J Halp

J Halp: “Alone Again”

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.

J Halp: “I Can’t Live Without You”

In the “before times” of live music, it was pretty hard to miss common collaborators across various groups. And perhaps the most “traded” player of all (at least in recent years) has been drummer Josh Halpern. Stellar percussion skills aside, this Native Austinite is also quite the competent composer, as evidenced by his solo project¬†J Halp.

J Halp made his debut last June with his first single, revealing more of Halpern’s vocal abilities that’d been historically masked by frontmen, not to mention an impressive sense of compactness, arrangement, and production across July’s¬†Ahlen EP. On Valentine’s Day J Halp continued his saga of solo songwriting with a new standalone single, one that cradles between psychedelia, breakbeats, and lighthearted pop, “I Can’t Live Without You”!