Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Philly Music: The Walkmen - Hundred Miles Off

The Walkmen, "Louisiana"

The Walkmen, "Another One Goes By"

I have decided to make the focus on the Philadelphia music scene a permanent part of Pound for Pound, as opposed to a one-week tryst. I hope to do at least one artist/band per week, maybe more. I can't think of a bigger act calling the city home right now than The Walkmen, whose new album Hundred Miles Off drops today. That's right, the Walkmen are Philly bols now. In case you missed it, they've made the brilliant decision to move from NYC to the "Sixth Borough", Philadelphia, the greatest city on Earth, and nothing makes me happier.

The new album Hundred Miles Off, continues to take the band into similar territory as their previous albums, a wild, frenetic sound, anchored by the amazing drummingb and the near-shrieking lead vocals of Hamilton Leithauser. I feel like more than any other band, except maybe Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, The Walkmen divide people down the middle. You either love 'em or hate 'em, as their sound is not easy or catchy, the vocals aren't "great" or "accomplished", shit, you can't really dance to it like with CYHSY.

This album is an interesting one, as my review has changed over the course of a few listens. I initially had more negative one written, lamenting the lack of diversity on the album. They didn't come up with a devastating single like they did on Bows and Arrows with "The Rat" and "Little House of Savages." I'm a whore for that kinda single, so they started a few steps behind with this reviewer. However, the more I listened to it, the more I liked. First off, you know I love a unique voice that doesn't fit the definition of a "good" voice. The drumming is still magnificent, so much more active and noticeable than any other indie guitar band I can think of off the top of my head. The songs come across as relatively uniform on first listen, but with each listen I noticed something a little different. The horns on opener "Louisiana", the organ on "All Hands On The Cook", the punk-y blast of "This Job Is Killing Me." There's a lot more there than one expects or gives them credit for. I recommend this album, probably won't be in my top 10 list, but who knows? Each new listen moves it a little higher up.

Lots of people have been discussing the new album, which you can purchase here. Fluxblog, Pocket|Trax, The Sound of Indie (with a live track), the CAMERA as PEN, No Frontin' Just Music, Badminton Stamps, stereogum, SKATTERBRAIN, Villains Always Blink and The Rich Girls Are Weeping.

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