Favorite indie albums of 2017 (Locals and otherwise)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: — @ 1:23 pm December 12, 2017

Some of my faves from 2017, top row from left, Alvvays, King Krule, Strand of Oaks; bottom row from left, Ted Leo, David Nance, Slowdive.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We’re doing things a lil’ bit differently this year. I usually consolidate my favorite albums list with my Year in Review and favorite rock shows list, all in one package, published in The Reader. This year I split out the album selections, where were published in the December issue of The Reader (right here) for reasons detailed below. The annual Year in Review and 2018 Predictions articles will both appear in the January issue of The Reader, and eventually online here.

The Ones that Stuck with Me
Favorite albums of 2017

We used to close out the year at The Reader with our “Year in Review” issue, but after we went from a weekly to a monthly publication a year ago the editors moved the “year in review” to the January issue. I guess it’s a completists’ approach, so as to be able to include December releases.

My problem: By the time January rolls around I’ve already turned my back on the previous year and am looking with unbridled optimism toward the the future.

As such, I’m breaking the rules. Below is my year-end list of favorite indie music releases, right here, right now. Apologies to the missing Decemberists (Is that where the band got its name?).

Despite the fact that live indie music began to wane in Omaha this past year, the number of indie music releases in 2017 has to be some sort of record. It was virtually impossible to keep up with all of them, which is why I’m not calling this a “best of 2017” list. Of the hundreds of releases I listened to last year, these are the ones that stuck with me, and that I suggest you investigate further.

Strand of Oaks, Hard Love (Dead Oceans) — This strong follow-up to 2014’s HEAL finds Tim Showalter at his epic best a la The Who, though he could use a little more Townshend to cut through all the Daltrey.

SUSTO, & I’m Fine Today (Caroline) —Frontman Justin Osborne’s voice is at times the spitting image of Jackson Browne’s, though musically the band veers between that Laurel Canyon sunset rock and more modern indie. It’s a surprising record.

Sheer Mag, Need to Feel Your Love (Wilsuns RC) — Kind of reminds me of The Ark combined with Butch Walker and modern garage rock but fronted by a firecracker of a lead singer in Tina Halladay, whose pouty growl is unforgettable.

NE-HI, Offers (Grand Jury) — Jangle-buzz garage rock recorded live to capture that house-show energy, though no recording can match their real live show.

Alvvays, Antisocialites (Polyvinyl) — Lilting, pulsing indie pop powered by frontwoman Molly Rankin’s sweet, shy croon, if FM radio (really) still existed, this would be on heavy rotation everywhere (and “Dreams Tonite” would be this generation’s prom song).

Ted Leo, The Hanged Man (self-release) — Ambitious double LP by way of Kickstarter is everything his old fans want and new fans need. Smart, catchy, snarky.

Young Jesus, S/T (Gigantic Noise / Saddle Creek) — Beyond the obvious indie pop, they try their hand at long-form epics that recall droner acts like The New Year/Bedhead and Red House Painters, and succeed. Now on Saddle Creek.

Uranium Club, All of Them Naturals (Static Shock/Fashionable Idiots) — Brittle post-punk a la early Devo w/guitars instead of digitals. Quirky, jagged and fast as a 45, this slim EP is worth finding.

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile, Lotta Sea Lice (Matador) — Two of Matador’s best songwriters together, so what could possibly go wrong? I found myself wanting more Courtney and less Kurt, but in the end, the combination was peanut butter and chocolate all over again.

Beck, Colors (Capitol) —Vilified by some who wanted another drowsy Morning Phase, for me it’s the best (upbeat) Beck record since The Information and easily blows that one away with its sheer party intensity. Never a dull moment.

King Krule, The OOZ (True Panther) — Weirdly reminds me of Beck’s Mellow Gold and will probably have the same break-out effect, thanks to the droll barbiturate groove of “Dum Surfer.” Strange and new, just what we needed.

Perfume Genius, No Shape (Matador) — Mike Hadreas’ first fully realized masterpiece is loaded with anthems and heart breakers. I’d compare him to Sufjan Stevens, but there’s really no one like him.

