Little Rock’s Bombay Harambee Releases Debut LP

Little Rock’s Bombay Harambee Releases Debut LP
Courtesy Photo Bombay Harambee

Courtesy Photo
Bombay Harambee

One of Little Rock’s finest is ready to take on the music world with their debut album, “Goldmine.”

Bombay Harambee is Alexander Jones, Ryker Horn, Tyler Nance and Trent Whitehead. The band is a regular in the Fayetteville area at venues like JR’s Lightbulb Club and Smoke and Barrel Tavern. They’ll be headlining an album release show at the latter this Saturday with Pagiins and Ten High.

Recorded with the support of Max Records, the dudes of Bombay Harambee have complied a 12-track LP of new originals and a few previously released EP recordings into “Goldmine.” The result is something sonically unique to the state.

The album gets going right away with an uproar of high energy and power chords. The primary feature, beyond the angry, pulsing distortion rhythms present throughout the album is some personable lyric writing that Arkansans can relate to. “Midtown” for example, evokes many scenes from driving through Little Rock and blurry memories from the infamous Midtown Billiards. It’s also got some sweet riffs.

Jones sings with a rugged, backhanded style in a tone that’s reminiscent of a 1940s radio newsman. That may sound strange, but it works here.

The middle to later part of the album is where the album hits its stride. The songs get more diverse, with the band exploring different rhythms and instrumentation. Starting with “Stringing Sentences” and ending with the sweet guitar solo in “WZTV Channel 5” makes for a great run of songs.

The physical album features some beautiful and compelling spaghetti western/comic book art by Gustav Carlson, as well as a clever treasure map of Little Rock designed by Jones.

A few of the standout tracks include “Dotted Lines,” “Midtown,” and “Stringing Sentences.”

Earlier in the week we got the chance to speak with Jones, the principal songwriter, about the recording process and the album:

Artwork by Gustav Carlson

Artwork by Gustav Carlson

TFW: What were some of the things you wanted achieve with this record?

JONES: Everybody wanted to be proud of it, and we are. We had the songs and wanted to do a full length record. We wanted it to be a fairly accurate rendition of our live sound, which I think we did. We really wanted to do analog production, and we did that. We’re happy with that. We wanted a coherent start to finish. For the first time, in my recording history, we left some tracks off because they didn’t feel cohesive. I think that’s a good important step for me as a songwriter, because not that I love or hate every song that I write, it’s just nice to be at a point to do a collection of songs. It’s the most patient release I’ve done. I think that’s a very good thing.

TFW: What are some of things you wanted to say with the album?

JONES: In a lot of ways, it’s an album about Little Rock. Of the band, I’m the only home towner in Little Rock. A lot of it to me is about growing up and seeing the worst and best parts about it. That’s the influence at least on the lyric side. Musically, I wanted it to be loud and fairly aggressive but also have some balance. Y’know, I don’t know if we have all that many bands that sound like us in Arkansas, and we wanted to emphasize that. That goes again back to the production side and that goes to Jason Weinheimer, who I can’t speak enough praises for him.

TFW: How was the recording process for the record?

We did it at his studio, called Fellowship Hall Studio. He’s done a lot of great work. He got his chops from Jim Dickinson who did a lot of production for The Rolling Stones, and he’s from Arkansas. He was great in the studio. He has everything you need. You don’t even know what you want until he suggested it. Most of the record I played on an old 60s PA by Guild. It’s not even a guitar amp, but it’s the perfect tone.

We recorded straight to tape. I don’t much about the vintage equipment used, but I do know that it sounds great, and it sounds really warm. It’s great for nice tone and distortion. I wrote everything in terms of songwriting but all the arrangements are done by the players. We recorded in late 2014 and early 2015. It’s been a while since we’ve had in the can. We’ve had it all ready in August. We linked up with Burt Taggart at Max Recordings who really helped us out and helped financed it. That’s why we’re able to put it out on vinyl. It’s a dream of mine to put something on vinyl, and it feels like a real release and that’s such a great feeling. He’s been a big player in the Little Rock scene. He’s featured heavily in “Towncraft,” the documentary on Little Rock’s punk scene.

We got to put some piano on the record, which we hadn’t done in a while, for the song “Enjambement.” I don’t know why, but Trent and David had to leave the studio during the session. It was like a two hour block, and there’s no real point in leaving. Jason and I were there and I said “Hey dude, just play along,” and we did it on the spot. It ended up making the record because it’s a break from a lot of really heavy shit. I like it a lot. I think it’s a fun song. I’m really excited. We’re already in the process of arranging new material, because it’s been so long. It took four months to get vinyl pressed. We’re just moving forward, hoping people enjoy the record.

TFW: What’s on deck for the upcoming show?

JONES: The show is Saturday, Feb. 20. Ten High and Pagiins, who are two of my favorite bands in Fayetteville, are opening up the show at Smoke and Barrel. It’s $3. We’re going to have vinyl and CDs of the new album for sale. It’s golden vinyl, and the artwork was done by Gus. I did one thing, which is the treasure map for Little Rock. It’s got a full gate fold of the angel of death paying off our hero, which I don’t know if he’s our hero or not. That’s up to Gus. He’s been working with us for at least a year now and he’s just awesome.

We’ll do two good sets. Pagiins is always a pleasure to see and play with. Ten High is really really getting better and better every time we see them. They’re such great people and good friends. I’m glad we can do it together. Hopefully it’s not a blizzard. Maybe we’ll get lucky. Fayetteville has always been great.

Bombay Harambee Album “Goldmine” Release Show

Who else: Pagiins, Ten High

Where: Smoke and Barrel Tavern, 324 W Dickson St., Fayetteville

When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20

How Much: $3

Categories: Galleries