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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Monophonics

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

The Bay-area psych-soul band Monophonics is bringing their Sage Motel Tour to the Bing Crosby Theater on Sunday along with their Colemine Records label mates blues trio GA-20 and soul singer-songwriter Kendra Morris.

“It’s good to be back on tour,” said Monophonics band leader Kelly Finnigan, “We love Washington – it’s such a beautiful state.”

Like most musicians, Finnigan said they’ve missed connecting with their fans at live performances. Their previous album, “It’s Only Us,” was released in March 2020, just when everything shut down due to COVID-19. Even so, it sold over 10,000 physical units and garnered more than 20 million streams.

“Sage Motel” is the six-member band’s fifth studio album since 2012 and is a concept album.

“It didn’t start that way, it just evolved,” Finnigan said. “I used to drive by the Sage Motel when I lived in Oakland. When you stay at a motel you’re sharing space with people and it’s safe to say there’s a story in every room – each room represents a song.”

The album blends heavy soul with psych-rock.

“It’s a little more keyboard-heavy than our other records,” Finnigan said.

He said the record’s lead single, “Warpaint,” is about addiction in all its forms. With heavy riffs and robust vocals, the song gives listeners the first look through the doors of the Sage Motel.

Another single “Love You Better” is rooted in the spirit of soul music and hip-hop.

Guitarist Matt Stubbs, from GA-20, said the trio is thrilled to be on the road with Monophonics and Kendra Morris. The Boston band’s new album “Crackdown” is their third full-length release. In it, the band creates unvarnished, ramshackle blues that is at once traditional and refreshingly modern.

“We’ve got nine original songs and one cover on ‘Crackdown,’” said Stubbs.

He advises new listeners to tune into the track “Fairweather Friend” from the album.

“Turn it up loud,” he said. “It’s great to be back on the road. It’s our favorite thing to do.”

Likewise, Kendra Morris is delighted to launch her first American tour with her Colemine label mates.

“I think I was born with a microphone in my hand,” Morris said .

Her new album “Nine Lives” was written over nine years. It marks not only the culmination of the decade since the release of her first LP “Banshee,” but also a turning point in her life.

“It’s an accumulation of where I’ve been,” she said. “It’s something that needed to happen.”

Morris hails from Florida but has spent almost two decades in the New York City music scene. She said this new collection heralds the beginning of a new chapter, label, and an evolution to the next level of adulthood.

One of her favorite tracks on the album is “Keep Walking.”

“I love the places it goes and where I can take it vocally.”

Her five-member band will be opening Sunday’s show.

“During this tour, I’m looking forward to getting to play for the people I never get the chance to see,” she said. “Come early! I’m the first one on!”

Monophonics’ Finnigan echoed the sentiment.

“We don’t look at it like we have two openers,” he said. “With all of us on the same record label, it’s like a family affair. Come out and enjoy the whole show. It will be a night to remember.”

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