Tag Archives: Vampire Weekend

The Very Best

The Very Best

Mrs. YHT played host to her book club one night last week, and I made myself scarce by taking Herbie Hancock’s Possibilities memoir on a dinner date. As I was finishing my bowl of pho, I got to this paragraph, which comes just after Hancock describes making his Head Hunters album:

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Hamilton Leithauser

What do backup dancers do? Backup dancers make the frontperson look good. They spice things up, they inject energy, they may display incredible talents, but it’s all done in the service of the star. In the video above, Hamilton Leithauser is the star — he takes the stage with a group of gals behind him, someone offstage tosses him the microphone, and off he goes. Lookin’ good. The video goes even further than that, because the first half has Leithauser hanging out in the dressing room before the dancers have even had a chance to slip on their sparkly outfits. Lookin’ meta good!

Could some of this frontman fourth wall breaking have to do with Leithauser’s situation vis-a-vis The Walkmen? With striking out on his own? Is some existential fat being chewed here? Maybe. But there’s another level I just love, and that level is Rostam Batmanglij.

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Top 10 Albums of 2013

Countdown gif

It’s customary to start year-end lists by chewing some fat about how making them is strange and difficult work, and in general, I find that these intros can be exceedingly skippable. Everyone knows that album rankings are subjective (even when they’re created on behalf of a publication or website), and no one needs to be reminded that the list maker didn’t listen — and couldn’t have listened, of course! — to every single thing that came out in the preceding 12 months. You don’t share Santa Claus’ knack for bending the space-time continuum. Understood. But before I get to my Top 10 albums, I would like to share a quick story about how I came up with my list, and how Beyoncé helped me find meaning in this whole strange and difficult exercise.

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Happy Halloween!

Exactly one year ago, Vampire Weekend donned some pretty sinister face paint and performed “Unbelievers” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!‘s Halloween show. If memory serves, these were the first notes I heard of what would become Modern Vampires of the City. It’s crazy looking back on that now. For me, MVOTC is one of those special cases where you listen to an album so many times you damn-near internalize it, and then it becomes surreal to think about how, at one point not so long ago, it didn’t exist at all.

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Yadi

Yadi

Yadi just made me feel like Freddie Prinze, Jr.

For real.

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ROSTAM

The Internet is chock-full of awfulness. It’s everywhere you turn. If you don’t believe me, simply scroll down after watching any YouTube video — seriously, ANY YouTube video — and you’ll encounter the very bottom of humanity’s communicative barrel. Just ask Josh Tillman, who recently sat down to respond to a few of the thoughts posted below a Father John Misty video (it’s worth watching — he kicks things off by aptly comparing YouTube comments to “shitting on your own face”).

But things aren’t all bad. There certainly are some Internet good guys out there, and I count Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij among their ranks.

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Carly Rae JePSY

I have to admit that I haven’t been totally up front with you. Here I am, posting 3 or 4 times a week, talking about serious things like Apartheid-era South Africa and behavioral music therapy, yet what do I turn around and listen to on the weekends?

Yup. “Call Me Maybe.”

I absolutely love “Call Me Maybe.” Have for a hot minute. I’ve listened to a zillion remixes and mashups, smiled ear-to-ear while watching the Jimmy Fallon classroom instruments version, and I may or may not have bought a screen-printed “Call Me Maybe” shirt while in Chincoteague, VA a few weekends ago. Oh, and there are unconfirmed reports that I sang the chorus to the Eastern European cashier of a McDonald’s in Ocean City, MD this past weekend.

Whatever.

THE POINT IS that “Call Me Maybe” is an addiction I’ve yet to kick, and discovering the mashup below — which pairs the song with PSY’s “Gangnam Style” — is not going to help matters.

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