New York – Former front man Hamilton Leithauser of the now-defunct group The Walkmen has just confirmed details of his first-ever solo venture. The album, to be entitled Black Hours, is scheduled for release in North America on May 6th via Ribbon Music. Leithauser’s solo debut will be available internationally on May 5th, in regular and deluxe incarnations
In writing, recording and producing this project, Leithauser had a little help from his friends. The latest record is host to a conglomeration of all-star collaborations, including Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, the Shin’s Richard Swift, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Fleet Foxes and Cave Singers’ Morgen Henderson, fellow Walkmen brother Paul Maroon and former band mate Hugh McIntosh from his days with The Recoys.
The first single is “Alexandra,” a love-drenched ballad that seduces the heart as much as the mind’s eye. Directed by Tristan Patterson, the video was ours to keep as of February 25th. Batmanglij lent his talents to the writing and production of this track, and makes an appearance in the video alongside Leithauser (and some beautiful, minimally clothed, female backup dancers). The only bad thing I can say about this song is that it ends too soon (a devious and masterful choice as the first cut from the album). The track explodes in energy and pops along with high voltage courage. Lyrical romanticism compounds the catchy melodic infrastructure and, like a smoking gun, punctuates the entire song with omnipresent significance.
Imagining Leithauser as a stand-alone act is a thrilling idea. However, we invariably cannot separate our perception of his current career with our conception of his past. When news surfaced of the purported breakup of indie-darling group The Walkmen, longtime fans were pitched into the darkest depths of learning to let go. The news came about last November, when Peter Bauer (bassist/organist) described the split in an article with the Washington Post, saying, “I’d call it a pretty extreme hiatus.” According to Bauer, the split was not entirely newsworthy, as the band had been stringing along for some time. However, the group has already reunited once since they separated, when they performed on February 15th at a benefit concert for the Rock On Foundation. So, maybe a reunion tour down the road isn’t inconceivable.
The Walkmen’s 7-album discography may span more than a decade, but these guys have been playing together much longer than that. The band mates all grew up in the DC area, and have known each other since the 5th grade. Walter Martin, Paul Maroon and Matt Barrick all played together in the indie-rock outfit Jonathan Fire*Eater, before the group disbanded in 1998. Peter Bauer and Leithauser himself belonged to the Boston-based garage group The Recoys, which split the following year, in 1999. The five came together in 2000 to form The Walkmen.
This is a group who, over the course of seven studio albums, offered up a soundtrack fit to compliment the natural trajectory of ageing with grace. From their breakout full-length record, 2002’s Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, to their final release ten years later, 2012’s Heaven, some quiet magic marked this group’s progression. Perhaps the evident evolution of subject matter was the dead give away, but they won us in youth and continued to charm us straight through life’s biggest changes as they lived them.
The timeframe that marked the group’s progression was long, 14 years at the time of their split. Along with the passing years, band members reached new levels of maturity quite naturally. The work they continued to churn out mirrored this development in the sonically refined techniques they adopted. From punk vibes to cascading and melodic pianos, these men somehow guarded their edge. Leithauser led the troops all the while, his voice cutting to the core of listeners like a knife, and forever marked the tone of the outfit.
Leithauser’s signature vocals are sure to make Black Hours an instant success. To celebrate flying solo, Leithauser has already scheduled four shows in New York City on April 15th and 16th. The venue is set at Joe’s Pub, which was the location of The Walkmen’s first live show. How’s that for full circle? Tickets for both nights are available as of 2pm on February 28th, so get yours before they’re gone. Until then, surrender to the temptation of pre-ordering the record, or resign to staring longingly at the track list below.
- 5 AM
- The Silent Orchestra
- 11 O’Clock Friday Nigh
- St Mary’s County
- Self Pity
- I Retired
- I Don’t Need Anyone
- Bless Your Heart
- The Smallest Splinter
- Waltz [Deluxe Edition]
- In Our Time (I’ll Always Love You) [Deluxe Edition]
- Utrecht [Deluxe Edition]
- I’ll Never Love Again [Deluxe Edition]
Latest posts by Liz Rowley (see all)
- firekid Dazzles New Yorkers With His Metropolitan Mountain Music - September 14, 2015
- Caveman Blows New Yorkers Out Of The Water - July 16, 2015
- Danielle Miraglia Explores The Paradox Of Egotism - May 4, 2015