2. Ten High - "Cable Vision" Fayettevile garage punk band Ten High is back with a new EP, "Cable Vision" — here's the title track, which reminds me of "Marquee Moon" and hating high school.
3. Pockets - "Denmark" Here's Little Rock indie rock band Pockets' intense, slow-burning new single, which doubles as a hypnosis-aid (and which you should grab from iTunes).
4. Lil Futa & Chuck - "Fuck Yo Life" Here the rapper Chuck compares himself to Medusa, while Little Rock's Lil Futa calls himself "judicial" and imagines his brain on the floor. Not safe for the epileptic.
5. Penis Grenade - "Saturn" Conway's worst-named band returns with their most accessible release to date, a set of slow, sidereal ambient exercises titled "Heavenly Spheres."
6. Wolfy Mane - "Chimera" In which Vile Pack's Wolfy Mane proves he can brag about his DVD collection, threaten your girlfriend and compare himself to Jim Jones all at the same time, with Japanese subtitles.
Any new Kari Faux is a cause for celebration, and the Little Rock expat recently announced she had a new album finished and forthcoming, "Lost En Los Angeles. " Here's the great first single, produced by longtime collaborator bLAck pARty. I interviewed the two of them a couple of years ago, when they left town — seems like a long time ago now. /more/
Fresco Grey is so good he makes me proud to live in Little Rock. How often can you say that? "I'm just sitting back doing algebra," he says at one point, because why not? My only problem with this song is that it should be about twelve times longer. /more/
Former Gunbunnies front-man and Little Rock expat Chris Maxwell has a new album coming out March 4, "Arkansas Summer," and Paste premiered the great title track this week. Pre-order the record at Pledge Music. /more/
From my perspective, Goon des Garcons did more than anyone else in 2015 to make Little Rock look like a fun place to make art, and that accomplishment alone demands respect. He also happens to be an almost compulsively ambitious rapper, continually raising the bar for the production value and reach of his and his friends' work. Arkansas tends to prefer a kind of modest, slacker self-effacement from its artists, and so Goon's loud pride might seem initially misplaced or uncouth; but the guy is explicitly attempting to start a movement, to get some momentum going. And look at what he did. /more/
Fayetteville's The Wandering Lake — the recording project of Brian Kupillas — released a new set of songs on Bandcamp this week and they are predictably great. The EP, "From James' Garden" comes after, Kupillas says, "what felt like a long drought of spirit." Find him on Tumblr, where he posts new music plus photos of elephants and body-builders. /more/
Kind of like the Buddy Holly song, but more ambivalent and tense and anyway louder. “Holly looked for space in the noise,” Greil Marcus wrote of Holly once. “He built his music around silences, pauses, a catch in the throat, a wink.” Little Rock's The Uh Huhs are up to something similar — space in the noise, a wink. You can find this song on their debut 7", which will presumably be available soon (will updated when I know). /more/
I'm pretty sympathetic toward any attempt at making a Little Rock anthem, and this one isn't bad as far as it goes. "Bangin' in the Rock ain't dead," Ekko Muzic says, which is both an obvious gesture and a deeply subversive one — to point out that the past isn't the past, the city's old issues and tensions and divisions remain urgent and troubling, which seems inarguable and worth mentioning occasionally. Local anthems are necessary and positive by definition — it's good to talk about your surroundings, even if "try not to get shot" is the message you come up with. /more/
Express Rising was originally the recording moniker of Chicago's Dante Carfagna, a record collector and producer associated with the great archival label Numero Group. With his new release, "Fixed Rope," Carfanga has added William Suran and Fayetteville's Kevin Blagg, who also records under the name Cellophane Garden; the trio recorded the album somewhere in "rural Arkansas" with synths, pedal steel, banjo and a wash of reverb, loose atmosphere and mysticism. It's an ambient record with a real sense of place, and it's one of my favorite Arkansas releases in months. /more/
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.
Ernest Dumas reaches into history, some personal, for moments in Arkansas's view of refugees. It was brought to mind by the current crisis in Europe and the political divisions over whether the U.S. should respond to the needs of the displaced.
Appearances count. I was struck by a single sentence over the weekend in a full page of coverage in The New York Times devoted to the killing spree in Arkansas, beginning with a front-page account of the recent flurry of legal filings on pending executions and continuing inside with an interview with Damien Echols, the former death row inmate.
The strongest, most enduring calls for the death penalty come from those who feel deeply the moral righteousness of "eye-for-an-eye" justice, or retribution. From the depths of pain and the heights of moral offense comes the cry, "The suffering you cause is the suffering you shall receive!" From the true moral insight that punishment should fit the crime, cool logic concludes, "Killers should be killed." Yet I say: retribution yes; death penalty no.
Arkansas Times contributor Jacob Rosenberg is at the Cummins Unit in Grady filing dispatches tonight in advance of the expected execution of Ledell Lee, who was sentenced to death for the Feb. 9, 1993, murder of Debra Reese, 26, who was beaten to death in the bedroom of her home in Jacksonville.