Mixtape Forensics — April 2024, Part 3: Vampire Weekend, “The Surfer”


Continuing from last time: “The Surfer” sounds like Vampire Weekend's version of a lo-fi hip hop song, down to the drum machine, leisurely tempo, and woozy processed piano. But “The Surfer” also has Ezra Koenig singing and some sick George Harrison-esque guitar, which, honestly, more lo-fi hip hop should have.

As indie-heads of a certain vintage shuffle towards middle age, one question lingers in their hearts: does Vampire Weekend pass the Five-Album Test? I couldn't hum you a single bar of anything on Father of the Bride right now, so I'll have to revisit it before I set my take in stone. But to hear father of the Five-Album Test Steven Hyden say it, the band has sailed over the crossbar with room to spare. This discusson can be heard on a recent episode of Hyden's Indiecast podcast, which he co-hosts with fellow music writer Ian Cohen. It's a banger of an episode: they talk about that one time Pitchfork reviewed a Jet album with no text, just a video of a monkey pissing into its mouth, but they're dead wrong about Good News for People Who Love Bad News being overrated.

But there's at least one thing my fellow greying Xillennials and I can agree on: Only God Was Above Us is awesome! It rocks hard! The workrate has slowed down (Koenig was otherwise busy daisy-chaining hyphenates in the five years since Father of the Bride was released, just as he was in the six years between that album and Modern Vampires of the City) but the work, crucially, is still good.