Digital Leather at The Sydney, Dec. 3, 2011.

Welcome to Lazy-i, an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news.

The focus is on the indie music scene. Yes, there's a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area, but Lazy-i also offers interviews, stories and reviews about national indie bands.

Most of the feature stories and columns in Lazy-i will have previously been published in The Reader, Omaha's weekly alternative newspaper.



Live Review: Palma Violets, Public Access T.V.; The Big 50 Concert is a week away; Palehound tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:19 pm May 27, 2015
Palma Violets at The Waiting Room, May 26, 2015.

Palma Violets at The Waiting Room, May 26, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tuesday night concerts are a crap shoot no matter who’s playing, especially after a “holiday.” There’s a good chance no one will show up to see a band that might draw a large crowd any other night of the week or weekend. Who knows how may people would have come out to see U.K. band Palma Violets had they played on Friday or Saturday night rather than last night at The Waiting Room? But in reality, the day of the week may not have mattered much despite the fact that Palma Violets are kind of a thing these days, recording on Rough Trade and garnering a rep as a hard-charging party band in the tradition of classic acts like The Clash or even The Doors, thanks to their ballroom anthems that sound like they’d be right at home belted out on a ship’s galley.

So it was no big surprise to see fewer than 50 people in the club when I arrived at about a quarter past nine last night, just in time to see opening band Public Access T.V. do their set to a mostly empty floor. The youthful NYC 4-piece (these guys looked young) ripped right into a set that recalled ’70s-era pop rock by way of The Strokes or, more accurately, Foxygen. Every song had a clever riff and a bouncing rhythm, though I couldn’t tell you what any of the songs were about as lead singer John Eatherly was more intent on getting the dozen or so youngsters in front of the stage hopping. The only line that came through the buzz was “I don’t want to live in California,” and who can blame them?

Before Palma Violets came out, one of the band members (the drummer?) walked to the edge of the stage and recited T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” in its entirety, line by line, read from the screen of his white iPhone — a touching, if not melodramatic, way to start a rock show.

On charged the four-piece playing mostly songs off their new Rough Trade album Danger in the Club to a club crowd now ballooned to just slightly more than 50. But what a 50 it was. The audience jumped in rhythm to nearly every song, and the Violets seemed genuinely grateful for the dancing.

Guitarist/vocalist Samuel Thomas Fryer has a rough British voice tailor-made for barking out the lyrics to these pounding garage-rock songs which are the perfect soundtrack to your next drunken soccer party. Bassist/vocalist Alexander “Chilli” Jesson sojourned off stage into the crowd a number of times, trying to make a personal connection to the bouncing fans, and sometimes succeeding. Adding color was a fifth band member (of sorts) — a giant skulking roadie/stage hand who paced onto the stage to straighten microphone stands or adjust a cymbal, always quick to grab the chord when Jesson traipsed into the crowd, at one time grabbing a tambourine, another time joining in on harmonica only to leave the stage right after his part was over.

Like any great band, Palma Violets gave more than they got from such a small crowd, performing (as the ol’ cliche goes) as if they were playing in front of an SRO arena rather than a clutch of fans and empty tables. It’s not the size of the crowd that matters as much as how it reacts, and the band couldn’t ask for anything more, pulling off a rather fantastic set that closed with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Death Is Not the End” (made just as famous by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) before coming back to belt out three more.

* * *

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The big 50 Birthday show at Reverb Lounge is exactly one week away, Wednesday June 3. If you haven’t already now is the time to start making plans — call your sitter, gdt time off from work the next day. Check out this Facebook Event / Calendar listing and RSVP…

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Massachusetts band Palehound (Exploding In Sound Records) with Lineman’s Rodeo, Big Slur  and Mark Johnson. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Palma Violets, Public Access T.V., Darren Hanlon tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:18 pm May 26, 2015
Palma Violets headline at The Waiting Room tonight...

Palma Violets headline at The Waiting Room tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I didn’t hit a single damn show this past long weekend. No Built to Spill; no Sons of O’Leaver’s… I blame being partially under the weather. Hey, I’ll try to make up for it this week, (maybe) starting tonight at The Waiting Room where Palma Violets are headlining.

