Earlier this year when I helped organize Slack Capital 3 (with Eric Bill/Howdy Gals), we got an early peek at new music from Jana Horn when she let us use “Time Machine” for the compilation. Now, she’s announced her debut solo LP, Optimism, and dropped another powerful tune I’d love you to enjoy. While her musicianship has always been extremely moving, this new single shows the strength of her voice alone in the world. There are some barely audible strums faintly hanging from the distance, carefully uplifting Horn’s airy vocals. She’s one of my favorite Austin songwriters, gifted in so many ways, so you’ll definitely want to check out Optimism when its released on September 18th.
For quite awhile now I’ve been touting Jana Horn (she dropped a song on Slack Capital 3 too) as one of Austin’s great voices. This past Friday, one of her projects, American Friend, released their debut single. She’s joined by Adam Jones, of Deep Time, for percussive elements, definitely building in some textures to thicken up the sound around her guitar and vocals. “His Energy Runs Backwards” might be the most traditional of the two tracks on this 7″, with the fragility of Horn’s voice carefully treading above the instrumentation; Jones jumps in the song’s latter half to join too. “Cancer City” shows the duo really moving beyond the boundaries of the genre, incorporating a squawking clarinet (courtesy of Carl Smith) to the intoxicating mixture of guitar and drums. Definitely something you should invest your time in today, if you so choose.
Every so often, I team up with our friend Eric from Big Bill to curate Slack Capital compilations. This year, we began working early in the COVID shutdown, along with new help from the supreme booking team that is Howdy Gals. We’ve dropped a few tunes already from Christelle Bofale and Sun June, but we wanted to give you one last taste before the compilation goes live tomorrow. 100% of proceeds raised will go to Austin Justice Coalition…plus, since its only available on Bandcamp, a percentage of their profits is going to NAACP!
We wanted to illustrate the compilation’s broad musical swath, so we’ve got a little hip-hop, a touch of electro-pop, and a few beautiful ballads. The 41 track compilation goes live tomorrow!
I reckon as an Austin-based site, we’ve got to rep our fabulous locals (but only the fabulous ones). Yesterday a couple of our favorite acts shared some things, and I’d like to share them with you.
Linen Closet dropped the latest single from their forthcoming LP, which will drop this week, with a celebratory show at Central Presbyterian with our friends David Israel and Marmalakes. If you’re looking for well-crafted indie rock, of the orchestrated sort, then this is the place to be.
Also, Jana Horn had a couple of releases, uploading her recent tour tape, as well as adding to a few of the tidbits from her forthcoming Optimism LP. She’s got three tunes up, but this is perhaps my favorite. I love how her voice comes in soft, but there’s a sharp twist when her voice grabs pace (like at the 35 second mark). Can’t wait to hear the entirety of the new LP.
It’s rare that you find a great Monday evening show, but tonight we have just such an event with Katie von Schleicher playing at Barracuda tonight. If you read these pages, you’ve likely heard me rave about Bleaksploitation and Shitty Hits…and even a quick write up on her latest single Glad to Be Here. She waltzes into town tonight with deserved buzz, and several albums worth of powerful songs that put her on par with the Angel Olsens and Cate Le Bons of the my world. Plus, she’s joined by our friend Jana Horn as the opening act, which means you have to show up super early to catch what we can only assume will be another striking performance by Jana. Doors open at Barracuda at 8 PM.
Nothing makes me happier than the fact that Bill Baird consistently writes beautiful songs, and his latest single is just another in a long line of wondrous tunes. This time, Bill his joined by his friend (and ours) Jana Horn for a duet performance. It’s an airy affair, with the guitar notes almost coming across understated, sliding subconsciously into your mind. Jana’s voice comes in first, and it fits in perfectly with they hazy imagery of the video; she has this way of singing just above a whisper that’s absolutely intoxicating. Bill joins her for the chorus before taking on a short verse of his own…then they return together as the sun finally rises. This song will appear on Bill’s new LP, Gone, which is slated for release Friday, March 2nd.
Slack Capital 2 is a compilation of music by 27 of the greatest bands in Austin. All proceeds from the comp go to SafePlace, which provides support for victims of domestic and sexual violence. We’re unveiling one song per day until the the release party on April 14.
Song of the day: Jana Horn — “News”
Even in a city of immense musical riches, Jana Horn has the type of voice– inward, haunted, poignantly controlled– that will always stand out. That voice is on rich display in “News,” with no percussion and the sparest of arrangements– just a lightly strummed guitar, a few notes on a piano, and some delicately cooed background vocals (by Jana herself). A meditative examination of existing in a society and the choices we are forced to make within it, “News” is a deeply empathetic, almost alien-eyed view of humanity. “Two sides telling us/our lives are two-sided and we must/ decide which one we’re on,” Horn sings evenly, with little emotion but a kind of numb melancholy. Lyrics like “I’ve been inside the maker’s mouth/Do you want to know the things I found?” evoke the hard-bitten honesty of a person who has traveled the world and is writing back home with a bad story to tell. Like Elliott Smith, Horn’s allergy to over-emoting allows her to imbue each line with what feels like actual feeling. That is a rare gift. In a time of peak anxiety, “News” is a mournful salve. — Eric Braden
PreOrder Slack Capital 2 HERE.
The jams were copious as were the tender moments. The showcase highlighted the talent in Austin with bands watching bands that shuffled up to be other bands. We had international celebrities in attendance, as well as every familiar face possible. I took photos, some with an Instax. We ate sausage wraps and drank beaverages. It was perfect air for a whisky.
Click through and be impressed.
Jana Horn quietly unleashed this track the other week. I say it came out quietly, as that seems to be Jana’s style, though musically, there’s far more power in the work she’s done. It seems like she’s hung up the Reservations project for now, and going it on her own. It’s a bold move, but one that fits her growth as both a songwriter and a performer. Listening to this quiet track, you can hear the power in her voice, and we’re expecting that…and more…from her forthcoming LP. She seems emboldened by her venture as asolo artist, though she still grips to that magnificent fragility in her voice. For now, she’s let this song serve as a warning of greater things to come. We look forward to hearing the magic…and we’ll keep you up to date as more news of that record comes our way.
Long have we loved Tiger Waves, through moves and line-up changes, and even a brief hiatus, I’ve always had their back…so I wanted you all to know that they’re giving away a brand new album of great songs. I asked for a single, and they suggested “Spectacle of You,” but after spending the better part of this morning with the release, it’s too good not to share the whole damn thing. You can grab it for NYOP, but please please please, have a soul. Give the band some cash, a dollar even…it goes a long way towards future recordings and life sustainability. Regardless, stream Tippy Beach below. The album also features local singer Jana Horn of Reservations.