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.



Little Brazil Vs. Nightbird tonight; Matthew Sweet, So-So Sailors, Juan Wauters (The Beets) Saturday; Tweedy Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm March 27, 2015
Matthew Sweet at fabulous O'Leaver's, July 30, 2014.

Matthew Sweet at fabulous O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014. Sweet and his band play Saturday at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center, a benefit for Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Who needs to go to SXSW when Omaha has the line-up of shows it has this weekend? Suck it, Austin.

It all starts tonight with a rock ‘n’ roll nuclear war at the 1 Percent Complex (i.e., the buildings that house The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge).  Little Brazil headlines at The Waiting Room. Expect new material along with old favorites. LB is one of Omaha’s most overlooked bands. If you haven’t experienced their onslaught, do it tonight. Opening is Lightning Bug and Low Long Signal. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, Omaha’s grisliest, grungiest stoner-rock band Nightbird will be trying to fry Reverb’s delicate sound system. They’ll get some help with opener Pro-Magnum. This is destined to be loud as f***, so bring your earmuffs. $7, 9 p.m.

One Percent should offer a single $12 ticket that gets you into both shows, and then open up their secret back passage that connects both rooms. Come on, guys!

Saturday night it’s all about Matthew Sweet, who’s playing a special rock show down at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center. Opening is So-So Sailors, who haven’t played anywhere in ages (and it’s about time). Your $45 ticket benefits Hear Nebraska – that alone should be enough to get you down there. If you really love Matthew Sweet, get a VIP ticket for $100, which lets you hang out with the ’90s indie rock idol. Show starts at 8. Get your tickets here. See you there.

Before Sweet Saturday night check out a special in-store performance by Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop. Wauters, who is opening for Tweedy on Sunday, used to be in a pretty awesome indie band called The Beets. The in-store begins at 6 p.m. and is absolutely free.

Finally Sunday is that aforementioned Tweedy concert at Sokol Auditorium. Tweedy is, of course, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and his son Spencer on drums. It’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a Wilco concert in Omaha this year. Opening is Juan Wauters. $28, 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.

 

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SXSW recap Pt.3 (Courtney Barnett, Best Coast, The Pop Group, Will Butler); Matthew Sweet is Saturday!

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 12:29 pm March 26, 2015
The Pop Group's Mark Stewart takes on the world at SXSW.

The Pop Group’s Mark Stewart takes on the world at SXSW.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

And lo, how the rain fell on my final day at SXSW, last Friday. It wasn’t so bad, but it was rain, and wind, and that combination makes for poor outside concert viewing and even worse navigation/walking from venue to venue. I was happy I got my afternoon at Stay Gold the day before.

There were a number of artists that proved illusive this year at SXSW. Among them was Courtney Barnett. It seemed like every time I wanted to see her perform it was either at 1 a.m. or in a location already at capacity (which makes one’s SXSW badge useless — when the club is full, they don’t care about no steen-king badges!).

There was one Courtney performance left, however, and it was at the SXSW Convention Center. The mega building houses dozens of enormous auditoriums and meeting rooms where SXSW “sessions” take place on such topics as “understanding copyright law” and “how to make the best of streaming technology” and so on. Panel discussions abound — this is where Snoop Dogg did a talk about something music-related. I’ve never been to a SXSW Music informational session, and most people I know who go to SXSW haven’t, either. Who wants to get up early after being on 6th Street until 2 a.m. the night before and sit in a conference room listening to a bunch of “music pros” drone on about “levering your band’s brand presence in social media” or whatever?

Still, a couple of the mammoth auditoriums were dedicated to performances, like the one happening in Auditorium G — the Public Radio Showcase, which included among the bands Courtney Barnett. And unlike the other gigs at SXSW, there was plenty of room and access to earthly conveniences like bathrooms, wi-fi and coffee. Not a bad place to be when sheets of rain are pouring down outside, at least for the afternoon.

