The Finches - Biography
The Finches are a San Francisco-based sunshine folk-pop duo originally founded by then University of California at Santa Cruz students Carolyn Pennypacker Riggs (vocals/guitar) and Aaron Morgan (guitar/vocals). With an anachronistic, earthy palette, the music of The Finches is reminiscent of the breezy flower-patch music of San Francisco circa 1968, with the shared vox/guitars of Riggs and Morgan often telling stories of a candid and personal nature through push-along acoustic thrumming. Since forming in 2005, The Finches have self-released an EP called Six Songs and followed that up with a debut full-length album called Human Like a House (2007). A fixture at cafés and smaller venues, the duo have endeared themselves with their gentle songcraft, which shares intimacies with Vashti Bunyan and Mirah.
Growing up in a family of musicians, Riggs also took cues from icons like Leonard Cohen and Brian Eno in her earlier writings. She met Morgan—who was already in the experimental electronic Bay Area band Roots of Orchis—while at the university and passed along a tape of her material, even as she was still learning to play guitar. On a tour through Germany Morgan listened to the tape and liked it and, when he got back to the States, they began making music together. The duo recorded their first EP—the succinctly titled Six Songs—over the course of a weekend, with Riggs’ gentle, holistic voice carrying the show. Though it had zero distribution, the band sold over 1,200 copies at their live shows. Encouraged, The Finches began opening for such acts as Mt. Eerie and The Evens.
After touring the country and writing new songs in the process, The Finches returned in January of 2007 with a full-length debut, Human Like a House (2007 Dulc-I-Tone). With an organic methodology in the recording process, the members both enlisted the help of their own family when laying down the tracks. They recorded the album at Aaron’s father David Morgan’s home studio, with the elder Morgan contributing pedal steel, while Riggs’ mother sat in on select songs adding recorder.
Upon touring in support of the album, in February of 2008 Morgan left The Finches to form the psychedelic group Eyes. Riggs originally changed the name and identity of the band to PALMS, which only lasted a short while before she recruited other musicians to continue on The Finches. John Garmon joined on drums, and Gerry Saucedo on bass; since then, Cam Jones has taken over on drums to round out the roster. In 2010, the trip released an eight-song collection called On Golden Hill.