Yesterday, Walter Martin of the Walkmen released his family-friendly debut solo album “We’re All Young Together” (Family Jukebox). This Sunday afternoon at Littlefield in Gowanus, he will be celebrating this accomplishment with a concert and ice cream party. This will be no ordinary ice cream; beloved creamery Ample Hills has created custom sundaes inspired by Martin’s song titles. Alison Roman of Bon Appétit helped develop the frozen treats, and will also provide event-exclusive ingredients: banana-caramel, cocoa whipped cream and biscuits (!).
Martin, who lives in Crown Heights, has been working on the sunny, witty record since he learned his wife was pregnant with their first child (they now have two little ones, both under two years). The album features guest appearances by Karen O and Nick Zinner of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Matt Berninger of the National, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kat Edmonson, The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser and Matt Barrick and more. WNYC’s Soundcheck says of Martin’s music: “it’s smart, it’s warm, it’s catchy, it’s fun.” SPIN calls it “mischievous and clever.”
As for the mischievous and clever ice cream party idea: “That was my wife’s plan,” says Martin. “She dreamed it up. She just called the woman who runs Ample Hills and asked her if she was interested.”
Lauren Kaelin, who “eats ice cream professionally” as Ample Hills’ Director of Marketing (and chief illustrator-of-cows), was definitely interested.
“This collaboration fits all of our messages so well,” says Kaelin. “We try to be family-friendly but also community-oriented and creative. We try to make kids feel welcome, and make adults feel like kids.”
This philosophy corresponds nicely to Martin’s sensibilities on “We’re All Young Together.” He says, “I tried to fill it with warmth and humor because that’s the kind of art I like — stuff that makes everyone feel welcome. To me it’s a serious record disguised as a not-serious record.”
Same idea goes for Ample Hills’ ice cream — taking a high-brow artisanal creation and making it accessible to everyone is what the Prospect Heights creamery does best. For instance, when it comes to the caramel with cooked banana that will top Kaelin and Roman’s “We Like the Zoo” sundae, Roman says, “I think the caramel cuts the tannic quality of the banana.” Kids will say, “Mom, can I have some more banana caramel?”
Roman and Kaelin’s sundaes follow Ample Hills’ basic model. From the ground up: a brownie (or in the case of “We Like the Zoo,” a tall fluffy biscuit — halved so that the ice cream and sauces can seep in) — plus ice cream, plus sauce, plus whipped cream, plus a topping.
There are three sundaes. The monkey-themed “We Like the Zoo” (with a sticky bun/biscuit, cinnamon ice cream, banana caramel, wet walnuts and whipped cream) and colorful “It’s a Dreamsicle” (a blond brownie topped with orange dreamsicle sherbet, vanilla bean ice cream and rainbow sprinkles) will no doubt both be excellent choices.
Martin says he can’t wait to try the “Old Brown Shoe.” It’s named after the Beatles’ tune, in reference to Martin’s new song, “When Ringo Shook His Mop.” The entire sundae is chocolate, from its brownie base to the coconut fudge sorbet, cocoa whipped cream, fudge and chocolate chip cones on top. Roman developed whipped cream with added cocoa powder to add a less intense note — a little break from the barrage of chocolate.
Either way, you can’t go wrong with the combination of music and ice cream. “There’s literally nothing bad about it,” says Roman.
Read more about the event on the ticket page.