by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Slowdown is calling Deleted Scenes, which plays their Jr. room tonight, a “DC band.” I guess they are, though as it’s been reported countless times (including in my column), frontman Dan Scheuerman now resides with his wife and child right here in Omaha. Does that make Deleted Scenes an Omaha band? In my book it does, but I’m always stretching for the home team.
Last month the band released its latest album, Lithium Burn, on Park the Van Records. Proof of the Nebraska curse, the record got a tepid 6.5 rating from Pitchfork, which concluded its review with this:
“While Lithium Burn is an easy album to empathize with, you wish it’d do more to make you root for the band; the more important difference between this and The Meadowlands is how Deleted Scenes can’t manage enough moments where their station of being overlooked becomes an injustice to the listener rather than an understandable reflection of a solid, unfashionable indie rock band that just never really caught a break.”
That’s a long sentence.
My take isn’t so severe. I think the record’s rhythms — specifically drummer Ricardo Lagomasino’s work on heavier tracks like “Caught in the Brights,” alone are worth the price of admission, and I can’t wait to see him in action tonight.
There’s an unhinged weirdness to songs like “Stutter,” a rise-and-drop calliope of sounds and snarls, one assumes Scheuerman was in full clown costume when he sang his part in the studio. The art rock style continues on opening anthem “Haircuts Uniform,” whose rhythms trip along all stutter-step like a drunk running from the cops.
In a series of back and forths, I mentioned to Scheuerman that at times DS reminded me of latter-day XTC, which he said he’d heard before.
What I didn’t tell him was at other times, like on more serene tracks like “Let’s Not Try to Fix Everything” and “Tell Me a Secret” and “House of Dust,” DS reminded me of Alan Parsons Project thanks to Scheuerman’s dreamy vocals. I’m not sure how he’d take that comment, though it was meant as a compliment.
Those extremes in comparisons are appropriate for a record that enjoys extreme swings in styles, from arty gymnastics to pure pop. This is an album that demands your attention, and by that I mean you must pay attention when you’re listening because if you don’t, the music has a way of sliding into the background of whatever you’re doing. I’ve been casually listening to Lithium Burn for a month and I’m still not quite sure what the songs are about, but I like it.
The details: Deleted Scenes plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight with Talking Mountain and Millions of Boys. $8, 9 p.m.
Get down to the Slowdown complex early, specifically to Urban Outfitters (where I buy all my sweaters) for the store’s First Thursday concert event, co-sponsored by Hear Nebraska. The event boasts free beer, free pizza and best of all, free music from See Through Dresses and Twinsmith. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free.
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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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