New Band Of The Day #12: Vagabon

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Debut LP Infinite Worlds Out February 27th via Father/Daughter Records.

Who: Vagabon is the pen name of Lætitia Tamko.

What: Alternative/indie (FFO: Waxahatchee, Courtney Barnett, PWR BTTM)

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Where: Cameroon born, New York raised.

Why: As an African woman who was born in Cameroon but grew up in New York, Vagabon provides a unique perspective on alternative and indie rock. However, this would be completely redundant if she did not also have the ability to explore her unique background with songs of nuance and delicacy.

Luckily, her compositions are wonderful combinations of metaphorically rich, evocative lyrics and music that is melodically clear and economical in its approach. Her songs are imbued with the story of her early life growing up in Cameroon, her sudden move to New York, and the ensuing culture shock. Just listen to the first thirty seconds of ‘The Embers’ below to hear what we’re talking about. Vagabon softly and cautiously sings, “I feel so small / my feet can barely touch the floor / on the bus where everybody is tall,” before the song explodes into fuzzy guitars and splashy drums and she continues, “I’m just a small fish / and you’re a shark that hates everything.” Such wilful and cathartic exploration of otherness is not something you come across every day in alternative/indie rock.

Ultimately, it seems Vagabon’s aim is to find her place through music. “A lot of it is about finding a space for myself, whether it is physical, emotional, social,” Tamko says. “It’s about finding that place where I feel most comfortable. And also finding that the confidence within myself can continue to grow. And finding what it takes for me to feel whole through making music.”

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