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Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois, on August 9, 2009.
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Indie rock
Years active 2006–present
Labels XL Recordings
Associated acts Discovery, Dirty Projectors
Ezra Koenig
Rostam Batmanglij
Chris Tomson
Chris Baio

Vampire Weekend is an American indie rock band from New York City, formed in 2006 and signed to XL Recordings.



Vampire Weekend's name is derived from lead singer Ezra Koenig's amateur film of the same name.[1] The band gained attention via a variety of blogs, such as Stereogum.[2] The band claims to be influenced by both African popular music and Western classical music, describing their genre of music as "Upper West Side Soweto", with such songs as "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" referencing Congolese soukous music.[3]

The members of the band met while attending Columbia University; they then self-produced their first album after graduation while concurrently working full-time jobs. Koenig and drummer Chris Tomson first collaborated as members of the comedy-rap band "L'Homme Run".[4] They are managed by Ian Montone, who also manages The White Stripes. They are signed to XL Recordings, of which the band said in an interview: "Before any labels had contacted us, we actually mentioned XL as the kind of label we'd ideally like to end up on. Just going on their roster alone, they obviously have good taste and support their artists well."[5]

In 2007, Vampire Weekend's song "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" was ranked 67th on Rolling Stone's list of the 100 Best Songs of the year.[6] In November 2007, they toured the United Kingdom with The Shins.[7] They were declared "The Year's Best New Band" by Spin magazine in the March 2008 issue, and were the first band to be shot for the cover of the magazine before releasing their debut album.[4]

The band's debut album Vampire Weekend was released January 29, 2008. It was a success in the US and UK, peaking at number 15 on the UK Albums Chart and number 17 on the Billboard 200. Four singles were released from the album; while "A-Punk" peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart and number 55 on the UK Singles Chart, "Oxford Comma" peaked at number 38 in the UK. "A-Punk" was ranked the 4th best song in 2008 on Rolling Stone's list of Best songs in 2008. "A- Punk" was also used to open the Will Ferrell/John C. Reilly feature Step Brothers. The song is also featured in the hit UK television show, The Inbetweeners. It is also featured in the video game LEGO Rock Band, being able to be sent out for use in Rock Band 1, Rock Band 2, and Rock Band 3. In 2008, Vampire Weekend was dubbed the "whitest band" by Christian Lander, the creator of the site Stuff White People Like, in an interview with[8] During the summer of 2008, Vampire Weekend performed at the Central Park SummerStage in Manhattan and a fundraiser for Music for Democracy in October, where they shared the stage with David Crosby and Graham Nash. In December 2008, Vampire Weekend's debut album was #2 in Under The Radar magazine's "top 50 albums of 2008" issue. In the January 2009 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, their self-titled album was dubbed the 10th best album of 2008. Their song "Ottoman" was used during the credits of the 2008 film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Two tracks from their debut record also appeared in the 2009 comedy I Love You, Man.

The band's debut album also came 42nd on NME's 'Top 100 Greatest Albums of the Decade' list.


Contra (2008–present)

The band's second album, Contra, was released on January 11, 2010 in the UK and the following day in the US. On October 5, 2009, "Horchata" was released as a free download on the band's website.[9] The album's first single, "Cousins," was released on November 17, 2009. Initial copies of the CD and LP sold at independent records stores in the US include a 3-track bonus CD containing two "melts", which featured bits of album tracks and a remix. Contra was the band's first album to debut at #1 on the Billboard 200.[10]

The band released the video for their next single "Giving Up the Gun" in February 2010. The video included cameos from stars like Joe Jonas, Lil Jon and Jake Gyllenhaal.

On March 6, 2010 they appeared as the musical guest of Saturday Night Live with comedian Zach Galifianakis as host. It is the second time the band has appeared as a musical guest on the show, the first being during the show's 33rd season in 2008 while Amy Adams hosted.


  • Ezra Koenig – lead vocals, guitar
  • Rostam Batmanglij – keyboards, guitar, backing vocals
  • Chris Tomson – drums, percussion, guitar
  • Chris Baio – bass guitar, backing vocals


Studio albums

Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
(sales threshold)
2008 Vampire Weekend
  • First studio album
  • Release date: January 29, 2008
  • Label: XL Recordings
17 4 2 15 1 44 37 23
2010 Contra
  • Second studio album
  • Release date: January 11, 2010
  • Label: XL Recordings
1 1 1 1 3 1 14 2 4
"—" denotes releases that did not chart



Year Single Peak chart positions Album
2007 "Mansard Roof" Vampire Weekend
2008 "A-Punk" 106 25 91 55 17
"Oxford Comma" 38
"Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" 178
2009 "Cousins" 18 24 39 3 Contra
2010 "Horchata" 102 69
"Giving Up The Gun"
"—" denotes releases that did not chart. The Billboard Pop 100 chart ceased to exist in 2009.

Compilation tracks

Vampire Weekend contributed a cover of "Exit Music (For a Film)" for Stereogum presents .. OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer (2007), a free tribute album celebrating 10 years of Radiohead's album OK Computer. They have also covered "Everywhere" by Fleetwood Mac and "Ruby Soho" by Rancid. The band also contributed the song "Ottoman" to the soundtrack to the 2008 film Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist. Vocalist Ezra Koenig has also featured on "Carby" by Discovery and "Warm Heart of Africa" by The Very Best, as well as appearing on Fucked Up's all-star cover of "Do They Know Its Christmas?"in 2009.



External links

Chris Tomson‎
[[Image:‎|300x200px|alt=|Chris Tomson performing with Vampire Weekend in Hamburg, 02.November 2007 (first gig in Europe)]]
Chris Tomson performing with Vampire Weekend in Hamburg, 02.November 2007 (first gig in Europe)
Background information
Birth name Chris Tomson
Born March 6, 1984 (1984-03-06) (age 26)
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Occupations Musician, drummer
Labels XL Records
Associated acts Vampire Weekend, L'Homme Run

Chris Tomson (born March 6, 1984[1] in New York City) is the drummer of New York based indie rock band Vampire Weekend.



Tomson grew up on a farm in Imlaystown, NJ (parts of the first album were recorded there). His father is an engineer and his family is of Irish and Ukrainian heritage (he studied abroad in Ireland in college). He attended the Peddie School and then Columbia University where he studied economics and music. He is an avid soccer fan and enjoys photography as well. He is also a huge fan of Phish and The Grateful Dead. He now lives in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. In 2008 Tomson was involved in a hit-and-run incident in London after the Shockwaves NME awards. He was taken to hospital to be treated for neck injuries but was released on February 29 with no notable injuries [2]

Musical career

Prior to forming Vampire Weekend, Tomson played with Ezra Koenig in the comedy rap group called L’Homme Run. [3]

Tomson met the members of Vampire Weekend while attending Columbia University (he took music classes with Rostam Batmanglij and started the group in their senior year. The name of the group comes from the movie of the same name that Ezra Koenig and his friends made over summer vacations. ( They self-produced their first album after graduation while concurrently working full-time jobs (Tomson worked as an archivist for a record label). Tomson acts as drummer in the band.


External links


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