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The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser announces debut solo album Black Hours, listen to “Alexandra”

on February 24, 2014, 10:53pm

With The Walkmen officially on hiatus (for real this time), its members are starting to try their hand at solo endeavors. Earlier this month, multi-instrumentalist Walter Martin revealed plans for We’re All Young Togetherdue May 13th. Now, frontman Hamilton Leithauser has announced his own debut outing, and it’s dropping just one week before Martin’s.

Entitled Black Hours, the 10-track effort will arrive May 6th through Ribbon Music. It features contributions from Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, The Shins’ Richard Swift, Morgen Henderson from Fleet Foxes and The Cave Singers, and The Walkmen’s own Paul Maroon.

The album is previewed by the track “Alexandra”, a charging yet still charming rocker filled with twinkling piano and, yes, even harmonica. Though it was co-written by Batmanglij, the song’s reminiscent of much of The Walkmen’s past material. It will be released on 7-inch vinyl for Record Store Day (backed by the track “In the Shallows”). Below, you can watch the accompanying video, directed by Tristan Patterson.

Stereogum’s Ryan Leas had the pleasure of previewing some of the album tracks last fall while working on a massive story about the band. He described two tracks thusly:

“[Paul] Maroon describes Leithauser’s album as “Half orchestral, half rock ’n’ roll,” a split that’s readily evident in the two songs Leithauser plays me through those studio headphones. The first — which will probably be called “Alexandra”, for the repeated evocation of the name in the chorus — is an uptempo, almost exultantly Wall Of Sound-ish track full of horn blasts and jaunty ’60s pop piano. It travels in brighter territory than most Walkmen material save maybe select tracks off Heaven, and is likely the first single. The other is fully-committed orchestral pop, a slower, atmospheric number based entirely on piano, stand-up bass, and noir-ish string swells. In the lead-up to Heaven, Leithauser had spoken of how Frank Sinatra’s vocal phrasing had lately been an influence for him. Here, that inspiration has fully bloomed. He even used half a year’s salary to purchase the same vintage Neumann U47 mic Sinatra used.”

Leas also noted that Leithauser is wary of sounding too much like The Walkmen, actually cutting two tracks from the record to avoid just that. No other information has officially been released yet, but keep it here to learn more as details roll out.

Black Hours Tracklist:
01. 5 AM
02. The Silent Orchestra
03. Alexandra
04. 11 O’Clock Friday Night
05. St Mary’s County
06. Self Pity
07. I Retired
08. I Don’t Need Anyone
09. Bless Your Heart
10. The Smallest Splinter
11. Waltz [Deluxe Edition]
12. In Our Time (I’ll Always Love You) [Deluxe Edition]
13. Utrecht [Deluxe Edition]
14. I’ll Never Love Again [Deluxe Edition]

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