Their latest album, Danger in the Club (Rough Trade, 2015), has been maligned by some online channels, Pitchfork being the worst offender, giving the album a lowly 4.5 rating and calling it “a last-ditch attempt to aestheticize (sic) a sublime lack of inspiration.” Eek.

I’ve been listening to the record for the past couple weeks and will tell you it’s not that bad, in fact it’s not bad at all. The album was produced by John Leckie, who’s worked with Stone Roses, Radiohead and The Fall, among others. The Brits get it. NME rated it an 8 out of 10. I’d put it somewhere in the middle. While the album has some rousing moments (that no doubt will translate well to the stage) there is a propensity to ramble in a Titus Andronicus sort of way. Opening is NYC band Public Access T.V., whose self-titled EP was released by Terrible Records a couple weeks ago and is a (sort of) nod to psychedelic by way of The Strokes. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Australian singer/songwriter Darren Hanlon headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. He’s been opening shows for Courtney Barnett on her current tour. Opening tonight is Grape Soda (members of Well Aimed Arrows) and Nathan Ma. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review Laibach; Crom Fest weekend; Built to Spill, Sons of O’Leaver’s Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:05 pm May 22, 2015
Leibach during their cover of Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man," at Slowdown, May 22, 2015.

Laibach during their cover of Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man,” at Slowdown, May 22, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Small but boisterous crowd for Laibach last night at The Slowdown. Maybe 125 (pure guestimate) was on hand to see the Slavic titans put on their unique, goth version of a post-industrial dance party.

The entire production was well-constructed. I wouldn’t call what they played last night “Industrial” as much as art-synth rock with an accent. There were elements that sounded like the band was parodying a Cold War East German synth band when in fact this was the real thing, taken to a modern world where The Wall has been torn down for decades and the only thing to rant against is capitalism, in an “Occupy” sort of way.

The band consisted of three synths, a drummer and two vocalists, chief of which was the gravel-voiced Milan Fras, who I’m told (by the fan sitting next to me last night) sounded exactly like he did in the ’80s. Countering his growl was the Enya-esque singing of Mina Špiler. My pal said the band seemed like a kinder, gentler, modern version of the Industrial band he remembered from his youth. There were times during the second of two sets (complete with intermission) that their music sounded like a Euro-synth dance party, sort of a cross between Depeche Mode and The Faint, but with more growling.

Not to say that’s a bad thing. Add the dramatic staging and you’re getting your $25 worth — digital klieg lights beamed across the Slowdown’s empty balcony like WWII search lights, while images flashed on the screen behind the band — sometimes like Mac screen savers, other times showing clips from what looked like a German science fiction film complete with flying saucers emblazoned with swastikas, a sort of Battlestar Galactica fascist nightmare vision, which was actually pretty cool if not disturbing.

The best moments were the symphonic-style movements from the first set (again, very Enya), the cover of Bob Dylan’s “Ballad of a Thin Man,” and the encore, which was sung in a foreign language. These foreign-language songs were the most powerful, maybe because they were the most mysterious and — combined with the goth-synth music — the most disturbing. We add our own meaning when the language isn’t English, inescapably haunting and filled with post-apocalyptic dread.

* * *

Well, one assumes there will be nothing dreadful about what’s happening at The Waiting Room and Reverb this weekend. The One Percent clubs are hosting the 3rd Annual Crom Comedy Fest Friday through Sunday nights. Says comedian Mike Perry, “The festival is locally produced and was started by OK Party Comedy, a local collective created to give Omaha an option that isn’t a corporate comedy club with drink minimums and hacky jokes.” You be the judge regarding hackiness. Pricing and line-up vary from club to club. Go to cromcomedyfest.com for more info.

Needless to say, it puts a hole in the musical calendar, though there’s still plenty going on.

The Barley Street has a full slate tonight, headlined by Strange Attractors with Kerry Eddy and The Current  Situation and Scott Severin. $5, 9 p.m.

It’s another all-local showcase tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Charlotte Sometimes, Kait Berreckman and The Ronnys. $5, 9:30 p.m.