But before Barnett took the stage Best Coast was playing a set of their El Lay-infused jangle-pop. People love Best Coast (especially in Omaha) and for the life of me I don’t know why. Their music is somewhat featureless, and front woman Bethany Cosentino suffers from (how do the American Idol judges put it?) pitch problems.

When I tell people I spent last week at SXSW, the first question is: “So did you discover any hot new music?” Courtney Barnett is not exactly new, but she is the hottest thing going indie-music wise these days and cemented that rep at SXSW playing eight showcases, where she debuted songs off her new album, Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit, a record bound to be on a lot of “best of” lists this December (including mine).

Playing as a classic guitar/bass/drums trio, Barnett’s music, while singularly its own, owes a lot of its resonance to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana (though it’s not anywhere near as dark). The song structures are deceptively simple, the guitar riffs hook you and Barnett’s lyrics are both clever and introspective. If you’re an indie music fan who listens to XMU or an online indie radio station, you won’t be able to avoid Barnett this year. She’s the 2015 version of Liz Phair circa 1993. Watching her band on the auditorium stage was very much like watching an arena concert, with the crowd singing along to some of the older material. Great stuff. We need to get her to Omaha.

We left the convention center at around 6. By then the rain had slowed to a sprinkle. It was off to classic Austin bar The Ginger Man for a beer and some Drivin’ and Cryin’ but before D&C came on, a band of Japanese lads were on stage playing an intricate style of instrumental prog reminiscent of Eno/Fripp-era King Crimson. It was LITE, a band lauded as “one of Japan’s top instrumental acts.” They were mesmerizing. I have little doubt the folks at The Ginger Man knew who they are when they started their set, but by the end, everyone was a fan.

Then came Kevn Kinney and Drivin’ and Cryin’. The band has a new record coming out, and the songs I heard them play were solid (if not too long – Kinney likes to draw things out). He sounds exactly like he sounded a 20 years ago, same high-end squawk, ageless except for the extra poundage. Needless to say the crowd stood from their picnic benches when they the opening riff to “Fly Me Courageous” blazed through the place.

The Ginger Man is as comfortable a bar as you’d want to sit and drink at — huge cushy leather wingback chairs, fantastic beer selection. Just up the street is the Paramount Theater — a golden age movie house complete with balconies and gorgeous ceiling, a velvet-chair space like the Orpheum and the perfect venue for seeing classic ’80s avant-art group The Residents. You might remember them for their giant eyeball-with-tophat helmets that were part of their shtick for years.

Well, the eyeballs are gone, replaced with crazy old man wigs and alien makeup. Frontman Randy looked like the ol’ Crypt Keeper but in gold bikini underwear, giant shoes and body paint. Very creepy indeed, as was the staging, which involved a giant crystal-ball like projection device that hosted messages throughout the set. Strange and fun. I’ve never been a follower of The Residents, but I understand their importance in the overall history of art rock. And though these guys are in the 70s, they still sound pretty good, especially the guitarist.

Afterward it was back to 6th Street and Buffalo Billiards for The Church. The venue’s title sums it up, it’s a huge pool hall with a stage upstairs. Getting close to that stage was nearly impossible as it was a crush mob. Hearing The Church wasn’t much easier, as the booming sound in the hall was the worst of any performance I’d seen this year at SXSW. Still, the band was on point. I didn’t stick around long enough to hear “Under the Milky Way.” Wonder if they even played it…

It was back to Maggie Mae’s rooftop, which had been covered with a large tent, keeping things high and dry as the rain geared up again. The attraction was a performance by The Pop Group, a ’70s-era British punk band that’s been credited with helping define the post-punk movement. Bands like Sonic Youth and Nick Cave have credited The Pop Group as an influence on their sounds. The band was only around for a few years, but got back together last year for a new record.

Their style is extremely rhythmic and fun, but their songs are dissonant and brash in way that reminded me of The Fall. Mark Stewart, who has to be in his 60s, is still a powerful frontman, screaming into the microphone with clenched fists.

