Best known for his time with the Walkmen, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Walter Martin was also a member of the acclaimed '90s indie rock act Jonathan Fire*Eater and pursued a solo career when the Walkmen went on hiatus.
Martin grew up in Washington, D.C. and began playing with the rest of Jonathan Fire*Eater while still in high school; throughout the band's career -- which culminated not long after the release of their major-label debut album, 1997's Wolf Songs for Lambs -- Martin's Farfisa organ stylings helped define their unique sound. After the group disbanded in 1998, Martin, guitarist Paul Maroon, and drummer Matt Barrick built Marcata Studios, a rehearsal space/recording studio in Harlem. They also played for a short time as the band Today Okay before connecting with former Recoys vocalist Hamilton Leithauser and bassist Peter Bauer to become the Walkmen in 2000. From there, the band released a string of well-received albums, including 2002's Everyone Who Pretended to Like Me Is Gone, 2004's Bows + Arrows, and 2012's Heaven. After completing their touring commitments for that album, late in 2013 the Walkmen announced they were going on an "extreme hiatus." The following year, Martin released We're All Young Together, a set of songs inspired by fatherhood and the innocence and mischief of early rock & roll. The album featured cameos by Leithauser as well as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O and members of the French Kicks. Martin returned in 2016 with Arts & Leisure, a cozy set of songs inspired by art history, architecture, and his youth. For his second "juvenile" album My Kinda Music, Martin teamed up with Laura Gibson and the National's Matt Berninger and followed in the footsteps of master storytellers like Randy Newman. On his next album, Martin worked with members of Fruit Bats, French Kicks, and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah; the results were 2018's Reminisce Bar & Grill, a set of darkly humorous songs about marriage and fatherhood. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi