The Walkmen announce new album ‘Heaven’

The Walkmen – ‘Heaven’
June 4th on Bella Union

Bella Union is excited to announce that the celebrated New York quintet The Walkmen will release their new album, Heaven, on 4th June 2012.  The record is the band’s seventh and was produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins, Band of Horses) whilst Robin Pecknold sings harmonies on two songs on the record.

“We felt like it was time to make a bigger, more generous statement…” When describing The Walkmen’s new album, lead singer Hamilton Leithauser portrays a band hitting maturity, comfortable in its mastery after a decade together.

It’s been ten years since The Walkmen made their debut album, Everybody Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone. Ten years since critics attached them to a New York scene they never wanted to be part of. This spring the band played a series of 10th anniversary shows in the US that demonstrated how far they have outstripped their peers: two sets over two hours, no filler, rapturously received.

The Walkmen are the great New York band of their generation, making the best music of their career and filling their largest venues yet. Their spot at the top of the bill at May’s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival, curated by The National, demonstrates the respect in which they are held by the current wave of bands making music in the city.

When renowned producer Phil Ek approached the guys last year asking if they’d like to make a record with him, they travelled to the studio he uses in the woods outside Seattle for the most intense recording sessions they had ever experienced. “There can be something brittle about our sound,” Maroon says. “He made it just a little bit warmer, a little bit stronger. When I play it in my car, it sounds strong, which I love.”

All five members of the band have kids now and if the impact of parenthood is hard to pin down in a single lyric, there is definitely a new openness and emotional honesty to the songs. Most importantly, the old gang mentality has deepened, becoming something worthwhile and lasting. “I’m very proud of what we’ve done. We’ve stayed friends and those friendships have grown,” says Bauer. “We have survival experience and real love that children generate in your life.”

Heaven is a definitive statement of purpose and commitment, from a band at the peak of its powers that is finally winning the recognition it deserves.

Watch the trailer below:

Maverick Mixtapes: Owen Pallett

Maverick Mixtapes: Owen Pallett

WQXR have a ‘Maverick Mixtapes’ series. They asked Owen Pallet to make a mix, and he chose to focus on Van Dyke Parks.

From WQXR:

“I’m choosing Van Dyke Parks because to my ears he is the spiritual godson of number-one American Maverick Charles Ives. If I were to turn this into a thesis, I’d argue that as Ives was steeped in marching band, spirituals and concert hall music, Parks’ ears are captured by mid-to-late 20th century stuff — including but not limited to calypso, ragtime, 60′s rock and psychedelia.

“Adding to his ‘maverick’ status, this hilarious fecundity, extreme chromaticism, unreserved emotionalism and embrace of moods others would find cheesy; lyrically, an ironic but sympathetic commentary on Americanism.

“Though Parks works solely in the recorded medium and usually under the umbrella of ‘pop,’ his music is difficult enough to challenge and delight any listener.” -Owen Pallett

Playlist:
Donovan – “Donovan’s colours” (cover by Van Dyke Parks)
Van Dyke Parks  -  “Sweet Trinidad”
Van Dyke Parks – “The Eagle and Me”
Harry Nilsson – “He needs me” (arr. by Van Dyke Parks; from Popeye soundtrack)
Inara George with Van Dyke Parks – “Rough Design”
Van Dyke Parks – “Palm Desert”
Van Dyke Parks – “An Invitation to Sin”
Van Dyke Parks – “Datsun Commercial”
Van Dyke Parks – “Ode to Tobago”
Sam Phillips – “Wasting my time” (arr. by Van Dyke Parks)
Louis Singer, Hy Zaret – “One Meat Ball” (perf. by Ry Cooder, arr. by Van Dyke Parks)
Van Dyke Parks – “Out on the rolling sea when Jesus speak to me”
Van Dyke Parks – “The All Golden”
Van Dyke Parks – “Money is King”
Van Dyke Parks – “Dreaming of Paris”
Van Dyke Parks – “By the people”
Van Dyke Parks – “Opportunity for Two”
Van Dyke Parks – “The Four Mills Brothers”

Hear the mixtape weekdays at 2pm EST:

http://www.wqxr.org/#!/programs/maverickmixtapes/2012/mar/28/

Andrew Bird at the Rolling Stone Studio

From Rolling Stone:

Singer-songwriter Andrew Bird stopped by the Rolling Stone studio to perform a few numbers from his latest album, Break It Yourself, accompanied only by his violin. After the set, Bird chatted about building a studio in an old barn and recording the new album as casually as possible.

Head over to here to watch the wonderful footage of Andrew performing for Rolling Stone.