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.



#TBT: who remembers Flatlander Fest?; Oberst/Bridgers BOCC concert is sold out… sort of, with Christian Lee Hutson, Lala Lala tonight…

The laminate for 1994’s Flatlander Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I hold onto festival laminates. I don’t know why, especially since I don’t have many (Other than Maha and SXSW years ago, I avoid festivals). I found this one while digging through stuff recently, and it has a connection to The Reader‘s 25th anniversary, which is being celebrated this month in print.

If I remember correctly, John Heaston and The Reader (or what would become The Reader) was responsible for this festival, which was held at Sharky’s on around 77th and Cass St., a club that became the new Music Box and which has long been razed and replaced with a 24-Hour Fitness (or whatever they’re calling that monstrosity).

Sharky’s had a railroad business car attached to the west side of the building, and I believe that The Reader had its offices in that rail car for a brief period around when this festival took place. I can’t remember who played the fest, though I think Cactus Nerve Thang was on the bill. Was anyone else there?

* * *

Tonight is the big Better Oblivion Community Center a.k.a. Conor Oberst/Phoebe Bridgers show at The Slowdown.

This show sold out very quickly, within a few days. It was discovered that scalpers bought a large block of tickets, which showed up on sites like stubhub.com. As days passed, those tickets dropped in price. I’ve heard they were as low as $8 at one point — quite a discount compared to the $25 face value.

No doubt ticket scalping has become a problem in some parts of the country where shows sell out and then tickets become available overnight in the after-market for twice or more the face value. That wasn’t the case here, and one wonders if the scalpers got soaked this time. This morning I saw a ticket for under $20 for tonight’s show.

There is no moral to this story. One could argue that in this case, everyone won — the venue sold out a show immediately and fans who understood the after-market situation could buy tickets for well under face value. Which begs the question: Are you better off buying tickets the day they become available or waiting a few days to see how prices shake out?

For example, folks who bought tickets to last year’s Jack White show at The Baxter on the first day paid way more than they needed to, as tickets became available for a fraction of face value due to poor demand. On the other hand, had the show sold out and if there was serious demand, those who waited would have had to pay a premium for seats.

Anyway…

If you’re going to the show tonight, get there early. Opening act Christian Lee Hutson is someone worth catching. He plays in BOCC and has written with Phoebe Bridgers in the past. His latest song, “Northsiders,” has a definite Elliott Smith vibe that leaves you wanting more. The other opener, Lala Lala, is pretty awesome as well.

Doors are 7 p.m., the show starts at 8 p.m. If you want to catch Hutson, get there early because no doubt there will be a line to get in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the opening band from the sidewalk outside of Slowdown because of the lines (which are slow due to the whole under-age look-up scenario).

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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A Brief History of Nebraska Indie (in The Reader); Lupines, The Shaky Calls tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm March 19, 2019

The music calendar in the May 6, 1997, issue of The Reader.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Reader is celebrating 25 years in its March issue, on newsstands now. I was assigned to write a brief history of the music scene over the past 25 years, which just went online today.

As the story’s intro explains, the piece focuses on Nebraska’s indie scene from the perspective of my coverage over the past 25 years, and hence, is in no way comprehensive. BJ has a piece that focuses on Omaha’s blues history, and Houston Wiltsey has a piece from his perspective as a newer (two years?) music reporter.

Anyway, check it out. It’s a fun, and rather brief, read considering the ground that needed to be covered.

* * *

Tonight Omaha garage rock giants Lupines return to fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Bismark, ND band The Shaky Calls, who describe their sound as low-fi rock ‘n’ roll — that’s a pretty apt description based on this Bandcamp recording. Putter & Co. open at 9 p.m. $5.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Faint get Pitchforked (6.5 rating); goodbye Dick Dale; New Thick Paint track, BRNDA tonight at The Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:37 pm March 18, 2019

The Faint, Egowerk (2019, Saddle Creek)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Faint’s new album Egowerk (2019, Saddle Creek) came out last Friday and the reviews are already coming in.

AllMusic.com, the longest-running online music reviews website (and about the best place to find data about a disc, along with Discogs), gave the record 3 1/2 stars. Their conclusion:

Todd Fink has never been a particularly emotive singer, but his detached croon and dystopian lyrics lend a verisimilitude to the retro feel of the 11-track set. Simultaneously laconic and engaged, his presence — like the LP itself — feels spectral; the last being standing amidst an empty room filled only with decibels and discarded glow-sticks and wrist-bands.”

