Thin Lear,
The TVD First Date

“Early on in high school, I had this really strict, borderline obsessive routine, where I would come home, immediately record the day’s musical ideas on my cassette four-track (remember those?), and then I’d work out to clear my head. As every aspect of my life needed to connect to music in those days, I’d choose a vinyl from my dad’s old record collection (a pretty extensive one at that), and then I’d throw it on our decrepit record player with one of the speakers sort of blown out. Really not the picture of high fidelity, but there was something satisfying about the amount of physical steps required to hear the music. There was an investment.”

“I mostly listened to the music I had known for the majority of my young life, the records I was comfortable with, but as much as I loved the White Album and The Supremes, I was running out of the old material. One day, out of curiosity, I picked out a record purely based on the cover: there was a gaunt guy leaning into the frame, like a vaguely handsome Count Dracula, with slicked back hair. I put it on, and the first, like, ten minutes of the track consisted of a train sound, followed by a seemingly endless groove that just kept building in tension. As this went on, an eerily enjoyable creeping anxiety came with it like something big was bound to happen. I stopped working out and I was just standing and staring at the one good speaker.

And then David Bowie’s voice rang out and changed my life. The song mutated into this paranoid disco sound, and I think I was frozen, mouth agape, for the full ten minutes of the track. As soon as it was finished, I picked up the needle and set it back, and then sat down in front of the speaker. I didn’t even get to the second song for quite a bit (and then the second track turned out to be the space funk of “Golden Years,” so it was just all over for me).

Hearing Bowie’s Station to Station at that time in my life was so formative for my brain. It just set me on this path of voracious curiosity: what else was out there in the world for me to sink my teeth into? There was adventure in that record. It’s actually one of my fondest memories, and I was completely alone, which probably says a lot about me (haha). And had it not been for the mystery of the actual vinyl product, I don’t know if I would’ve selected the album that day.

Because of how appealing the physical product of vinyl is, and the relative lack of context it provides, it just sparks a level of curiosity that you really don’t get even with a review or a website or whatever. It’s just a picture, the liner notes, maybe some other sparse info in a gatefold. And that’s it. You need the music itself to reveal the answer to the mystery. There’s so much promise inherent in holding an album you’ve never heard and know nothing about. Years later when I, not yet the zealous Leonard Cohen fan I’ve become, found Death of a Ladies Man in a shop in the Village, I inadvertently had found the soundtrack to a difficult period of time for me ultimately made less difficult with the music itself. I had been intrigued, once again, by an evocative cover.

So many transitional points in my life have started, or ended, with me discovering an album that speaks to the center of my soul. And, more often than not, I’ve found these artists through a tangible record I knew very little about, or one that was recommended to me with the sparest of context. Part of it also has to do with the fact that nobody wants to be told what is good. Simply being intrigued with the look of a record, and then giving it a try, does make you feel like you’ve made the effort to dig the art on your own.

This new album of mine, Wooden Cave, is my first release on vinyl, and, once I held the record in my hands, there was a real sense of finality to the recording process. In the past, if I’d done a digital-only release or even a CD release, it wasn’t the same kind of satisfying conclusion. My dream is for some kid to find this record in a shop one day, be intrigued by the cover, and take it home to find a kindred spirit in the songs. These mysteries and discoveries and spiritual connections through the wax are all made possible by vinyl. It’s really like the currency of artistic conversation, and with this release, and every ensuing release, I wish to stock more shelves in the hopes of being discovered by those on the hunt for a voice that talks directly to them.”
Matt Longo

Wooden Cave, the new full-length release from Thin Lear arrives in stores tomorrow, July 24—on vinyl.

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