Sucettes120917
Sucettes at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

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 monthly alternative newspaper.



The Faint weekend (w/Closeness and Choir Boy); Cursive Saturday (Sold Out); Sebadoh, Flower Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:27 am May 24, 2019

The Faint at the 2017 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 19, 2017. The band is playing at The Waiting Room tonight and tomorrow night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Holy smokes, it’s an indie rock weekend!

It starts tonight at The Waiting Room where The Faint begin a two-night tour of duty. The band is on the road supporting Egowerk, the new release and a return to Saddle Creek Records.

Expect a mostly retrospective set, if the set list from the May 18 show in Seattle is any indication, where they played only one song off the new album? That can’t be right, can it? I guess we’ll find out tonight and tomorrow night.

I’m assuming Closeness will open the show for what will likely be the last time they play in Omaha for a long while due to Todd and Orenda Fink moving out west a few months ago. DAIS Recording artist Choir Boy has the center slot. What I’ve heard off their last album Passive with Desire, sounds like laid-back, synth-driven Bryan Ferry.

Saturday night’s Faint show, also at The Waiting Room, has the same line-up. Tickets are still available for both shows for $25. Start time is 8 p.m.

Also happening tonight, Chase the Ghost plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with La Te Da and Jeremy Mercy. No price shown, but probably $5 and it probably starts at 10 p.m.

That brings us to Saturday and Cursive at Winchester Bar & Grill. You read my interview with Tim Kasher yesterday (and if you didn’t, go do it now). Here’s the set list from their May 20 show in Richmond. Seems like I remember hearing capacity at Winchester is north of 200. The venue is about twice the size of O’Leaver’s, but it’s still pretty small for a gig like this. Especially with openers mewithoutYou and The Appleseed Cast. This is the last gig on this tour, so expect fireworks.

Believe it or not, $22 tickets are still available. THIS ONE”S sold out. Don’t sleep on this one. Start time is 8 p.m.

O’Leaver’s will be limping along Saturday night with Wichita power-pop band Kill Vargas, Seymour and Garst. $5, 8 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night Sebadoh returns to Reverb Lounge. Who remembers when the band played the room’s grand opening? It was a comedy of errors that the band suffered through with good humor. In addition to a battery of sound issues, frontman Lou Barlow was suffering a painful toothache. Still, it was a pretty good set.

Opening is NYC punk band Flower (Simple Machines Records). Their bio: “Flower is a post-punk noise/pop band from NYC formed in 1986 featuring later members of Versus, French, and Cell. Flower was a staple of the NYC underground scene carved out by Sonic Youth, Live Skull, Swans, etc, utilizing the noise element of the aforementioned artists to deepen the textures of more classically oriented pop/rock songs. They continue to perform and record today.

$25, 8 p.m. Tickets are still available.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you at the clubs.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Lazy-i Interview: Cursive’s Tim Kasher talks Winchester, Vitriola, 15 Passenger and (most importantly) volleyball…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:28 pm May 23, 2019

Cursive, from left, are Ted Stevens, Patrick Newbery, Matt Maginn, Tim Kasher, Clint Schnase and Megan Siebe. Photo by Tony Bonacci.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When Cursive takes the stage at Winchester Bar, the ramshackle home of volleyball and karaoke recently purchased by a consortium that includes members of the band, you’ll see some old and new faces.

The band’s core — frontman Tim Kasher, guitarist Ted Stevens and bass player Matt Maginn — will be joined by new permanent members keyboardist Patrick Newbery and cellist Megan Siebe. Drummer Pat Oakes will be sitting in for returning member, drummer Clint Schnase.

It’s a big group that creates a big sound on the band’s new album, Vitriola, recorded at ARC Studios with wizard knob turner Mike Mogis. To my ears, it’s a return to the classic bash-rock style Cursive became known for beginning in the late ’90s on its many Saddle Creek Records releases. 

