Jim Shorts // Feature Friday
Jim Shorts, a lo-fi indie group formed and fronted by David Haynes, has been in existence for over five years now, with the full lineup coming together more recently. Haynes' previous releases certainly have a classic DIY vibe, making their latest album, Halo Repair, their most polished offering to date.
Halo Repair opens with "Broadcasting Cosmic Silence," a track that meets the concept of death and the afterlife head on with a smirk and a wish list with lyrics like "I hope there's no white light / I hope the flames don't get too high" and "I hope there's only a radio broadcasting cosmic silence." With vocals akin to The Front Bottom's Brian Sella and Rozwell Kid's Jordan Hudkins, Jim Shorts' David Haynes matter of fact lyrical delivery fuses with the jaunty guitar tones perfectly.
Halo Repair has a thoughtful, intentional air to it while maintaining a playful approach. Candid lyrics find their home in fuzzed out pop, crashing symbols, and breezy bop-able beats. Haynes' casual delivery makes listening to Halo Repair seem like your taking an audio tour through a journal with a conscious stream of thought pouring across the pages ("Gonna eat some junk food / Then write it all down" in "James Tailored" and "Holy Shit / There's food in the fridge / But I don't wanna eat it right now" in "Five Outta Six.")
"24,000" and "Open Arms Of A Canyon" explore more of a classic rock vibe with drawn out guitar riffs and hazy drums, making them groovier than the other tracks.
Halo Repair is a solid album with a clear confirmation of Jim Shorts' ability to crank out music with a fresh-yet-familiar sound while keeping the listener on their toes. Continue reading below for an interview with Haynes' where we talk about recording Halo Repair, favorite musicians, and upcoming plans!
Q: You've been writing music for quite some time -- what was it like to bring additional musicians in and have them become a part of your project?
A: I had always wanted to make this project “full band” at some point, but it was never a priority. I was always in other bands that I took more seriously than Jim Shorts. Looking back, it was very cool to learn how to write songs over the past five years. It’s basically been a recording project, so it’s amazing to be finally writing songs I really believe in and feel have something special.
Having Jarrod Gee and Ryan Roddy help me make Halo Repair was probably the best decision I have ever made. Without Jarrod, Halo Repair would have been another one of my 30 minute, slop-rock, lo-fi existential crises. Jarrod and Roddy helped make it sound loud and powerful.
And moving up to Maryland and meeting Evan, Charlotte, and Mike was also amazing! They are all great players, and they learned the songs so fast! It’s been so much fun playing with this new lineup. The songs sound a little different now, and I love that! I’m really into songs changing and adapting over the years, and it’s really cool hearing them add something fresh.
Q: While your previous releases had a clear DIY aspect to them, your upcoming album has a more polished sound. What was this recording process like compared to your previous recording sessions for releases like Eternal which was recorded in a bedroom?
A: There’s a spontaneity to DIY recording that will always be exciting to me – the fact that you can set up a few microphones, do a couple drum takes, and chase your creative bliss almost immediately. It’s almost like “creativity in the raw,” or something like that.
So, going into a studio and working with Jarrod was nerve-wracking for me. I talked to Jarrod a lot before we started tracking about how I wanted everything to sound. I’m sure I mentioned the snare sounds on In Utero way too much. He’s probably sick of hearing about them. But watching Jarrod work was an incredible experience for me. We made this record in five days, and I remember the last day being this insane rush to finish up every guitar solo and a couple of vocals. I saw Jarrod run around the studio changing mics and knowing exactly how he wanted to capture the sounds. He’s a total badass.
Roddy and I rehearsed the songs a ton as well, making sure the drum parts worked well. I played drums on Eternal, but I’m not really a drummer. Sometimes, I write parts that don’t actually fit the song. So, it was great to work with Roddy to perfect the ideas in my head. I’m a very big picture type of person, and he’s very detail oriented. It was very essential and very good for me to work with someone like that. And we’re very close friends, which made it fun!
Q: Which track was the first one that came together for this album and truly got the ball rolling?
A: Eternal was actually supposed to be the last Jim Shorts album. I was just sort of frustrated with music at the time, and ready to move on to something else. Right after I finished that album, I wrote “Broadcasting Cosmic Silence.” And to me, it just sounded like a first song. It also set the tone for how this record would sound – more punchy and driving than anything I’d ever done. And I guess that sort of started the avalanche.
Q: What artists are currently on your playlist -- who have you been jamming to recently?
A: I’ve been really inspired by my friends lately. It’s crazy that I know so many talented songwriters and players. Mike and Evan play in another band called Mess, and they have an album out called Tree that is phenomenal. There’s this band called GLOOP from around here too that’s absolutely crazy. I love watching them play. They play this weird sort of noise rock type of thing, but they are also incredibly catchy. I saw my friends Scary Balance from Ohio play in Baltimore last night, and their songs will be stuck in my head all summer! My pals from Tennessee in Pumpkinseed and Commander Keen both have new records in the works, and I’ve been really inspired by what I’ve heard from those new albums.
When it starts getting warmer outside, I often start remembering albums that I loved driving around to in high school: Death Cab’s Narrow Stairs or Manchester Orchestra’s Mean Everything To Nothing. I’ve also been reading a book on Dylan, so sort of re-visiting the Dylan discography as well. Besides that, Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell, Built to Spill, Pavement, Guided by Voices… the usual. I could talk about music for a while, but I’ll stop there.
Q: Do you have any exciting plans for the upcoming months that you can share with us?
A: We’re touring at the end of April for about a week or so and hope to plan some more for later in the summer. To be honest, I’ve sort of had tunnel vision for releasing Halo Repair. It will be good to wrap that up and start working on new stuff.
I’m writing a new album that I hope to finish up over the summer. I’ve got a ton of songs sort of ready to go. Just got to write some more guitar parts and teach them to the band. It’s different than anything I’ve ever written before – it’s twangier for sure. Other than that, I hope to hang out with the band more over the summer. Maybe do some chili cook-offs, watch some movies, etc. Evan and I were just talking about how when you play in a band with people it can be tricky to hang out outside of shows and practices. So, I hope to make more of an effort to do stuff around Maryland with the other members of Jim Shorts over the summer.