OK then.

Pitchfork was more pointed and, at the same time, more complimentary, giving the album a middling 6.5 rating. Their conclusion:

Toward the end of Egowerk the songs grow thinner and more obvious in their ’80s references. Gary Numan synths flutter over the four-on-the-floor electro-funk of ‘Young & Realistic,’ the album’s most faithful callback of the Danse Macabre days, while ‘Automaton’ robot dances the record to the finish line with no particular ambition to awe. A little bit of the Faint goes a long way, but as long as there’s technological angst — and it’s impossible to imagine a time when there won’t be — there’s always going to some life left in this sound.”

Pitchfork has never been big fans of the Faint. Egowerk is the highest-rated Faint record at Pitchfork since Dance Macabre scored a massive 7.8 way back in 2001.

More to come.

* * *

Virtuoso guitarist Dick Dale passed away over the weekend at the age of 81. Dale made Nebraska a regular tour stop in the latter years of his career. I got the chance to interview him way back in ’98 and he was as boisterous with his words as he was with his guitar.

Here, he recounts being approached by Quentin Tarantino about the use of his masterpiece, “Misirlou,” in the classic Pulp Fiction:

“Quentin makes movies from the energy of songs. He said, ‘I’m one of your biggest fans.’ He said, ‘Misirlou is a masterpiece. I would love to have your permission to make a movie that will be a masterpiece that will complement the masterpiece of Misirlou.’ I knew when he did Reservoir Dogs and the shit he had to go through that he was no bullshitter. I’m a very good judge of character.”

And here is as good an epitaph as you’ll likely find. From the article:

“I don’t play pyrotechnic scales. I play about frustration, patience, anger. Music is an extension of my soul. If you go to a Dick Dale concert you’ll see skinheads, tattoos, androgynous people, tribes of all the lands, college professors… That’s where typical musicians fail — they try to show off and play more technical to impress other musicians. But I’m playing for the people who are working for $3.50 an hour, the carpenters, the ditch diggers, the grass-roots people.”

RIP, Mr. Dale.

* * *

Tonight, D.C. slacker rockers BRNDA play at The Brothers Lounge. The four-piece has a pretty cool Pavement-esque indie pop sound. Dig. Opening is our very own Thick Paint, who will be rolling out some new tunes as they kick off a tour with Delicate Steve, who ain’t playing tonight. Who is playing tonight is Nathan Ma Band. All this for a mere $5. 9 p.m.

Check out the new Thick Paint track! Hey Graham, who’s putting out the new record?

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Mt. Joy, Pkew Pkew Pkew Saturday; Twin XL, Dicey Riley at The Dubliner Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:40 pm March 15, 2019

Dicey Riley at The Dubliner March 17, 2018. They return to The Dubliner Sunday night for St. Patrick’s Day.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Did you see that Cursive is slated to play at Winchester Bar & Grill May 25? The bar, which is owned by a number of folks including the dudes in Cursive, is doing karaoke and cover bands these days. As far as I can tell, this will be their first indie-style rock show, and will also include mewithoutout and The Appleseed Caste. And it being the last show on the Cursive tour, expect something special…

Anyway, that’s fine, but what’s happening this weekend?

Well, I have zero shows on my radar tonight. Might be a good time to head over to The Brothers or O’Leaver’s and watch some NCAA action.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), LA indie band Mt. Joy plays at The Waiting Room. They’ve got a laid-back style that lies somewhere between yacht rock and Americana. Their self-titled debut came out last year on Dualtone Records. Tulsa’s Wilderado opens at 9 p.m. $15.

Also Saturday night, there’s a five-band skate-punk show at Dr. Jack’s Drinkery, 3012 No. 102nd St., headlined by Pkew Pkew Pkew with On Holiday, Motel Martyr, Liar Wire and Speedball Summer. $12, 8:30 p.m.

Sunday night, Reverb Lounge is hosting LA indie-pop trio Twin XL, with Bokr Tov and Field Club. $10, 8 p.m.

And, lest I forget to mention it, Sunday is St. Patrick’s Day, which means you’ll find me down at The Dubliner listening to Dicey Riley (ex-Turfmen) from 2 to 6 p.m. and then from 7 to 11 p.m.  $5. Save a Guinness for me, won’t you?

