Walter Martin (co-writer/multi-instrumentalist of The Walkmen) will release his new album Reminisce Bar & Grill on February 16th via Ile Flottante Music. His fourth solo record since The Walkmen’s hiatus in 2013, Reminisce Bar & Grill was announced earlier this month with a surprise appearance on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk in which he performed two of his new songs with a full band and a barbershop quartet. Today, he unveiled another new song from the record titled “I Can Run Now From The Hellhounds But I Can’t Hide” which premiered on Consequence of Sound.
“Jaunty guitars, whistling flutes, and rippling cymbals evoke a sunlit, slightly scuzzy beachside dive. There, Martin recalls an ’emotional run’ (despite only running ‘about once a month these days’) that served to remind him ‘we’ve only got one body,'” described Consequence of Sound. “All told, the song is likely to be one of the more upbeat musings you’ll hear about the fear of impending death.”
Reminisce Bar & Grill is one that might throw fans of his two award-winning kids’ records (2014’s We’re All Young Together and 2017’s My Kinda Music) for a loop. Listeners will still recognize the same affable narrator and quirky musical style as his previous solo work, but here the subject matter is shifted dramatically. With frankness and poignancy, Martin, now a 43-year-old married man with two young children, squarely tackles the subject of adulthood – specifically, his own.
“I think this is my mid-life crisis album,” said Walter. “These days my friends and I all seem to be thinking the same dark thoughts – ‘What the hell am I doing? What the hell’s going on? I’m lost. I’m running out of time and I’m doing everything wrong. And I’m probably dying.’ This is definitely an insane period,” he continues, “but most of the time I kind of love it.”
While Martin approaches these subject matters with candor and sincerity, he clearly also enjoys mining them for humor. “I wanted this album to be an entertaining discussion of marriage, fatherhood, work, fear, and weakness,” he explained. “I’m definitely influenced by Woody Allen movies. No matter how serious or romantic or dark his story may be, there’s always a strong undercurrent of comedy.”
Reminisce Bar & Grill was recorded at various studios in Brooklyn and at Richard Swift’s National Freedom Studio in Cottage Grove Oregon. The songs were mixed by D. James Goodwin (Bob Weir, Craig Finn), Richard Swift (The Shins, Foxygen) and Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, Band of Horses). A nimble multi-instrumentalist, Martin handled guitar, piano, organ, bass and percussion duties, but he also relied on the services of a coterie of crafty players and singers: Brian Kantor (Fruit Bats) on drums, Josh Kaufman (Craig Finn, Josh Ritter) on guitar, and Jamie Krents (French Kicks) on bass. The soaring harmony vocals woven throughout the album are delivered by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah singer Alec Ounsworth.
01) Me & McAlevey
02) Too Cold To Waterski
03) I Went Alone On A Solo Australian Tour
04) I Can Run Now From The Hellhounds But I Can’t Hide
05) I’m A Puppy
06) The Drummer
07) Ride Down The Avenue
08) I Wanna Be A Country Singer
09) Pink Piano
10) Colorado Lonesome
11) I Dreamed I Was Lana Del Rey’s Older Brother