When dishing up our two cents on Vampire Weekend’s Billboard-topping Contra we noted:
It would have been interesting if Ezra had worked some of his knowledge/love of punk and hardcore (a la his Fucked Up moment) into the mix. The song notes provided by the band/label as background mention “Holiday” was inspired by “third wave-ska bands like Operation Ivy” (and VW’s own “exploration of new guitar tones and rhythms”), but you won’t mistake Koenig for Jesse Michaels or Tim Armstrong even if he says, lyrically, he’s referencing a family member who gave up meat after the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
And you still won’t mistake Koenig for either of those dudes in the next five minutes, but the band did just dig into Tim Armstrong/Matt Freeman’s post-Operation Ivy band Rancid’s alt-hit “Ruby Soho.” Fun to hear, yes, and satisfying on a underground/whatever crossover level (i.e. …And Out Come the Wolves’s bigtime success/Contra’s success), but I’m still holding out for “Knowledge.”
Vampire Weekend- “Ruby Soho” (MP3)
VW’s “Ruby Soho” was recorded live during a Radio 1 session for Zane Lowe. You can poke around more here. For compare/contrast: