Hamilton Leithauser NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert 2014 [YouTube Video]

Josh Cohen

by Josh Cohen

Published July 22, 2014



<h5>Hamilton Leithauser NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert 2014 Setlist:</h5>

1. "11 O'Clock Friday Night"
2. "Alexandra"
3. "5 AM"



<h5>Hamilton Leithauser NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert 2014 Credits:</h5>

Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Olivia Merrion, Nick Michael; Production Assistant: Stephen Thompson; photo by Olivia Merrion/NPR

Hamilton Leithauser recently traveled out to NPR's office in Washington, DC to perform three tracks for an NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

"NPR recently had me in to their incredible new building for a tiny desk concert. Same old desk. My friends Hugh and Paul came along," Leithauser wrote on his website. This marks his second appearance in NPR's office. His first occurred with his former band, The Walkmen. Following their indefinite hiatus as of late 2013, Leithauser has embarked on a solo career.

The performance featured Leithauser crooning while strumming an acoustic guitar. He was backed up by drummer Hugh McIntosh, and former Walkmen bandmate Paul Maroon on electric guitar. He opened his brief set with "11 O'Clock Friday Night," the fourth cut off of his debut solo album, Black Hours. The tone of the track was pure optimism and the entire ensemble revolved around Leithauser. This stripped-down arrangement allowed for his voice to take center stage in the mix.

The second track they played was the third song off of the 2014 LP. It began with McIntosh laying down a shuffle rhythm while Maroon played a bassline in the lower register of his guitar. He transitioned to the upper range to provide melodic accompaniment during the verses, and occasionally strummed along full chords. While McIntosh and Maroon were working the rhythm section, Leithauser was crooning raucously above the entire group. His voice pierced through the trio, even without a microphone, as he let the melody rest in the higher range of his natural voice.

"We're gonna leave you all today with the first song on the record Black Hours. This one is called "5 AM," It's a change of pace," Leithauser said before launching into the last song. "5 AM" is a melancholy, downtrodden track that demonstrated Leithauser's voice at its finest. The song was reminiscent in many ways of The Walkmen's music. After an extended vocal melisma that featured heavy vibrato, they segued into a desolate sounding portion of the composition. This section was marked by a haunting melody played on the electric guitar, reiterated again at the coda. With that lugubrious finale, the performance came to an end.

The contrasting nature between the first and final songs contributed to a well-rounded and emotionally complex performance. With songs that pinpoint various areas of the human psyche, Leithauser offers something for everyone and proves his solo act to be just as worthwhile as his collaborative efforts.

You can stream Hamilton Leithauser's 2014 album, Black Hours, here on Zumic. You can also purchase it on iTunes and Amazon. For more music and tour related info, head over to his Zumic artist page.

Source: NPR Music YouTube Channel

Hamilton Leithauser
Alternative Rock Folk Indie Indie-Rock
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