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.



Saddle Creek signs Philly band Hop Along, Twinsmith; Halloween w/ Noah’s Ark, See Through Dresses; Orenda Fink Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:15 pm October 31, 2014
Hop Along joins the Saddle Creek Records stable...

Hop Along joins the Saddle Creek Records stable…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I was out of touch all day yesterday at meetings and stuff, but I did see the message from Saddle Creek that went out announcing the label signed Philly band Hop Along. I’m listening to the band now on Spotify (or at least I think I am). And I like what I’m hearing. Very indie-sounding. Almost post punk. Breathy female vocals. Kind of reminds me of Helium, Mary Timony’s old band, though it’s more upbeat. Not a hint of mandolin or pedal steel or anything that could be mistaken for alt-folk or alt-country. Like I said, me likee.

Let’s be honest, that alt-country/alt-folk label is more of a Nebraska thing than a Saddle Creek thing. Icky Blossoms, PUJOL, Twinsmith have nothing to do with alt country. Sure, Rural Alberta Advantage gets lumped in with the alt-country-folk thing but even they are far from country. (And I don’t want this to come off as me hating on alt-folk/alt-country/Americana, we just have a lot of it around here and most of it is pretty boring).

Data from Creek: “Hop Along will enter the studio this week to begin work on their Saddle Creek debut, which will be produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., etc) and released in the Spring of 2015.”

The band’s last album, 2012’s Get Disowned, was released in the U.S. on Hot Green Records (It was apparently the label’s fourth release?) and overseas via East London label Big Scary Monsters Records, who counts among their roster Cursive.

More trivia: The band’s singer, Frances Quinlan joined Weezer on stage in Philadelphia at The Trocadero last weekend to sing “Go Away” with Rivers Cuomo and company.

It’s a pretty exciting signing for Saddle Creek and the first non-Omaha band that they’ve signed in years that I’m looking forward to hearing live. Hopefully they’ll come to Omaha some day.

Also announced yesterday was probably the local scene’s worst kept secret: That Twinsmith has been signed by Saddle Creek. Everyone knew this was a done deal for awhile.

Sayeth Creek: “This fall the band hit the studio with Brandon Darner and Luke Pettipoole of The Envy Corps to record their sophomore effort and first full-length on Saddle Creek. You’ll be able to hear the results in Spring of 2015.” Will rock stardom ensue? Time will tell…

Check out some Hop Along below:

I talk to people all the time who hate St. Patrick’s Day. They call it “amateur night” and so on, and that’s fine. I love St. Patrick’s Day, but what did you expect? Just look at my name.

Well the kind of venom people spew for St. Patty’s is what I feel for the adult-version of Halloween. I get how folks like to dress up and put on make-up, but costumes just ain’t my bag, and if you have to wear one to see the show, well, I guess I’m staying home.

But you shouldn’t. Especially considering who’s playing tonight.

Reverb’s got a first-clash bash happening tonight headlined by Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship with See Through Dresses and the always entertaining Darren Keen. I’m hearing STDs are doing an all-cover set. No idea if this is a costume-optional gig (but it probably is). Who knows, I might drop in dressed as Painfully Awkward Robb Lowe. $8, 9 p.m.

Tonight’s gig at The Brothers, on the other hand, is a straight-up costume bash. On the bill is Omaha’s newest stoner rock sensations Nightbird along with Blowing Chunks and Lincoln’s Ron Wax (Ron Albertson ex-Mercy Rule, ex-Liars). $5, 9 p.m.

And of course the masquerade will be happening at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight, hosted by Members of the Press, who go on at 11. $5.

November starts tomorrow. Celebrate with Orenda Fink as she headlines at The Slowdown. Joining her are New York band Matteah Baim And The LCs (Kobalt / Dream Drive) and our very own Anna McClellan. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, 24 Hour Cardlock headlines at O’Leaver’s with The Pink Flamingos and Dirty River Ramblers (yee-haw!). $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Edge of Arbor (Jessica Errett’s band) is celebrating a CD release at Reverb Saturday night. Joining them are The Derby Birds and Tara Vaughan Band. $7, 9 p.m.

