Proving that the holiday spirit is alive and well, even in New York's jaded indie scene, the Walkmen have released their own version of the ubiquitous Christmas album: a three-song EP with a minute-long track of feedback and shrieked profanity.
"We spent a day recording 'Eggnog,' " Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser said of the explicit track. "I just screamed some curse words so we could slap a 'Parental Advisory' sticker on it."
Christmas Party, a limited-edition 7-inch, doesn't exactly qualify as a new album for the band, which has been touring in support of its sophomore release, Bows + Arrows, for almost a year. The Walkmen are anxious to get back into the studio to record a proper full-length project.
"We're going to write the next record as soon as we can," Leithauser said. "We've already sort of started writing it, and we want to get into the studio to start recording as soon as possible."
The Walkmen, who formed from the remnants of the Recoys and celebrated "It" band Jonathan Fire Eater, released their debut full-length, Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, in 2002. Since then, the band has been consistently touring and recording, beginning work on its second album as the trek in support of its first was ending.
In the 10 months since Bows + Arrows was released, the band's schedule has been equally unrelenting, with projects including an appearance on FOX's indie-band-embracing drama "The O.C.," which featured Rooney during the first season and the Killers during the second (see "Modest Mouse, Killers, Walkmen To Guest Star On 'The O.C.'").
"It was really weird to film it," Leithauser recalled, " 'cause you perform to this room of 200 people who are all pretending to really like your music — and you're not even performing. You're sort of fake playing."
The Walkmen have taken the stage at their fair share of real performances this year, including a stint supporting Cake on the North American leg of their tour.
Having made fans of the New York hipster crowd with their brash rock instrumentals and aggressive lyrics on tracks like "The Rat" ("You've got a nerve to be asking a favor/ You've got a nerve to be calling my number"), the Walkmen are nonetheless open to making changes to their sound and are considering collaborating with other artists for the first time.
"We talked about trying to work with Perry Farrell," he said. "Everyone likes that idea, so maybe we'll look into it."
If Leithauser's description of the first track he has written for the project is any indication, however, the band might be looking to Lou Reed for inspiration instead.
"I wrote a song [recently] that I really like. I played it for the guys, and they liked it, too," he said. "It's just sort of singing and chords right now, but it sounds very Velvet Underground."
The second single off Bows + Arrows, "Little House of Savages" (and its accompanying video featuring young children wearing war paint and chasing each other through a forest), has recently hit airwaves. But the Walkmen are ready to move on to their next project.
"We've been playing these songs for so long, and we keep getting close to having a month off to write songs, but it never really happens," Leithauser said. "Nobody wants to deal with this album anymore. We just want to get started on the next one."