Tag: Memphis TN

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Spaceface Share an Anthemic Banger

Formed back in 2012 by Jake Ingalls, a former member of The Flaming Lips, the self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit Spaceface is currently split between Memphis and Los Angeles, and features a collection of current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. In the decade since their formation, the members of Spaceface have developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs with elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of the past year, you’d recall that the JOVM mainstays sophomore album Anemoia was released through Montreal-based label Mothland. The album is the result of several months spent back in 2019 at Blackwatch Studios, where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival.

Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead up to Anemoia‘s release, Spaceface and Mothland released six singles off the album, including “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” and “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “ were all previously released to praise across the blogopshere.

I’ve managed to write about three more released singles:

  • Long Time:” a woozy and funky contemplation of life choices and alternate realities centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synth arpeggios and infectious hooks paired with guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS.
  • Rain Passing Through:” an Oracular Spectacular era MGMT meets  Nile Rodgers-like bop with guest vocals from  Mikaela Davis about the fleeting moments one may have with former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, and despite knowing that it probably shouldn’t, wouldn’t or can’t happen, that it was okay to feel good and safe, even if it was for a brief, lovely moment. 
  • Millions & Memes,” a hook-driven ear worm centered a buzzing, phaser-drenched guitar riff and funky boom bap beats that — to my ears, at least — sounds like a slick and seamless synthesis of Currents era Tame Impala, 70s glam rock and funk. Much its predecessors, “Millions & Memes” is rooted in deeply detailed psychological observation and overwhelmingly positive messaging. 

 Anemoia‘s seventh — that’s right seventh! — single “Classic Style” is an anthemic, hook-driven banger, centered around buzzing power chords, thumping beats, dreamy vocals and twinkling keys. While to my ears, sounding as though it were indebted to Lonerism and Currents era Tame Impala, “Classic Style” is a swaggering yet earnest pick up line to that pretty young thang at the club, who just caught your eye.

Directed by longtime collaborator Jarod Evans, the accompanying video for “Classic Style” features cameo from The Flaming Lips’ The Brothers Griiin and employs a rather simple concept: a sort of behind the scenes look at the shooting of a video, fittingly shot in a lysergic haze.

New Video: Spaceface Shares an Infectious and Uplifting New Bop

Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming Lips founded Spaceface back in 2012. The self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit is currently split between between Memphis and Los Angeles and features a collection of current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. And since their formation a decade ago, the members of Spaceface have developed a reputation for crafting incredibly catchy songs that feature elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco.

Aneomoia, Spaceface’s sophomore album is slated for a Friday release through Montreal-based label Mothland. The album is the result of several months spent back in 2019 at Blackwatch Studios, where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead-up to Anemoia‘s release, Mothland and the members of the self-professed retro-futuristic dream rock outfit have previously released an incredible five singles off the album: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” and “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “ were all previously released to praise across the blogopshere.

And if you’ve been frequenting over the past few months, you may recall that I’ve personally written about the album’s two most recent singles:

  • Long Time:” a woozy and funky contemplation of life choices and alternate realities centered around a strutting bass line, glistening synth arpeggios and infectious hooks paired with guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS.
  • Rain Passing Through:” an Oracular Spectacular era MGMT meets  Nile Rodgers-like bop with guest vocals from  Mikaela Davis about the fleeting moments one may have with former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, and despite knowing that it probably shouldn’t, wouldn’t or can’t happen, that it was okay to feel good and safe, even if it was for a brief, lovely moment.

Anemoia‘s sixth and final single, “Millions & Memes” is a hook-driven earworm centered around a buzzing, phaser-drenched guitar riff, funky boom bap beats that sounds — to my ears, at least — like a slick and seamless synthesis of Currents era Tame Impala, 70s glam rock and funk. Much its predecessors, “Millions & Memes” is rooted in deeply detailed psychological observation and overwhelmingly positive messaging.

“It’s about a character who is sort of at the end of their rope, not knowing what to do or where to go, but just knowing they could really make something of themselves if they could just make a decision,” Jake Ingalls explains. But the song’s chorus is a simple reminder that the world is our oyster — even if we don’t immediately see it.

Directed and animated by Curtis Peel, the quirky and recently released video for “Millions & Memes” is a collage of submissions from Spaceface fans, visuals from album promo shots, thematic elements and memes in a trippy, mind-bending fashion. “I loved the duality in the spectrum, with riches, high society, and excess on one end, and humor, conversational, and shit-posting on the other,” the video’s director Curtis Peel explains. “After seeing some of the album-era artwork, I immediately saw in my mind the aesthetic of 70’s fortune and fame, and the memes were obviously a very deep well to draw from, as well.” 

