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In there like Swimwear May 9, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Upcoming Shows.
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If you Live Music Junkies are jonesin’ for a fix, you stayed alive just long enough.  Just a few more hours until the sweet, sweet stuff starts flowin’ thru yer eardrums.   Lotta Rock is hosting The Bravery,the son of Sting himself with his band Fiction Plane, the return of J. Roddy Walston, Hayes Carll, hell even a free show with Damn Bullets AND Silverton..it’s on like Donkey Kong. 


MacArthur Park:  Free Show with Damn Bullets & Silverton.  7 p.m.!

Sticky Fingerz:  Hayes Carll w/Corb Lund & the Hurtin’ Albertans.   9 p.m., $12

White Water Tavern:  Mac Sledge, Sean Rock & The Toltecs.  9 p.m., $5

Rev Room:  Josh Ritter.  9 p.m., $12


Cornerstone Pub: Joecephus & the George Jonestown Massacre,  Sonicbirds.  9 p.m. $5

Downtown Music: Driven to Madness, Pure Black Sex, Animula, Nails of Heresey.  8 p.m., $6

Juanita’s:  The Bravery, Fiction Plane, Bear Colony.  9 p.m., $18, ALL AGES


Little Rock Zoo:  American Princes!  8 p.m., $8

White Water Tavern:  J. Roddy Walston & The Business, Smoke Up Johnny, Stacy Mackey.  9 p.m., $5

Rev Room:  The Venus Mission.  9 p.m., $7

Vino’s:  Natural State & Streetside Symphony  8:30 p.m., $7

Gallery 26:  Magic Cropdusters.  Free (art show opening)

Cornerstone Pub: Joe Pitts Band w/Charlotte Taylor & Co.  9 p.m., $5

Downtown Music:  Joe Preston, Thrones, Ginsu Wives.  8 p.m., $8

Juanita’s:  Upscale Underground presents: Soul’d Out Vol. III feat. Conya Dossw/Delya and Smooth September.  10 p.m., $20, $40 VIP


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ALBUM REVIEW: American Princes/Other People April 16, 2008

Posted by glenhooks in Album Reviews.
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In the Little Rock music scene, few have been recently talked up and anointed as the Next Big Thing more frequently than American Princes.   Publications as diverse as Q, Magnet, and The Onion stood up and took notice of the Princes’ last album, 2006’s Less and Less, and the buzz around here about their upcoming disc has been impossible to avoid in my circles for the last few months.  Rough tracks have been passed around, videos have been made, people have huddled around picnic tables on the Vino’s deck to listen to scraps here and there…and now the new album has finally arrived.

I’m happy to report that it’s been worth the wait, and to introduce Other People (Yep Roc).  From the opening track (“Auditorium”), the album pulses and burbles with high-gloss pop energy that gets me out of my chair.  

Maybe you’re like me and grew up with big old headphones, sitting on shag carpet listening to your parent’s albums, reading liner notes and lyrics.  Lyrics matter to me.  Nothing will make me fling your album (errr, “CD”) across the room faster than stupid lyrics.  Smart lyrics stick with me all day.  I’d gladly sit on some shag carpet with you today if you want to parse the meaning of lyrics from your favorite songs.  Give me a call, and I’ll bring the Kool-Aid.

Speaking of lyrics, Other People is a disc full of rich lyrics-y goodness.   The standout trackfor me is the haunting “Gravel”, whispered and wailed by David Slade on vocals:

Wait/Wait again/I had a dream last night and you were featured/As soon as I said your name you crumbled to the ground and burned by the roadside

Back from the dead, I was asleep last night/You spoke so softly/About everything instead of why I was lonely/and there’s a ghost in my shell/This is the place/This is the lonely cabin where I’m spending all my days and there’s a crime in my coffin.

Warning:  “Gravel” has a quietly building chorus–I Feel Energy In This Room–that has taken up residence in my skull and hasn’t left for days.  Look for what I promise is a  really terrific video to be released soon, done by local heroes Deluxe 36 (Kevin Stanbery and Bryan Stafford) and starring many of the folks you see around town at shows.

