New Music | Friday Roll Out: Sub*T, Daniel Davies


What’s in a last name, a surname? Ok, I’ll get right to it then. Daniel Davies is a recognizable name, one that I remember associated with a John Carpenter musical release. Yeah, Halloween franchise John Carpenter, that guy. While some may not know, Davies’ roots in music go much further in than just Carpenter. He once performed in stoner/metal act Karma To Burn, and that’s where I remember him from. Little did I know that Davies is the son of Dave Davies. You know that guy, guitarist for The Kinks.

Daniel Davies has just released his fourth solo album, an intriguing Ghost Of The Heart (Sacred Bones). If there’s one thing Davies knows, it’s music. The album is probably different from anything we’ve ever heard before, leaning much more toward the cinematic aspects of sounds. From the start, it seems Davies plays with dynamics but in actuality, he doesn’t. The sound level rarely changes as the rhythm is impactful when it does enter. The sound from guitars, keys, bass & drums simply surround the senses and when he hits higher notes, his range shows a similarity to 70s era Robert Plant. But it is the pseudo-dynamic shifts that confuse; they’re welcomed and oddly fascinating. The blasting rocker “Into You” comes firing right out of the gate and again, the levels throughout stay consistent and stable. It seems the guitars are rhythmically aligned with Davies’ vocals and it works to his benefit. The repetitive motion is almost hypnotic as guitars swirl around the rhythm, allowing Davies’ stoner rock antics to flourish and leave anyone listening in awe.

More and more I understand the cinematic aspects of Davies’ recordings here. Spending time working in film has allowed for an amalgamation within his compositions. “It Takes A Lot” has eerie keyboard work and you can almost imagine it alongside a scene in a movie. It’s suspenseful building around the rhythm and Davies’ lyrics allow an ominous view of it all. And speaking of ominous, the timbre of “Still The Servant” as it opens with keys drifting through does change dramatically with a sure-fired dynamic shift as Davies finds his groove and rocks through it. Here things seemingly become more challenging with lead guitar work swallowed up by rhythm only to change the rhythm and melody to suit his voice. Possibly one of my favorite tracks on the album here. But on “Those Eyes,” we get a different look at his music. As much as bombarding the senses through loud and vibrant guitars is welcome, here he takes a more subtle approach, allowing the instruments, and his vocals as well, to symbiotically rise above everything else. It’s almost magical in its delivery.

Daniel Davies is a unicorn, he’s the artist that can seemingly do anything or just combine everything into one song. With Ghost Of The Heart it’s easy to lose yourself in the music but it also remains challenging enough for you to catch all the nuances from song to song. This is without a doubt, an amazing release.


Now I’ve followed this group since its inception and single debut, “Boxing Day,” the duo of Jade Alcantara and Grace Bennett took a chance Sub*T’s bicoastal music. Was it taken seriously at first? Who’s to really say but the single was well put together and caught my attention loaded with distorted guitars and rife with melody & abandon. The two of them still remain the core of the band’s sound and after a handful of singles and its debut EP So Green in 2021, Sub*t has just released its latest EP, Spring Skin (If This Then Records).

Do we come in with expectations? Well, not to find anything staggeringly new but maybe for more of the same dueling vocal harmonies and driving guitar antics. Like many, there is that feeling of repugnance towards comparison, but there isn’t a need to mention names. The band flaunts its appeal for 90s female-fronted rock and that’s not a bad thing. However, the aforementioned dual and dueling vocals should be appreciated through its polyphony and round usage. That’s just one aspect of Sub*T, not all of it. Vocal melodies are also important in the construction of the songs themselves. Take the band’s opening “That Kind Of Night,” where a cooing voice, which is pretty linear throughout, but makes a forceful impression without having to be so insistent. Guitars rage around the vocals which never raises the volume. Genius I tell ya, genius!

Then it’s “Unearthly” that falls forward with nods to 90’s rock exploration, as dynamic shifts make marks similarly. But “The Hum” seems to bring the past into the future. An ode to decades past remains but the band’s rhythm changes things as the duo plays with that vocal polyphony here. Don’t get me wrong though, the band can rock of its own accord and has an identity all its own, with semblances of the past. On the band’s closing “Noises Started,” it seems we get the best of the band. The song isn’t forced and moves naturally, even through its dynamic shifts. Glittering guitars are distorted but controlled effortlessly and even when the band utilizes feedback, it’s all well placed.

Sub*T has always been comfortable in its musical skin and through Spring Skin, it remains unapologetically itself. We can only be so lucky but the band has found its stride and its sticking to its own path.