Lefsetz Didn't Like Vampire Weekend On Letterman

I can’t link to this because Bob doesn’t have it up on the web yet. He sends it via email and then posts it? Whatever.

Anyway here’s what he says about Vampire Weekend on Letterman:

Last night I caught Vampire Weekend on the Letterman show.  They were awful.


Vampire Weekend’s album might be better than their live show.  But last
night on Letterman, I just saw more white boys playing thin rock.  I
laughed to myself, wondering why everybody was wasting so much time on
this evanescent act.  I switched the channel.

I saw them twice last week at Bowery and thought they were great.

Here’s the youtube of them on letterman. Let me know what you think.

#My Music

Comments (Archived):

  1. Steve

    They’re a young band playing Letterman for the first time… of course they’re a little stiff. I don’t see anything from this performance that makes me think any differently about them as a band — they write catchy, dancy songs. They’re not gonna “save rock and roll” or anything ridiculous like that, but they’re fun.That said, I wish they’d stop wearing the ridiculously preppy outfits. It’s a gimmick, and does them no favors. Let the music speak for itself, fellas.

  2. mattmaroon

    I’ll take Soulless Whiteboy Pap for 1000 Alex.

  3. coreyh

    a better quality video is here: http://www.youtube.com/watc…The thing I like best about VW is that it sounds “fresh”. They are just hitting the music market in the right spot right now. I had been hankering for some upbeat tunes and they are delivering.

  4. Ian

    Soulless is right. Still, it’s a catchy, well written song, and it’s not like I criticize XTC for being soulless when they did the exact same thing 30 years ago. This whole revival of painful pseudo calypso beat world guitar has to be nipped in the bud though, it’s extremely grating.

    1. mikereilly

      XTC is what I thought of first as well. They lend themselves to that comparison but it probably doesn’t help them in that I would say XTC was better on every instrument and they were catchier as well. I’ll get some of their recordings and give them a more fair shot. I envy the Gibson guitar they use. Reminds me of Lennon’s in Let It Be

  5. Kyle S

    Fred, you may remember an email I sent last week about a band called The Whigs. They played Letterman this past Monday and did well, IMHO. Dave seemed very enthused afterward, complimenting them and saying “Power trio, Paul?”Here is the youtube link: The Whigs on LettermanThe band also provides an MP3 download of the single that they played on their website. Here’s a link to that: Right Hand on my HeartI went to high school and played little league ball with Julian (the drummer), so it’s cool to see them get some national exposure.

    1. Chipotle

      Kyle, You beat me to it. I thought The Whigs absolutely killed on Letterman. I really want to see their live show.I like VW. Their stuff is very catchy and has been in heavy rotation at our house for a couple months. I’ll wait until I see them again next month to weigh in on their live show. I caught them on a bad night a couple months ago (the lead singer was sick) and I thought they were a bit flat on Letterman.

      1. Kyle S

        The Whigs are one of the best live acts around. Definitely catch them live if you get the chance. I saw them in Atlanta a week ago as they kicked off their tour for the new album, and it was fantastic. Of course, the whole crowd went (as I did) to HS with Parker and Julian, so we were extra into the music, I guess.Vampire Weekend is playing at that same venue here in March, but tickets are already sold out – I hope I can track some down on Craig’s list or something in the next month. I’ve listened to the album once all the way through and wasn’t thrilled, but it’s growing on me.

        1. Steve

          I’ll add my voice to the folks talking about the Whigs. I saw the first show they did in New York at Pianos a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love. I’ve seen them live 5 or 6 times since, and they have on each occasion completely blown me away. They deserve to be huge.

    2. cortland

      kyle,The Whigs are getting a lot of air play on XPN in Philly, and lots of positive talk among listeners. I missed Letterman, but what I’ve heard on the radio is compelling.