Slowdive, Slowdive (Dead Oceans) — The first new studio album in 22 years from one of the few giants of the ’90s, it sounds like they never left. Haunting, intimate, ambitious and as relevant now as they’ve ever been.

Spoon, Hot Thoughts (Matador) — Britt Daniel has always had a thing for hot beats but he’s never been quite so dance-y. This time he steals from The Cure and The Cars, but so what? One of the funnest records of the year.

!!!, Shake The Shudder (Warp) — I was told by one local promoter that “no one listens to those guys anymore.” Really? Well, maybe they should. Guaranteed to make any dance floor glow (especially bum shaker “NRGQ”).

LCD Soundsystem, American Dream (Columbia) — I kind of wanted to not like this one because, after all, didn’t he retire? But it blows away his last (rather dull) album. A return to relevance; a return to the stadium.

Local Favorites

Closeness, Personality Therapy (Graveface) — Whereas Faint songs (especially the early ones) have a sinister, pleatherish quality, Orenda’s sound always has been ethereal (by nature of her sterling voice). This electronic hybrid doesn’t so much combine the best of both worlds as create something new and glisteningly futuristic.

Conor Oberst, Salutations (Nonesuch) — The beefed version of last year’s Ruminations is his best full band release since the 2008 eponymous record, though the jury’s still out whether he should have just left the 4-track version alone.

David Nance, Negative Boogie (Ba Da Bing) — Scratchy noise anthems by Omaha’s now not-so-hidden gem, Nance takes guitar rock to a static extreme not heard since Jon Spencer. Testify.

Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever (Honeycomb Hideout) — A return to form and his most accessible collection since 100% Fun or that Japanese “thank you” record, 2003’s Kimi Ga Suki, though it’s no Girlfriend (but what is?).

See Through Dresses, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines) — A breakthrough for a band that too often sounded like a reincarnation of ’90s college rock (as in Dinosaur Jr.). They come to their own combining post-punk shimmer with classic dream-pop drone for an end-product reminiscent of Saturdays = Youth-era M83 or early New Order.

The Lupines, Mountain of Love (SPEED! Nebraska) — John Zielger and the boys crawl out of the garage rock cellar to create something huge, majestic, like watching a’70s-era 70-millimeter western saga on the big screen.

Simon Joyner, Step into the Earthquake (Ba Da Bing!) — At it’s best, it blazes with a ’70s thrill of a Kristofferson album (or movie) combined with the urban grit of Lou Reed, all without losing the lonely tang of his unique voice.

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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.


Live Review: Minneapolis Uranium Club, Sucettes, Dilute at Pet Shop Gallery…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:43 pm December 11, 2017

Minneapolis Uranium Club at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Minnesota Uranium Club is what would happen if a mad computer scientist digitally combined Devo, The Dismemberment Plan and Wall of Voodoo into one diabolic sound file — quirky, jittery, precise (and fast) post-punk guitar rock combined with smart, ironic observations about our devolving society and the world around us.

And they freakin’ rock. A two-guitar four-piece, they’ve got their sound honed to a razor’s edge. If you were at Pet Shop Saturday night you marveled at the layered guitar lines, or maybe you got caught up in the friendly mosh pit in front of the band (I was safely off to the side with the other oldsters).

The guitarist right in front of me (no idea what these guys’ names are, they have no web presence other than a Bandcamp page) robotically jerked into position throughout songs in a classic Devo fashion, adding his own chicken-neck groove-move when the time was right. Yeah, there’s a Devo flair, but these guys are not over-the-top theatricians, this is no novelty act. It’s a tight, intricate punk band with a bagful of catchy tunes that will make your heart pulse well above a safe threshold.

I have Brad Smith at Almost Music to thank for even knowing about Uranium Club, as he sold me their latest EP on a cold recommendation. Brad’s got a good batting average. Last year he handed me a Tenement album that became one of my favorites of 2016.

Dilute at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

I got to Pet Shop (which, btw, is the old Sweatshop performance space — the garage you enter from the back of the building) a little after 10 figuring I’d missed the opener (show was scheduled for 9) but was just in time to see Dilute’s entire set. I’m happy I caught it.