The weekend’s big show is Saturday night at The Slowdown — the return of Built to Spill. The band is on the road supporting Untethered Moon (Warner Bros, 2015) their first studio album since 2009. Also on the bill are Wooden Indian Burial Ground and Clarke and the Himselfs. $20, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, 4ontheFloor headlines a show at O’Leaver’s with Clarence Tilton and The Sons of O’Leaver’s. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And that’s what I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Hear Nebraska raises $16k; Who is Laibach? (Spectre comes to Slowdown tonight)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:00 pm May 21, 2015
Laibach plays at The Slowdown tonight at 8 p.m.

Laibach plays at The Slowdown tonight at 8 p.m.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thanks to all of you who opened your wallets and gave to Hear Nebraska during this year’s Omaha Gives event. I’m told more than 300 people contributed gifts totaling more than $13,000, plus the organization won an addition $3,000 for having the most unique donors for its size category.

Of course you’ll have a chance to donate to Hear Nebraska again June 3 when Reverb Lounge hosts a very special rock show. Details at the bottom of this blog entry. Seriously, mark your calendars…

* * *

So who/what is Laibach? According to Wikipedia:

Laibach (Slovene pronunciation: [ˈlájbax]) is a Slovenian avant-garde music group associated with industrial, martial and neo-classical musical styles. Laibach was formed on 1 June 1980 in Trbovlje, Slovenia, at the time SFR Yugoslavia. The band represents the music wing of the Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK) art collective, of which it was a founding member in 1984. The name “Laibach” is the German name for Slovenia’s capital city, Ljubljana.

The band is on the road touring their most recent album, Spectre (Mute, 2014), which Pitchfork gave a lowly 4.9, saying, “The stiffly prefabricated industrial-dance grooves that Laibach habitually fall back on don’t quite cut it any more, and without a monolithic state to serve as the object of their satire, they’re reduced to mocking political fatuity. The result is sometimes all but indistinguishable from what they’re mocking.

But what does Pitchfork know? I haven’t heard the record, but I know that Laibach is renowned for its live shows, which are nothing less than arena quality. The fact that they’re coming through Omaha and to Slowdown is something of a miracle.

This is a recent live review, from Quietus, April, 2, 2015:

Their current show is dark, dense, thrilling, hilarious, a spectacle in a way precious few of the theatrical arena performances of our day so much as approach.

And

Chiefly, this set is heavy-duty ’80s electrop – damn fine heavy-duty ’80s-style electrop, at that – with the ludicrously charismatic Milan Fras’s vocals not so much guttural as dredged from the drains, and his (equally ludicrously beautiful) foil, Mina Spiler, cast as the perfect Teutonic, operatic ice-queen soprano. They assemble amid the sound of howling wind and slow percussive menace, as Riefenstahl searchlights rise from the stage and a skeletal constructivist tower weaves itself from lines of light across the backdrop screen.

One more comment from Wiki: The popular German musical group Rammstein has acknowledged influence by both the aesthetic approach and material of Laibach. When members of Laibach were asked by an interviewer about Rammstein “stealing” from them, they responded that “Laibach does not believe in originality… “

This show comes the day after Judas Priest launched this year’s Stir Concert Series. Laibach has little if anything in common the JP’s Spinal Tap pop metal, but I have to believe it would appeal to some of those who threw the devil horns last night in Council Bluffs. Maybe not. $25, 8 p.m.

* * *

Here’s that reminder I was telling you about. June 3. Be there.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Omaha Gives to Hear Nebraska; Digital Leather, Gloom Balloon, Orenda Fink tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:03 pm May 20, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.56.32 PMOn this, the high holy holiday of local fundraising — Omaha Gives Day — I’m not going to get all “guilt trippy” except to say that if you’re a musician or you run a business that involves music or you’re a music fan, you really should take a second and make a donation to Hear Nebraska.

I’m not saying this just because (full disclosure) I’m a Hear Nebraska Board Member; I’m saying it because there isn’t any other organization in this state that does what HN does for local music — from first-rate promotion of local shows to music journalism to the org’s emerging role as an important resource for putting on local shows. And now with the Good Living Tour, HN is getting bands heard in the outer reaches of the state.

