Getting to Know the Music of Dave Davison, A ‘Bass Ackwards’ Guide – Starting with the Song, “Letters,” from Cast Spells


Cast Spells announced on March 26, 2010, that the group recorded a Daytrotter session.

My first exposure to singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Davison was this Tuesday, when label Sargent House released a split EP with two songs from Cast Spells (a Davison side project) and Good Old War.

Listening to the moving, sentimental song, “Letters,” I assumed Davison was a folk singer. Check out this link to the EP: http://castspells.bandcamp.com.

Then, I searched Cast Spells on YouTube and watched the video, “A Badge, Glass Room Sessions.” Seeing Davison with his bushy hair and bare feet, playing his acoustic guitar, and I “knew” he was a folk singer.

Turns out I was only 31 percent right (approximately!) about Davison’s folk leanings.

He is best known for his work with Maps & Atlases, a Chicago-based math-rock, prog-rock, nerd-rock, post-rock, alt-punk group (pick your genre description). While the members of Maps & Atlases acknowledge a folk influence (in an MTV2 “On the Rise” segment), the group is pure technical chops and fireworks.

Listen to the song here (Every Place Is a Home by Maps & Atlases)

Davison is also involved in a project called HEY!TONAL, which is even more experimental: http://africantapegroup.bandcamp.com/album/hey-tonal-hey-tonal.

For those who are new to Dave Davison, I’m admittedly taking you on an ass backwards journey through his music. Don’t worry. “Letters” is a great place to start.

The honesty of Davison’s voice combined with his sweet but urgent guitar lines are powerful. Call it quiet confidence. His frenetic energy demonstrated with his other groups is subtler here.

Here’s an excerpt from the lyrics (couldn’t make out some of these):

“Dragonflies and gnats and their incisions in the water
……???
And I remember when you laughed, the rise and fall of your stomach
And the dirt and bark all over your skin
In lakes and spitting watermelon seeds
We planted a garden beneath our kicking feet
These are letters to you
These are letters to you”

If you are interested in getting to know Davison’s work better, check out the new split EP and his many other recordings. Also, he is currently on the road in select cities with Cast Spells, accompanied by Good Old War and Hezekiah Jones. According to Sargent House’s Twitter profile (@sargenthouse), audiences are loving it. Davison will perform with Cast Spells and HEY!TONAL in Europe starting in late February 2010.

Web sites of groups of which Dave Davison is a member include the following:

Sources:

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3 responses to “Getting to Know the Music of Dave Davison, A ‘Bass Ackwards’ Guide – Starting with the Song, “Letters,” from Cast Spells

  1. Saw him play with good old war last weekend, had a great time, he’s a talented dude, can’t wait to hear more of his stuff.

  2. Just noticed two Dave Davison groups on Twitter: @castspells and @mapsnatlases

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