So, four years of Lazy-i columns are now history. My original intent was to write a retrospective that went back to Column No. 1, but one thing led to another and we didn’t have time (This was actually written last Thursday — an accelerated deadline for The Reader due to the Thanksgiving holiday). Anyway, we didn’t need to go back that far because it’s been a very good year for music stories, maybe the most important year for Omaha music since 2001, but we’ll recap all that with the annual year-in-review article that’ll be online in a couple weeks. This is just a snippet — consider it the first of the series of year-end articles that you’re about to be bombarded with from all corners of the media…
Column 200: This Is 200
Now begins year 5…
Here it is, installment No. 200 and also the four-year anniversary of this column. As per usual, what follows is an update on some of the people, places and things covered over the past year. And now, my annual plea: The hardest part of writing this column is coming up with the ideas. I can’t do it alone. Got the latest scoop on something happening musicwise around these parts? Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!
Dec. 6 — Five-Year Rainbow — A look back at Darren Keen’s project The Show Is the Rainbow on its 5-year anniversary while dining on a $5 lunch at Cici’s. Hopefully Darren’s eating better these days. He should be. He just got off the road playing a string of sold-out shows opening for The Faint.
Jan. 28 — Preconceived Notion — Where I confess to being a musically prejudiced boob, thanks to a riveting performance by singer/songwriter Brad Hoshaw. Brad has gone on to release a CD of that night’s set at Mick’s. He also formed a band called Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies, which just finished recording a debut album and also received an armful of nominations for the upcoming Omaha Entertainment Awards — more evidence that I am, in fact, a musically prejudiced boob.
Jan. 24 — The Quiet Revolution — So whatever happened to KIND-FM, the proposed low-powered FM community radio station to be based in Benson? Well, KINDair is now streaming programming — including music from about 20 bands — at kindair.org, said station representative Raechel Achelpohl. “We have started broadening the content to public service announcements for non-profit events as well as young poets and singers through a partner of ours, Omaha Young Life.” OK, but when will I be able to hear it on my car radio? “We are currently working with an FCC correspondent and FCC attorney to establish the guidelines for broadcasting over FM, but this turned out to be a process that requires careful steps to ensure we do not do harm in any fashion,” Achelpohl said. “The website if fulfilling the same functions a radio station would with the addition of high networking potential between bands, artists, small businesses, and non-profits. We would like to get an FM station, but the website will have to do for now.”
March 13 — British Bird’s Other Nest — A profile of Alessi Laurent-Marke, a Londoner who made Omaha her home this year while recording an album with Mike Mogis at ARC. These days her project is going by the name Alessi’s Ark, according to the London Daily Mail, and her first EP, titled The Horse (the one recorded here) is slated for release on Virgin Records Dec. 8, followed by a full-length, Notes from the Treehouse, next March.
April 10-24 — Minor Threat — For three weeks this column covered the rise of Omaha’s all-ages music venue ordinance, which requires written, notarized permission slips from the parents of those under 18 who want to attend shows at designated “music venues” that serve alcohol. The ordinance was passed during a circus-like session of the Omaha City Council that looked like the town hall scene from Footloose, with Slowdown’s Robb Nansel playing the role of Ren. Since it went into effect, Slowdown has received 701 parental permission slips, while The Waiting Room has somewhere between 200 and 250 on file, according to the respective proprietors. And other clubs also have received all-ages permits, including The Saddle Creek Bar, whose owner — Mike Coldewey — was blamed by some members of the music community for the whole brouhaha. The villainized Coldewey announced in June that he was getting out of the bar business “on or before Labor Day.” Guess what? He’s still there.
May 1 — Convo with a Cop — An interview with former Omahan Mike Jaworski, frontman of the band The Cops and proprietor of Mt. Fuji Records, a label whose roster included Slender Means, Lillydale and our very own Little Brazil. In October, Little Brazil announced it was leaving Mt. Fuji for Kansas City label Anodyne Records, home of The Architects, Roman Numerals and The Meat Puppets, among others. Look for LB’s new album, Son, in early 2009. Meanwhile, Mt. Fuji lives on, recently announcing that it has signed Seattle band The Whore Moans and Portland band Point Juncture, WA.
