Vampire Weekend’s Debut Album Just Turned 10

Indie pop royalty in the making

One of the most prominent indie artists of the 2000s broke through ten years ago. Vampire Weekend, considered by some as the forefathers of the modern indie movement released their debut record this day in 2008.

It wasn’t long after Ezra Koenig, Chris Tomson, Chris Baio and Rostam Batmanglij joined forces in 2006 that the rose to success. Primary songwriter Ezra Koenig’s penchant for world music and Paul Simon gave Vampire Weekend a unique sound that demanded attention. After playing a number of small gigs at their shared school Columbia Univeristy, the band released their first single “Mansard Roof” in October of 2007. A few weeks later in 2008, the group shared “A-Punk” that circulated the blogosphere and music publications and helped launch them into orbit.

On January 19th, 2008, Vampire Weekend released their debut album. Despite the band’s preppy exterior, their debut was as DIY as they come. The entire record was recorded and produced by then keyboardist and backing singer, Rostam Batmanglij, on his Macbook.

It wasn’t long after that Vampire Weekend was released, and the praise started rolling in. Over the next few years, the album garnered the title of fifth-best album of 2008 by Time, the 56th-best album of the decade by Rolling Stone and landed 51st on Pitchfork’s list of the Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. The album was later ranked 24th on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 greatest debut albums of all time, praising them for “help[ing] fuel a discovery of global sounds in indie-pop”.

The Polaroid photo of a chandelier used on the Vampire Weekend cover was shot at one of their band’s earliest campus gigs at St. Anthony Hall house at Columbia University.

Both iconic music videos for “Oxford Comma” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” were directed by IT Crowd star and comedian Richard Ayoade. According to Rolling Stone, Ayoade who had already made videos for Arctic Monkeys was in attendance at a London college show in 2008.

Since 2008, Vampire Weekend released two more critically acclaimed albums, Contra in 2010 and Modern Vampires In The City in 2013. In 2017 Batmaglij left the band to persue a solo career, although he reportedly remains involved in the band’s forthcoming record that is expected out this year.