Formed from the ashes of Brooklyn buzz-band Jonathan Fire Eater, which disbanded in the late 90s, the Walkmen have been a likely contender to follow the Killers and Franz Ferdinand into the ranks of alt-rock stardom. The band came close with the semi-hit The Rat, a catchy, lovelorn anthem from their 2004 album Bows + Arrows. The song sounded something like an indie update of a bitter Bob Dylan diatribe, like a Positively 4th Street for The O.C. soundtrack. The bands new album, A Hundred Miles Off, further underscores singer Hamilton Leithausers Dylanesque rasp by moving the bands sound further from its alt-rock/garage roots toward a more rootsy, classic-rock sound, including a mariachi lilt on the lead track/single Louisiana.
The Walkmen will be joined by Bobby Bare Jr., a Nashville scion whose sound is approaching the Walkmens style of rootsy alt-rock from an alt-country starting point. Bare penned perhaps the greatest survey of his hometowns peculiar company-town insularity a couple years ago with the sardonic Meet Me in Music City: The hills are filled with naked Hee-Haw honeys who all sing along in perfect harmony/The worlds greatest living guitar pickers can deliver you a pizza or sell you weed. Bares new album, The Longest Meow, is due out next month.