May 21-28 — The Traveller Returns — A two-part history of the making of Simon Joyner’s seminal recording, The Cowardly Traveller Pays His Toll. Its rerelease on Team Love Records has sold just under 300 copies to date.
June 25 — Smell Ya Later — A look at how the smoking ban, which quietly went into effect June 17, would impact the smokiest of Omaha’s bars, the legendary Brothers Lounge. A recent trip to The Brothers revealed that the bar continues to draw a nice weekend crowd, even though it has nowhere to build an outdoor “smoker’s garden.” Instead, smokers stood on the sidewalk along Farnam St. getting their nicotine fix, dreaming of smoky days gone by. How the ban affects patronage during its first brutal winter is yet to be seen.
June 16 — One Ringy Dingy — An interview with Coyote Bones’ frontman David Matysiak about his Telephono project, created during his residency at The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. Matysiak announced in October that he was moving back home to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Slumber Party Records bands Bear Country, Capgun Coup and Honeybee have taken over The Bemis music residency.
July 23 — Help Wanted, Rights — The column lambasted the Omaha World-Herald‘s suggestion that performers should have their pay sanctioned at publicly funded concerts should they espouse their political beliefs or profanity from stage. This after The Good Life frontman Tim Kasher declared his support for Barack Obama and sang songs with the F-word when the band opened for Feist in Memorial Park in July. The OWH took umbrage to the column, saying in its editorial page a few days later that it “understood and contemplated the band’s right to say what it wanted. That is free speech,” but then went on to say that “critics” misunderstood the difference between free speech and speech free of consequences. “The city and this newspaper have a right to criticize crudeness and contemplate incentives for better behavior.” Incentives? I always thought incentives were benefits paid beyond basic compensation (a bonus, for example). In the OWH‘s eyes, paying someone for work performed isn’t part of an agreement or contract, it’s an incentive — an odd way of doing business.
Aug. 28 — Skipping Boston — A discussion with singer/songwriter Brad Hoshaw about how he chooses cover songs, and a plea for him to cover “Please Come to Boston” by Dave Loggins. We’re still waiting, Brad…
Sept. 10 — What’s the Point? — Wherein I and New York musician David Hurwitz try to figure out the goal behind the Mid American Music Festival (MAMF), the four-day event that featured lots of bands playing lots of Benson venues, all for no compensation. We never quite figured it out, but sure had a good time trying. Here’s to MAMF ’09.
Oct. 23 — Remembering Coco — I realized after writing this tribute to singer/songwriter Sarah Benck’s dog, Coco — who inspired so much of her music — that I was actually writing about my own dog, Sam — a 14-year-old best friend who sat beside me while I’ve written all these columns over the past four years. I said goodbye to Sam for the final time last Monday morning and still haven’t quite gotten over it. I think the Coco column might have helped me prepare for the inevitable (as much as one can prepare for losing a family member). So here’s to Sam, who’s reading this up in the great dog park in the sky right alongside Daisy, Mickey, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Coco.
Tonight, another historic moment, this time at Burke’s Pub where a crowded room of drunks will be celebrating the long-awaited release of Kyle Harvey’s Truth is the Color of Teeth. More than four years in the making, think of it as Omaha’s version of Chinese Democracy, with Kyle playing the Axl role. Opening the free, 9 o’clock show are The Black Squirrels and Ben Sieff.
Shows are thin tomorrow night, which is odd since everyone will want to get out of the house after a day of family bullshit. A good way to unwind is with Satchel Grande at The Waiting Room. $7, 9 p.m. Down at Slowdown Jr., Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk takes the stage with Fine, Fine Automobiles (Landon Hedges’ solo joint) and Adam Weaver. $13, 9 p.m.
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