On Wednesday, the New York band again energised the new music rumour mill by confirming their first appearance at a UK festival since 2014. They were last doing the rounds to promote their 2013 LP, Modern Vampires of the City.
Since then, the four-piece has become a three-piece after multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij left the group at the beginning of 2016. But lead singer Ezra Koenig confirmed in December that he will be appearing in their upcoming album alongside percussionist Chris Tomson and bassist Chris Baio.
The indie rock band, who incorporate Baroque-style instruments like the harpsichord into their music (notably in “Step” from Modern Vampires in the City and “M79” from self-titled 2008 album Vampire Weekend), will be headlining End of the Road Festival 2018 at Larmer Tree Gardens, near Salisbury. The festival, which features mostly indie rock and folk music, will take place from 30 August to 2 September.
It will be the first time the band has officially performed in the UK since they took to the stage at Reading and Leeds festival in 2014. Speculation about new music in 2018 has been steadily gathering momentum in recent months, before skyrocketing this week with both the announcement of the UK appearance and the revamping of their official website to just the words ‘Vampire Weekend’ on a plain white background, which has resulted in both confusion…
why does the vw website look like this https://t.co/jXbchsFlFR
— rosie (@Iacroixcan) February 2, 2018
— Blake (@d0ngdrap3r) February 2, 2018
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly last month, Koenig, who grew up in New Jersey and whose family history reaches back to Romania and Hungary, revealed that the new album will also be heavily influenced by producer Ariel Rechtshaid, who has also worked with three-sister pop rock group Haim.
“The first year I worked on the album I was writing so many songs, making so many demos, and it was exciting,” Koenig told the magazine.
“But that first part of the process, which was when Ariel was finishing the Haim record, now I look back at it as me being out in the wilderness.”
Vampire Weekend’s four year hiatus, and the expectation of new music around the corner, bears a striking resemblance to the current status of the Arctic Monkeys. The band from Sheffield, formed in 2002, are expected to release their sixth album this year after announcing a number of tour dates across Europe and the US.
The difference is, however, that a four year hiatus for the Arctic Monkeys, nearly twice as old and with twice as many albums, will feel a lot shorter than for Vampire Weekend. In addition, it is fair to say that the Arctic Monkeys have a much larger fanbase. People everywhere seemed to lose their minds at even the slightest suspicion of new music, the first since their critically acclaimed 2013 album AM.
And on top of that, the quirky, playful music of Vampire Weekend certainly taps into a much more niche market than the universally recognisable sound of the Arctic Monkeys. Personally, I am excited for the release of new Vampire Weekend music as a formerly teenage boyfriend begrudgingly adopting the musical tastes of his teenage girlfriend and coming to enjoy them as something of a guilty pleasure. Yes, Vampire Weekend are responsible for some hugely popular, classic indie songs like “A-Punk”. But a lot has changed in four years. People were still writing statuses on Facebook in 2014, for goodness sake.
Vampire Weekend are making a comeback and I’m back to my 2013 “alternative” self again. *smudges eyeliner*
— manjot ✨ (@ManjotJabbal) January 31, 2018
We shall have to wait and see whether the new Vampire Weekend strikes the same chord with today’s Instagram generation of flip phone-ignorant mid-teens as it did with us nostalgic fangirls all that time ago.