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

I’m back; The Reader at 25 (in the column); Tom Bartolomei, Ben Eisenberger tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:00 pm March 14, 2019

The beaches of San Juan…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, I’m back from San Juan. And I can report that while not all things are back to where they were before Hurricane Maria, they’re pretty close… in the resort areas. We didn’t venture inland or go beyond Old San Juan (which looks virtually untouched, though I’m told it suffered greatly). I’ll talk more about what we saw in next month’s column in The Reader.

In this month’s column I reminisce about 25 years of The Reader and why alternative publications are so important, especially in a city that’s dominated by one traditional news source. The big 25th Anniversary issue of The Reader is on newsstands throughout the city right now, but you can also read the column right here.

* * *

Those of you who yearn for another performance of the Conor and Phoebe Show on national television should tune in tonight to The Late Late Show with James Corden. BTW, the show listing in no way mentions Better Oblivion Community Center. Did they drop the awkward moniker?

* * *

Tom Bartolomei and Ben Eisenberger are hitting the road together and tonight is their tour launch show at Pageturners. You should go. 9 p.m. and no price listed (Pageturner shows are usually free, but if I were those guys, I’d have a tip jar out in an attempt to generate some road cash.).

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Off the grid…; KISS, And the Kids tonight; Jason Steady, Red Cities Saturday; Ian Moore Monday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:00 pm March 7, 2019

Off the grid…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well it’s time to escape this endless winter, at least for a long weekend.

So what am I missing? Not a whole helluva lot.

KISS is tonight at the CHI Center. Or at least two of the original KISS line-up. This will be the last chance you’ll get to see them (supposedly), and as far as I can tell, there are plenty of tickets available at $26.50 a pop (not including fees). To help get you ready, here’s an ancient interview I did with KISS’ Peter Criss. The Catman is long-time retired, I believe.

Here’s the rest of what would be on my radar at the usual haunts this week/weekend:

Tonight at Reverb, Massachusetts band And The Kids headlines. They’ve got a nice indie-pop sound. Opening is Brooklyn act Tōth. $12, 8 p.m.

Friday night you’re on your own.

Saturday night Jason Steady opens for Win/Win and Mama’s Boy at Slowdown Jr. 9 p.m., $7.

Meanwhile, there’s a punk(ish) show going on at fabulous O’Leaver’s Saturday night with Lincoln band Red Cities, The Broke Loose and The Morbs. $5, 10 p.m.

Monday Austin indie/blues-rocker Ian Moore (Yep Rock) plays at Reverb Lounge. This is a pretty good under-the-radar show, especially at $15. 8 p.m.

And that’s all I’m seeing. If I missed your show, put in the comments section. have a great week/weekend and don’t do anything I wouldn’t do…

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New Stef Chura; Nebraska mini-doc features Dereck Higgins…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:00 pm March 6, 2019

Stef Chura’s new album, Midnight, comes out on Saddle Creek Records June 7.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Stef Chura, one of Saddle Creek Records’ more recent signings, announced this morning her new album, Midnight, will drop June 7. The album was produced by Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest and is likely to be much more rough-hewn than Chura’s 2017 Creek debut Messes. Certainly the first track, “Method Man,” seems to support that theory. 

You can order the limited-edition blue glow-in-the-dark splatter vinyl at the Saddle Creek store.

Chura also announced an Omaha date for her summer tour — Aug. 6 at Reverb Lounge. 

* * *

Musician Dereck Higgins (DHX, R.A.F., ex-Digital Sex) is the subject of a new mini-documentary about Nebraska from filmmaker Brad Barber. 

States of America” is a series of documentary shorts, featuring one person in each of the 50 states. New state episodes are released once a month until all 50 are complete. Higgins said he doesn’t know how his name got submitted for the project. “They interviewed me on the phone. About a month later they called back saying I was chosen,” he said. “I have no idea who suggested me.”

In the 5-minute video, Higgins talks about living in Nebraska and the role music plays in his life. There’s also some tasty footage of Higgins performing in R.A.F. Check it out below. 

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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

Rayland Baxter, Dirt House tonight at Slowdown Jr…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:35 pm March 4, 2019

Dirt House at O’Leaver’s Dec. 2, 2017. The band opens tonight for Rayland Baxter at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Never heard of Rayland Baxter, but a lot of people have. The dude has 1.4 million monthly Spotify listeners. Butch Walker produced his 2018 album Wide Awake, released on ATO Records. Rolling Stone called the album “a catchy collection of pop hooks that mix Beatles melodies with a bottom-end groove torn from the Stax Records playbook.” Pretty spot-on, based on the tracks below.

