Photo credit: Shervin Lainez
“Almost lullaby-like in its simplicity, [“A Simple Phrase”] begins with a gentle sigh and barely raises its temperature much from there, Longo’s voice accompanied by a soft strum, a grand piano, and a subtle string-quartet backdrop which quietly illuminates the whole piece.”
Tom Johnson, GoldFlakePaint
“At once hard to describe, but easy to grab onto…immensely satisfying. Thin Lear is extremely thoughtful in its combining of the five elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color, and form.”
Kira Grunenberg, American Songwriter
“An enigmatic cross between Belle and Sebastian, Wilco, and Ben Folds…a master of his craft…as tasteful as indie rock gets.”
Zachary Keirstead, Earmilk
“The recordings are rich with unique musical nuance, conjuring up the insular worlds of Astral Weeks-era Van Morrison, Tim Buckley, and Shuggie Otis.”
Mike Olinger, The Vinyl District
“His voice washes over you like a lullaby. It’s an honest portrait of a moment in time, punctuated by the content we lean into to make peace with the turbulence.”
Corinne Osnos, The Wild Honey Pie
“With a slight urgency to the mid-tempo groove, and a lingering air of
elegant harmony, Queens-based Thin Lear brings us the theatrical
expressiveness of Rufus Wainwright coupled with a roots-based rhythmic
sensibility that just feels right.”
Krister Axel, ChillFiltr
July 10, 2020 – Queens-based indie folk-rock singer-songwriter Thin Lear shares his latest track “Behold You Now,” the final installment before his debut full-length album Wooden Cave is released on July 24 via EggHunt Records. An upbeat addition to his already diverse and prolific collection thus far, the track centers on a complex character development for a protagonist lost in nostalgia, all paired with a rollicking instrumental that’s bound to groove the body in motion.
Matt Longo, aka Thin Lear, goes into further detail:
“This song, which naturally emerged in three distinct parts, is a condemning character study of someone who just can’t take responsibility for themselves, after many tries. Maybe they had potential to bloom once, but now they’re going to remain suspended in adolescence for the long run. In the first section of the suite, we have our character waking up in a drive-thru, bleary eyed and still obliterated from the night before. That’s contrasted with the life of the character’s partner, who’s evolving and growing past him. By the time the middle section arrives (“Behold you now, older now, pushed and failed to bloom/Your brittle parts, false starts, just doomed), the character is damned. And they know it, and yet they’re incapable of correcting course. By the end, they’re escaping off into, likely, an even more drastic regression to aimless, re-heated youth.
It’s a lifestyle that terrifies me, especially as I get older, because that pull to go back to the past, out of fear of the future, can sometimes be quite strong. Nostalgia is only one form of that pull, but it’s only the beginning. If it gets a hold of you, you could end up trying to go all the way back: an impossible, and often pitiful, task. The more I worked on the song, the more the storyline felt like an episode of The Twilight Zone. The song’s subject is caught in a loop. I wrote about it almost in an attempt to ward it off; it’s the last direction in which I want my life to go.
The song has pretty distinct instrumentation for each of its three sections: the blend and groove of the piano, Wurlitzer, and guitar-chug at the opening; the horn-laden blast of the middle section; and the organ and mellotron overdub swirl of the conclusion. The aim was to lead the listener on a journey through to that climactic, stop-on-a-dime finish, and hopefully mirror the effect of someone quickly falling from grace. It packs a lot into those four minutes, in a prog-like way. I was listening to a lot of King Crimson, Can, and Jethro Tull while writing it, and I think it might’ve rubbed off on the arrangement.”
Throughout the quarantine, Longo’s been performing on various live streams, including a previously filmed session for BreakThru Radio, and performed for The Wild Honey Pie’s “Buzzsessions” with a cover of Donovan’s “To Sing For You” and a beautiful rendition of his own song “Different Tune.” The Buzzsesion will be available on DSPS August 14, pre-save here.
Fans can also listen to Thin Lear’s recent singles, like “Maniacs” that American Songwriter described as “immensely satisfying,” the beautiful “Death in a Field,” which Earmilk called “intimate and dreamy” and “as tasteful as indie rock gets, and his latest release “A Simple Phrase,” which GoldFlakePaint defined as, “suitably rich and antiquated, a beautifully elegant step towards the new album which will shift the pace of your day down to something delicate and hypnotic.”
The overarching theme of Wooden Cave is one of isolation and self-exploration. Longo studied 1920’s occultist Netta Fornario and her mysterious story, her life on a tiny island off of Scotland. He found himself dreaming of her on a consistent basis, often waking with a fleeting image of the woman. Though they’ve experienced very different lives, Longo felt an immediate empathy for her, and recognized her story as that of an artist. Much of the resulting album was inspired by this connection.
Wooden Cave was recorded in various studios across the city with a collective of musicians. Much like the vastly cultured city of NY, Thin Lear pulls his inspiration from an eclectic history of influence that ranges from Leonard Cohen, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, to Shuggie Otis, Randy Newman and Sam Cooke, amongst a handful of others. Thin Lear is best described as an eclectic singer-songwriter with alternative sensibilities. His music delivers a plaintive, sweet vocal with lush, ornate arrangements, and very intricate human stories.
For more information about Thin Lear, connect with him on social media @thinlear or visit his website at Pre-order Wooden Cave here.
Album mastered by Joe Lambert (Hiss Golden Messenger, Sharon Van Etten, The National).
Wooden Cave album artwork
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