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

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

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

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



Live Review: Lydia Loveless, Kait Berreckman; New Lungs, Pro-Magnum tonight; Sucettes, Dick Dale Saturday…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm July 24, 2015
Lydia Loveless at Reverb Lounge, July 23, 2015.

Lydia Loveless at Reverb Lounge, July 23, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lydia Loveless looks like she could kick your ass. A fireplug of a woman, she stood in the digital light with her electric guitar hanging from her shoulders and belted out one song after another last night at Reverb like someone who’s been on the road for 10 years straight. She said prior to her set that last night’s show was the final night of filming for a documentary, presumably about her and/or her tour, though the only cameraman was one guy with a DSLR shooting from a corner of the stage as the the band ripped though its set.

Loveless had the C&W/alt-country tag hung on her early in her career, probably because of her slight twang that can easily slide into pseudo yodel and, in fact, does recall Loretta Lynn. And though she’s been compared to Lynn, Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith, she reminded me more of John Haitt, Tom Petty and Lucinda Williams backed by a second electric guitar, a guy who switched between pedal steel and electric 12-string, a drummer and a giant of a bass player who looked like a monster standing next to her.

Playing a number of songs off her most recent LP, Somewhere Else (Bloodshot, 2014) , this was my first real foray into Loveless. On indie label Bloodshot, there is a distinct commercial edge to her music, which I could imagine playing in the background of your favorite TV show. Listen most closely and you’ll catch elegant lyrics about love and longing that felt defiant on the upbeat rock numbers and humbling and regretful on the slower pieces. There is something about her music that makes me sad no matter how fast it’s played, sort of how I feel when I listen to Neko Case’s music. Like a soldier who’s just come home from battle, Loveless looked and sounded like a survivor telling war stories, and more often than not, it broke my heart.

I got to Reverb just in time to catch the tail end of Kait Berreckman’s solo electric/acoustic set. Her songs are sweet and sensitive and mostly upbeat despite lyrics that lay bare some of her more private moments in a heart-on-the-sleeve sort of way that reminded me of John Klemmensen (though not nearly as angsty). All the songs I heard were uptempo and played at the same speed, which made me yearn for some pace variety (I’d love to hear her play her closing song at half the speed and turn it into a durge-like anthem). Maybe the pacing was due to the solo approach — she says she’s better when she’s playing with her band (her words, spoken on stage). I’ll have to find out for myself.

* * *

Onward to the weekend.

There’s a good chance that I’ll finally check out the new Lookout Lounge at 320 So. 72nd (the old Hideout) tonight, as it’s hosting a free Maha Music Festival showcase. On the bill are Lineman’s Rodeo, New Lungs, Eric in Outespace, The Seen and Conchance. 9 p.m.

Also tonight psych-garage Shreveport band Ghost Foot headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Pro-Magnum, A Great Disturbance and Those Far Out Arrows. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Sucettes return to Reverb Lounge. Opening is Navy Gangs and High Up (featuring the Fink sisters). $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile over at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Dick Dale (he’s becoming a regular feature ’round here). The Sub-Vectors open. $28 today, $30 tomorrow. Starts at 9.

And finally, Hear Nebraska’s Good Living Tour wraps up tonight and tomorrow. Tonight the tour is in Nebraska City at Memorial Way with The So-So Sailors, Kill County and A Summer Better Than Yours. Starts at 8. Tomorrow evening the tour concludes in Grand Island with Icky Blossoms, Simon Joyner & The Ghosts and AZP. No idea on the venue, but the address is 111 E South Front St. This one’s listed with a 5 p.m. start. Both shows are free.

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

Lydia Loveless, STRFKR, Shy Boys, Anna McClellan tonight; Good Living in West Point…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:51 pm July 23, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots o’ shows going on tonight.

Top of the list is Lydia Loveless at Reverb Lounge. The Columbus, Ohio, singer/songwriter has been compared to Loretta Lynn, Stevie Nicks, Patti Smith and Liz Phair, among others. She’s on the road supporting her new album, Somewhere Else (Bloodshot Records). Local hero Kait Berreckman opens. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Portland electronic act STRFKR (Polyvinyl, Badman) plays at The Waiting Room with Shy Boys & Fullbloods. $17, 9 p.m.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s a singer/songwriter showcase featuring Anna McClellan (Howard), Mike Schlesinger (ex-Gus & Call), Phantom Canyon and Noah Sterba (Yuppies). $5, 9:30 p.m.

