“I like hooks,” says the New Time frontman John Davidson. His band is about to release its first proper EP, a collection of five hook-heavy tunes that draw heavy influences from groups like Neutral Milk Hotel, Arcade Fire and the Shins.
“That’s the main thing [the songs] have going for them,” Davidson says. “Very intellectual music lovers might not be into them because they might be too straightforward, but there’s something about a pleasing hook and pleasing melody that’s fun, but also melancholy, that you can ramp up and make violent and play it so it sounds like you’re punching someone in the stomach.”
The band recorded An Incomplete History in February. For Davidson, it was a dream come true. Though the New Time had released a demo in 2007, he says that album was heavily folk and country—a far cry from the vision Davidson had for the group.
“The EP that we have coming out is not country or folk at all,” he says. “One of the frustrations for us is that since we did that [first] demo, we sort of got pigeonholed as an alt-country or new-folk band, which we’re really not. We never thought of ourselves that way, but other people did, so it kind of stuck around. I’m hoping with this record we can kind of shed those labels.”
The band’s first EP came off with a country hue because “when we were forming the band, part of it was I didn’t believe I could really realize my songs in a large orchestral way,” Davidson says. But as the band succeeded, “I sort of became convinced that we can make this as big as we want. I love that old country music, but I don’t necessarily want to play it.” ■
Sat., July 11, 9pm. $10. With Those Darlins, Sisters3 + North Lawrence Midnight Singers. Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave. 215.739.9684. johnnybrendas.com
PW's Music Issue 2014