White County native Beth Ditto's solo album "Fake Sugar," her first since Gossip broke up, is slated for release later this year. Ditto, in a conversation with Pitchfork, called the record "my Southern album but not necessarily a country album." She shared this track earlier this week on BBC Radio's Mistajam:
And, in case you missed it, Little Rock's Pallbearer released a mammoth follow-up to its acclaimed 2014 album "Foundations of Burden," drawing from influences as diverse as Pink Floyd and Type O Negative and garnering critical impressions that range from "slow for the sake of slow" (Pitchfork) to "Holy shit" and "a gluttonously pleasurable listening experience" (Stereogum). Here's the title track.
And most recently, Pallbearer's cousins-in-plodding-meditations-on-existence, Sumokem, dropped a new single from the band's upcoming release "The Guardian of Yosemite." For listeners (like this one) who adored Sumokem's 2015 record "The Madness of Lu Shen Ti, Vol. 1," news that "Guardian" was mastered and almost ready to go couldn't have come soon enough. Here's "Warning," to be released on 7-inch vinyl alongside a cover of Thin Lizzy's "Emerald."
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.