The Good Living Tour continues in West Point tonight at the Nielsen Community Center featuring Rock Paper Dynamite, John Klemmensen and the Party and Dustin Prinz. It’s free and starts at 8. You think Andy Norman of Hear Nebraska is getting road weary yet?

* * *

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

Natalie Prass, Son Ambulance (in Lincoln); John Klemmensen, Life is Cool tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 12:59 pm July 22, 2015
Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae's, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at Vega in Lincoln.

Natalie Prass at Maggie Mae’s during SXSW, March 19, 2015. She plays tonight at Vega in Lincoln.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If I could, I’d go to the Natalie Prass show at Vega in Lincoln tonight. Prass’ self titled debut (on Spacebomb) is rich, acoustic-driven singer/songwriter stuff, like Jenny Lewis singing Joni Mitchell playing jazzy pop music. Really gorgeous stuff and terrific live (as witnessed at this year’s SXSW). Those of you going are in for a treat. The show is only $10 and you also get Son, Ambulance and Chicago band In Tall Buildings. 9 p.m. start time. I’d go but the drive back from Lincoln means home after 1 a.m. which doesn’t sit well with a 5 a.m. wake-up call.

Here’s a new one by Prass not on the debut:

Also tonight, The Love Technicians, who I’ve never heard before, play their farewell show at Reverb tonight. Opening is John Klemmensen and the Party and Lincoln’s Life Is Cool. $7, 9 p.m.

Got my Sufjan tickets, btw…

* * *

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

Jeremy Messersmith house show; Sufjan Stevens, Low headed our way; Wilco giveaway; Author, Good Living North Platte tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:43 pm July 21, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I typically don’t write about upcoming shows, but there are a few that have just been announced that are under the radar.

First among them is a house show featuring Jeremy Messersmith Tuesday, Aug. 4, at a “midtown” location (You’ll find out where presumably when you buy your ticket). Messersmith is calling this his “Supper Club Tour.” Says Messersmith: “I want you to bring the food. But not just any food! I want to try your best, most mouthwatering dishes; the kind passed down through battered cookbooks, the kind that you’ve sworn to keep secret. I want to provide a soundtrack while you sample a feast the likes of which will never be seen again.” Mmmm. You can purchase your $20 tickets right here. I gotta believe space is limited…

Also announced today:

Sufjan Stevens is returning to Omaha, this time to the Orpheum Oct. 28. The last time he came through town with his band was way back in September 2005. From the review of that show:

Sufjan Stevens at Sokol Underground, Sept. 20, 2005.

Sufjan Stevens at Sokol Underground, Sept. 20, 2005.

Packed it was last night at Sokol Underground. It was sold out, and we’ll leave it at that. Packed from stage to the merch table, wall to wall, a mass of humanity come to see Sufjan Stevens and his 8-person band of cheerleader musicians dressed in their Big “I” T-shirts, some holding pompoms, all playing a myriad of instruments, most singing. The pompoms weren’t mere props. Stevens and crew began four or five songs with well-choreographed cheers, complete with arm signals and spirit fingers. It was that kind of set, a goodhearted rah-rah for ol’ Illinois, all in celebration of his second “state LP,” this one dedicated to The Prairie State.

Seriously, at times it was like listening to a choir led by a little guy in a Cubs hat with a voice that was a morph of Art Garfunkel and Ben Gibbard singing lullabies to Jacksonville, Decatur and Chicago. I didn’t know what to expect from the arrangements, I knew Stevens would be hard-pressed to recreate the lushness heard on the CD. But by God, he captured the majesty thanks to the glockenspiels and brass (especially his trumpet player) and keyboards and battery of percussion and those four female cheerleaders whose angel-voices made the whole thing float. Listening to Come on Feel The Illinoise as I write this after the show, I think everything was a tad funkier live, especially “Decatur,” which sported a nice bass riff and finger snaps and probably some sort of synchronized cheer-dance. After playing high school pep-rally standard “Varsity,” the band came back and did a one-song encore that nicely rounded off the hour-long set.

It was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Considering the overall glumness of his new record, Carrie & Lowell, I don’t expect the Orpheum show to be as light-hearted. Still, this is must-see stuff. Presale tickets available here beginning tomorrow at 10 a.m.

Another must-see show announced today, Low plays Reverb Lounge Nov. 12.

