Before we get to what’s cooking this weekend, though, let me pass along various email and online articles that have been burning up my mailbox:
— Saddle Creek has followed Merge Records’ lead and is now offering free one-time digital file downloads to buyers of vinyl releases. Downloading record albums has always been the scourge of vinylphiles. I use a software called PolterbitS that takes a signal from my stereo fed into an input in my PC and allows me to record as the record plays. It’s a pain in the ass. With Two Gallant’s What The Toll Tells, slated for release Feb. 21, buyers will for the first time have access to a code that’s printed in the album sleeve that can be used to access the album in mp3 format for download onto their PC/Mac/iPod. They only get one shot at the download, but that’s all they need. There’s a brief article about it at Aversion (read it here). “We are fans of both vinyl and listening to music on our iPods, and the two don’t work very well together,” says label guy Jason Kulbel in the article. A smart move that shows Creek’s commitment to a format that reigns for its undisputed cool.
— Speaking of Saddle Creek, the company’s Slowdown project got kudos in Mayor Mike Fahey’s State of the City Address Wednesday. Fahey was listing examples of where city government served as a catalyst for new development. “A perfect example is Omaha’s North Downtown,” he said. “The area is becoming Omaha’s newest urban neighborhood and will be the home of the nationally known and locally grown Saddle Creek Records. Their project, which includes a concert venue, housing, a restaurant and independent movie theater symbolizes the energy and opportunity of this area and will provide an impressive link between the Qwest Center, Creighton University, our North Omaha redevelopment and downtown.” Meanwhile, from my crow’s loft perspective over the project site, I can report that the bulldozers have not moved on the Slowdown site for a couple weeks. Not a good sign. What’s the deal?
— Another wave of press for Criteria is hitting the internet shores, including this piece from The Boston Globe where he talks about signing with Saddle Creek. ”As good a friend as I was, and am, with these people, I never had an expectation that they would release my music,” Pedersen said in the article. ”And they didn’t for many years. . . . I had given them previous records when I was in North Carolina, and they were just not interested. They were not feeling it.” Meanwhile, The Riverfront Times has declared Criteria “Omaha’s best rock band” in the lead-in to this piece (scroll down to find it).
— Drowned in Sound is reporting that Mike Mogis is in Stockholm working on the new Concretes album.
— Saddle Creek says it’ll host a showcase at this year’s SXSW music fest in Austin in March. Among the Creek acts to perform (so far): Criteria, Broken Spindles and Two Gallants. Omaha could have a large presence at SXSW this year. More info on confirmed acts as I get it.
Now the weekend: Actually, it’s all on Saturday night:
For starters, there’s the Jason Anderson / Love Letter Band / Fizzle Like a Flood gig at Sokol Underground. All three acts will be performing solo acoustic sets. 9 p.m., $7.
Punk band Jaeger Fight is playing a gig at The Mosaic Center, 1258 S. 13th St. $5, 8 p.m.
And the area’s hottest buzz band, Eagle*Seagull, is playing as part of The Tugboat Group Show at The Hot Shops Art Center, 1301 Nicholas St. The event is sponsored in part by Saddle Creek Records, Hot Shops Art Center, and Yia Yia’s Pizza Beer and Wine (which is a clue as to what pizza shop will be housed in the new Slowdown facility). More info about the event is here.
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