The Walkmen went on hiatus a while back, but singer Hamilton Leithauser quickly rejoined forces with guitarist Paul Maroon and released an album called Black Hours. The two are constantly collaborating, and they pretty quickly followed that record up with the slightly under-the-radar vinyl-only release Dear God. (Which they kindly offered to deliver to your house.) And now, they’ve got five excellent new songs to share, in the form of an EP called I Could Have Sworn. The first track was floating around last week, as it was inspired by the sure-to-be-blockbuster novel City On Fire, written by a friend of Leithauser’s named Garth Risk Hallberg. This new EP includes that song along with “New England Crows,” which you can hear below, and three more songs. Below that, Leithauser told us about the experience of returning to Washington, DC’s famed Inner Ear Studio to record these songs—he once bumped his head there. Hard. The EP can be had at Spotify, iTunes, and Amazon, and it’ll be released on vinyl eventually—and CD, “if we can figure out how to make CDs.”
Hamilton Leithauser: “When I was 15 and working as an assistant at Inner Ear, I was winding up cords one day when I stood up very quickly in the live room and smacked my head on one of the enormous monitors… the hardest I’ve ever smacked my head. I literally saw stars. Everyone watched in horror as a welt rose right out the top of my head, like a second head. Don Zientara’s ice maker was broken, so the only cold-ish thing in the entire place was a large piece of metal in the storage room. In my recollection, which I’ll admit might be shaky here, it was Don’s idea to use the metal. While I sat there stunned, two band members struggled to lift this horrible rusted metal sheet to my head. Because it was so heavy, one of them lost his grip. The metal dropped directly onto the welt and knocked me unconscious.
As a Pavlovian response, every single time I’ve walked into Inner Ear since this incident, I’ve felt a tingling warm spot on the right front quadrant of my head, and I move around with caution. This feeling haunted me the entire time we recorded I Could Have Sworn.”