Chances are, if you’ve been to any shows in North Brooklyn in the past decade, you’ve seen Jane Herships. She’s the striking bassist in a chin-length bob and boots, who has played bass with countless bands around town, most notably as the original bassist for alt-rock sister act TEEN.
Growing up in up in a TV-free home in Maplewood, New Jersey, music was always second nature to Herships. She recalls singing in the car on road trips with her mother, and learning “chopsticks” on the piano from a cool uncle who played keyboards with The Who. Later, at an all-girls school, she sang in her choirs’ acapella group; at age 14, she began teaching herself how to play guitar.
As a young adult, it didn’t take long for Herships to become quickly established in Brooklyn’s indie music scene, making a name for herself playing at Glasslands, Zebulon, 285 Kent and other now-defunct DIY spots and beloved venues of Williamsburg’s musical heyday.
Upon releasing her first album, The Way to Bitter Lake, which famed Aquarius Records of San Francisco called “absolutely gorgeous”, Herships began touring extensively, soon after picking up the bass and honing her skills as an instrumentalist.
Two solo albums later, Herships presents her third solo album, The Home Record, marking brave new territory. She’s shed her former moniker, “Spider,” and stepped out of the shadows with a collection of intensely personal songs. Mixed by producer Marin Bisi (Sonic Youth, Swans, Helmut), Herships spins a web of haunting indie-folk that strikes the delicate balance between dreaminess and despair. Here, she develops her signature sound that defies pigeonholing—her music is more of a feeling, not a genre. It’s a teenage girl discovering her older brother’s Pavement CD. It’s like Iron & Wine for one-night stands. In Herships’ world, lilting lullabies get a hit of reverb—she calls on Mazzy Star and the Cure in equal parts. Fans who think Joni Mitchell was punk will appreciate the nuance of Herships’ approach on sparse chords and breathless vocals. It’s a world where softness has edge and clarity comes out of haze, like a picture coming into focus.
This time, the chords strike a little harder and her voice sounds a little sweeter as it ruminates on what it takes to rebuild one’s life in the wake of heartbreak. The name The Home Record is literally a riff on “home wrecker,” and how we do this in own lives, only to be left to rebuild a new foundation out of the wreckage. Good thing it’s a long, gorgeous road home.