Jana Hunter

Jana Hunter

Yes, Matty & Mossy is unfortunately dead and gone, its members scattered to the four winds, but thankfully, vocalist/guitarist Jana Hunter is still making music, now out on her lonesome. These days it’s just her, a guitar, and a Mini-Disc full of backing tracks — it doesn’t sound like it’d be real impressive, maybe, but it’s absolutely mind-blowing. The songs are as creepy and kind-of-sort-of menacing as M&M’s could be, but Hunter’s expanded her musical palette somewhat, breaking out of the prog-blues-rock of her old band and dabbling with electronics and even pretty pop. The voice, of course, is still the same, and that’s what really makes the whole thing work — on top of some amazing songwriting, she does the most incredible impersonation of a down-on-her-luck ’40s blues diva trapped in the body of a shy, kinda geeky girl. Hunter looks a little strange sometimes up there on stage, but as soon as she opens her mouth, everybody in the room is absolutely transfixed. I swear, she’s got that crazy Chan Marshall/Beth Gibbons magnetism…come to think of it, Beth Gibbons’ own recent post-Portishead effort, Out Of Season, is probably the closest thing to Jana Hunter’s solo stuff.

Happily, she’s also got a ton of releases under her belt now, including a split with the equally weird Devendra Banhart on Troubleman Recs, appearances on a couple of compilations (The Golden Apples of the Sun, on Bastet, The Enlightened Family, on Voodoo, and The Black and White Skins, on French label Les Disques Du Crepuscule), two stellar full-lengths, 2005’s Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom and 2007’s There’s No Home, and her most recent, an odds-and-ends EP entitled Carrion. I’ve only heard snippets of each, but those’ve come surprisingly close to Hunter’s live shows, and that’s a very good thing, trust me. Oh, and she also sometimes does the band thing with a little group called Jracula, about which I’ve heard much goodness…

Jana’s a bit of a nomad, unfortunately — after Matty & Mossy disintegrated, she headed home to Georgia for a few years (boo!), then came back to Houston (yay!), then bopped on up north to the Big Apple for a while (boo!), then came back to Houston again (yay!), and has once again skipped town, reportedly, this time heading for the ultra-hip Baltimore, MD, scene. Crap. Can’t begrudge her the success, though, and we here at SCR wish her all the best — and who knows, she might be back soon. Can’t escape the Black Hole of H-town, Jana, no matter how hard you try…

Band writeup by . Band writeup posted Saturday, September 12th, 2009. Filed under Bands, Features.

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