  6. hank williams

    Yeah, gotta agree with bob. Of course I havent heard their studio stuff, and it is different once you’ve heard the record and *then* you hear the artist. But just based on the song and the performance, I wouldn’t be running out to grab the album. But I am gonna go check them out on rhapsody and see what I think

    1. fredwilson

      Let me know what you thinkFred

  7. hank williams

    Yeah, gotta agree with bob. Of course I havent heard their studio stuff, and it is different once you’ve heard the record and *then* you hear the artist. But just based on the song and the performance, I wouldn’t be running out to grab the album. But I am gonna go check them out on rhapsody and see what I think

  8. hank williams

    Yeah, gotta agree with bob. Of course I havent heard their studio stuff, and it is different once you’ve heard the record and *then* you hear the artist. But just based on the song and the performance, I wouldn’t be running out to grab the album. But I am gonna go check them out on rhapsody and see what I think

  9. Scott Smith

    How can you not like them? The keyboardists wears a scarf.

  10. Hiren Patel

    I saw them Live in San Fran and they were great. One thing I have to say though is I don’t like the mix they have on the CD vs. what I heard two months ago. They just sound a bit louder and less crisp on the album for me.

    1. fredwilson

      I don’t like the sound on thr new record as much as the mp3s I got last year. To polished. But it could also be a case of getting used to somethingFred

  11. Stan

    “White boys”? What does that have to do with anything? And how is that acceptable to say?

    1. fredwilson

      Lefsetz is never politically correct

  12. Mark Cheong

    First album I am truly excited about since The National’s Boxer and Lupe Fiasco’s The Cool. We’ll see how they evolve beyond their Clap your hands/Strokes+Paul Simon circa Graceland sound however.

    1. glory

      yea, that’s what i was thinking; they sound like paul simon’s graceland 😛 admits the influence here! http://www.pitchforkmedia.c

  13. Guest

    Yeah… thought that was a pretty weak performance, the Whigs stuff is pretty powerful, has a tinge of Neil Young in it…

  14. Trevor Conrad

    I thought it was fine. I’ve seen worse live performances. I’m always more impressed when people sound as good or better live… Everyone knows there’s a lot of tweaking and touching up on recorded work. Plus a live performance is always best when you are actually there, the audience and stage presence is really felt when in person and has a tremendous impact on the performance.

  15. tommas

    bob was right..

  16. Ben Saren

    Fred, this is what happens when just about everything out there sucks so bad that you find yourself completely taken by a band like Vampire Weekend. It’s not that they’re bad – they’re actually not too bad and I wouldn’t say they’re soulless either – but they are quite boring and cheesy. They’re another group of moderately talented musicians who put together a couple clever hooks and have managed to assemble a song out of it. It’s a formula that definitely works, no question. Vampire Weekend look like a tidy little band, and they’ll sell some singles, but ultimately they’ll be another flash in the pan.

    1. fredwilson

      I sure hope notAnd I don’t think everything out there ‘sucks so bad’Fred

    2. Chipotle

      “this is what happens when just about everything out there sucks so bad that you find yourself completely taken by a band like Vampire Weekend”I couldn’t disagree more. It may take a little effort to find, but I think they’re are more people making great music than ever.

      1. Chipotle

        Miss Simpson, my high school English teacher is going to kill me. Make that — there are more people making great music than ever.

      2. fredwilson

        me too!

  17. Interesante

    Dance/rock is has taken over with Hip Hop’s demise. I like the track, but I prefer to leave good music up to these brothers at http://www.fakedjs.com

  18. Dfactor

    Ah, Lefsetz is just getting old – what can ya do? Vampire Weekend is not gonna change the world, but it was pretty good Letterman performance and the CD ain’t half bad either….

  19. johndodds

    Based solely on that, I’d agree with Bob. Middle class college boys (seeing that white boys is bizarrely deemed to be offensive). Vapid and superficial and reminiscent of Haircut 100 an old UK 80s band.

    1. resurrect

      and what is your identity mr. dodds — gay black working class? your essentialism – which should be codified in the muiscal idioms of its practioners – is dated authenticity. be neil young – look like neil young – sound like neil young. reminds of how upper middle class white rock icons went on and on about Public Enemy back in the day – getting little hard-ons over all the bluster. a quick look at the MTV schedule should be a clue as to what lies in store of ‘indie rock heroes.”