My simplistic (and there’s no one more simplistic than I) take on the record’s theme is that Kasher’s getting older and these songs reflect his anxiety about aging and/or the struggle and futility of life (versus say, songs about his struggles with relationships (Domestica) or religion (Happy Hollow)). There’s also a  political theme that runs through a few songs that’s hard to miss, though I wouldn’t consider this a protest album. 

During a phone interview that took place a few weeks ago, Kasher talks about the new album, the band’s new record label, 15 Passenger (which they own and operate), working again with Schnase and buying yet another volleyball bar to run alongside The Club called O’Leaver’s.

Tell me about Winchester? Why did you buy it? What are your plans? What do you feel about playing there?

Kasher: Winchester is a bar that went up for sale a handful of years ago and the fellas that are in this group business that we have saw it as an opportunity. And Chris Machmuller (of Ladyfinger fame, who also runs O’Leaver’s) also has been wanting a kitchen for some time, and that has a restaurant as part of it. O’Leaver’s is also going to be utilizing its kitchen soon. But those are the reasons, I mean, the volleyball, essentially.  They know how that works, so they thought they’d go for it. I like the spot myself. I guess we all liked it, you know?

It is bigger. It’s got a stage, it’s got good cheeseburgers and you’re cornering the market on volleyball. You guys are becoming the volleyball kings.

Yeah, it’s funny, we have definitely become the volleyball people. And it’s really not that far out of the way. It’s just kind of relative to what we understand and which direction we go in Omaha.

So, you’re in Chicago, right?

No. I’m in L.A.

So, you’re in L.A. and they call you and say ‘Hey, we’re thinking about buying Winchester. What do you think?’ Because it couldn’t have been your idea, right?

No. It was not. The whole process really took a while. I guess it is over a year ago now, and we just kind of talked about it and considered it. But I only offer as much input as is necessary, only if there is any major red flags, but I don’t think that has ever come up for me. I’m just kind of happy to let them do what they do.

Alright, so tell me about the album. Everyone says it is this angry album, but I think it’s just delightful. I like ‘Remorse,’ which is my favorite Cursive song since ‘From the Hips.’ 

Thanks. That’s actually a song that Patrick Newbery brought in. This is the first time that we more completely wrote with Patrick. He worked on I am Gemini but it was a little bit after the fact. He kind of came in and rounded the edges and put organs and different things on. But this time he wrote from the start and I encouraged him to bring songs in, too, and that was one of the things he had lying around. So I put some melody and vocals on it and it’s a nice piece.

Yeah I assume you’re playing that live?

No. We actually haven’t been.

What?

Perhaps we should.

Why not?

I don’t know, I guess for us it felt like more of the appropriate somber deep cut for the album. 

You’ve really analyzed this record more than any of the others I think. It’s amazing the stuff you’ve said about it in interviews. Does that much thought go into it? I mean it seems no darker than the other records. 

Sometimes it just has to do with what the press says, you know? Prior to being released I kind of scratched my head and I’m not sure what to think of it and I wonder what others think of it. Others kind of enlightened me to what their impression is and what their perception of it is, so then I just kind of start going along. So apparently this one came off as a lot darker and heavier than what, though, I’m not sure. Because I agree with you, every Cursive record is pretty heavy, I guess. Happy Hollow was probably in a little bit of a different direction, but…

It sounds like you’re getting older to me, that’s all. You know. In the same way I’m getting older, too. You’re getting more pissed at stuff.

Yes, that’s true.

So, tell me how it’s going in terms of putting this out yourselves versus Saddle Creek Records? I talked to (Saddle Creek label chief) Robb Nansel and he said ‘I think they just wanted to do it themselves. I’m not sure why they want to do it themselves, because it’s such a pain in the neck, etc.’ Has it been difficult doing the label for you guys? Is it more work than you thought is was going to be? 

No, I don’t really think there’s been much of a problem. Also Saddle Creek has a lot of bands. They have a lot more moving pieces as a result of that. We are very boutique, as you can tell. It might be a better question for Matt and Ted, but it’s been actually pretty enjoyable and we do have a distributor and stuff, too. It’s not like every role has been thrown in our laps.

