James A.M. Downes
James A.M. Downes gets you, and you haven’t even met. It’s hard being alive these days. How could anyone deny that? But unlike your real life, James’ music is full of reassurance and comfort in knowing that someone else’s mind is just as quirky and desperate as yours.
James started contributing music to the New England hardcore/indie scene in the early 2000s as a founding member of Call It Arson. After years of relentless touring, the band went on hiatus and in 2008, Downes relocated to New York City where he helped build indie-folk band The End of America. While James’ post in The End Of America endures, he took a step out into the world as a solo artist with the announcement of his debut album, the 6-song EP, Prison Font, released in March 2017.
Prison Font, out on Downes’ own Forest Park Recordings, plays host to a range of influences, from the melodic intuition of George Harrison, to the new-retro feel of the Shins, to the lush guitar beds that shine with a hint of early 2000s Death Cab for Cutie. Honest yet crassly eloquent lyrics give breath to narratives that teem with dark humor and humility, taking the listener from debaucherous parties in the afterlife all the way to the desolate empty bedrooms of former lovers, long since vanished.
While recent features in publications like Relix Magazine help Prison Font take flight, word of James’ energetic and personable live performances spreads among music lovers. Either performing as a yearning cello/guitar duet or leading a bruising and beautiful full band, most concert goers would agree with The Deli’s Henry Solotaroff-Webber in saying that “James boldly [displays] his talent as a songwriter, and [solidifies] himself as someone to watch.”
Pinfinger formed in late 2015 with hopes of blending the big, layered guitar riffs of 90's bands with nuanced vocals. With the impending release of their debut EP, the intention is the same: unapologetic sonic rock.