Earlier this month The Walkmen sort of returned with an expanded version of their 2008 LP You & Me, though that’s certainly not the extent of the group’s activity as of late. Among the consistent outpouring of solo releases, the latest album cycle belongs to multi-instrumentalist Peter Matthew Bauer, whose latest project Flowers is scheduled to arrive September 23 via his own label Fortune Tellers Music. Contrasting with the looping, colorful psychedelia of last year’s “One Pair of Blue Eyes” that had more in line with Animal Collective than The Walkmen, the new single from the forthcoming record sounds well within the universe of his band, with the hazy keys of “The Rat” pairing with animated percussion under Bauer’s vocals and distorted guitar riffing.
“‘Skulls’ came out of a really strong period of writing music without thinking,” he shares. “I had stumbled onto this new style of guitar playing that brought me a lot of joy. I started using a distortion pedal for the first time in my life and discovered I could play all these riffs. ‘Skulls’ came out of this kind of endless waterfalling soloing I played for hours and then cut down to what you hear on tape. I’d written a record called Mount Qaf and the magic mountain in the song is sort of looking back at that. It's a song about how what is strange and small and human is more gratifying than any sort of spiritual escape.”
As for the track’s collaborative element, Bauer enlisted drummer and Walkmen bandmate Matt Barrick on the single, as well as Liily bassist Charlie Anastasis (“He’s like a young Flea,” notes Bauer, who also happens to manage the band) as well as his wife and a family friend on backing vocals. Hear the results below.