Dilute is a four-piece fronted by Alex Heller (according to their Bandcamp page) that plays brutal post-punk bordering on hardcore. Thick slabs of guitar, lots of vocal delay, random acts of chaos. Gorgeous sheets of noise and pounding rhythms got the kids smashing into each other.

Check out the tracks below and get the cassette at Almost Music.

Sucettes at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

Tucked in the middle was Sucettes boasting a different line-up than the last time I saw them. Todd and Jen are gone and new vocalist Michaela Favara has been added. The result is a more stripped down, more straight-forward approach to their classic ’60’s style psych pop that’s as playful as it is rocking (anytime you can get a couple guys doing harmonies on pennywhistles, well, you’re in for something special).

It was a packed crowd throughout the night and Pet Shop lived up to the old Sweatshop namesake — it was sweaty. I had a feeling it was going to be a crush mob (Uranium Club shows are a rarity) but it was never uncomfortable. The sound was surprisingly great and the vibe was chill. I love this venue for DIY shows. You never feel out of place. Here’s hoping Pet Shop shows become a regular thing.

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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.


Ocean Black, Lupines, Nathan Ma tonight; Minneapolis Uranium Club, Sucettes, Lash LaRue Toy Drive Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 11:30 am December 8, 2017

Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014. The band opens for Minneapolis Uranium Club Saturday at Pet Shop Gallery.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last weekend I got a good tip from one of the music scene’s cherished treasures. His trick for weathering the cold this winter: Put on long underwear in November and don’t take them off until March. Pretty much that’s it.

Anyway, the weekend starts tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s where Ocean Black headlines. Call it stoner rock, call it whatever you want, Ocean Black does it darkly. We’re talking slow, heavy-metal dirges as only this power trio can provide. The Lupines will warm the stage for them. Their latest album, Mountain of Love, made my 2017 best of list which you can find in the December issue of The Reader. Kicking it all off is Lincoln band Trash Cat. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, Nathan Ma headlines a show at Brothers Lounge for South High that also features Red Beard and JockO. Starts at 10.

And Brad Hoshaw opens for Blue Moon Ghetto at The Waiting Room tonight. $20, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Minneapolis Uranium Club plays at Pet Shop Gallery in Benson (the former Sweatshop space). This is one of the hottest indie-punk bands going, whose album All of Them Naturals, released on UK label Static Shock, is another one that made by favorites-of-2017 list. Since I mentioned this show a week or so ago, I’ve received email from out-of-towners making a trip to see them. Opening are the mighty Sucettes and Dilute. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night is the annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge at The Waiting Room Lounge and Reverb. $10 or a new toy per venue / $15 or two toys for both venues gets you in to see a plethora of local talent including Matt Cox, 24 Hour Cardlock, Korey Anderson and, of course, Lash LaRue and the Hired Guns.

The Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that collects and delivers toys for children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and raises donations for heating, clothing, food, and educational resources for residents of the reservation. That’s where your donations are headed. Shows start at 8:30.

And finally, over at O’Leaver’s Saturday night its The Regulation, Mitch Gettman and Magu. $5, 10 p.m.

And 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.


Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) on racism and exploitation in art; Thick Paint, Anna McClellan tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In my November column in The Reader, I wrote an essay titled “With the Best of Intentions: Yellow face, the N-word and a divided music community.” The column discussed accusations of racism made toward members of the Omaha music community. If you haven’t already, read the column now to understand the context of the rest of this post.

As an addendum at Lazy-i.com, I also posted a Q&A with Simon Joyner about the controversy, which you can read here.

After I posted links to both the column and the Q&A in Facebook, a number of people reacted, saying I didn’t capture both sides of the issue. Someone suggested I ask See Through Dresses front woman Sara Bertuldo for her thoughts on the matter, and Bertuldo indicated she’d be willing to do an interview or answer questions.

See Through Dresses was on tour at the time, so I suggested we do it via email (as I’d done with Joyner’s Q&A), and sent Sara the following questions to be published with her responses as a post in Lazy-i.

My questions:

— What was your reaction to: Joyner’s song, Noah Sterba’s song, Harouki Zombi?

