Blank Unstaring Heirs of Doom is Hunter's debut CD, as well as the first release on Devendra Banhart's Gnomonsong label. The album collects over 10 years of Hunter's mysterious, lo-fi ballads, and distills them into a subtle, penetrating 40 minutes of echo-y reverie. Recorded in "living rooms, garages, basements, vans, and rooms at the Y," Heirs of Doom hums with the scent of an abandoned, moldy recording studio in Clovis, New Mexico. Structured around Hunter's smoky voice, layered upon itself time and time again, and augmented with the sparest finger-picked instrumentation, tracks like "All the Best Wishes" and "Have You Got My Money" could easily remind somebody of, well, a haunted AM radio version of Patsy Cline.
Hunter has been recording and performing in Texas since she was a teenager, but for years rejected the Lone Star State's musical heritage. She eventually came to realize that artists "Jandek, the 13th Floor Elevators, Daniel Johnston, and all of country-western swing" came from her home state—a realization that helped the singer become more comfortable in her own geography. After years of shitty jobs and homemade demo cassettes passed out to friends, she caught the ear of Banhart, who included her on his seminal 2004 comp, Golden Apples of the Sun, alongside insta-heavyweights Antony, Six Organs of Admittance, and Joanna Newsom.
Now Hunter's on her first big solo tour, being joined occasionally (including, in Portland), by aesthetic comrades the Castanets. Her brother John will join her onstage, but it's Hunter's deep, lonely, sorrowful, and warm voice that's going to be doing all the work. As for you—you'll be able to kick back, close your eyes, and hear what a sad song in a tin can spilled out on a dusty road before you were born must have sounded like.