Walter Martin (The Walkmen) readies "Arts & Leisure"

On January 29, Walter Martin (co-writer, multi-instrumentalist of the Walkmen) will release Arts & Leisure on his label Ile Flottante Music. The eleven whimsical new songs take inspiration from the art world – or what Martin refers to as his “shaky grasp of college art history.”
Some of the new songs reference specific artists (“Charles Rennie Mackintosh”) or paintings (“Watson and The Shark”). Others recount stories ranging from lighthearted recollections of making prank calls while working at the Met (“Jobs I Had Before I Got Rich and Famous”) to more thoughtful observations about the creative process (“Calder’s Circus”). “I’m no good at talking about the art I like but I feel like these songs express in an unfussy way some things that I like about certain artists and ideas,” he says.
The album follows the success of Martin’s 2014 solo debut, ‘We’re All Young Together,’ a family record that that SPIN called “mischievous and clever” and NPR added “will warm your heart.” “Through writing songs about rattlesnakes and chimpanzees, I figured out how to write lyrics that express my inner self in a voice that’s indistinguishable from how I naturally talk and joke around,” Martin says. “That was huge for me. Thankfully I was able translate it to non- animal subject matters.”
Recorded almost entirely by Martin (with a few performances by Walkmen drummer Matt Barrick) and primarily mixed by producer Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Shins), ‘Arts & Leisure’ showcases Martin’s multi-instrumentalism. He moves easily between drums, guitar, upright bass, piano, bass harmonica, trombone, organ, mandolin, xylophone, slide whistle, glockenspiel and just about every noise-maker and percussion instrument you can imagine. “If you’re in bands for almost 30 years, you eventually figure out how all the instruments work,” Martin jokes.