The inevitable backlash against Vampire Weekend has begun in earnest, and once again, another indie-rock hopeful is trashed on message boards across the Internet after some good, initial word-of-mouth.
Want to see the "flaming" — and by that, I mean 'Internet flaming," get it? — wreckage? Go to obner.org and read the post called F**k VAMPIRE WEEKEND. It's a message board I generally read on occasion to get a good laugh and find out what people of my ilk are digging these days, now that I'm a little out of the indie-rock loop.
Anyway, if you're not hip to Vampire Weekend, they're a hot little Brooklyn-spawned, Afrobeat-indie rock combo that sounds a little like The Talking Heads doing island music. Not sure why some have taken such an intense dislike of the band. Perhaps it's the fey beachwear they wore on a Saturday Night Live performance a few weeks ago. Perhaps it's the tricky little melodies they chase and how their music lacks the balls of full-throated rock, or how the Caribbean rhythms that give Vampire Weekend's energetic, wistful pop soda an unexpected, citrus-flavored twist.
Whatever the case, I just find it so interesting how the indie community eats its young. An interesting new band comes along. Word spreads like wildfire across the Internet and then, after the world discovers them, out come the wolves. Okay, so maybe the hype with Vampire Weekend was a little over the top at first. And if you don't like them, fine. But man, this happens so often, you can predict exactly what's going to come to a band like Vampire Weekend before anybody gets a taste of what flavor of the month is to come.
I say, give 'em a break, enjoy what they do and give 'em some time to develop. Remember how record companies and fans actually used to do that?
Interested in what Vampire Weekend is all about? Go to www.vampireweekend.com, and give the album a listen. Then, tell me what you think. That's how this blog thing is supposed to work after all. And watch for a review in a future issue of Goldmine.
Switching gears, I wanted to talk about an album from the fall of 2007 that I loved at the time and wanted to review for Goldmine, but just didn't have the time. It's by indie stalwarts Pinback and it's called Autumn Of The Seraphs.
Love the dynamic, stop-on-a-dime-and-change-directions musicianship. Love the unexpectedly melodic turns Rob Crow and company take on "From Nothing To Nowhere" and "Barnes." Love the smart hooks, wistful (there's that word again) tones and interwoven vocals of "Good To Sea." And speaking of tone, the rich guitar lines and piano of "How We Breathe" are evidence of the really smart, tasteful production found here. And yeah, I know I'm going through the first four songs of the record, but I don't care. From top to bottom, you can't find a clunker.
The guitars of "Walters" are heavy and dramatic, as simple piano figures wind around your ears like ivy. The agile guitar gymnastics of "Devil You Know" flip and tumble about like a series of acrobats, each one executing his routine as perfectly as the one before him. The intricate vocal movements are similarly executed.
Hope it's not too late to put in a good word for Pinback and Autumn Of The Seraphs. Consistently interesting and compelling from start to finish, it's an album that won't go stale after a couple of listens. Log on to www.pinback.com to learn more.