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Zola Jesus at The Waiting Room Oct. 11, 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.



Leafblower, Conny Franko, Sucettes, R.A.F, Ojai, The Sunks tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:55 pm November 22, 2017

Leafblower at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017. They’re playing tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Pre-Thanksgiving Wednesday means a few shows are happening tonight because no one has to get up tomorrow morning. Well, almost no one.

Tonight O’Leaver’s invades Slowdown Jr. for a show headlined by the mighty Leafblower. Consisting of members of Danny Maxwell’s New Lungs, with Craig Fort, Tab Tworek and DMax himself. Stage antics include Tim the Leafblower guy and his leaf-blowing fog machine. Local hip-hop royalty Conny Franko opens along with BareBear. $5, 9 p.m.

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Also tonight Sucettes return to Brothers Lounge for a pre-holiday extravaganza. Joining them are Omaha hardcore punk legends R.A.F. and The Wolfman. $5, 9 p.m.

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Meanwhile, back at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Ojai headlines with The Sunks and Tutti Frutti. $5, 10 p.m

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

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RIP Ryan Kuper (Redemption Records, NE Vs. NC)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:55 pm November 21, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A name from Omaha’s early days of indie rock greatness passed away. Ryan Kuper was a Council Bluffs native turned Californian who founded ’90s-era label Redemption Records. He also was instrumental in putting out the NE Vs. NC Compilation in 2002, which was when I last interviewed him.

From the article:

The Versus Series was just another ambitious idea from the Lewis Central graduate whose record industry career began by releasing an EP by Austin hardcore act Intent. Over a decade, Redemption would go on to release music by hardcore bands like 4 Walls Falling, Encounter and Resurrection, before releasing CDs by Omaha gutter-groove punkers Ritual Device and pop-rockers Grasshopper Takeover, among others.

Through the years, Kuper has moved back and forth between the Midwest to Los Angeles. On his last move to the West Coast 18 months ago, he started a management company called Boundless Entertainment with former Omahan John Biondolillo, a.k.a. John Stewart, known for his work at Omaha’s KDGE-FM The Edge as well for managing local rock band Blue Moon Ghetto — a local favorite (now disbanded) in the Creed/Hootie and the Blowfish vein. Boundless counts among their clients Victory Records’ artist The Reunion Show, hip-hop act Trew Dat, Chicago alt rockers Zen Darlings, SubPop and Milan recording artist Gardener, and last but not least, Andy Dick and the Bitches of the Century.

Dick, famous for his work on TV shows News Radio and MTV’s The Andy Dick Show (not to mention his various drug-related exploits) is a long-time associate and one-time roommate of Kuper’s. Managing Dick’s music affairs involves everything from brokering his record deal with Milan Records to locking down a producer for his CD to handling band bookings and press. The day of this interview, Dick’s band performed on the Craig Kilborne show. “Part of my job is to make sure he gets to the studio on time,” Kuper said.

Kuper’s most recent job was working as an executive benefits specialist at Unum. You can donate to Kuper’s Fundly page, here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Orgone, Fire Heads, Rusty Lord tonight; Lizzo, Chris Twist, Nathan Ma Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:36 pm November 17, 2017

Fire Retarded at O’Leaver’s Feb. 21, 2015. The band has since changed its name to Fire Heads, who play at O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A few interesting shows happening this weekend…

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Orgone. The LA-based funk/soul band has become a local favorite. Bring your dancing shoes. Kris Lager Band opens at 9 p.m. $15.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Madison band Fire Heads. You may know them by their former, less-PC name Fire Retarded (happy I got a T-shirt before they changed their name). It’s noisy, chunky garage rock, just like the openers, local boys Rusty Lord (actually, more rock metal than garage) and Wrong Pets. No price listed on this one, but it’s probably the usual $5, and the usual 9:30 start time.

