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.



CORRECTION: Against Me! is tonight (Saturday 2/25); Laura Jane Grace speaks out about Trump…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 9:47 am February 25, 2017

Against Me! plays at Slowdown Saturday, Feb. 25.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I told you I was in a hurry yesterday, and when I rush I make mistakes, like saying the Against Me! show at Slowdown was last night instead of tonight.

The band’s latest album, Shape Shift with Me (2016, Total Treble), received a big 7.4 rating in Pitchfork. The band’s front woman, Laura Jane Grace, who came out as transgender back in 2012, spoke her mind about Trump withdrawing Obama-era protections for transgender students in public schools that let them use bathrooms and facilities corresponding with their gender identity.

Saying it’s a states’ rights thing essentially means OK-ing what’s happening in like North Carolina with bills similar to HB2. You’re giving the state the right to discriminate them,” Grace said in Rolling Stone (read the article here). What will she say about the controversy tonight from the Slowdown stage?

Check out some Against Me! videos below. Tickets are $20, show starts at 9 p.m. with Mobina Galore and Typesetter.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Oh Pep!, Wagon Blasters, tonight; Sucettes, Dave Nance, Against Me! Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:55 am February 24, 2017

Oh Pep! at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016. They return tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The power just came back on, and I have something to do over the noon hour, so this is gonna be quick-quick-quick…

NOTE: THIS SHOW IS CANCELLED due to weather. Almost Music in the Blackstone District is hosting a show tonight featuring Wichita band The Travel Guide, Omaha proggers Relax, It’s Science, and something called Nance Jessen Marasco, which Almost Music proprietor Brad Smith tells me is “improvisational freedom rock from David Nance, Kyle Jessen and Mike Marasco (Prairies, Simon Joyner, etc).” Oh boy! $5, BYOB, starts at 8.NOTE: THIS SHOW IS CANCELLED due to weather.

The Barley Street Tavern tonight is hosting Broke Loose, Brazen Throats and the mighty Wagon Blasters. No price listed but probably $5 and probably 9 p.m.

Oh Pep!, the Aussie duo of Olivia Hally and Pepita Emmerichs, who opened for Mountain Goats last September and whose album, Stadium Cake (2016, Dualtone) made it on my best of 2016 list, and who took part in a Ten Questions Survey right here, are opening tonight for Valerie June at The Waiting Room. I don’t know who Valerie June is, but I can tell you that Oh Pep! is worth the $15 admission on their own. Starts at 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s off to Reverb Lounge for an all-star garage/indie/low-fi concert headlined by Sucettes with Dave Nance Band and Mike Schlesinger. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at The Slowdown, Laura Jane Grace and the folks from Against Me! headline a show Saturday night with Mobina Galore and Typesetter. $20, 9 p.m.

That’s it for now. I might update this later if new info comes my way this afternoon. If not, have a great weekend and be safe on dem icy streets…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ted Leo goes the Kickstarter route; Lotus tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:57 pm February 22, 2017

Ted Leo does a street show. The photo is from his Kickstarter page.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Via an article in A.V. Club, Ted Leo today talked about why he went the Kickstarter route for his next album. Leo said with his relationship with mega-indie-label Matador Records at an end, Kickstarter was a viable option “… I feel it was an interesting and creatively challenging way for me to consider moving forward, not just with this album, but as artist wanting to make music at my own preferred pace. And not having to be buffeted about in the stormy seas of the record business such as it is.

Read the whole article here and contribute in Leo’s Kickstarter from here (I know I will because, well, I love Ted Leo).

I’ve been asked by local artists what I think of Kickstarter. It’s a great way to presale your record, especially if you intend to press vinyl. At the very least it’ll give you an idea regarding how much demand there is for actually releasing your music on vinyl. If you can’t hit your goal, you may want to rethink your strategy. Vinyl is pricey.

Leo’s goal is a whopping $85,000. He just went online with his Kickstarter and he’s already at the $50,000 mark. No doubt he’ll hit his goal, after which the pressure’s on to get the record out. He doesn’t want to be in the same situation that Matthew Sweet found himself, having conducted a Kickstarter in the summer of 2014 that he’s yet to make good at (though he promises the record will be out in late spring).

Another local artist brought Pledge Music to my attention. According to the website Pledge Music is “dedicated to empowering artists, labels and brands to build communities, fund and pre-sell recordings, and provide unique experiences and exclusives throughout the entire music production and promotion lifecycle.” Pledge is truly music-focused (unlike Kickstarter which is wide open to any offer), and is more of a pre-sale website with some monster users, including Willie Nelson and Weird Al and Nelly Furtado. Has anyone locally tried Pledge?

