It’s been a big week for music in the natural state. From the announcement of Sound Diplomacy in NWA to new videos from Shawn James, The Inner Party, and Recognizer. Here’s the latest in music in Arkansas.
SOUND DIPLOMACY TO CONDUCT MUSICAL AUDIT ON NWA’s MUSIC ECOSYSTEM
By Justin Bates
Fayetteville – A London-based music and marketing agency will soon embark on a new initiative to enhance Northwest Arkansas’s music ecosystem.
The Northwest Arkansas Council, with support from the Walton Family Foundation, has hired the services of the London firm Sound Diplomacy to evaluate the region’s music infrastructure. According to a news release from the Northwest Arkansas Council, the group will “evaluate the area’s music ecosystem, map its music-focused assets, and provide a deep understanding of music’s economic importance to the region.”
“Northwest Arkansas has a storied musical history, and is an important driver of the region’s economy and livability,” Mike Harvey, the Council’s chief operating officer stated in the release. “We want to make sure that we have a robust ecosystem in place to realize our potential as one of America’s music destinations.”
Sound Diplomacy representatives will be coming to the region to do field research, lead roundtable discussions and conduct interviews with people in the public and private sectors about the project, the release states. The group will then provide cutting edge research and market expertise to determine how to build on the region’s success.
The new initiative, according to the release, is poised to provide a comprehensive mapping of the region’s music-related assets, among them performance, studio and rehearsal spaces, music infrastructure, industry and education. An analysis of opportunities and a music-policy assessment will be part of the work.
An open forum will be held Tuesday from 6:30-9 p.m. at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville so the community can engage with the team, provide insight, and learn about the overall work in the region.
All local music ecosystem and industry stakeholders are invited to join the open forum to find out more about the music ecosystem audit of Northwest Arkansas and ask questions.
The group says its primary goal is to satisfy Northwest Arkansas residents’ growing interest in an even more robust music scene. All local music ecosystem and industry stakeholders are invited to join the open forum to find out more about the music ecosystem audit of Northwest Arkansas and ask questions.
Sound Diplomacy has helped build robust music scenes in countries such as Cuba for the United Nations; the cities of Huntsville, Alabama and Vancouver, British Columbia; the mayor of London; the New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment; and hundreds of other public and private sector clients to advance music’s economic and cultural role in communities.
Information about the music ecosystem audit will be kept on a public website dedicated to the Northwest Arkansas project.
TINY TOWNS TEASE DEBUT ALBUM?
Jonesboro – Tiny Towns have quickly proven to be one of the best new bands to emerge out of Arkansas’ upper-delta region.
This Jonesboro band have become big favorites with Shindigmusic following the release of their excellent Tiny Towns EP this past June. Now the band are teasing what appears to be a New Years Day release via facebook. Check out the video for “Anything But Me” from the Tiny Towns EP.
TAPE DAD ANNOUNCES NITE PUP REISSUE
Fayetteville – Northwest Arkansas’ premier Cassette label, Tape Dad, have announced a reissue of Nite Pup’s 2016 album The Idea is like Grass.
Engineered, Mixed, and Mastered by Eric Witthans (Lost John) at Homestead Recording in Fayetteville, the album was recorded in early 2016 and features a series of “field recordings” captured during Nite Pup rehearsals. The cassette version is limited to a run of 50 copies and available for purchase on Bandcamp.
BLACK OAK ARKANSAS GETS “HIGH ON THE HOG”
Black Oak – Released September 23 1973, High on the Hog would prove to be the most commercially successful album Black Oak Arkansas ever released. Mainly known for its hit cover of the LaVern Baker R&B classic “Jim Dandy.” The song would go on to crack the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart at #25, while the album would peak at #52 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
MOONSONG RELEASES THE EXCELLENT “LETHOLOGICA”
By Justin Bates
Fayetteville – Fayetteville neo-psych-pop outfit Moonsong released its debut LP, “Lethologica,” in both physical and digital formats earlier this month, and the record should be at the top of your must-listen list.
