker on the right probably plays something lame like keyboards. If this isn't absolutely true, I'll eat my ego.

The Album's Track Listing:
  1. "Mansard Roof" – 2:07
  2. "Oxford Comma" – 3:15
  3. "A-Punk" – 2:17
  4. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa – 3:33
  5. "M79" (Vampire Weekend, Koenig, Batmanglij) – 4:14
  6. "Campus" (Rostam Batmanglij, Koenig) – 2:55
  7. "Bryn" – 2:12
  8. "One (Blake's Got a New Face)" (Vampire Weekend, Koening, Slinger Fransisco) – 3:11
  9. "I Stand Corrected" – 2:38
  10. "Walcott" – 3:39
  11. "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" – 4:03
  12. "Ladies of Cambridge" (Japanese edition bonus track) – 2:39
  13. "Arrows" (Japanese edition bonus track) – 3:04
Judging by the songs named like "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance", "Campus," and "I Stand Corrected", I'm guessing their is a lot of music about being alienated because you liked Weezer records, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Magic: The Gathering cards growing up. "Bryn" is definitely a whiny ballad about girl who dumped the lead singer because she wanted to date the quarterback and their definitely is an acoustic guitar that's prominently involved. "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" is definitely a song that is reggae-influenced because at one point, the singer was really into Bob Marley's Legend growing up and wants to show rock critics they have range. Rock critics love reggae influenced jams that show an artists range. "A-Punk" is probably the "rocking" lead single that is designed to make them seem like they aren't the biggest wusses in the world but is dangerously misleading. I'm not saying their is yelling on the chorus of the song but I'll be completely shocked if there isn't.

Overall, I found this record to be decent if you want to pretend you still like indie rock. I can't say for sure that indie rock is still extremely lame but this group's name, photographs and track listing has probably re-assured that for me. Until, Kurt Cobain resurrects himself from the dead, I'll probably stick with listening to Masta Ace records. I feel that I made the right decision.

The Good Doctor Zeus' Adjusted Pitchfork Score: 5.9


Jay Smooth said...

Your imaginary version of the band sounds a lot less annoying than the real one, can we arrange a trade?

DocZeus said...

"Your imaginary version of the band sounds a lot less annoying than the real one, can we arrange a trade?"

Oh my god, is it worse than what I described. It's not like all static-y fuzz noise rock and conceptual songs about Proust fucking your sister or anything?

Jason said...

It's god-awful Paul Simon lite Afro-pop, and their sound makes me want to put my head in an oven. A band that plays a similar type of music that has some talent, Nomo, gets totally passed over by PFork. Probably cause 4 white kids from the northeast beats a twelve piece from Ann Arbor.

zpinzane said...

"Judging by the photo, the dude in the beard probably plays bass, the dude in the head band is probably the lead singer, the guy with all the scarves is definitely the drummer and the nondescript Seth Cohen looking motherfucker on the right probably plays something lame like keyboards."

Hahaha. Man... I think I actually prefer these non-listened to, postmodern reviews then the actual deals. Now I know to definately not bother stealing this album.

But one question, do you think the band would be more into "fuzzy squals of catatonic drudge-buzz" or "jitteringly-elusive percusive picks, chops and bravado"?

Thanks for your time

tray said...

It's god-awful Paul Simon lite Afro-pop

Ugh, that shit's the worst.

Also, Pitchfork's not all that tough. They just don't give high marks to underground rappers, which is as it should be.

DocZeus said...

They sound like Paul Simon?!?! This is worse than I could possibly imagine!

padraig said...

^yeah, but to be fair (to Paul Simon, not Vampire Weekend) that fairly lazy comparison is made specifically about "Graceland" which for anyone not familiar was the album he made w/Ladysmith Black Mambazo & a bunch of other South African musicians (including giants Miriam Makeba & Hugh Masakela but I'm not sure if those two are actually on the album or just the tour that followed). it's actually, unlike Vampire Weekend, pretty awesome.

padraig said...

^I guess I should be clear that it's awesome b/c of the African musicians, not Paul Simon - I'm not familiar w/any of his other work (besides those songs from The Graduate) but I gather that most of it sucks. I'm not into singer-songwriters in any case, but Graceland is far more King Sunny Ade in spirit than it is Simon & Garfunkel.

Jason said...

It is a comparison to just Graceland, my fault for not being specific. Still though, besides the backing band behind Simon the rest of it holds true. It's not that lazy either.

floodwatch said...

This band holds the unique distinction of receiving a healthy amount of hate from me, yet like the good doctor, I've never heard a note of their music. When I see a photo like that and the phrase "afro-pop" nearby, I avoid that shit like the plague.

What a great idea for a review. Hats off, sir.

padraig said...

jason - oh, I didn't mean you. I don't have such high standards for blog comments. I was referring to official reviews by people who are being paid - nearly every one I've seen has busted out "Graceland" as an easy reference point. admittedly it makes sense - snooty American English majors crib from African pop and so on - but I think a shitty version of latter Talking Heads is a much more apt description. I'm not defending Paul Simon either, just his backing band & colloborators on Graceland (except Linda Rondstadt b/c fuk her & also b/c she broke the cultural boycott of apartheid to play a resort casino in a bantustan, though so did Ray Charles & the O'Jays so go figure) who we can agree are x100000 better than both Simon & Vampire Weekend.

tray said...

No no no, Graceland is terrible. The backing band may be comprised of brilliant African musicians for all I know, but it (a) doesn't work with Simon, and (b) Simon himself is just so nauseating that it doesn't matter. So smug and fake and fey.

Dan said...

Ehh, for all that's been said about the "afro-pop influence" evident in their music or whatever, I think even that's all hype. They've got like one song that's all world-ed out, maybe three at best at that are semi-influenced (read: their guitars are "kinda trebly"), and the rest are just regular ol' nuggets of unmemorable, samey indie pop/rock whatever. Even their "gimmick" or whatever isn't too evident, which is kind of disappointing. I mean, for all the accusations of being children of privilege co-opting African music, or at best sounding too much like Paul Simon, I wish they at least had the balls or the inspiration to stand behind their stylistic decisions more.

rm said...

I think I'm probably the only person who likes their album that reads this site, but even still this was a hilarious review. I think you should make this a regular feature.

Alaina S. said...

I think you're getting a little too worked up...especially concerning their name and appearance. Why don't you just go with it?

Anonymous said...

Fuck You.