Title Tracks: Live Last Night


Live Last Night

Gradually, John Davis is becoming D.C.'s preeminent pop classicist. His command of power pop first surfaced during his time as half of the gloriously bittersweet (and much missed) Georgie James; over the past year, as host of the "1-2-3-4 More More More" radio show (now on WOXY.com), he's added hooky punk and indie nuggets to the stew. Davis' new project, Title Tracks, threw all of the above sounds (and a few more) into the wagon and sped through a crisp set at the Black Cat last night, sounding both remarkably fresh and impeccably timeless.

(Read the rest of the review after the jump.)

Formed as a solo vehicle for Davis, Title Tracks was a quartet (featuring Washington Post employee Michael Cotterman on bass) for last night's gig, which celebrated the release of the Title Tracks debut 45, "Every Little Bit Hurts"/"Found Out." The latter kicked off the show and set the template: Ringing guitar chords rooted in American power pop (the Nerves, the db's) and a driving pulsebeat (courtesy of both whipcrack drummer Andrew Black and in the influence of UK tunesmiths including Nick Lowe and XTC) powering the husky swoop of Davis' vocals. His vocals on songs such as "Black Bubblegum" and "Piles of Paper" were melodic flashpoints, alternating between rushes of words and extended notes.

Davis kidded before a cover of the Byrds' "She Don't Care About Time" that at least one of his songs owed a lot to that band, but it was clear by the time the thrilling "Every Little Bit Hurts" had wrapped the half-hour show that Davis is far beyond fooling around with his influences. He's extending them with a passion that few on the current D.C. scene can match.

--PATRICK FOSTER

By David Malitz |  April 8, 2009; 12:31 PM ET Live Last Night
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