Peckerwolf brought to the showcase a heaping of burly guitar rock that was loud, sweaty, mostly bearded and at times shirtless. Seeing this band live is a bit like play-wrestling with the 50-Foot Woman, and she's not trying to hurt you, she's just batting you around for fun, and you wanna be cool about it so you're like, "No, it's alright, 50-Foot Woman, I'm fine. That didn't hurt at all. (Owww!)"
Judge CT wrote, "A good rock 'n' roll band. [Drummer] Tyler Nance is a basher..." Guest judge Shayne Gibbs wrote "Beer drankin' music, as in, I seriously didn't order a beer until these guys came on. Some thunderous shit." Judge Mandy McBryde wrote that the band "Makes me feel alive and changes my body chemistry. I love it."
Grayson Shelton wrote, "One hell of a rhythm section! Bassist/drummer hitting awesome, complex parts. Good high-energy, high-beard show. Queens of the Stone Age/Wolfmother hybrid."
After the jump, more photos and a video.
Conway's This Holy House are no strangers to the Showcase, having played in the 2011 edition. But since then, the group added guitarist Jordan Ahne to the mix, to impressive results.
Ahne and singer/guitarist Elliott Cotten can shred, and last night they did, showing off some fiery six-string interplay. The Brothers Velek — James on drums and David on bass — give the band solid footing and rhythmic counterpoint that make them stand out among their indie rock peers.
Judge Mandy McBryde was duly impressed. "The music sounds so good but feels effortless. They are definitely working for the greater good... and it's working." Guest judge Shayne Gibbs wrote, "I dig the reverb-drenched guitars and engaging drumbeats. Kind of reminds me of Bright Eyes, but this cat can sing. Love the drums, never boring."
Grayson Shelton wrote that THH is a "good mid-tempo modern rock 'n' roll band. Not as in radio rock, more Wilco-esque, but Elliot is more of a pure 'singer' than a 'storyteller.'" He also noted: "I sold Elliot that guitar for $20. True story." CT wrote, "Singer is very emotional. Huge songs. I like big songs."
Mainman Michael Chavez and crew embodied Pavement-y slackness in every regard, delivering giddily warped pop tunes with pleasantly baffling arrangements. "Loose" doesn't even begin to describe the Miles Rattz approach to live performance. This might rankle the sort of listeners who get all uptight about things like "tuning" and "timekeeping" and "coherent pop structures" and stuff like that. The rest of us are on board the Rattz train though.
The band was prone to wisecracking too. "This song is called 'Sometimes,'" Chavez said. "Just kidding, it's called 'Always.'"
Guest judge Shayne Gibbs, of Se7en Sharp, wrote "Great sense of humor, nice headbands. I liked the combo of electronic beats with the guitars, hypnotic at times." Judge Grayson Shelton "enjoyed some of their song ideas."
CT found Miles Rattz to be "very kooky with nice melodies," while Mandy McBryde thought "the few songs that opened up to strong hooks and melodies were much more enjoyable for me. Wish they'd start with the last three and move forward from there."
It was really close, but Fayetteville prog-metal trio Terminus took Round 4 of the 2013 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase last night at Stickyz. They'll join the other three semifinal winners March 1 at Revolution.
Later this afternoon we'll have a full recap of all five of last night's bands, with photos, videos and judges' commentary.
I'm so glad you asked. Allow me to offer the following in the way of guidance for what you can expect to hear:
Miles Rattz will perform feats of charming, lo-fi weirdo pop. This Holy House will bring the folk-influenced rock sounds to the crowd. Peckerwolf will use guitars and drums to create raucous sound-waves. Terminus will dish out the heavy post-rock metallisms. And Tom and Hebron will transport you to an FM wonderland of sophisticated rock.
And hey, there's going to be some drink specials as well, on account of it's Valentine's Day and anyways, who doesn't love drink specials? Don't forget to sign up for our ticket giveaways. You and a friend or loved one could be going to Wakarusa or Thunder on the Mountain or Bonnaroo and have you a big ol' time.
You can get yourself one of these swanky T shirts too. They're $10 and they've got all the bands listed on the back and got a catfish on the front. We do love catfish here at the Times.
Anyways, you should come on out and say hey. We would love to see you there.
The members of This Holy House are no strangers to the Showcase, having made it to the finals in 2011. At that point, the band was still a trio, but they've since added guitarist/vocalist Jordan Ahne to the lineup.
Oh, and they also released a full-length album and won the Back Room to the Main Stage competition last year at Vino's, which netted them a cool thousand bucks and a spot playing the Arkansas State Fair.
Check out "Put Your Arm Around My Shoulder" for some soaring guitar rock that recalls Jeff Buckley and Crazy Horse in equal measure.