New Video: Spaceface Teams Up with Mikaela Davis on the Glistening “Rain Passing Through”

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming LipsSpaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit split between Memphis and Los Angeles The band features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. And since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco. 

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label MothlandAnemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, centered around slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reportedly will reveal a new layer while painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead-up to the album’s release next month, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futuristic dream rock outfit have released four singles off the album: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists and “Long Time.” Featuring guest vocals from Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS, “Long Time” is Tame Impala-like song centered around a breezy and lush arrangement consisting of glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats. But at its core, the song contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.” 

“Rain Passing Through” Anemoia‘s fifth and latest single is a glistening, Oracular Spectacular era MGMT take on disco centered around Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, four-on-the-floor, a sinuous bass line and lush layers of space alien-like synths serving as a glistening bed for an ethereal yet sultry duet with Mikaela Davis.

“It’s about fleeting moments you have between former or future lovers in passing turbulent times, knowing that you probably shouldn’t take shelter within each other, but knowing that it’s okay to feel good and safe together even if it’s as ephemeral as the rain passing through on a stormy night,” Jake Ingalls explains.

The recently released video is a collaboration between Spaceface’s Ignalls, Erika Mugglin and Mac Hanson and it a trippy but tender look at a teenaged love triangle featuring a mixture of stock footage, material from Hanson’s personal archives and of the video’s three love-crossed protagonists.

New Video: Spaceface Teams up with LABRYS on a Breezy and Funky Meditation on Life Choices

Founded back in 2012 by Jake Ignalls, a former member of The Flaming Lips, Spaceface is self-professed “retro-futurist dream rock” outfit is split between Memphis and Los Angeles — and features current and past members of The Flaming Lips and Pierced. Since their formation, Spaceface has developed a reputation for crafting catchy songs that whirl, twirl, bend and stretch, attract and propel while sonically featuring elements of dream pop, funk, rock and post-disco.

Spaceface’s forthcoming full-length album Anemoia is slated for a January 28, 2022 release though Montreal-based label Mothland. Anemoia is the result of several months spent at Blackwatch Studios in 2019 where the band spent several months working with Jarod Evans writing material inspired by funk rock and the turn of the millennium psychedelia revival. Although the material can be initially perceived as a feat of efficient and minimalistic songwriting by Ignalls and a cast of friends and collaborators, as the result of slick melodies, lush arrangements and effortlessly flowing rhythmic grooves, each spin reveals a new layer, painting a positive but somewhat critical portrayal of modern life.

In the lead up to the album’s early 2022 release, Mothland and the self-professed retro-futurist dream rock have released three singles off the album to date: “Happens All The Time,” “Earth In Awe,” and “Piña Collider,” which featured samples and choir vocals from actual CERN scientists. Anemmoia‘s fourth and latest single “Long Time (feat. LABRYS),” which features Penny Pitchlynn, best known for her work with BRONCHO and LABRYS taking on vocal duties. Centered around a breezy and lush arrangement featuring glistening synth arpeggios, crunchy bass lines and thumping beats that recalls Tame Impala, “Long Time” contemplates life choices and alternate realities through a series of “well, what if I did x instead of y.”
 
“It’s about that dreamlike state of wondering where you could be in your own life if you had just taken that left down the other road instead of taking a right,” Spaceface’s Jake Ignalls explains in press notes.  “It’s this inescapable feeling that sometimes you’ve slipped into an alternate reality without realizing and you think, ‘My god, is this my life? There’s another one for me out there.’” 

Directed by Marina Aguerre, the recently released video for “Long Time” was shot on grainy VHS tape and follows three people — two women and a presumably Spaceface himself — getting ready for a small gathering, where the trio eventually dances the night away through trippy effects.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Robert Finley Returns with a Soulful Plea for Empathy and Kindness

Robert Finley is a 67 year-old Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter and JOVM mainstay, who was one of eight children in a family of sharecroppers. As a child, a young Finley was unable to regularly attend school and often worked with his family in the cotton fields. When he was a teenager, he briefly attended a segregated school; but he dropped out in the 10th grade to help the family out financially.

As an adult, Finley has lived a full, complicated and often messy life: he’s an army veteran and a skilled carpenter, who has survived house fires, a bad auto accident and a divorce. Sadly, the Louisiana-born and-based JOVM mainstay lost his sight in his early 60s as result of glaucoma. And although, he was forced to retire from from carpentry, Finley realized that he now had an opportunity to purse a lifelong dream — becoming a professional musician and singer.

