With The Walkmen on an “extreme hiatus”, frontman Hamilton Leithauser is releasing his debut solo album, entitled Black Hours. Ahead of its June 3rd release date, the record is streaming in full over at NPR.
The 10-track effort 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.
In an interview with Consequence of Sound, Leithauser revealed that his A-list guests did more than just contribute ideas or play instruments; they helped define his individual sound.
When you get into a room playing with Morgan Henderson and Richard Swift, dudes who can play anything, you can sort of just turn them loose, and that’s why I wanted them around. Morgan will play the marimba or something like that, and it’ll replace my guitar line, and I’m all the happier to have less of me playing the guitar. It’s just great, so that was the reason to get all those people in there. Amber came in and sang, and I wish I had even more of her, looking back.
Leithauser also discussed his songwriting process, including an incessant need to avoid sounding like just another Walkmen album:
I had been writing songs for a while before we decided we weren’t going to be doing it as a group, and I definitely had that moment where I suddenly had to look at the songs and be like, ‘If this is gonna be under a different name, something has to change. I gotta be a lot more careful.’ I mean, there’s got to be a reason that it’s coming out under a different name. It’s my voice, so that was the first trick. But it’s hard enough to try and sound different than the Walkmen. I continuously write music; I’m just sort of always doing it, so it’s hard to constantly have to give yourself a voice. It’s just hard enough to write songs, so to have that obstacle, too, makes it all the harder.
Pre-orders for the album are ongoing. Below, watch the music video for “11 O’Clock Friday Night”:
Black Hours Tracklist:
01. 5 AM
02. The Silent Orchestra
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]