While we wait for Mitsubishi Macchiato or whatever the next Vampire Weekend album is called (please let it be Mitsubishi Macchiato), outsider indie rocker Ezra Furman has recorded a cover of 2013’s great Modern Vampires of the City track “Unbelievers.” Furman’s version is a rough, sped-up punk rendition that transforms the original’s organ-like triumphal buildup into a screwy, sneering vocalization. This is no way at all to appreciate Furman’s own prodigious capabilities as a songwriter, but it is an excellent opportunity to imagine what Modern Vampires might sound like at the approximate energy-to-fidelity ratio of Jeff Rosenstock.
Here’s what Furman, with an appropriate literary flourish, had to say about covering Vampire Weekend:
“With Ivy League cunning they realized there were more interesting and profitable directions to go with their music. But the punk instincts still shine through in many of their songs. I heard ‘Unbelievers’ as a punk song almost immediately, adventurous production and orchestral touches notwithstanding. It takes one to know one. In the midst of our recent ambitious and inventive music, I started to get a strong urge to reconnect with my high-tempo voice shredding punk roots. Covering this song was a perfect gateway from one to the other. Plus, no matter how deep in love I am with Judaism, there is a never-ending supply of religious alienation and rage in me. Felt good to spill some more of that out.”