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Tonight Philly/Denver electronic band Lotus plays at The Slowdown. I only included this show announcement because the Slowdown’s description says, “The tightly produced yet raw grooves recall sounds of The Talking Heads, Jamiroquai, and LCD Soundsystem.” Really? JackLNDN opens. $25, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Tim Kasher music video (and free vinyl contest); new Conor Oberst music video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:52 pm February 21, 2017

A screen capture from Tim Kasher’s new music video for “An Answer for Everything.”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Someone recently asked me if I saw any value in music videos as promotional tools. My initial response was no, that I prefer to hear preview tracks or receive full promotional releases, that video can be expensive and can degrade the audio quality. Most videos are poorly conceived and do nothing to further the material. Most times I launch a video and then click to something else and listen to it in background.

Still, most artists continue to create videos if only to have a presence in YouTube, which is (strangely) one of the most common ways for people to listen to music online. It’s not that I don’t like music videos, on the contrary I grew up watching them on MTV. A well-made music video can alter how we perceive a song, for better or worse. Acts from the ’80s like Robert Palmer, a-ha and Duran Duran are unfortunately more known for their videos than their music. And it’s hard for me to not think about Robert Plant’s video for “Big Log” whenever I hear the song.

Anyway…

A couple familiar faces today released music videos. Tim Kasher released the second video from his upcoming solo album No Resolution, called “An Answer for Everything.” The album comes out March 3, but if you preorder it from the 15 Passenger website you could win vinyl for life from the label. Who doesn’t want that?

Then there’s Conor Oberst’s new video for the  full band version of “Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out” from his upcoming album Salutations. You can pre-order that one from the Nonesuch website. The record comes out on St. Patrick’s Day.

By the way, if you hadn’t notices (as I didn’t) that March 9 Conor Oberst show at The Waiting Room with Felice Brothers is SOLD OUT.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Matthew Sweet album update; Pkew Pkew Pkew tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:36 pm February 20, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The current state of Matthew Sweet’s new album, Tomorrow Forever.

Matthew Sweet chimed in with a number of updates over the weekend about his forthcoming album Tomorrow Forever.

The record has been mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London and will be a two-disc 17-song vinyl outing. Sweet’s trying to decide if he should use colored or black vinyl, saying black vinyl is better sound quality.

In addition, Sweet said he just signed a deal for his new label, Honeycomb Hideout, through Sony/RED. Sweet’s label will release Tomorrow Forever sometime in late spring. It’s been a longtime coming.

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The OEA Awards were last night at the Omaha Design Center. You can see the list of winners here.

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Reports of Milk Run’s demise in its current location appear to be exaggerated.

I was told last weekend’s shows were the last at the Leavenworth location. Since then, there have been a couple shows at Milk Run, including one scheduled tonight at NEO, the art gallery space next to Milk Run in the same building.

Headlining is Toronto rock band Pkew Pkew Pkew (Royal Mountain Records). I’m listening to their self-titled debut, which very much reminds me of Andrew W.K., but a little less rough around the edges. Opening is Ill Noise, The New Rosenbergs and Gongfermour. $8, 8 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Lupines (and more to come); Laughing Falcon, Ocean Black tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:34 pm February 17, 2017

Ocean Black back when they were Nightbird at The Sydney, July 18, 2014. The band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This will be a short entry as almost nothing happening musicwise this weekend, which sucks because some of us have Monday off. But before we get to that…

Lupines guitarist extraordinaire Mike Friedman emailed earlier this week to let me know the band dropped its latest collection, Eternal Wax, on Bandcamp. “We did this one by ourselves at home a couple years ago,” Mike wrote. “We wanted to get it out before we release the one we recorded at ARC last year. That one will have a physical release hopefully in the not too distant future.

I’m listening to Eternal Wax now and it’s exactly the kind of grinding, noisy garage-rock goodness we’ve come to expect from Lupines. Check it out below and download your copy.

Wish the Lupines were playing somewhere this weekend. As it stands, there’s only one show on my radar, and it’s tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s — a heavy rock show featuring Laughing Falcon, Ocean Black and Hyborian. Ocean Black is the newish name for Nightbird, a stoner rock band that features Lee Meyerpeter, Jeff Harder and Scott Zimmerman. They’re the real deal. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Milk Run remains a mystery. I’d heard last weekend’s shows were the last, then I heard they still will have shows at the venue. Tonight Sioux City post-hardcore band Grobe is slated to play according to the Milk Run Facebook page. Jettison and The New Rosenbergs also are on the bill. 8:30 p.m., $5.

