Memphis Pencils
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Memphis Pencils


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"Accidental Tourism: Two Nights Of Unexpectedly Good Music @ The Buccaneer With Memphis Pencils and American Aquarium"

Filed under Musique Non Stop, On Tour, Ones To Watch

I wander into The Buccaneer, known to many as “Memphis’s favorite hipster dive bar”, from time to time on a whim, usually right around show time. Normally, they just have a great jukebox playing an outrageous selection of punk, classic country and classic rock — imagine hearing Black Sabbath followed by Johnny Cash followed by The Oblivians. That’s good enough for me, but bands travelling through Memphis can occasion to end up there. It has a good sound system and the room is really small, so you can hear the band (although you can’t move if it’s packed).

Anyways, the last two nights I’ve been treated to two excellent shows from two very different bands. The first was a band from Fayetteville, Arkansas called (rather oddly) Memphis Pencils. This six-piece outfit who all hail from that university town are clearly influenced by bands like Belle & Sebastian, Okkervil River, Elliott Smith and a bunch of other names I can’t quite bring myself to drop right now. These kids gave a performance that was filled with endearing charms and sweet melodies. Their first EP, Crayon Jewels was hand painted and drawn and given to me to listen to. It’s quite lovely, I think you’ll agree. All the songs are available to download from their MySpace page for free, so I will post up a couple of my faves — “Un Dandy Dia” and “Keep It Simple, Sartre”.

Memphis Pencils - Un Dandy Dia
Memphis Pencils - Keep It Simple, Sartre

- Loudersoft

"Students rock for Ron Paul"

Media Credit: Stephen Ironside
(Left to right) Drew "Noodles" Wallis, senior; Martin "Liberty" Bemberg, sophomore; Reed "Tumbleweed" Faitak, sophomore; Mr. James Vincent Sloan, sophomore and Gary "Hairy" Sloan, sophomore; members of the Memphis Pencils, play Saturday at the Rock for Ron Paul concert.

The registered student organization Students for Ron Paul hosted the "Rock for Ron Paul" concert from noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Chi Omega Greek Theater. A variety of musicians performed to promote political awareness. In addition to music, testimonials were given by individuals both in support and opposition to the Ron Paul movement. Portions of his speeches were also viewed via YouTube. The concert was sponsored in part by Qdoba's Mexican Grill, which provided free chips and salsa to those in attendance.

A member of Students for Ron Paul organization said the group was motivated to host the event because the publicity of music helps present their political views to the general public and the community. "We're not trying to suck them into politics, we're just trying to get them involved," said David Fryauf, vice president of the RSO. "There are a lot of inspiring and funny videos, and that's what we want people to see."

The featured acts of the concert included Bright Shade of White, Apartment 5, Memphis Pencils, Timber, Wing and a Prayer, Up with Freedom and Sandy Rowles. Each act performed voluntarily, either because they were in support of Ron Paul or merely enjoyed performing.

"Most of us working with student groups don't want to get in people's faces but rather present information to them," Fryauf said.

Students for Ron Paul came up with the idea to host the concert through the off-campus area group for Paul. In addition to this concert, they've also been tailgating and chalking the UA.

The members of Students for Ron Paul are in support of many of Paul's reforms, including his goal to lower taxes and have less government involvement. However, being against the war on drugs takes on a greater manifestation for students.

"[Paul] doesn't want to waste resources on the prison system," Fryauf said. "He probably wouldn't legalize drugs but maybe downgrade possession to a misdemeanor, maybe soften up the drug policy." - The Arkansas Traveler

"Interview at CMJ 2008" - Quinn's Posts @

"Halloween with the Memphis Pencils Podcast" - Arkansas Democrat Gazette blog: Tuned In

"..whimsically intellectual.."

Memphis Pencils


409 N. Main Street

10 p.m. Saturday

Cover: Free

Music: Memphis Pencils, with Sirhan Sirhan and 2 Headed Phantom.

