Updated 8/19. All videos now up, including 5 new songs from Lisbon.
Covering The Walkmen is a big honor for us here at Big Ass mo'effing Lens. We've been earnest fans of the band since their 2002 debut, Everyone Who Pretended To Like Me Is Gone. What we never would have guessed after flipping out for Everyone is that the album would become an auspicious signifier, a flash of the unveiling explosion brought about by their follow up Bows + Arrows. When we were college-aged New Yorkers during the indie-fied 2000s, the first two Walkmen albums became the epochal soundtrack for angsty, lovelorn evenings fueled by alcohol and defined by minor triumphs and equally minor failures. The band's sharpened attacks kicked tracks like "The Rat" into absolute overdrive, and the experience of seeing them live at the time proved that somehow, more reckless abandon could be found in their already-in-the-red numbers.
Straight up and down, shit was vicious and no amount of polished Strokes craft could fuck with what The Walkmen were bringing. And then a curious thing happened - the band continued to evolve and fully embodied a quality only hinted at in their first two records - grace.
And so after Bows came A Hundred Miles Off with an ebb and flow that relinquished the razor sharp attack for a thicker, fatter, more flush sound. Two years later, You And Me became the perfect Autumn record - seemingly resigned and laser focused all at once, frequently wistful but never melancholic. Singer Hamilton Leithauser's signature howling rasp was still present but the band's supple, graceful arrangements brought forth a new dimension - both musically and lyrically. Here was a band that remained intact, growing together, entering a new stage of their lives and making exciting, probing and plainly gorgeous music. These were no longer men looking to dominate the world with a sneer, they were excitedly growing comfortable with their place in it, as well as making a successful artistic career on their own terms.
Which brings us to the focus of this post - the killer videos we captured of tracks from their new record Lisbon. From the songs we saw the band play last night and the audio streams that have hit the net, it's clear that they've put together another magical set of songs. Sticking with the openness that defined the arrangements of You and Me, the bass/guitar/organ interplay remains perfectly balanced while ace kit man Matt Barrick’s signature potent snap continues to impress. And then there's Hamilton's gorgeously full voice - jagged and razor tight enunciations contrast beautifully with his pristine rounded bellow - the perfect narration for this set of songs said to be inspired by time spent in the Portuguese capital.
Videos from The Walkmen’s set and photos from Grizzly Bear’s equally strong performance are proudly presented for your viewing. On this night, we braved rain, long lines, rough seas and a loss of many hours of precious sleep to bring you these fine videos and photos which we hope will inspire you to see these bands live. The Walkmen’s new album, Lisbon, drops September 14, and is available for pre-order through Fat Possum records.