Words By: Andy Hess
Photos By: Mindy Barrett
During Wednesday night’s show at The Black Cat, I couldn’t help but think about how great it was for Georgie James to split. I know a lot of people loved that band, but at this point it seems like both John Davis and Laura Burhenn’s individual projects of Title Tracks and The Mynabirds have out-produced the sum of their two parts.
Since their split in 2007, Burhenn has turned into a full fledged soul-pop crooner (if you haven’t picked up her excellent What We Lose In The Fire, We Gain In The Flood, you need to correct that) while Davis has managed to write some of the best power-pop songs over the past two years. Last year’s It Was Easy and now, as of this week, In Blank feature some of Davis’ strongest work and few flubs, but Wednesday’s show was a celebration of the highly anticipated follow-up and, for the most part, it was a success.
Songs from In Blank are rough around the edges on the album and feature some of Davis’ darkest moments, but, musically, these are deceivingly cheerful numbers. As expected, most of the night was dedicated to songs from In Blank. Kicking things off with the lead track “Shaking Hands” and plowing through choice cuts from In Blank before hitting the only real speed bump of the night, a busted amplifier.
While the amp was quickly remedied it was hard to regain that momentum for the rest of the set. Things picked up with familiar songs “Piles Of Paper”, “Every Little Bit Hurts” and a Wipers cover, but after 45 minutes of music both the band and audience were visibly fatigued. Speaking of covers, it wasn’t the only of the night. Title Tracks powered through a wistful rendition of 3’s “Swann Street”, which Davis called “a D.C. folk song,” late in the set.
And after a brief break, the encore of “I Can’t Hide”, a cover that appears on In Blank (originally a Flamin’ Groovies song called “Second Cousins”), Davis sent everyone home with one of the band’s strongest songs of the night. Given the nature of record release shows, especially for a local act, the material is still mostly fresh, but I bet the next time we see Davis and Title Tracks in town, we’ll know every word.
Openers Foul Swoops kicked off the night with their brand of brash and sloppy rock and roll. The band tore through a brief but highly enjoyable set. The WINDIAN RECORDS staple crop was energetic with their driving garage rock. After 35 minutes, it looks like I have a contender for new favorite band in the DMV.