Border Cantos is a timely, new and free exhibit now on view at Crystal Bridges.
9:30 p.m. White Water Tavern.
Little Rock's Snakedriver kicks up a brutal, misanthropic hybrid of hardcore and sludge metal. They've got a split album out now with Tennessee's Laser Flames on the Great Big News, who played at Mutants of the Monster II a few weeks back (pick it up at the show for $8). Over three songs, Snakedriver showcases a broader, bigger, meaner sound that's a step up from the demos the band recorded last year, which were already impressive. The band still essentially welds Southern sludge groove onto hardcore thrash violence, but these newer songs are more dynamic, with an awesome slow build on opener "Apex" that reminds me of late great Memphis legends His Hero is Gone. There's some clean singing that crops up alongside the shredded-throat screams. It's a contrast that works well, partially because it catches you off guard. I'm excited to hear where Snakedriver goes from here. Also playing are Little Rock hardcore mainstays God City Destroyers and Dakhma, a newer outfit that specializes in "cosmic sand metal."
9 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $14 day of.
If an evening of effervescent, youthful pop music is your jam, then you'll not want to miss this double bill. Reptar, of Athens, Ga., is a four-piece with a heavy Animal Collective influence, which is the case with many young groups these days. AC's shadow has proved to be long, with a great many bands having absorbed their gorgeous harmonies and aura of woozy psychedelia. That relatively contemporary influence is combined with a big helping of '80s-Paul Simon-style "world music" in the mix. You'll hear horns and hand percussion and the chiming, Highlife guitars most notably lifted by Vampire Weekend. Brooklyn-based multi-instrumentalists Rubblebucket's sound is described on the band's bio as "utterly post-genre — horns, synth, guitars, harmonies — a smile-inducing point on the tangent that connects Björk and Broken Social Scene," which, sure. I caught their set at Wakarusa this year and it was miles of smiles among the several hundred folks digging their set.
Noon. University of Central Arkansas. Free.
I was a little unclear about what this thing was at first, but I think I've got it now and it sounds pretty rad. It's basically a big series of interconnected inflatable structures that are lit up with all kinds of awesomely colorful psychedelic swirliness and you walk around inside of it and just bask in the vibrant, warm wonder of it all. The firm that builds these things and tours them around the world is called Architects of Air. Here's how they describe it: "Architects of Air seeks to bring a visual surprise and excitement into the environment and to create the optimum conditions where people can be moved to a sense of wonder through the particular phenomenon of luminous colour." Righteous. People love glowing things. There was a smaller version of something like this at Wakarusa and those folks could not get enough of it. It's going to be set up in front of McAlister Hall and will be open noon-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. There will also be performances inside the luminarium from CORE Performance Company, which has chapters in Atlanta and Houston.
9 p.m. Revolution. $20.
Bassists donít come much more widely respected than Victor Wooten, who has won five Grammys and has topped numerous "Greatest Bass Players in the Galaxy"-type lists since getting his start on the instrument when he was little more than a toddler. His longest-running collaboration has been as a member of the much-loved progressive bluegrass outfit Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. Wooten is also prolific as a solo artist and is a favorite on the fusion and jam-band circuits, having recorded and performed with the likes of The Dave Matthews Band, Bruce Hornsby, Stanley Clarke, Govít Mule, Jaco Pastorius, Chick Corea and a host of others. This week, Wooten just dropped two albums, "Words and Tones" and an instrumental album called "Sword and Stone."
LAUNDRY FOR THE APOCALYPSE
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5 for 21 and older, $7 under 21.
All of the promise held on their early demo recordings has come to fruition on Laundry for the Apocalypse's self-titled debut album. The band's live show has always been top-notch, but now we've got this fantastic-sounding album as a permanent document. Opener "Hellven" saunters through the door on a tricky rhythm, bent guitar strings and hauntingly chiming vibes, makes a couple of passes around the room and then erupts in a swirl of overlapping trumpet and flute. About three-fourths of the way through, the song takes a turn in a more rock direction, much like "No Despair," which starts off gentle and elegiac only to roar out on a gigantic, circular buzz-saw riff from singer/guitarist Aaron Sarlo (full disclosure: Sarlo is a freelance writer for the Times). There's great trumpet and flute playing aplenty, particularly on "Fam," a track whose bright, clear trumpet wouldn't sound out of place on a Calexico album or a vintage Morricone soundtrack. Actually, I really can't overemphasize how much John David Hilliard's keyboards and wind instruments — as well as the interplay between percussionists Adrian Brigman and Drew Wilkerson — add to making this record sound incredible. And Matt Rice's thoughtful, fluid bass playing is the bedrock that supports the whole thing. Throughout the album, there are familiar touchstones that peek out: the loud-quiet-loud of the Pixies, the guitar heroics of Built to Spill and the wide-eyed psych-pop wonder of The Flaming Lips, but really, there's just not another band that sounds anything like LFTA in Arkansas, or really anywhere else for that matter. Also performing at this all-ages show will be The See and Collin vs. Adam.
ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: 'AUGUSTIN RETURNS!'
8 p.m. Robinson Center Music Hall. $30-$52.
Classical music fans will no doubt rejoice at the return of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which begins its 2012-2013 season with the return of the much adored violin virtuoso Augustin Hadelich, who performed with the symphony in 2011. Conductor Philip Mann recently told KTHV's Meredith Mitchell that this season opener has lots of "energetic and vigorous music, and it's the kind of thing we hope sets the tone for the rest of the season." The program features Strauss's "Don Juan, Op. 20," followed by Ern Dohnányi's Suite in F-sharp Minor, Op. 19, and concludes with Lalo's Symphonie espagnole, Op. 21. Like many of the ASO's programs, there will be a matinee performance at 3 p.m. Sunday. All season, children can attend the Sunday Masterworks and Pops series free with a paying adult.
9 p.m. White Water Tavern. $5.
There's some real deal, wrestling-with-grown-ups' issues going on in Little Rock quartet Whale Fire's new two-song EP. The tracks — "Dream of Me" and "The Fabric" — are strong, melodic tunes, with reverb-heavy guitars and beautiful vocal harmonies that'll no doubt hit the sweet spot for fans of Fleet Foxes and Band of Horses. On "Dream of Me," Clay Grubbs sings of anxious dreams and relationship stresses. The flip side's "The Fabric" finds John Steel looking through the wreckage of young adulthood, trying to figure out what's really going on and not being certain about what he finds. "The fabric of what I believe / Is falling apart at the seams / I'm losing my touch / How I always thought it would be." Taken with the band's other recent single, "Wild-Eyed Mistake," it's apparent that these guys are building a strong body of work that'll likely form the foundation of a solid long-player. You can pick up a copy of the limited edition 7" single for $7. Also playing this show are the shambolic pop maestros Sea Nanners and former two-dude band (now expanded to a four-dude format) Collin vs. Adam.