Finley believes that his sight was improved by the power of prayer — and that his faith has also helped him focus on launching a music career in his 60s. According to Finley “losing my sight, gave me the perspective to see my true identity.”

Finley’s rise has been rapid: As the story goes, Dan Auerbach immediately saw Finley’s potential, quickly proclaiming that the Louisiana-born and-based artist is “the greatest living soul singer.” As Auerbach recalls in press notes, “He walked in like he was straight out of the swamp.” He adds, “He had leather pants, snakeskin boots, a big Country & Western belt buckle, a leather cowboy hat and a three-quarter-length leather duster. The final touch was the folding cane the legally blind Finley wore on his hip, in a holster. Basically, he was dressed for national television.” 

Auerbach went on to produce Finley’s 2017 breakthrough sophomore album Goin’ Platinum, an album released to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of the Associated Press, who praised Finley’s ability to lend “instant credibility to any song” and The Observer, who wrote “Finley’s versatile voice ranges from prime Motown holler to heartbroken falsetto croon.” The Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter went on to support the album with international touring across 10 countries — with his live show drawing praise from a number of publications, including The New York Times and several others. Finley was also profiled on PBS NewsHour, which led him to becoming a contestant on the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent, eventually reaching the semi-finals. 

Finley’s third album Sharecropper’s Son was released earlier this year through Easy Eye Sound. The album continues the Louisiana-born and-based JOVM mainstay’s successful collaboration with Auerbach and features songwriting and cowrites from Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood and Pat McLaughlin. Much like other Easy Eye Sound releases, the album features an All-Star backing band that includes Auerbach (guitar); Kenny Brown (guitar), a member of R.L Burnside‘s backing band; studio legends Russ Pahl (pedal steel) and Louisiana-born, Nashville-based Billy Sanford (guitar); Bobby Wood (keys and as previously mentioned songwriting); Gene Chrisman (drums), who’s a Memphis and Nashville music legend; as well as contributions from The Dap Kings‘ Nick Movshon (bass), Eric Deaton (guitar); Dave Roe (bass), who was member of Johnny Cash‘s backing band; Sam Bacco (percussion) and a full horn section. 

Sharecropper’s Son may arguably be the most personal album of Finley’s growing catalog, drawing directly from his life and experience. “I was ready to tell my story, and Dan and his guys knew me so well by then that they knew it almost like I do, so they had my back all the way,” Finley says in press notes. “Working in the cotton fields wasn’t a pleasant place to be, but it was part of my life. I went from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills. We stayed in the neighborhood most of our childhood. It wasn’t really all that safe to be out by yourself. One of the things I love about music is that, when I was a boy growing up in the South, nobody wanted to hear what I had to say or what I thought about anything. But when I started putting it in songs, people listened.”

In the past few months, I’ve written about three of the album’s released singles:

  • Country Boy,” a swampy and funky bit of country soul featured a tight, strutting groove, bluesy guitar lines, shimmering organ and Finley’s soulful and creaky falsetto paired with autobiographic lyrics, which were improvised on the spot with the tape rolling. “When we play live, I always leave room in the show for lyrics I make up on the spot while the band hits a groove,” Finley explains. “I guess the younger generation calls it free-styling, but for me, it’s just speaking from my mind, straight from my soul.” While lyrically, the song touches upon classic blues fare — heartbreak, loneliness, being broke, being a stranger far away from home and the like, the song is fueled by Finley’s sincerity. He has lived through those experiences, and you can tell that from the vulnerable cracks in his weathered croon. 
  • Album title track “Sharecropper’s Son,” a strutting blues holler featuring James Cotton-like blasts of harmonica, shimmering Rhodes, a chugging groove, a classic blues solo, and Finley’s creaky and soulful crooning and shouts. And much like its predecessor, the song is fueled by both the lived-in experiences of its writer and the novelistic details within the song: you can feel the hot sun on Finley’s and his siblings’ skin, the sore muscles of backbreaking and unending labor in the fields. But throughout the song, its narrator expresses pride in his family doing whatever they could do legally to survive and keep food on the table. 
  • Make Me Feel Alright,” is a swampy boogie that’s one part John Lee Hooker barroom blues, one part Mississippi Delta Blues centered around a twangy blues guitar line, a shuffling rhythm and Finley’s expressive crooning. While being the sort of song you want your bartender to play loudly on a Friday or Saturday night, as you try to spit some game to some pretty young thing, the song as Finley explains in press notes “is about not looking for love, but for companionship. Sometimes you want to find someone to have a good time, You meet someone, have a fun night and then go on your separate ways with your own problems at the end of the night but still experience love in the moment.” 

