All kinds of projects experience peaks and valleys when it comes to periods of prominence. But for one percussionist in particular, the passion for putting his sticks in the mix has never gotten tied down by any one group’s momentum. And no, we’re actually not talking about John Speice IV.
Instead we’re taking this Monday to appreciate native Austinite drummer Josh Halpern, perhaps best known to millennials as co-founder/co-composer for indie duo Marmalakes. Although Marmalakes’ heyday is well behind us, Halpern’s held onto his status as a must-have, must-hear contributor thanks to his work with Shearwater, Bayonne, Still Corners, and…frankly far too many other Austin acts to chronicle here. That said, he, like many other multidisciplinary creatives at the onset of COVID, began investing time into a solo-producer-singer-songwriter endeavor – aptly eponymized as J Halp.
Halpern’s been busy this past year backing up Rob Leines, but with only a couple weeks left in 2023, managed to reach a complete handful of officially released solo singles this morning. “Alone Again” kicks off with the type of perfectly-in-the-pocket drumbeat that made Halpern such a maven in the first place. But the moment the high-pass filter switches off, the real star of J Halp – Josh’s unstrained, melancholic vocals – really start to shine. With some killer keys gluing the whole thing together, “Alone Again” sits somewhere in between David Bowie, Arcade Fire, and Gorillaz for a moody mix of old and new. Love you, Halpy; keep up the good work.
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