Georgie James Builds 'Monument' In Two Days The duo makes smart, infectious pop with tight harmonies and jangling guitars. It's an upbeat and innocent sound, heard most recently on Places. Georgie James visits NPR's Studio 4A for Project Song.
YouTube

Project Song

Georgie James Builds 'Monument' In Two Days

Georgie James is a band on the rise. The duo makes smart, infectious pop with tight harmonies and jangling guitars — an upbeat and innocent sound that's made its debut album (Places) a sleeper success. Here, Georgie James visits NPR's Studio 4A for the Project Song challenge: Write and record a song in two days.

The duo of Laura Burhenn and John Davis gathered at NPR's Studio 4A with All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen and browsed a set of photos and phrases for inspiration. They eventually settled on a stark but serene image by New York photographer Phil Toledano, depicting a bare room with a large pile of books stacked in the middle. For the phrase, the band chose "Something Joyful."

Burhenn offered a piano riff she'd been playing around with days before as the initial building block. Davis added drums, bass and guitar. The two layered the sound with multiple harmonies and hand-claps.

Two days later, they had a song they called "Monument." It's a three-and-a-half-minute pop gem that marries the contrasting loneliness of the photograph with the spirit of "something joyful."

"It's really difficult when you have two people who are trying to meet in the middle," Burhenn says. "We each had a different vision of where this was going to go, and to try to very quickly throw that together is a difficult thing."

Georgie James got its start when drummer John Davis' former band, Q and Not U, disbanded in 2005. Afterward, Davis turned to his singer-songwriter friend, Burhenn, to forge something new.

At first, the two seemed like an unlikely pair. Davis had spent the past seven years releasing records with his bandmates on the legendary D.C. punk label Dischord and touring the world. Burhenn, on the other hand, had been releasing solo projects on her own label, Laboratory Records, and playing smaller venues on the east and west coast.

But the end result of this edition of Project Song demonstrates that Davis and Burhenn know how to make it work. We've documented the entire creative process, shot by NPR video producer John Poole. See the full video of the project, or just the song by itself, using the links above.

[+] read more[-] less

More From Rock

Sad13 plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Sad13 (Home) Concert

Dressed as devils from their own homes, Sadie Dupuis and her virtual band explore the wild textures of her sweet-and-sour pop songs.

Christone "KINGFISH" Ingram plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Kingfish (Home) Concert

The blues prodigy performs a special Tiny Desk show at the Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, Miss.

Gracie and Rachel perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Gracie And Rachel (Home) Concert

The pop-meet-classical duo perform a quarantine concert from their New York City apartment.

The Flaming Lips perform a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

The Flaming Lips (Home) Concert

Wayne Coyne has been preparing for this era of social distancing for 10 years. Watch The Flaming Lips perform in bubbles for our Tiny Desk quarantine series.

Angel Olsen plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Angel Olsen (Home) Concert

The singer-songwriter performs four songs on her porch in Asheville, N.C., for Tiny Desk's quarantine series.

Bright Eyes plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Bright Eyes (Home) Concert

Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott perform songs from their latest album, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, for our quarantine series.

Declan McKenna plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Declan McKenna (Home) Concert

The 21-year-old McKenna performs a four-song quarantine concert with a full band.

Phoebe Bridgers plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Phoebe Bridgers (Home) Concert

Phoebe Bridgers performs her Tiny Desk quarantine concert in a virtual Oval Office, with help of dozens of fans.

Yola plays a Tiny Desk home concert. NPR/NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR/NPR

Yola (Home) Concert

The soulful British singer invites us into her temporary backyard in Nashville for a Tiny Desk quarantine concert.

Tame Impala plays a Tiny Desk (home) concert. NPR hide caption

toggle caption NPR

Tame Impala (Home) Concert

Kevin Parker brings his "Tame Impala Soundsystem" to life in a Tiny Desk from Australia.

Back To Top