I generally gloss over mainstream, major-label acts, but I’ll make an exception for Lizzo a.k.a. Melissa Jefferson, who’s playing at The Slowdown tomorrow night (Saturday). Good luck not moving your ass when you hear her rip through “Good As Hell” or “‘Scuse Me.” Dojo Cat opens at 9 p.m. In the main room. $18 Adv/$20 DOS.

 

Also Saturday night, garage rocker Chris Twist of The Lemons branches out with his own solo set at Brothers Lounge. Also on the bill are Nathan Ma and DJ Dave Goldberg. $5, 9 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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And the Kids, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, David Nance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:49 pm November 16, 2017

And the Kids plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Northampton, MA, indie band And the Kids headlines a stacked bill tonight at Slowdown Jr. The young four-piece lists Modest Mouse, Rilo Kiley, The Doors and The Police as influences. Their sound has a similar dreamy quality as, say, Alvvays, especially on their new album, Friends Share Lovers (Signature Sounds Recordings). Opening tonight’s show is Omaha garage-rock god David Nance and the legendary Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. This big show has an early start time: 8 p.m. $10.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Young Jesus signs to Saddle Creek; Mynabirds Tiny Desk Concert; James McMurtry, Bethlehem Steel, Sean Pratt tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:52 pm November 15, 2017

Young Jesus is the latest to sign to Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The ever-expanding Saddle Creek Records roster continues to grow with the signing of Chicago band Young Jesus. The label will release the band’s new album, S/T, Feb. 23.

From the press release: “Young Jesus, an indie rock quartet formed in Chicago and reformed in Los Angeles, looks to communicate the tensions between proximity and distance, chaos and order. On their upcoming record S/T, to be released by Saddle Creek, the band focuses on seemingly small moments in everyday life: phone calls with Mom, landscapes along the highway, crows in a tree. Yet with time these strange intimacies add up to a life. A life full of anxiety, confusion, sadness, joy, boredom, and ultimately wonder.

“Young Jesus mixes the emotional intensity of bands like Slint, Pile, and Built To Spill with the quiet contemplation of Yo La Tengo, Mogwai, and Laughing Stock-era Talk Talk. They give themselves to moments of aggression and volume, balanced alongside near-silence.

Young Jesus is something of a departure for Saddle Creek. S/T, which was originally released on Gigantic Noise this past fall, includes lengthy tracks that range from 6 minutes to more than 12 minutes long. I can’t remember a Creek band recording anything in that range.

While there are jangly slacker indie pop songs you’d expect, like lead-off track “Green,” it’s songs like the 6-plus minute “Desert” that recall long-play droner acts like The New Year/Bedhead and Red House Painters, while frontman John Rossiter’s drowsy vocals are at times reminiscent of Damian Jurado and Isaac Brock.

The 9-plus minute “Feeling” starts off as your typical acoustic indie song for the first two minutes, glides into tone layers, percussion and found sounds before exploding into raw guitar chords and guttural vocals that transition again later to cicadas, tones, etc.

The same format holds for the 12-plus minute album closer, “Storm.” This one starts as a rock song, but after two minutes shifts to quiet noises, tones, then a jangly noise collage returning to a jam at the six-minute mark and so on, ending with a bang and a whimper. Saddle Creek describes this as “experimental,” whereas I see it more as compositional gymnastics, an attempt at pulling melody from dissonance, like seeing sun break through the fog. Check out album below.

Saddle Creek this morning also announced the 4th in their Document series — Palehound, “YMCA Pool” b/w “Sea of Blood.” Pre-order the Jan. 28 release today at Creek’s online store.

In other Saddle Creek news, The Mynabirds were featured in a coveted NPR Tiny Desk Concert. Check it out below.

