Genre-bending musician and multimedia artist Mobley is known for creating catchy hooks and melodic pop songs that never leave your head. With his newest single, “James Crow,” he’s created a shout-along ‘60s rock band sound (assisted by Spoon’s Jim Eno on the mix) with thought-provoking lyrics that may take a second to sink in. Mobley wrote the song in 2018 when he was away in Thailand, where the distance from the US opened up themes of belonging, alienation and speaking truth to power. Allusions to segregation and the minstrel song “Jump Jim Crow” set up a takedown of the unjust systems and revanchist politics of current times.
“I want to draw people in with that serotonin hit you get from a catchy, well-crafted song,” explains Mobley. “But once they’re in, I want to implicate them in all of the grim, unsightly realities of what’s going on in our country. As they’re singing along, it’s like ‘What did he say? What am I chanting right now?’”
To celebrate the song’s release, Mobley will embark on a “Curbside Tour” to perform “James Crow” from the streets outside the houses of fans. Each performance will be intimate (one family per yard) and from a safe social distance of a dozen or more meters. He will also give out handmade, bootleg cassettes of the single. For out-of-town fans, Mobley will offer one-on-one livestream performances. In addition, Mobley is curating a reading list of books that explore themes in the song for the Austin Public Library.
Earlier this year, the Austin local released his first single and video “Nobody’s Favourite” from his upcoming EP Young & Dying in the Occident Supreme. Today, he shares his second single and video “James Crow.” The story picks up where the video for “Nobody’s Favourite” leaves off, with Mobley and his heroine escaping the surreal prison of a creepy, secret society mansion. Both videos are a part of a larger film directed by Mobley, spanning every track on his upcoming EP.