Will Butler of Arcade Fire was next on the same stage. The band wore t-shirts with their first names on them. I wondered if this was because people confuse Will with his more famous brother (and AC frontman) Win. That said, there was no confusing Will’s music with Win’s, as his solo stuff, while upbeat and interesting at times, lacks the grand panache of Arcade Fire’s epics. Will’s music is better suited for the dance floor than the concert stage, with its reliance on a thump-thump-thump disco beat. Butler is scheduled to play at The Waiting Room June 2. Bring your dancing shoes.

That was my last show of SXSW 2015. My impression of the overall experience — is written in next month’s issue of The Reader. Spoiler Alert: I’m not sure I’m returning to Austin next year, at least not for the music part of SXSW.

Check out sound clips from all the performances mentioned above in the the podcast below — it’s only about 12 minutes long, but includes snippets from all concerts except The Church’s performance.

* * *

Speaking of big concerts, that Matthew Sweet concert has snuck up on me. The concert, being held at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center is this Saturday. If you’re even remotely a fan of Sweet and his music, you’ve got to go to this one. Tickets are still available for $45 and $100 (VIP) right here. Get them while you can. And the concert is 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

SXSW recap Pt. 2 (Icky Blossoms, Viet Cong, Natalie Prass, PUJOL, Mynabirds, Krill); Born Cages tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:42 pm March 25, 2015
Icky Blossoms devising their set list prior to their SXSW performance at Stay Gold March 19.

Icky Blossoms devising their set list moments before their SXSW 2015 performance at Stay Gold March 19.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

More SXSW 2015 recap-ilation.

The weather was still pretty awesome on Day 2 of SXSW (last Thursday), so why not take a walk to the Saddle Creek / Nicodemus Showcase at Stay Gold? I mean, hey, it’s just on the other side of the freeway in east Austin, right?

Well, two miles by foot later we finally came upon Stay Gold, a new venue with a great outdoor beer garden and a sweet indoor stage where Josh Berwanger Band already was playing (Alas, we were too late for Twinsmith and Orenda Fink).

Berwanger, a former member of Lawrence band The Anniversary, is repped by Nicodemus Agency. No idea what label he’s on, but the band was pretty good in a straight-forward indie rock sort of way. Very clean, very tight and a good preview to PUJOL, who took the stage next.

I’ve never seen Daniel Pujol and his band play live. I think they’ve only played in Omaha once, despite being signed to Saddle Creek Records. I’ve had discussions with local garage-rock aficionados who say Pujol (who apparently counts Jack White among his fans) was Creek’s stab at releasing a garage rock band. I don’t believe that was their motivation at all. Pujol’s sound is too controlled, to pro to be mistaken for garage, reminding me more of Marshall Crenshaw or Graham Parker but with a bit more dirt behind the ears. My quibble: Too many of his songs sound the same, but you could make that same argument about Crenshaw and Parker’s music…

Laura Burhenn of the Mynabirds followed with a solo keyboard set that included a number of old favorites and a few from her upcoming Saddle Creek album, Lovers Know, played in a down-key style that accentuated her rather luscious voice. How will the new material sound with a full band?

Last up at Stay Gold (for me, anyway) was Icky Blossoms playing in front of a max crowd of maybe 50 people – no doubt a sharp contrast to their sold-out send-off show a few weeks earlier at Slowdown Jr. The band kicked right into some tunes off their last album before rolling out a couple new ones from Mask, including “In Folds,” which translated just OK in the live setting.

They could have beefed up the energy level, but what do you expect playing to a half-empty club on a Thursday afternoon? Icky is playing as a five-piece — didn’t recognize the drummer or bass player, but it was indeed a good rhythm section. This was easily the best vocal outing for Sarah Bohling, who continues to grow into her frontwoman role alongside Derek Pressnall, the consummate professional, while Nik Fackler is the band’s wild-card wild man.

