Walkmen album to fight cancer

Download the New York band's new material and the proceeds go straight to cancer research

New York's the Walkmen were all set to release their third album, You and Me, on August 19. And then, with a charitable spirit in their hearts, they changed their minds. Yesterday, the album went on sale as a download – with all proceeds going to a charity dedicated to cancer treatment and research.

Fans can download the album for just five dollars (£2.50), via the website Amie Street.

The group's magnanimous deed was inspired by friends of Walkmen bassist/organist Peter Bauer, Greg and Manal Vassallo, and their seven-month-old son Luca. Luca is fighting acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and his family have sung the praises of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York.

"Luca, Greg and Manal are all extremely strong, resilient, and loving people and I immediately thought of them when this whole thing was brought up," Bauer explained in an Amie Street interview. "The money will be donated both toward the research centres at the hospital and to the Joy fund, which helps provide patients who are spending a lot of time in the paediatric centre with all sorts of different activities, entertainment and help."

You and Me's charity-download initiative is part of Amie Street's "Download to Make a Difference" programme, which sees the digital retailer partnering with musicians and charities. The first of these campaigns was for Anything, a song by R&B star Akon and composer Peter Buffett. Proceeds from that single went to the Creative Visions Foundation, which supports "creative activists".

Prior to You and Me, the indie-rock band's last release had been 2004's Pussy Cats, a faithful re-imagining of Harry Nilsson and John Lennon's 1974 album of the same name. You and Me is rather less high-concept. "I don't think it has a [theme] overall like, say, 'This is about fishing' or 'birthdays,'" Bauer said. "But yeah, we spent the last two years really wanting to make a record that had a certain tone to it and cut a lot of things that didn't quite fit."

We await the Walkmen's 2010 release – hopefully, to be inspired by fishing, birthdays, and the full, healthy recovery of Luca Vassallo.


Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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