REVIEW: John Davis – “Johnny Flame And The Jaws Of Victory”

John Davis has been making music for most of his life. Most know him from the late-90s power pop outfit Superdrag and their Mtv Buzz Bin hit Sucked Out, or most recently, his new band  The Lees Of Memory (who’s 2014 debut Sisyphus Says was not only the best album of the year, but already one of my personal favorite albums of all time) as well as plenty of side projects such as Epic Ditch, two solo records (one Gospel influenced, the other Foo Fighter-esque arena rock) countless covers from everything from The Misfits to The Small Faces, and even a Reggae project! Davis is a music machine that has put out so much music over the years, that his catalog rivals Bob Pollard in terms of content, but blows him away in the quantity/quality ratio.

Hib3 The vital component in that machine is his Yamaha MT4X 4 track recorder.  Just about everything he has written over the year has been put through this retro home studio. Davis has recently opened his vault of cassettes and put them in one place on the internet for all the world to hear and purchase, calling it High Bias!!! A Cassette-Based OperationMost die-hard Superdrag/Davis fans have heard the songs on the page and may have even owned a few of them on homemade mix cds that were distributed among fans in the early 2000s, but there is also plenty previous unheard gems like early demos of songs that didn’t make it past this demo stage. The beauty of this artist-to-fan angle, is now all of us fans can get our hands on demos no sooner as they are posted, instead of waiting years for it to surface outside of Davis’s close knit family and friends.

Within this special circle, we are also included in musical experiments as John Davis’s new digital-only EP Johnny Flame And The Jaws Of Victory. When creativity hits, most run to a notebook or computer to log the idea before it vanishes into thin air, but when creativity creeps upon Davis, he goes straight to that MT4X.  With this release, we are met with five songs that sound just like they were straight from the eclectic mind of Davis just minutes before (which is almost entirely true seeing as the first track Where The Sun Never Shines was recorded less than 24 hours before the album was published) There is a definite Eastern vibe spread out through the songs with instrumentation and structure but there is still enough classic Davis to please any Superdrag and/or Lees’ fans. In some cases, even combining the two influences, creating something that should never work but comes out as genius one could imagine. Where else would you be able to hear a Sitar and a pedal steel in the same song?

HiB1

At only $5 (or more if you are feeling generous to the cause) Johnny Flame And The Jaws Of Victory is an amazing EP with enough experimentation and classic melody to hold you over until the next Lees Of Memory LP drops but also gives you enough of a sample to get your own wheels turning as to where the band could go. Despite never being satisfied with one style of music or structure, John Davis continues to make available some of my favorite music. Sometimes it’s on mix cds given to me by fellow fans, sometimes it’s lavish 180gram vinyl on my turn table, and sometimes it’s an mp3 ripped straight from a 4 track cassette recorder, but no matter the format, the end result is nothing short of amazing. This release is no exception.

 

Stream and download Johnny Flame And The Jaws Od Victory exclusively on Bandcamp

Visit John Davis’s High Bias!!! A Cassette-Based Operation on Bandcamp for more Davis adventures.

and don’t forget to follow The Lees Of Memory on Twitter for more updates on various projects.

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Aaron The Audiophile

Son, brother, uncle, musician. I enjoy music of all genres, shapes and sizes, preferably the good kind.

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