As Hear Nebraska continues to grow, I see it becoming an even more crucial resource for local bands and musicians, which are at the heart of what HN is trying to accomplish.

You can be a part of it. Just go to this page on the Omaha Gives website and make a donation of any size. You’ll feel good all over.

* * *

There’s a boatload of shows happening tonight.

Top of my list (of course) is Digital Leather at The Brothers Lounge. The band has a new record, All Faded (FDH Rcords) coming out June 23 that is arguably the best thing they’ve ever done, and is destined to be in my top-10 “favorites” list of 2015. This morning CMJ premiered the first track off the album, “Cold Inside,” which you can hear below.

See them perform it live tonight. Also on the bill is Indianapolis self-proclaimed “swampydeathrock” band We Are Hex. No cover listed, but probably $5. 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Iowa invades The Sydney with Des Moines bands Christopher the Conquered and Gloom Balloon. Gloom Balloon is the debut solo project by Patrick Tape Fleming, founder of semi-legendary indie rock band The Poison Control Center. Also on the bill is Omaha’s Bazile Mills. $8, 9 p.m.

Finally, there’s a big, free Omaha Gives showcase happening at The Slowdown tonight. On the bill: Orenda Fink, Louder than a Bomb, Opera Omaha, McCarthy Trenching and Super Ghost. The fun starts at 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Women musicians sought for Femme Fest; Anti-Flag at Slowdown tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:54 pm May 19, 2015

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Is it right to segregate music by the gender of those who make it? No.

But for better or worse, rock ‘n’ roll has historically been a boys’ club, with “girl groups” too often treated as an offshoot or novelty by ignorant fans who can’t get their minds around the fact that what women say in music is as relevant (or moreso) than anything men say.

Still, it’s hard to feel sorry for “women in rock” when so much of my favorite new music is fronted by — or written by — women. Such as: Courtney Barnett, Hop Along, Natalie Prass, Icky Blossoms, Laura Marling, Speedy Ortiz, Miniature Horse, Domestica, and so on.

That said, is Nebraska lagging behind the rest of the nation when it comes to women-fronted bands? That’s where Rebecca Lowry comes in. The singer/songwriter also known as All Young Girls Are Machine Guns is organizing a DIY festival dedicated to showcasing all the talented women in music in the Omaha/Lincoln community.

She’s calling it Benson First Friday Femme Fest (#BFFFF), and she’s targeting the first Friday of September — Sept. 4 to be exact. Clubs involved in BFFFF so far are The Waiting Room Lounge, Reverb Lounge, Barley Street Tavern, Petshop and Sweatshop, 1912, Burke’s, The Pizza Shoppe Collective and The Sydney. That’s like,  just about every possible venue in Benson.

With so many stages to fill, Lowry and the team that’s helping organize BFFFF are looking for talent. The submission process is now open. To get involved, simply send an email letting them know you want to play and the name of the woman/women in your project. Send your submission to bfffemmefest@gmail.com. Deadline is June 15.

BTW, the event is not exclusive to women. “Plenty of women in this community hold down male-fronted bands by playing the bass or by bangin’ it out on the drums or in any other number of ways. We will not leave them high and dry,” Lowry said in her press release. All ages and all genres are welcome.

Also, BFF’s Jamie Hardy is working on filling the usual spots with art from some awesome women,” Lowry said. “If there are any women interested in showing, they can contact Jamie directly at Bensonfirstfriday@gmail.com, making sure to put ‘Femme Fest’ in the subject line.”

* * *

Tonight at The Slowdown Pittsburgh punk rock band Anti-Flag (Fat Wreck Chords, SideOneDummy, RCA) headlines. The band’s progressive political rock goes back to 1988. All proceeds from the digital download of the track below, “Police Story,” are being donated to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund. Opening is The Homeless Gospel Choir and War on Women. $20, 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Rentals, Healer; Kevin Seconds tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:14 pm May 18, 2015
The Rentals at The Waiting Room, May 15, 2015.