And that’s it. Talk about a sleepy weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend and get out and enjoy the fine weather…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ten Questions with Mike Doughty (at The Waiting Room Feb. 15)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:48 pm February 14, 2017

Mike Doughty plays The Waiting Room Feb. 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mike Doughty’s music is deceptively simple but is, in fact, a sophisticated take on modern pop that reaches beyond simple rock and folk genre designations to something smarter, broader and ultimately, genuine.

A brief history: Doughty was the frontman to ’90s alternative band Soul Coughing, a bratty NYC four-piece that combined post-grunge, funk and indie into infectious rock centered around Doughty’s deep, brassy voice and whip-smart lyrics. Contemporaries included acts like Cake, Morphine, Eels and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. After releasing three successful albums on Warners, the band split up in 2000.

Doughty struck out on his own. The story goes that he sold more than 20,000 copies of his self-released EP Skittish out of the trunk of his car. It was none other than Dave Matthews that rediscovered Doughty in 2004 and rereleased his early solo EPs on his own ATO Records. Fourteen years and as many albums later, Doughty released the sublime The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns last year via PledgeMusic.

While his music recalls acts like Mountain Goats, Matt Pond PA, Rogue Wave and Spoon, Doughty’s style is more varied, inventive but no less catchy. We caught up with Doughty and asked him to answer our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mike Doughty: What a question! I think the album that changed my life that I’ve been listening to most often of late has been Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go.” I mean, to hell with that song.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Surprises — when the other musicians on stage do something fascinating and new during the show.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

When you go back to the hotel and there’s no Law and Order of any variety on any channel.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Cheese.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Omaha!

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I had a terrible show in Amherst, Ohio, in a yoga studio. I don’t know why I was playing a yoga studio. But there were drunks that couldn’t stop babbling in the middle of this very intimate quiet show, and the yoga queen who ran the joint was a total control hippie.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes. I started being able to not have a job in about 1994.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d like to write long-form fiction one day. I worked in a McDonald’s when I was 16 and it was incredibly dehumanizing.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I don’t know if I have stories. My best memory is walking from a hotel room to the tour bus on a cold, clear night, and seeing the Woodmen building looming majestically in the distance.

Mike Doughty performs with Wheatus Wednesday, Feb. 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $17. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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One update on yesterday’s item regarding the move of Milk Run from its Leavenworth location. I mentioned that last weekend’s shows were the venue’s last. Apparently that’s not the case. Lucas Wright of Black Heart Booking pointed out that he still has a show booked at Milk Run this Thursday featuring an acoustic set from Off With Their Heads plus Rackatees, Dummy Head Torpedo and Jeff Miller. I’d hate for people not to go to this show because they read yesterday’s item.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Landlady, Thick Paint; Milk Run moving locations…

Category: Column,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:45 pm February 13, 2017

Landlady at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 10, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Friday night’s Landlady show will likely go down as my first top-5 music moment of 2017. Fronted by Adam Schatz a.k.a. Brown Sugar of the band Man Man, the five-piece played a striking set of proggy indie rock that recalled Schatz’s other band and, for me any ways, acts like Les Savy Fav and Head of Femur. Landlady’s sound is inventive without being disjointed, melodic but sonically adventurous. And there’s nothing quite like Schatz’ voice, a high, cooing nasal delivery that bounces and jumps along with the acidic, almost afrobeat-style rhythms.

Drummer Ian Chang is one of the best stickmen I’ve seen under O’Leaver’s record collection, a marvel of poly-rhythms, he kept the sound boiling as Schatz and company rifled through a set of tunes off the bands’ last couple of albums. Highlights were a raging version of standout tracks “Electric Abdomen” and “Driving in California,” both off stellar new album The World Is a Loud Place (Hometapes, 2017).

At set’s end, Schatz brought up a small horn section, who stayed for the epic closer, a 10-plus-minute performance of “Above My Ground” where-in Schatz climbed above the crowd, leading them in a chorus of “Always, always, always…” that built to a climatic release. Well, you can see and hear for yourself in the following clip recorded from my phone for Facebook Live.

I’m told this was one of first times that opening act Thick Paint has performed as a full-blown band. Joining Graham Patrick Ulicny was a second guitarist, Icky Blossoms’ Sarah Boehling on bass, and two drummers.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 10, 2017.

