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The Walkmen

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  • Formed: New York, NY
  • Years Active: 2000s
  • Website: http://www.thewalkmen.com
  • Recent Activity: 05.20.15 RT @HLeithauser: Greetings Texas. 3 beer-drinking concerts this weekend: Dallas, Austin, & Houston. Dates at http://t.co/tKNjlWGAjt
  • The Walkmen

  • The Walkmen


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

All Music Guide:

The Walkmen feature three members from Jonathan Fire*Eater and two from the Recoys. When Jonathan Fire*Eater disbanded in 1998, the group took the remainder of their Dreamworks funding and established an uptown rehearsal space in New York City that doubled as a 24-track recording studio where they use a wide variety of vintage equipment. The 900-square-foot Harlem industrial space, dubbed Marcata Studios, was completed in the fall of 1999. (Bands that have recorded at their studio include labelmates the French Kicks and experimental rockers Arto Lindsay and Nação Zumbi.) The Walkmen, some of whom had gigged in the city under the moniker Today Okay, formed in 2000 and consist of Fire Eaters Walter Martin (vocals, organ, etc.), Paul Maroon (guitars), and Matt Barrick (drums) and ex-Recoys Hamilton Leithauser (vocals) and Peter Bauer (bass). Like Jonathan Fire*Eater, the members of the Walkmen grew up together in the Washington, D.C., area and have played in the same bands since the fifth grade. Perhaps the only way the group could be any closer is if they were all related. (Martin and Leithauser are cousins, so the semi-merging of bands is also somewhat of a family reunion.)

The Walkmen make a conscious attempt to evolve away from the raw, fiery garage sounds of their previous bands. They incorporate piano into the new songs as well as take the compositions in new directions by experimenting with instrumentation and recording techniques. The Walkmen are influenced by such diverse bands as the Pogues, Joy Division, Bruce Springsteen, Björk, U2, New Order, the Smiths, and the Cure. Their new music has favorably been compared to Pixies, Brian Eno, and the Velvet Underground with strong hints of U2 and Television. An online advertisement for the Marcata Studios explains that the owners appreciate the sonic recordings on Joy Division's Peel Sessions, Talking Heads' Fear of Music, the Specials' The Specials, and Royal Trux's Singles, among others.

The Walkmen released a self-titled, four-song EP in 1999 through the small Brooklyn label Startime International (Brendan Benson) and completed a vinyl-only release to be made available at concerts. The first Walkmen concert was at Joe's Pub in the East Village in September of 2000, shortly after their EP was released. In 2002, the Walkmen made their proper full-length debut with Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone. It was a favorite among indie crowds and the album led the Walkmen to tour the world in support of it. Bows + Arrows, the band's first for Warner Bros.' Record Collection label, appeared two years later. Along with touring and appearing in a cameo on the Fox TV series The O.C., the Walkmen began writing a novel, John's Journey, together. The band returned to the studio in 2005, working with Don Zientera at Arlington, VA's Inner Ear Studio on their third album, A Hundred Miles Off, and at their own Marcata Studio on a song-by-song cover of Harry Nilsson's Pussy Cats, which was the last album recorded in Marcata before the band closed it. A Hundred Miles Off was released in spring 2006, and Pussy Cats arrived that fall. The Walkmen recorded their fourth album in New York's Gigantic Studio and the same Oxford, MS, studio in which they recorded Bows + Arrows, releasing You & Me in 2008 on Gigantic Music. Lisbon, the group's sixth studio album, arrived in 2010 on the Fat Possum/Bella Union label. The following year, the Walkmen celebrated their 10th anniversary as a band while recording with Phil Ek; the results, Heaven, arrived in 2012.


The Walkmen are an indie rock band, with members based in New York City and Philadelphia. The band formed in 2000 with three members from Jonathan Fire*Eater—Paul Maroon (guitar, piano), Walter Martin (organ/bass), and Matt Barrick (drums)—and two from The Recoys, Peter Bauer (bass/organ) and Hamilton Leithauser (vocals, guitar). Bauer attended Maret School in Washington, D.C., while the other band members attended St. Albans, also in Washington.