Sharecropper’s Son‘s latest single “I Can Feel Your Pain” is an old school soul ballad centered around twinkling Rhodes, Finley’s expressive crooning, a two-step inducing rhythm, bluesy guitar blasts and a soaring chorus. But at its core, the song is an earnest expression of empathy for everyone who has had a difficult time of things, during this most unusually difficult period. And it comes from the deeply lived-in place of someone who’s experienced profound difficulties and inconsolable loss.

From my own experience, sometimes you just need someone to say to you, “I’ve been there. I know how that feels. Grief and heartache come in waves but somehow, some way, life will push and shove you forward.” And this song says exactly that — and at a time when we all really need it.

“‘I Can Feel Your Pain’ relates really to what is going on today,” Robert Finley explains in press notes. “From people losing loved ones to the pandemic, all the marches going on, people being slaughtered by the police. Even if you don’t really know about the situation from a personal perspective you feel sympathy for that person who had to go through those things and this song is for them.”

Directed by Tim Hardiman, the recently released video for “I Can Feel Your Pain” is shot with a hazy and nostalgic-tinged filter but makes far larger, more powerful points: the righteous struggles for justice and equality of Finley’s youth sadly still go on. Life is a struggle. Heartache and loss are constant. But choose empathy and love, and you’ll get by.

New Video: Robert Finley Releases a Swampy Boogie Blues

Robert Finley is a 67 year-old Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter, who was one of eight children in a family of sharecroppers. As a child, a young Finley was unable to regular attend school and often worked with his family in the cotton fields. When he was a teenager, he briefly attended a segregated school; but he dropped out in the 10th grade to help the family out financially.

As an adult, Finley has lived a full, complicated and often messy life: he’s an army veteran and a skilled carpenter, who has survived house fires, a bad auto accident and a divorce. Sadly, the Winnsboro-born, Bernice-based singer/songwriter lost his sight in his 60s as a result of glaucoma,.and although he was forced to retire from being a carpenter, Finley realized that he had an opportunity to pursue a lifelong dream — becoming a musician and singer. Finley believes that his sight was improved by the power of prayer — and that his faith has also helped him focus on launching a music career in his 60s. According to Finley “losing my sight, gave me the perspective to see my true identity.”

Finley’s rise has been rapid: As the story goes, Dan Auerbach immediately saw Finley’s potential, quickly proclaiming that the Louisiana-born and-based artist is “the greatest living soul singer.” As Auerbach recalls in press notes, “He walked in like he was straight out of the swamp.” He adds, “He had leather pants, snakeskin boots, a big Country & Western belt buckle, a leather cowboy hat and a three-quarter-length leather duster. The final touch was the folding cane the legally blind Finley wore on his hip, in a holster. Basically, he was dressed for national television.” 

Auerbach went on to produce Finley’s 2017 breakthrough sophomore album Goin’ Platinum, an album released to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of the Associated Press, who praised Finley’s ability to lend “instant credibility to any song” and The Observer, who wrote “Finley’s versatile voice ranges from prime Motown holler to heartbroken falsetto croon.” The Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter went on to support the album with international touring across 10 countries — with his live show drawing praise from a number of publications, including The New York Times and several others. Finley was also profiled on PBS NewsHour, which led him to becoming a contestant on the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent, eventually reaching the semi-finals. 

Finley’s third album Sharecropper’s Son was released last week through Easy Eye Sound. The album continues the Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter’s successful collaboration with Auerbach and features songwriting and cowrites from Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood and Pat McLaughlin. And much like other Easy Eye Sound releases, the album features an All-Star backing band that includes Auerbach (guitar);Kenny Brown (guitar), a member of R.L Burnside‘s backing band; studio legends Russ Pahl (pedal steel) and Louisiana-born, Nashville-based Billy Sanford (guitar); Bobby Wood (keys and as previously mentioned songwriting); Gene Chrisman (drums), who’s a Memphis and Nashville music legend; as well as contributions The Dap Kings‘ Nick Movshon (bass), Eric Deaton (guitar); Dave Roe (bass), who was member of Johnny Cash‘s backing band; Sam Bacco (percussion) and a full horn section. 