The product was proggy goodness reminiscent of early Talking Heads. Like Schatz, Ulicny has a unique, high-end voice like no one else around here. The only set-back was that the band only played four songs because they’re so new together. We all want more, Mr. Ulicny.

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More about the above video: I am, again, pleasantly surprised at the audio quality one can capture from a handheld iPhone 7. I figured the mics would be blown out, but this doesn’t sound bad at all.

I had someone tell me I should do these iPhone recordings at every show. I don’t for a number of reasons, the first being it’s probably illegal, at least without the band’s permission. Second is that it’s got to be rather annoying for the band to see some guy holding a camera while they’re playing. And third, I’d rather just enjoy the music. Still, if I can sneak one song onto Facebook Live by bands that I know won’t mind, I will. Follow me at facebook.com/mcmahan.

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Arbor Labor Union at Milk Run May 28, 2016.

Word went out over the weekend that Milk Run is leaving its current location at 1907 Leavenworth. In fact, this weekend’s shows were the last at that specific venue, which hosted its first show Nov. 6, 2015.

Sam Parker, one of the founders of Milk Run, confirmed the rumor, saying the all-ages performance space will move to a new location with cheaper rent.

“It’ll be before the end of of the month. Possibly as early as this week,” Parker said. “It’ll be in the midtown area.”

Tried as I might, I could not pry the new location out of Parker. He said the owners will make an announcement this week “when they’re ready.” He did say the new space will be “roughly the same size” as the old Milk Run space. He also said expect the same sort of progressive, indie-flavored bookings.

Milk Run is one of the few places in town that consistently books out-of-town indie, post-punk and progressive bands. I was hoping the new place would be a tad larger than the crackerbox space on Leavenworth. We shall see soon enough…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Landlady (Brown Sugar of Man Man), Brad Hoshaw tonight; High Up, Wolf Dealer Saturday…

Category: Blog — @ 1:40 pm February 10, 2017

Landlady (includes members of Man Man) headline tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The weekend…

Top of mind is tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s where Landlady headlines. As mentioned earlier this week, Landlady is a project by Adam Schatz a.k.a. Brown Sugar of the band Man Man. The opening line-up ain’t bad, either: red hot Thick Paint (featuring Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny) and the inimitable Sam Adam Martin. Note $7 cover, starts at 9:30 p.m. Could be packed…

Also tonight, Brad Hoshaw opens for Dan Tedesco Band at Reverb Lounge. $10, 9 p.m.

And Milk Run’s got a busy weekend. Tonight Minneapolis post-hardcore band Infinite Me headlines with No Getter and Wisconsin grindcore act Falter, Minneapolis’ Casual and Lincoln’s Leaves Brown. Couldn’t they get one more act on this bill? $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night, I have no idea who Leopold and His Fiction are, but I do know who High Up is and they’re opening for L&HF at Slowdown Jr. Here’s your chance to buy a copy of their swanky new cassette! Also on the bill is Lawrence act La Guerre. $10 Adv/$12 DOS, this one starts at 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at Milk Run Saturday night, Des Moines’ Karen Meat headlines a show that also features Wolf Dealer (Jason Steady’s latest and greatest), Haunted Gauntlet and Iowa City’s Anthony Worden. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Barley Street Tavern has The Clocks, Ultra Violet and Low Long Signal. $5, 9 p.m.

Milk Run closes out the weekend Sunday night with Windor Diets (acoustic project by Mike Hansen of Pass the Flask), Grazing, Jamire Gray, Mad at You and Jeff Miller. $7, 9 p.m.

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

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Susto tonight CANCELLED (but listen to their new record)…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:51 pm February 8, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When I wrote that Ten Questions with Dawes the other day, I researched the band and found a lot of reference to the “Laurel Canyon Sound,” made famous by Joni, CSNY and Jackson Browne. The influence is definitely there.

But nothing sounds more like Jackson Browne than Susto, especially on the band’s new album & I’m Fine Today (2017, Caroline). The Charleston five-piece will be opening dates for Lumineers this summer, where no doubt they’ll break through to the next level of stardom. Frontman Justin Osborne’s voice is at times the spitting image of Browne’s, though musically the band veers between that Laural Canyon sunset rock and more modern indie. It’s a surprising record.

Anyway, I wrote all the above this morning before tonight’s show at Slowdown Jr. got cancelled due to an illness in the band. Still, check out their record, below, and dream about warmer days.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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