Have a happy Halloween…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ruby Fray, Sean Pratt and the Sweats tonight; searching for latte in North O (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 7:47 am October 30, 2014
Ruby Fray plays tonight at O'Leaver's....

Ruby Fray plays tonight at O’Leaver’s….

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Ah, K Records. Here’s a label that goes back, way back. Among the stereotypes for K was that it was a twee-pop label, that its bands focused on soft, sweet melodies. Bands like, well, The Softies and Lois and Kimya Dawson. But over the years, K has released stuff from a ton of acts that don’t fall into any category, such as Built to Spill, Beck, Bikini Kill, The Go Team, Calvin Johnson (the label’s owner), Adrian Orange, Pansy Division, Love as Laughter, Mecca Normal and so on. I guess if there’s a thread that runs through it all it’s a Pacific Northwest connection. After all, K Records is run out of Olympia, Washington.

I say all this because tonight K Records band Ruby Fray plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Frontwoman Emily Beanblossom is from Olympia and has recorded at Dub Narcotic Studio with Calvin Johnson, though these days she’s living in Austin. She’s got a new album called Grackle on K. She’s opening tonight for local boys Sean Pratt and the Sweats. 9:30 p.m. $5.

* * *

In this week’s column, a drive through North Omaha, a neighborhood characterized by a politico as “one of the worst,” and the endless search for a cup of coffee. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or you can read it online right here.

* * *

That is all… for now.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Junkfest #20 announced for Nov. 7-8; new Pro-Magnum, new New Lungs; Avi Buffalo tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm October 29, 2014
Junkfest #20 is Nov. 7-8.

Junkfest #20 is Nov. 7-8.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Eclectic tape/record label Unread Records, owned and operated by Nebraska ex-pat Chris Fischer, yesterday announced its “annual festival of grand musics and art,” Junkfest #20.

The epic two-day festival takes place at Sweatshop Gallery Nov. 7 and 8 and includes performances by Simon Joyner, Church of Gravitron, Lonnie Methe, Ramon Speed and lots more. In addition there will be art by Dennis Callaci, Charlie McAlister and others along with “large amounts of pickled eggs and BBQ and hot dogs and shit like that just cause,” Fischer announced. More info as it’s provided. This cotillion has become the must-not-miss social event of the fall…

* * *

Everyone’s favorite audio chaos vendors Pro-Magnum just dropped a new self-titled LP on Bandcamp.  The album was recorded by Ben Brodin at ARC Studio. Says P-M frontman John Vredenburg, “We’re currently in the process of shopping labels and getting ready to press our records.” But you don’t have to wait for some label exec, simply download the LP now right here from Bandcamp.

* * *

New Lungs also dropped a new single yesterday via Bandcamp. The release includes two versions of new song “You Look Lost” — a studio version recorded at Matt Carroll’s Little Machine Studio (and tape mastered by Mike Saklar), and a live version recorded at O’Leaver’s by engineer Ian Aeillo.

In other New Lungs news, the band recently welcomed new drummer Tab Tworek, as Corey Broman now is shifting to keyboards. Of course the band is fronted by Danny Maxwell and rounded out by bassist Craig Fort.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Sub Pop band Avi Buffalo takes center stage. The band’s recent album, At Best Cuckold (2014, Sub Pop) got a big ol’ 7.2 on the Pitchfork meter. Something about the band’s upbeat indie sound and Avi Zahner-Isenberg’s voice reminds me of super-early Built to Spill or some other PNW band from that era. Staffers opens. $12, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Iceage; Rocco DeLuca tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 27, 2014
Iceage at Slowdown Jr., Oct. 24, 2014.

Iceage at Slowdown Jr., Oct. 24, 2014.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Iceage came onto Slowdown Jr.’s stage Friday night with angry/pouty frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt looking pissed off, but purely in a theatrical sense. As the band corked into their first song, Rønnenfelt hopped off the stage and snatched a poor young lady’s cellphone right out of her hand. She stood startled, her mouth open as wide as her eyes, as he tossed the phone next to the bass drum, where it would sit for the duration of the set. Needless to say, folks kept their phones in their pockets… at least until halfway though the set.

