Roughly over the past 2 years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about Rodes Rollins, a Boulder, CO-born singer/songwriter, who spent a stint living abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina and is now primarily based in New York. And as you may recall, Rollins quickly emerged into the national scene with the release of “Young and Thriving,” the first single off her critically applauded debut EP Young Adult, an incredibly self-assured effort written as a portrait of an artist as a young woman, in which the narrator looks back at her most formative experiences with a nostalgic yet wizened flashback of sorts — and the perspective of someone, who now sees how her decisions for better or for worse, planned or serendipitous have influenced who she has become and where her life is at this moment.
Earlier this year, I wrote about “Nasty Woman,” a bold and self-assured feminist anthem that according to Rollins was largely centered on empowerment and pride, while focusing on ” . . .the multi-dimensionality of what it means to be a woman in society — being who you are, as you are; and being proud of that. This song is not presented from only my singular perspective, or through just one medium. The very point of what I’m trying to express is that being a woman shouldn’t be a restrictive identity, but rather a broad and inclusive one.” Sonically, the song is based around a bluesy and reverb-y guitar line, propulsive drumming from Portugal, The Man’s Kane Ritchotee an infectious hook and Rollins’ sultry cooed vocals — and while sultry, the song lyrically features inclusive and intersectional lyrics. Rollins followed that up with “Boom Pow,” which was centered around a circular, hypnotic guitar riff and African-inspired percussion and rhythms, and an infectious hook paired around the New York-based singer/songwriter’s sultry and self-assured vocals. Sonically, the song finds the JOVM mainstay pushing her sound in a new direction — but while retaining the essential elements of the sound and approach that captured the attention of the blogosphere; in fact, as Rollins explained at the time, the song was inspired by a wide array of influences from Tinariwen to Jane Birkin. Adding to a busy, attention-grabbing 2018 Rollins recently released the Velvet A/B side single, which features the looping and galloping “Mystery Man,” single that draws some influence from a short story she wrote about an abandoned desert town, where there was a fugitive on the run from the law — the eponymous Mystery Man character. Naturally, the song is an atmospheric and moody track that evokes Spaghetti Western soundtracks but with a sultry and soulful air. The B-side single “Wrong Turn” is an equally atmospheric but slow-burning and gorgeous ballad that reminds me a bit of Pavo Pavo but with a fiery guitar solo at its coda. Both of Rollins’ latest tracks reveals an artist, who has confidently found her own unique voice — and I’m looking forward to see where her songwriting and career go next.