* * *

If you haven’t seen it, the Wall Street Journal chimed in on Wilco giving away digital downloads of their latest album, Star Wars. You can download the album for free from here. Says the WSJ: “The popularity of the surprise album release—and Wilco’s decision to offer theirs for free—shows how much less album releases matter to many major artists relative to touring and other revenue streams.” and “… for acts such as Wilco, whose albums sell well but aren’t massive industry blockbusters, touring is the bigger part of the equation.”

This brought up a discussion last night at a dinner, where it was suggested that bands giving away digital versions of their music would become “the norm,” and that bands would rely on a combination of performance income, publishing rights sales (i.e. TV / commercial / movie use) and vinyl sales (and other merch) for the majority of their income. This may be work for established bands like Wilco, but it would likely mean hard times for up-and-coming acts…

* * *

One show of note tonight: Minneapolis four-piece Author plays at Reverb Lounge. Their most recent release, Of Brighter Days, came out this past January (listen to it below). Kind of Washed Out meets Owl City, sort of.  Opening is KC’s The Author and The Illustrator and EKLECTICA. $8, 8 p.m.

Also, the Good Living Tour rolls into North Platte tonight for a show downtown on “The Bricks,” (whatever that is). On the bill: A Ferocious Jungle Cat, Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies and M34N STR33T. Oh my, what those railroaders are in for… The free show starts at 8 and is all ages.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Live Review: Sweatfest, Bloodcow; New Krill; Super Ghost, Tie These Hands, Good Living Valentine tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:16 pm July 20, 2015
Gordon at Sweatfest, July 18, 2015.

Gordon at Sweatfest, July 18, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sweatfest was indeed sweaty. And messy. I didn’t get there until 6 p.m. Saturday evening where I found Gordon playing outside behind the Sweatshop Gallery in the white-rock parking lot that had been cordoned off with bright orange plastic fencing.

Sweatfest had three stages — one outside, one in the gallery and one in the performance garage — with sets scheduled to overlap. Gordon continues to be one of my favorite local bands, frontman Aaron Parker channeled Jim Morrison and/or Nick Cave on music that is brutal and beautiful and full of dread.

Bloodcow at The Barley Street Tavern, July 18, 2015.

Bloodcow at The Barley Street Tavern, July 18, 2015.

As 7 p.m. rolled around, I escaped the fest momentarily to catch the Bloodcow CD release show at Barley Street Tavern. Interestingly, the Barley doesn’t open ’til 7 p.m. on Saturdays — when the band was scheduled to be on stage. I found them a half-hour earlier standing by the back door with their gear, trying to contact someone who could let them in. By a quarter to, the Bloodcow “party bus” arrived, disembarking holiday revelers onto the sidewalk dressed in colorful Hawaiian shirts and leis.

The doors opened a little after 7 and the band loaded in, but there was no soundguy on the premises. Keep in mind, Bloodcow had a schedule to keep. After their Barley show they were headed to O’Leaver’s for an early gig and then to T’z Lounge in CB for their third show of the night. Band members huddled around the darkened soundboard with their phone flashlights ablaze looking for some way to turn on the equipment, to no avail.

It looked like the first stop of their tour would end in disaster until someone found the power switch. With one microphone working and no stage lights, the band lit into a short set at around 7:45 while their fans threw devil horns from the dance floor. As always, Bloodcow snatched triumph from defeat. Before the set ended, a soundguy showed up and turned on the stage lights, though the band sounded just as good in the dark.

By the time I got back to Sweatfest at around 9, the Sweatshop parking lot looked like a post-apocalyptic beach movie with a few hundred sweaty, stinky people wandering around in the dark as the violent power of Dumb Beach’s music blared through the open overhead garage door.

Sam Martin in the Sweatshop Gallery at Sweatfest, July 15, 2015.

Sam Martin in the Sweatshop Gallery at Sweatfest, July 15, 2015.

Round 3 of the Spaghetti Wrestling Tournament at Sweatfest, July 18, 2015.

Round 3 of the Spaghetti Wrestling Tournament at Sweatfest, July 18, 2015.

While I was gone someone showed up with the spaghetti and poured it onto a couple old mattresses set out in the parking lot as a makeshift wrestling ring. A masked female wrestler stomped on the wet noodles as if crushing grapes for wine. With an emcee calling the action, opponents (half of them women) were doused with cooking oil and set ablaze (just kidding). Once greased down, they went at it. Best two out of three falls — whoever pushed the opponent out of the “ring” was the winner. Gross, sloppy, decadent fun. By the end of the rounds, limp spaghetti hung from the overhead power lines.