By then, Rønnenfelt was so engaged with the audience, leaning atop a monitor and traipsing into the crowd, that he didn’t notice phoners, or didn’t care. Iceage music is rough, a dry-heave style of punk with shadows of early monsters like Gang of Four and The Fall lying hidden beneath the waves. The rhythm section always is front and center providing a solid bedrock for Rønnenfelt’s low, breathy brays and yells. Always the center of attention, his demeanor swayed between flirty come-hither stares and lean-forward spit-in-your-face attacks, both delivered with the intensity of a petulant school girl.

By song three moshing did ensue, as a crowd of a dozen ground against each other and the stage with Rønnenfelt looking onward from his perch atop the stage monitor. The set lasted only 30 minutes. The crowd of less than 100 waited for an encore until the house music and lights came up. That was it. A glance at their tour on setlist.fm shows they always keep it at nine songs or less, and never play an encore. And to be honest, that was all I wanted. Any more would have been overkill. What’s that they say, “Leave them wanting more…”?

The performance seemed like a captured moment in time, and I felt lucky to be there. Iceage is a band burning brightly. But like all bright flames, how long will it last?

BTW, that young lady got her cellphone back, and I saw her chatting with Rønnenfelt outside afterward, smiling.

* * *

Fans of Daniel Lanois may want to check out tonight’s Rocco DeLuca show at Slowdown Jr. Lanois played on and is executive producer of DeLuca’s new self-titled album, and also produced his 2009 record, Mercy. No doubt you’ll spot the influence. LA band Old Man opens. $8, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Lars & Mal; Iceage, Oquoa, Eli Mardock, Bloodcow tonight; Nightbird, Plack Blague Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:26 pm October 24, 2014
Lars & Mal at Reverb, Oct. 23, 2014.

Lars & Mal at Reverb, Oct. 23, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lars and Mal are vocalist Mallory Finch and vocalist/guitarist Laura Weiss along with three other members, keyboardist/vocalist Chelsea Taxman, mandolin player/guitarist/banjo player Adam Sherrerd and Ricky Green on cajon, which I learned last night is a wooden box used for percussion, sort of like bongos.

But the core is those two front women/vocalists whose nicknames comprise the band’s name. It’s their intertwining harmonies that define their sound, along with their easy-going, Autumn-colored love songs. They reminded me of early ’90s Lilith-style women-fronted folk duos, such as The Story and Indigo Girls, and songwriters like Lucinda Williams, Shawn Colvin and Rebecca Jenkins, but that’s too easy. Someone last night compared them to Neko Case, which I didn’t catch.

Their voices are amazing. Finch is among the best women vocalists in the area, hands down, with Weiss right next to her, and when they harmonize it’s something special. The songs, on the other hand, are by-the-numbers folk stuff, pretty but predictable. The exceptions were the sublime “Weaker Now” and bluesy “Shoulda Known” that coaxed hand claps from the big crowd of (what looked like) around 100. The combo is worth keeping an eye on, especially when they begin to reach beyond their songwriting comfort zone.

Lars & Mal was the perfect combo to show off Reverb’s music room, which sounded stellar during their set. The club added acoustical tile to the walls in an effort to cut down on the bounce, and it appears to be working, though there was plenty of “boom” during last night’s opening set by The Derby Birds, a four piece rock band fronted by Tony Bonacci. Their debut album, released on Bandcamp this past May, was a pleasant surprise. Live the band brought the mid-tempo indie swing to life, though the mix was muddy. Bonacci is a talented guy whose music at times reminded me of former local crooner Jake Bellows (of Neva Dinova). Someone should get Derby Birds to open for that Neva show Dec. 23 at Slowdown (though that ticket already is filled with three openers).

* * *

Let’s get to the show line-ups.

The “Big Show” of the weekend is tonight at Slowdown Jr. where Matador band Iceage takes center stage. The band’s new album, Plowing into the Field of Love, is blowing up thanks to a “Best New Album” recommendation by Pitchfork, which gave it a massive 8.5 rating. This is slurred, gritty indie rock sung by a troupe of angry slacker Danes. Opening is Aussie band Helm, whose music (released on Sumerland) sounds like indie grunge, and local dudes Telepathy Problems. $12, 9 p.m. Expect a crowd.

