Exclusive: The Walkmen Travel 'Miles' On New Album
New York rock act the Walkmen will release their third full-length, "A Hundred Miles Off," May 23 via Record Collection, Billboard.com can exclusively reveal.New York rock act the Walkmen will release their third full-length, "A Hundred Miles Off," May 23 via Record Collection, Billboard.com can exclusively reveal. The set is the follow-up to 2004's "Bows and Arrows," which debuted at No. 8 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 9 on the Top Independent Albums tally.
"We're all very proud of this. I think it runs about 42 minutes, and its much more solid than the last record," vocalist/guitarist Hamilton Leithauser tells Billboard.com. "There are no dips, so it is very different in that regard. We've always been pretty heavy, and this seems a little lighter. I mean, it still sounds like the same band. But it has a lot less organ involved."
From start to finish, "A Hundred Miles Off" took about a year to materialize. "We tried writing from January of 2005 to July, and didn't come up with one thing. It was very frustrating," Leithauser admits. "But, in July we finally wrote our first song, and it just was a relief, once we got that down."
The opening track, "Louisiana" is described by Leithauser as "light and fun sounding. We added a trumpet line, and it has a very Dylan 'Basement Tapes'-era feel to it. But it's a nod, not a ripoff." "All Hands in The Cook" has a "sort of swingtime feel to it," according to the artist. "It is probably our best song we did, and you could say it sounds like a modern Leonard Cohen." "Danny's at the Wedding" is "straight up Walkmen-sounding. It's a rock song, but in a different way than 'The Rat,'" the opening track of "Bows and Arrows."
Most of the songs were road-tested last month during a short Northeast run. "We were in a slump, and just were really over 'The Rat,'" Leithauser says. "I mean, we toured that album for awhile, and wanted to move on. We played 10 of our new songs and they went over really well. It's the most fun we've had in a long time."
The new album was recorded at the Walkmen's own Marcata Studios in Harlem and the famed Inner Ear Studios just outside Washington, D.C. Although the band produced the set, Don Zientara (Fugazi, the Dismemberment Plan) assisted with engineering.
After a few opening slots for the upcoming Pogues North American tour and a stop at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in late April in Indio, Calif., the Walkmen will tour the U.S. and U.K. in May and June.
In the fall, the band will release its second album of the year, also via Record Collection: a song-by-song recreation of the 1974 Harry Nilsson classic "Pussy Cats," recorded last month at Marcata. A "making-of" DVD is planned to accompany the release.
Here is the track listing for "A Hundred Miles Off":
"Danny's at the Wedding"
"Good for You's Good for Me"
"Emma, Get Me a Lemon"
"All Hands and the Cook"
"Lost in Boston"
"Don't Get Me Down (Come on Over Here)"
"This Job Is Killing Me"
"Always After You ('Til You Started After Me)"
"Another One Goes By"