Part of the joy of life is doing things yourself and running your own business. The bars are kind of like that as well. It’s a challenge, and I think everybody kind of likes the challenge.

Is it more financially satisfying?

You know, probably not. But that wasn’t part of it. Those were the conversations we had with Robb before we ever made the decision.

Money really wasn’t the driver?

No, we were always clear about that. Money is not a factor at all because we actually know that money won’t be a factor. There’s not some big slice that we’re getting, you know? It’s a modest business.

So it’s about controlling the product then?

Yeah, yeah. And feeling good about that and representing ourselves.

Why hasn’t Cursive issued a Greatest Hits album? Or a live album, you know? Conor’s done a live record, The Faint did Capsule (a retrospective). When are you guys going to do your Greatest Hits collection?

We never talk about it. It’s not a terrible idea.

Well, it brings up the question if whether they’re even relevant in an era of streaming?

True. I mean really, it’s just almost like making a play list. I think we’ve already done that. We still have an interest in documenting what we do live, and that’s still a conversation we throw around. We still haven’t pulled the trigger on that. But that would probably be our version of a “best of” record.

Like… Cursive Live at Oleaver’s, maybe?

Absolutely.

So where does the band live these days?

Actually everybody is here in Omaha. Except for me.

What’s it like having Clint Schnase back in the band?

It’s a blast.

How did that come about?

It was just great timing. Everything clicked together really well. As 15 Passenger, Matt, Ted and I saw it as a means to slowly re-release our catalog under the same umbrella. But as we would have those conversations it was always just kind of fun to play around and say, ‘Jeez, we could really do what we want, we don’t have to set any perimeters.’ And the obvious conclusion to that would be, ‘I guess if there’s anything we were to release, it would probably be a new Cursive record.’ So we asked ourselves, ‘Are we doing another Cursive record?‘ Because we sincerely never know. Every record we do, we never really talk about another one.

So doing 15 Passenger kind of helped stimulate us, made us curious and gave us something to work toward. It would be kind of cool to release another Cursive record on our own label. So that idea was very slowly marinating between us, and then out of the blue Clint reached out and (said), ‘If you guys ever want to do a record again, I’d love to.’ And so hearing that we were like ‘Actually, we’ve been talking about doing another record, so if you wanted to then that’s perfect.’ Once he reached out to us, we were just like ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to do it.’

I assumed he kind of pulled away for personal or possibly family stuff and now he must have some time to do this.

I probably shouldn’t speak on his behalf, but I think that’s quite fair to say that he wanted to kind of settle down more and start a family. And I think for him his daughter is like a young lady now, so I think he felt that he could dedicate a little more time. But I don’t think he would ever like to do the heavy tour circuit again like we used to do. (Pat Oakes is the band’s tour drummer and will be playing the Winchester show). Even when we were young and we were doing that, it really wasn’t his bag. And Clint was always very vocal about that.

He’s just a crazy drummer. I mean he’s one of my favorites, so muscular and aggressive. 

For me it really shines through. I’ve loved the other drummers we’ve played with, they’re just amazing. But the actual Cursive drummer is Clint. That’s the sound of what we are and what we do, you know?

How’s Megan enjoying being part of the band? She’s kind of been touring with you for years before this anyway, right?

Yeah, Megan and I have become really close touring partners. She does solo tours as well now and it’s great. We get along great. We’re great friends and I think she’s enjoying herself.

So tell me about what’s next. What are you guys working on after this tour is done?

Well, I kind of had to ask myself that. I wasn’t really sure. I always want to keep moving forward, writing stuff. So after some consideration of what it is I do in this life, I just started writing songs again. So I started working on another solo record that I’ll hopefully put out next year. I’ll see how it goes.  And then, of course, I’ll always have scripts. I’m having a string of good luck right now, so I’m hoping to give that a shot this summer.