Also tonight, local dreamrock supergroup Oquoa plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with hip-hop duo BOTH. $5, 9:30 p.m.

The Waiting Room is hosting the soundtrack release show for the film Bent Over Neal tonight. Among the performers are Eli Mardock, Bloodcow and The Strange Attractors. $8, 8 p.m.

Saturday night Travelling Mercies open for White Buffalo at Reverb. $15, 9 p.m.

Creepy electronic leather fetish freakout Plack Blague and electronic noise landslide Lvrk Late are among the performers at Industrial Night Omaha hosted at Sweatshop Gallery Saturday night. $6, 9 p.m.

Over at the Barley Street Omaha’s newest stoner/sludge rock band Nightbird (featuring Gerald Lee of Filter Kings), Bad Aqple and Western Electric open for Vago. $5, 9 p.m.

Be warned that Saturday is Zombie Walk day in Benson. I think the madness starts at 4. I hope to be watching it from the safe confines of the deck at 1912.

That’s what 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Simon, Brad and Matt play for Ashford; Lars & Mal, Derby Birds tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:52 pm October 23, 2014
Lars and Mal play tonight at Reverb Lounge...

Lars and Mal play tonight at Reverb Lounge…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Could this political season be any uglier?

Always the fatalist, I believe my worst fears from an election standpoint will be realized come November, further strengthening my belief that people are, basically, stupid.

Anyway, one thing that’s neither ugly nor stupid is happening this evening at Almost Music in Benson — a meet-and-greet with Brad Ashford, who’s running for Congress against Lee Terry. On hand with their guitars will be Simon Joyner, Brad Hoshaw and Matt Whipkey. Will this trio of some of my favorite local singer/songwriters be able to coax Ashford into joining them for a rousing version of the classic protest song “This Land Is Your Land”? Stop in at Almost Music tonight at 6 and find out. It’s free.

Afterward, head over to Reverb for a set by Lars & Mal. I’ve been hearing a ton of good stuff about this duo (from Hear Nebraska). Opening is The Derby Birds. $5, 9 p.m. See you there.

Tonight also is the world premier of locally produced film Bent Over Neal. The film’s soundtrack features a number of local bands, including Bloodcow, Eli Mardock, The Strange Attactors and more. The film screens at 7 p.m. Oct 23, 24 and 30 at Aksarben Cinema. And the soundtrack is having a “release party” tomorrow night at The Waiting Room.

* * *

Finally, last night I received news about what will likely be one of the most memorable reunion rock shows ever, slated for this holiday season. More to come…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Strange Attractors drops debut; new Swearing at Motorists; Big Harp timewarps ’72; Steel Cranes, Luke Polipnick Trio tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm October 22, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday Matt Kucera of the band The Strange Attractors sent me a link to his band’s new album, O.NE, currently available for streaming here via SoundCloud. According to the stream notes:

“Drawing on the talents of songwriter Matt Kucera (Fornever/Lead) and producer Aaron Gum (Jimmy Hooligan/InDreama) and some Omaha’s finest songwriters and musicians such as Dereck Higgins (InDreama/Son Ambulance), Wes Graffius (Through the Stone/ Break Maiden), Brandon Voorhees (Marauder/Fornever), Scott Armstrong (Lead/Black on High) we have recorded the album O.NE, which stands for Omaha, Nebraska as well as being album number one.”

One of O.NE‘s songs apparently will be included on the soundtrack to the locally produced film Bent Over Neal. “We are doing the digital release today and will hopefully have the CD’s in for this weekend’s Bent Over Neal concerts,” Kucera wrote.

* * *

Speaking of albums currently streaming, the new one by Swearing at Motorists, While Laughing, The Joker Tells the Truth, is being streamed in its entirety right here. It’s the first new Swearing at Motorists album since 2006.

* * *

Big Harp has a new video for their upcoming album debuting over at Impose. The video for “Numbers,” (below) was recorded live on German television in 1972. Look how young Steph looks! And who would have thought Big Harp would ever go so electronic (or so pop)?

