At only 24 years old, musician Avery Davis, otherwise known as -Us., is hardly a Houston music scene rookie. He recently made his solo debut at Free Press Summer Fest and Day For Night, and he also moonlights as drummer for Houston indie pop darling Wild Moccasins. -Us. is his one-man electronic act that effortlessly balances several instruments and vocals. Released earlier this month, his new EP, Contact, exists as a dynamic and upbeat compilation marking a departure from his earlier slow-tempo style.
The shift happened shortly after the release of his melancholy 2014 EP, V.XXVII.IX, when Davis began working on a full-fledged album only to realize the potential to experiment with new genres. He scrapped that album and began fresh—a running theme for what would become his new, synth-pop album. “I reassessed all of it and thought this was not the direction that I want to go in for my next project," Davis tells Houstonia. "I wanted it to be upbeat. I wanted something that translated well live, and I felt that my previous EP did not do that.”
Heavily influenced by Neon Indian and Washed Out, Davis pays homage to the prospect of a new-found relationship with a romanticized approach to love. Each track takes the listener through the hopeful journey of finding love, yet the EP ultimately leaves a sense of uncertainty toward its end. “I’m definitely in a much different place than I was before,” Davis says. “The other album was about a breakup and this one is all about starting a new relationship. I didn’t realize how much that would change my writing style, just emotionally being somewhere else.”
The track “We First Started” kicks off the EP with clean and confident vocals that brightly shine through the bolder '80s pop-inspired, danceable beats. Most importantly, Davis doesn’t lose his introspective song-writing qualities.
What’s even more striking about Davis is his genuine approach to creating music not just for self-discovery, but for the sake of pure creation. He still plans to experiment, perhaps by adding more instruments or incorporating a psychedelic twist, and he does so without fear.
“I learned to not be afraid to embrace pop music or that label of being a pop artist," he says. "If I can write songs that are really catchy and make people feel good and make you dance, then that’s all I really want to do.”
-Us. will perform Wednesday, June 21. Tickets $10. White Oak Music Hall. 2915 N Main St. 713-237-0370. More info here.