by John Tarpley
The label named after a high school dare involving ipecac has seen a lot in its five years. Since releasing a small run of Nathan Browningham's "Gotta Get It Outta Here" EP (yep, more scatology), the label has been home to more than a few new local classics, launched its own Little Rock-centric iconography in the omnipresent tattoos of label owner Travis McElroy's bearded head, and, most recently, taken a turn for the international, releasing new music from Jad and David Fair of the great Half Japanese.
Thick Syrup's most recent release, " '78 LTD," has stirred up interest from as far away as Japan thanks to the compilation's line-up, which includes members of Pearl Jam, Sebadoh, The Descendents and other '90s college rock greats. At this point, the label's trajectory may be pointed outside of state, if not national, boundaries. But this weekend, Thick Syrup birthday parties with friends over two nights.
Friday, the label blows candles at White Water Tavern, with performances from early Thick Syrup band San Antokyo, newer supergroup Sweet Eagle, and Bryan Frazier, replete with full band. Frazier will also be releasing "Thick and Thin: A Collection, 2003-2010," a compilation of singles, demos, outtakes and b-sides from the local pop songwriter.
The following night, Thick Syrup drives it down the street to Hot Springs for a second night of partying at Maxine's. The Reparations, the roots rockers fresh off of releasing their latest album, "Ride or Die," joins the lumbering rockers of Brother Andy and His Big Damn Mouth and The Walking Lawsuits of Hot Springs.