Richmond, Virginia, rock-and-roll purists the Ar-Kaics return to Memphis next Saturday at the Buccaneer. Sounding like they could have had a slot on the excellent Back from the Grave compilations that dig up the best in unheard primitive rock from the 1960s, there's really nothing modern about the Ar-Kaics' music at all.
After a handful of singles on various record labels, the Ar-Kaics released their first full-length album on Windian Records last year, and given the no-frills approach to their single artwork, it's a bit of a surprise the self-titled album has any artwork at all. The band has taken the throwback presentation to the extreme, complete with fake band business cards, matchbooks with the band's logo on them, and other novelties exhibited by bands from the '60s that were trying to get signed.
But while the bands they imitate were certainly hungry for record deals, the Ar-Kaics seem to be completely satisfied staying underground. The band doesn't have much in the way of an online presence, isn't covered to death by indie music sites, and seems to be content working with record labels that exist somewhere in between underground and completely unknown.
Why then, are the Ar-Kaics worth checking out? Just like some of the best bands on the Back from the Grave, Nuggets, or Pebbles compilations, the Ar-Kaics make the most of the less-is-more approach, constructing raw and ready rock-and-roll that would make bands like the Night Dwellers and the Pulsating Heartbeats proud. They also delivered an amazing performance last year at the Hi-Tone, winning over an audience that knows a thing or two about raw rock-and-roll.
Opening Saturday's show is the new punk band Aquarian Blood, formed by J.B. Horrell, whose other band, Moving Finger, recently called it quits. Aquarian Blood features the drummer of Moving Finger, Laurel Ferdon, but she's moved to lead vocals, and Bill Curry of Hedgecreep and Buldgerz is now behind the drums. Aquarian Blood also features members of Lucha and the Flatspots and Hosoi Bros and former members of Nots and Manateees, which basically means they've enlisted half of the local punk scene.