‘Arkansas Times Recommends’ is a weekly series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we’ve been enjoying (or, in Max’s case, not enjoying) this week.
Who is The Avener? I don’t know. They (is it a band or just a DJ?) are French, I think. The Avener only has 1,000 likes on Facebook and 30 followers on Twitter and as far as I can tell, has only released one song. But what a song! “Fade Out Lines” is like a groovy stroll through a New Wave film. It’s a Deep House remix of a 2011 bluesy song from the French singer Phoebe Killdeer. Killdeer’s original was a ghostly Mazzy Star vibe; The Avener happily ups the funk and imagines the ghosts shaking their haunting hips. I find that I do the dishes more joyfully, quickly, thoroughly, and soulfully while listening to “Fade Out Lines.” In the meritocracy that is free music, the track has become a minor hit on Spotify and YouTube. Check it out. — David Ramsey
What’s the deal with all these overhopped craft beers? Whatever happened to beer companies that advertised “The beer to have when you’re having more than one?” (Schaefer) Or “Pick a Pair of Six-Packs”? (Budweiser)
You can take your chocolate and your raspberry and your nine-row Albanian barley and slop it on the heritage swine out back. Give me a plain old mellow lager, ice cold. First beer to sell out at the beer stand at our Heritage Hog cookoff? It wasn’t the IPA or the Lower Slobbovian Porter. It was the summer lager. Golden. Mellow. Quaffable. Particularly served from the tap, as all beer should be served.
I’m happy the Arkansas booze regulators are about to allow draft beer “filling stations” in retail outlets. But I fear the taps will drizzle nothing but that funky craft stuff. Me, I vote they include Busch Bavarian. Or Pabst Blue Ribbon — “old time flavor that goes down easy.” Cheap, too. — Max Brantley
Because I am a fan of American music, I spent the first part of the week listening to the new Future album, “Honest.” I used to live in Atlanta, where Future is, I believe, the mayor, sheriff and city council president. I remember riding the bus to work and listening to “Neva End” and thinking about how great it was that the beat sounded like Tangerine Dream’s score for “Sorcerer” and that he said things like “I reflect memory” and “Butterfly, Butterfly,” and that it was the strangest R&B song I’d ever heard. “Honest” is good, but I haven’t been able to absorb it in the same way. I got it for free, but it feels expensive.
At the other end of the spectrum, or really maybe not, I’ve been listening to Ted Lucas, who began his career in the 1960s playing balalaikas and sitars on Motown singles, fronted a series of forgotten bands like The Misty Wizards and The Horny Toads and in 1975 made a self-titled solo record sometimes called “The OM Album.” Much like Future, he sings about how nice it is to get stoned and the importance of just being honest. The highlight, though, might be a song called “I’ll Find A Way To Carry It All,” which, once again (why not), I’ll dedicate to my car: “You took me for a ride, and what can I say: I’ll find a way to carry it all.” The record will be reissued this year thanks to a label called Yoga Records. — Will Stephenson
I got so fed up with the price of Irish Cream for my coffee a few years back that I resolved to find a recipe. I quickly found one online, and have since tweaked it to my liking. It’s a work in progress, but I think it’s progressed fairly well, thank you very much. The recipe seen below makes two fifth-sized bottles, so have a funnel on hand and clean bottles (they have tight-sealing glass bottles with fancy wire-holddown stoppers in all sizes at The Container Store). The stuff is good thinned with a little milk over ice, or divine in coffee. Better after a few days, and will keep for a good long while in the fridge because of the alcohol content. Excellent as Christmas gifts if decanted into smaller bottles, good for parties if glugged into a bucket or pail. Shake well before use. You wouldn’t want to down a gallon of the stuff, but in small doses it’s manna from heaven:
Koon’s Trailer Trash Cream
1 fifth of whiskey of your choice (doesn’t have to be the good stuff)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup of very strong coffee (the cup on the ring in your drawer, not a cup from your cabinet)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/2 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup (or more to taste)
1 big carton of heavy cream (not the BIG big carton, but that one in the middle between short and tall)
Dash of salt
Some crazy folks have even added a pinch of nutmeg, though I’m a traditionalist.
Mix together and heat everything but the whiskey in a big pot over low heat until it starts to steam a bit. You’re not trying to cook it. You’re just trying to get everything married. Remove from heat and add the whiskey. How long does it keep? I don’t know because it gets drank too fast around my place, but given the high alcohol content you’re probably safe. Hell, man, smell it. If it still smells good, drink it. — David Koon
Every Saturday when my toddler wakes me up way too early, I stick him in his car-seat and we head for the Argenta Farmers Market. I like knowing that everything they sell was grown in Arkansas, and if you get there early enough, you can always buy farm-fresh eggs and, at least for a couple more weeks, strawberries. But the big draw for me is the Arkansas Fresh Bakery stand. Even if you’ve never heard of Arkansas Fresh, you’ve probably had their bread: They supply to everyone from Big Orange to Hillcrest Artisan Meats. But the only opportunity you have to buy bread directly is 7 a.m. until noon at the Argenta Market. Even though they’re set up under a tent, with bread in a portable case, their selection is broad: There’s always some sort of sweet bread (the monkey bread is especially good), a really hearty multigrain and all sorts of sourdoughs and such. Plus, owner/head baker Ashton Woodward is always experimenting: last week he did a walnut and chive sourdough; another week he had a long roll stuffed with a sausage made by former bar-food king Jonathan Wilkins, of White Water fame. Wilkins is another reason to visit; every Saturday, he cooks up breakfast sandwich specials using Arkansas Fresh bread and local meats and produce. — Lindsey Millar