Sharecropper’s Son may arguably be the most personal album of Finley’s growing catalog, drawing directly from his life and experience. “I was ready to tell my story, and Dan and his guys knew me so well by then that they knew it almost like I do, so they had my back all the way,” Finley says in press notes. “Working in the cotton fields wasn’t a pleasant place to be, but it was part of my life. I went from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills. We stayed in the neighborhood most of our childhood. It wasn’t really all that safe to be out by yourself. One of the things I love about music is that, when I was a boy growing up in the South, nobody wanted to hear what I had to say or what I thought about anything. But when I started putting it in songs, people listened.”

In the buildup to the album’s release, I wrote about two of the album’s released singles:

“Country Boy,” a swampy and funky bit of country soul featured a tight, strutting groove, bluesy guitar lines, shimmering organ and Finley’s soulful and creaky falsetto paired with autobiographic lyrics, which were improvised on the spot with the tape rolling. “When we play live, I always leave room in the show for lyrics I make up on the spot while the band hits a groove,” Finley explains. “I guess the younger generation calls it free-styling, but for me, it’s just speaking from my mind, straight from my soul.” While lyrically, the song touches upon classic blues fare — heartbreak, loneliness, being broke, being a stranger far away from home and the like, the song is fueled by Finley’s sincerity. He has lived through those experiences, and you can tell that from the vulnerable cracks in his weathered croon.
Album title track “Sharecropper’s Son,” a strutting blues holler featuring James Cotton-like blasts of harmonica, shimmering Rhodes, a chugging groove, a classic blues solo, and Finley’s creaky and soulful crooning and shouts. And much like its predecessor, the song is fueled by both the lived-in experiences of its writer and the novelistic details within the song: you can feel the hot sun on Finley’s and his siblings’ skin, the sore muscles of backbreaking and unending labor in the fields. But throughout the song, its narrator expresses pride in his family doing whatever they could do legally to survive and keep food on the table. 

“Make Me Feel Alright,” Sharecropper’s Son’s latest single is a swampy boogie that’s one part John Lee Hooker barroom blues, one part Mississippi Delta Blues centered around a twangy blues guitar line, a shuffling rhythm and Finley’s expressive crooning. While being the sort of song you want your bartender to play loudly on a Friday or Saturday night, as you try to spit some game to some pretty young thing, the song as Finley explains in press notes “is about not looking for love, but for companionship. Sometimes you want to find someone to have a good time, You meet someone, have a fun night and then go on your separate ways with your own problems at the end of the night but still experience love in the moment.”

Directed by frequent visual collaborator Tim Hardman, the recently released video follows Finley as he tries to get a woman to spend a little time with him. While on his property, the video reveals Finley as a fun old guy looking for a little bit of fun — because life is short after

New Video: Robert Finley Releases a Soulful and Bluesy Holler

67 year-old, Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter Robert Finley was born into a family of sharecroppers, and was one of eight children. As a child, a young Finley was unable to regularly attend school and often worked with his family in the cotton fields. When he was a teenager, he attended a segregated school, but dropped out in the 10th grade to help financially support his family and himself. 

Finley is an army veteran and was a skilled carpenter, who has lived a full, complicated and often messy life: he’s survived house fires, a bad auto accident and a divorce. Sadly, Finley lost his sight in his 60s as a result of glaucoma, and although he was forced to retire, the Winnsboro-born, Bernice-based singer/songwriter realized that he had an opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a musician. Finley believes that his sight was improved by the power of prayer and his faith has also helped him focus on launching a music career in his 60s. According to Finley “losing my sight, gave me the perspective to see my true identity.”

Robert Finley’s rise has been rapid: As the story goes, Dan Auerbach immediately saw Finley’s potential, quickly proclaiming that the Louisiana-born and-based artist is “the greatest living soul singer.” He walked in like he was straight out of the swamp.” Auerbach recalls in press notes, adding, “He had leather pants, snakeskin boots, a big Country & Western belt buckle, a leather cowboy hat and a three-quarter-length leather duster. The final touch was the folding cane the legally blind Finley wore on his hip, in a holster. Basically, he was dressed for national television.” 

Auerbach went on to produce Finley’s 2017 breakthrough sophomore album Goin’ Platinum, an album released to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of the Associated Press, who praised Finley’s ability to lend “instant credibility to any song” and The Observer, who wrote “Finley’s versatile voice ranges from prime Motown holler to heartbroken falsetto croon.” The Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter went on to support the album with tours of 10 countries — with his live show drawing praise from a number of publications, including The New York Times and several others. Finley was also profiled on PBS NewsHour, which led him to becoming a contestant on the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent, eventually reaching the semi-finals. 