Two shows tonight…

Singer/songwriter James McMurtry, son of author Larry McMurtry, plays tonight at The Waiting Room. Max Gomez opens. $20, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, New York indie band Bethlehem Steel (Exploding in Sound Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Sean Pratt. The Razors are the headliners. $5, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Simon Joyner on ‘As Long As We’re in Danger’ – Q&A…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:44 pm November 14, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Simon Joyner, Step Into the Earthquake (2017, Shrimper)

A follow-up to yesterday’s entry

Prior to leaving on his European tour at the end of October, I asked Simon Joyner about his song “As Long As We’re in Danger,” mentioned in the column that appears in this month’s issue of The Reader, which you can read online here. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, please do so now to put the following in context.

Joyner posted the song’s lyrics on his Facebook page, along with comments about why he wrote it and what it means. As mentioned in the column, the timing almost seemed like Joyner was making a pre-emptive move to head-off any controversy surrounding the song’s lyrics. So I asked him about it.

Was the song written before the blow-up over Noah Sterba’s song?

Simon Joyner: The song was written a year ago, during the election year, long before any blow-ups in Omaha on social media that I was aware of. It takes awhile to get an album recorded and then manufactured and released but it is, in fact, an older song.

Was publishing the lyrics and the explanation a way to get the issue out in the open rather than wait for those who might be offended to discover it?

Due to the corrosive nature of social media, I wanted to contextualize my song before it could be taken out of context by anyone who wanted to misrepresent its themes and intentions. So that’s why I posted the song and explanation. But Facebook and Twitter, it’s like Telephone, things spread and get presented out of context and editorialized for new people on so many different threads where my statement and the full lyrics couldn’t be seen for context. Knowing it would happen either way, I at least wanted to set the tone on my own page. The song is unambiguously targeting racists and racism in the country, xenophobia generally speaking, and the identity politics that are used to divide us. I hoped that by explaining who the narrator was in the song and exactly what my intentions were and what I was targeting, it would help direct the conversation so we could start in the place of recognizing we’re on the same side here on the broader points the song addresses. Whether or not people agreed that I should have used the word in my effort to paint a scathing portrait of America at its ugliest, I wanted them to know that the rage in the song is directed at those who hold those feelings and I wanted them to know I think this is an age-old American trait, not something new.

Most people at least understood my intentions and appreciated that I was commenting on our culture even if some thought that using the word to expose those painful realities was insensitive or unnecessary. I’m sensitive to those views and found that criticism valuable. But some people promoted the idea that the use of the n-word even in a song obviously against racism made the song racist and made me a racist. That’s a really irrational take. I’m not a racist and neither is the song. I was describing the world we actually live in, not the one we aspire to live in. That’s why I used the word in the song but would never use it in my life.

Do you have any regrets using the N-word in the song or posting the lyrics/explanation?

I don’t regret posting the lyrics and explanation at all. I think it made space for a lot of good dialogue on very important issues and that was really encouraging. Once the lyrics of the song were taken out of context on different threads and people started targeting me rather than discussing the issues the song brings up, it took a turn and followed a predictable corrosive path we are used to seeing on social media platforms. It became obvious that most of the people commenting at a certain point hadn’t read the lyrics of the song but were reacting to things they were hearing and seeing posted which weren’t accurate. The conversation is over when it gets to that point. But I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water, I had a lot of good discussions with people who wrote me directly and I saw a lot of people really engaging the topics on my thread too and being respectful of those with different opinions. Even for the brief window of time that was happening, it was nice to see.

Do I regret the word choice in the song? I am definitely sorry that people experienced pain because of my word choice. I know the n-word is a painful reminder of the racism black people have experienced personally throughout their lives. Since the object of my song was to target the racism all around us, within our institutions and out of the mouths of actual racists who have been emboldened by the current administration, I was especially sad to hear that even some of the people who agreed with the points I was making also felt hurt over how I chose to make those points.

