Saturday, January 31, 2015

Give Duckstronaut A Dollar

Image courtesy of Duckstronaut.

There’s not another band in Little Rock like Duckstronaut. Fronted by Aaron Sarlo (he of The Dangerous Idiots, Laundry For The Apocalypse, Techno Squid Eats Parliament, as well as solo troubadour and comedian, and holder of many strong, yet reasonable, opinions) who plays guitar and electric dulcimer, ace rhythm section of Matt Rakes on bass and Bryan Baker on drums, and rounded out by Adrian Brigman on electric washboard and sampled sounds, Duckstronaut built a terrific reputation for itself based on fantastic live shows and churning out sounds unlike any other band.

Starting today, you can take those sounds home with you for the first time. Tabanid Camisade hit the digital shelves of Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, and all the usual streaming services earlier today. Tonight, you can pick up a copy of the EP burned into a shiny plastic and aluminum disc at a CD release party at the White Water Tavern with support from Collin vs.Adam and Sea Nanners.

Stream the EP at the link below and Give Duckstronaut A Dollar.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Give Jason White A Dollar

Jason White with The Big Cats, 2013. Photo by Brad Caviness.
I originally planned to make The Big Cats the subject of today’s post to plug the band’s annual holiday concerts. But, the shows, scheduled for the day after Christmas at the White Water Tavern, were cancelled in the wake of guitarist Jason White’s diagnosis of throat cancer. That’s the bad news. The good news is Jason’s prognosis is good for a full recovery and The Big Cats are already making plans for next year’s show. In the meantime, I thought, what better way than to wish Jason a speedy recovery than to buy some of his music.

Jason’s played in tons of bands over the years, most notably for Green Day, Pinhead Gunpowder, The Influents, The Big Cats, Chino Horde, and, most recently, A Band Called California with Adam Phaler from Jawbreaker and Dustin Clark from Soophie Nun Squad. Max Recordings released his first solo single, “Hungover” (b/w “I’m A Mess”), in 2010. These wry, self-deprecating, power-pop gems are available digitally through iTunes, Amazon, and eMusic. You can buy the 7” from Max Recordings’ website.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arkansas Musicians Kicked ASS In 2014

2014 has been an amazing year for music made by Arkansans. Nearly every week saw a new release. And many of those releases raised the bar for what listeners expect from a "local" musician. Below is a list my nine favorite releases of the last year and a longer alphabetical list of artists who also made some incredible music this year. If you haven't finished your Christmas shopping this year, you could do worse than to give a CD or LP or download code by one of the artists on this list. And be sure to go out and see these bands when they play live in 2015!

Bonnie Montgomery by Bonnie Montgomery

Ms. Bonnie turned in what is not only my favorite record of the year, but is shaping up to be one of my all-time favorites as well. 

Hear a bit:
Buy it at Arkansas CD & Record Exchange, Bonnie's website store, or iTunes.

Ursa Major by Major Urges
Relentlessly energetic punk-influenced rock with a snarling wit.

Hear it/Buy it:

All The World There Is by Amasa Hines
Layered, elegant, and emotionally resonant.

Hear a bit:
Buy it at Arkansas CD & Record Exchange, CD Baby, or iTunes

Bloodsucker by Collin vs. Adam
Hear a bit:

Elemental by High Magic
Nick Cave-level atmospheric gloomy rock from Fayetteville. As a bonus, the band's equally great  2013 EP, The Joy Of Existence, is included on the physical CD.
Hear it/Buy it:

If The Roses Don't Kill Us by Christopher Denny
Hear a bit:

Blind Water Finds Blind Water by Adam Faucett
Hear a bit:

Peckerwolf by Peckerwolf
Hear it/Buy it:

Family History
Technically, this is not a 2014 release. In fact, it's not been released yet at all. Family History is Chase Pagan, Matthew Putman, Sam Roberts, Will Eubanks, Caleb P. Rose, and Landon Moore. The album was recorded in 2011 and 2012 by Adam Putman. I was lucky enough to get to hear the whole thing in mid-December last year, and it's fantastic. The music is is melodic and memorable with a sense of adventure about it. With any luck, it'll be officially released soon and wind up on next year's list, too.

Hear a bit:
All The Way Korean / Ghost Bones self-titled EPs
Former members of Holy Shakes release two different EPs of music this year. All The Way Korean released three songs to raise funds for upstart Hot Springs community radio station, KUHS. Ghost Bones first EP is a promising start for this new band.

Hear All The Way Korean:
Hear Ghost Bones:
Bad Years
Bad Years was a teen-aged punk pop group from Little Rock that broke up just before they finished what would have been their first album. They've graduated, gone to college, moved away, and joined other bands now, but front man Michael Pollock released all the tracks from the aborted full-length online for everyone to enjoy.

