With the final addition of bassist Chris Baio (brought in because he could play Metallica riffs from memory), Vampire Weekend was quick to start recording their first album. Their first show was a Battle of the Bands at Columbia Univeristy where they played songs from their debut including “Oxford Comma” and “Walcott.” They lost, with one judge saying “’Hey, you’re pretty good, but I don’t really like hipsters!”
Vampire Weekend was recorded using keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij’s Macbook and Protools recording software. The album took about an entire year to make, beginning in the band members’ apartments. They even recorded in drummer Christopher Tomson’s parents’ barn. It was a long work in progress, with “a friend’s violin captured in a dorm room here, drum work in a campus studio there.” By the end of the album they were able to record at Tree Fort Studios in Brooklyn. The album’s cover is a Polaroid taken from one of the band’s early shows at a frat house on Columbia University’s campus.
When the album was finished they burned it onto blue CDR’s and sold them at their early shows. The band never sent them to actual record labels, as frontman Ezra Koenig said “That seemed ultimately fruitless. These people don’t want to listen to some random thing they don’t have any context for.” But the band and their album was spread by word of mouth (with lots of help from the internet), and they were eventually able to sign a record deal with XL recordings. The album was officially released on January 29th, 2008.