He plays tonight at Slowdown Jr. Our very own Dirt House opens at 8 p.m. $15.

* * *

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

Miwi La Lupa, #BFF tonight; Thelma and the Sleaze, That 1 Guy Sat.; Darling West, Graham Ulicny, Lucy Arnell, DJ Bob Nastanovich (of Pavement) Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:35 pm March 1, 2019

MiWi La Lupa at Dundee Days at Dario’s, Aug. 25, 2018. He plays tonight at The Sydney for #BFF.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Damn, I’ve been missing out on a lot of shows. Porcupine last night, Kurt Vile earlier this week. It’s not due to lack of interest so much as work stuff, which for now is dominating my time. So I’m living vicariously through all of you.

Anyway, the weekend…

We’ll start off with the fact that it’s Friday, March 1, which means Benson First Friday. As per usual, The Sydney has the marquee #BFF show tonight with Bed Rest, Miwi La Lupa and Field Club kicking it off at 10 p.m., $5.

Since you’ll be in Benson anyway, you might as well stop in The Little Gallery, located in the east bay of the Masonic Lodge building just east of The Sydney on Maple. This month’s featured artist is Joe Liebentritt (who old-school Omaha music fans might remember from the band The Still). Swing by, have a beer, check out the art and say hello. We’re there from 6 to 9 p.m.

Also tonight, singer/songwriter multiple Grammy winner Iris DeMent plays at The Waiting Room with Pieta Brown. $30, 8 p.m. This has been postponed due to illness.

Tomorrow night Burger Records artist Thelma and the Sleaze are at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The Nashville trio plays gritty garage rock that isn’t afraid of hooks. This should be fun. Joining them are Muscle Cousins and CatBarat. $10, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Mike Silverman a.k.a. That 1 Guy brings his home made one-man show to The Waiting Room. He’s all by himself, literally, as in there’s no opener. 9 p.m., $15.

And then Sunday night…

Pageturners is turning into a popular stage for touring acts. Sunday Norwegian folk-rock duo Darling West headlines. Just gorgeous stuff. Omaha superstar Gram Ulicny (Thick Paint) opens along with Bach Mai. It’s free (Do you believe it?) and starts at 8 p.m.

Also Sunday, LA by way of NYC indie rocker Lucy Arnell plays at The Sydney with Des Moines’ Odd Pets and DJ Need a Stack (Pavement’s Bob Nastanovich, seriously). $5, 9 p.m.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Big Thief leaves Saddle Creek for 4AD; Brothers closed until March 8…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm February 27, 2019

Big Thief’s next album, U.F.O.F., will be released May 3 on 4AD.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Received a bit of a shock yesterday when I looked at my email. There it was in the subject line: Big Thief Sign to 4AD, Announce New Album.

The press release copy: “U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend,’ is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May 3.” The release goes on to describe the record, the recording process, the lyrics, as well as upcoming tour dates without once mentioning Saddle Creek Records, the label that released the band’s last two albums.

Via Twitter, Saddle Creek acknowledged the news. When @loosechange tweeted “BIG THIEF AREN’T ON SADDLE CREEK ANYMORE?” @saddlecreek responded with: “No, but it’s ok! We still love each other! Proud and excited to watch as they (gently and compassionately) take over the world. Everyone should hear their new song. It’s so good.

Gracious words indeed, but the fact remains that it had to hurt to lose Big Thief from the label’s roster. Just looking at their Spotify numbers, no other act signed to Saddle Creek over the past three years is nearly as popular, with Hop Along coming in a distant second.

I asked label chief Robb Nansel if Saddle Creek turned down Big Thief’s latest album or if 4AD out-spent them. His one-word response: “Neither.”

So what was the reason? Did Big Thief look at 4AD as a necessary step up from Saddle Creek or was it something else? I’m sure we’ll find out as the band begins to take interviews in support of the new record.

Meanwhile, Saddle Creek is busy promoting the new album by Hand Habits, Placeholder, which comes out this Friday.

* * *

No rock shows tonight worth mentioning.

BTW, The Brothers is closed until March 8 according to Facebook! Wasn’t winter cold enough already?

* * *

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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