The Rentals at The Waiting Room, May 15, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’ll start with The Rentals because it was one of the best shows I’ve seen this year. Frontman Matt Sharp and his band were transcendent on a number of levels despite fewer than 100 people in the Waiting Room crowd, a testament I suppose of the fact that their hey day was almost 20 years ago and how hard it is to keep your memory alive in the internet age. It certainly isn’t from lack of quality. The Rentals new record, Lost in Alphaville (Polyvinyl, 2014), is as good or better than the rest of their discography. If you were a fan of the band or of good electronic pop rock, you’d love it.

They came out in white lab coats with Sharp dressed in black Nehru chic. The outfits only lasted one song before the band dropped their guises for their usual stage clothes, though there would be more “costumes” later.

You could say the Haden sisters were an integral part of The Rentals’ original sound. They invented those unique tight-pitched cooing harmonies, as anyone familiar with their band (That Dog.) can attest. The fact that current vocalists Lizzi Ellison and Patti King (who also performed in opening band Radiation City) were able to reproduce those harmonies is impressive, let alone bring their own style to this material. The duo are less mechanical, more earthy sounding than the Haden sisters, which lent itself well to the new material along with a couple covers, including a fetching low-key version of Whitney Houston’s “I Want to Dance with Somebody” that was a heart-shaped nod to the ’80s  (but that would get eclipsed during the encore).

Sharp is a consummate performer, a theatrical presence constantly moving and reaching out to the rather small audience that surrounded the front of the stage. You’ve heard this one before, but it didn’t matter if there were 60 or 600 in the room, Sharp gave an arena-style performance, as did his band.

Ghostbuster Matt Sharp vs. the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man at The Waiting Room, March 15, 2015.

Ghostbuster Matt Sharp vs. the Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man at The Waiting Room, March 15, 2015.

For the encore, Sharp, Ellison and King walked onto the floor with a small Casio-type synth and sang the first song surrounded by the tiny crowd before returning to the stage to play the requisite encore song “Friends of P” with the full band. Prior to the end of the tune, however, Sharp exited stage right, leaving the band to finish the song alone. Something wrong? Nope. Out came Sharp onto the floor again, this time dressed as a Ghostbuster holding a marshmallow rifle, followed by someone dressed in a Sta-Puff Marshmallow Man costume. Hilarity ensued, along with a dead-on rendition of the Ghostbusters theme. Why not? Count yourself lucky if you were there to see it.

Healer at The Slowdown, May 15, 2015.

Healer at The Slowdown, May 15, 2015.

Earlier in the evening I caught the stage debut of Healer, the new supergroup that features members of Ladyfinger, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and UUVVWWZ. Fronted by Dan Brennan, the band specialized in a style of indie that melds traditional rock that leans toward Mother Love Bone grunge. Unlike so many vibe bands in the scene these days, Brennan writes full-on songs with soaring vocal melodies sung over a very tight band. If there’s a quibble it was with Brennan’s uncertain vocals, which wobbled and faded at times. Chock it up to this being their first gig, performed in front of a sizable main-stage Slowdown audience.

And maybe the fact that the band was missing one players, Jim Schroeder, who is out on the road with Simon Joyner. Simon passed along some bad news yesterday via Facebook. Someone broke into the band’s van while they were in Oakland, taking off with some pedals, cymbals and computer equipment. Despite that, Simon said the show — and the tour — will go on…

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Kevin Seconds, the lead singer and principal songwriter of legendary American hardcore punk band 7Seconds, headlines a show that also features Ted Stevens (Cursive, Unknown Project) and Aaron Parker (Gordon). Come see a legend up close and personal. $8, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Twinsmith, The Rentals tonight; R.Ring (Kelley Deal); The Travel Guild, Noah’s Ark Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:42 pm May 15, 2015
Twinsmith rocks the crowd at Bar 512 in Austin March 12, 2014. The band celebrates the release of its new full length, Alligator Years, at The Slowdown tonight.

