Vampire Weekend Reveal Ezra Koenig "Took a Raga Singing Lesson with Terry Riley in Rural Japan"

The band have promised "LP 5 news by the end of the year" in a newsletter

Photo: Sarah Murphy

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Jun 27, 2023

Vampire Weekend's vinyl-only live album Frog on the Bass Drum Vol. 01 is now out in the world, and crucially, an accompanying newsletter offers some detail on the band's forthcoming follow-up to 2019's Father of the Bride — which is reportedly "close to done."

In the update (which recipients of the Frog on the Bass Drum vinyl have archived here), drummer Chris Tomson writes of how he got sober and had kids, and bassist Chris Baio served on a jury "with a renowned actress's husband" in offering a glimpse at life outside the band.

Driving speculation about the direction of Vampire Weekend's fifth album, however, is a note about frontman Ezra Koenig, who apparently "took a raga singing lesson with Terry Riley in rural Japan and wrote what he considers to be 7 of his all-time top 10 best songs." Sounds idyllic!

Tomson also writes about the enjoyment of being able to "connect, jawbone, and jam" with his bandmates at regular get-togethers, comparing it to the band's early days at Columbia University. "I personally found an immense peace and pleasure from creating with the guys like we had in the Ruggles days," he wrote. "The vibe was strong."

In bringing the newsletter to a close, Tomson adds, "LP5 news before the end of the year. It's close to done and I feel like it just might be our best yet. 10 songs, no skips."

Tomson's note follows an update on new material from Koenig himself, shared toward the end of 2021. Sharing that the band were at work in England and Los Angeles, the frontman said at the time, "We almost have an album's worth of songs. As you well know, you could tinker with a song forever; change the arrangement, change the lyrics, whatever. But in that sense we're close. I have no idea how long it'll take to finish, but we're feeling really good about the new material."

Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City celebrated its 10th anniversary last month.

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