So another movie possibly (Kasher wrote and directed 2017 feature film No Resolution)?

Yeah. But I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve had those things fall through so many times in my life, but I’m trying to stay on track to shoot it this summer.

What about the label? There’s rumors about another band joining the label.

Yeah, we have two things and maybe a third thing. I don’t think it’s stuff I can talk about yet, because it’s another thing that, if it falls through, that’s like… And then there’s a secret announcement that we are going to do for one of them, too, and who knows?

So, anything else? Anything else going on that you want to mention?

We’re excited about doing Winchester. Excited for people come out and see it. I imagine a lot of people probably haven’t yet.

Cursive plays with mewithoutYou and The Appleseed Cast Saturday, May 25, at Winchester Bar & Grill, 7002 Q Tickets are $22, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to winchesteromaha.com.

Lazy-i

The return of Love Drunk (and See Through Dresses); Ohmme, DIrt House tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:12 pm May 22, 2019

A screen capture from the new See Through Dresses Love Drunk video.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A month or so ago Django Greenblatt-Seay announced he was bringing back his Love Drunk video series, but this time, like Frank Sinatra, he was going to do it his way. And by that he meant his focus would now only be on bands he knows and/or loves.

If you don’t know the history of Love Drunk, read a very brief history here or check out the channel on YouTube. 

Django’s first new project is a video for See Through Dresses and their song “Catacombs,” shot in its entirety in Django’s camper van. You’ll not only be impressed by the performance but also by the van’s surprising spaciousness. 

“Catacombs” is off STD’s 2017 album Horse of the Other World. Here’s hoping the band is also working on new material (and a new album). 

 

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If you’re wondering what I’ve been up to the last couple of days, well tomorrow I’ll be posting a 2,000-word Q&A with Cursive’s Tim Kasher in anticipation of the band’s Saturday night show at Winchester.  I’ve also been working on the annual Reader Top-20 bands list and a column that looks back on the 2008 list in a where-are-the-now sort of fashion.  More to come… 

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Chicago indie band Ohmme (Joyful Noise Recordings) headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. These folks have worked with Jeff Tweedy and Chance the Rapper, but by themselves they’re classified in the art rock category. Tracks off their 2017 release Parts are playful, fun. Our own Dirt House (tonight, Annie Dilocker solo) opens at 8 p.m. $10. 

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Hussy, David Nance, Lodgings, Almost Music record show, Mike Schlesinger Saturday; Reptaliens Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:26 pm May 17, 2019

The Hussy at O’Leaver’s, June 27, 2015. The band returns Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight is looking pretty thin. Only one show — Relax, It’s Science opens for White Wolf T-Shirt and The Bedrock at The B Bar (right to Barrett’s on Leavenworth). $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow is packed.

Bobby and Heather Hussy (and Tyler Fassnacht) — better known as The Hussy — return to fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night. The Madison band used to play here all the time. If you don’t have Galore, their 2015 album on Southpaw, you’re really missing out on some seriously blazing punk. The last thing they put out was a 7-inch called, “I See Just Fine.” We need more Hussy and we’re gonna get it Saturday night. If that weren’t enough, David Nance Band and Dross also are on the bill. This has all the makings of a classic night at OLeaver’s. $8, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Barley Street Tavern Saturday night, Lodgings headlines. They have a new album called Water Works that dropped a couple weeks ago, recorded and mixed by the legendary Steve Albini at Electrical Audio. Get it. Mere Shadows and Tom Bartolomei open. $5, 9 p.m.

And earlier in the day Saturday, Almost Music is having a record show at Reverb Lounge from 3 to 8 p.m., which will be followed by music from the Almost Music DJs. And it’s free!

One last Saturday night show: Mike Schlesinger opens for Win/Win and Field Club at The Sydney in Benson. $5, 10 p.m.

Finally Sunday, Captured Tracks band Reptaliens headlines at Reverb Lounge. $10, 8 p.m. No opener listed!

