If a classically-minded academic comes across the name “Hall Johnson”, they’ll likely think of one figure and one figure only: the highly-renowned composer, arranger, and choir conductor of African-American spirituals. And although we are rapidly approaching Black History Month, contemporary scholars of the local scene have probably already pieced together who we’re really talking about…indie-rock quartet Hall Johnson.
These childhood friends have spent the past half decade perfecting their performance, four of those years right here in Austin. They’ve played alongside indie rock icons like Beach Fossils but as has sadly become standard in the last couple years, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to Hall Johnson’s 2022 West Coast tour plans. Hall Johnson ended up seizing that newfound time to write and record their third EP A Slow Descent, all the while keeping their debut full-length cooped up in post-production.
You see, Hall Johnson tracked Haymaker back in August 2021 against the bucolic backdrop of Ashlawn Recording Company in rural Connecticut. Thanks to a month-long pastoral production period, isolated trails, pickup basketball, lakeside wakes, and skipping stones are all ingrained in Haymaker‘s eleven originals. You’ll be able to drop a needle on Haymaker once it hits vinyl in May, but given the level of wanderlust that Haymaker‘s piqued, you’ll want to unpack its lead single, “OMWO” now. An immaculately-balanced, easy-going indie-rock bop, “OMWO” ought to sate your trumpet-arrangement tastes and chase away any malaise while Hall Johnson is on their way out with more.
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