They need to get more new songs polished and stage-ready before hitting the road. As much as I like the Creek debut, I’m crazy curious about this new record. Maybe we’ll hear more new stuff when Icky Blossoms returns to Slowdown (in the big room this time) April 14 with Reptar.

It was back to the Courtyard for evening festivities, specifically the controversially named Viet Cong. The place was even more packed than the night before — I could barely move. On stage Viet Cong’s drummer was playing hurt with a cast on his left hand. Somehow he managed to soldier through the set Rick Allen-style. The band’s sound is abrasively indie with some prog flourishes here and there. I’m not sure why they’re so hot these days, unless it’s all about the name.

Afterward I high-tailed back to Red River and the 720 Club, a tiny bar with a small indoor stage area all but vacant on this Thursday night. Under the lights warming up, Krill, a band that colleague Chris Aponick has suggested I check out. The Chicago trio also has caught the attention of such taste makers as Stereogum and Pitchfork, though you wouldn’t know it by the eight people standing in the club. I guess it was everyone else’s loss, as Krill brought their A-game to a post-punk set that recalled Protomartyr but with (much) better vocals. These are the kinds of sets I go to SXSW for — intimate, special, the feeling that you’re seeing something you’ll never see in Omaha.

Finally it was time to pluck one of the artists off my must-see list — Natalie Prass. I’ve been enjoying her debut self-titled album (on Spacebomb) for a few months — rich singer/songwriter stuff, like Jenny Lewis singing Joni Mitchell. The venue listed was Maggie Mae’s. I figured she’d probably be playing at the venue’s rather large rooftop stage.

My SXSW badge got me past the line and right up the stairs, but I didn’t recognize the band performing. Did I get the date wrong? I asked the door person, who had no idea who was playing that night. There actually are three performance spaces in Maggie Mae’s — the rooftop, the Gibson Room and the standard downstairs stage. Turned out Prass was slated downstairs.

Once again, there was no problem getting in and plenty of space right up next to the stage. By the time her set began, the floor was filled, but not uncomfortably so. There was Prass seated behind a piano, her face hidden behind her dark brown curls. Backed by a solid band, Prass performed a half-hour of the best songs from her album. It was the closest thing to a “perfect moment” I experienced at SXSW this year. Check out part of the performance (along with snippets from everyone else mentioned above) in the podcast below.

Vega just announced this morning that Prass will be playing there July 22. I might have to make a pilgrimage to Lincoln….

The final chapter of my SXSW 2015 journey tomorrow…

* * *

Tonight, alt-rock band Born Cages (Razor & Tie) plays at Slowdown Jr.. The band apparently opened for Guns & Roses a couple times, though they sound more like an indie version of Simple Minds. Opening for them tonight is fellow New York band Dreamers and Omaha favorite The Kickback (from Chicago) and Low Long Signal. $10, 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

SXSW written recap/reviews Pt. 1 (White Mystery, Twin Shadow, Dotan, Speedy Ortiz); Mynabirds, Orenda Fink, Miniature Horse tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:54 pm March 24, 2015
Speedy Ortiz was the highlight of my Day 1 at SXSW 2015.

Speedy Ortiz was the highlight of my Day 1 at SXSW 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

For those tired of the South By Southwest coverage, bear with me for the next few days as I get through these notes and reviews of each day’s activity. I’m putting them down for posterity and for the record. Writing this is kind of like living the trip all over again, for me anyway.

The first thing one does at SXSW after getting his credentials in order is hit the streets. I arrived late Wednesday afternoon and was on Red River (which abuts 6th Street on the east side) by 5 p.m., which meant an entire evening of music lie ahead. There’s a sense of disorientation when you first arrive — the air is different, it’s humid, it’s warm. That hoodie you brought is no longer needed. Hipsters zing by on bicycles, hucksters are on every corner selling their wares, and everywhere you go there is the deep, pungent stench of weed in the air. Despite the presence of cops, people light up blunts and pass them around in public as if we were in Colorado with no fear of Johnny Law. Too bad I don’t partake in the demon weed as it no doubt changes the complexion of SXSW for those who do.

