Vampire Weekend’s Debut Turns 10

by Cliffhanger

This week marked the 10th anniversary of Vampire Weekend’s debut self-titled album. Released on January 29, 2008, Vampire Weekend was a forerunner for what would be a flagship year for indie rock, and turned four Ivy League students into some of music’s hottest new stars.

Vampire Weekend brought together a group of gifted Columbia University students, whose diverse musical backgrounds helped them create a cohesive worldbeat sound on their debut. Early singles “Mansard Roof” and “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” displayed the quirky lyricism of Ezra Koenig and the rich, dense production work of then-member Rostam. With early buzz from Rolling Stone and Pitchfork under their belts, Vampire Weekend was ready to start 2008 off with a bang. Their debut album was a surprise top-20 hit in both the U.S. and U.K., and garnered praise from the music press as well as Paul Simon, a key musical influence for the band. Meanwhile, the singles “Oxford Comma” and “A-Punk” became charting hits on both sides of the pond.

Vampire Weekend launched an exciting career for these new indie superstars. They followed in 2010 with the Grammy-nominated Contra, while their third album Modern Vampires of the City earned them a trophy for Best Alternative Music Album. The band’s individual members have stayed busy through various side projects: members Rostam and Baio have launched solo careers, and drummer Chris Tomson records as Dams of the West.

Ten years on, Vampire Weekend’s debut album serves as a perfect time capsule of indie rock in the late aughts. The band’s cutting-edge worldbeat style still sounds as fresh as ever today. With the band announcing its first live show since 2014 earlier this week, one can only hope for another big year for Vampire Weekend.