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Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser on his fave books, new solo album

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Hamilton Leithauser
Keith Coleman

Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser has a busy season ahead, crisscrossing the country to support his debut solo release, Black Hours, out today (see tour dates below).

But even in the midst of promoting hours Hours — which includes guest spots from friends including Vampire Weekend’s Rostam Batmanglij, Dirty Projectors’ Amber Coffman, Fleet Foxes’ Morgan Henderson, and the Shins’ Richard Swift —  he remains a happy bookworm (albeit one who looks very sharp in a tux). So he provided EW with a few favorite picks from his current fiction and nonfiction reading list:

The Power Broker by Robert Caro


“I guess Robert Moses started out his career with some sort of good intentions (very debatable), but as he became the undisputed most powerful man in New York City, he lost any sense of what he was trying to build (not all that debatable).  Robert Caro has conducted an overwhelmingly thorough investigation of what motivated this remarkable and unstoppable man.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t money (only).  This book is essential reading for anyone with any interest in New York City, but would also be a good read for anyone interested in 20th-century politics, or just general human manipulation.  It’s a bear, so brace yourself, but after having read it, you’ll see the entire city differently.



The Circle by Dave Eggers


“This is a quick read, and a great laugh.  The social internet is a ridiculous and inordinate place, and Dave Eggers has fun with the absurdity.  The little parts about Portugal and about the WBNA really got me.  Definitely worth the sticker price.




Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn


“Although I own about two feet of Johnny Cash vinyl, I really didn’t know all that much about his life beyond what Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon had told me.  He was a complicated and interesting guy, and obviously one of the great American voices.  This book is very well done because unlike a lot of rock n roll biographies I have read recently, it does a pretty good job of staying focused on the music, and Hilburn tries to capture at least a little bit of Cash’s motivation beyond each record, and his thoughts about songs.  Johnny is a funny character to me, because I’ve always thought the honesty and warmth in his voice made him seem like such an open book–when in reality there was a very tricky and difficult guy behind those songs.”

Tour Dates

5/22                Port Chester, NY @ The Capitol Theatre ^

5/26                Paris, FR @ La Boule Noir

5/27                London, UK @ Bush Hall

5/30               Barcelona, Spain @ Primavera Sound Festival

6/7                  New York, NY @ BAM Harvey Theater (WNYC/BAM Radiolovefest)

6/18                St Louis, MO @ Fox Theatre *

6/20               Lincoln, NE @ Pinewood *

6/22               Nashville, TN @ 3rd & Lindsley

6/23               Louisville, KY @ Zanzabar

6/24               Kansas City, MO @ Starlight *

6/27                Chicago, IL @ First Merit Bank *

6/28               Minneapolis, MN @ Carlson Family Stage at Northrop *

7/10                Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair

7/12                Philadelphia, PA @ Prince Music Theatre

7/13                Washington, D.C. @ The Hamilton

7/25                Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival

8/13                Paris, FR @ La Route Du Rock

8/16                Wales, UK @ Green Man Festival

8/21                Groningnen, NL @ Groningen Noorderzon Festival