When I wrote the song I thought about the master/slave dynamics at the root of modern racism and on display in the NFL, for example. Colin Kaepernick hadn’t yet begun his kneeling protest when I wrote the song but I think the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his dignified, respectful protest, makes those master/slave dynamics all the more apparent to the naked eye. We have the manager of the Cowboys telling his players if they kneel, they don’t play, using threats to suppress their first amendment rights. So, although I was tempted to use a euphemism or a weaker word about how America feels about black people, and spare myself the controversy, I thought I’d be letting America off the hook. When people talk about moving away from use of the word, I always assume they mean in our lives and public discourse, which I totally agree with. But that’s aspirational, it hasn’t happened yet, not everyone in our lives has gotten that memo. So as long as we have people still talking that way and thinking that way, and more importantly, systems still designed to marginalize people of color, it seems important to be able to call attention to it and to use the language these people are actually using if we want to depict how vile this thinking really is. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for us to have extreme reactions to art we experience, I think it’s good, but I personally don’t enjoy making art that creates painful reminders for people. So, in that sense, I regret using the word, but I wonder if I’d have been doing black people a disservice to suggest in my song that America feels less harshly towards them, when all evidence points to the contrary.

From what I can tell, you’ve stayed out of the fray on your Facebook post, standing back and letting the critics voice their concerns. Why haven’t you reacted online (or have you been responding privately to these critics?)

I stated on Facebook that I didn’t think social media was a healthy place to have real dialogue about important issues and encouraged people to write me directly if they wanted to discuss my statement and my song. I responded to anyone who wrote through direct message or email and I did have some good discussions that way. But it’s impossible to reply thoughtfully in real time when so many people are commenting on something. A mob mentality can develop really quickly on all sides so it gets pretty gross. People will say things to one another that they’d never say to the other’s face. So much of it is because their “friends” are watching too. You get the feeling that people are addicted to shaming more than they are interested in convincing anyone of anything in particular or reaching an understanding of different viewpoints. It’s not interesting to me at all to watch people behave that way. It’s depressing. So, I stay out of that stuff in general. If I hear about someone I know writing something or saying something that surprises or concerns me, I call them up or text them or email them to talk to them directly. I think people deserve that courtesy and respect and no one deserves to be publicly humiliated. People seem to love it though and some are building identities around this behavior.

Finally, after your European tour, do you intend on hosting a local album release show for Step Into the Earthquake?

I don’t know. I don’t have anything set up in town yet but we’ll see if it works out with everyone’s schedule when we get back from this tour.

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It’s worth noting that there have been a couple national reviews of Step Into the Earthquake that mention the controversial lyrics. Dusted Magazine went as far as publishing a portion of them in its review. So did AllMusic.com in its review. We’re still waiting for that Pitchfork review, however…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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With the Best of Intentions: Harouki Zombi, Noah Sterba, Simon Joyner and a divided music scene (In the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:41 pm November 13, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before you read my column in this month’s issue of The Reader that briefly outlines the recent controversy surrounding Orenda Fink, Noah Sterba and Simon Joyner, this note: I was reticent about writing on this topic for fear that it would only stir the pot all over again.

In fact, I told Orenda Fink when the controversy surrounding Harouki Zombi flared up this past summer to keep a low profile and wait for it to pass. Now here I am writing about it. The reason I moved forward was because of  Joyner’s own lengthy defense of Sterba and Orenda (It’s linked within the column).

So without further ado, here’s the column, which you also can read in the November issue of The Reader, on newsstands now. More tomorrow, including comments from Joyner about his song “As Long As We’re in Danger,” the language he used, and its timing…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Those Far Out Arrows, Megan Siebe/Sean Pratt tonight; Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, OEAA Nominee Showcase Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:15 pm November 10, 2017

Those Far Out Arrows at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 8, 2017. The band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here comes the weekend.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s a benefit for DREAMers in the state of Nebraska through Nebraska Appleseed. Your donation ($5 minimum please) not only helps a good cause but gets you in to see four solid bands: Those Far Out Arrows, The Sunks, Megan Siebe & Sean Pratt and Practices. 10 p.m. start time. Do it for the kids.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Denver’s Bud Bronson and the Good Timers. Joining them are The Beat Seekers and Mint Wad Wally. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Benson bars are once again hosting the Omaha Entertainment and Awards Awards Showcase. Participating venues are The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge, Barley Street Tavern, Burke’s Pub, The Sydney and 402 Collective. You get 40+ bands for $10. Starts at 7. For full band listing, go to the Facebook event listing here.

