Los Angeles-based musician AM has been invited by French electro-pop kings Air to open their first North American tour in three years. Having kicked off on March 13 in Miami, the jaunt serves as the perfect launching pad for AM’s new album, Future Sons & Daughters, produced by Charles Newman (The Magnetic Fields) and released on February 9 on Filter U.S. Recordings. The run ends in AM’s hometown, with this concert at the illustrious Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Future Sons & Daughters pays homage to the Tulsa-born, New Orleans-raised musician’s diverse influences, which include Jorge Ben, Brian Wilson, Sergio Mendes, and Curtis Mayfield, while showcasing his own songwriting chops, intelligent lyrics, and psychedelic grooves in what you could call Future-Pop. A cornucopia of head-turningly unusual sonic colors and shapes manage to stamp themselves on one’s psyche like they’ve been there all one’s life. The peppy, heavily reverbed jaunt along a minor-key melody and twangy guitar of “A Complete Unknown” has slapback vocals like the Sun Records and John Lennon of old, and a peculiarly resonant way of being upbeat and lost in reverie at the same time. It’s the distant guitar twang and tinkling piano doubling on the verse’s vocal melody of “The Other Side” that establish the song’s connections with classic American roots sounds. On “Darker Days” it’s all string-sheened Philly soul, so pensive, sweet and slightly sad. An instrumental tribute to AM’s idol Jorge Ben pays indirect homage to the great Brazilian tropicalista, yet is remarkably free of bossa nova-type clichés.
AM’s genre-blurring music, while hard to classify, goes down as smooth as a Mai Tai on a tropical island. Or, as Creative Loafing succinctly put it, “AM has an uncanny knack for crafting pop songs shaken and stirred with Philly R&B, Motown soul, ’60s rock and folk, and Brazilian rhythms that get in your head and swirl around for a spell.”
2010 sees AM performing at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, and performing live on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic earlier in March. “It’s Been So Long” was the Top Tune of the Day on KCRW for February 9.
AM’s debut album, Troubled Times (2006), had all 10 songs placed in movies and television shows, which hasn’t been done since Moby’s 1999 album, Play. Troubled Times, was declared one of the “Best Albums of the Year” by iTunes and earned him the title of “Best Singer Songwriter of The Year” from LA Weekly.