By all accounts, Sweatfest was a success; I’m told bands played into the wee hours. The fest reminded me of the fun, small-venue gigs that take place on the east side of Austin during SXSW, backyard summer shows where people bring their own booze, kick back and enjoy the music. Here’s to Sweatfest 2016.

* * *

As FYI, here’s the new video by Krill. Someone needs to book these guys here.

* * *

Tonight at Pageturners its Super Ghost and Lincoln band Tie These Hands. The free show starts at 9 p.m. What a way to start off your week…

Also tonight, the Good Living Tour continues in Valentine, NE, with The Kris Lager Band, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns and Oketo at Bull Market Beer & Grill. Free and 7 p.m. and all ages.

* * *

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

Appleseed Cast, Melt Banana, Uh Oh tonight; Sweatfest, Bloodcow release shows Saturday; Good Living Tour begins…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm July 17, 2015
Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015. The band celebrates the release of Crystals & Lasers at three separate shows Saturday night.

Bloodcow at Reverb Lounge, March 7, 2015. The band celebrates the release of Crystals & Lasers at three separate shows Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A busy music weekend ahead. Let’s get right to it.

Tonight The Appleseed Cast plays in the intimate confines of Reverb Lounge. Opening are Adjy, Annabel and Coaster. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the 1% Entertainment Complex (i.e., at The Waiting Room) Melt Banana returns with Torche and Hot Nerds. $15, 9 p.m.

Local dudes Oh Uh are celebrating the release of their new EP, In the Glow, tonight at The New BLK (1213 Jones St.) with The Derby Birds and Eric In Outerspace. 9 p.m. start time and no cover listed, but you can check out the new album for free below:

And fabulous O’Leaver’s has Dan Tedesco tonight with 24 Hour Cardlock and The Willards. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday Sweatfest is happening all afternoon and evening at the Sweatshop Gallery. For a mere $10 you get performances by Conchance/Black Jonny Quest, Universe Contest, Dumb Beach, Stomach, Dave Nance, Gordon, See Through Dresses, Solid Attitude, Sam Martin, Nathan Ma & the Rosettes. Shy Boys, Dirt, Ebony Tusks, Sean Pratt, Calm Fur, Navy Gangs, Little Ripple, No Thanks, Ian Aeillo, Dead Flowers Preservation Club Band. Lineman’s Rodeo, No Getter and Captain Crud. Not to mention spaghetti wrestling.

Don’t ask me what the schedule is ‘cuz I don’t know, but maybe they’ll post it here.

Also Saturday night, the long-awaited CD release shows for Bloodcow’s new album, Crystals and Lasers, are finally happening, all three of them.

Show 1 is at The Barley Street Tavern at 7 p.m. No cover listed.
Show 2 is at O’Leaver’s at 8 p.m. with Members of the Press and Westside Proletariat. $5.
Show 3 is the grand-daddy of them all in Council Bluffs at T’z Sports Pub, 128 West Broadway. Joining them are Wet Radio and Coupe De Villain. $5, 9 p.m.

Go to one, better yet, GO TO THEM ALL!

Also Saturday night Say Anything headlines at The Waiting Room with Modern Baseball, Cymbals Eat Guitars and Hard Girls. $20 now / $23 tomorrow, 7:30 p.m.

And the second summer camp showcase for Omaha Girls Rock! is happening Saturday at The Slowdown. This start early at 5:30 and a $5 donation is suggested. See tomorrow’s stars today.

Last but not least, The Good Living Tour, sponsored by Hear Nebraska, kicks off this weekend. All shows are free and all ages and begin at 8 p.m.

Show No. 1 is tonight in Imperial (home to Hear Nebraska Exec Director Andrew Norman) at The Imperial Country Club and features The Talbott Brothers, See Through Dresses and The Bottle Tops.

Show No. 2 is Saturday night in Ogallala at Rendezvous Square and features Twinsmith, Freakabout and Lloyd McCarter.

Show No. 3 is Sunday night way out in Scottsbuff / Gering at Five Rocks Amphitheater and features McCarthy Trenching, Both and blet.

