The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser, Walter Martin and Peter Matthew Bauer keep busy with solo projects


Hamilton Leithauser goes solo at The Hamilton this weekend. Yes, you read that right. (Paradigm)

It’s been seven months since The Walkmen’s Peter Bauer told Express that the D.C.-born band was going on “extreme hiatus.” In that time, the group briefly ended said hiatus — for a one-off gig during NBA All-Star weekend — and three of its five members have released solo albums. With frontman Hamilton Leithauser, left, making his solo debut in D.C. on Sunday (and the future of the band still uncertain), we’re breaking down the three lone Walkmen records.

Hamilton Leithauser, ‘Black Hours’

Because of Leithauser’s distinctive, rugged croon (and the contributions of Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon), it can be hard to distinguish “Black Hours” from his old band’s output. The record veers in poppier
directions — with “Alexandria” and “The Silent Orchestra” — and delivers some classic crooner ballads. Leithauser is at his most Walkmen-y on a song called “I Don’t Need Anyone” — read into that what you will. He’ll headline the venue that bears his name on Sunday, then return to open for Spoon at The Lincoln Theatre in September.

Walkmen Factor: 8 out of 10

Hamilton, 600 14th St. NW; Sun., 7:30 p.m., $18-$20; 202-787-1000. (Metro Center)

Lincoln Theatre, 1215 U St. NW; Sept. 2, 6:30 p.m., sold out, & Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m. $35; 202-888-0050. (U Street)

Walter Martin, ‘We’re All Young Together’

Much of The Walkmen’s last album, “Heaven,” dealt with the band members becoming fathers — right down to the press photos featuring their kids. Martin takes that idea a step further with this warm, guest-laden kids album. Easily the most joyful of all the post-Walkmen releases, the record features playful yet sophisticated songs about the zoo, The Beatles and rattlesnakes, with guest vocals from The National’s Matt Berninger, Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O and Martin’s cousin, Leithauser. If you’re not a parent, you can still appreciate Martin’s catchy, silly songcraft. If you are one, try putting this on the next time your kids want to listen to “Frozen” — then take them to see Martin’s matinee show in Vienna next month.

Walkmen Factor: 2 out of 10

 

Jammin’ Java, 227 Maple Ave. E, Vienna; Aug. 2, 11 a.m., $15; 703-255-1566.

Peter Matthew Bauer, ‘Liberation!’

Considering it was Bauer who started all the hiatus talk back in November, you could read the title of his first solo LP quite literally. But it actually refers to the D.C. native’s experiences growing up in ashrams with his parents, who are meditation teachers. “A lot of it is about semi-religious experiences and conflicts with those experiences,” Bauer told Express last year. The bassist sings and plays guitar on the garage rock-rooted record, which features contributions from Leithauser and Walkmen drummer Matt Barrick. In October, Bauer will support Delta Spirit at the 9:30 Club, a venue he knows quite well.

Walkmen Factor: 5 out of 10

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Oct. 3, 8 p.m., $20; 202-265-0930, 930.com. (U Street)

For more on The Walkmen:

Liner Notes: The Walkmen, ‘Lisbon,’ at 9:30 Club

This could be the last time

Beach House recruits a big band to recreate Gene Clark’s ‘No Other’ at 9:30 Club

 

Rudi Greenberg is Express' Weekend Pass editor and comedy columnist.
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Holley Simmons · July 10, 2014