And 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: Remembering SLAM Omaha (Lazy-i, May 2009)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:44 pm May 16, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A few things before I cut you loose on this Throwback Thursday Lazy-i column from a decade ago.

First, SLAM Omaha is dead. In fact, it’s long dead, so don’t go looking for it online. Social media ate its corpse a long time ago.

Second, though it’s been a decade since this was written, the typical cover for live bands at fabulous O’Leaver’s remains just $5. Inflation be damned. I figured by now the going price would have risen to, say, $7 or $8 per show, but no. Still only $5 to see some of the best local and touring indie bands going. Yes, for special shows O’Leaver’s does raise the price accordingly, but for the most part… $5.

Finally, who would have thought my comments about Facebook and social media would be relevant 10 years later. I blame Facebook for a lot of the political troubles we’re facing these days. That said, I wouldn’t want it to go away….

Lazy-i May 20, 2009: Column 222: The Art of Conversation
Online discussion boards are under siege.

Original SLAM Omaha logo.

Almost didn’t have a column this week. These are, indeed, the doldrums, my friends; the time just before summer where nothing “musically” is going on, no CDs are arriving at my door (or in my e-mail box). Everything is on hold, waiting for something to happen.

So in these times of uncertainty, when I’m clawing for an idea — any idea — for this column, I do what I normally do — I check out S.L.A.M. Omaha to see what the chatter’s all about.

S.L.A.M. Omaha (or just Slam), for those of you completely out of the loop (not by choice but by ignorance), is a website located at slamomaha.com that includes music and art events calendars, news and probably its most popular feature, message boards. For a decade at least, Slam has been a local musicians’ and music fans’ watering hole where folks shoot the breeze over last night’s show, tonight’s show, next week’s show and everything else in between. The occasional well-thought-out analysis of a specific music genre, artist or performance is mixed in with assorted dick jokes, insults and personal attacks. It’s the latter that keeps some musicians and music fans away, or chases away others who feel that the site isn’t living up to what the SLAM acronym stands for: Support Local Art and Music. My response to them: It’s a friggin’ discussion board. It’s the Internet. What did you expect? Along with unmonitored discussion comes controversy and general stupidity as well as the occasional thoughtful insight and humor.

Despite its outdated technology and general lack of interest (or contempt for) indie music and Saddle Creek artists, Slam continues to be one of the most important online resources for Omaha music information. It is the first place I go for a daily perspective on the local scene. If a musician had a breakdown on stage the night before, you’ll read about it the next morning on Slam.

But lately, sites like Slam are under siege by new-ish social media “services” — Facebook and Twitter come to mind. Now musicians and music fans can create their own online communities and share their comments only with those who have a like-minded point of view — their “friends,” their “fans,” their “followers.” It’s safe, it’s easy, it avoids uncomfortable feedback from those who might not dig what you’re doing. For musicians, it paints a perennial rosy picture that almost always is untrue. Facebook can create a dangerous tunnel vision, a guarded, unnatural point of view, and before you know it, the emperor is parading down Maple Street naked with a guitar slung over his shoulder.

* * *

An example of an interesting recent Slam thread asked whether venues’ “regulars” should be forced to pay a cover charge when there’s a live band scheduled to perform. Well, as with most popular threads on Slam, the discussion morphed from “regulars” not paying the cover charge to roadies and even free-loading music critics. Wrote Klark Kent (the K Mart of Supermen): “I’m wondering how long it’s been since (for example) MarQ (Manner, the patron saint of the Benson music scene) or Tim McMahan (has paid to get into shows — I had to finish the sentence because Klark apparently lost his chain of thought — don’t go to discussion boards for good grammar or spelling).

There was a time when I always was on “the list,” back in the Sokol Underground days, when the guys running the door just stamped my hand. Those days are gone, not because I pissed them off, but because those guys aren’t working the door anymore, and quite frankly, they don’t need to give the guy who writes Lazy-i a free pass. They know that — probably more than most people in the club — I can afford it.