For more info about the tour, check out my write-up in the current issue of The Reader, and go to hearnebraska.org.

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

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Sarah Bethe Nelson, Sean Pratt, AYGAMG; Video Ranger last show tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 12:59 pm July 16, 2015
Sarah Bethe Nelson plays at The Sweatshop Gallery tonight.

Sarah Bethe Nelson plays at The Sweatshop Gallery tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight at Sweatshop Gallery, amazing San Francisco singer/songwriter Sarah Bethe Nelson (Burger Records) headlines. As uplifting as she is somber, her track, “Paying” is startlingly beautiful (check it out below).  Joining her is Sean Pratt & the Sweats and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, Columbus Ohio band Nervosas (Dirtnap Records) plays at West Wing with The Ridgways and Video Ranger (for what’s being billed as their last show). $5, 9 p.m. More info here.

* * *

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

Desaparecidos ‘don’t give a f***'; new Good Life; Sturgill Simpson tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:57 pm July 15, 2015
Desaparecidos rock the Holy Name Fieldhouse in April 2001.

Desaparecidos rock the Holy Name Fieldhouse in April 2001. And they still don’t give a f***.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been interviewing members of Desaperacidos since the band first formed way back in 2001. The guys have a new album called Payola, which came out on Epitaph last month, that just happens to be No. 14 in the College Music Journal top-20. With a show coming up Sept. 10 at The Waiting Room (which, btw, is bound to sell out, so if you want to go, you better get your $20 tix now), it would seem like an opportune moment to interview the band again.

However, I’m not sure what I’d ask the band that didn’t get covered in technicolor in this Noisey interview with Dan Ozzi that dropped today with the headline ‘Desaparecidos didn’t give a fuck back then and they don’t give a fuck now.’ In it, Conor Oberst and Matt Baum give candid, straightforward answers to questions that I probably would have asked, such as “Why did you go with Epitaph instead of Saddle Creek?” “What’s wrong with journalism these days?” and “Why has public opinion (in this case, Pitchfork) about Desa changed over the past 12 years?”

Perhaps the most controversial answer in the interview involves Saddle Creek:

You guys are so strongly associated with Saddle Creek. Why did you decide to go with Epitaph on this one?

Conor: Well, the Saddle Creek thing has been kind of unraveling for a long time. They’re still our friends, and I’ve definitely got no ill will. When the label started when we were all kids, it was very much a collective thing. I’m talking way back in like, ’93, ’94. The record label honestly started with me and our friend Ted Stevens, who plays in Cursive, and my brother Justin, and we started in my parents’ attic making Kinko’s copies of record sleeves. Anyway, the collective aspect sort of fell to the wayside and it became more of a regular business and certain peoples’ names ended up on the paperwork and other people’s didn’t and it… I don’t know. After years, it kind of soured a little bit and we happened to go our own way. I wish all of them the best, but we knew we weren’t gonna do it with them and we started talking about what label would make sense with our band, and what’s the label we respect, and can get it out there, and Epitaph was the very first one that…

OK, wow. There’s no question that Saddle Creek V.2015 is a lot different than Saddle Creek V.2001. The only artist from the label’s original “crown jewels” that’s stuck around is Cursive/Tim Kasher. Not sure what “certain peoples’ names ended up on the paperwork and other people’s didn’t…” means, but I can venture a guess, especially if things “soured a little bit…” Certainly Oberst and Co. didn’t go to Epitaph because it’s some sort of “collective” (’cause it ain’t).

Anyway, after I read this interview (and there have been countless others recently) I wondered what’s the point of pursuing an interview of my own? What could I ask that hasn’t already been asked? Just read these ones if you want to know what’s happening with the band.

That said, if anyone from the band wants some press in ol’ Lazy-i (and thereader.com), I’d love to shoot the shit with them…

BTW, Desaparecidos starts their next tour tomorrow in Indianapolis. Digital Leather opens that show along with the show the following night in St. Louis.

* * *

Speaking of crown jewels, here’s yet another new song off The Good Life’s upcoming album, Everybody’s Coming Down, out Aug. 14 on Saddle Creek Records.

* * *

We all know MarQ Manner, even some of you readers who don’t live in Omaha. MarQ is sort of the ex officio mayor of Benson and a strong supporter of bands that haunt Maple Street’s liquor corridor. While MarQ and I don’t always share the same taste in music, I pay attention when he goes ga-ga over anyone other than Prince (to which I’m already a fan). Kind of like he did with Sturgill Simpson.

