“This is my kinda music/ Yeah the beat’s kinda bumpy and the tune’s a tiny bit off key,” sing-says Walter Martin, multi-instrumentalist and former Walkmen member, on “My Kinda Music,” from his new album of the same name. This unobstructed sense of self makes way for a collection of cool and quirky songs, self-assured in their absurdity and delightfully genuine. Made with both children and adults in mind, My Kinda Music follows up 2014’s We’re All Young Together and brings about the same enchanting warmth brought by the previous album’s songwriting.
We got a first listen of the new material back in February with the Matt Berninger collaboration “Hey Matt,” a piece that plays more like a spirited conversation between old friends than an adolescent singsong. Martin is in full storyteller mode on My Kinda Music, channeling his favorite memories of childhood (“The Everglades”) and creating fantastical scenarios (“Trip On A Ship”). On album-opener “Wishing Well,” Martin gets clever in his arrangements. The song begins with him speaking unaccompanied by music, yet when he asks for a guitar at a wishing well it suddenly joins him in the next verse. Every wish Martin makes (“I wish for drums/ Cause all my favorite songs have some/ A big bass line, too/ Cause it’ll put me in the dancing mood”) comes true with a new explosion of sound into the song. It all wraps up with “It’s A Dream (Night Version),” a twinkly piano number that soothingly leads us out of the album, either back out in the world or fast asleep.
The album is pure fun, solely because the material is so real. It’s clear Martin is doing this because he finds total enjoyment in it. He doesn’t try to water the material down for children’s ears and doesn’t add in anything too particularly nuanced for the adults. The result is good, simple music that with the ability to naturally appeal to all ages. On a genre-bending kids album, it’s no surprise Martin experiments with different styles, as well: Some tracks are stripped down and mellow (“Family Tree”), others have a country twang (“Where’d You Go Uncle Joe?”), and a good majority have the heart and musicianship of any good indie rock song.
Some words from Martin on the project:
I’m a music obsessed record nerd and once I had heard all the regular records I started going through the weird record bins in search of more cool stuff. To me, this record is an attempt to make a record that someone like me would find in a weird record bin; they’d like the cover and a couple song titles, buy it, take it home, and enjoy the hell out of it. I try to fill my music with personality and to keep it as unvarnished as I am so people can relate to it and feel a real connection to it. Also I copy the Coasters a lot.
Below, stream My Kinda Music in full ahead of its Friday release.
My Kinda Music is out 5/5 via Martin’s own imprint Ile Flottante Music. Pre-order it here.