Little Rock native and living legend Pepperboy is back with a new mixtape this month, "Pottersfield," which is probably the year's most existentially fraught and death-obsessed local record to date. Pepperboy has always walked a lonely road (marched to the beat of his own 808?), with conceptual LPs focusing on the horrors of war, etc., but "Pottersfield" finds him in the new and harrowing position of contemplating his own impending mortality, even somewhat enthusiastically on tracks like "Gold Casket" and "Dead Heaven."
Cloud rap — a once-vital internet aesthetic of which Pepperboy was an early adopter — was always in part an effort to distill these minor but profound feelings of loss and nostalgia, and Pepperboy remains effective at this. When it works, it can make for powerful listening. The record features frequent collaborators Squadda B, Keyboard Kid and Little Rock's S Ray. See for yourself:
If you’ll recall a moment (and there are many) when a Disney princess is dancing through the air and just when her foot is about to make contact with ground that isn’t there, a “step” (or lilypad, or cloud, or what have you) appears beneath her feet, then you know what it looks like when Dolly Parton floats around the stage at Verizon Arena — or any large arena, for that matter. /more/
Like the girl in his ode to a short-lived summer love, country music’s reigning Entertainer of the Year had a crowd of 13,312 Friday evening at Verizon Arena twisting all night long like that old beach “Roller Coaster": Twisting and swaying and dancing and singing along. /more/
An email from the folks at Wakarusa, the annual music festival at Mulberry Mountain, claims they'll be taking 2016 off due to financial problems. The letter makes reference to pending legal actions against "partners" who "lied" to festival management. So far, they're calling it a "hiatus" rather than a complete shut-down, so there's some good news. /more/
Searcy native Bonnie Montgomery has been nominated for Outlaw Female in the 2016 Ameripolitan Awards, an Austin, Texas-based award show that honors musicians whose work doesn’t match with today’s notions of country music. The awards ceremony will be held in Austin on Feb. 16, 2016. /more/
North Little Rock native and free jazz legend Pharoah Sanders has been named as one of the recipients of a 2016 Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, along with vibraphonist Gary Burton, saxophonist Archie Shepp and Wendy Oxenhorn, director of the Jazz Foundation of America. Sanders, who turned 75 last week, will receive "a $25,000 cash award and perform a free concert at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 4 that will be streamed live on arts.gov." /more/
This fall The Polyphonic Spree is celebrating the 15th anniversary of their debut, "The Beginning Stages of ...", with a tour of Europe and North America. The Dallas, Texas band formed in July 2000, born from the sparkling mind of lead vocalist Tim DeLaughter. Tim and his band — a group of about 20 musicians — are currently on tour and performing their entire debut along with other originals and a few surprises. Returning from their stint in Europe, they came through Little Rock with a blazing performance at Stickyz Tuesday night., /more/
Here's Little Rock's Amasa Hines playing at the Chicago-based concert series Audiotree Live, one of the best recordings yet of the band's always-gripping live show. You can also purchase a four-song EP of the session. Watch it for the new songs, and for the shout outs to locals Big Piph, Osyrus Bolly and Bonnie Montgomery. /more/
Darnelle Barnes, a Little Rock native well known as a member of the local rap group DMP, died earlier this morning in a car accident near his home, friends say. DMP's Khaliq Slater said that Barnes lived in the Emerald Mountain neighborhood with his mother, and was driving up a hill around the corner from his house when the accident occurred. He was 18 years old. /more/
The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
by Will Stephenson, Bryan Moats, Kaya Herron and Lindsey Millar
World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
Check out the trailer for "Shelter," the Renaud Bros. new feature-length documentary about homeless teens navigating life on the streets of New Orleans with the help of Covenant House, the longstanding French Quarter shelter for homeless kids.
When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.