Is that it? Yeah, that’s it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Listening to lately; Iron Chic, Hand Painted Police Car tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:49 pm November 9, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Not much happening ’round here. What else is new?

So what have I been listening to lately?

King Krule, The Ooz (2017, Matador)

The new one by Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice (Matador Records); The Yawpers’ Boy in a Well (Bloodshot), Cults’ Offering, Angel Olsen, Big Thief, the new Beck, Buzzcocks, King Krule’s The OOZ (True Panther), that weird Ben Gibbard cover of Bandwagonesque, Matt Whipkey’s Driver and this one from Sunflower Bean. Look for 3Q reviews in the near future.

Tonight at Lookout Lounge it’s Long Island punk band Iron Chic (SideOneDummy Records) with KC’s Company Retreat, Omaha’s Hand Painted Police Car and Heatwaves. $12, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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How Saddle Creek signed Stef Chura (and more); Night Shapes, Box of Stars, The Drums, Methyl Ethel, TOP Nachos tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:44 pm November 7, 2017
The Drums at The Waiting Room, May 1, 2012.

The Drums at The Waiting Room, May 1, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

About that recent signing by Saddle Creek Records…

Saddle Creek executive Robb Nansel said the label’s signing of singer-songwriter Stef Chura was the handiwork of the label’s new A&R rep Amber Carew.

Carew said she discovered Chura via a friend of hers from Houston who sent her Chura’s Bandcamp link.

“At that time, I was working for Anti Records and was considering pursuing her for them,” Carew said. “After a few missed connections between me and Stef over the following year, we finally connected during my transition to Saddle Creek.”

Chura’s debut LP, Messes, already had been on store shelves for some time, and Chura expressed interest in reissuing it. “We really clicked and I trusted her passion and plans for the future,” Carew said. “I felt more confident in her as a fit for Saddle Creek than I did Anti, so I felt compelled to explore that.”

Carew said that beyond Chura’s songwriting and tenacity as a musician, she understands and promotes community-based ethics “much akin to the Saddle Creek spirit — authentic and compassionate. Some artists on the label, like Big Thief, were already fans as well. It just felt right. I thought that Messes was great and deserved another push, so we made it happen.” Saddle Creek will reissue Messes on CD, cassette and LP Feb. 2.

Carew said the follow-up to Messes already has been recorded, produced by one of the hottest new names in the indie world. You’ll just have to wait to find out who that is. Here’s a clue: The producer has performed in Omaha a few times in the past couple years.

Chura and Carew represents one aspect of the continuing expansion of the Saddle Creek empire. Nansel said Saddle Creek also is opening a formal office in Eagle Rock, a section of Los Angeles between Burbank and Pasedena. He and Carew will eventually be joined by a marketing director, which the label currently is seeking, and “we’ll likely be inviting some other music industry friends in to the space to share it with us.”

Now we all have somewhere else to visit the next time we’re in La La Land.

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There’s a good rock show going on tonight at The Brothers Lounge. Oakland’s Night Shapes headlines. They’re described as what would happen if “Yuppies and Nick Cave joined forces.” Opening is Vermont band Box of Stars, New Englander Jake McKelvie and our very own FiFi NoNo. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Brooklyn band The Drums (Anti Records) plays at The Waiting Room with Aussie act Methyl Ethel (4AD). $15, 8 p.m.

That’s not all. There’s an indie punk show tonight at OutrSpaces, 528 So. 24th St. The headliner is TOP Nachos from New Paltz, NY. Also on the bill are NYC’s Dolly Spartans (Noble Media) and Omaha faves Hussies and Magu. $10 donation, 7 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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