Anyway, by the time we got to 6th Street we could already hear White Mystery playing on the Beerland patio to a small crowd that tumbled off the sidewalk and into the street. Beerland is an unofficial SXSW venue that hosts its own free day-shows. It is ground zero for garage and punk bands no matter the time of year, and a good place to hang when you’ve grown tired of SXSW’s unending commercialism.

Despite the small PA on the patio, White Mystery sounded as good as when I saw them a few weeks ago at Reverb. The band is a brother-and-sister guitar-and-drum duo that plays gritty, bluesy garage rock reminiscent of another famous guitar-and-drum duo that had “white” in its name.

Next it was off to a warehouse that had been converted into a venue called Iron Castle. There are lots of these conversions along 6th Street during SXSW. Anyplace can become a music venue if you add lights and sound. Only one performer was being featured that night — Twin Shadow. Their staging involved large see-through nylon curtains draped around the triangular stage platform that had images projected onto them. You could sort of see the band’s equipment behind the scrims. I figured someone would pull back the curtain once Twin Shadow took the stage. Nope. The band played behind the opaque mosquito netting — an effect that was more frustrating than innovative.

Twin Shadow plays a bouncy ’80s style of synthpop rife with infectious hooks. This set was no different, though the new music from upcoming release Eclipse wasn’t much of a departure from 2012’s Confess.

Let me note here that SXSW’s history of rigidly following set schedules was nowhere to be seen at this year’s event. Twin Shadow came on 40 minutes late — that meant having to endure 40 minutes of grating house music while I waited.

Onward. Cedar Street Courtyard is located a few blocks off 6th Street in a space between two grand buildings, sort of like the Passageway Gallery in the Old Market. I went to see Speedy Ortiz but (surprise) everything was running off schedule. Instead, I saw a set by Dutch singer-songwriter Dotan and his band. Their sound is mainstream ethnic, the kind of music that would be right at home as the soundtrack for an insurance commercial. Very pretty, very well done. Very safe.

Dotan was a strange opener for Speedy Ortiz (who, in turn, was a strange opener for Spoon, who was scheduled to follow them). The Massachusetts band has played a couple times in Omaha, including at West Wing (and I think Sweatshop Gallery), and I’ve managed to miss them every time. Fronted by Sadie Dupuis, the band plays down-key indie rock reminiscent of Eleanor Freidberger. Great stuff and the best set of the night for me. Spoon was originally scheduled to go on at around 1 but it would be well past that before they got the bands switched out and the sound check out of the way. The courtyard already was well past capacity. There’s nothing quite like standing sandwiched between an enormous crowd and a brick wall unable to move. Spoon would have to wait.

Listen to highlights of Day 1 at SXSW 2015:

* * *

Tomorrow: Day 2, which includes the Saddle Creek SXSW showcase. Two acts that played that showcase are playing tonight at O’Leaver’s — Orenda Fink and Laura Burhenn of The Mynabirds. It’ll be just like being in Austin all over again. Opening is the amazing Miniature Horse. $5, 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

Back from Austin, a recap of SXSW in podcast and photo form; Darren Keen, Calm Fur tonight…

Looking down on Sixth Street from Maggie Mays at South By Southwest 2015.

Looking down on Sixth Street from Maggie Mays at South By Southwest 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This will go down as the least impressive, least satisfying year I’ve attended South By Southwest. Sure there were a lot of bands, but not nearly as many as year’s past and even fewer legends. Still, I had fun and didn’t get beat up, and that’s always a good thing.

