Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam: First Takers

  hl Rostam and Hamilton Leithauser. Photo by Josh Goleman The very first time Hamilton Leithauser met Rostam Batmanglij, he realized the two musicians had a special chemistry. For one, there was an easy familiarity between the duo, both of whom grew up in the Washington DC area in the ’80s and ’90s. Moreover, Leithauser was a huge fan of Batmanglij’s group Vampire Weekend, and Batmanglij, likewise, an equally ardent fan of the Walkmen, the band Leithauser had fronted for the past decade-plus. “It’s funny how that worked out, because that never happens: We were a perfect match,” says Leithauser, during a recent interview to promote I Had a Dream That You Were Mine, his inaugural album with Batmanglij. The album, recorded over the course of two years of collaboration between the two, is an expansive collection of sounds and styles that somehow bears the signature sonic and lyrical landmarks of both the Walkman and Vampire Weekend. The first time Batmanglij and Leithauser met, Leithauser was in the process of recording Black Hours, the debut solo album he released in 2014 after announcing, the previous year, that the Walkmen were going on an indefinite break. At one point, in the midst of discussing their favorite John Lennon and Bob Dylan records, Batmanglij asked Leithauser if he’d like to try working on a song he had been playing around with. “He had a musical layout of some parts, and I had vocals and melody and word ideas, and some song construction ideas,” says Leithauser. That song ended up becoming “1959,” a starry-eyed lullaby with guest vocals from the Dirty Projectors’ Angel Deradoorian that would wind up, several years later, concluding their joint debut album. With its... Sign In to Keep Reading

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