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August 27th, 2023

Joiner–the band–are Claire Jenkins and Max Colbert. They live in Nashville. That’s it. That’s all I know about them. Oh, and that they just put out a new 6 song EP called, Hydrangea. It’s a moody alt-rock moment. Think the slowcore build of Low that ultimately gets a bit bored with its minimalism so amps up the guitar, rocks with reverb, morphs into indie rock magic. It’s a sleeper. It’s a keeper. Indulging a metaphor, musically, each track feels like its own seasonal progression through birth and death; the budding of flowers, the greening of grass, to the crisp decay and falling of leaves. On “Season Song” Claire, in her room, reflecting and ruminating, sings, “It’s getting cold outside / Watching the light touch my picture frame / …how did I get here?”


Joiner released three singles, “Lucky You”, “Hot Things”, and “Season Song”, but it’s the mid EP-only track “Ready” that I keep going back to with its opening tinkling piano melody that frames a lyrical interior deep dive. Claire emotes beautifully in a wispy Grace VanderWaal voice: “I’m ready to feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be / have the ground feel solid right underneath my feet / Oh I am ready / Oh I am ready.” The other quiet gem is the title track, “Hydrangea”, whose production allows for fingers flowing over acoustic nylon strings to stay high in the mix. The song builds and builds with further layers of instrumentation creating a robust and beautiful piece of music.

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There’s something disturbingly frustrating and uncannily refreshing with the limited lack of information available on Joiner. Yes, there is a newly created IG account (@joinertheband). There are 10 posts. Simple promo bits, a couple video clips, for the lead off singles and EP release. And Claire’s personal page? Three posts in 2023. One of them is for the announcement of this EP. It’s a picture of a piece of paper with handwritten track titles and the caption: “My band’s ep is out tonight at midnight.” [Aug 10] In a world of oversaturated bios and info dumps, this back to basics, let the music speak for itself concept is what we need. Let mystery reign. But please join me in listening to Joiner.


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