Hangout Fest profile: Vampire Weekend

Hangout Fest profile: Vampire Weekend
Ezra Koenig brings Vampire Weekend to the Pandora Surf Stage on May 17 at Hangout Fest. (Monika Mogi)

Performer: Vampire Weekend

Hangout Fest: Friday, May 17 at 7:45 p.m. on the Pandora Surf Stage.

Type of music: Indie Pop/Rock

About: It was pretty obvious when Vampire Weekend released the single “Harmony Hall” that the band’s fourth studio album “Father of the Bride,” was going to be different from its predecessors.

For starters, “Harmony Hall” is catchier and more melodic than a typical Vampire Weekend song. The lyrics are also more direct than band leader Ezra Koenig has a reputation for writing.

The other songs on “Father of the Bride” show a similar evolution of the band. It also shows Vampire Weekend’s ambition – it’s a double album and has collaborations with Steve Lacy, Mark Ronson, Dave and Jake Longstreth, BloodPop, iLoveMakonnen and DJ Dahi. Haim’s Danielle Haim also adds vocals to a number of tracks, including some stunning duets.

Another change is the lineup. Founding member Rostam Batmanglij is no longer a part of Vampire Weekend. Bassist Chris Baio, drummer Chris Tomson and Koenig make up the core band.

The radio play that “Harmony Hall” and other releases from “Father of the Bride” is getting is likely expanding the Vampire Weekend fanbase. The music is perhaps the most accessible the band has ever released, and the collaborations could bring fans of the collaborators into the fold.

While the songs on the new album are an evolution, they also fit in perfectly with fan-favorites from past Vampire Weekend albums.

“But what I think about a lot is the songbook,” Koenig told Sterogum. “That, to me, is the most gratifying thing: to see the songbook grow. When we put together a setlist or I look at Apple Music or Spotify and see ‘Harmony Hall’ next to ‘A-Punk’ next to ‘White Sky’ next to ‘Big Blue,’ that excites me. I look at that mixed-up thing that you can’t see on the album, but you see in a situation like that, and I’m like, ‘Wow, it’s gonna be sick when we have 100 songs.’ I don’t know how long that will take and it’s possible I’ll run out of gas before then, but lately that’s what has brought me a lot of joy.”

Discography: “Vampire Weekend” (2008), “Contra” (2010), “Modern Vampires of the City” (2013), “Father of the Bride” (2019).

You might have heard: “Harmony Hall,” “This Life,” “A-Punk,” “White Sky,” “Oxford Comma.”

For fans of: Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, The National.


Sources: Stereogum, Wikipedia.

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