Author Archives: Clayton Warwick

Thin Lear – Your Family [TMN PREMIERE]

Back in February, I had the pleasure of bringing you a first listen to Thin Lear’sGuesthouse.” Just a few months later, I’m back with another premiere from this endearing, up-and-coming, Queens-based artist.

A softer, more subtle offering than what we heard previously, “Your Family” is an openhearted take set to soft, acoustic fingerpicking and layers of strings and piano. It’s authentic, speaking clearly from an organic, soulful, and emotive space. When asked about the meaning behind it, Thin Lear had this to say:

This song took me a while to write, and even longer to record, as I don’t think I fully understood what I was singing about when I initially wrote it. At the time, I had recently watched someone close to me lose their partner of many decades, and their resulting grief turned into this pattern of self-punishment and self-imposed exile.

The only way they eventually broke out of it was when they started to remember the foundational love their partner had given them. When they stopped thinking about the loss, and started thinking about what they had received and imparted in return, I could sense that person returning home again. Unfortunately, there’s this self-defeating mechanism in our brains that makes us think we deserve our grief. I watched this person climb out of that, and it was such a hard-earned victory.

We’ve now been introduced to a few tracks off of his upcoming debut album, Wooden Cave, which isn’t quite scheduled yet, but should be coming out at the end of summer. Until then, make sure to follow Thin Lear on Facebook, Spotify, and Twitter.

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888 – Pins & Needles [TMN VIDEO PREMIERE]

Hailing from the Mile High City, 888 is back again with another massive, emotive, and encapsulating tune. And, as seen before, they’ve enlisted the help of fellow Denverites, Blurred Pictures, to help with the visual representation of “Pins & Needles.”

Living in Denver, I’ve had the pleasure of being fully aware of members Danny Stills and Danny Cooper as 888, since they emerged onto the scene with “Critical Mistakes” back in 2016, garnering overwhelming local support and some nationally. Though, this isn’t the first taste of success, having previously gained some serious buzz for their heavier work with Drop Dead, Gorgeous and Bleach Blonde.

Though the heavier stuff is behind them, nods to their emo routes are still noticeable with releases like “Critical Mistakes,” a handful of others, and now “Pins & Needles.” With such a unique and modernized sound, it shouldn’t be long before droves of others share the same adoration for this burgeoning, new(ish) act.

Today, we’re bringing you the first look at another extremely well-made music video, which was written, produced, and directed by Blurred Pictures. It’s heavy, dramatic, stars both Stills and Cooper, and is worth your attention for the next few minutes.

When you’re done, make sure to head over to Spotify and drop “Pins & Needles” into your favorite playlists.

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Alae – Help You Now [MUSIC VIDEO PREMIERE]

Following up an impressive six month stint, which included the release of a debut album, a headline tour, and support of acts like John Butler Trio and Angus and Julia Stone, this lovable four piece from New Zealand is back with another major splash.

Recently released through Spotify’s New Music Friday AU, “Help You Now” has been carving its way through the blogosphere and all major digital streaming platforms. As fans have come to expect from Alae, this track shimmers with Farrell-Davey’s perfectly-trembly verses and easily-recognizable choruses. It’s rife with pop sensibility, at times bordering on what I’ve experienced with American pop country, yet maintains a special uniqueness that could only come from this specific act.

‘Help You Now’ is about facing your fears. It’s about talking about what it is that’s hurting you, what it is that’s scaring you and allowing people to help. The lyrics are an attempt to normalize the process of opening up to others. – Alex Farrell-Davey
Today’s visual offering of this stunning new release comes with some serious star power, featuring Antonia Prebble, one of New Zealand’s most revered talents. It’s shot in renown Avondale’s Hollywood Cinema, which creates the perfect setting for this story to unfold.

Have a look below. When you’re through enjoying, make sure to head over and throw this group a like on Facebook. and a follow on Spotify.

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Shawn James on The Dark & The Light, Folklore, and the Best of the Windy City [TMN INTERVIEW]

In just a few short days, Shawn James will be returning to the Mile High City in support of his recently released album “The Dark and The Light.” Before we head down to Globe Hall on Saturday to catch what will surely be a sensational show, we reached out to get to know the man behind this incredibly soulful, powerful and meticulously-crafted music.

TMN: Thanks so much for taking some time to answer a few questions ahead of your show in Denver. Is this your first time in the Mile High City?

No problem! Thanks for the interview! It’s not my first time in Denver.

I’ve been coming there since 2013 typically playing a few shows a year while on tour. I’ve got a great group of friends/fans and the shows always seem to keep growing and getting better. It’s one of my favorite cities to play.

TMN: You’re currently touring on the heels of your recently released The Dark & The Light. How has the reception been so far?

