Aside from playing at festivals and working on separate solo projects, the beloved American indie rock band Vampire Weekend hasn’t released any new music in nearly six years, that was until this week. Vampire Weekend has officially announced the album title for their forthcoming studio album entitled Father of the Bride and released two new tracks called “Harmony Hall” and “2021” after teasing fans about new music this past week, according to Spin.
Earlier in the week, the band released a two hour-long video of mesmerizing guitar loops from “Harmony Hall” as a teaser for what’s to come. This new track is full of upbeat production and light vocals from frontman Ezra Koenig, with lyrics said to be inspired by the Columbia University residence hall of the same name. There are an endless amount of musicians who contributed to this track alone, such as Rostam Batmanglij, former bandmate and co-founder of the band, on the production, a bit of guitar from Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors and even vocals from Danielle Haim of the pop-rock sister band HAIM.
The accompanying track “2021” is a short one minute and 38-second long track that draws influence from a sample of synths from Japanese musician Haruomi Hosono. Koenig told NPR Music in an interview that Hosono “made this music to be played in MUJI stores in Japan in the ‘80s. So this music was composed to be kind of ambient tone-setting music for your shopping experience.” And listeners can definitely get the sense of the track’s original inspiration with the melancholic tune and lyrics that the song offers. The track also offers a recording of Jenny Lewis repeatedly singing the word “boy” throughout its course.
In the anticipation of releasing new music, Koenig took to Instagram to write a heartfelt post about the process of creating this new project from the inspiration and message behind the album to the amount of tracks on the album. He mentioned this album will feature a total of 18 tracks, a step forward from their usual 10 to 12-track albums, and the band will be releasing two new songs every month until the record is out. The codename for the February tracks are “s” and “bb” and for March they are “tl” and “uw.”
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To the fans: I know that 5-6 years is considered a long time between records. Personally, I think it’s a dignified pace befitting a band that’s already placed three albums in stores but everyone has their own sense of time. (I swear the time between 3 & 4 felt shorter to me than 2 & 3. I may be in the minority on this one.) This album didn’t really take any longer to write/record than MVOTC. We just took more time on the front end to chill. I’ll admit I may have stretched out the mixing/mastering process (aka THE END) a little bit cuz spending half the day with my family & half the day at Ariel’s is my ideal life-rhythm & it’s painful to say goodbye to that rhythm. Many of you have been hungry for information and we’ve given you very little. I don’t like talking abt a project while in the middle of making it. I usually regret everything I say cuz it turns out to be wrong (so disregard anything I may have said in the past 5 years.) I thought abt making a recording diary to tide over the people leaving intense comments but…to me, the album IS the recording diary…man. It’s called “FOTB” (well those are the initials – that’s a VW tradition) and it’s 18 songs. Picked the name a few years ago. At some point early on, the album drifted from the Mitsubishi Macchiato aesthetic. It was a helpful guiding principle tho. Working titles are important too. It’s a lot of songs but they all belong there. (If you disagree, you can always say it was 6 songs too long & make a lil 12-song playlist version of it.) At first, I wanted to make two 23-song albums on some human chromosome shit but then 23&me started doing Spotify playlists and I don’t know…felt we’d been scooped. Is it a double album? The vinyl will be double so…yes? It’s about 59 minutes long. We can talk more abt that later – if u care. To me, it’s just FOTB. Anyway, we’re gonna start releasing music next week. After all that waiting, you should have the general schedule: -There will be three 2-song drops every month until the record is out. 1. hh/2021 2. s/bb 3. tl/uw. (plans can change that’s the plan) Thank you for ur patience, Ezra
Koenig has been keeping himself busy promoting this new album with music news outlets from left to right. In a Beats 1 interview with Matt Wikinson, Koenig discussed that there will be two features on this album, a first for the band in their discography. He mentioned that he leaked one of the features on the album last year, that being the Internet’s Steve Lacy, but wouldn’t reveal the other. However, he did mention that those featured artists will be on more than one track.
The inspiration for the album title and many of the songs featured on the album come from themes of marriage and other relationships. Father of the Bride comes from the 1991 rom-com of the same name, in which Koenig came across on TV when the album was in its early stages. Although Koenig has never been married himself, he does have a partner, actress Rashida Jones, and recently became a father to a baby boy last summer. He told Rolling Stone, “I think everybody thinks about those things [marriage] as you get older. There’s something about [the title] that’s almost Biblical. It’s about the ties that bind, the relationships between communities, between humans and God, between people and the land they live on.”
Listen to the new songs “Harmony Hall” and “2021” below.
Photo taken by Raymond Flotat
UPDATE (2/22): After nearly a month since its initial release, “Harmony Hall” has been received well by music critics all round. With this much success, Vampire Weekend decided to give fans more content by releasing an official music video for the song. The new video was directed by Emmett Malloy, a known collaborator with the band from videos like “Giving Up The Gun” and “Holiday.”
Follow the band as they give you an unusual morning routine into their day with their continued snake imagery. Check out the new music video below.