by Robert Bell
THIS HOLY HOUSE
9 p.m. Stickyz. $5.
This Holy House is a relatively new act, but the band — then a trio but now a quartet — impressed last year's panel of judges at the Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase, winning the last semifinal round. This show is an album release party for "Love and Hope in the War Times," the band's debut full-length, recorded last summer at Blue Chair Studios.
Opening track "Love and War" starts off gently and builds to an emotional peak, with jabbing electric guitar, crashing drums and soaring vocals from singer and guitarist Elliott Cotten, while a banjo is plucked pastorally in the background. The group plays what could loosely be described as Americana, but they incorporate a lot more distortion and guitar fireworks than your average group of bearded young folkies. They even indulge some welcome bluesy rock 'n' roll swagger, as on "Three Pieces for the Devil's Chess Game" or "Hold On to Me."
The countrified Conway hellraisers in Swampbird open the 18-and-older show.