Posts Tagged ‘The Loves of Your Life’

Indie rock veteran Hamilton Leithauser follows his earlier studio release “The Loves of Your Life” with a new live album featuring selections from his annual residencies at New York City’s iconic Cafe Carlyle. Each is from January’s performance. Hello world! My live record is now streaming everywhere. There is also a handsome white vinyl edition now available here. I invite you to please pull up a chair and escape today’s worries with a listen.

“I didn’t realize at the time that the 5 shows I played in January at Cafe Carlyle would be the only live shows I would do in 2020,” he said in a press statement. “I’m glad I recorded one of them. I found the tapes a few months later during this quarantine, and realized I wanted to share a bunch of them with a wider audience. I’m glad I recorded one of them. I found the tapes a few months later during this quarantine, and realized I wanted to share a bunch of them with a wider audience. The band was awesome, and it’s the closest thing to playing live I have right now, so it really was a fun thing to put together. I’ve only ever played most of these songs 4-5 times, so we were really still learning them that night. Playing live is such a big part of my life, and I don’t know when I’ll actually be able to do it again, so in the meantime, I hope this record might transport the listener for 30 minutes to a small, candle-lit cafe table in an overcrowded room while my band is ripping it up.

Very excited to announce that those tapes make up Live! at the Café Carlyle LP, which will be yours on Friday, September 4th

Hamilton Leithauser performing “Isabella” from his upcoming album “The Loves of Your Life” at The Carlyle Hotel in New York City.

“Here They Come” performed by Hamilton Leithauser live @ the Carlyle Hotel in NYC

The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser’s fourth solo album is unashamedly old fashioned. It’s certainly not what you’d call a change of pace, after all, the band’s debut artwork was a sepia photograph from 1910, and he was only 21 then. Leithauser has evolved in the 19 years since – The Walkmen no longer even exist – but the storytelling intent signalled by that photograph and the three working class factory boys it depicted remain at the heart of his solo work, and provide the concept for this record; a storybook of sorts, with each song telling a different person’s tale. It’s the kind of record which defined the 70s singer/song-wiriter mould, making it feel joyously traditional, and not just because of amounts of upright piano which would make Randy Newman blush.

Produced and mixed by Leithauser alone in his DIY studio The Struggle Hut, there is a decidedly homely quality to the music. The album is bookended by “The Garbage Men” and “The Old King”, two songs which feature his wife and daughters as backing vocalists, and even their pre-school teacher sings on half the songs too. Eschewing the sleek production of Electric Lady Studios, which must have been mere blocks away, gives the album the raucous feeling of a bar-room jam.

The impact of his previous album, a collaboration with Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend, has not been lost. Like Batmangij’s productions, the drums on these songs resonate loud in the mix, cutting through sweaty saxophone riffs, jubilant piano and Leithauser’s own signature bellow, and ‘bellow’ he does. He seems to only have this mode – one where you can almost hear the veins straining – but while some variation may wouldn’t have gone amiss, amongst the chaos of these songs he makes himself heard.

Despite this, Leithauser is eager to ensure that it’s the characters of his tales which sit at the heart of the album. The swinging “Cross-Sound Ferry” recounts a world-wise stranger he met on the ferry from Orient Point to New London, while vaudeville lead single “Hear They Come” depicts a friend of his hiding from life’s problems in a cinema, the lights coming up as the real world refuses to stay outside.

“Don’t Check the Score” is made distinct with chanting female vocals, erupting into a beauteous crescendo with piano from Stuart Bogie and clattering percussion. It reminds of the down ’n’ dirty musical theatre of Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs, but not as much as the off-kilter vamps all over it’s successor “Til the Ship Comes In” which delivers the delicious shanty “I love you now / I loved you then / gonna love you / til the ship comes in!” When the backing instrumentation drops out to leave Leithauser booming those words into an empty room, the album is at its most powerful.

