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Ezra Lbs’ debut weighs in with amazing 22 tunes

By Sean Clancy

This article was published June 7, 2012 at 4:08 a.m.

members-of-ezra-lbs-nathan-houser-from-left-daniel-olah-and-daniel-craig-celebrate-the-release-of-their-self-titled-debut-album-tonight-with-a-show-at-the-white-water-tavern

Members of Ezra Lbs, Nathan Houser (from left), Daniel Olah and Daniel Craig celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album tonight with a show at the White Water Tavern.

— The self-titled debut album from Little Rock’s Ezra Lbs contains a whopping 22 songs and still clocks in at under an hour. It’s also a heady trip through jungles of slacker pop with elements of garage, psychedelia, lounge and probably nine dozen other subgenres lurking about that aren’t even worth mentioning.

Suffice to say, the trio keeps things unhinged and spectacularly interesting, and they will celebrate the release of their new album, which is on Little Rock’s Thick Syrup label, with a release party tonight at the White Water Tavern.

Ezra Lbs (yes, the name is a lark on modernist poet Ezra Pound), is made up of Little Rock Flag and Banner coworkers Daniel Craig, Daniel Olah and Nathan Houser. The band’s debut, which also features contributions from former member Lucas Murray and was recorded live at Wolfman Studios in Little Rock, recalls the glory days of lo-fi champs like Guided by Voices, Sebadoh, the Grifters and Yo La Tengo, among others.

From surf-rock grooves (“Romancing My Bones”) and hyperspace punk (“Purple Sweater”) to ’80s synthy mellowness (“Insomnia”) and stripped-down alt-pop (“Pain and Shame”), Ezra cuts an impressively wide, gloriously amateurish, sonic swath across the 20-plus songs here, and they always, always keep you guessing.

Want an example? Check out “Lost,” a sort of spokenword piece with a staticky, electronic blip and a haunting, fuzzy guitar in the background that gradually pushes its way to the surface. The very next song, “The Slampion,” is a thin, crunchy little instrumental that wouldn’t be out of place on some ’60s garage compilation, or a Fountains of Wayne record.

MISSISSIPPI’S MATHUS

Playing at the White Water Tavern on Friday night is Mississippi troubadour and former Squirrel Nut Zipper Jimbo Mathus, who has been rather busy with not only his own recordings but as a member of Southern roots supergroup The South Memphis String Band.

Mathus is gearing up for the July release of the EP Blue Light, which continues his traditional Southern-fried rock and country attack and is a follow-up to last year’s Confederate Buddha.

He also contributed, along with pals Luther Dickinson and Alvin Youngblood Hart, to the recent Old Times There ..., the latest South Memphis String Band release, and he was nominated for a Grammy as a member of Luther Dickinson & The Sons of Mudboy on the album Onward and Upward, a tribute to the late Jim Dickinson.

Ezra Lbs

When: 10 p.m. today Where: White Water Tavern, 2500 West Seventh St., Little Rock Opening acts: Brother Andy & His Big Damn Mouth, Michael Inscoe Admission: $5 (501) 375-8400 whitewatertavern.com

Jimbo Mathus

When: 10 p.m. Friday Where: White Water Tavern, 2500 West Seventh St., Little Rock Admission: $10 (501) 375-8400 whitewatertavern.com

Weekend, Pages 32 on 06/07/2012

Print Headline: Ezra Lbs’ debut weighs in with amazing 22 tunes

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