Still, whenever I write a preview profile on a touring band or pimp a show in my column, I ask the record label to put me on “the list.” Why not?

The only place where I’ve never been on “the list” is O’Leaver’s. As One Percent Productions’ Marc Leibowitz used to say way back in the day when he booked shows there: “O’Leaver’s doesn’t have a list.” Nor should it. When a band rolls into town after driving in a dirty van all day, wondering if their petrol will hold out ’til they get to the club — hungry, tired, second-guessing this whole rock-star shtick — and then see the dump that they’re going to play at, they deserve every penny of that $5 cover charge from fans who showed up to rock. They need the cash to get to the next town. And while you’re at it, buy a T-shirt, too.

But should that include $5 from regulars? My answer: No, it shouldn’t. These “regulars” are the life-blood of any bar. They’re a hedge against tough times, showing up night in and night out to drop $10+ on booze. Without regulars, a venue is going to be forced to grind out shows on their stage every night, or quickly find themselves out of business (or both). Bands who feel cheated by a toll-free presence should feel lucky to even have a place to perform, because believe me, most bars or venues would rather cater to a roomful of regulars than those bands’ fans, who likely will be bolting the minute they say “Goodnight.”

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So that’s my take. After it’s published, I’ll post a link to this column on Slam Omaha. Some of the website’s regulars will read it and hate it and will say so. But that’s part of the fun. On a discussion board, you’re going to catch a few turds along with any roses. But if we all lived in Facebook, where would we find our turds? — First published May 20, 2009 in The Omaha Reader.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Slothrust, Summer Cannibals tonight at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:29 pm May 15, 2019

Summer Cannibals at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 21, 2015. They play tonight at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s not that the video for Slothrust song “Double Down” is in any way bad. It features frontwoman Leah Wellbaum dancing and prancing throughout a laundromat. Or whatever that is she’s doing. Now whenever I hear that song, which is the lead-off track to the band’s latest album, The Pact (2018, Dangerbird), all I can see is her wonky movements in my mind.

The Brooklyn band released its debut in 2016 and this time is aided by producer  Billy Bush (Garbage, Neon Trees, The Boxer Rebellion), and it shows. It is very Garbage-y.

Kill Rock Stars act Summer Cannibals opens for Slothrust tonight at Reverb Lounge. As I said the last time I saw them play O’Leaver’s, they could emerge as this generation’s Sleater-Kinney. Actually, I’m more apt to reach for SC’s latest album than S-K’s (sacrilege!) thanks to having a better handle on pop, though the band was no slouch when it came to raw, meaty guitar sound.

In other words, get there early. 8 p.m., $14, Reverb Lounge.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Saddle Creek Records update: Ada Lea joins the roster; new Stef Chura; Treadles gets Document(ed)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:45 pm May 14, 2019

Ada Lea is the latest artist signed to Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s a quiet Tuesday so might as well catch up on some Saddle Creek Records news…

The label announced May 8 that it signed Montreal singer/songwriter and visual artist Ada Lea. A follower of Sylvia Plath and Nina Simone, Lea’s Saddle Creek debut, What We Say in Private (I added the capitol letters), “began with a need to document the ending of an important romantic relationship. Following a tormented period of staying up all night (sometimes days at a time), frantically painting or writing songs as a means of coping, she journalled for 180 days in the hope of finding herself again.”

Yikes. The first single, “The Party,” has already dropped. The rest of the album comes out July 19.

There’s not a lot online about Ada Lea. No Bandcamp; one song in Spotify. Methinks the Saddle Creek digital team scraped the usual sites of any tracks she might have lying around. There is one live set on YouTube from May 2018.

Here’s the single:

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Seems like we’ve been waiting for the new Stef Chura album for a 100 years. Titled Midnight, it’s slated to drop June 7. It wa produced by Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest.

To keep you psyched, Stef dropped a new video for single “They’ll Never,” below. This one’s a kicker in the Angel Olsen vein. Chura could have a second career as a country crooner if this one doesn’t work out (but I think it will).

