By Rikki Schniederman
Indie rock darlings Vampire Weekend premiered two new songs at the South by Southwest festival.
After two gold-rated albums, a collection of successful singles, and a stake in the rising trend of the “hipster indie” sorta-genre alongside Arcade Fire and other outfits, New York quartet Vampire Weekend is back again.
The guys, who started out at Columbia University, have kept quiet since their second album’s release, 2010’s Contra. Oh, besides a massively successful tour with Beach House and a Grammy nod for best alternative rock album. They were “in no rush” to make new music, said frontman Ezra Koeing. Fast forward to the insanely cool SXSW Festival. Unless you live under a rock (or are constantly reliant on AirOrangeX and, therefore, get no Internet updates), you’d know that this festival is the number one place for groundbreaking music news. Awesome platform for releasing new music after three years, right?
Vampire Weekend seemed to think so, playing two new songs at the conclusion of the festival. One of them, “Diane Young,” they released as an unofficial double-sided single along with “Step.” “Diane Young” is guided by a pop beat that sounds suitable for a chase scene in a cheesy 80s film. In fact, the whole single sounds like a throwback, almost like early doo-wop groups. Koeing’s upbeat voice, the signature sound of Vampire Weekend’s music, coons over a distressed synth sound that ties this infectious tune together.
“Step” keeps up the chilled-out vibe, but brings back Vampire Weekend’s familiar percussion-driven sound. A slower tempo allows Koeing’s recognizable vocals again to take center stage, singing about travels and a girl over a haunting, slow melody.
Both songs are memorable and mesh well together. They’d both work on the same movie soundtrack, maybe. Their coordination is uncanny, which prompts the listener to wonder: concept album? Perhaps. We will all find out when the quartet release their newest album, Modern Vampires of the City on May 7.