This whimsically intellectual (yes, those two words can fit together) Fayetteville, Ark., band sings songs with names like “Un Dandy Dia,” and “Keep it Simple Sarte.” Band co-founders Martin Bemberg and Reed Faitak met twins Gary and Jim Sloan at the University of Arkansas in early 2007. Mixing quirky instruments, from trombone to banjo to maracas, and, well, the fellas could have started their own parade supply company. Instead, it added Molly Long on vocals and glockenspiel and Drew Wallis on drums and instead became a psychedelic pop band. Fayetteville cohorts, ambient rock act Sirhan Sirhan, will also perform. - Jennifer Chancellor -Tulsa World Scene Writer

"College Day at CMJ"

It’s College Day at CMJ, which means free food and awards...The band there to amuse us while we eat is an 8-piece from Fayetteville, Arkansas called the Memphis Pencils...I did find their sound inoffensive and rather relaxing. - CJLO -Jackie Hall (Bridge the Gap)

"Good band from Fayetteville?"

"The Memphis Pencils are actually from Fayetteville... funny." -Joe Pestilence -

"Winner U of A Battle of the Bands 2008"

Fayetteville bands battle to become UA champion
Brian Washburn
Issue date: 4/25/08 Section: Life & Style

By unanimous decision, University of Arkansas Battle of the Bands 2008 results are:

1st - Memphis Pencils
2nd - The Darksuits
3rd - Ben Rector

The Union Ballroom will be rocking at 8 p.m. tonight for the Battle of the Bands. The concert, hosted by the University Programs, is part of Hogfest Friday Night Live and admission is free to all, said Grant Spencer, the UP concerts committee chair who organized the event with Liz Hughes.

The three top bands will receive gift cards to Saied Music Company in the amounts of $400, $200 and $100. The winners will also receive an assortment of gifts from the sponsors, including a video production package courtesy of Fayetteville's own Imagine Film Company, Spencer said.

There will also be a prize of the fan favorite, who will be voted on by Friday night's audience, he said.

Although the line-up schedule has not yet been confirmed, the six bands who will perform are The Darksuits, Apartment 5, Sirhan Sirhan, Memphis Pencils VII, Ben Rector, and Jarris.

The Darksuits formed in the wake of a bitter breakup and came together sharing passions for progressive rock and crackly vinyl, according to the band's biography. Complete with an energetic live show and business attire, The Darksuits are all about craft, with their melodies - shoe-gaze guitars, playful keyboards and tight rhythm section. However, when asked what sets the band apart, The Darksuits gave their six P's for success: "poise, pomp, personality, persistence, person-ablity, and patriotism," according to the biography.

Apartment 5 is a group of best friends from high school who make alternative indie rock. They are influenced by the Strokes, Incubus, Radiohead, and Modest Mouse, according the band's biography. Apartment 5 will record a full-length album this summer and will embark on a tour.

Sirhan Sirhan was formed during last year's Battle of the Bands when metal band Everest performed. Viewer Andrew McDougal convinced Everest drummer Drew Wallis to join in his quest to form a band. This quest includes "a god of rhythm and shredder of chords this town hath never seen," according to the band's biography.

Memphis Pencils VII formed more than a year ago and has already had two successful Arkansas and neighboring state tours. Memphis Pencils VII describe their sound as quirky pop with some satire, catchy melodies and original structure, according to their biography.

Ben Rector, the 2006 Battle of the Bands winner, is a popular artist here at the UA and even won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2006, Spencer said.

"Rector keeps a busy tour schedule and also released his album, Twenty Tomorrow, last year," he said.

Jarris is a five-piece pop rock band who "stays true to their melodic influences by mixing a big rock sound with powerful vocals," according to the band's MySpace page. Their debut EP, All the Lonely Girls, is available now on iTunes and Napster Rhapsody.

Although all six bands look to rock the house and woo the crowd tonight at the Union Ballroom, only one thing is certain. There can be only one 2008 Battle of the Bands champion. - The Arkansas Traveler

"the 8088 Record Collective Compilation Vol. III"

We're back to 30 artists on the comp! Since it took 2 weeks to settle on a deal for the comp, we've accepted one more participant into the fold.

Yes we have settled on a deal. Be on the lookout for a mass email in your email accounts (check your spam folders) by late tonight or early tomorrow morning with details. I'll also post a new thread here with the information once I get it all coherent...

