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Vampire Weekend: Indie-Rock Gets Worldly

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Vampire Weekend sent us its demo well before the hype began for this young Brooklyn band. I immediately thought it was one of the best demos I'd ever received, so I started playing it nonstop. Soon, we booked the band for an in-studio session on the day of its Seattle debut later on at Neumo's. While I didn't know exactly who these guys were — at the time, they had no label or publicist — their smarts were quickly apparent in the music.

When I went to greet them at the door of the station, I found four guys in the parking lot unloading the van on a sunny Sunday afternoon. They couldn't have been nicer, nor could they have looked more like guys I went to school with a decade (or so) ago. While you can always tell when a band is new to the "radio in-studio" situation, they held their own with intelligent, fun, and well-crafted songs, drawing as much from African pop as American rock. It was easy to see why there was so much hype surrounding them. Musicians this young making this kind of unique, exhilarating music are very rare, and when you find them, you want to hear them, see them, and call them your own. For 20 glorious minutes that day, we did.

More About Vampire Weekend

Formed by four Columbia University students, the self-described "Upper West Side Soweto" band Vampire Weekend mixes clean-cut indie-rock with the rhythms and melodies of Afro-pop. The band has proven worthy of its widespread hype with a solid self-released EP, vigorous touring, and a self-titled full-length debut, which arrives Jan. 29.

Copyright 2008 KEXP

John Richards
John Richards is the host and producer of The Morning Show with John on 90.3 FM KEXP Seattle, and online at He is also KEXP's assistant program director.
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