There is new music from Amasa Hines, and the indie rock 'n' soul band will celebrate with a record release party on Saturday at the Rev Room.
Ivory Loving Glass, a five-song EP, is the followup to 2014's excellent All the World There Is and is the precursor to another five songs coming out in December.
Opening acts: Isaac Alexander, Uni Wa
9 p.m. Saturday, Rev Room, 300 President Clinton Ave., Little Rock
"I haven't been calling it an EP," says singer Joshua Asante, "because that sounds like an incomplete thought. I've been calling it an album."
Semantics aside, the record, which was recorded at Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock and will be available on gorgeous, sea green vinyl, is a step forward from All the World There Is, Asante says.
"The most notable difference is the maturity in terms of skill level and our collective and individual abilities. When I listen to that first record, it's kind of cacophonous. It sounds like young, excited musicians who think everything needs to be heard at the same time all the time. We've grown to where we understand the dynamics of space and control."
"Zatoichi," a track from the new album whose video is featured at amasahinesmusic.com, has a slinky bass line, a Beatlesesque keyboard bed, mesmerizing drums and Asante's impassioned vocals. The song is mesmerizing, soulful rock with an intriguing tinge of psychedelia.
Asante and his bandmates -- guitarist Judson Spillyards, bassist Ryan Hitt and saxophonist/keyboardist Norman Williamson -- also added more texture to this project with the addition of keyboards and synths.
"Sonically, we were using 99 percent organic instrumentation on the last record," says Asante, a fan of dream-pop outfit Beach House. "On this record, we have more synthesizers and more ambient stuff. There are some songs where we have three or four keyboards going. In that way, it feels a lot more like a classic-contemporary sound."
Asante, who handles most of the group's lyrics, says his writing for Ivory Loving Glass was directly inspired by characters created by Octavia Butler, the acclaimed science fiction novelist and short story writer whose works include Patternmaster, Bloodchild, Parable of the Sower, Parable of the Talents and others.
"I'm a huge fan of her work and I realized that there was this bounty of material," he says. "I knew these characters, and I'm really interested in the way she develops characters and the way she has them interact with the world she creates around them. Three of these five songs are directly from my reading of her and the next five are all from my reading of her."
Amasa Hines has been around since 2012, when Asante met the other members at a show with his band, Velvet Kente. He started dropping in to play some covers with them at a regular gig at a restaurant in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood and a musical bond developed.
"I played some guitar and made up some songs," he says. "We realized we had a chemistry and didn't necessarily need to be playing covers and that we could do our own thing. It was really organic, a good way to start a band."
Following the album release, Amasa Hines will be back in the studio to finish up work on the second batch of songs and then there's a short tour in November in support of Houston outfit The Suffers.
"We'll be doing gigs with them, and then we'll do some more on our own," Asante says. "We've been doing short runs here and there. We're trying to string together some longer runs."
Weekend on 10/04/2018
*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story listed the wrong title for Ivory Loving Glass.
Print Headline: Ivory Loving Glass reflects more dynamic Amasa Hines