— Do you think the artists in question have done anything wrong or were trying to intentionally hurt anyone through their actions?

— Is it OK for artists and musicians to broach these sorts of topics in their work? Why or why not?

— Were you satisfied with the apologies or explanations offered by these artists about their choices?

Sara sent her responses late last week in the form of the following essay:

The first reaction is anger.

Imagine someone says something bad about you. What you did. What you said. Or maybe what you wore. How would you feel? I’d feel pretty angry. Is it really bad? Was it something to feel ashamed about? Did you make a mistake? Can you apologize for it? Should you?

Now imagine someone says something else bad about you. Only this time it’s something undeniably true, like something about your identity. Or the color of your skin or shape of your eyes. Something you can literally do nothing to change. How does it feel? I know I was angry. 

When you react with anger, people say things like “don’t take it the wrong way” or “it’s a joke” to minimize it. What it feels like when that happens is that they minimize me and my experience.


It’s a scary word to a lot of people.

My experience with racism is like a book I carry with me. That book is a heavy weight that sits on my chest. And every time I experience something like this, that book opens. It is filled with my memories of prejudice. Memories of being asked if I was Chinese or Japanese in elementary school, being told I “act white,” being fetishized, and learning my mother withheld our language from me to make me more American. She did this to help me fit in. She was treated poorly because of her accent when she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. When she had children she promised herself that wouldn’t happen to them.


Racism is a normal word to me.

I believe it is embedded in all of us and the only way we can fix it is by educating ourselves.

I’m really tired of absorbing everything and keeping silent. It makes me feel sick.

There was a time that I let things slide. I kept quiet because I wanted to preserve some sort of peace. Talking about it was way too real. And people say things that make you question how you feel. To make you quiet. But all these little things that have been said just add up. Every single thing I hear or read, it just eats at me.

Link: http://seethroughdressesband.com/post/161006916559/

I had written something before detailing my experience post-Harouki Zombi stuff. I personally left out names. I didn’t want people to feel attacked. I did not want them to feel the way I felt. I was so angry when this all started, but I tried to let go of that for a moment and write my story. I felt by offering a personal account on what it feels like to be a person of color I could help them see how upset I was. I thought my way for me to change someone’s views was through compassion and not anger.

But months later, it keeps coming up so here we are again.

So to Orenda, Noah, and Simon:

With all due respect, yes, you are all artists. And you are all white. You benefit from things I do not. You absolutely have the freedom to do whatever you wish in your art. But if you are so progressive minded, if you are as compassionate as your friends say you are, please treat our culture and words with reverence. Keep making art, but please do not exploit us. I don’t believe there was intent to cause harm. But the fact of the matter is, you did. I believe it’s more meaningful to take a step back and listen now. Listen to us.

I resent this whole ordeal. I am upset it’s taken so much time from me. I spent so much time thinking about it, crying about it. I’ve cancelled band practice over it, been depressed about it at work, and now I’m out on tour writing about it when I should be enjoying where I am.

And to the people that were so outwardly angry about it, I sympathize with that anger. I really do. People called them bored, childish, social just warriors… You know why marginalized people react that way sometimes? It’s because people don’t listen to us. And it happens again and again.

Here is one marginalized person’s opinion. Because we coexist in this community, I thought you should hear it. You can take it or leave it.

I find solace in my friends and family that support me. I can only work on the people I care about or people that want to be better and if you don’t want to learn from this, that is totally fine.

I’m sorry if that sounds angry, but if anger is all you see then you’re missing the point.
— Sara Bertuldo

Thanks, Sara, for the thoughtful comments on a very difficult subject.

* * *

Tonight at Brothers Lounge it’s the return of Thick Paint. The band has been on the road for awhile and swings back into Omaha with Anna McClellan, who just leaked the first single, “Heart of Hearts,” from her forthcoming album Yes and No, due in February on Father/Daughter. Dilute also is on tonight’s bill. $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.


Live Review: Son, Ambulance, Lodgings, Dirt House at O’Leavers…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:46 pm December 4, 2017

Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Oh. My. God. I finally made it to a show.

