The name Mr Hamilton Leithauser may not be familiar to you, but his indie-rock band The Walkmen ought to be. Emerging out of New York at the turn of the century alongside the likes of The Strokes, the consistent quintet has produced seven albums of mature rock'n'roll (their most accomplished being 2012's Heaven), with huge hits such as "The Rat", voted number 20 in Pitchfork's top 500 songs of the 2000s, emerging along the way.
Late last year The Walkmen announced an "extreme hiatus" - allowing main man Mr Leithauser to concentrate on his solo work. Black Hours, which features the likes of Mr Rostam Batmanglij of Vampire Weekend, is inspired by jazz, Mr Frank Sinatra and 1970s rock'n'roll. "We started with a full big-band jazz orchestra on '5 AM' - which is the first track on the album - and thought that would be the sound of the record. Then we switched to rock'n'roll with tracks such as 'Alexandra'. There's a lot of 1970s rock, a lot of John Lennon and Bob Dylan," says Mr Leithauser. Having already released the rousing, Kinks-inspired "Alexandra", you can check out the video for his latest single, "11'O Clock Friday Night", below - which features the singer cycling through New Orleans in a rather snappy suit. Taking time out from his tour, we asked Mr Leithauser for the songs that inspired Black Hours. Check out his choices below, head to Spotify to have a listen, and see his tour dates here.
Black Hours is out on 2 June internationally and 3 June in the US on Ribbon Music
Words by Mr Tom M Ford, Features Writer, MR PORTER
Listen on Spotify
"I See it Now"
"This track is a standout on his album September of My Years. The string arrangements are primarily what I took from this song, as well as his vocal style."
"Begin the Beguine"
"Another one from Sinatra - who heavily influenced Black Hours. This was also about the orchestration. It's peppy and light, yet maintains a lovely mellowness."
"A big sing-along song, this is loud and happy, with a girl's name as the chorus - which is the same as my track 'Alexandra'."
"Thank you for Sending Me an Angel"
"This inspired '11 O'Clock Friday Night'. It has a great dance tempo and I love the rhythm."
"Let Me Go"
"I used this track to inspire the fifth track on my album, 'St Mary's County'. It's a piano ballad that I love."
The Rolling Stones
"100 Years Ago"
"We really went for their rhythm section on this track. The drumming, bass playing and the wah-wah guitar solo influenced 'Self Pity'. You can hear the rock'n'roll production of '100 Years Ago' throughout my album."
"Dancin' Across the USA"
"This sounds very 1970s - it has a mellow shuffle to it and a great production style that I used on 'I Retired'."
"My song 'I Don't Need Anyone' owes something to John Lennon's version of 'Bony Moronie', I think. It's a great rock record with wild vocals - which I definitely tried to emulate."
"This is off their Singles, Live, Unreleased record. It has a similar instrument line-up to the one I used on Black Hours. It comes from a similar place - instruments that go in and out, going from sparse to big. There's a lot of vocal space to it, too."
"This has a very straightforward guitar sound but is also real mellow and it has been a big influence on all the bands I've ever been in."