Horse Feathers at Le Poisson Rouge on April 16th, 2020
$20 Seated Table Ticket | $15 Standing Ticket
TABLE SEATING POLICY
Table seating for all seated shows is reserved exclusively for ticket holders who purchase “Table Seating” tickets. By purchasing a “Table Seating” ticket you agree to also purchase a minimum of two food and/or beverage items per person. Table seating is first come, first seated. Please arrive early for the best choice of available seats. Seating begins when doors open. Tables are communal so you may be seated with other patrons. We do not take table reservations.
A standing room area is available by the bar for all guests who purchase “Standing Room” tickets. Food and beverage can be purchased at the bar but there is no minimum purchase required in this area.
All ticket sales are final. No refunds or credits.
“On Horse Feathers’ sixth album, their introverted persona has thawed, revealing a surprising affinity for the joy of Stax-era and countrified-soul.” —Pitchfork
“…from Justin Ringle’s sandy-voiced warmth to lush string arrangements to fatalistic lyrics that undercut the surrounding swirl of sonic comfort food.” —NPR
“The arrangements are beautiful, borderline orchestral, and contribute to an expanding Horse Featherssoundscape… Horse Feathers are forging a new way forward.” —Exclaim!
“Horse Feathers has evolved expertly, and Appreciation is a case study in artistic growth.” —Pop Matters
Horse Feathers feels like a secret you don’t really want to share. Over twelve years and five albums, a passionate fan base has experienced this band as a precious commodity that they want to keep close to their hearts. One reason for this can be found in lead singer Justin Ringle’s distinctive voice, at once vulnerable and piercing, and in the quality of the music: gorgeous, lush string arrangements surrounding stark, visceral lyrics whose bite makes a piquant juxtaposition to the surrounding beauty.
Now, however, Horse Feathers has created an album that differs enough from its predecessors to suggest that the cat might get out of the bag. On Appreciation, their sixth full-length and the fifth on venerable independent label Kill Rock Stars, the signifiers of the band are there: Ringle’s warm tenor and lyrics that speak of work, love, and other struggles. But on this album less of the song dynamics are achieved with strings and more with an exciting new rhythm section steeped in Northern Soul. Longtime violinist Nathan Crockett and keyboardist Dustin Dybvig provide continuity, but much of Appreciation feels like the best of Ringle’s previous musical ideas just took a giant step into a larger arena.
Recorded primarily in Kentucky (at La-La Land Studios in Louisville and Shangri-La Studios in Lexington), the new album features instrumentalists J. Tom Hnatow, Robby Cosenza and R&B vocalist Joslyn Hampton, who helped make Appreciation a mixture of strutting ‘70s-style country-pop (“Without Applause,” “Don’t Mean To Pry”) and supple soul (“Best To Leave,” “Evictions”). But Horse Feathers hasn’t gained accessibility at the expense of quality, nor at the expense of their signature instrumentation (“The Hex” might be the only R&B/soul song where the rhythmic lead is played on banjo). For those who crave what NPR called “the densely pretty seethe of Horse Feathers’ earlier ballads”, the album delivers “Born in Love” and “On the Rise”, accentuating the string surge with Hammond organ, piano, tambourine, and finger snaps.
“It just felt like a fresh take on how my songs can come across,” Ringle says. “With this incarnation, it’s okay if what I’m doing right now is in fact kind of a pop song. I can have a chorus and repeat something. I’m more aware of that and enjoy it.”This artistic adjustment comes in the wake of a lot of changes in Ringle’s life. Not too long ago, he left his former hometown of Portland for the coastal city Astoria, Oregon. He’s also been dipping his toes into the world of record production, helping North Carolina band River Whyless with the recording of their last album We All The Light. After a while of bouncing between three states, as well as stops in Camas, Washington to finish Appreciation with longtime compatriot Skyler Norwood at Miracle Lake Studios, Ringle is finally settling down just in time to get ready to hit the road with Horse Feathers in support of this new album. “I wanna get out there and do my job,” he says.
Diehard fans are going to find plenty to cherish on Appreciation. But they’re going to have to make room in the club house for a lot more people – with this album, the Horse Feathers secret is officially out.
Thin Lear – Wooden Cave
In the cloud of a dream, sleeping brain churning in a cocktail of memory and melatonin, he wandered into a wooden cave. Deep within, bathed in soft blue light, the face of Netta hovered in the shadows.
Queens-based songwriter Matt Longo had always been drawn to the stories of forgotten eccentrics, but never haunted by their subjects. And yet, upon reading of 1920’s occultist Netta Fornario, and her misunderstood end 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. Netta had inexplicably left her friends and family in search of magic…and lost everything. After many years of fronting bands, and then releasing several records under his own name, Matt felt an immediate empathy for her, and recognized her story as that of an artist.
He’d recently been searching for a path forward, for a way to encapsulate a growing disillusionment with city living, crumbling relationships, and self-imposed artistic pressures. His fixation on Netta, and her real or imagined visitations, provided him with a muse for his writing, and an outlet for an exploration on outcasts, death, and the hope that might remain in its wake.
Inspired by the immersive, idiosyncratic creative process of songwriters in the Elephant 6 collective, Matt wrote songs in all-night flurries of activity in his Astoria apartment. Pulling influence from the insular world of Astral Weeks, the melodic adventurousness of Harry Nilsson, and the eclecticism of Shuggie Otis, Matt aimed to create a set of songs existing on a sonic and lyrical island of their own. He emerged with eleven tracks, songs sprawling from ornate, warm ballads, to psychedelically-tinged folk, to propulsive grooves, brimming with melody and heart.
To record the album, Matt formed a loose collective of musicians, the bulk of whom cut their teeth for years in jazz and progressive music. Recording at studios throughout the city, often with different groups entirely, depending on the required feel of a track, Matt imbued his set of wide-eyed story-songs with a rich palate of instrumentation: a lush quartet, a gleaming brass section, ethereal organs, and ghostly pedal steel, all backed by a kinetic sway and thump.
A two-year labor of love, and the debut album under his Thin Lear moniker, Wooden Cave was finally finished in mid 2019: the culmination of hauntings, of determined lyrical exploration, of intense, intimate recording sessions that allowed each song its chance to bloom.
The songs reveal different paths for their outcast narrators, the love, hope, despair, or danger awaiting them at the end of their journeys. “Netta,” the album opener, puts the listener in the titular character’s world, walking us through her last days over shivering orchestration and a cathartic conclusion. The frenetic “Maniacs,” with its relentlessly chugging pace, charts a desperate internet dweller’s alienation and pull towards cult-like thinking. In “A Simple Phrase,” backed by sweet, enveloping strings, the singer laments an ongoing, literal internal choir of insecurity, and how these voices can carry within generations of a family, before resolving to quiet them.
Wooden Cave, written for outsiders like Netta, radiates with a sonic glow that harkens back to 70’s-era studio obsessives, familiar and surprising in equal measure, like a face from a dream.
The album will be released by EggHunt Records (Lucy Dacus, Camp Howard) in May 2020.