Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
‘Throats Are Quarries’ is the third release in a trilogy of records that Texas based artist Jana Pochop has released over the course of the past six years with producer Daniel Barrett. Pochop boasts a strong vocal style, one that is uncannily similar to the likes of Kim Deal, and she leapfrogs through Americana folk vibes and pop melodies. The result is an a five song EP that is largely satisfying.
The EP is heftier on the side of pop, and attempts to find a balance between that and the grass roots folk style that seeps through every song. The percussion in some of the songs feels a bit processed, like it’s going through a Korg drum machine. However, since the record plants itself firmly into pop early on, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In fact, these beats are extremely solid and accent the acoustic guitar very well.
Musically, the highlights of the album surface when Pochop’s songs take a quick turn into spurts of rock and roll with piercing electric guitar riffs. The songs play out like soft pop songs, so every time the electric guitar emerges it feels like a blast of excitement. This is most prominent on ‘Throw You Forward,’ which is the strongest song in the set. The lyrics of ‘Throw You Forward’ are spectacular in their own regard, and the production slowly builds the song into an explosion of music that erupts when the song goes full out at the halfway mark. This song in particular has every aspect of a radio hit, rising in and out of oblivion with the musical tact of a master engineer and studio band. However, unlike most radio hits, it also has substance, which is essential in the progression of a strong lyricist.
The production of this record is impressive, especially when the realm of independent music is riddled with poor engineering, half hearted self-recorded efforts, and eight track players. ‘Throats Are Quarries’ has come out of a studio with a talented engineer, and as a result, it is sonically superior to the majority of music in similar leagues.
So, it’s a strong, fierce recordwith solid production, noteworthy vocals, and exceptional musicianship. With that said, it has a few little bugs - no independent record is perfect. Four songs on the record feel at harmony with one another, complementing the acoustic pop sound Pochop has constructed. ‘Deepest Fear’ feels a bit out of place in this. Now, it’s not a bad song. In fact, it’s admirable both lyrically and musically. It just feels like the odd ball out on the record, as if the session band was instructed to achieve a folkier sound but hold onto the pop aura of the previous tracks. On a different record with deeper roots in Americana, this song would have been perfect. In honesty, though, the album has a more concrete connection to popular music than grassroots, which is certainly not detrimental to the record. It just makes ‘Deepest Fear’ sound excluded from the overarching pop atmosphere.
‘Throats Are Quarries’ is one of the much better independent records that I have heard this year. Jana Pochop exhibits extraordinary potential, and with a grounded record like ‘Quarries,’ it stands to reason that she may very well carve herself a strong following in the coming years. It’s important for musical artists to consistently achieve new heights and arise to new challenges when facing an increasingly turbulent music industry. Fortunately for Pochop, she has the right ingredients.
Below are links to stream the album and connect with Pochop on her website: