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September 4, 2008

The Walkmen - "On the Water" & "Donde Esta La Playa"


via only angels have wings

I'd never really caught onto the Walkmen hype back in 2004 when they released Bows + Arrows, off which "Little House of Savages" is probably the most well-known track (Thank you, The O.C.). As a bright-eyed freshman in college, I had no idea who the Walkmen were or why I should be excited about their being the main act for our fall concert. Was it because one of the members was an alum? Possibly. Given that I lived on the 13th floor and my room faced the quad, where the stage was located, I didn't even have the desire to leave my room. I watched part of the concert from my room, and I was unimpressed. I'm sure the terrible acoustics were mainly the reason why the sound was unpleasant, but my friends who were actually physically at the stage also did not think much of the Walkmen.

Besides a few songs here and there, the Walkmen had pretty much left my mind. But, a couple weeks ago, I was compelled to download their new album, You & Me. Their favorable review by P4K made me curious, so I went ahead and gave the album a listen. I've been overwhelmed by a lot of new releases lately, so I didn't really pay attention, but I thought a few tracks were pretty good.

It wasn't until I had dinner at Momofuku Ko did I give the Walkmen another thought. Chef David Chang is not only known for his inventive dishes, but he also has some good taste in music. The atmosphere that he creates at Ko with his music almost mirrors that of Babbo, where I experienced eating 3-star (NYTimes) food to the tunes of Guns 'n Roses. David Chang will even be a guest curator for Merge Records' 20th anniversary compilations. So, during the nearly 3-hour dinner, I was attentively listening to the music, which included not one, but TWO songs by the Walkmen. "Little House of Savages" was not a surprising choice, nor was "Louisiana." With so much of the Walkmen in my head, I went home and gave You & Me another go.

For me, "On the Water" and "Donde Esta La Playa" are the standout tracks off You & Me. There is a dreamy, flashback quality to these songs. If I could use "vintage" to describe music, that's exactly the word I would use for these songs. They seem to be of a different era, but there is a very familiar quality to the music.

The Walkmen were recently featured on Pitchfork.tv, with live performances and interviews. "In the New Year" is incredible to watch, and I've posted it below. I feel like the lead singer was overexerting himself to the point of losing consciousness in the video. No NYC show dates yet, but let's keep our fingers crossed. Enjoy!



Note: I'm in the process of finding out what file services are compatible with Hype Machine

On the Water - The Walkmen | Alternative Link


Donde Esta La Playa - The Walkmen | Alternative Link


Louisiana - The Walkmen


The Walkmen

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