Now that emo is cool again, it’s nice to see Title Tracks getting some coverage around the world. They just announced their first album since 2011, though John Davis has also done some work as Paint Branch. I’ve always gravitated towards his pop leanings, ever since he first branched out with Georgie James, and it’s nice to see him churning out some power-pop here. It’s almost like arena rock got channeled through the whole band, and they opted to make it sound best in a club setting. It’s brief, catchy and dammit if I’m not super excited to see what the full length sounds like. Check out the new tune; the album is titled Long Dream and comes out on November 18th.
For a slew of folks, moving beyond adolesence in the late 90s brought us into a world of great new music. For me, one of those acts was Q and Not U, who ended their career years ago. Since then, I’ve kept an eye on the members, particularly John Davis, who has done Title Tracks and Georgie James. Looking into his projects the other day, I noticed that he had reunited with old pal Chris Richards (QandNotU) to form Paint Branch. Now, don’t go expecting the group to sound anything like their old act, and that’s not even really the point…just glad to see my old idols banging out new hits. They’ve just released an album titled I Wanna Live, which you can grab from their bandcamp page for the convenient Name Your Price. I’ve enjoyed rocking out to it all day today, so perhaps you will too.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Paint-Branch-I-Wanna-Live-05-Cherry-Blossom.mp3]
Download: Paint Branch – Cherry Blossom [MP3]
It’s weird to say this, but John Davis finally seems to be finding his own voice, his own way. After working with Q and Not U, he then formed up the pop-duo Georgie James, then went on to write the first Title Tracks record. Here, on In Blank, the approach is much simpler than previous works, just giving you straight-ahead power-pop, and in doing so, he’s giving you what seems the best demonstration of himself.
A pounding drum, quick rhythmic guitar and a somewhat spoken lyric begins on “Shaking Hands,” but it’s when John’s voice actually takes on the singing depth that the song begins to take flight. It’s an energy fueled rush that grinds to a nice sudden stop. You’ll then take on “Turn Your Face,” a song that really represents the abilities of John, and one of the things that attracts so many to his music. While the song has a similar, though more rugged, approach to the first track, it’s the ups-and-downs of his voice that make his tunes more than re-hash power-pop. He finally has control of his distinctive voice with all its little flips, and this is the song where it all seems to come together in perfect pop harmony.
While the first Title Tracks record definitely had a jangling punk troubadour sound a la Ted Leo, In Blank, as previously mentioned, begins to give John a voice that he can claim is his own. “I Can’t Hide” seems to take the best of his two latter projects and twist it all tightly in a nice little ball of good pop. Sure, there’s that straight pop-punk drumming element, but the guitar work alone begins to take on an attitude of his own. Lyrically, he’s talking about a lady and his emotions, but the song definitely seems to represent his inability to hide his own musical ideas from the world anymore. It’s at this point where John Davis has eclipsed all preconceived notions of himself. More of this follows when you arrive at the next track, “Forget the Ghost.” There seems to be a hazy little fog floating atop the song, and vocal delivery definitely begins to offer glimpses of a more developed musical palate. If you were looking for more power-fueled pop songs, then John’s here to show you he can do anything he wants, and with great success.
Of course, John’s not one to forget his roots and his early passions, bringing us that punk element in various different forms as In Blank draws to a close. You’ve got explosive power-pop, you’ve got jangling tunes, and even a bit of pop-swagger by way of “It’s Wrong.” Closing out the record, you end up having a nice little smile upon your face, happy that John Davis has been able to continually push himself, and really happy that there are some exceptional songs throughout the latest in the Title Tracks catalogue. Good album from a guy that keeps writing his own good story.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/titletracksalltricks.mp3]
Download: Title Tracks – All Tricks [MP3]
If you haven’t been introduced to John Davis before, you must’ve been hiding behind a rock of some sort. He was in Q and Not U, one of the phenomenal Dischord bands and he fronted Georgie James for a bit. Both bands earned a respectable following, but now John’s working on his new group, Title Tracks, who are about to release their second album, In Blank, on April 19th via Ernest Jenning Records. These tunes are full of a steadier, less angular guitar groove, allowing Davis more room to develop his vocals, not to mention his overall craftsmanship. If the rest of the record sounds anything like this, we’re destined for another brilliant work by one of the most under-appreciated songwriters around. You can also check out another track from the upcoming record on his SITE.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/titletracksalltricks.mp3]
Download: Title Tracks – All Tricks [MP3]
It’s been awhile since we heard anything from the other half of our favorites Georgie James, but finally, Laura Burhenn is back. She’s got a new group called The Mynabirds who will be releasing their debut album, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, on April 27th on Saddle Creek Records. We’ve got a sample track for you to get to know the band. If you ask me, it sort of sounds like Rilo Kiley if they were out to have a ball.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/TheMynabirds_NumbersDontLie.mp3]
Download: The Mynabirds- Numbers Dont Lie [MP3]
John Davis used to rock the world in Q and Not U. Then he played some catchy tunes with Georgie James, but now he’s finding that middle ground with his new group Title Tracks. His first album with the new group comes your way on February 9th, and fans of his later work will find precisely what they need here. “Piles of Paper” has a lot of remnants leftover from the Georgie James days, which is never a bad thing, as I enjoyed that work too. So get ready for It Was Easy coming your way real soon.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/04-Piles-Of-Paper.mp3]
Download: Title Tracks – Piles Of Paper [MP3]