Reclusive Pennsylvania-based indie rock pioneers The Long Afternoon formed in Pittsburgh in 1985 and consolidated in State College in 1987. The organization has pursued a strategy of deliberate obscurity, opting not to participate in conventional rock and roll career-building activities and eschewing traditional notions of success entirely, leaving their ultimate ambitions and intent unknown to any but the group’s inner circle.
In fact, ambiguity is central to the organization’s work. Even their name is open to multiple interpretations: the organization’s board of directors expressly selected a phrase with no predefined meanings in order to permit observers to project their own interpretations on it.
Although the organization tends to avoid collective travel, and has only rarely played outside State College or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, high-profile opening slots for indie-rock luminaries like Dinosaur Jr. yielded a deal with Bulging Eye, the Flaming Lips’ management company, in 1987. The Long Afternoon recorded a self-titled EP and planned a national tour, but tensions during the recording sessions led to the acrimonious suspension of all organizational initiatives, and that EP remains unreleased.
After a long hiatus, The Long Afternoon embarked on a new recording strategy. The organization’s first album, “The Luxury Problem,” came out in 2006 to enthusiastic reviews in The Big Takeover and, ironically enough for an organization whose core personnel no longer indulge, High Times. Their second album, Signifying Nothing, arrived in 2009 and was named one of the 10 best indie albums of the year by A Future in Noise.
The group’s third album, 2011’s An Index of Maladjustments, added additional guitar muscle and also contained “The Chameleonaires,” a single that, while typically ambiguous and open to multiple interpretations, was nonetheless adopted as an anthem of sorts by Occupy Wall Street protestors. The Long Afternoon neither encouraged nor discouraged this use of their statement.
The organization’s fourth album, Regression, is being released in August 2016.
The Long Afternoon continues to issue recorded statements and proffer live demonstrations as situations demand. They are deeply grateful for the opportunity to spend part of their lives creating music, and twice as grateful to those who listen to the music they create.