Finley’s third album Sharecropper’s Son is slated for a May 21, 2021 release through Easy Eye Sound. The album, continues the Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter’s successful collaboration with Auerbach and features songwriting from Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood and Pat McLaughlin and an an All-Star backing band that includes Auerbach (guitar); Kenny Brown (guitar), a member of R.L Burnside‘s backing band; studio legends Russ Pahl (pedal steel) and Louisiana-born, Nashville-based Billy Sanford (guitar); Bobby Wood (keys and as previously mentioned songwriting); Gene Chrisman (drums), who’s a Memphis and Nashville music legend; as well as contributions The Dap Kings‘ Nick Movshon (bass), Eric Deaton (guitar); Dave Roe (bass), who was member of Johnny Cash‘s backing band; Sam Bacco (percussion) and a full horn section. 

Sharecropper’s Son may arguably be the most personal album of Finley’s growing catalog, drawing directly from his life and experience. “I was ready to tell my story, and Dan and his guys knew me so well by then that they knew it almost like I do, so they had my back all the way,” Finley says in press notes. “Working in the cotton fields wasn’t a pleasant place to be, but it was part of my life. I went from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills. We stayed in the neighborhood most of our childhood. It wasn’t really all that safe to be out by yourself. One of the things I love about music is that, when I was a boy growing up in the South, nobody wanted to hear what I had to say or what I thought about anything. But when I started putting it in songs, people listened.”

Sharecropper’s Son’s latest single is album title track “Sharecropper’s Son,” a strutting, blues holler featuring James Cotton-like blasts of harmonica, shimmering Rhodes, a chugging groove, a classic blues solo, and Finley’s creaky and soulful crooning and shouts. And much like its predecessor, the song is fueled by both the lived-in experiences of its writer and the novelistic details within the song: you can feel the hot sun on Finley’s and his siblings’ skin, the sore muscles of backbreaking and unending labor in the fields. But throughout the song, its narrator expresses pride in his family doing whatever they could do legally to survive and keep food on the table.

Directed by Tim Hardman, the recently released video continues Hardman’s collaboration with Finley and Auerbach and was shot in Finley’s hometown of Bernice, LA — and it’s an intimate tour of small-town life: the cotton and corn fields where a young Finley and his family toiled, the local movie theater, the barber shop and what not. And while has lived a tough life, his joy and pride have never been taken from him.

New Video: Robert Finley’s Strutting and Soulful “Country Boy”

67 year-old, Winnsboro, LA-born, Bernice, LA-based singer/songwriter Robert Finley was born into a family of sharecroppers, and was one of eight children. As a child, a young Finley was unable to regularly attend school and often worked with his family in the cotton fields. When he was a teenager, he attended a segregated school, but dropped out in the 10th grade to help financially support his family and himself.

Finley is an army veteran and was a skilled carpenter, who has lived a full, complicated and often messy life: he’s survived house fires, a bad auto accident and a divorce. Sadly, Finley lost his sight in his 60s as a result of glaucoma, and although he was forced to retire, the Winnsboro-born, Bernice-based singer/songwriter realized that he had an opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a musician. Finley believes that his sight was improved by the power of prayer and his faith has also helped him focus on launching a music career in his 60s. According to Finley “losing my sight, gave me the perspective to see my true identity.”

Robert Finley’s rise has been rapid: As the story goes, Dan Auerbach immediately saw Finley’s potential, quickly proclaiming that the Louisiana-born and-based artist is “the greatest living soul singer.” He walked in like he was straight out of the swamp.” Auerbach recalls in press notes, adding, “He had leather pants, snakeskin boots, a big Country & Western belt buckle, a leather cowboy hat and a three-quarter-length leather duster. The final touch was the folding cane the legally blind Finley wore on his hip, in a holster. Basically, he was dressed for national television.” 

Auerbach went on to produce Finley’s 2017 breakthrough sophomore album Goin’ Platinum, an album released to widespread critical acclaim from the likes of the Associated Press, who praised Finley’s ability to lend “instant credibility to any song” and The Observer, who wrote “Finley’s versatile voice ranges from prime Motown holler to heartbroken falsetto croon.” The Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter went on to support the album with tours of 10 countries — with his live show drawing praise from a number of publications, including The New York Times and several others. Finley was also profiled on PBS NewsHour, which led him to becoming a contestant on the 2019 season of America’s Got Talent, eventually reaching the semi-finals.