Saturday night’s show at O’Leaver’s is the first rock show I’ve gone to since Zola Jesus way back on Oct. 11 — easily the longest stretch I’ve had between shows since sometime in the ’90s probably.

I actually intended to go to two shows this past weekend. I walked down to The Waiting Room Friday night to see Whitney/NE-HI after our art show ended at The Little Gallery (and after checking out the new B-Side, which is very nice indeed) only to find that it was sold out. I was disappointed yet happy for the the sell out — people really do still love going to indie rock shows.

Saturday night was the return of Son, Ambulance to O’Leaver’s. The band seems to re-emerge on a stage somewhere every six months or so with a slightly different line-up. Backing frontman singer/songwriter Joe Knapp this time were a couple horns, pedal steel, drums, Dereck Higgins on bass and instead of a second guitar someone playing sitar.

I was stationed at my usual spot, peeking through the glassless window panes by the bathrooms, which placed me right next to the aforementioned sitar. It sounded not so much like the traditional instrument we all know from Ravi Shankar, but more like a plucked-out high-end bass line. At times, distracting, but didn’t cover up the rest of the band, which was, for the most part, pretty solid.

Son, Ambulance played three old ones (including set staple “Paper Snowflakes”) and three new ones, the best of which was set-closer “Fuck Trump,” a rocker that wasn’t so much a call-and-response anthem as much as a song about living in the here and now, punctuated by the title lyrics.

Knapp says expect to hear a lot more from Son, Ambulance in 2018. With such a huge back catalog of songs, they’re among the few local bands I’d go see once a month.

Lodgings at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017.

Lodgings is an act I’ve somehow managed to miss over the years, which turns out to be a huge bummer because they play a style of music I love — a laid-back, slacker rock that’s part Pavement part Pixies part Grifters, essential ’90s indie, often slow, sometimes quiet but also bold and loud.

So packed was O’Leaver’s that I ended up standing behind the amps so I couldn’t hear frontman Bryce Hotz terribly well, though the rest of the band came in loud and clear, including cellist/keyboardist Megan Siebe and guitarist Jim Schroeder (bassist Michael Laughlin and drummer Eric Ernst round out the combo).

The set drove me to seek out the band’s recordings on Spotify; and as a result, I spent a good part of the balance of the weekend listening to last year’s eponymous release and their more recent 6-song EP Daisies, which, had I found it earlier, would have been included in my local faves for 2017.

Dirt House at O’Leaver’s Dec. 2, 2017.

Last up was Dirt House, the new band from Annie Dilocker, who has surrounded herself with some of the best musicians in Omaha. Joining Amy Carey on violin is a rhythm section consisting of drummer Roger Lewis and bass player Miwi La Lupa. It doesn’t get more solid than that.

Dilocker is a long-time music scene veteran who’s been involved in a number of projects including Sweet Pea, Hubble, and for a brief time, Digital Leather. Her piano-driven songs are reminiscent of Regina Spektor or Sarah Bareilles though her melodies aren’t as varied. Dilocker’s vocals at times got lost in the mix. I wanted her to really belt it out — a necessity when backed by such a strong band. Considering her piano skills and her melodies, I wonder how her songs would fare without a backing band.

No doubt Dirt House is beginning to capture a fan base (the audience for Dirt House looked different than the one for Son, Ambulance) and the band’s Facebook page says they’ll be recording by the end of the year. More to come.

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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.


Whitney, NE-HI, SIRES, #BFF tonight; Son, Ambulance, Lodgings Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:45 pm December 1, 2017

Ne-Hi at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016. The band returns tonight with Whitney.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Is this the last “warm” weekend of the year? Maybe, probably. I’m getting my crappy winter beater car out this weekend — a sure sign winter’s here.