* * *

Two shows happening tonight.

Over at Reverb, it’s Oakland garage rock duo Steel Cranes. Opening are local folks Stephen Nichols and Feel Tight. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, jazz group The Luke Polipnick Trio plays a free show at Slowdown Jr. This one is listed with an 8 p.m. start time.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Does it really matter that there hasn’t been a platinum-selling album in 2014?

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:03 pm October 21, 2014

recordsby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

By now we’ve all seen the Facebook posts that point to articles declaring that not a single album has sold more than a million copies so far this year. The Forbes‘ version doesn’t point any fingers. Instead, it’s usual the person who posted the article that blames streaming (i.e. Spotify) for the downward sales spiral.

First off, it’s only October. We’ve got the entire Christmas season ahead of us. Second of all, the authors seem to forget that Taylor Swift has a record on deck to be released this year. Swift’s latest LP, 1989,  will most certainly go platinum in 2014.

But in the grand scheme of things, does it really matter that a flavor-of-the-month pop act hasn’t moved a million copies of their bland-ola music to the great unwashed? Who cares if Beyonce only sold 3/4 of a million copies instead of a million? Does it matter that Adele hasn’t pulled the industry out of its perceived “slump” by releasing an album this year? What does any of this have to do with people who like good music or to your run-of-the-mill indie band? Do mid-sized indie labels care?

The only people who might be shaking in their boots are folks who run record stores, say someone like Mike Fratt, the general manager of Homer’s. So I asked Fratt if the lack of a million seller so far this year matters.

“Does it matter? Well, for online journalists who are all digital, maybe it’s some kind of victory in their ever-present need to bash physical music,” Fratt said. “We’ve been hearing for 15 years that record stores will go out of business. Tired narrative.”

Fratt reiterated that a couple late-2013 releases will likely end up selling a million copies before year’s end. He also pointed to the Swift album, Lorde’s latest, Luke Bryan and Sam Smith releases as possible platinum contenders.

Instead of dwelling on the dark side, Fratt pointed to the continued resurgence of vinyl.

“Vinyl is likely to (sell) over 10 million units this year,” Fratt said. “After a new reporting service to rival Soundscan finally debuts late this year or early next year, we’ll find out vinyl is actually closer to 15 million units annually as Soundscan only pulls data from 61 indie stores. 61! Look at the Record Store Day web site. There are 1,200 listed.”

Fratt said overall business is down 13 percent, but indie stores are only down 2 percent. “The real number is indies are up 2 percent,” he said. “Heck, even our CD biz is up this year.”

Indie sector market share is growing as well, up from 9 percent from a decade ago to 13.5 percent today, Fratt said, and more likely somewhere around 17 percent.

So what about those who say streaming is killing the music business? Fratt said sales of digital downloads are feeling the brunt of the Spotify effect.

“Digital is struggling as more adopt streaming,” Fratt said. “Streaming, as you have written, is the new radio. Data supports that heavy streamers are also very active buyers of physical. We see it every day. But, just like vibrant radio from the ’70s caused many not to buy music because they could listen every day, there is a quantity of streamers that only stream. Those that subscribe, pay for streaming, are even more active purchasers.”

For what it’s worth, I’ve purchased more music so far this year than any post-CD era year, and almost all of it is on vinyl. The packaging, the experience of vinyl albums are special to me, and I believe that’s the case for most serious music fans.

Does that mean that vinyl is the cavalry that will save the industry? No. But I believe there always will be a market for music and music-related “hard assets,” such as vinyl and CDs, if only to support the “collectors market.” People who buy Taylor Swift or Adele records aren’t part of that collectors market, and I have no doubt that if it wasn’t this year that it would be 2016 (Adele’s new one comes out in 2015) when we finally go without a having platinum-selling record by a vanilla-flavored pop star. And it won’t make a bit of difference to anyone.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Delta Spirit, Simon Joyner & the Ghosts; Dum Dum Girls, Burkum Boys tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:57 pm October 20, 2014
The Delta Spirit at The Waiting Room, Oct. 17, 2014.

