In the immortal words of the Village People: "You can't stop the music/Nobody can stop the music."
Yeah! Let's take a look at some recent and coming releases from Arkansas-connected artists.
"Welcome to the DOTosphere" — DOT: The debut EP from the Little Rock trio — Melanie Castellano, Jordan Wolf and Correne Spero — who cheekily describe themselves as "like the Doors without Jim Morrison," drops Friday on Fayetteville label Tape Dad. The first single, "Inescapable Things," is out now and is a bouncy punk rocker about the teeth-grinding anxiety of sleepless, worried-filled nights and a succinct, hyper-catchy anthem for our times. A virtual release party will be livestreamed at 7 p.m. Nov. 7, on DOT's social media outlets. Find "Inescapable Things" and more at dotmuzic.bandcamp.com/.
"I Swear" — Big Piph, Bijoux: New single from Little Rock rapper Big Piph gets help from singer and longtime collaborator Bijoux. Piph explores communication breakdowns, social unease, race, community and other heady subjects on a track propelled by a funky beat and his confident, clever rapping. Piph says the track is supposed to be part of an EP that he hopes to release in early December.
"You Want Me to Love You" — Tiffany Lee: Another indie-pop gem from the Little Rock singer-songwriter, this track about the end of a toxic relationship starts off with some jazzy piano, brushed snare and finger snaps and swells to a rousing, arena-ready chorus. Throughout, Lee embodies vulnerability, strength and wisdom as she realizes "you don't love me/you just want me to love you." The track is part of a planned EP that should see the light of day in a few months, she says.
"Going Down to Sing in Texas" — Iris DeMent: Folk singer and multiple Grammy nominee DeMent lives in Iowa, but was born in Paragould. Her home state gets a not-entirely-loving mention on her new single, an epic, 9-minute-plus screed against open carry laws, police brutality, former President George W. Bush, President Donald Trump, Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, Islamaphobia and more. Accompanied by a jaunty piano and shuffling beat, DeMent, in her earthy, distinctive voice, bravely vents her rage in unadorned, plain language. The singer-songwriter has kinder words for, among others, youthful protesters, The Chicks and members of the Squad — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Rahida Tlaib (D-Mich.) — in the U.S. House of Representatives. Proceeds from sales of the single at irisdementofficial.bandcamp.com/track/going-down-to-sing-in-texas will benefit the Poor People's Campaign and food banks.
"Live by the Die" — Rocket Coma: This LP from the Fayetteville indie rockers will be released Saturday and was produced by Steve Albini (Nirvana, Pixies, Bush, etc.) at his studio in Chicago in the days before the pandemic struck. The first single, "Punchmeat," is out now and is a greasy, distorted stomper with equal parts Mudhoney grunge and surrealist imagery — "I see Cyclops/he punch like a buzzard." "Live by the Die," the follow-up to 2019's excellent "Rock Icon," is available for pre-save at Spotify.
"Weekend Yet" — Knox Hamilton: The latest from the Little Rock trio is a five-song EP of dreamy dance-pop confections that was released last month. "WiLD" opens the set with an updated disco shimmer; the cut is a fantasy ballad about a weekend hookup that has a strain of melancholy; "18" is a wistful, sweeping ode to a lost love and the EP closes with the sweet, acoustic-tinged "Get By."
"Retrospect" — Dandelion Heart: The debut album from Fayetteville-based four-piece Dandelion Heart will be released Nov. 8. Cellist, vocalist and guitarist Willa Thomason says the collection of 13 original Americana tracks "ranges from mellow and ethereal folk-pop to foot-stompin' blues and bluegrass" and is "centered around intricate three-part harmony and backed by a diverse range of instruments." Donna Mulhollan of Still on the Hill says the group has "the most beautiful harmonies imaginable." An album release party, taking place outdoors with appropriate social distancing, is set for Nov. 8 from 1-6 p.m. at Prairie St. Live in Fayetteville.
"Outrun the Moon" — Lucero: The new single from Memphis-based Lucero, which is fronted by Little Rock native Ben Nichols, came out last week and is a driving, atmospheric character study about a woman on the run. The track is the first from the LP "When You Found Me," which will be released Jan. 29 on Liberty and Lament/Thirty Tigers and was produced by Matt Ross-Spang.
"Baggage" — Whoa Dakota: The new single from Nashville, Tenn.-based Arkansas native Jessica Ott, who records as Whoa Dakota, drops Friday and is "an indie-pop ballad with R&B flair about leaning into love with integrity and vulnerability," according to press materials. Pre-save it at Spotify or Apple Music. The song's video, about a serial killer housewife and the husband who accepts her, also debuts Thursday.
"HowDoIGet2theFuture W/O You" — Rodney Block, Lex Norwood: Another sample of smooth jazz from Little Rock's Block. His trumpet glides effortlessly over a seductive, laid-back, easy-moving beat.
"Old Ground" — Matt Ward, Bonnie Montgomery: Singer-songwriter Montgomery, a Searcy native, teams with Australian alternative-country artist Ward on this single, which was released Monday.
"Call Out" — Zachary James, various artists: Proving her versatility, Montgomery is also among the collaborators with opera and Broadway performer James on this visual and audio album that will be released in December. The classically trained Montgomery will contribute a new composition for two voices, piano and steel guitar to "Call Out," which features works from female composers like Rachel J. Peters, Kamala Sankaram, Rene Orth and others.
"I AM" — Genine LaTrice Perez: The most recent project from Little Rock singer-songwriter Perez is a five-song EP of soulful, funky jams. The irresistible "It Takes Two" has a throwback, sexy R&B groove; "Send the Rain" is a powerful, heart-on-her-sleeve ballad and "Living My Best Life" is a swaggering, positive-vibes track about moving on from a relationship and features a verse from rapper Anikae Brown.
"Arkansas" — Chris Stapleton: What? Yes, the powerhouse country singer is actually from Kentucky, but he's all over the Natural State on his new single, which was released last week and will be part of his forthcoming album "Starting Over." The track, co-written with Mike Campbell of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is a pedal-to-the-metal country rocker that finds Stapleton lighting out of Fayetteville, where "they were calling the Hogs;" making a pit stop in Little Rock for some barbecue and running from the law by the time he hits West Memphis. "If you wanna get down/ You gotta get down to Arkansas." Indeed. Listen to it here: arkansasonline.com/1027stapleton/.