This isolated moment is part of the power of the record. Unlike the songs of obvious parallel Springsteen, Leithauser tells these tales from the rear view mirror, looking back. The woozy drum beat which opens “The Stars of Tomorrow” announces itself as a moment where Leithauser is about to leave it all on the floor. The story is one of a Polish woman he met one night in the wake of a terrible fight with her husband, about to vanish in her red Chevy Silverado truck. Leithauser excuses himself from the song halfway through to pronounce: “I’m just a singer / and you’re just in my heart / I wish you the best of luck / I wish you a brand new start”.

Like all of these songs, this is just one page from a journal recited aloud by a man in a DIY studio with only these memories for company. The album as a whole is a tribute to muses like these; the man who wrote “The Rat” and “In The New Year’ revealing the loves of his life: a smorgasbord of people who animate his pen and breathe lives lived into his songs.

The stirring and singular harmonies of Hamilton Leithauser make the failed dreams, broken promises and anxiety in “The Garbage Men” feel like an uplifting fairy tale.

Official Audio for “The Garbage Men” from Hamilton Leithauser’s album “The Loves of Your Life

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Hamilton Leithauser has proven himself as a master collaborator and solo artist throughout his nearly 20 year career. Following his time as the frontman of the Walkmen, Leithauser released the critically acclaimed collaboration with Rostam “I Had a Dream That You Were Mine” in 2016. The album debuted at No1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Chart, #1 New Artist Album, and was named one of the Year’s Best by Pitchfork, Esquire, NPR, and more. His latest work and second solo record “The Loves of Your Life” was written and produced by Hamilton in his home studio and is a collection of stories about real people he’s met over his years living in New York City.

The Loves of Your Life is Hamilton Leithauser’s latest release following the Walkmen’s 2013 hiatus. He led the record with humorous teasers starring Ethan Hawke, Maggie Rogers, and Sienna Miller. The former frontman of the Walkmen still has one of the best voices around, in a white-blues lineage with Joe Cocker and Rod Stewart. It sits at the heart of these rackety character studies, which surge and balloon into beautiful anthems under the steam of his vocals.

The teaser videos for the first two singles from Hamilton Leithauser’s third solo LP, The Loves of Your Life, are some of the coolest album promo clips you’ll ever see. In the videos, the former frontman of The Walkmen paints himself to be a bit down and out as he traverses New York to play a new song for his friends Maggie Rogers (“Isabella”) and Ethan Hawke (“Here They Come.”) As the tracks play, Rogers cuts Leithauser’s hair, while Hawke casually beats him up. Just as much as the uncanny wail that’s been at the crux of so many of his stellar albums, Leithauser’s wits are very much still present. The singles are filled with upbeat folk rhythms and layered arrangements that beg for the repeat button. The album was recorded and produced over three years in Leithauser’s home studio, and his solo catalogue is definitely building into a similarly solid gold collection to the one that made The Walkmen so great.

Hamilton Leithauser

“When I used to work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, my friend introduced me to ‘day trading,’ which is just compulsive gambling on the stock market,” says Hamilton Leithauser of “Don’t Check the Score” which is his new single from upcoming album The Loves of Your Life. “It can be done from your home (or work) computer. Instead of working, we would gamble all day. It was incredibly fun when you were up, and not as fun when you were down. This was around 2001, so we only had a dial up connection on one shared computer. It took like 45 seconds to login to the website to check your bet (hopefully you’d made like $55 or something). When things looked sour, you’d say ‘don’t login!’ Out of sight, out of mind—sort of. In reality you’d just be biting your nails thinking of nothing else…definitely not working. Anyhow, the title is a metaphor for looking the other way, or avoiding an inconvenient truth. I guess I could have called it ‘Don’t Login’ but I think there’s a lot more nobility in a sports metaphor than a day trading metaphor. Eventually, I stopped trading, because the house always wins.”

Official Audio for “Don’t Check The Score” from Hamilton Leithauser’s album “The Loves of Your Life” out April 10th.