14 Songs, 56 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Hamilton Leithauser has pointed to crooners like Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, and Randy Newman as influences on his first solo record, you won’t hear them on Black Hours. At least, not overtly. Stylistically, you might catch a hint of Ol’ Blue Eyes on “5 AM” or a whiff of Newman’s somber piano pop on tune like “St. Mary’s County,” but here the frontman of The Walkmen (currently on “extreme hiatus”) sounds more like that band on effusive numbers like “Alexandra” and “11 O’Clock Friday Night.” The pop jewel “I Don’t Need Anyone” has reedy guitars and indie-thoroughbred blood; horns, strings, harmonica, and marimba make strong bedfellows for Leithauser’s vocals on songs like “I Retired” and “The Silent Orchestra.” With guests like Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Fleet Foxes’ Morgan Henderson, The Shins’ Richard Swift, and Paul Maroon of The Walkmen, Black Hours feels satisfyingly textured and alive, and even exciting with its comforting familiarity. Don’t miss the bonus tracks: the surprising “Waltz” or the supremely moving “In Our Time.”

EDITORS’ NOTES

While Hamilton Leithauser has pointed to crooners like Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, and Randy Newman as influences on his first solo record, you won’t hear them on Black Hours. At least, not overtly. Stylistically, you might catch a hint of Ol’ Blue Eyes on “5 AM” or a whiff of Newman’s somber piano pop on tune like “St. Mary’s County,” but here the frontman of The Walkmen (currently on “extreme hiatus”) sounds more like that band on effusive numbers like “Alexandra” and “11 O’Clock Friday Night.” The pop jewel “I Don’t Need Anyone” has reedy guitars and indie-thoroughbred blood; horns, strings, harmonica, and marimba make strong bedfellows for Leithauser’s vocals on songs like “I Retired” and “The Silent Orchestra.” With guests like Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Fleet Foxes’ Morgan Henderson, The Shins’ Richard Swift, and Paul Maroon of The Walkmen, Black Hours feels satisfyingly textured and alive, and even exciting with its comforting familiarity. Don’t miss the bonus tracks: the surprising “Waltz” or the supremely moving “In Our Time.”

TITLE TIME
3:24
4:31
2:46
4:36
3:11
5:25
4:22
4:53
5:10
4:22
3:17
3:23
2:47
4:29

About Hamilton Leithauser

Best known as the frontman for the Walkmen, Hamilton Leithauser embarked on a solo career once that band went on hiatus following its 2011 album Heaven. Leithauser assembled a crack team of supporting musicians to work on his new material, including Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, Fleet Foxes' Morgan Henderson, the Shins' Richard Swift, Dirty Projectors' Amber Coffman, and his Walkmen bandmate Paul Maroon. Recorded at Los Angeles' Vox Studios, Leithauser's debut album Black Hours -- which was inspired by Frank Sinatra's music and prefaced by the single "Alexandra" -- was released in May 2014. Leithauser reteamed with Batmanglij for 2016's I Had a Dream That You Were Mine. Recorded at Batmanglij's home studio in Los Angeles, the pair borrowed the best of their previous bands as well as '50s and '60s rock and soul with postmodern abandon. ~ Heather Phares

Songs

Albums

Listeners Also Played