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Synch This!: Durand Jones & The Indications, ‘Can’t Keep My Cool’

Variety logo Variety 6/1/2017 Andrew Hampp
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The indelible legacy of Sharon Jones, the late Dap Kings frontwoman who passed after a long battle with cancer last November, continues to thrive in the synch community.

(For more basics and essentials on synchs, head here.)

Next-gen soul revival acts like Alabama Shakes and Leon Bridges are scoring Apple commercials (and major Big Little Lies synchs), fellow Daptone artist Charles Bradley is soundtracking Crown Royal spots, James Brown torch-bearer Lee Fields is lending his pipes to Nike and even Jones herself appeared in a commercial for the 2017 Lincoln MKZ last summer, covering the Allman Brothers’ “Midnight Rider.”

Louisiana (by way of Indiana)-based soul outfit Durand Jones & The Indications deserves to follow in that tradition. The band quietly released its eponymous debut album last summer on Ohio soul label Colemine Records, but has been developing a loyal following on the live circuit since it toured the East Coast and South By Southwest late this winter. Having caught the band myself when they played Brooklyn’s Union Pool this February, I can attest that witnessing Jones live is very much akin to how I imagine the early shows of his heroes from the ‘60s and ‘70s – tight as hell, bursting with raw emotion and drenched in sweat.

The ad community has already caught on to Jones’ music, with Google tapping the music bed of “Superfly”-esque jam “Groovy Babe” for a viral Google Assistant ad that’s already been viewed more than 31 million times. But the remaining seven tracks on Durand Jones & The Indications would be just as well-served by the right scene in a buzzy HBO, Netflix or Showtime drama, or awards-bait ensemble film.

The standout “Can’t Keep My Cool” is the ideal type of song you’d find in a seduction scene between two love interests, or over the end credits of an episode where a mounting attraction leads to a cliffhanger. That Jones anchors it with his creamy Muscle Shoals-indebted vocals makes the song all the more showstopping.

With any luck, Jones and co. will be on the same track as Bridges or Big Little Lies theme song vocalist Michael Kiwanuka, drawing large crowds at major festivals and large theaters on the strength of their talent. Until then, catch them on tour this summer and let me know what you think – Durand and his drummer will likely be on hand afterward to sell you their album on vinyl, where it sounds just as sublime.

Andrew Hampp is a vice president at New York-based music sponsorship and experiential agency MAC Presents.

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