They prefer the sound of vintage musical instruments, particularly the upright piano, and have often recorded at Marcata Recording, a recording studio built in Harlem in 1999 by the three former members of Jonathan Fire*Eater. A house engineer later relocated the name to upstate New York.

Peter Bauer was quoted on November 29, 2013, as saying the band was going on "extreme hiatus.". Leithauser has since mentioned that he "wished that hadn't been said".

^ Marcata Recording^ http://www.nme.com/news/the-walkmen--2/74136


History1.1 Early years1.2 Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone1.3 Bows + Arrows1.4 A Hundred Miles Off and Pussy Cats1.5 You & Me1.6 Lisbon1.7 Heaven


Early years[edit]

Each of the members of The Walkmen grew up in and around the Washington, DC area, played in many of the same bands from early in their careers, and even attended the same Washington-area high school, St. Albans School (Washington, D.C.). The bandmates eventually moved to Harlem.

The band was formed in 2000 following the breakup of two separate bands: Jonathan Fire*Eater, whose members included Martin, Maroon and Barrick, and The Recoys, whose members included Leithauser and Bauer. The three members from Jonathan Fire*Eater, which had recorded for Dreamworks Records, had money left over from that past recording contract and used the remaining funds to construct a rehearsal space in uptown New York. The rehearsal space featured a 24-track recording studio and was dubbed Marcata Studios.

The newly formed band, who wished to distance themselves from the garage rock sounds of previous bands, released a self-titled EP of songs in 2001 on Startime International, a small Brooklyn-based record label. Shortly after the release of the EP, which featured a blend of upright pianos and other vintage instruments, The Walkmen made their official live debut with a performance at Joe's Pub in the East Village.

Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone[edit]

The 2002 debut album Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, released by Startime, was well received by critics. The album was noted for its innovative approach to atmosphere and instrumentation, with sparse bass and drums complemented by plinking piano, jangly guitars and Leithauser's unique vocal stylings. Two of the songs on the album, "The Blizzard of '96" and "That's the Punchline," were adaptations of tracks meant for The Recoys' unreleased full-length album.

Critics compared the results of the album to past work by U2 and The Cure as a result of the uniqueness of its sound as compared to other contemporary New York City bands such as The Strokes. One of the album's songs, "We've Been Had," was featured in a commercial for a Saturn Ion automobile.

Bows + Arrows[edit]

The band's follow-up album, Bows + Arrows, was released on the Record Collection label in 2004 and was listed by many critics as one of the year's best albums. The album spawned singles for the songs "The Rat" and "Little House of Savages." Critical success of the album led the band to perform on the popular Fox series The O.C. Bows + Arrows was noted for containing a more immediate and focused sound than its predecessor; both "The Rat" and "Little House of Savages" were seen as stark contrasts to much of the band's past outputs.

A Hundred Miles Off and Pussy Cats[edit]

Their next album, A Hundred Miles Off, was released in the U.S. on May 23, 2006. The band premiered most of the new songs on a tour of the Northeast in early 2006. The first single to be released was "Louisiana," which featured an upbeat chorus of horns. Peter Bauer and Walter Martin traded musical instruments on the new album, with Bauer handling the organ duties and Martin playing bass. The album found the band refocusing its sound toward folk sounds, unlike their previous two albums; though the change in direction was lauded by some critics, other reviews were often mixed.

The band was forced to close Marcata Studios that same year after Columbia University purchased the building it resided in. The band released another full-length album, "Pussy Cats" Starring the Walkmen, a track-by-track cover of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon's 1974 album Pussy Cats, as a farewell to their studio's Harlem location.