Hear it/Buy it:

The Brothel Sprouts
Hear it/Buy it:

The Casual Pleasures
Hear it:

Charlie Virgo
Hear it/Buy it:

The Coasts, Racilia
Hear it/Buy it:

Ginsu Wives, Panic
Hear it/Buy it:

Glass Wands
Hear it/Buy it:

Hear it/Buy it

Knox Hamilton, "Work It Out"
Knox Hamilton released a new EP early in the year and garnered a ton of nationwide airplay for the single, "Work It Out." The band has recently signed to large indie label and started touring nationally, so all of their previous work, except the popular single, has been scrubbed from their site.

Hear it/Buy it:

Mothwind, In The Clutches Of The Novæ
Hear it/Buy it:

Nouns, Still
Hear it/Buy it:

Rad Rad Riot, This Is All Starting To Make Sense
Hear it/Buy it:

Resin Hands, Dead Daze
Hear it/Buy it:

Paul Sammons, "Voices" (featuring Nick Thompson)
Hear it/Buy it:

Sky City, "Nudie Suit"
Hear it:

Buy it: CD Baby, iTunes

Tyrannosaurus Chicken, It Ain't Rocket Surgery!
Hear a bit:

Hear it/Buy it:

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Remembering TC Edwards

Photo by Matt White.
Little Rock lost one of its brightest lights Sunday morning when TC Edwards was brutally murdered. TC is remembered and loved by many for his kindness and gentleness, his easy way of connecting to people through his love of music, greeting people by pinching their elbow, and for being way, way more metal than you or me.

Image by Isaac Alexander.
TC was the leader of the band TC & The Eddies, backed up by the guys from Reagan's Polyp and Bircho from Trusty (among many others). They made a pair of albums in 1995 and 1996 called A Date With T.C. and Tear Down The Walls. Those are available to stream or download for free from the band's Soundcloud page. He is also the subject of the years in the making documentary TC and Me: A Rockumentary by Little Rock filmmaker, DJ, agent provocateur, and TC's closest friend, Mike Poe.

Photo by Mike Poe.
There's a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for TC's funeral and burial expenses. If TC touched your life (or your elbow) or the life of someone you know, please consider contributing what you can. If you prefer to give in person, the band Trophy Boyfriends are dedicating their Friday night performance at Pizza D'Action to TC's memory and, instead of charging a cover, they're asking for donations for TC's family.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Give Major Urges A Dollar

Major Urges - Fake Blood [Music Video] from Major Urges on Vimeo.

Major Urges is the brainchild of Benjamin J. Evans of Fort Smith who formerly played bass with Pagiins and fronted A+ Setup. Back when the band's first album came out in early 2013, Evans called the album Major Urges and the band "Feedback." When he found out that there was more than one other band called Feedback just in Arkansas, and yet another elsewhere that held a trademark on the name, he switched the name of the band with the name of the record and Feedback became the debut album of the band Major Urges.

Feedback is a dizzily eclectic record, switching back and forth from fuzzed out power pop, nervy new wave and post punk, and even displaying hints of Gilbert & Sullivan and The Beach Boys. What it lacks in focus, it more than makes up in energy. Indeed, the unpredictability is a big part of the album's appeal.

Today, Evans is releasing Major Urges' second album, a 19-song epic titled Ursa Major. The creativity that was hinted at in the randomness of Feedback fully blooms on the new record. Evans tightens the scope of song writing, focusing on the fuzzy power pop and nervy new wave, and dialing up the energy several notches with a bunch of punk influenced riffs and rhythms. It’s an amazingly catchy and clever album, and Evans is giving it away for free from his Bandcamp page. Free is great and all, but the name of this blog is “Give This Band a Dollar,” so I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t encourage you to drop a dollar in the digital tip jar as you click the download button.

To give you a better idea of how good this record is, I’ve embedded the video for the first single, “Fake Blood,” up at the top of the post. Down below is the Bandcamp stream of the debut album. If you like it, show the band your appreciation and share this post with your friends, too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Who do you think is Dollar Worthy?

So far this blog has been about the music and bands that I like. Who are some of the bands and artists you find #dollarworthy? Share their name and a link to their music in the comments.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Give Collin Vs. Adam A Dollar

Bloodsucker, Collin vs. Adam’s second album has been a long time coming. More than two years have passed since the band started teasing tracks on its SoundCloud page, compilation albums, and live shows. More than two years have passed, too, since Mason Maudlin, the band’s original bass player, was killed in a plane crash. The album is dedicated to his memory, and his playing can be heard on most of the songs on the album.

There are a lot of different sounds on the record: ambient instrumentals, poppy dance tunes, arena rock anthems, and more. Credit Collin vs. Adam that they are able to take all these different kinds of sounds, dress them up in a little 80’s-pop flourish here and there, and have it all come out sounding like one consistent, unified whole.

My favorite song is “Get Back To You,” a shimmery slice of new wave influenced pop that would have ruled the radio circa 1984. The song catches your ear first with an echoy, staccato guitar hook that’s enough to anchor any one song, then it hits you with a keyboard hook that’s even catchier, and rounds you off with a vocal you’re singing along with before the end of the song. And it does all this while almost totally upending the traditional verse-chorus-verse pop song structure.

Bloodsucker is available to download from iTunes and Amazon. Physical copies are available at the Max Recordings website.