Arkansas Sound: A Look at Some of NWA’s Albums from 2014

Arkansas Sound: A Look at Some of NWA’s Albums from 2014

It’s been a fantastic year for new music. Artists and bands of Northwest Arkansas haven’t been messing around either. A total of 12 albums, 12 singles and 16 EP’s were released by local artists in 2014.

The list is sprawling, including the sounds of Auric, The Brothel Sprouts, Candy Lee, Dividend, Dumptruck Boyz, Friday Maybe Saturday, High Magic, The Inner Party, Joseph Israel, May The Peace of The Sea Be With You, Mister Blister, Neon Glittery, Ozarka Orkestra, Pagiins, Resin Hands, SW/MM/NG, Teenagers, Ten High, Trasspassers, Vore, The Wandering Lake, and Witchsister.

A total of 27 local artists released music in 2014. Here’s a look at some of the year’s releases:

TheAirplanes“Young,” “Paper Hearts” – The Airplanes

The brainchild of Joshua Vest, the music of The Airplanes had been carefully crafted in a Fayetteville home studio for the past couple years, and the music finally saw the light of day this year.

To play live, Vest teamed up with Andrew Donovan, Joel Paul, and Rob Storms. They’ve only played a handful of local shows, and the band has already gotten some buzz on indie music blogs for their digital releases.

Rich with sing-along pop melodies and noisy, rapid guitar rhythms, Vest has developed a new age pop-rock sound of his own. Comparable in sound to the summery, catchy melodies of The Cults, Alvvays or even The Beach Boys, both “Young” and “Paper Hearts” sound pretty impressive for such a new artist.

BasementBrew“Lost in Ramble” – Basement Brew

Basement Brew is Fayetteville’s resident Americana rock band. “Lost In Ramble” features a ton of talent on the album and a clear attention to song structure.

The band consists of Will Eubanks, Patrick George, Gideon Haden Chomphosy, Wes Packard, and Lee Zodrow. All of them contribute multiple instruments on the album, ranging from keyboards to mandolin to good ol’ electric guitar.

The music of “Lost In Ramble” sounds Dawes-like, with some southern grooves similar to The Band, and lyricism like The Avett Brothers. If you fancy any of those artists, it’s a safe bet you’ll find something to like about Basement Brew. There’s variety in each song, and just enough rock n’ roll to keep it tight and exciting.

When we live“When We Live” – Dead Indian

Fayetteville’s hard rock trio specializes in a mix of “stoner rock” — think Black Sabbath — and grunge. Their 2014 release, “When We Live” features some kick-ass guitar solos, earthy riffs and thundering percussion.

Dead Indian consists of frontman Jeh-Sea Wells, Dirk Porter and Simon Andrew. Wells sings with a Kurt Cobain-like raspy voice, but his adept guitar playing is a clear differential.

The music of “When We Live” is some hard rock n’ roll, but it keeps a variety of heavy with mellowness from track to track. If you’re into the heavier variety of rock, and you’re craving some grungy vocals, check out “When We Live.”

DoctorNod“Return to Terror” – Doctor Nod

Released in 2014 through Resurrection Records, “Return to Terror” hints at the bizarre while reeling you in with the driving rhythms and slick vocals.

Doctor Nod consists of Kale Ogle and Eric Hille, with Brock Mitchell and Matt Thornton helping fill out the band for live shows. These punk/psychedelic rock dudes incorporate a lot of different elements in their EP. With songs about the popularity of drugs and echoey everything, the music nearly gets trippy, but simultaneously remains grounded to that fat-sounding rock n’ roll these guys do.

HighLonesome“Get Some Young” – High Lonesome

Clever, savvy lyrics and airy, melodic rock n’ roll says it all about High Lonesome. The local trio consists of Martin Bemberg, Dick Darden and Sean Johnson.

Overall, the vintage surf-rock feel of the music sets the mood for Bemberg’s deep, smooth singing to shine through. The lyrics are cheeky at times, too. A Kendrick Lamar reference can be heard in “It’s Dawn, I’m Dancing on The Roof,” and it should be mentioned that the band gets their name from a Barry Hannah short story. So there’s a lot of different influences going on in the music.

The band settles somewhere between eclectic and traditional, and finds a happy medium in their unique take to rock music.


Reporting contributed by Eric Jensen, Art Amiss Music Director

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