01 Androctopus
02 Asleep, Audience...Dream
03 Bridge Farmers
04 Sleep Today
05 Somebody Else's
06 A is Jump
07 K_Niv_Es
08 Orents Stirner and the Spirit Noise Academy
09 Ekmun
10 Betaplayer
11 Sassy Goose
12 Ginsu Wives
13 The Binary Marketing Show
14 Bad Credit No Credit
15 Transmography
16 Memphis Pencils
17 Mount Comfort
18 Aunt's Analog
19 Crash
20 Glossolalia
21 Phalynx
22 Maximum Homeless Guy
23 Semiautomatic Ground Environment
24 Two Eyes Meet Redux
25 Clapper Claw
26 Harmute
27 Androids of Ex-Lovers
28 Prison School
29 Jeremy Harris
30 Unnamed Joshua Bratcher Project
- the 8088 record collective

"Northwest Arkansas Music Awards: Nominated "Best New Band""

Hooray For Dickson Street, By Carla R Herrera

Posted on 03 April 2008

Dickson Street is literally springing to life this year with four major events, the 13th annual Northwest Arkansas Music Awards (NAMA), the 26th annual SpringFest, the Locally Unique art fair and the Dickson Street Music Festival taking place in a three-day period, April 24-26.
The big weekend kicks off at 8 p.m. on April 24 with the 13th annual Northwest Arkansas Music Awards, NAMA XIII, at the Dickson Theater. The event is a Grammy style ceremony that honors local musicians.

Nominated musicians will begin arriving by limousine at 6:30 p.m. for a private reception. Red carpet interviews will be taped outside the theater as the musicians arrive.

Doors open to the public for the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Awards will be presented in 18 categories in addition to Hall of Fame awards, which are presented to performers who have won three NAMA awards.

There will be musical performances by Benjamin Del Shreve, Memphis Pencils, Luda, Luminfire and the Pope County Bootleggers.

Helping put the “roll” in rock ‘n’ roll this year, will be members of the Northwest Arkansas Roller Girls who will be assisting with the awards presentations.

Returning as Master of Ceremonies will be Robert Cochran, Arkansas music historian and director of the Center for Arkansas and Regional Studies and KUAF news director Kyle Kellams.

The event is a benefit for the Fayetteville based Northwest Arkansas Free Health and Dental Clinic, which provides health services for the underserved.

Tickets are $10 and available at the door. For information call 601-4549.

In previous years, SpringFest was only a daylong affair, but this year, it has been extended to two days and is now eco-friendly too. Festival organizers have enlisted the aid of Matthew Petty, Executive Director for, an organization that provides education and project management for eco-friendly events and Beatnik Environmental to help plan environmental initiatives for the weekend.
“Our goal is zero waste for the event, but we may not achieve that this year, because we have had a short time to plan,” Petty said. “Next year there will be no waste,” he said referring to the 2009 Fayetteville festivals.
Springfest will be open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on April 25 and 8 a.m. to midnight on April 26.
In line with the eco-friendly theme, SpringFest will include new activities such as community art projects, an art show and a commitment wall for people to write and draw upon in addition to traditional festival events of bed races, a kids area, a dog parade, belly dancers, the traditional pancake breakfast, a chili cook-off, music and arts, crafts and food vendors. The festival will begin with a parade and chili cook-off sponsored by the International Chili Society.
Organizers are placing recycling bins with large signs situated over them throughout the entire Dickson Street area along with composting bins for food scraps. “There won’t be that much trash,” Petty said. “Almost nothing will go into the landfill.”
Artists will be creating a “Recyclart” project, a day long juried sculpture on April 26 at George’s Majestic Lounge. Participants will create their art from recycled materials.
Volunteers are still needed for the Springfest for face painting, chalk drawing, barricades, security and drink servers. To volunteer, call 521-0337.
“Locally Unique” an art sale to benefit Northwest Arkansas Community Creative Center’s scholarship fund will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 26 at the Nadine Baum Studio, 505 W. Spring St., at the south end of the Walton Arts Center parking lot.
Some of the artists who will be participating are: Lesha Shaver (book bindery and printmaking), Alice McKee, Nichelle Wilson-Parish (textile art), Tana Janeen, Kimberly Witter and Steve Stramel (jewelry), Trent Tally, Mike Waldie, Melody Devere, Marcella Thompson, Kelly Brenner, Daymara Baker, Nan Yarnell, Victoria McKinney (clay), Karolyn Farrell, , Liz Kartwell (painting), Joy Caffrey (mulit-media) and work by art students from the University of Arkansas and NWACCC>

“All of us at NWACCC are very excited about our Locally Unique sale to help raise money for our scholarship program. We currently offer 20 percent scholarships to our “After-School Art” students and hope to raise this figure to 40 percent next year,” said Deirdre Aureden, NWACCC board member.

