The Walkmen were probably my favorite rock band for a few years after their album You & Me was released. Loved the lyrics, loved the guitar sound, drummed along in the air with the drums.
It was during that Walkmen-heavy time that I started writing my own songs. But even though they were my favorite band, I never thought of them at all when I was trying to write stuff. There were other bands whose songs I covered at open mics and whose style seemed like something that could inform me trying to write my own stuff (The National and Springsteen come to mind). But I hardly ever tried to cover Walkmen songs—turns out singing them down two octaves takes something crucial away. And it wasn’t for not wanting to be able to do what they do either. I can’t think of another music experience I’d rather try than being Hamilton Leithauser singing my head off during the You & Me tour.
But I’d never in a lifetime of trying be able to sing like him and the songs I’ve written fit my voice more than they’d fit his. It seems to be something people don’t talk about a lot in listening/criticizing songs or singers’ choices—that they’re at least partly just working with they have, and doing what they can to find something that fits.
Anyway, I saw the Walkmen this past weekend at the Hideout Fest and so’ve been thinking about and listening to them while also taking final notes on the new Main Chance songs. Funny though; this time around, in one particular song, I think I can hear hints of them.