Posts Tagged ‘The Walkmen’

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


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.

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Hamilton Leithauser (formerly of The Walkmen) shared a new song, “Here They Come.” Part of the song could heard in a funny teaser video that we posted yesterday in which Leithauser got beaten up by actor/writer Ethan Hawke. The single features backing vocals by Leithauser’s wife Anna Stumpf and is out now via Glassnote Records.

There’s no word yet on when the new album from Leithauser will be released. In the teaser video Leithauser said his new album is made up of songs about real people, many of them his friends. “‘Here They Come’ is about a friend who tends to run from his problems,” Leithauser further explained in a voice over, as he walked around New York City. “When the going gets tough, he tends to just cut and run. The song is about the specific moment when the lights are coming up in a movie theater where he’s been hiding out all day.”

In the teaser Leithauser then arrives at Café Carlyle (where he had a series of residency shows in January) to play the song for one of his friends, who turns out to be Hawke. Right off the bat, the actor is annoyed that Leithauser is late. Then Hawke has a violent reaction to the song.

Back in 2016 Leithauser teamed up with Rostam Batmanglij (formerly of Vampire Weekend) to release a collaborative album, I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, via Glassnote Records.

I Had A Dream That You Were Mine

At the moment among my favourite love sonsg is “A 1000 Times” by Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam. It has  haunting instrumentation coupled with Hamilton’s classic howl. It’s taken from the album “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine”. I have it on repeat on my Ipod, in the car, and on  our dog walks, If I had thought the song was likeable when I first heard it on the radio,  A truly incredible album from several very talented musicians. The throwback sound will make you feel nostalgic and the gripping vocals will echo in your ears. The somewhat surprising collaboration between key members of The Walkmen and Vampire Weekend. Plus a truly wonderful video.

Vampire Weekends Rostam Batmanglij and The Walkmens Hamilton Leithauser released their collaborative album “I had A Dream That You Were Mine”  last September check out the music video for “A 1000 Times” (co-directed by Josh Goleman and Rostam) from the record. It stars both of their dads, as well as actors portraying the band at various stages of their lives. Leithauser discussed the video “Both of our dads are going to be the stars of this thing,” he said. “I’m really into that.” .

In a press release, Rostam wrote:

There’s a photo hanging on the wall at Hamilton and his wife Anna’s apartment. It’s Hamilton as a teenager in a white shirt and black jeans, surrounded by 3 of his best friends wearing the same thing; they’re playing in a band on some sunny lawn. It looks like they might be covering “Louie Louie”. I think this photo is hung at my eye level because every time I’ve been to their apartment I’ve remembered seeing it. At some point something must have clicked and inspired me to come up with this video concept— though I gotta confess originally it was meant for a different song we wrote together, one called “I Retired”. Also I want to give a shout out to Josh Goleman—this is the 3rd video we’ve directed together. I think we’re on to something.

Hamilton added:

The first concert I ever saw in my life was my dad’s band ‘The Del Ray Desperados.’  My dad was (and still is) the lead singer, Don Zientara was (and still is) on guitar, and there’s no question that’s where I got the idea that maybe I could try it some day.  When I heard the idea for this video, I knew my dad would pull it off, and I also knew there was only one kid who could get the job done right.  As anyone can see, Sam Nivola is only a few years (months?) from stardom.

The musical partnership between Hamilton Leithauser and Rostam Batmanglij began, as so many do, by disturbing the parental peace. The former lead singer for the Walkmen and former multi-instrumentalist from Vampire  Weekend are both originally from the city of Washington, D.C., and they’d meet up when they went home for the holidays. 

Leithauser, now based in Brooklyn, and Batmanglij, who was based in Brooklyn but now lives in Los Angeles, released their first collaborative album together,  “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine” ,

Written and recorded from July 2014 to February 2016, the record pairs one of rock’s great voices with a pop auteur . The result are lush arrangements and doo-wop tropes Batmanglij toyed with on the last Vampire Weekend album and fills them with another charismatic vocalist from indie rock band The Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser, who brings his smoky croon and elegantly rumpled lyrics. 

The two first met in March 2008, when Vampire Weekend were in Atlanta to open for the Walkmen, Leithauser and Batmanglij didn’t start working on songs together until years later, beginning with “1959,” which turned out to be the final song on I Had a Dream That You Were Mine . Batmanglij ended up writing, producing, and performing on two tracks from Leithauser’s solo debut LP, 2014’s “Black Hours” (“Alexandra” and “I Retired”). “It was a progression from there,” Leithauser says. They recorded almost the whole album in Batmanglij’s home studio in Los Angeles making it the first LP cut there—except for the drums, played by the White Rabbits Stephen Patterson, which they did in an outside studio.

They decided to bill themselves by their names, rather than as another Hamilton Leithauser solo record that happened to be co-written and produced by Batmanglij  “We wanted to put the record out in that way that both of our identities would be intact, said Batmanglij .

Peter Matthew Bauer former member of that great band The Walkmen, now with a new inspiring band featuring members of the Fleet Foxes and the Sound Team, if Hamilton Leithauser carried the expectation, Peter Matthew Bauer provided the unexpected highlight! Peter roped in a band of “dirtbag greasers” to help him make a thrilling step into the solo limelight, with a record that brought a huge variety of influences and experiences together into a coherent and timeless debut album.

Lyrically curious, it dealt openly with his experiences of religion, and in particular spirituality, all told with an open mind and the feeling of listening to someone with a great understanding of both the pros and cons.


Musically it was a thrilling ride through the best bits of the American music scene and infused them with some distinctly middle-eastern sounds. A record packed full of hooks, it slowly weaves it’s way into your brain and stays with you long after it’s finished, it’s a record we’ve gone back to time after time and it just gets better on every listen,


When The Walkmen announced their “extreme hiatus” at the back end of last year, we began to worry we might loose the talented New Yorkers forever. Luckily in 2014 they showed that whilst the band might not be going strong, the musicians within are still relentlessly creative and stunningly talented.Of course the man with the most pressure on his shoulders was frontman Hamilton Leithauser. As the spokesman for the band he carried with him into his solo career a sense of expectation, and on “Black Hours” he did not disappoint. He pulled off the tough balancing act of remaining loyal to his established fan base and taking his music into new directions with aplomb! Fans of The Walkmen need look no further than I Don’t Know or closing track The Smallest Splinter.

Those of us who wanted to see what makes him stand out as a solo artist though, were arguably treated even better. Gorgeous crooned-piano ballads, like 5AM & St Mary’s Country were equal parts Frank Sinatra and Tom Waits. Dylanish-country stompers like I Retired and the frankly bonkers run-away mine train feel of lead single Alexander. It was an album that had so much to give already, and yet hinted that even better might be to come. The Walkmen are dead long live The Walkmen!


Bob Boilen Tiny Desk Concert’s feature some great bands and musician and this is really special Hamilton leithauser the frontman from the incendiary band THE WALKMEN  performs some songs from his solo album “BLACK HOURS” while the band take a hiatus with the Walkmens Paul Maroon on guitar a great performance,

the former Walkmen frontman lead singer Hamilton Leithauser releases his first solo album later this month titled “BLACK HOURS” there has already been a fair few tracks available and it all sounds so good, Loud Rock’n Roll and piano led solo songs and orchestrated rhythms.Other members of the Walkmen already have solo albums ready and waiting its been good times for fans of this brilliant band.