A Band Apart

Sound-Bets-paintbranch

Last month’s Hurricane Sandy Relief/”SNL” Nirvana + Paul McCartney Frankenreunion was odd: These men invented and reinvented rock ’n’ roll, and their path led … there. And they looked as surprised as anyone.

I’m sure John Davis and Chris Richards would find comparisons to the above ridiculous. But listening to the new album (out today) by the two, who record as Paint Branch, I realized I never expected to see them making music together, either.

Davis (of the excellent band Title Tracks) and Richards (a Washington Post music writer) were in a post-punk band in the early aughts called Q and Not U. Their three inventive albums set a bar for other D.C. bands. Then, their era ended — hard.

I followed Davis’ forays into ultra-melodic pop with Georgie James. I followed Richards’ growth as a writer. None of us needed another Q and Not U record. There were other things.

Paint Branch is not Q and Not U. As Richards puts it on the band’s Tumblr: “[I]t’s an album about carrying the weight of dreams you never fulfilled and the strangeness of mourning the ones that you did. That wasn’t what we set out to do… We just wanted to … mak[e] music together again.”

Shauna Miller is managing editor at the Atlantic's CityLab. You can hit her up on Her.

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