Nicole Boggs is unwilling to be put into a box, both socially and musically. Since the singer-songwriter released her jazzy debut album Overcome in 2013, her sound has ventured into different genres with the help of guitarists/songwriters Alex Kramer and Sam Gyllenhaal and bassist Loren D. Clark, who together form Nicole Boggs & The Reel. Their latest single, “None of Your Business,” exemplifies the group’s versatility as well as its latest mission: to bring back ’70s rock ‘n’ roll.
“28 long days ago, you passed the joint and said you didn’t love me/And all that I could think to say is, ‘That’s a whole lot of bad news to get at breakfast,'” begins the single, a tongue-in-cheek declaration of independence from a an ex-lover. The song was inspired by a turbulent breakup Boggs went through, but she says it’s more broadly “a ‘fuck you’ to anyone who is standing in your way.”
In contrast to Boggs’ soul and jazz-inspired solo music, “None of Your Business” and the rest of the Nashville-based band’s eponymous EP (out July 3) is heavily influenced by bands like The Beatles and Fleetwood Mac. Boggs also hears hints of ’90s Sheryl Crow in the single, which was recorded during a live show at Nashville’s Ocean Way studio — quite possibly because she brought in Nashville musicians who had worked with Crow for it.
The video similarly gives off nostalgic vibes, with the band members divided into Brady Bunch-esque quadrants in between flashes of psychedelic imagery and old TV shows, along with footage of them doing everyday things, like chopping vegetables. Boggs jokes that the only idea she had for the video before making it was that she wanted to incorporate fruit — and, indeed, you will spot her on the floor surrounded by fruit toward the end.
“If you watch the video, you can kind of tell there wasn’t a plan,” says Gyllenhaal. “I think that makes it more fun to watch just because of all the random stuff we do in that video.”
This is the first EP the group members all wrote together, which makes it more cohesive than their past work. Their personalities shine through sarcasm, loud three-part harmonies, and fun, energetic grooves you can’t help but stop and listen to – and of course, all those guitar riffs. “We were having trouble finding a regular keyboard player, and everything happened to be built around the sound of three guitars, which in of itself creates something that feels more dry and aggressive and in-your-face,” says Boggs.
The songs are each in their own way about “not taking shit and standing up for yourself,” says Boggs, who took inspiration from her own experience as a woman in the music industry. On the first single, “Money,” which draws from conversations she’d had with industry big-wigs, she declares her unwillingness to sell her soul for fame. “I’m Gonna Break Your Heart,” a single released in April, is one of the band’s bluesier tracks, with hints of the Black Keys, as Boggs warns a future lover, “I’m a mean bitch and I tear everything apart.”
The band is currently working on new material that responds to turbulent times with their most political music thus far, in light of recent instances of racial violence and protests against police brutality.
“I see that being the future for us,” says Boggs. “We’re standing up for the injustices right now, and these are the tools we have to do so.”
Follow Nicole Boggs & The Reel on Facebook for ongoing updates.