Combining sensible pop elements with layers of sound and texture, “Lethologica” dabbles in psychedelia, gothic post-punk, shoegaze, new wave, alt-electronica and more. With moody, brooding vocal harmonies akin to Tame Impala, Flaming Lips or Barrett-era Floyd, and stellarly stacked, overdubbed instrumentation “Lethologica” takes listeners on a journey through the brain of Moonsong mastermind Cody Nielsen.
Nielsen, who operates alone in-studio under the moniker of Moonsong, forged out to make his first full-length, which came on the heels of his 2015 self-titled EP. With “Lethologica,” he traverses through peculiar time signatures, subdued but surreal vocals, and a range of sounds and that give the album a gripping, dream-like feel that leaves you overwhelmed, but wanting more.
The album is designed as concept record and is best listened to in full. But there are several songs that can standalone and are radio ready, including Second Chances, Circumspect, Hesitations and Mirage.
PHANTOM FLUX 6 SET FOR OCTOBER 26-28
The small DIY art and music community known as the Flux Family, have cultivated one of the hippest grassroots festivals in the region. Phantom Flux 6, is set for October 26-28 with sets by Chinese Connection Dub Embassy, Deep Sequence, Vintage Pistol, Cosmocean, DeFrance, and Craftal among this years lineup. Tickets are still available and can be purchased at fluxfamily.com. Check out the full music schedule here.
ALAN JACKSON POSTPONES CONCERT AT THE AMP
Rogers – Due to recent tragic events impacting Alan Jackson and his family, the Country Music Hall of Famer’s Saturday, Sept. 22 concert at the has been postponed.
The Jackson family has been grieving the loss of Jackson’s son-in-law – husband of his oldest daughter – who died unexpectedly last week after suffering severe traumatic head injuries in a fall, a month shy of the couple’s first anniversary.
Management, promoters and the venue are working to reschedule the show, and more details will be released once they have been finalized. All tickets will be honored once a rescheduled date has been determined.
90’S NOSTALGIA AT THE REV ROOM
Little Rock – 90’s alt-rockers, The Toadies, will be making their return appearance in the natural state following a stellar set at Georges Majestic Lounge in August. Best known for their 1994 platinum selling album Rubberneck which featured the band’s most popular single, “Possum Kingdom”. The Toadies will be rocking The Rev Room in Little Rock with special guests Recognizer and Illusionaut. Show starts at 8PM $25
CONCERT ALERT: JOHNNY CASH HERITAGE FESTIVAL 2018
Dyess – The Johnny Cash heritage festival returns for its 2018 celebration featuring John Carter Cash, the Grammy-winning son of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Jamey Johnson, Alison Krauss and other special guests will feature a “50th Anniversary Performance,” to pay tribute to The Johnny Cash Show tours that began in 1968. Tickets are available HERE.
VIDEOS OF THE WEEK
SHAWN JAMES COVERS MACY GRAY FOR GRAMMY’S
Fayetteville – Watch Shawn James perform a cover of Macy Gray’s “I Try” for the Grammy’s REimagined Series. In 2000, the song was nominated for Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year and earned a GRAMMY for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.
RECOGNIZER RELEASE NEW VHS INSPIRED VIDEO
Little Rock – Recognizer return with the latest video from their self-titled debut. “The Lighthouse” features the band in full 80’s nostalgia complete with Arcades, Jiu-jitsu ass kicking (Alliance Jiu-jitsu), and a VHS Tape inspired edit.
WATCH THE INNER PARTY’S “LET’S STAY TOGETHER FOR THE CATS”
Fayetteville – Fresh off the release of the excellent Darker LP, Fayetteville’s The Inner Party unleashes Felix and Mr. Kittles unto the world. Check out the cat friendly “Let’s Stay Together for the Cats” below.
LUKAS PARKER APPEARS ON NPR TINY DESK
Fayetteville – Groovement guitarist, Lucas Parker made a guest appearance on a recent episode of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts. Watch as Parker joins up with fellow Kansas City native Tech N9ne. Check it out below. NSFW
ROCKET COMA SHOW A LITTLE BUSH AND DICK
Fayetteville – Rocket Coma get political with the lead single from their latest LP, Rock//Icon. Watch Rocket Coma and the rest of the Lets Talk Figures gang run amok in the entertaining “Bush and Dick.” Never Forget.