Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam might seem like the brand new band you haven’t heard of yet, but you will certainly recognize the voices. Former Walkman frontman Hamilton Leithauser, and Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, band together to bring us an assortment of good old-fashioned folksy banjo driven tunes. On their debut album, “I Had A Dream You Were Mine” the two former members of part legendary groups and solo themselves are now delving into a duo. The pairing seems like the perfect meld and works well with two very strong personalities.
The songs run the gamut on styles weaving in and out of modern pop and old-fashioned doo-wop on songs like “Rough Going and I Don’t Let Up,” to a interesting mixture of harmonica and synthesizers on “You Ain’t That Young Kid.” They say imitation is the best form of flattery, and with the song “In a Black Out,” they do a good job of that with a Leonard Cohen-esque tune. It opens with a fingerpicking guitar, and Leithhauser sings with a throaty banged up style that goes in and out of moods. “I live in a nameless town, no need to wander around, I live in a nameless town, in a blackout.” It’s a song of loss, regrets, and memories. It’s almost like you are in a space, but not present. It’s sung like a man on his way out to a gunfight that he may not come back from, and may not want to.
Cogent, temperamental, grainy – it’s suffice to say, it seems it’s the synthesis of something else, a sound not quite fully devolped but finding it’s way and it’s place on the musical highway by utilizing the strengths of two different musicans finding ground through collaboration and self-discovery.
Allison got her big break in the music industry by writing for MTV/Vh1 where she interviewed everyone from Prince, to Elton John, Lenny Kravitz, Blink 182 and many more. From there she started Hyperactive Music Magazine that went national. Shaw then produced several big festivals and went to work for Rachael Ray’s Entertainment company. Shaw started Manic Monkee MGMT which manages bands and does brand strategy for all kinds of brands in music/tech/consumer products and aligns brands with events. The company also produces events. Shaw is also on the Board Of Directors for non-profit music charity Sweet Relief. Follow her on Twitter at @manicmonkee.