Rom Core was recorded over the course of three years, from Spring 2018 to Fall 2021 at Thundershirt Studios, in Echo Park, Los Angeles, CA. The album is produced by Thundershirt (Scott Seiver and Tim Young), mastered by John Spiker, engineered and mixed by Scott Seiver. Guitars and bass by Tim Young, drums by Scott Seiver, backing vocals by Seiver, Young, and Lurie. Keys by Matthew Lurie with contributions from Larry Goldings (STYBSG, Temporary Living Situation). String quartet (Baby You’re Too Good To Me) features Tom Lea, Ji Young An, Adrianne Pope, Chris Ahn. Sebastian Steinberg plays upright bass (Brian Dryin’). Isaiah Gage plays cello (Gonna Wait, Brian Dryin’). Horns section (STYBSG, Chorus) features Steve Scalfati. Percussion by Davey Chegwidden.
The album of 10 songs was culled from a selection of 25 demos Lurie brought in, workshopped with Young and Seiver, and then recorded piecemeal, in between touring gigs and a pandemic. The album title comes from Lurie’s affection for rom coms, art that’s centered on love and lovelessness, and the realization that few artists today speak plainly about matters of the heart.
The second album from Matthew and the Mainstream, the solo project from Los Angeles singer-songwriter Matthew Lurie, could only have been made in LA. Fascinated by the session musician ecosystem that allowed Brian Wilson, Jon Brion, and Stevie Wonder to make their best work, Lurie sought out the best musicians in the city to breathe life into his teenage symphonies, resulting in Rom Core.
Cutting his teeth as a music critic in his hometown of Chicago, Lurie spent his formative years playing in local bands and soaking up brilliant musical examples from afar. Wilson and Carol Kaye, Bacharach and Hal Blaine, Brion and Matt Chamberlain, James Taylor and Leland Sklar. While much of modern pop has sought to reduce its reliance on pesky session musicians, inflating the myth of the lone genius, Lurie believes it is precisely the baroque supply chains of labor-intensive session work that make for the best records.
After moving to LA in 2008, Lurie began attending concerts to find the session musician all stars of the city. The result of his recon was 2012’s Girl Next to The Girl Next Door, which featured the rhythm section of Tim Young (David Sylvian, Beck, Fiona Apple, case/lang/veirs), Scott Seiver (Pete Yorn, Tenacious D, Tears for Fears) and Christopher Thomas (Brian Blade Fellowship). In an effort to mimic the constraints of the golden era of session work, rehearsals for the 10-track album lasted one day and the album was recorded in two. While a painfully brief process, the results would whet Lurie’s appetite for what was possible with Seiver and Young and laid the groundwork for the long-awaited followup, 2023’s Rom Core.
Recorded just before and during the pandemic, Rom Core expands the Mainstream palette to include string quartet, horn sections, and buzz saw. Produced by Thundershirt, Young and Seiver’s newly formed production team, the album features contributions from Larry Goldings (James Taylor, Scary Pockets), Reggie Watts (The Late Late Show with James Corden), Sebastian Steinberg (Blake Mills, Sara Watkins), Isaiah Gage (FINNEAS, John Legend, Van Dyke Parks) and Steve Scalfati (Ginuwine, The Long Winters). A deep dive into the world of online and offline dating, Rom Core is a tribute to the lonely and overly sensitive, following in the tradition of power pop greats Scritti Politti, Jellyfish, and that dog.
The next Lurie projects include more composing for film and TV, and an already-in-the-works followup to Rom Core.