* * *

And I forgot to mention that New Orleans band Treadles is the subject of the eighth installment of Saddle Creek’s Document singles series. Their 7-inch, “Cold” b/w “Iron,” comes out May 24.

This is an interesting statement that came with the press release for the Treadles single:

In the beginning, Saddle Creek was simply a way for us to highlight the music and art community in our hometown of Omaha, NE. Over the years, we have grown and our roster expanded to include artists from all over the world, but we never lost our love for the spirit in which the label was founded. While the scope of the label may have evolved over time, we know there are great music scenes all around the world that are in the same place we were in the beginning: a group of creators coexisting and collaborating within an artistic community that they know is special, but hasn’t quite gotten the spotlight it deserves.

I bring it up only because someone recently asked me if I consider Saddle Creek to be an Omaha label. I do. In fact, I would venture to guess that one of their biggest selling albums so far this year is the new release by The Faint, an Omaha band whose core members are scattered throughout the country, but still… an Omaha band (if you ask me).

Despite having offices in Los Angeles, Saddle Creek will always be considered an Omaha label, just like it continues to be referenced in reviews as “Conor Oberst’s label” even though Conor moved onto other labels years ago. It was Saddle Creek where Conor got his start and where he’ll forever be identified with…

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Left Is West, The Lupines; Chris Isaak in Memorial Park…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:47 pm May 13, 2019

Left is West at O’Leaver’s May 10, 2019.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A friend who listened to the new Left is West album How to Be Happy Without Even Trying described it as sounding “expensive.” I’m not sure exactly what he meant by that other than the recording quality was impeccable, which it is. So well done, in fact that it eclipsed the band’s live performance last Friday at O’Leaver’s.

It’s usually the other way around — bands rarely capture the ferocity of their live set on their recordings. For example, Omaha’s The Carsinogents were mercurial on stage, and while their recordings rocked, the albums never rocked nearly as intensely as when they were trying to burn down Sokol Underground. Left is West isn’t in the same incidiary category as Carsinogents. Instead, their album has a peaceful easy feelin’ style as if recorded in the ‘70s with one of the great producers like Bill Szymczyk at the knobs — it’s a true studio document that sounds like a perfectly balanced weapon. There was no way the band was going to replicate it in O’Leaver’s.

And they didn’t. The songs were still there, but… you couldn’t quite hear the keyboards, the vocals were at times soft and the drums hid behind the bass. Lead guitarist Matt Wellendorf, however, soared, and I was reminded again of Jackson Browne to the point where I kinda/sorta wanted them to cover “Running on Empty.” 

The Lupines at O’Leaver’s May 10, 2019.

On the other hand, The Lupines were completely uncaged and on fire Friday night. But I’ve never seen them perform any other way. They rolled out a couple new songs, which I hope means there’s a new album waiting in the wings. 

We’re in an era when there just aren’t many indie bands performing in Omaha anymore; and instead, garage / psych-rock bands are in the forefront. The Lupines stands tall as being among the best of them, alongside David Nance Group and Those Far Out Arrows. 

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The folks behind the June 28 Memorial Park Concert this morning announced that Chris Isaak is opening for Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul for their big event. Who remembers “Wicked Game”? Great video. Couldn’t tell you what Isaak’s been up to since then except for some cameo film appearances. The Firm (not the one with Jimmy Page) opens the show at 6 p.m. Fireworks at 10. 

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Left Is West, Lupines, Exhalants, Dross, Julia Jacklin, Black Belt Eagle Scout tonight; Omaha Girls Rock benefit Saturday; Lemonheads, Tommy Stinson Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm May 10, 2019

Black Belt Eagle Scout at Reverb Lounge Sept. 26, 2018. The band returns to Reverb tonight.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Did you know today is the 150th anniversary of the driving of the golden spike that marked the completion of the transcontinental railroad? Believe me, I knew….