The Delta Spirit at The Waiting Room, Oct. 17, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Bar hopping was in order last Friday night.

First stop was The Waiting Room where The Delta Spirit was set to play. The band seems to have changed its direction from its early Americana days. When people hear the name Delta Spirit they expect the usual hayseed folk-rock stuff but in fact DS has changed its style, reaching for a more commercial base, as evidenced by its new album, Into the Wide, which has similarities to the last couple U2 albums — huge chiming guitars and full blown anthems sung by a frontman who resembles actor Shia Labeouf but with an arena-quality voice that rings out over everything behind it. In this case, “everything” includes two drummers (one who doubles on keyboards) and the usual bass, drums, guitar combination. It was one of the louder recent shows I’ve seen at TWR.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t a a sell out, even though Delta Spirit has done a good job creating a fan base in Omaha, where they’ve played at least three times including at a past Maha Music Festival, a performance that I either missed or forgot. Still, the fans that showed up (apparently some traveling long distances) pumped their fists in front of the stage where the band glowed from a projected light show beamed on vertical white strips that hung down like prison bars. The video was mostly static splatters, odd psychedelic patterns, nothing that distracted too much from frontman Matthew Vasquez.

You have to hand it to Vasquez. In an era where pick-up truck six-pack pop country is making millions, he could step right into the cowboy-hat set with ease, but instead, he’s taken an indie/alternative route that promises nothing but club gigs unless somehow DS manages to break through to the larger audience. I see no reason why they wouldn’t, all it takes these days is getting your song played on the right TV commercial or show.

Simon Joyner and The Ghosts at O'Leaver's, Oct. 17, 2014.

Simon Joyner and The Ghosts at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 17, 2014.

After a half-hour of their set, I got a text from someone at O’Leaver’s saying that Simon Joyner was about to go on, so I hoofed it back to my car and drove down the serpentine back of Radial Highway to Saddle Creek Road to Omaha’s favorite music-powered dive bar.

Joyner and his band The Ghosts never sounded better on O’Leaver’s “stage.” More enhancement to the bar’s PA and sound system was part of the reason, but the credit really goes to the new line-up.

Joyner’s music continues to get more detailed, more complex while at the same time, more relaxed. Having a team of talented musicians, each providing their own nuance to the structure, resulted in layers upon layers of sound and melody headed in the same direction, but centered around Joyner’s personal lyrics that read like a poetic document or a painter’s road map of a world we’ve all come to recognize over the course of his 20-plus year career.

Watching them perform, each player looked lost in his or her own personal space, feverishly translating the song into their own voice. Joyner gave them the space to make their parts their own without losing sight of the color of the moment. Riveting stuff, especially when it built to a crescendo, which Joyner effortlessly brought back with a turn of his head.

O’Leaver’s appears to be going through some sort of transition since the last time I visited. New lighting fixtures hung over the booth tables. A glass door had been installed in the far wall that (I’m told) will lead to a second beer garden in the back of the building, a new deck area which could host live music (one assumes of the acoustic variety). No matter what they do to the place, though, it’ll always be the same old O’Leaver’s.

* * *

Saturday I caught Rachel Tomlinson Dick‘s set at the Almost Music / Solid Jackson Books anniversary music festival. It was just Dick and her electric guitar, sort of like listening to a Midwestern version of PJ Harvey’s 4-Track Demos, but with more melody and a Big Star cover thrown in for good measure. Pretty awesome.

BTW, Hers (Tomlinson’s band) just got a feature at Nylon online a couple weeks ago. Check it out.

I picked up a copy of The Smith’s debut album at Almost Music, as well as Bob Mould’s biography and another Hunter S. Thompson collection. You can always find good stuff at Almost Music. If you haven’t been there — and you’re into vinyl (or cassettes) — do yourself a favor.

* * *

The Huge Show of the Week is tonight at The Waiting Room. Dum Dum Girls take the stage. The band is out touring their most recent Sub Pop release, Too True. Opening is Ex Cops (on Manhattan record store Other Music’s label) and Kansas City’s Yes You Are, whose members include Tilly and the Wall vocalist Kianna Alarid. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, the Burkum Boys (from Skypiper) headline at Reverb with The Cactus Blossoms & Mitch Gettman. $5, 9 p.m.

