Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij first burst onto the music scene as the guitarist-keyboardist for Vampire Weekend—he also produced the band’s first two albums. Batmanglji amicably left the group early last year to launch a solo career as Rostam. I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (stream it below), a collaborative effort with former Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser, arrived last September. “Leithauser and Rostam take their flair for reimagining classic sounds with postmodern glee to new levels,” said AllMusic. And with a full-length solo album due later this year, Rostam (above, the video for his brand-new single, “Gwan”) plays The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday. Former Dirty Projectors bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Deradoorian opens the show.
Tag Archives: Hamilton Leithauser
For more than a decade, Hamilton Leithauser has been known as the frontman of turn-of-the-century NYC rockers the Walkmen. But that band went on an “extreme hiatus” in late 2013 following a tour in support of their seventh studio album, Heaven. Not one to sit idly by, Leithauser (above, performing “5 AM” live in studio for WFUV FM) put out his first solo full-length, the Frank Sinatra–inspired Black Hours (stream it below), late last spring. It’s safe to say that critics were impressed. “In the hands of a less capable fontman and songwriter, Black Hours could have turned out as a cheesy attempt at ’50s pastiche. Instead, it’s a lively, confident and charming first effort,” said the A.V. Club. And Leithauser kicks off the weekend by entertaining his hometown fans on Friday night at
The Bowery Ballroom. But arrive early because the big-voiced Elle King opens the show.
Brian Burton—aka Danger Mouse—was already renowned for his considerable production work and being one half of Gnarls Barkley, and James Mercer was best known for fronting the Shins when the two combined forces to form Broken Bells in 2010. In calling their self-titled debut album (stream it below) “a sweet ’n’ sour and head-spinningly trippy set,” BBC Music declared, “Rarely have such brooding sentiments sounded so alluring.” And while some thought this would only be a one-off, Burton and Mercer remained true to their word about forming a band rather than making an album together just once. In fact they returned this past winter with their sophomore effort, After the Disco (stream it below). Spin mentioned “the idea of Broken Bells as a partnership built on the past’s vision of the future” and also called it “the rare, superior sequel—think Toy Story 2.” And although Broken Bells (above, doing “Perfect World” on Live on Letterman) record as a duo, they perform live as a full band. Go see them outside on Friday night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser opens the show.
Tags: After the Disco, Brian Burton, Broken Bells, Danger Mouse, Gnarls Barkley, Hamilton Leithauser, James Mercer, Preview, Rumsey Playfield, the Shins, the Walkmen, Video
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The Walkmen – Terminal 5 – October 18, 2012
“This is a real homecoming show for all of us,” announced Hamilton Leithauser, frontman of the Walkmen, to the crowd at Terminal 5 last night, adding, somewhat wistfully, “We don’t all live here anymore.” Indeed, times have changed since the band debuted at the start of the millennium, often unwittingly grouped with a plethora of guitar-driven bands comprising the so-called “new” New York City music scene.
Now with seven studio albums (including their latest release, Heaven) to their credit, it’s easy to see why the Walkmen may have resented initial comparisons to other of-the-moment bands—although they certainly have attitude, style and the kind of punchy guitar lines that can rile up a crowd. But since their inception, the band has taken pains to set them apart: crafting their songs with erudite lyrics, shifting dynamics and intricate compositions, often using vintage instruments.
In particular, the Walkmen excel at experimenting with the opposing forces of restraint and excess, frequently illustrated during last night’s show. Leithauser relished in the measured delivery of slow-building numbers like “138th Street” and “In the New Year,” while during more unhinged songs like “All Hands and the Cook,” “Angela Surf City” and “The Rat,” he shout-sang lyrics with unbridled immediacy. The Walkmen closed out the night with a hit from their 2002 debut album, the piano-tinged “We’ve Been Had.” It’s a song with lyrics brimming with nostalgia, and a fitting finish for an accomplished band returning to their formative city. —Alena Kastin