Twinsmith rocks the crowd at Bar 512 in Austin March 12, 2014. The band celebrates the release of its new full length, Alligator Years, at The Slowdown tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s looking extremely busy this weekend, and right in the middle of it we have all these frickin’ storms. Batten down the hatches and get yourself to a club…

The hottest show of the evening is the Twinsmith record release show at The Slowdown for their Saddle Creek Records’ debut Alligator Years. Opening the show is the debut of new local “supergroup” Healer, which consists of Dan Brennan (Ladyfinger), Andrew Gustafson and John Svatos of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship on guitar and bass respectively; and David Ozinga and Jim Schroeder of UUVVWWZ on drums and bass VI/Rhoads, respectively. Whew! Opening the festivities on Slowdown’s big stage is State Disco $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile at The Waiting Room it’s the return of The Rentals. You read all about them in this interview with Rentals’ frontman Matt Sharp in the most recent issue of The Reader and online right here. Now see them live and on stage. Opening the show are tour mates Rey Pila and Radiation City (members of which will be backing Sharp as The Rentals on this tour). $18, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Fore1gn Body is hosting its EP release show at Reverb Lounge with Lightning Bug. $7, 9 p.m.

And over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Joe Jack Talcum of Dead Milkmen headlines with Samuel Locke Ward and Well Aimed Arrows. $7, 9:30 p.m.

But wait, there’s more!

Omaha’s favorite stoner/sludgerock band Nightbird headlines at The Lookout Lounge (the bar formerly known as The Hideout on south 72nd Street). Joining them are a zillion bands including Hand Painted Police Car, Rift, TenDead and I, Titan. $5, 9 p.m. Get there early and have a drink made by “Celebrity Bartender” Jimmy Winter (5 to 8 p.m., despite being a digital entrepreneur phenom, Jimmy (probably) doesn’t know what he’s doing when it comes to booze. Tip at your own discretion).

The list just gets longer Saturday night. On the top of it is R.Ring at O’Leaver’s. The band features Kelley Deal of The Breeders. Yes, this is really happening at O’Leaver’s. Also on the bill is Miniature Horse and Gothko. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, Almost Music in Benson is hosting an in-store Saturday night featuring The Travel Guide and Twin Cities, two of Wichita’s finest. Opening is Omaha band Stomach. $5, 9 p.m. BYOB.

The Slowdown is hosting a sold-out Atmosphere concert Saturday night.

The surprise show (at least it snuck up on me) is Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship at Reverb Lounge. Also on the bill are The Seen and Post Verse. $7, 9 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend and watch the skies…

A reminder:

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

The 50th Birthday Concert at Reverb, June 3, 2015. A benefit for Hear Nebraska.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Review: Icky Blossoms in Pitchfork (6.8 rating); harvest time for Saddle Creek Records…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 5:53 pm May 14, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been a long while since there’s been this kind of excitement surrounding Saddle Creek Records: Three releases over the course of the past two weeks: Hop Along’s Painted Shut, Twinsmith’s Alligator Years and Icky Blossoms’ Mask. Boom-boom-boom.

So far, the Hop Along release has received the lion’s share of press (but then again, it’s been out the longest). In addition to its massive Pitchfork rating (7.9), the album received a whopping 4-star review in the new issue of Rolling Stone. And the record is among the top-10 highest rated at review aggregator Album of the Year with a composite rating of 83 out of 100 (based on 10 reviews). Impressive.

Icky Blossoms, Mask (2015, Saddle Creek)

Icky Blossoms, Mask (2015, Saddle Creek)

Not to be outdone, Pitchfork just reviewed the new Icky Blossoms record, giving it a respectable 6.8 rating. The review concluded with, “…a follow-up that finds Icky Blossoms letting their guard down and embracing the values of their music scene, where there’s no higher form of fashion than wearing your heart on your sleeve.” OK then.

I listened to the record over and over last night. The album trounces around with more unbridled energy than the band’s debut, relentlessly so. Mask isn’t so much a dance record as a rock album with a beat that leans closer to acidic psychedelic more than EDM or “electro-clash” (whatever that means). For my money, Mask has more infectious electronic hooks than the debut, which makes it more interesting, and more fun.