OK, it’s a little crowded this weekend…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s is Des Moines’ band Left is West (You read about them Wednesday) and our very own Lupines. And, I believe the magic patio officially opens this weekend. Has spring really sprung? $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile at Omaha’s favorite punk bar, The Brothers Lounge, Austin band Exhalants headline. Heavy, heavy stuff. They’re on the road with Ft. Worth post-rock band Bulls (sorta like Chavez?). Our very own DROSS opens at 10 p.m. $5, 10 p.m.

It could be a late night.

Back over in Benson, Polyvinyl Records artist Julia Jacklin headlines at Reverb Lounge. The Aussie singer/songwriter has been compared to Sharon Van Etten and Caitlin Rose. Opening is Saddle Creek Records artist Black Belt Eagle Scout. $15, 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) O’Leaver’s is hosting a benefit for Omaha Girls Rock from 2 to 8 p.m. out in the magic patio. Among the performers is Annie Dee (Dirt House), Bathtub Maria and Jocelyn, who just released a new single on BMG Music today. $10 suggested donation at the door.

Saturday night, Gerald Lee, Jr. (Filter Kings) opens for blues-country act The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band at The Waiting Room. 9 p.m. $15.

Finally, Sunday night at The Waiting Room ’90s college rock act The Lemonheads headlines. What will Evan Dando do this time? The latest album, Varshons 2, is a bunch of covers including songs by Nick Cave, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Yo La Tengo and The Eagles, among others. Tommy Stinson (of The Replacements and Bash & Pop), opens at 8 p.m. $25.

And 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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CD Review: Left is West: How to be Happy Without Even Trying (at O’Leaver’s May 10)…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:33 pm May 8, 2019

Left Is West, How to be Happy Without Even Trying (2018, self release)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

While at the Minne Lusa show last weekend at O’Leaver’s, Mike Tulis, one of the area’s finest musicians and a man with impeccable taste, handed me a copy of the new Left Is West CD How to Be Happy Without Even Trying and said it was one of the best records he’s heard so far this year. That’s high praise coming from someone who has forgotten more music than most of us have heard.

Left Is West is a Des Moines, Iowa, band that’s been around since 2004, according to their bio on Facebook. At the center is singer-songwriter Chad O’Neall, who plays guitar alongside Matt Wellendorf, lead guitar; Pat Curtis, drums; John Parrish, bass, and Matt Jesson on keyboards. This current line-up has been together since 2013 and includes members of such acts as North of Grand, Brother Tucker and Monday Mourners, a band that released a split LP last year with Omaha act Clarence Tilton.

Tilton is among the bands that came to mind when listening to the CD, along with Wilco, The Jayhawks, Matthew Sweet and Centro-Matic, as well as classic ’70s FM acts like England Dan and John Ford Coley, Jackson Browne, J.D. Souther and dare I say it, The Eagles. The record skirts the border between modern Americana and slick FM MOR of yesteryear. MOR as in “Middle of the Road,” as in stuff I remember hearing on KFAB when KFAB played music.

We’re talking songs with sing-along choruses (none more so than “You Got the Coast,” which will make an appearance on my 2019 “best of” comp), ripping electric guitar solos, traditional rock-song structures complete with “big endings.” O’Neall knows how to write a great power-pop song — and every one of these has a massive hook. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of it.

That said, this record will never be reviewed by Pitchfork, never be featured on Stereogum. It’s not “indie” in a genre-centric sense, though if Wilco had released this record it would be mega. This is college music for people who went to college in the ’80s or ’90s, which can be problematic because it’s hard to market music to a generation that quit going to the bars and listening to new music well over a decade ago.

That said, Mr. Tulis is right (He’s always right). And like him I, too, think this is one of the best records I’ve heard so far this year (and it’s been a very good year, my friends).

You won’t find this on Bandcamp (or at least I couldn’t). You will find it on Spotify and on Apple Music (probably). And you’ll very likely be able to buy your copy when Left is West plays at O’Leaver’s this Friday night with Lupines (Mike Tulis’ band). See you there.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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