Other tracks of note:  “Real Love” has hit single written all over it.  A video was done for this track that some folks are raving about, but it bugs me large.  Maybe I’m not art-school enough to get this one, but this video drives me away.  It’s utterly distracting from what is a solid track.   However, some of my friends are raving about it.   Readers are invited to voice their own opinion:  here it is:  “REAL LOVE” VIDEO

The hardest pumping track by far is “Kid Incinerator,” dominated by driving guitar work (Slade, Collins Kilgore, Will Boyd) and a booming rhythm section of Matt Quin on drums and Luke Hunsicker on bass.  Live, this is the track that is felt in your chest and scalp, giving you that feeling of an extra pulse.

For years, it’s been whispered that American Princes might be on the cusp of breaking out, of making it, of being the next group from Little Rock to garner national attention.   Other People is the first Princes album produced by national talent Chuck Brody (who’s produced for talent such as Wu-Tang Clan).   With that kind of pressure, Other People could easily have been a misstep or aimed low. 

Happily, the Princes met the challenge.  Pick up Other People and give it a listen.   Local boys made good.



Rock N Roar Is NIIIIIIIICE in the Springtime April 13, 2008

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Clear, cool night…cold beers within arm’s reach….The Girl right up next to me whispering funny things in my ear…I can’t think of many better ways to set the table for a good night of music.    Perfect night at the Little Rock Zoo’s latest installment of their ROCK N ROAR series.  

I may be the only person in Little Rock who’d never seen Runaway Planet’s bluegrass show, but you can now put me on the list of fans.   This four-piece of Greg Alexander (guitar and vocals), Steve Brauer (banjo and vocals) Ben Ellis (mandolin) and Michael Proveaux (bass and vocals) worked the all-ages crowd into high-steppin fits of ecstasy.   Runaway Planet has some seriously tight three-part harmonies and I can’t say enough about Ben Ellis’s mandolin playing.   Mandolin, when done right, can make you weep with regret for the mistakes you’ve made then make you howl with joy about how good life can be  This guy knows what he’s doing, as does the rest of this amazing band.  It’s traditional, wonderful, throw-your-shoes-off-and-dance-the-Dance-of-Thanks-to-Earl-Scruggs-music, and had the grownups and the little curtain-climbers in the audience movin’ and yellin’ for more. 

Less lively, but no less skilled, was the classic country stylings of Chris Denny and the Old Soles.  Denny is a young performer with an ancient voice, a countrified Roy Orbison who has a direct vocal channel to the ghosts of crooners gone by.  Under the moonlight, accompanied only by a slap-bass and drummer, Denny’s warbly falsetto twang soared into the skies and hypnotized those lucky enough to be nearby (presumably the baboons as well).  Denny’s album Age Old Hunger is a treat for the headphones.  Don’t miss it.

Next up for Rock N Roar:  American Princes on May 10th. 

QUESTION:  Is there anything more fun than an outdoor bluegrass show at nighttime?

Silverton Steals The Show April 13, 2008

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The American Princes had a CD release party tonight (more on their new CD later), but the early crowd got a real treat tonight with opening act Silverton.   Silverton has a joyous air of “I can’t believe we’re up here” that utterly infects the room and sends every listener within earshot into involuntary spasms of waaaaaa-hooo!  Picture an eight-piece country rock ensemble of keyboards, tambourines, guitars, bass, drums, vocals from every which way, plus not-a-bit of rockstar attitude, and you’ve got Silverton.   Think what would happen if the B-52s invited some friends over for a hoedown.  How fun would that be?  That’s Silverton–shimmyfolkrocklightning in a bottle. 

Silverton.  Please.  I beg of you.   Make us all a CD of this moment, or I’m going to have to pull a Rerun and bootleg tape your shows. 

QUESTION:  What band did Rerun attempt to bootleg tape on the show “What’s Happenin’?”