The Walkmen

The Walkmen

The Walkmen
The Walkmen performing in New York (April, 2004)
Background information
Origin New York City/Washington, D.C., United States
Genres Indie rock, post-punk revival
Years active 2000–2014 (on hiatus)
Labels Record Collection, Startime, Gigantic, Fierce Panda, Fat Possum, Bella Union
Associated acts Jonathan Fire*Eater, Flashy Python, The Recoys, Light Heat
Members Hamilton Leithauser
Paul Maroon
Walter Martin
Peter Bauer
Matt Barrick

The Walkmen is an 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.[1]

Peter Bauer was quoted on November 29, 2013, as saying the band was going on "extreme hiatus.".[2] Leithauser has since mentioned that he "wished that hadn't been said".


  • History 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone 1.2
    • Bows + Arrows 1.3
    • A Hundred Miles Off and Pussy Cats 1.4
    • You & Me 1.5
    • Lisbon 1.6
    • Heaven 1.7
  • Discography 2
    • Studio albums 2.1
    • EPs 2.2
    • Singles 2.3
    • Other recordings 2.4
    • Songs in film 2.5
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Early years

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,[3] and even attended the same Washington-area high school, St. Albans School (Washington, D.C.).[4] 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.[3] 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.[3] 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.[5] 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

The 2002 debut album Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, released by Startime, was well received by critics.[6] 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.[6] 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.[6] One of the album's songs, "We've Been Had," was featured in a commercial for a Saturn Ion automobile.[7]

Bows + Arrows

In 2009, "The Rat" was placed at No. 20 on Pitchfork Media's list of 500 Top Tracks of the 2000s

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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.[8] 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.[3] 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.[8]

A Hundred Miles Off and Pussy Cats

Their next album, bass.[9] 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,[10] other reviews were often mixed.[9]

The band was forced to close Marcata Studios that same year after Columbia University purchased the building it resided in.[1] 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.[1]

You & Me

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.[11] During its first week of sales, the album charted at No. 29 on Billboard's Top Digital Albums.[12][13] 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.[14] 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.[15] Initial reviews have been favorable, with Pitchfork Media awarding the album 8.6/10,[16] and PopMatters rating it 7/10.[17] The band embarked on a fall tour of North America and Europe to support their new release.[18]


Pitchfork announced that Heaven would be out on June 4 (Europe/UK) and on June 5 (US).[19] 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."[20]

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."[21] Still in Rock gave the album a 7.8 rating and made a selection of the best tracks on the album.[22]

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.


Studio albums


  • The Walkmen (June 26, 2001)
  • Untitled (Black cover, with eight songs) (April 3, 2002)
  • Untitled (White cover, with eight songs) (April 3, 2002)
  • Split (with Calla) (September 17, 2002)
  • Christmas Party (2004)
  • Daytrotter Session, March 2008 (Leonard Cohen covers)[23]
  • Daytrotter Session, August 2008 (Neil Hagerty covers)[24]
  • Live Session (iTunes Exclusive) (August 12, 2009)


  • "Let's Live Together" (2002)
  • "The Rat" (April 19, 2004) No. 45 UK
  • "Little House of Savages" (June 28, 2004) No. 74 UK
  • "Louisiana" (September 11, 2006)
  • "The Blue Route"/"Canadian Girl" (November 10, 2008)
  • "In the New Year" (February 23, 2009)
  • "Weight On My Shoulders" / "Good Days Carry On" (September 14, 2010)(Limited Edition 7")
  • "Stranded" (July 2, 2010)
  • "Angela Surf City" (October 4, 2010)
  • "Heaven" (April 17, 2012)
  • "Dance With Your Partner" / "Vermeer '65" (November 6, 2012)

Other recordings

Songs in film

Year Song Appearance
2006 "The Rat" Mulberry Street Soundtrack
2007 "Red River" Spider-Man 3 Soundtrack
2008 "Brandy Alexander" In Bruges Soundtrack
2009 "Red Moon" Breaking Bad (Season 2 Episode 02 - Grilled)
2011 "New Country" 50/50 Soundtrack
2012 "Stranded" and "Angela Surf City" Seven Psychopaths Soundtrack
2012 "Heartbreaker" Trouble with the Curve Soundtrack
2014 "Heaven" How I Met Your Mother Series Finale (Season 9 Episode 24 - Last Forever)


  1. ^ a b c Marcata Recording
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d "The Walkmen Biography on Yahoo! Music". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  4. ^ "BBC Collective - The Walkmen Interview". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Allmusic Biography-The Walkmen". Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  6. ^ a b c Dahlen, Chris (April 8, 2002). "Pitchfork Media Review: Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me is Gone". Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  7. ^ Yu, Stephanie. "N.Y.'s Walkmen rock in D.C. this Thursday". The Johns-Hopkins Newsletter. Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  8. ^ a b Carr, Eric. "Pitchfork Media: Bows + Arrows Review". Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  9. ^ a b LeMay, Matt. "Pitchfork Media: A Hundred Miles Off Review". Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  10. ^ Hiatt, Brian. "Rolling Stone Review: A Hundred Miles Off". Retrieved 2009-02-18. 
  11. ^ Walkmen release You & Me for $5...
  12. ^ "Get The Walkmen Album Early, Help Charity On Amie Street".  
  13. ^ "Top Digital Albums".  
  14. ^ The Walkmen's Walter Martin: The Cream Interview
  15. ^ [4]
  16. ^ "The Walkmen: Lisbon | Album Reviews". Pitchfork. 2010-09-13. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  17. ^ Amidon, David. "The Walkmen: Lisbon < PopMatters". Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  18. ^ [5]
  19. ^ "The Walkmen Announce New Album | News". Pitchfork. 2012-03-29. Retrieved 2012-04-29. 
  20. ^ [6]
  21. ^ "The Walkmen: Heaven".  
  22. ^ "The Walkmen, best titles by Still in Rock". 
  23. ^ The Walkmen | Daytrotter | The Creature Of Man And His Endless Figuring Over Cursive Lines
  24. ^ Moeller, Sean. "Pipe Dreams Are Still Dreams To The Blind Modernists". Retrieved 2009-02-17. 

External links

  • Official website
  • The Walkmen at AllMusic
  • The Walkmen collection at the Live Music Archive
  • The Walkmen's newest album, "You & Me" at Amie Street
  • The Walkmen on NPR Music
  • Interview with Hamilton Leithauser and Ashley Marie Sansotta with REAX Music Magazine
  • August 2008 Interview with L.A. Record
  • Interview with Hamilton Leithauser and Matt Barrick, September 2010
  • October 2008 Interview with Drop-D