Arkansans are of­fer­ing up new stuff

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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,

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