Ears Wide Open: KONG

KONG. (Photo by Nogen Beck)
KONG. (Photo by Nogen Beck)

Justin Joyce came west from Massachusetts several years ago, and in 2014 began making music under the name KONG., complete with the extraneous period. Working with the likes of Eric Lilavois and Adam Chavez, Joyce deals in a brand of soulful, gritty and playful music he calls “jungle rock” and in February released five-song EP with that title. He sells it all with a rich baritone a bit reminiscent of ’90s hitmaker Brad Roberts. The single “Swing Low” features some old-school gospel flair with the backup singers, not to mention a gnarly trumpet courtesy of Spencer Ludwig (Capital Cities). The EP’s shining moment, though, might be “Kim K.,” a broadside against celebrity worship in which Joyce fantasizes, “I killed Kim Kardashian / I just might’ve saved the world.” Hey, God called upon to do the deed, after all. “Stabbed her in heart with a dagger called fame …” Nice line. If only.

||| Stream: “Swing Low” and Kim K.”

||| Also: Watch the video for “Swing Low”

||| Live: KONG plays March 10 at the Troubadour, opening for Miner and the Lonely Wild.