Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam announce the release of their debut album, I Had A Dream That You Were Mine, due out September 23 via Glassnote Records / Universal Music Canada. Available now for pre-order, the album includes new single, “In A Black Out” released today. Last week their first single “A 1000 Times,” was released to critical acclaim and quickly landed on the Spotify Viral Top 50 Chart.
LISTEN TO “IN A BLACK OUT” HERE
“Put that on first thing in the morning when you’re trying to wake up – that stuff – right up your spine, that stuff,” riffs David Letterman to Paul Schaffer. He’s adlibbing on camera about the Walkmen’s performance of “The Rat” on The Late Show, and there’s a distinct look in his eyes – it’s that of a convert. Maybe I make this assumption incorrectly, but I’d guess ol’ Dave had never heard The Walkmen or “The Rat” before they appeared on his stage – but once was enough. There’s a conviction in some voices – a pain, a sadness, an emotion that goes right ‘up your spine’ and makes you believe what they’re singing. Hamilton’s voice has been converting non-believers for more than a decade, so what did I want to accomplish in producing a full length record with him?
As a producer, I feel like taking a voice to places it hasn’t been before ranks high-up there in terms of responsibility – up there with making sure the drums knock and the choruses lift. Those were all goals for this record.
In terms of songwriting, I wanted us to push storytelling to the front, the idea that a song can be a small story in-and-of-itself: it’s been a part of some of my favorite songs Hamilton’s sung over the last ten years (from “In the New Year”, off the album “You & Me”, to “Red River”, off – you may have missed this one — “Spider-Man 3: The Official Motion Picture Soundtrack.”)
We ran through a handful of ideas in picking the title of this record, I think we settled on “I Had A Dream That You Were Mine” because even though it’s only eight words, it’s a small story to itself.
The term “producer” is so open-ended…I didn’t know what to expect when I walked in the door to Rostam’s apartment the first time. I really didn’t know him very well—just a few mutual friends and a few meetings over the years. But I did know that I liked his music, and I knew that he liked mine; and that’s all we really had to go on. What I did find was a writing partner and friend I connected with very quickly, and learned to trust. In a very short time, things started happening. I was singing, he was playing the piano; I had a few ideas lying around…he played me a few things he had recorded. The songs started with this familiar sound, but were all coming out unlike anything either of us had done before.
Two of our first tracks, Alexandra and I Retired, appeared on my 2014 debut solo album Black Hours, but the very first thing we worked on together wasn’t fully finished until 2015. 1959 is the last song on our new record. That first day in Rostam’s apartment, I sang a few melodies over some strings he’d recorded something like five years earlier. A few years and several songs later, after we’d discovered we were actually working on a full-length record, we picked 1959 back up. I sang over musical parts that Rostam was putting together, but now it was all happening right there in the room. We used first takes…we tried all sorts of approaches, and we just went with whatever was working at that moment. I think our most notable accomplishment on this record was to capture the lively spontaneity of writing and experimenting that can be so elusive in a studio…especially when you’re working from long distances, and over long stretches of time.
In the spirit of collaborations, each musician’s individuality remains intact, not unlike those of David Byrne and Brian Eno. The new album will showcase Hamilton’s identity as a singer, and Rostam’s ability as a producer to reach new heights.
I Had A Dream That You Were Mine – Tracklisting:
A 1000 Times
Sick As A Dog
Rough Going (I Won’t Let Up)
In A Black Out
When The Truth Is…
You Ain’t That Young Kid
The Bride’s Dad
The Morning Stars
1959 (feat. Angel Deradoorian)