This year I tried to podcast from Austin. The results are below. I’ll probably never try it again, based solely on the number of hits each stream has gotten. That said, there’s probably no where else online that has snippets of this many performances. Each podcast is only about 10 minutes long and includes bits from every band I saw. Check them out:

Day 1: Performances by White Mystery, Twin Shadow, Dotan and Speedy Ortiz.

Day 2: Performances by PUJOL, Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), Icky Blossoms, Viet Cong, Krill and Natalie Prass.

Day 3: Performances by Courtney Barnett, Best Coast, LITE, Drivin’ and Cryin’, The Pop Group and Will Butler.

And here are the photos. If you follow me in Instagram or on social media you’ve seen most of these, but here they are again, in living color.

White Mystery at Beerland Patio, March 18, 2015.

White Mystery at Beerland Patio, March 18, 2015.

Twin Shadow at Iron Castle, March 18, 2015.

Twin Shadow at Iron Castle, March 18, 2015.

Dotan at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Dotan at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Speedy Ortiz at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Speedy Ortiz at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 18, 2015.

Josh Berwenger Band at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Josh Berwenger Band at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

PUJOL at Stay Gold March 19, 2015.

PUJOL at Stay Gold March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Icky Blossoms at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Icky Blossoms at Stay Gold, March 19, 2015.

Viet Cong at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 19, 2015.

Viet Cong at Cedar Street Courtyard, March 19, 2015.

Krill at the 720 Club, March 19, 2015.

Krill at the 720 Club, March 19, 2015.

Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae's, March 19, 2015.

Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae’s, March 19, 2015.

 

Best Coast at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Best Coast at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Courtney Barnett at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

Courtney Barnett at the SXSW Convention Center, March 20, 2015.

LITE at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

LITE at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

Drivin' and Cryin' at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

Drivin’ and Cryin’ at The Ginger Man, March 20, 2015.

The Residents at The Paramount Theater, March 20, 2015.

The Residents at The Paramount Theater, March 20, 2015.

The Church at Buffalo Billiards, March 20, 2015.

The Church at Buffalo Billiards, March 20, 2015.

The Pop Group at Maggie Mae's Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

The Pop Group at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

Will Butler at Maggie Mae's Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

Will Butler at Maggie Mae’s Rooftop, March 20, 2015.

There may or may not be a formal review of each gig to come. Check back tomorrow. There will be a column in the April issue of The Reader about SXSW. Watch for it.

* * *

Tonight at the Sweatshop Gallery Darren Keen headlines with Calm Fur and Just Jace. $5, 9 p.m. Say goodbye to Darren before he flies back to Gotham City…

* * *

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.

 

 

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It’s St. Patrick’s Day; Dicey Riley at The Dubliner…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:01 am March 17, 2015
Dicey-Riley presumably doing a somber version of "Danny Boy" at last year's St. Patrick's Day festivities at The Dubliner. The band plays this afternoon and night at The Dubliner.

Dicey Riley presumably doing a somber version of “Danny Boy” at last year’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities at The Dubliner. The band plays this afternoon and night at The Dubliner.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The social media channels are blossoming with comments about St. Patrick’s Day — from those who have adorned their Facebook and Twitter pages with shamrocks, shillelaghs and Guinness logos, to those who feel the need to vent their burning hatred for the holiday (I feel the same way as the haters about the bastardization of Halloween). 

That said, I am a lover of the green, and will be taking my place at some point down at The Dubliner this afternoon, where Dicey Riley (ex-The Turfmen, including the lawyerly sot known as Tom Riley) will be performing from 2 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. For me, there is no other place to celebrate this annual holiday. $5 cover.

But I’ll be done early because I have to pack for Austin. Wheels up tomorrow morning, and the weatherman is telling me to bring a raincoat. I’ve been to South By Southwest on years when it’s rained and, yes, it is a drag, but at least this year it’s supposed to be a warm rain. Expect first reports on Thursday (podcasts?). And it’s a short trip — flying out Saturday morning. One can only take so much SXSW madness…

* * *

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.

