It's time for the finals of the Musicians Showcase 

Laundry for the Apocalypse takes Round 5.

click to enlarge Laundry for the Apocalypse band image
  • Lily Darragh
  • ROUND FIVE WINNER: Laundry for the Apocalypse.

And then there were five. Laundry for the Apocalypse took the final round of the 2012 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase semifinals last week, nailing down a spot at the ultimate showdown on Friday, March 2, alongside The Holy Shakes, Don't Stop Please, War Chief and Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band.

Kicking off Round 5 was Fayetteville's Trasspassers, an electro pop/psych/WTF? duo made up of Michael Jordan and Gregory Moore. The band recalls the pulsing, left-field pop of early MGMT or Animal Collective. Their energy level and squiggly, twisted songcraft seemed to go over well with the crowd, though one can't help but feel they'd really shine at about 1:30 a.m. at a packed, sweaty house party.

Judge Clay Fitzpatrick noted "so many buttons and knobs, I don't know how they do it. Their last song killed. Evil dance PARTAY!" Guest Judge Danny Grace — aka Frontier Dan, of crazed psych-garage/country outfit The Frontier Circus — wrote, "Like the noise; unexpectedly Motown." Judge Sammy Williams appreciated how Trasspassers "integrated hooks in a style of music in which it is hard to do so."

Laundry for the Apocalypse took the stage second and roared right out of the gate with "Rob Zombie's Halloween 2," an upbeat ode to the shock rocker's cinematic work. "Murdertarp for the Apocalypse," took things in a darker direction, with crashing doubled drums, pulsing rhythm and frontman Aaron Sarlo's unhinged wail. Impressively, the band sustained that energy level for its entire set.

Judge Epiphany thought the band's "transitions were extra clean and the trumpet was a nice (not overused) addition." Judge Cheyenne Matthews put her take succinctly: "Duh — ruled so hard." Williams heard a "great quiet/loud dynamic, but 90 percent too much bongos," he wrote. "Vocals were great, energy was killer."

Up next were Ben Franks & The Bible Belt Boys, a bluegrass-infused five-piece that brought a lively, rollicking set of tunes to the proceedings. The Hot Springs band played heartfelt indie rock with folk instrumentation, including some fine fiddle playing from Chris Ryland Jr. that added a distinctive element to the band's sound. The group "made you feel good (despite the dreadful life you may be leading)," wrote Epiphany.

Williams thought the band played "very well together, but seem to take too many musical cues from songs from the past. Pushing the envelope, but haven't quite broken through." Grace gave the band points for "strong storytelling with a deceptively driven hoedown of fiddle and banjo. Well-rehearsed!"

Closing out Round 5 and the semifinals, Jab Jab Suckerpunch brought a 200-proof blast of pure, hedonistic rock 'n' roll to the proceedings. The band's sound could be described as The Jesus Lizard by way of Motorhead by way of an aural curbstomping. Brian Hirrell and Brett McKnight wrangled vicious riffs from their punishingly loud guitars, while the rhythm section of Brian Rodgers and Ryan Scott anchored the whole thing solidly.

Fitzpatrick was moved to the point of partially disrobing. "I took my shirt off," he wrote. "That means something — rock 'n' roll at its best." Matthews again offered condensed commentary: "Jab Jab, yes, oh yes, oh my!" Grace, too, opted for concision: "Raw power! The Detroit sound!" Epiphany heard "the type of good LOUD that's appreciated."

What the judges thought of Round 5 winner Laundry for the Apocalypse:

Guest judge Danny Grace: "An eclectic frenzy of percussion and guitar, bass and drums. A lot of fun!"

Epiphany: "Real nice package. Transitions were extra clean and the trumpet was a nice (not overused) addition."

Clay Fitzpatrick: "The frontman was amazing. The whole band was amazing. My only complaint was they really don't need the congas. I just almost felt it contradicted their sound."

Cheyenne Matthews: "Duh — ruled so hard."

Sammy Williams: "Great quiet/loud dynamic, but 90 percent too much bongos. Vocal were great, energy was killer."

So now we're down to the five finalists: The Holy Shakes, Don't Stop Please, War Chief, Joey Farr & The Fuggins Wheat Band and Laundry for the Apocalypse. Which band will become the 20th showcase winner and take home a bevy of excellent prizes and live on in infamy in the pantheon of great Arkansas bands?

You can find out Friday at Revolution. The show starts at 9 p.m. and it's $5 for ages 21 and older, $8 for ages 18-20. Contrary to how we've done things for the semifinals, we'll be tallying the score and announcing the winner that night. Also contrary to the semifinals, instead of being judged by four separate criteria, each band will receive a simple score of 0-50 from each judge.

We'll also be giving away three pairs of passes to Bonnaroo, June 7-10 in Manchester, Tenn. The gigantic music and arts festival has a killer lineup this year, with Radiohead, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Beach Boys, Bon Iver, The Shins, The Roots, Feist, Black Star, Ludacris, Tune-Yards, Flying Lotus, St. Vincent, Bad Brains, Mimosa, Ben Folds Five, Yelawolf, Mogwai, Kurt Vile and tons more.


Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Robert Bell

  • A Q&A with Pallbearer

    Little Rock’s leading harbingers of doom return with a new album, “Foundations of Burden.”
    • Aug 21, 2014
  • Thursday To-Do: KEN mode

    You've got to figure that a band from frozen-ass Winnipeg is just gonna be way gnarlier and tougher than a band from some sun-kissed tropical clime where people wear tank tops and flip-flops year-round.
    • Feb 6, 2014
  • Bob Schneider at Juanita's

    Also, KEN Mode at Vinos', Red Octopus' 'Trysts and Turns' at the Public Theatre, Mothwind at Maxine's, Patty Griffin at George's Majestic, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" at the Weekend Theater and Ash at Juanita's.
    • Feb 6, 2014
  • More »

People who saved…

Readers also liked…

Most Shared

  • George H.W. Bush will vote for Hillary. Or will he?

    Politico reports that Kathleen Harrington Kennedy Townsend says former Republican President George H.W. Bush is voting for Hillary Clinton for president. The article quotes a Bush spokesman as declining to confirm or deny.
  • Who's harming women?

    Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is an Arkansas Republican. Thus, like the governor and the Republican-majority legislature, she intends to do everything she can to deny women comprehensive medical care, particularly abortion.
  • New normal

    No two presidential candidates since polling began have run up negatives as massive as those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who yet won their parties' nominations easily. "What gives?" may be the biggest political mystery in history.
  • Additional rape charges filed against Conway doctor

    Special Prosecutor Jason Barrett has added 11 more victims to two others alleging rape by Dr. Robert Rook of Conway.
  • Big Dam Bridge 100 brings big damn complaint about celebrity rider Hincapie

    The Big Dam Bridge 100 is this weekend and one dedicated biker isn't happy about a celebrity rider, admitted doper George Hincapie.

Latest in A&E Feature

  • The Frederick Four

    A Q&A with Clutch's Jean-Paul Gaster
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • An Arkansas opera

    'Billy Blythe' explores the life of a young Bill Clinton.
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • Symone ascendant

    One of Little Rock's best drag queens, and the man behind her.
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »


  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Spa Con returns to Hot Springs

    • so many good events on 9/24, but only the Ark Times events are listed. Disappointed,

    • on September 23, 2016

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation