Arkansans are offering up new stuff
B+ Ben Richman American Deadbeat Self released
Little Rock’s Ben Richman follows up 2016’s Slow Burn Panic Attack with 15 tracks of self-produced power pop on American Deadbeat.
As with his first record, the former Revolutioners member plays all the instruments and has put together a nice, if slightly overlong, collection of melodic jams that mixes in a little Oasis, ’ 90s- inspired alt- rock and classic rock.
“Dust,” with its whispery, buried vocals among the verses, could, with a little more fuzz, be a shoegaze throwback; “Thoughtful” is an acoustic tale about a postshow encounter; “Another Year of Death and Destruction” gives a markedly sideeyed look at the coming year; “American Deadbeat Blues” works through a sad country shuffle.
“A Giant in Outer Space” is the album’s most adventurous track. Starting like soaring British pop, Richman takes a detour and emerges with a wah-wah drenched guitar solo that conjures a strange and wonderful marriage of David Gilmore and J. Mascis.
Recorded in a buddy’s apartment, American Deadbeat again highlights Richman’s gift for melody and songcraft. We’d love to hear what he could do with a month or two in a proper studio.
If you’re a fan of scrappy, guitar-based pop then track
down the digital-only American Deadbeat on iTunes, Spotify and other services.
Hot tracks: “Another Year of Death and Destruction,” “Dust,” “Thoughtful” — SEAN CLANCY,
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette B+ Guy Clark The Best of the Dualtone Years Dualtone Music
Oftentimes, a greatest hits collection seems like nothing more than a money grab (usually for the record label), but for less-popular artists, a greatest hits album is a fine introduction to an artist’s music. Such it is with this two-disc, 19-track album out Friday that draws from Texas singer-songwriter Guy Clark’s last three studio albums — Workbench Songs (2006), Somedays the Song Writes You (2009) and My Favorite Picture of You (2013), which won a Grammy for Best Folk Album — before his death in May. (Joining Clark on all three albums was Perryville’s Shawn Camp, who added guitar, fiddle, mandolin and vocals.)
Of course, if Clark is a “less-popular” artist to you, perhaps you should listen to him more, because the man wrote some of the greatest Texas country and folk tunes ever, including “L. A. Freeway,” which finds its way on this collection via the live album Songs and Stories (2011).
For Clark newbies, the songs here are a good starting point for exploring his music, and fans will be reminded that Clark’s knack for songwriting and singing never faded, a truth especially evident on the lovely “My Favorite Picture of You,” the rich storytelling involved in “Rain in Durango” and Clark’s sublime interpretation of Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You,” a tune written by Van Zandt in Clark’s Nashville, Tenn., home in the 1970s.
Hot tracks: The songs mentioned, along with “Hemingway’s Whiskey,” “Maybe I Can Paint Over That” and a live version of Clark’s classic “Dublin Blues” — SHEA STEWART,