I don’t follow country music, but I must say Simpson puts a modern face on a traditional approach to C&W that is hard to resist, even on first listen. Which is a round-about way of saying MarQ is right about this guy; he is special, and he’s playing tonight at Sokol Auditorium. So dust off your cowboy boots and scoot on down at 8, when opener Cody Jinks starts things off. Tix are $25.

* * *

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

Homer’s Mike Fratt on ‘New Music Friday’ (spoiler alert: He doesn’t like it); new Protomartyr; Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm July 14, 2015
Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When the first New Music Friday happened last week — forever changing release date for new albums from Tuesdays to Fridays — I asked Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt for his take on the change. Here’s what he had to say, via email:

“I fought very hard against this while on the Music Business Association board. The idea came from Universal’s Global head of digital sales. There was no research to support this move and when we pushed back they presented this trumped up nonsense they called research. Funny to see it mentioned in the NPR piece as it was total bullshit.

“I am against removing a traffic driver from the middle of the week to the weekend. As the face of the fight against this I was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal back in November of 2014.

“It is stupid to move the dependency to just the weekend and to move away from the release date we shared with books, movies, comics, video games, etc. Doing so creates logistics issues for our suppliers, who ship all the products to stores together. Now they will have to manage new release shipments twice a week to accommodate music separate from the other categories.

“There is also concern about sales. Currently, if a new release blows up stores can easily restock for the weekend. Now, if something blows up on Friday there will be no restocking ’til Tuesday at the earliest. Dumb.

“We were for a global release day, just not Friday. We (U.S. retail) and the trade association for music retailers in the UK (ERA) agreed to both use Monday in an effort to keep it during the week but align to one day.

“Universal threatened to leave the Music Biz Association if the board approved the move to Monday as they were invested in it being Friday. I had the votes on the board lined up to approve Monday. That threat would have crushed Music Biz Assoc as Universal is the largest member and pays the largest dues. I was so disgusted by this unprofessional action that, after nine years on the board, I resigned.

“Soundscan has yet to get all retailers to alter their reporting of sales dates (during the week) to reflect this move to Friday through Thursday from the current Sunday to Saturday, so the first eight weeks’ sales numbers will be royally fucked up and very likely just made up.”

I asked Fratt, in this new streaming age does the release date matter to anyone except brick-and-mortar stores? Are we headed toward an age when music is released digitally whenever? His response:

“Regarding your question about digital, this aligns digital and physical even more so. So, I don’t see digital going rogue and releasing on different days than physical. But pay for digital album sales are falling faster than physical. And if all indie stores sales were actually counted (only 60 report to soundscan) we would see physical sales are actually pretty healthy.

“Streaming is the new radio, as you so often write. It creates awareness for releases, artists, music. We’re seeing it positively impact physical sales.”

A post script to all of this:

Last Friday the Saddle Creek Shop, located in north downtown in the Slowdown complex, announced it no longer will stock non-Saddle Creek Records titles, and that the store will only be open one day a week — Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

* * *

In other news, Protomartyr released the first song from their upcoming album, The Agent Intellect, out Oct. 9 on Hardly Art. Check it out.

* * *

Iconic ’80s/’90s/today doom/sludge/stoner/metal/grunge band Melvins plays tonight at The Waiting Room. If you’re wondering if you should go, here’s a review of last Wednesday’s Melvins show in Chicago, complete with set list, to help you decide. Le Butcherettes opens the show at 9 p.m. $17.

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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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Live Review: Ceremony, Tony Molina, Gramps, Mint Wad Willy; Sun-less Trio tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm July 13, 2015
Ceremony at The Sweatshop Gallery, July 11, 2015.

Ceremony at The Sweatshop Gallery, July 11, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

They don’t call it The Sweatshop Gallery for nothing. Saturday night’s show in the converted garage behind Sweatshop’s art gallery in Benson was easily the most uncomfortable concert experience in memory. If you thought it was hot outside Saturday, you should have stepped foot into that concrete stink oven Saturday night. I felt like a chicken in a rotisserie or a hippie in Southwestern sweat lodge. Within minutes after stepping inside the bunker sweat dripped off my elbows and ran down my legs in salty streams. My shirt, my shorts were drenched, stuck in a layer of warm moisture against my skin, sweat broiling off my forehead and into my eyes. Stifling, suffocating. It was awful, but it was worth it.