Anyway, take advantage of the last warm weekend of the year and see some shows…

The best of the bunch this weekend is tonight at The Waiting Room where indie hot stuff Whitney headlines with NE-HI. From Chicago, Whitney consists of members of the late, great Smith Westerns. The band’s break-out album, Light Upon the Lake, came out in 2016 on Secretly Canadian. One presumes they’re working on new material, though recent shows merely featured the old stuff along with a handful of covers (including Neil Young’s “On the Way Home,” Dolly Parton’s “Gonna Hurry (As Slow As I Can),” Dylan’s “Tonight I’ll Be Staying Here with You,” NRBQ’s “Magnet,” etc.). Opener NE-HI just played Reverb this past March (read their Ten Questions interview here). $15, 9 p.m., expect a packed room.

Also tonight, Ryan Menchaca & The Invisible Horses headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening is Carl Miller of The Thrillers’ fame and Des Moines act SIRES. 10 p.m., $5.

And its the first Friday in December which means it’s Benson First Friday. As part of the fun The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple St., is hosting its annual “little show” where all works in the main gallery are 12” x 12” or smaller and $100 or less — perfect for holiday gift giving! Among the more than 20 artists showing works are Jason Steady, Jadon Ulrich, Mike Loftus, Brad Thiel and Nebraska Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Plus there will be beer, wine and some food. Drop by and say hello. The gallery is the east storefront of the Masonic Lodge Building on south side of Maple Street at 5901. See you there.

Tomorrow night is the return of Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s. Who will be in this incarnation of the band, fronted by singer/songwriter Joe Knapp? Opening is Lodgings while Annie Dilocker’s latest project, Dirt House, headlines. $7, 9 p.m.

Finally Mark Olson of The Jayhawks plays at The Waiting Sunday night. $15, 7 p.m.  And Matisyahu plays at The Slowdown with Common Kings and Orphans. 7:30 p.m. start time; tix are $25 Adv./$28 DOS.

And 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.




Cursive to return in 2018; Mogwai tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm November 30, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a nice Q&A with Tim Kasher at Surviving the Golden Age. Tim talks about the early days of Cursive, the differences between guitarists Stephen Pedersen and Ted Stevens, and that Cursive will be “somewhat active in 2018.Read it here.

While we’re on the subject of Cursive, Noisey asked Kasher to list/rank his favorite Cursive albums. Tim and I agree on No. 1 (though we disagree on where Domestica ended up). Check it out here.

* * *

Tonight’s that Mogwai show at The Waiting Room I wrote about yesterday. It’s an early show with an 8 p.m. start time, with one opener – “dark synth” Texas artist Xander Harris. If you’re going, bring ear plugs. The last time I saw Mogwai they were incredibly loud. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… $26.

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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.


Ten Questions with Mogwai (at The Waiting Room Nov. 30)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:43 pm November 29, 2017

Mogwai plays The Waiting Room Thursday, Nov. 30.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mogwai is a Glaswegian ensemble that creates intricate, throbbing headphone-friendly instrumentals. Their debut album, Mogwai Young Team, released in 1997 on Chemikal Underground and Jetset in the U.S., is considered a post-rock masterpiece that helped open the door to other instrumental-heavy art-rock projects. It was followed in ’99 by Come On Die Young, their first release on indie stalwart Matador Records that led up to their commercial breakthrough, 2001’s Rock Action.

The band’s latest, Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence, 2017), holds tight to the formula that has made them indie-rock icons — songs that start with a quiet guitar melody, keyboard or soothing percussion line that slowly build-build-builds as if climbing a mountain until they reach some sort of breathless peak — usually at ear-bleeding wake-the-neighbors decibels — to slowly come back down in wait for the next mountain to conquer.

It’s a formula that’s worked for 20 years, along with a live show augmented with intense stage lighting, blinding strobes and unmatched sonic drama. Find out for yourself Thursday night at The Waiting Room. I caught up with Mogwai multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns and asked him to take the dreaded Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album? 

Barry Burns: Eek. It’s always changing and very often, too, so I’d be lying to name one.

2. What is your least favorite song? 

This is much, much easier. That Maroon 5 song “This Love.”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band? 

The concerts and hanging out with some of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

4. What do you hate about being in a band? 

Traveling on planes and being away from my wife and daughter.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)? 

Probably scotch whisky. It’s rarely a disappointment

6. In what city or town do you love to perform? 

Glasgow, Tokyo, Osama, Barcelona.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)? 

