It’s been a long time since we heard from Vampire Weekend, but the band has been hard at work on album number four, their first since the departure of co-leader Rostam Batmanglij. They’ve been teasing new songs and leaving band-merch breadcrumb trails. On Saturday night, the band headlined the third night of Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival and told the crowd, mid-song, that the new album is done and that it’s being mastered right now. And now somebody has heard a few of the songs from the new album. A lot of somebodies, in fact.
On Sunday, the night after they headlined the big festival, Vampire Weekend played a smaller aftershow at the Chicago club Metro. They played what sounds like a pretty incredible set, stretching over their entire career, busting out hits and rarities, and covering Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back In Town” and side project Baio’s “Sister Of Pearl.” And in between the main set and the encore, as the Team Vampire Weekend fan site reports, frontman Ezra Koenig played the audience four and a half new songs on his aux chord, sitting on a speaker and watching the crowd react. When the band came back for the encore, they played an as-yet-untitled new song in full, as a band, before closing out with two of their classics.
This was a no-phones show, and for once, it appears that the assembled fans respected the stipulation. So there’s no video out there. But here’s how one fan describes the set on Reddit:
Ezra and the boys (and girl!) played a sold out Lollapalooza after-show tonight at the Metro in Chicago and for the encore Ezra plugged his phone into the house speakers and debuted five new songs while he sat on a speaker and watched the crowds reactions. He then played one new song with the band before moving on to “Mansard Roof” and “Walcott” to close ya out…
The new stuff was very cool and def good but looking forward to hearing it on good headphones. Last song he played was my favorite easily. The best way I could describe the sound is a more spacey and empty sounding record, almost reminiscent of [Fleet Foxes’] Crack Up in parts, but VERY bright and sunny — a summertime sound with almost a protest song sound vibe to them (no political lyrics I heard or anything like that), and then big dense flashes of instrumentation with heavy percussion and a slick almost sexy taste of 70s funk licks. Going to be an interesting record. They haven’t mastered anything but said they have a big amount of material with many different versions they are sorting through.
And here’s the one thing that’s appeared on Instagram — a photo of Koenig at the show:
Hopefully, the rest of us will get to hear this new music sooner rather than later.