On February 1, 2021, a mysterious and unplayable album appeared on Spotify. Most people didn’t see it at all, and it disappeared as quickly and inexplicably as it had arrived. For fans of Vampire Weekend, however, it was a tantalizing enigma. Titled 40:42, it contained two covers of the song “2021,” each clocking in at 20 minutes and 21 seconds. Although leaks became available if you knew who to ask, it finally had its official release on February 4.
Vampire Weekend closed out the US portion of their Father of the Bride tour in Cover Me style. Performing at the intimate Mcmenimans Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon, the band played several crowd requests and special covers during a special one hour acoustic set for radio station 94/7’s December to Remember series.
What do an Italian tenor, a coffee company, and a rock band of 20-something New Yorkers have in common? When it comes to music, a lot, it turns out.
When they broke out in early 2008 with their self-titled debut, Vampire Weekend‘s champions and critics made essentially the same claims about the band. Detractors accused the band of stealing elements of world music, while fans heralded them as the heirs to Graceland-era Paul Simon (who faced similar accusations). Perhaps that made frontman Ezra Koenig an obvious choice to take on Paul Simon’s “Papa Hobo” for the soundtrack to the upcoming movie Ceremony, but the track is actually a bit of a departure from the typical Simon influence in Vampire Weekend’s music.