Ceremony is a West Coast band that made their nut playing what has been described as “power violence” music, which is a form of hardcore punk. What made them stand out may have been their guitar work or frontman Ross Farrar’s vocal approach, which was a bit more “arty” than the usual hardcore screaming. Anyway, the band started as a hardcore act in ’05. Then slowly eased off and became more post-punk-ish after their album Rohnert Park came out in 2011. Then they signed with Matador and turned their back on hardcore altogether with the release of the somewhat boring Zoo in 2012.

Now comes The L-Shaped Man, which was released earlier this year on Matador and sounds like an Interpol/Joy Division tribute album. Farrar’s vocals went completely Ian Curtis/Paul Banks on top of music that feels like it was developed in a Joy Division/New Order sound incubator. Pitchfork hated it. I love it because I love that style of music, though at times the record is so derivative it’s chuckle-inducing.

How many of the 70 or so kids jammed into Sweatshop were there to see the old hardcore Ceremony vs. the new post-punk version, I do not know, though it didn’t matter when they launched into their Joy Division-fueled set opener that got the sweat-slick crowd jumping. In the heat and darkness, Farrar was in his element saying before he started that the gig already was the best show he’d played in Omaha, and telling the crowd to step right up, which they did. The band fed off the heat and energy, and the set boiled with a goth-dance-punk intensity that Bauhaus would appreciate.

While there were plenty of Factory Records moments during the set, the band — and Farrar — did something wholly unique live, pulling in abstract elements from their past to create a new sound that melded post-punk with something much darker. The crowd loved it and the room became a pit, with youth hanging from the rafters. If Ceremony could tap into this hybrid sound/energy not heard on their album, they’d be onto something that is entirely their own.

Tony Molina at Sweatshop Gallery, July 11, 2015.

Tony Molina at Sweatshop Gallery, July 11, 2015.

It was a varied night of music at ol’ Sweatshop. North Bay punk band Creative Adult was among the openers playing a heavy, rhythmic punk that was brittle and fun. Then came Tony Molina, another Bay-area guy I’d never heard of but who was nothing less than amazing playing pure power-pop influenced by ’70s icon bands like Thin Lizzy and Cheap Trick, but with more than a nod to J Mascis and Teenage Fanclub. Molina and a second guitarist weaved intricate harmonies that were Thin Lizzy taken to an extreme backed by a solid rhythm section on songs that rarely lasted more than two minutes. As badly as I wanted to get outside for some relief I couldn’t get myself to miss any of it. Utterly exhausting and exhilarating.

Yes, this will be in my top-10 (maybe top 5?) favorite shows of ’15, despite losing at least five pounds in water weight.

Gramps at Barley Street Tavern, July 11, 2015.

Gramps at Barley Street Tavern, July 11, 2015.

Between sets I slipped into the Barley Street for Rolling Rock and AC and to catch Gramps, the new-ish band fronted by Django Greenblatt-Seay of Love Drunk Studio fame. A solid four-piece, Gramps’ style of indie sounds influenced by the local scene, specifically acts like Little Brazil and Criteria, but every song has a twist, whether it’s a unique guitar solo or an unfamiliar time sequence. Django and Co. play with a no-shit attitude that says “come along for the ride if, if you want to.”

Another local act seen for the first time this weekend was Mint Wad Willy. Here’s a band I’ve never made an effort to see because of their name. Mint Wad Willy? Sounds like a cover band or a white-guy blues band. Well I wasn’t going to miss them Saturday morning because they played at The Indie 5K/10K run, which benefitted Benson/Ames, and I must say I dug what I heard. Their style wasn’t straight-up rock as much as mainstream garage a la The Black Keys, though something about their sound also reminded me of heavier Big Star or even Silkworm with some Creedance thrown in. That sounds like a mess, but I can’t put my finger on a key influence.

By the way, the band’s name is an old-school reference to a Mary Jane cigarette (a mint-wad willy). And also BTW, I won my age bracket in the 5K (which isn’t so impressive when you realize I was the only one entered).

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Sun-less Trio is a new project that features Mike Saklar (No Blood Orphan, Ritual Device), Marc Phillips (Carsinogents) and Cricket Kirk (Paper Owls). They’re playing tonight at Pageturners Lounge with A Great Disturbance. 9 p.m. and FREE. Great way to start your week…

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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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