Incredible. Better than I even expected honestly. It’s been the strongest set of songs I’ve ever released in terms of positive response & interaction.

TMN: “Orpheus” is one of our personal stand-outs. It’s absolutely larger than life, as is a lot of your music. Talk to us about the vision behind that one.

I’ve always been obsessed with mythology, legends & folklore. The story of Orpheus & Eurydice has always been one of my favorites and I finally felt like I was ready to tell it in my own way. I tell it from the first person perspective of Orpheus as he loses the love of his life and has to go through hell (literally) trying to save her only to lose her a second time. The story has this sad, tragic and yet beautiful element of not giving up even if the odds are impossible to achieve which I love. It’s very romantic to me in that sense. I think it could also be applied to lots of other life circumstances regarding death, addiction and the relentless aspect of truly not giving up.

TMN: This album is all about inspiring others to turn darkness into light. Knowing the music carries such an intimate personal connection, have you had any fans reach out and share what your music had done for them?

It blows my mind with just how many messages I receive everyday where people relate their personal stories and how my music has helped them through something. It give me a true purpose.

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BOYS – Mind Games [TMN PREMIERE]

Hazy, dreamy, and encompassing, the latest release from London-based BOYS is an artfully-crafted indie rock offering, with just a touch of 80’s new wave.

Released today on all major platforms, “Mind Games” the perfect tune for the upcoming transition in seasons. The shimmering guitars and catchy chorus will have you dreaming of warmer months, while the somewhat dreary vocals will keep you grounded in what’s left of the colder months.

When asked about this tune, the 4-piece had this to say:

“Mind Games” was written after the end of a long-term relationship and is all about the thoughts that go through your head after the break-up. Even though you no longer see or hear the person anymore they’re still in your head playing mind games

BOYS will be heading stateside for New Colossus Festival next month, before returning to their London roots for their first UK headline show of the year. Make sure to follow them on Facebook to keep in-touch with those live performances.

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Thin Lear – The Guesthouse [TMN PREMIERE]

Following a three-year hiatus, Queens-based songwriter & producer Matt Longo, aka Thin Lear, is back with the first release since his self-titled EP. Today we’re bringing you a first look and listen to that release, titled “The Guesthouse.” If you weren’t already familiar with this up-and-coming artist, this is the perfect introduction to his sound and what you can expect from his upcoming album.

A charming ride throughout, “The Guesthouse” is a tasteful blend of organic percussion, playful guitar work, and a splash of saxophone. All of those elements come together well, serving as the perfect accompaniment to Longo’s enveloping vocals. It’s a combination that left us both wanting to throw this into our regular rotation and anxiously looking forward to the full album.

We reached out to Longo to ask him about the inspiration behind this release. Here’s what he had to say:

I wrote ‘The Guesthouse’ one night in a fit of insomnia. I’d been working for way longer than I should’ve been, and my brain wasn’t winding down. In that sleepy, restless state, I started to think about how I’m incapable of being mellow, incapable of knowing what to do with free time, unable to just power off. I know a lot of artists who deal with this, and I think it’s only gotten worse now that we all have laptops and cell phones. The pressure is there to continue working, or distracting yourself from rest, always.

When I was recording the track, I wanted the production and arrangement to mirror that anxious, but exhausted feeling. You know, the sax is frenetic, but it’s also sleepy. The beat is a jaunty disco, but it’s also heavy, weighing on the song, keeping it tethered. The vocals are pleading, but resigned. The song is restless, and it’s worn out, and it can’t settle itself down. It’s an engine that won’t shut off.

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Big Wild talks Superdream, Red Rocks, and finding his voice [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

We’ve had Big Wild on our radar for quite some time, first posting about his vibey tunes back in 2015. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of watching the rapid adoption and adoration of his style, leading him to a dedicated fanbase and some of the largest venues in the world.

Ahead of the release of high highly-anticipated debut album Superdream, out now via Counter Records, we reached out to learn more about this evolutionary shift in his career.

TMN: Superdream, your debut album, just dropped a few days ago. How excited were you to release it?

BW: Extremely excited. It’s been a long time coming! I’m just excited for people to see the full body of work, versus the singles that we’ve put out in the past. I think it’s going to give a lot more context to what I’m trying to do and where I’m trying to go with my music.

TMN: This is really your coming out party with singing on your own tracks. How did that come to be?

Making instrumental music felt very limited. I kept hitting a creative wall. There was a subconscious part of me that wanted to take it further and find a new way to express myself. The natural way to do that was through singing and songwriting. It was where I needed to go to stay inspired. To me, it felt like the logical next step.

TMN: Did you know that you could sing?
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