Finley’s third album Sharecropper’s Son is slated for a May 21, 2021 release through Easy Eye Sound. The album, continues the Louisiana-born and-based singer/songwriter’s successful collaboration with Auerbach and features songwriting from Finley, Auerbach, Bobby Wood and Pat McLaughlin and an an All-Star backing band that includes Auerbach (guitar); Kenny Brown (guitar), a member of R.L Burnside’s backing band; studio legends Russ Pahl (pedal steel) and Louisiana-born, Nashville-based Billy Sanford (guitar); Bobby Wood (keys and as previously mentioned songwriting); Gene Chrisman (drums), who’s a Memphis and Nashville music legend; as well as contributions The Dap Kings’ Nick Movshon (bass), Eric Deaton (guitar); Dave Roe (bass), who was member of Johnny Cash’s backing band; Sam Bacco (percussion) and a full horn section.

Sharecropper’s Son may arguably be the most personal album of Finley’s growing catalog, drawing directly from his life and experience. “I was ready to tell my story, and Dan and his guys knew me so well by then that they knew it almost like I do, so they had my back all the way,” Finley says in press notes. “Working in the cotton fields wasn’t a pleasant place to be, but it was part of my life. I went from the cotton fields to Beverly Hills. We stayed in the neighborhood most of our childhood. It wasn’t really all that safe to be out by yourself. One of the things I love about music is that, when I was a boy growing up in the South, nobody wanted to hear what I had to say or what I thought about anything. But when I started putting it in songs, people listened.”

The album’s latest single “Country Boy” is a swampy and funky bit of country soul, centered around a tight, strutting groove, bluesy guitar licks, shimmering organ and Finley’s soulful and creaky falsetto. The song’s autobiographical lyrics were improvised on the spot with the tape rolling and the band setting up the song’s sultry groove. “When we play live, I always leave room in the show for lyrics I make up on the spot while the band hits a groove,” Finley explains. “I guess the younger generation calls it free-styling, but for me, it’s just speaking from my mind, straight from my soul.” While the lyrics hit upon classic blues fare such as heartbreak, loneliness, being broke, being a stranger far away from home and so on, the song is informed by lived-in personal experience: Finely has been that poor, country boy, moving far from home and busting his ass to make a better life for himself — to be broke, lonely and desperate, and longing for his beloved home. For me, the end result is a song that aims to be timeless in its sound, feel and themes and manages to hit every single mark with a heartfelt sincerity.

Directed by Tim Hardman, the recently released video for “Country Boy” was filmed in Finely’s birthplace of WInnsboro, where his family worked and lived as sharecroppers in the Jim Crow era South. While featuring an incredibly dapper and badass Finley strutting and dancing to the song and playing in a small, divey blues joint, the visual is also a gorgeously shot slice of daily life in America’s small towns.


Rising Lincoln, NE-based soul and funk act Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal — Josh Hoyer (vocals, keys), Blake DeForest (trumpet), Mike Keeling (bass), Benjamin Kushner (guitar) Harrison El Dorado (drums) — formed back in 2012, and since their formation, the act, which features some of the Lincoln area’s most acclaimed musicians, has received attention nationally and internationally for a boundary crossing sound inspired by the sounds of Stax RecordsMotown RecordsMuscle ShoalsNew OrleansPhiladelphia and San Francisco.

Over the past eight years, the members of the Lincoln-based act have been one of the Midwest’s hardest working bands, releasing four, critically applauded albums, including last year’s Do It Now, which they’ve supported through several tours across the Continental US and two European tours. Adding to a growing profile, the act has opened for the likes of George Clinton, Charles BradleyBooker T. Jones, Muscle Shoals Soul Revue and an impressive list of others.

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal’s Eddie Roberts-produced fifth album Natural Born Hustler is slated for release later this year through Color Red Records, and the album further establishes the act’s sound — music written for grown-ass folks by written-by grown-ass folks rooted in earnest and honest songwriting while sonically drawing from 70s funk and blues, doo-wop and psych soul with a modern twist.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Hustler,” Natural Born Hustler‘s third single was a strutting and defiantly upbeat bit of soul that seemed indebted to The Payback-era James Brown, 70s Motown, Muscle Shoals, Daptone and Memphis soul in a seamless yet period specific synthesis. The end result was a track is one-part, much-needed proverbial kick in the ass and one-part, much-needed rallying cry for our uncertain times.

