Showcase showdown 

Now, to next week. At 9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 11, once again at Sticky Fingerz, we move to round four, featuring …

Ryan Couron   Two years running, we've got a could-be country star in the Showcase (last year, you'll remember Nik and Sam). Little Rock's Couron has lately been in contact with Nashville, hosting some label folks here not too long ago and headed to Nashville in March for another meet-and-greet. The 23-year-old, who says he's been at it for six or seven years, sounds radio ready on his debut, “Play What I Feel Like,” which includes unsubtle but convincing songs like “Huntin' and Fishin'.” Another of the few Showcase acts who play music for a living, Couron comes to us a night before he plays Denton's Trotline in Benton. You can also see him regularly at Grumpy's, The Underground Pub, and Fox and the Hound.

Iron Tongue   This new throwback metal act doesn't make sense on paper. You've got producer Jason Tedford (guitar), who most memorably played bass for pop-rock heroes Ashtray Babyhead. And Stan James (drums) and Mark Chiaro (guitar), both of the blues-and-Southern-rockin' Jeff Coleman and the Feeders. Then, there's Reid Raley (bass), of Fayetteville metal act Deadbird and CT (vocals) of Southern sludge gods Rwake. Together, they channel Sabbath, Motorhead and maybe a little Molly Hatchet. Look for a split vinyl EP in the near future and a full length in the summer. In the meantime, for Thursday's show, bring your earplugs, Tedford warns.

Outstanding Red Team   Perhaps the newest band in the Showcase, this rock outfit features Loch Ness Monster vets “Scottish” Brian Hirrel (guitar, lead vocals) and Jimmy Young (bass), San Antokyo's Slaughterhouse (guitar) and Jesse King (drums). Everyone but the drummer sings. Look for an EP soon with a full-length to follow. Like the band's name, the latter's songs might all be named for “Apocalypse Now” references, according to Hirrel.

Underclaire   One of Central Arkansas's most active bands, Underclaire comes to the Showcase after more than a decade together as a band. Fresh off the release of its third album, “Making Sky,” recorded with Little Rock's Barry Poynter, the quartet of Bryan Baker (drums), Rob Brackett (bass), Edison DeLeon (guitar) and Mike Mullins (guitar and vocals) brings an anthemic brand of modern rock to the stage. Listen, too, for lyrics that bleed from song to song. “Making Sky” is a song-cycle about fraternal twins, with relationship problems, a suicide and a killing spree central to their story.

Read Rock Candy online (arktimes.com/blogs/rockcandy) for more on the Showcase, including song samples, audio, video and post-show reviews.

Feb. 25: Stella Fancy, Big Boots.
March 5: Bobby, Elise Davis, Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth

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