You & Me[edit]

Their next studio album, You & Me, became available on July 29, 2008, as an exclusive charitable pre-release on indie music website Amie Street. The Walkmen made the album available for $5 on Amie Street, with all proceeds donated to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. During its first week of sales, the album charted at No. 29 on Billboard's Top Digital Albums. The album was made available on physical formats on August 19, 2008. The album was recorded at Gigantic Studios with Chris Zane.


The Walkmen recorded 13 songs for their latest album in five days in August 2009 with John Congleton and Chris Zane. They had been playing several of the songs since the summer of 2009. They recorded "something like 28 songs," but included only 11 on the album. In support of the new album, The Walkmen performed at All Tomorrow Parties in May 2010, Lollapalooza in early August 2010, and the Reading and Leeds Festivals at the end of August 2010. Lisbon was released on September 14, 2010 on label Fat Possum records. Initial reviews have been favorable, with Pitchfork Media awarding the album 8.6/10, and PopMatters rating it 7/10. The band embarked on a fall tour of North America and Europe to support their new release.


Pitchfork announced that Heaven would be out on June 4 (Europe/UK) and on June 5 (US). It was completed in early March, as mentioned by the band on their website on March 7, 2012. "Hi everyone. Our album is finally done and we're thrilled with it. We can't wait to get it out there."

They released the song entitled "Heaven" to the public through Pitchfork Media's website on April 16, 2012, sparking the website to give the title "Best New Track" on the same day.

The Walkmen toured in early 2012 for their 10th anniversary of Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, and during that tour they played many new songs.

They released their album, Heaven, on May 29, 2012. Pitchfork rated it 8.1, and Stereogum called it the second best album of the year. American Songwriter says of The Walkmen that Heaven is "arguably their best, and certainly most accomplished album yet." Still in Rock gave the album a 7.8 rating and made a selection of the best tracks on the album.

The music video for the album's tenth track, "The Love You Love", was shot at the infamous Baleroy Mansion in Philadelphia by the band who was looking for a haunted site.

The song "Heaven" was also used as the closing song on the series finale of the hit CBS show How I Met Your Mother.

^ "The Walkmen Biography on Yahoo! Music". Retrieved 2009-02-17. ^ "BBC Collective - The Walkmen Interview". Retrieved 2009-02-17. ^ "Allmusic Biography-The Walkmen". Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ Dahlen, Chris (April 8, 2002). "Pitchfork Media Review: Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone". Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ Yu, Stephanie. "N.Y.'s Walkmen rock in D.C. this Thursday". The Johns-Hopkins Newsletter. Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ Carr, Eric. "Pitchfork Media: Bows + Arrows Review". Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ LeMay, Matt. "Pitchfork Media: A Hundred Miles Off Review". Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ Hiatt, Brian. "Rolling Stone Review: A Hundred Miles Off". Retrieved 2009-02-18. ^ Cite error: The named reference marcata was invoked but never defined (see the help page).^ PrefixMag.com: Walkmen release You & Me for $5...^ "Get The Walkmen Album Early, Help Charity On Amie Street". TechCrunch. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2008-08-08. ^ "Top Digital Albums". Billboard. 2008-08-06. Retrieved 2008-08-08. ^ The Walkmen's Walter Martin: The Cream Interview^ [1]^ "The Walkmen: Lisbon | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2012-04-29. ^ Amidon, David. "The Walkmen: Lisbon < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2012-04-29. ^ [2]^ "The Walkmen Announce New Album | News". Pitchfork. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-04-29. ^ [3]^ "The Walkmen: Heaven". American Songwriter. Retrieved 12 August 2012. ^ "The Walkmen, best titles by Still in Rock". 
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  • 05.20.15 RT @HLeithauser: Greetings Texas. 3 beer-drinking concerts this weekend: Dallas, Austin, & Houston. Dates at http://t.co/tKNjlWGAjt
  • 05.19.15 RT @WaltRMartin: Finishing up songs for mixing w the great Phil Ek. After a year of writing/recording, album 2 is almost done http://t.co/E…
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