Based out of Houston, Texas, Low Horizon are the shoegaze/emo/lo-fi trio of Jasmine, Brandon and John. John originally formed the band back in 2010, with two school friends, before they, “traded their instruments for stethoscopes” and went to med-school leaving John their blessing to carry on without them. John’s recruitment drive found Jasmine, a classically trained clarinettist, with a seriously impressive CV and a desire for, “something cooler“, who learnt the drums just before joining the band, and classic-rock enthusiast and bassist Brandon. The band first came to the world’s attention back in 2017 with the release of their debut EP, the self-deprecatingly titled five-track offering, Four Songs Too Long. The record was followed in the Spring of 2019, by their debut full-length, Eternally Depressed Summer. Last week saw the band return with their self-titled second album, which the band recorded with the production help of John’s brother Ryan.
Described by the band as, “kind of a mess”, Low Horizon is a record that steadfastly refuses to play up to any musical conventions, the eleven tracks going from ninety-second song sketches, to expansive seven-minute sonic landscapes, as they bring to mind everyone from Sparklehorse to Do Make Say Think. In many ways this is Low Horizon’s growing up record, reflecting on the “boring middle part” of life, where teenage dreaming gives way to middle-aged acceptance, a place where, as the band put it, “the pain never goes away but you get better at dealing with it”. If there’s a certain 2020, everything is broken vibe to some of the recordings here, it’s likely coincidental as much of the record was actually written pre-pandemic, which, when they’re singing, “this whole year has been garbage”, does leave you wondering what they’d make of the ones that followed! While this is arguably a record that’s more about an all-encompassing mood as opposed to the joys of individual tracks, that’s not to say it is without highlights. The early Bright Eyes-like doubleheader of Your Purse and Wait, feel like a moment of heart-wrenching clarity, with the former’s summary, “it’s all about to fall apart and it’s been getting real real dark” and the latter’s cry to give it all at once, “you give me heartbreak now I want an earthquake”. They serve as a brief lull in the sometimes noisy musical world they have created, where opening track Running Late sounds like the middle ground of Carseat Headrest’s slacker-rock and Juan De Fuca’s noisy intensity, while the seven-minute opus, Over & Over & Over could almost be Jeffrey Lewis fronting The Walkmen. There’s something wonderfully pure and undiluted about the music Low Horizon make, they let their music and emotions out for the pure catharsis of doing so. They might never be huge stars, might never headline festivals or have hit records, yet for the people who do fall for Low Horizon, they’ll mean the world.
FTR: For those who don’t know who are Low Horizon?
Hey, we’re Low Horizon (loho for short) and we’re a band from Texas. John writes most of the songs and records the rhythm parts at home, then Jasmine and Brandon show up to do backup vocals, guitar jams, and sometimes spoken poetry.
FTR: What can you remember about your first show?
Jasmine: Our first unofficial show was at John’s place for friends and family. Everyone was so nice, but what really sticks out for me was our makeshift light show from Amazon night lights and Brandon chugging wine from the bottle. Our first official show, I remember getting a speeding ticket after the show.
Brandon: Yeah, our first performance was in John’s old place’s living room for a bunch of our friends. It was a blast!
John: the house party show was probably our biggest crowd for a while too; it was so much fun.
FTR: Why do you make music? Why not another art form?
John: music comes easier to me than other art forms so I tend to stick with it. I used to branch out more often with short stories/visual stuff but over the years I keep leaning more and more towards the music stuff. I way overbuilt my little bedroom studio when I got my first ‘real job’ but at least now I’m free to record whatever and almost whenever I want.
Jasmine: I’ve always loved music. My mom and dad would always have music playing, and I started playing clarinet in the 6th grade and just stuck with it but I’ve always loved painting and drawing as well. In my day job, I’m a graphic designer.
Brandon: I’ve always been a fan of music, spurred on at a young age by my dad. I used to make burned CDs with bands like Led Zeppelin and ZZ Top and those FM radio bands from the 70s. From there I branched out to way more stuff, but bands like those still have a soft spot in my heart. Also, I can’t draw worth a damn.
FTR: What can people expect from the Low Horizon live show?
Brandon: John and I trading SICK shredfest solos with lots of sweeping and diving on our Floyd Roses and Jasmine doing 30 minutes minimum drum solos
John: yeah, sure… we’re probably gonna miss some notes but it’ll be a good time. the noise jam is a fun part, at least for us. come say hi afterwards- we like beer & talking about our pedals.
Jasmine: Brandon drinking a PBR, some LED lights around the kick drum, and good jams!
FTR: What’s next for Low Horizon?
John: We just finished recording another new album and I’m about to start the mixing process. it was written as we were recording ‘low horizon’ so I think it’s gonna be called ‘low horizon 2’. & of course we’re excited to play some shows supporting this one.
Jasmine & Brandon: Whatever John tells us to do!
They Listen To…
Parquet Courts – Walking at a Downtown Pace
Magdalena Bay – You Lose!
Bachelor – Stay in the Car
Origami Angel – Caught in the Moment
Cassandra Jenkins – Hard Drive
Low Horizon’s self-titled debut is out now. For more information on Low Horizon visit https://www.lowhorizon.com/.