Walter Martin Salutes Jonathan Fire*Eater on 'The World At Night (For Stew)': Exclusive

Walter Martin
Melissa Martin

Walter Martin

On the new single of his forthcoming solo album, Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Walter Martin pays tribute to a dear friend who played alongside him in one of rock and roll's most criminally overlooked bands. 

"The World At Night (For Stew)" eulogizes the late Stewart Lupton, frontman of the mercurial garage rock outfit, Jonathan Fire*Eater. During the mid 90s, the D.C. quintet's raucous live shows helped them score a lavish major label deal and greatly influence future indie rock royalty: the Strokes, Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the Walkmen, which formed featuring Martin and several other ex-Fire*Eater members after the band's 1998 breakup. 

"'The World at Night' takes place inside a collage that my friend Stewart made," Martin tells Billboard. "Stew died last year and his collage hangs above my desk where I write everyday. I’m not really a religious person but I do believe in ghosts and in magic and in plenty of beautiful stuff that I can’t see. Writing this album -- and especially this song -- was an effort to get closer to that stuff. And to Stew."

Martin's new LP The World At Night was produced by Josh Kaufman (Craig Finn, The National, Josh Ritter) and is set for release Jan. 31, 2020. This latest sampling is the pseudo-title track, a dreamy mosaic called "The World At Night (For Stew)." It's out everywhere tomorrow (Nov. 8) but you can stream it a day early exclusively below.

The World At Night follows Martin's previous solo album, 2018's Reminisce Bar & Grill. For more on that LP and Martin's fascinating twenty-plus years in music, check out Billboard's 2018 podcast-interview. (Fans of the New York City garage rock history book Meet Me In The Bathroom will have a lot to dig into.)

Martin isn't the only one paying tribute to Lupton's legacy. Last month, Third Man Records reissued a remastered and expanded version of Jonathan Fire*Eater's 1996 EP Tremble Under Boom Lights, along with a chapbook of Lupton's poetry.  

Below, find the cover art for The World At Night, designed by Christopher Corr.