And John Klemmensen and the Party plays tonight at Slowdown Jr. with Phillly fuzz punk band Mumblr and Brisx. $7, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Simon Joyner and The Ghosts (new lineup), Delta Spirit tonight; Mitch Gettman, Magnolias, Almost Music festival Saturday; Sideshow Sunday…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 12:16 pm October 17, 2014
Brad Smith of Almost Music enjoys a Coke sometime in the late '60s. His record store celebrates its one-year anniversary Saturday with an all-day music festival.

Brad Smith of Almost Music enjoys a Coke sometime in the late ’60s. His record store celebrates its one-year anniversary Saturday with an all-day music festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s already the weekend, believe it or not. Let’s get to the shows, shall we?

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Simon Joyner unveils a new line-up for his band, The Ghosts.  Jim Schroeder of UUVVWWZ has taken over lead guitar, Mike Friedman has shifted to organ and pedal steel. Meanwhile, Alec Erickson of Subtropics is handling bass. Rounding out the band is Megan Siebe on viola and organ, and Kevin Donahue on drums. Whew!

Simon says the band will be playing songs from his new record, Grass, Branch, and Bone, which comes out on Brooklyn label Woodsist Records (Kurt Vile, Real Estate, Eat Skull) in January or February. Also on the bill is Lincoln folk-rock band Kill County. This one is $7 and starts at 9 p.m., and it’s a Hear Nebraska presentation.

Meanwhile, Delta Spirit headlines tonight at The Waiting Room. Their new album, Into the Wide (Dualtone Records), subtly shifts the band’s sound away from Americana to something that blends indie with mainstream anthem rock. Big sound, big breaks, big choruses, the band is reaching for a bigger audience and will likely find it with this one. Opening is NYC band SACCO and SF band Waters. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, the obtusely named Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) plays at Slowdown Jr. with Free Throw and Super Ghost. $10, 9 p.m.

And The Doneofits headline at The Barley Street with Baberaham Lincolns, DL Diedrich and thoughts. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is another Cornhusker game night, which usually limits music options. Not this time.

Mitch Gettman is celebrating the release of his new EP, Nothing Stays the Same, at Reverb. Opening is Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies along with Edem. $5, 9 p.m.

Over at The Brothers Lounge Minneapolis legends The Magnolias crowd into the pool table room. They’ve been playing the hard shit for almost 30 years. Opening is Bullet Proof Hearts. No price listed for this one, but it’s probably less than $10 (and closer to $5), 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s is hosting Des Moines band Holy White Hounds along with local dudes Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday (during the day) Almost Music and Solid Jackson Books celebrates its one-year anniversary. My, how time flies when you’re selling quality vinyl and books! To mark the occasion, the Benson shop at 6569 Maple is hosting live music from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The line-up:

Twin – 11:00-11:30
Nathaniel Hoier – 11:45-12:15
Sean Pratt and the Sweats – 12:30-1:00
Brendan Hagberg – 1:15-1:45
Matthew Theim – 2:00-2:30
MS/MM – 2:45-3:15
Rachel Tomlinson Dick – 3:30-4:00
Lvrk Late- 4:15-4:45
Marcey Yates – 5:00-5:30
Telepathy Problems- 5:45-6:15
Sucettes – 6:30-7:00

Expect food, albums, books, prizes and lots of fun.

The weekend doesn’t stop there. I usually don’t write about Lincoln shows, but this one is special. Legendary Lincoln band Sideshow reforms for a gig Sunday night at Duffy’s. We’re talking the trio of Pawl Tisdale (now of Domestica), Rich Higgins (now of Nanahara) and Bernie McGinn (now of California). Both Domestica and Nanahara are opening. $5, 8 p.m.

Also Sunday, Millions of Boys headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Outer Spaces and Relax, It’s Science. $5 now, $7 DOS. 9 p.m.

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In this week’s column, television, sex, parenting and Viagra (but not necessarily in that order). You can read it in this weeks issue of The Reader or online right here.

That’s what 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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