  20. Ethan Bauley

    I think he’s saying that it’s evanescent because it’s the same…The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, VW, et al.It’s a style, it’s a style: New York-y, well crafted, up, pop rock. If they were really genius lyrically or with the music it would go into “Armed Forces” Elvis Costello territory but it’s not.Vampire Weekend is formulaic in the least pejorative sense…still good though.”Raising Sand” is different. Obama/T Bone Burnett in ’08.

  21. Greg Cannon

    Thin ain’t the word. As Roggs and Murtaugh would say, “F’in anorexic.”

    1. fredwilson

      That cracked me up. I don’t agree with you, but you made me laugh and I appreciate thatfred

      1. Greg Cannon

        My pleasure. You’ve turned me on to plenty of great bands through your blog, so I’ll let this one slide 😉

  22. jackson

    There aren’t too many peolpe that I’ve never met that I dislike more than Lefsetz, but I agree with him here. Bloody ‘orrible. I liked them better when they were Haircut 100, and that was bloody awful.

  23. Darin

    Souless? They’re white, it isn’t a bunch of lame white rappers. They’re indie, and it’s way more different than anything else out there right now.

  24. billie k

    XTC ? How about Buddy Holly & the Crickets ? Really weak Lonnie Donnigan ?(http://www.youtube.com/watc…”. . . when I first met John, he was the leader of a skiffle group. . . I had my own skiffle group, and then we got George and Ringo from their skiffle groups . . . . we were all around 12 or 13 then. . “

  25. mw

    hate it. worst band. overhyped, spoiled brats with no sense of musical history. ALTHOUGH I am way over lefsetz. he’s just a badmouth with nothing intelligent to add.

  26. Paul

    I think I like them, but my impression is that the mix was bad. The sound was a bit weak – I was shocked to see two guitars, base, and keyboard (plus drums) – sounded like a drum and ukelele. Not meant as a criticism of them – I think it was the mixing because there’s no way that instrumentation should be so weak.My sound-a-likes (for poor quality Youtube/Letterman) – Violent Femmes. Smithereens.I’ll splurge and buy the album – enough there to invest in, and see how much they outperform their disadvantage mix issues.

    1. Paul

      The mp3 is definitely better sound than Letterman.I hear more than a bit of Jonathan Richman – both in the vocal and the guiar/singer-songwriter sound.

      1. fredwilson

        Jojo influences!I’ll have to listen for thatFred

    2. Ryan

      Yo it wasn’t the sound quality, they have nothing to say. There’s nothing there, man.

  27. resurrect

    love ’em. a 21st century Orange Juice. contrary to the other opinions early on – they need to dial up the preppy threads. a bit of trovata and a helluva lot of ll bean meets brooks bros. matching suits did the beatles no harm.also – jaded rock critics are bo-ring.

  28. Ryan

    It’s really amazing to me that this band is getting famous. It’s not surprising that they get positive press, since the press is beholden to the industry, which essentially picks it’s next “big hits” and then makes it happen through monopoly of distribution and advertising. But it’s shocking that people choose to listen to this when there’s so much great music being made these days, let alone the original stuff that paved the way back when these fools’ trust funds were still in diapers.Check out Paul Simon! These brats apparently did, although all they (barely) managed to steal was the sound, they got none of the subtlety or depth. How could they? They have nothing to sing or write or play about, they went to college and now they’re famous.This band is terrible – there’s nothing there, folks. They can barely play their instruments, the songs are monotonous, and the albums have no character. The vocals are whiny and the lyrics are devoid of substance. “Is your bed made? / Is your sweater on? / Do you want to / Like you know I do?” Boo.Vampire Weekend is not an “Indie” band, they are a product of the industry, without which they would probably be in law school or at an investment bank and no one they went to school with would even remember their band. If you like their music search a little more and find the really creative stuff – it’s there waiting for those who seek it!