The Dickson Street Music Festival will also be eco-friendly with recycling bins placed over the entire area.
In its first year, the Dickson Street Music Festival will be held in the city parking lot at the southwest corner of Dickson Street and West Avenue from 5-11 p.m. April 25 and from 4:30 p.m. to midnight on April 26.
The Charlie Daniel’s Band will headline the April 25 concert, which also features 38 Special and Shooter Jennings. The April 26 concert will feature Sonic Youth, Little Feat and Michael Franti and Spearhead.
“This is the largest musical event to hit Northwest Arkansas,” said promoter Dan Allen of Majestic Concerts, “There are six national touring artists coming together for one event and that’s never been done here before.”
Allen said that promoters expect from 5,000 to 6,000 people to attend the concerts each night.
In addition to the groups playing at the music festival, anyone who purcases a ticket for either night of the concert will be given access to shows at George’s Majestic Lounge and Jose’s on Dickson Street after the concerts.
On April 25, Speakeasy and Fred Tackett will be performing at George’s, with Patrice Pike and Tiffany Christopher at Jose’s. On April 26, Blind Melon will play at George’s and with Patrice Pike and Tiffany Christopher returning to Jose’s.
Concert tickets are $30 a day or $50 for both days. Ages six and under are free. Tickets are available at
Concerts will be moved to the Randall Tyson Center in case of inclement weather.

NAMA XIII Nominees

The NAMA XIII nominees have been selected and are listed below. To vote for your favorite musicians, go to You can vote only once and voting ends at noon on Thursday, April 11.

NAMA nominees are chosen by committee and based on talent, popularity and the number of performances or accomplishments in 2007.

Singer/songwriter male - Jovan Arellano, Paul Boatwright, Bryce Harrison, Jeff Kearney, Reese Neal, Wade Ogle; Singer/songwriter female- Tiffany Christopher, Jori Costello, Darlene, Sarah Hughes, Susan Shore, Shannon Wurst; Female Vocalist - Dawn Cate, Liz Lottman, Tanya Shylock, Leah Spears;
Male Vocalist- Benjamin Del Shreve, Matt Jones, Eddie Love, Ben Rector, Jonathan Taylor Rose, Ben Wardlaw; Indie/Underground/Ambient-The Counterlife, David’s Pegasus, Fire Don’t Care, Holy Ghost Children, MAR, The.Radio.Sky;
Pop Rock- Apartment 5, Benjamin Del Shreve, The Darksuits, The Good Fear, A Good Fight, Jonathan Taylor Rose; Power Rock/Southern Rock- Big Uns, Bob Kramer Incident, Maud Crawford, Joe Giles & the Homewreckers, Q-Land, Thanks for Nothing;
Metal/Hard Rock- Deadbird, Dirt Mother, Lethal Red, Pile of Dead Women, Storm the Castle, Wrought; Rock/R&B/Blues- Earl’s Garage, Eoff Brothers, Full House, Jeff Fox, Leah and the Mojo Doctors, Robert Hatfield Band; Jam/World Music - Joseph Israel, Mountain of Venus, Velcro Moonshoe;
Roots/Americana - Charliehorse, Chase Missy, Sarah Hughes Band, Ozone Players, Mountain Gypsies, Shout Lulu, Solomon’s Vine;
Jazz - Burson Starr Trio, Nathan McLeod Trio, Matt Smith Trio, Pentimento Players;
Electronic/Groove- DJ Soulfree, Fayetteville Funk Ensemble, The OneUps, SoundChild Crew, String Theory, Very Special Guests;
Best None Of The Above- Hustles the Hall, Listener Project, The Odds, Six Hung Sprung, Trio DeJaniero, A Wing and a Prayer;
Best New Band- Christmas Fuller Project, A Good Fight, Hustles the Hall, Memphis Pencils, Truth About Movie Stars; Band Of The Year- Apartment 5, Benjamin Del Shreve, Charliehorse, David’s Pegasus, Eoff Brothers;
Album Of The Year- Benjamin Del Shreve, David’s Pegasus, Sarah Hughes, MAR, Reese Neal, Shannon Wurst;
Best Producer/Studio Crisp, East Hall, The Listen Lab, Mustin Productions, Winterwood.
- Free Weekly


"Crayon Jewels EP" Recorded through the first half of 2007 and whose case we decorated as a band by hand!
1 Un Dandy Dia
2 Get with the Pogrom
3 Happy Birthday, Harvey
4 Keep it simple, Sartre

"Joel Paul's Album" Recorded Summer 2008
1 Like Toast and Tolerance
2 Un Dandy Dia
3 Get with the Pogrom
4 Janet Reno Yawning
5 Keep it Simple, Sartre
6 Happy Birthday, Harvey
7 San Francisco- show and tell!
8 Decay, I'm on my way



Let's start with a little history, shall we?

