Ezra Koenig is like a whipped strawberry parfait of Abercrombie & Fitch shorts and Paul Simon “Graceland”-era snark. He’s a New York kid with the heart of some Caribbean drums. Dude cavalierly writes about horchata, hangs out with Steve Buscemi, and wears Warby Parkers like he’s on a mission from Goldenvoice. Koenig is a flare gun of dapper attire. He’s this generation’s version of Alain Delon by way of Pitchfork etiquette. In 2011, my friend Lucas Rascon used to both behave and dress similarly to Koenig – I never asked if this was intentional or simply the product of every dude under 30 dressing like they went to Colombia University in the early aughts. Vampire Weekend used to be regionally cool, and then they became accessibly cool, and now they are only cool to three writers at Consequence of Sound who also happen to favor Of Montreal’s 2004 album “Satanic Panic in the Attic”.
I still openly love the band, but there was an odd sea change in regard to the popularity of the ensemble. People started treating them like they were annoying pop relics. One guy I spoke to even confused them for Peter, Bjorn & John.
Koenig is pop bliss. A misting water bottle to the face of pretentious and overbaked music (I almost said “math rock” but I don’t think that genre exists anymore). The band leader of Vampire Weekend even donated some glib vocals on SBTRKT’s haunting “New York, New Dorp” – a sort of gothic 80s revival that saw hollow drums and possessed instrumentation burn slowly behind Koenig’s lithe delivery. This guy keeps reinventing himself while keeping his cool, relentlessly relaxed persona intact.
So on this 4th of July, it’s deserving that we celebrate Ezra Koenig, America’s finest – and most handsomely dressed – poet laureate. It doesn’t matter that your friend Brett from Loyola Marymount thinks that Ezra Koenig is the moniker of a Foster the People album and not the name of an actual person. Raise a glass (bottle of Maker’s Mark, keg of Rolling Rock, plastic cup from Spencer’s filled with spiked punch) to your fashion God. Bend your knee to the King of the Fourth.