 

 

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Live Review: Digital Leather, White Mystery, Calm Fur; Of Montreal, Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:33 pm March 16, 2015
Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a weekend for sold out shows. Friday afternoon Icky Blossoms sold out its Slowdown Jr. gig — no surprise there. Then on Saturday afternoon, Criteria’s Reverb show that evening sold out. Again, not a surprise when you consider the capacity of the Reverb’s small performance space.

I ended up at Reverb Friday night for Digital Leather and White Mystery. First up was Jason Meyer’s latest creation, Calm Fur. First time I saw them a few months ago at Barley Street it was a gritty, noise-rock set — quite a contrast to Friday night’s set, which sounded more streamlined and pop-oriented. The band has tightened up everything, and the result is sublime. Meyer recently posted on Facebook that he’s no longer involved in his other project, Feel tight. Does that mean he’s dedicated his services to Fur?

There was a song about halfway through Digital Leather’s set that was a departure from their usual synth punk debauchery. The tune was, dare I say it, downright groovy, with a huge central hook. I tracked down one of the band members afterward, who told me the song was called “Gary…” off the band’s next album (I didn’t know they were working on a new record, but is DL frontman Shawn Foree ever not working on new music?).

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

DL rolled out a brand new song to start their set, something they said they wrote that afternoon — it was typical of their usual rough-hewn garage rock, bracing and hard. The rest of the set was selections from the last few records and were played with the usual DL panache. Keyboardist Todd Fink, who everyone thought would be a temporary piece of the DL puzzle, now fits in like just another one of the boys, adding backing vocals on a few songs. Is DL Fink’s main focus with The Faint apparently in limbo?

The set ended in classic fashion with a brutal version of “Studs in Love,” played by request from one of the band’s biggest fans (and it wasn’t me). Foree’s said before that he doesn’t like playing the song anymore. He was doing it for the fan. “Studs in Love” has become a staple of Digital Leather’s live set; I’ve heard at least three different arrangements of the song over the past couple years. Each time it gets a little more powerful.

White Mystery closed out the night. The brother-and-sister guitar-and-drum duo of Alex and Francis White roared through a set of monolithic garage-rockers. Who needs a bass player, anyway?

* * *

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Of Montreal with opening band Deerhoof. From the review of the Nov. 3, 2013, Of Montreal show at The Slowdown:

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

What kind of pageantry are you in for this time? Here’s what the band played Friday night in Chicago, I recognize at least one favorite. Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 9.

* * *

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.

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Icky Blossoms Vs. White Mystery/Digital Leather tonight; Criteria, Bloodcow Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm March 13, 2015
Icky Blossoms at Lambert's BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Icky Blossoms at Lambert’s BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012. The band is warming up for a return to SXSW in Austin with a show tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’ve got an intense list of shows happening this weekend.

It starts tonight with a death match between Icky Blossoms and White Mystery.

Icky Blossoms hosts their South By Southwest send-off show tonight at Slowdown Jr. Why is it happening in the smaller front room? The band wants to play in front of a hot, sticky crowd, which is exactly what they’ll get. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one sells out. Tonight’s show will feature at least five songs off the Ickys’ upcoming sophomore Saddle Creek release, Mask. Opening is Telepathy Problems and Rogue Moon. 9 p.m. $8.

Meanwhile across town at the Reverb Lounge in Benson it’s the Chicago drum-and-guitar duo of White Mystery. Opening the show, the always amazing Digital Leather and Jason Meyer’s grindingly dirty new project Calm Fur. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Blue Bird plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Lars and Mal. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And it’s a homecoming for Nebraska’s wayward son Darren Keen, who returns to House of Loom tonight with Kethro. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday night it’s back to Reverb Lounge for Criteria. Will their enormous sound blow up Reverb’s tiny music room? Opening is The Brigadiers. $10, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night Bloodcow and Bullet Proof Hearts open for The Killigans at The Slowdown. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile over at O’Leaver’s Saturday night it’s Saturn Moth, Westerners with Fake Plants. $5, 9:30 p.m.