Sarah Bohling sounds like an altogether different vocalist, with a range that goes well beyond the deep, pronounced croak heard on the debut. Pitchfork noted this as well, saying about the band’s debut, “There were moments where the band’s primary singer Sarah Bohling in particular sounded as if she longed to emote, but she restrained herself, because genre protocol dictated she remain as dispassionate as the sequenced pulses behind her. On Icky Blossoms’ sophomore album Mask, Bohling recasts herself as a real, vulnerable human being.” Hear hear!

If there’s a criticism it’s that the album is too relentless, rarely letting up on the gas pedal. There’s nothing on the new record as campy or fun as “Babes” or as slinkly/slacker as “Perfect Vision,” though for sheer debauchery, nothing on the debut matches album highlight “Away from You” and the line “Let’s get together / There’s no afterlife.” Or the emotional punch of “Want You So Bad,” which starts off sounding like a lost Azure Ray track.

Allmusic.com — maybe the oldest online review site — came in with a 3-1/2 star review for Mask, pointing out: “…the inelegant use of compression that causes even the sweeter parts of Mask to slam like a digital hurricane becomes downright distracting, especially on the final two tracks which, consequently, are the most aggressive and harshest mixes on the album. Production missteps aside, there is some great material here and Icky Blossoms’ big new sound generally agrees with them.

We’re still waiting for the Twinsmith reviews to come rolling in, though Allmusic has weighed in with a 3-star review, concluding: “…much of Alligator Years feels so familiar that it’s hard to distinguish them from the multitude of other generally pleasant bands working in this same milieu. Still, it’s a solid enough release by a talented young band who have the potential to grow into their own personality.

Exciting times. And it’ll keep on rolling next month when the new Desaparecidos new record comes out on Epitaph the same day the new Digital Leather record comes out on FDH. I haven’t heard the Desa record yet. The DL record is a breakthrough of sorts for the band.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room, The Lone Bellow (Descendent) with Cereus Bright and Clarence Tilton. $15, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Interview: The Rentals’ Matt Sharp; OPA pro panel redux…

Category: Blog,Interviews — @ 12:43 pm May 12, 2015
therentals

Matt Sharp of The Rentals navigates through a crowd. The band plays at The Waiting Room Friday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Sharp of The Rentals (and formerly of Weezer) talks about his band’s latest project, working with the Haden Sisters (of remarkable ’90s band That Dog) and what it takes to get heard in these days when there are a million channels instead of just three. From the story, which is online right here:

…Sharp knows that times have changed, and getting heard has never been more difficult. “If you go back to the ’50s and Elvis, there were only a few channels for the entire country,” he said. “Everybody had such limited options; they experienced things together, like this universal experience of seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.”

Today, with countless channels and outlets for media, is it possible for The Rentals to enjoy the kind of success that Weezer had?

“I severely doubt that,” Sharp said. “I don’t even think that’s in the realm of thinking because that was a different time. For those kinds of moments to happen everything has to fall into the right place.”

Read the whole story at The Reader here. I’ll be including portions of the interview in this week’s Lazy-i Podcast, which will (probably) go online tomorrow. In the meantime, READ.

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Fun times last night at The Waiting Room where I moderated a panel of music pros that included Orenda Fink, Mike Mogis, Matt Whipkey and CJ Olson. The room was packed and the time flew by as we discussed the art of songwriting, working in a recording studio and how to get noticed by a record label’s A&R guy. CJ talked about how Saddle Creek discovered and landed Hop Along, the newest addition to the Creek roster and the best non-Omaha addition in years.  Hop Along’s Saddle Creek debut is out now.

And Mike Mogis talked about how new artists should prepare for their first time in the studio, from having demos in hand to simply knowing what you’re going to play and how to play it, and then being open to what the producer or collaborator brings to the process. As he pointed out, the final product never sounds like the demos, nor should it.

And Orenda and Matt added technicolor to the writing process. Their bottom line: Be honest, write for yourself and don’t worry about trying to write a hit record. The best stuff always comes from the heart.

Someone was videotaping the entire panel. No idea if it’ll ever see the light of YouTube, but if it does, I’ll let you know.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i