Put aside the new Olivia Rodrigo for a second because it’s a big day for Arkansas music releases. Miraculously, fresh albums from several Natural State favorites all dropped at midnight last night.
First off, “The Devil I Know,” the fourth major label LP from Mammoth Spring native Ashley McBryde, offers a stellar mix of sentiment and badassery. A glowing write-up from Billboard includes the following analysis:
Hard-edged truths about the brutality of the life of a touring musician spill from “Made for This”: the heady mix of Adderall and alcohol to key up and wind down, bathroom stalls that double as dressing rooms, and turning on the charm for the big record man “because he ain’t gonna call you twice.” “Learned to Lie” examines how readily habits and coping mechanisms become ingrained after growing up in a home filled with secrets, pain and half-truths. Acceptance and self-assuredness flows particularly on album closer “6th of October,” which ends with the advice, “Just live in the rhythms and the rhymes when you get ‘em/ The notes when you miss ‘em.”
Stop two on McBryde’s upcoming tour is at Robinson Center in Little Rock. You can find more about the Sunday, Oct. 15 show here.
“All Bad,” released by Gar Hole Records, is the third full-length from Fayetteville’s Nick Shoulders and the first to feature his band since 2019. It’s a natural extension of his trademark melding of heart-on-sleeve progressive politics with a traditional sound that feels genuinely plucked from the early 20th century. Smack dab in the middle of the record is “Arkansaw Troubler,” an instrumental track performed exclusively on the mouth bow that’ll usher you even further back in time.
A review from No Depression had this to say about “All Bad”:
Shoulders takes on the same grievances as a certain viral singer, but adds actual substance and context. Country music is a part of many people’s culture and exemplifies many people’s pride in their roots. Country music can be a tool of outspoken resistance against the powerful. Country music is powerful to bring people together. Country music needs to have substance and offend the mighty — not the downtrodden — to do just that.
“Sorry, I Was Drunk.” is Magnolia native Como Sasaki’s follow-up to 2022’s “Meraki.” Adrick Huntley (the rapper’s given name) came to our attention last year in the form of “Dak Interlude,” a track with a keen, half-time sense of rhyme, rhythm and mood. Fortunately, songs like on “O.T” and “Buss It (on the Flo)” make it clear that the somber lilt we fell in love with isn’t going anywhere, but Huntley might actually sound his best on “Supreme Flow,” which relies on a much more driving beat.
Last but not least, the entire discography of ’90s emo legends Everyone Asked About You is finally available in one place, thanks to the Numero Group, a label that specializes in reissuing forgotten music. “Paper Airplanes, Paper Hearts” — the remastered 19-song collection — can be found on streaming services, but might best be enjoyed on double vinyl, which you can purchase in black, white, light blue and baby pink.
For more Everyone Asked About You content, check out the recent AMA (ask me anything) session they did on the r/indieheads subreddit.