Brothers Tom and Hebron Chester have a spooky-good grasp on '70s singer/songwriter rock. Think Elton John, The Band, Wings, Emmitt Rhodes and the like. They must've spent hours with their parents' record collection, and you can hear how fully they've absorbed those dusty grooves.
This is a makeup show for Tom and Hebron, who had the flu a couple weeks ago. They're feeling much better now, presumably.
Check out "Ridge Runner," which hits so many classic FM sweet spots.
Heavy, prog-informed post-rock is the name of the bidness that Fayetteville trio Terminus is in.
If your ears are open to the metallic crushingness of such bands as Baroness, Isis, Mastodon and the like, don't miss these dudes. Oh, and check this: they're in high school. They're in high school and their tunes could stand up with any number of bands twice their age.
Check out "Hierophant," for a muscular, raging workout that shows off the group's chops without seeming showy.
This Little Rock quartet isn't even a year old yet, but the dudes in Peckerwolf clearly know how to kick up an eardrum-bruising yet memorable ruckus using guitars and amps and drums.
Check out the sweet intro to "JT Boner," which tastefully cribs sweet bits of riff-gold from early Black Sabbath and melts them down to combine with the groove of The Jesus Lizard to create an alloy of rock that's a great soundtrack for getting up to no good.
Miles Rattz, a.k.a. Michael Chavez, makes lo-frills bedroom pop that charts the same warped, weirdo waters as Ariel Pink was wading around in back when he got started.
Chavez's "Fought Songs" EP is four tracks that recreate the feeling of lying on the couch with two stereos in two different rooms playing two different R. Stevie Moore cassettes at the same time, but you're too, uh, compromised to get up and turn one of them off.
Check out "Hotel Staytion" for a dose of Nilsson-in-a-funhouse-mirror pop charm.
Closing out Round 3 of the Showcase was Mothwind, who brought deep-space mega-riffage and crushingly awesome loudness to end the evening, all anchored by bassist Jeremy Partin's four-string raging.
Grayson Shelton wrote that drummer Kevin Rains "is a beast!" Mandy McBryde was impressed as well: "This drummer is amazing!" Shelton also appreciated vocalist Mike Mullins singing style. "Mike's voice helps helps break it up. It's definitely a harder set, but it adds a different dynamic. Some metal bands get really into being as hard as they can be. Kudos for keeping it fresh."
Guest judge Travis Hill called Mothwind "The kick in the teeth I need!" CT wrote: "Very driving and heavy, yet uplifting."
Check out photos and a video after the jump.
Shirley native Gwendlyn Kay brought a helping of heartfelt country to Round 3 of the Showcase, performing with guitar accompaniment by Glenn Parish.
Every single judge noted the quality of Kay's songs, and were blown away when she announced that she'd recently turned 21.
Guest judge Travis Hill wrote, "Fantastic commercial country songwriter. Definitely has a future in the business. Can't believe she's 21." Judge Mandy McBryde said "she's definitely got some marketability and a few hit songs."
CT wrote "very good, nice songwriting, lots of attitude in her voice. Hell yeah for small towns." Grayson Shelton noted Kay's "good stage presence, very confident." He wrote, "Good storytelling. She can carry a show with good songs and crowd interaction."
More photos and a video are available after the jump.
Freedom Bureau kicked off Round 3 of the 2013 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase with a blast of awesomely shambolic, folk-tinged garage rock.
Showcase judge Grayson Shelton was into the band's "very '60s garage-pop," noting, "I want to book these guys to play a clambake on Venice Beach in 1966. And I want a time machine."
Guest judge Travis Hill wrote "jangly pop ... dig the clean guitar lines." Judge Mandy McBryde called Freedom Bureau "smart rock. It spans so many decades I can't even figure out where it came from. I like their moodier stuff." Judge CT wrote, "I like the change-up of styles."
Check out more photos and a video after the jump.
The lineup we've put together is a good'n. We've got lo-fi, shaggy rock in the form of Freedom Bureau. Representing sassy country singers, we've got Gwendlyn Kay. We've got all-out ragin' classic rock from The Revoutioners. All you way-out space-rock heads will no doubt dig Mothwind.
In short, there's something for durn near everybody, plus we'll have plenty of giveaways and you can enter our drawings for passes to summer music festivals, including Wakarusa, Thunder on the Mountain and Bonnaroo.
Come on out and check out the bands and maybe say "hi" or something.
Little Rock's The Revolutioners combine the ear candy of Top 40 hooks with balls-out rock 'n' roll bravado. They sound like driving down a lonely state highway on a late summer night in a convertible Mustang at 90 mph with the top down, then stopping for a make-out sesh with your girlfriend. Does that make sense?
The band is hella tight and singer Phil Houston (also of Se7en Sharp) has a killer set of pipes. It all adds up to unabashed rawkin', especially on the AC/DC-esque "Love Punch."
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