Ben Davis, formerly of punk bands including Sleepytime Trio and Milemarker, has developed into a musician with diverse interests and influences. His solo career evolved from a quiet four-track project into a full band ensemble with over a dozen releases including singles, compilations, three full length CDs, and a new split with Des Ark. Davis has toured the US and Japan and frequently plays on the east coast After a year of performing solo, Lovitt Records released the critically acclaimed The Hushed Patterns of Relief in 2001, which was recorded at Salad Days by Brian McTernan.
Conceived as a stripped-down solo project, Davis' Hushed Patterns was a tightly knit collaboration of Chapel Hill musicians performing sparse pop pieces. Jonathan Fuller from Engine Down came aboard to record the drums and joined a studio band compromised of members of the Comas, The Mayflies USA, and the Poncho Holly Bullfight Party. A new back-up band including members of Fin Fang Foom and Des Ark emerged and toured to support the record. On this album, cello, lap-steel guitar, and piano accentuate the wash of guitars and full vocal melodies detailing recurring motifs that rise and swell throughout the record.
In the meantime, Davis' other band, Bats & Mice, got busier and he returned to writing new songs mainly on the piano in between tours. As a large collection of new songs accrued, he decided to utilize his vastly talented friends and bandmates to the fullest. Two years later, a collaboration between many friends resulted in his second release, Aided & Abetted. Sixteen musicians and six production gurus came from six states during four recording and mixing sessions to contribute to the album. Members from Engine Down, Milemarker, Denali, Zetamale, Des Ark, and Fin Fang Foom, among others, were involved in the performance of this scintillating work. The album underscores a marked maturity evolved since Hushed Patterns and is a calculated mix of melancholy rock and bright, textured pop.
2006 hearkened the release of Davis' collaboration with good friend and fellow Research Triangle resident, Aimee Argote, who performs as Des Ark. The Battle of the Beards, their 12-song joint effort comprising five songs each and two songs together along with a 20-piece orchestra, is a masterful revelation. The slow builds and soft confessionals of the Des Ark tracks play perfect counterpoint to Davis' pulsing songcraft. The split album shows the potential of alliance and the unspoken complements of friendship.
2010 saw the release of Charge it Up! which is packed to the gills with the kind of frenetic, danceable, shoutable, undeniably beyond catchy hard pop that has flowed like a river of hot lava through his entire catalog. It is a tremendous, itch-scratching record that makes you jones to see Ben Davis & Co. live, asap. You know what it would be like in your head; you know the moves you would bust, you know the empty PBR can you would throw, out of pure joy, into the rest of the writhing, sweaty crowd. Everything’s there: Davis’ crunchy, fuzzed-out, sun-bright riffage, the unstoppable percussive energy, the soaring rock melodies that are so sick they should be in a hospital.
Davis has played with such artists as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mates of State, Pinback, Ted Leo, The Rosebuds, and Rainer Maria with critical and popular reviews. He has toured Japan and the United States and performed on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage in September 2006.