It Was Easy, the debut from John Davis‘ solo project Title Tracks, is deceptively named. Bitter and cryptic couplets make up the majority of the album, which emerges two years after Davis’ previous band, Georgie James, dissolved. According to critic Ben Westhoff, Davis is one of the greatest indie talents to come out of the area in recent years. He plays nearly all the instruments on the album and does the majority of the singing, though Camera Obscura‘s Tracyanne Campbell joins him on two songs. Though the debut captures Davis’ misery, it is a memorable collection of delectable hooks. Read Westfhoff’s review of the album here.
While Old Stuff, a new collection of mid-’60s European radio broadcasts by the New York Art Quartet, isn’t by any means radical, it’s full of genuine free jazz performances. The track “Pannonica” walks the line between polished and chaotic. Alto saxophonist John Tchicai sticks to the melody while drummer Louis Moholo seems caught between swinging or ignoring the time signature. Though the disc’s liner notes divulge that two of the members were filling in for absent original band members, the searching flavor reiterates the freedom of the era in a way other bands of the time could not. Read Brent Burton‘s review of the album here.