One more Saturday show that may be under your radar — Eric in Outerspace and Staffers play at Almost Music in Benson at 8 p.m. It’s a duel-cassette release show! Opening is Nathaniel Hoier. $5, and it’s BYOB.

Finally, Sunday night Philly psyche band Ecstatic Vision headlines at O’Leaver’s with Wet Radio and stoner-rock champions Nightbird. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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

And if you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast which includes an exclusive interview with Icky Blossoms where the band talks about why they’re headed back to South By Southwest next week, and what they love and don’t love about the chaotic music festival. Plus Carsinogents, Universe Contest, Bloodcow and more.

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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

Matthew Sweet talks about moving home, Kickstarter, O’Leavers & Girlfriend; Oketo tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm March 12, 2015
Matt Sweet and his glasses.

Matt Sweet and his glasses.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This week’s podcast, below. Give it a listen…

That Q&A I did with Matthew Sweet for The Reader went online this morning. Sweet talks about moving back to Nebraska, why he did a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming album, playing at O’Leaver’s and the legacy that is Girlfriend. You can read the Q&A online right here.

Sweet is playing at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center March 28. It’s a cool place to see a show. Even has a bar, with drinks and everything, nice tables. Definitely a good evening out. Tickets are $45 (all general admission, just grab a table) and $100 for VIP that let’s you meet Sweet and give him a big ol’ bear hug and get a selfie with him. Get tix here.

Proceeds from the Sweet concert go to Hear Nebraska, so you’re getting a great night out while helping out a worthy cause. DO IT.

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Lincoln band Oketo. The band is closing out a spring midwest tour, so they should be honed and ready to rock. Opening the show is Chicago band The Boxers and CB’s Pancho & The Contraband. $6, 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

Icky Blossoms discuss the good, the bad and the ugly of SXSW (In the podcast); Dowsing tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm March 11, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Variant Lazy-i logo. Collect them all...

Variant Lazy-i logo. Collect them all…

The latest episode of the Lazy-i podcast is online right here at thereader.com. The installment includes a scintillating interview with Sarah, Nik and Derek of Icky Blossoms. The band talks about next week’s South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, where they’ll be performing. I asked what they like and don’t like about SXSW, and why the festival is still important to a band that’s already signed to a record label. The discussion is unbridled!

By the way, Icky Blossoms is playing a send-off show Friday night at Slowdown Jr. and the band says it’ll be performing at least five songs from their upcoming Saddle Creek Records release, Mask. Why are they playing in Slowdown’s small room instead of the big room (like they did when they played their last SXSW send-off show)? Because they want a packed house, which no doubt they’ll get — though their show will be competing head-to-head against White Mystery/Digital Leather at Reverb Friday night.

Other stuff in this week’s podcast includes leaks from Big Harp and Hop Along, Saddle Creek reissue news, a look (or listen) back at The Carsinogents, a live review (and soundbite) from last weekend’s Boodcow/Universe Contest show at Reverb, and a rundown of what’s happening this weekend indie-musicwise. The whole thing runs just under 20 minutes…

The plan for next week’s South By Southwest coverage is podcasts — with plenty of soundbites and interviews — though I’ll post photos (here at Lazy-i) and daily summaries (over at thereader.com).

Once we get past next week I’ll probably retool these podcasts, perhaps make them shorter. Fifteen to 20 minutes per podcast feels a bit excessive. So I’ll take another look at the format and see what adjustments need to be made. Big thanks to everyone who has provided feedback. I’ll figure it out…

* * *

Tonight at Reverb it’s self-described emo/indie band Dowsing from Chicago, Illinois. Based on the track below, the description is apt — pure ’90s sound reminiscent of Sorry About Dresden. They list among their influences “feelings” — does it get anymore emo than that? Opening is Free Throw and Super Ghost. $8, 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.

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