Lately former Chicagoan Greg Davis has been exploring various facets of drone music--in his duo with Zach Wallace called Sun Circle, on his brand-new album for Kranky called Mutually Arising, et cetera--but not so long ago this guitarist and electronic musician was finessing an accessible mix of abstract textures and acoustic fingerstyle patterns. For some reason he unironically embraced the tag "folktronica" at the time.
He's recently branched out in yet another direction, making relatively poppy music with Chris Weisman, a singer and guitarist from Brattleboro, Vermont (Davis now lives in Burlington). On their new Northern Songs, released only as a limited-edition CD-R for now, he reveals some skills as a producer. Weisman wrote all but two of the nine songs--Davis wrote one, and there's also a cover of the Beatles tune "It's All Too Much"--and then sent his guitar and vocal tracks to Davis, who added everything else.
Rich layers of environmental sounds, guitars, drums, tamboura, keyboards, and abstract electronics support the pretty melodies, which sometimes creates a mild stylistic dissonance. Weisman has a delicate, high-pitched voice, which reminds me of former Bread singer David Gates--yikes, I know--but the mildly psychedelic folk-pop tunes are consistently appealing.
Davis and Weisman in the midst of a tour with British guitarist James Blackshaw, and they open for him tonight at the Hideout.