Yes, that sounds nice. Shall we put on some tea?

The two thousand and seventh year since the birth of Christ is still in its infancy; the cold has lost its novelty and the people their fickle, feigned appreciation for the season. Spring is on its way, but no one knows it. What they do know is that they are antsily prepared for extraordinary things to happen. It is in this bleak time that Martin Bemberg and Reed Faitak, friends since potty training and musical partners since pubescence, meet Gary Sloan and his twin brother Jim between classes at the University of Arkansas. Martin, having recently heard Grizzly Bear for the first time while on his back and bedroom floor, has some big ideas and finds that the Sloan twins are just the men for the job. The band's first show is in the first week of April at the inauguration of the New Delicious and features Martin's roommate, another friend since toddlerdom, Molly Long. It is to go down as a sloppy, energetic bit of quirk, and an overall success. A few weeks later, the band performs at the University of Arkansas Battle of the Bands and though it doesn't make the top three, the performance turns out to be a monumental one - it is here that Memphis Pencils are introduced to the core members of Mt. Comfort, Andrew McDougal and Drew Wallis, the latter of which is to become the band's drummer. Skip forward a year and the Pencils are on the same stage accepting their "unanimously" endowed frist place prize.

What important events occurred in that liminal year?

Oh - the water is boiling. Yes, of course. In that year the Pencils did two tours through Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Tennessee, where they met E.J. Friedman of Loudersoft, the founders of Fontee Fount, and many other characters. In addition, the band garnered support from local musicians and musical enthusiasts, a fact which helped them land a show with Slaraffenland in October.

What's been happening since then?

Boy, this is good, 'bout that Freud? After the battle of the bands, some hypomania, bear hugs, and a nomination for the Northwest Arkansas Music Awards' "Best New Artist" award, the band hit the road again with Mt. Comfort through Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas, where they bunked with Transmography (whoa, that's a sweet treehouse) and were asked to include their music on the 8088 Record Collective's newest compilation and potentially play at SXSW 2009. Recently, the Pencils played at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City after winning's Grand Prize and, having lost both of the Sloans to the Office of Study Abroad, scrambled to replace them with Andrew McDougal and Neil Lord of Mt. Comfort, Brian Wolf of The Kicker Knot, James Pittman of Legion's Endless Summer and Wally Phillips of Niceville, Florida.

How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?

With difficulty.

And so if someone were to ask you whether your songs are very different from one another, whether you treat texture and auxiliary instruments such as banjo, glockenspiel, trombone, saxophone, synthesizers, melodica, and vocal harmonies as the krux of your sound, whether your mantra concerning song structure is "pattern up the quirks and quirk up the patterns," and whether your biggest influences are The Zombies, Grizzly Bear, Andrew Bird, Animal Collective, and The Beatles, what would you say?


Venues played:
George's Majestic Lounge, Fayetteville, AR
Ameroplace, Fayetteville, AR
Froggy's, Fayetteville, AR
The Gypsy, Fayetteville, AR
Cheers, Fayetteville, AR
The New Deli, Fayetteville, AR
The Delicious, Fayetteville, AR
The Soundpony, Tulsa, OK
J&J's Pizzeria, Denton, TX
Trophy's, Austin, TX
Plush, Austin, TX (SXSW)
Chaindrive, Austin, TX (SXSW)
Notsuoh, Houston, TX
Lazer Puzzy, Little Rock, AR
Vino's, Little Rock, AR
Easy Street Theater, Little Rock, AR
Ft. Delicious, Russellville, AR
Some Burrito Stand, Russellville, AR
Minnie Harris Park, Harrison, AR
Uncommon Grounds, Harrison, AR
Some Coffee Shop, Clarksville, AR
Low Key Arts, Hot Springs, AR
The Buccaneer, Memphis, TN
Llama's, Nashville, TN
Fontee Fount, Springfield, MO
Methvin's, St. Louis, MO
NYU, New York, NY (CMJ)