Ever since their debut album broke two years ago, Brooklyn's Vampire Weekend have proved to be both one of indie music's most popular acts and easily its most divisive. At the forefront are the openly collegiate pretensions of singer Ezra Koenig, who doesn't shy away from dropping literary references and peopling his songs with Benetton-wearing Ivy Leaguers, and the former Columbia students' airy brand of punk rock liberally mixes West African pop and Caribbean influences. Undeterred by accusations of appropriation and elitism and seemingly endless comparisons to Graceland, the quartet, if anything, only did more to annoy their critics with this year's follow-up, the chart-topping Contra, by ramping up the very same characteristics. Yet putting aside the Auto-Tune, the Very Best cameo, and the silly tennis video (and yes, even the Kid Cudi remix), at heart Vampire Weekend's tunes are often clever, intelligent love songs you can dance to—all in all, a breath of fresh air. With Abe Vigoda. 18+.
Mon., March 22, 7 p.m., 2010