Joan: ’80s & ’90s Alt-Pop Nostalgia

Joan__BandPhoto Credit: Connor North Goad

Joan is an indie pop band made up of two members, Alan Thomas and Steven Rutherford. Alan plays the guitar, keys, and sings while Steven plays the drums and sings. Both members are from Little Rock, Arkansas. They came together shortly after Steven graduated from college. Both of the guys were formerly in separate bands, Alan was in a band called Canopy Climbers while Steven was a part of the band Brothers + Company. Alan and Steven bonded over mutual interests and when they came together, their friendship clicked.

After writing the song “Take Me On”, they were motivated to create more music. The ball started rolling when the new band signed a deal with the single and begun getting booked for shows as an opener for other well-known bands in the genre. One of the first bands that they opened for was COIN. This helped them gain a fan base outside of their hometown.


“love somebody like you” was released by Joan towards the end of 2017. The upbeat combination of synths and vocals tell a story about obsession. In 2018, Joan released their first EP titled portra. The breathy vocals and personal lyrics complement the ‘80s inspired beats of the songs. The concept of portra is based on being in love with someone new and it sounds like it could be a soundtrack to a ‘80s movie. The intent behind the EP comes from nostalgia and making people feel good about past memories.

The band became the second group ever to sign to new a label called 20XX. After the release of porta, Joan continued releasing singles to gain traction with listeners. “all the way” was the next single released by the band. The song has a light-hearted bounciness that gets people moving as they think of the feeling of being in love. Joan released their 6-track EP, cloudy. The concept of the EP is centered on being in love with a person and the ups and downs that people experience while being in a relationship. It’s also based around the seasons of the year. Fans can watch the narrated videos released for the singles “brokenhearted” and “want u back.”

Joan uses various elements of pop music to create a coherent sound that is fresh and vibrant to listeners. Their sound is a mixture of new and old. The band pulls heavily from the ‘80s but brings a modern flair of alternative pop to their songs. After touring with high-ranking alternative musicians, like half•alive, Honne, and COIN, Joan is gearing themselves to be the new kids on the electro pop block. While they are new to the scene, it would seem Joan isn’t planning to leave the arena anytime soon. Stay tuned for their continued release of singles for 2020!

Written by: Carlton Rolle

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