“Sunday Lies,” Natural Born Hustler‘s fourth and latest single continues a run of coolly strutting, bluesy soul centered around twinkling organ, Hoyer’s Tom Jones-like crooning, wah wah pedaled guitar, twinkling organ, a looping and propulsive groove and a cinematic yet powerhouse horn line. But underneath the expansive song structure and cool strutting vibes is a simmering anger, as the song calls out the widening chasm between word and action when those in power corrupt their message. In fact, the song’s narrator makes the observation that for voters, the voter dynamic is often swayed when politicians co-opt their platforms with religious messages — and the willful blinders that sometimes inhibit the faithful from accepting the truth and reality: that they’re being cynically played by wanton hypocrites.

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstays Clipping. Team Up with Cam & China for a Menacing New Banger

I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink covering Los Angeles-based hip-hop trio and JOVM mainstay act Clipping.– production duo Jonathan Snipes and William Hutson and frontperson Daveed Diggs—over the past six years or so. The JOVM mainstay’s third album, lat year’s There Existed an Addiction to Blood found the acclaimed trio interpreting a rap splinter set through their own singular lens — horrorcore, a purposefully absurdist and significant sub-genre that flourished for a handful of years around the mid 1990s. Some of its pioneers included Brotha Lynch Hung, Gravediggaz, which featured The RZA — and it included seminal releases from Geto Boys, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and pretty much most of Memphiscassette tape rap. The album’s material is also partially inspired by Ganja & Hess, the 1973 vampire cult classic, regarded as one of the highlights of the Blaxploitation era — with the title derived from the film.

With horror films, sequels are perfunctory. As the insufferable film bro Randy explains in Scream 2, “There are certain rules that one must abide by in order to create a successful sequel. Number one: the body count is always bigger. Number two: the death scenes are always much more elaborate—more blood, more gore. Carnage candy. And number three: never, ever, under any circumstances, assume the killer is dead.” Their highly-anticipated follow-up to There Existed an Addition to Blood, Visions of Bodies Getting Burned is slated for an October 23, 2020 release through their longtime label home, Sub Pop Records. And much like any sequel, VoBGB finds the JOVM mainstays returning with an even higher body count, bloodier, more elaborate, gorier kills, and as always, unrelenting monsters that just won’t stay dead. The album may be seen by most as a sequel but in reality it’s the second half of planned diptych.

As it turned out, in the years following Splendor & Misery, the trio were incredibly prolific, writing and recording too many songs for just one album. Before the release of There Existed an Addition to Blood, Clipping. and Sub Pop divided the material into two albums, specifically designed to be released only months apart. Of course, as a result to the COVID-19 pandemic, multiple cancelled tours forced the delay of Visions of Bodies Being Burned until next month. The 16 song album draws from Ernest Dickerson, Clive Barker and Shirley Jackson as much as it does from Three 6 Mafia, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony and Brotha Lynch Hung. And while they have a uniquely abrasive, angular and messy interpretation of the style, their intention is to lovingly twist beloved and familiar tropes to fit their own politics, centered around monstrosity, fear, the absurd and the uncanny and the struggle for an antiracist, anti-patriarchal, anti-colonial world.

Earlier this year, I wrote about album single “Say The Name.” Centered around a hook that features Scarface’s evocative lyric from “Mind Playing Tricks on Me” — “Candlesticks in the dark, visions of bodies being burned” — chopped and screed paired with wobbling, twitter and woofer rocking low-end, industrial clang and clatter, arpeggiated synths and Diggs’ tongue twisting flow, full of surrealistic and gory lyrics. And while full of fantastic imagery of demons in the flames, hell spawn and more, bullet holes and more, the song evokes a slow-burning, menace and horror that feels familiar — the sort of horror of seeing a man snuffed out in public on video with replays from different angles and commentary like a key play in a ballgame.

The album’s second and latest single ’96 Neve Campbell” is a tribute to the self-aware “final girl” character of the post-slasher film cycle. Featuring vicious and swaggering guest spots from Inglewood’s Cam & China, the track envisions a final girl — or in this case final girls — who preemptively strike the slasher and fuck that ass up before he could get them. Simply put, this track is a straight up menacing banger featuring criminally under-appreciated talent. “We’ve been fans of theirs for a long time, going back to the days when they were in the group Pink Dollaz,” Clipping.’s Daveed Diggs says of their collaboration with Cam & China. “Cam and China continue to be some of the most consistent and under-appreciated lyricists on the West Coast. We’ve been trying to do a song with them for a while now, and this one felt like a perfect fit. They bodied it.”

The accompanying lyric video was directed by Clipping’s Jonathan Snipes and the group’s longtime collaborator Cristina Bercovitz.