1. Chris Maxwell – “Arkansas Summer”
Former Gunbunnies front-man and Little Rock expat Chris Maxwell has a new album coming out March 4, “Arkansas Summer,” and Paste premiered the great title track this week. Pre-order the record at Pledge Music.
2. Liquid Skulls – “Swaying”
The new record from Little Rock native Liquid Skulls, “RITUALS,” is out as of Feb. 1, and is as terrifying and mysterious as you might expect, filled with crystalline synths, vintage-sounding drum machines and cold, dry waves of noise. Vocals are a secondary instrument here — he’s not trying to communicate anything specific, just vague but evocative environments, like the buzzing room tones in a David Lynch film. Here’s one of the album’s more lighthearted tracks; you could almost dance to it.
3. Pepperboy & Squadda B – “Tears In My Eyes”
Little Rock’s Pepperboy apparently has an album-length collaboration with Oakland’s Squadda B (of Main Attrakionz) coming soon, “Kome Ryde With Us” — two songs from which are out now. They’re heartbreaking and great, particularly if you’re already susceptible to gauzy, effervescent rap about nostalgia and mourning.
4. Bombay Harambee – “Interval”
Here’s “Interval,” the first single from Bombay Harambee‘s forthcoming “Goldmine,” due out from Max Recordings on Feb. 19. (Pre-order here or get it early at Arkansas Record & CD Exchange.) Desperate, claustrophobic post-punk that flirts with cliches and bureaucratic jargon only to subvert them. It’s hopeless and pretty impressive.
5. Nick Ward – “Theory”
A new single from Little Rock’s Nick Ward — recommended for fans of rehabilitated conscious hip-hop in the mode of The Roots or “Section.80,” etc.