Oslo. All the gear, like, ALL of it stopped working and I remember trying to hide behind the piano (which was also broken)

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, we’ve been lucky in some ways but also worked constantly the entire time we’ve been together.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 

I’d like a go at proper cooking. Having a lot of time at home for long spells gives me time to practice that so I’m getting better. I’d probably hate being a taxi driver.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Only that a guy who used to tour manage and do our live sound used to live in Omaha and he stole 10,000 dollars from us.

Mogwai plays with Xander Harris Nov. 30 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.. Tickets are $23 Adv./$26 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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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.


Hear Nebraska to join forces with The Bay; Smart Went Crazy reissue; Uranium Club heads to Omaha…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:59 pm November 28, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hear Nebraska and The Bay will now be part of Rabble Mill.

I guess it’s official, Hear Nebraska is joining forces with Lincoln non-profit The Bay as part of a new umbrella organization called Rabble Mill.

From rabblemill.org: “That’s right: After collaborating since both organizations’ founding in 2010, we officially merge on Jan. 1, 2018, as programs under a new 501(c)(3) umbrella, called Rabble Mill. (A nod to our underdog communities.)

Rabble Mill’s vision statement: “We end generational poverty, one young person at a time, by enabling kids to discover their passion and build valuable life and professional skills. We make communities talent magnets by connecting and strengthening creative industries.

Among Rabble Mills’ offerings will be:

  • — Job Training for as-risk youth in the areas of music, tech, journalism and coffee;
  • — A print magazine produced by kids aimed at exposing Nebraska high schoolers to compelling statewide arts and culture;
  • — Professional development aimed to help musicians reach their next level;
  • — The Find Your Grind collective, a digital art and design space focused on closing our community’s technology gap through skills creation.

I’m told the boards of both organizations will be combined and that Hear Nebraska will continue to have a presence in Omaha (The Bay is located in Lincoln).

What exactly is The Bay? It’s a non-profit “creative space,” skate park and coffee shop founded by startup entrepreneur and motivational speaker Mike Smith.

So how will this merger will impact HN’s mission, which is basically to support, nurture and promote Nebraska music and musicians? Time will tell, though no doubt there will be some changes. Stay tuned…

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Smart Went Crazy, Con Art (2017, Ernest Jenning)

One of the snarkiest bands of the ‘90s, Smart Went Crazy, is getting the reissue treatment for its 1997 double LP Con Art, via Ernest Jenning.

Says Chad Clark, now with Beauty Pill, “‘Con Art’ was SWC’s second and final album, released in 1997. It was rapturously received by the press (Pitchfork included it in their Best Albums Of The 90s list) and its stature increased with time. It is now regarded as an underground classic. Unfortunately, the band did not survive to enjoy this esteem. SWC broke up shortly after its release.

Preorder your copy here.

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I just noticed that Minneapolis Uranium Club has been booked to play Pet Shop Gallery (the old Sweatshop) Dec. 9. This band’s album, All of Them Naturals (2017, Static Shock/Fashionable Idiots), made my list of faves in 2017 (which will be published in the December issue of The Reader). Added bonus, Sucettes and Dilute are opening.

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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.


The English Beat, Matt Whipkey tonight; Satchel Grande Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:00 pm November 24, 2017

Tommy Keene at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014. Keene passed away last night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Listening to Tommy Keene this morning, specifically his 1989 release Based on Happy Times, which you can find on Spotify. Keene passed away yesterday, reportedly in his sleep, which may be the best way to go. He opened for Matthew Sweet at O’Leaver’s back in 2014, and opened for him again on a recent tour. Keene might be one of the most overlooked singer/songwriters of the ’80s, ’90s, today. He was a power-pop master and a great guitarist.

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Another light weekend for shows. Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of The English Beat, a band that’s made Omaha a second home (or so it seems, considering the number of times they’ve played here over the years). Opening is local ska band The Bishops. $25, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Matt Whipkey and his band are playing around the corner at Reverb Lounge. Tonight’s show will be a sort of sneak preview of Whipkey’s latest release, the double LP Driver, out Feb. 23. Whipkey just released a single from the album, which you can check out below. Opening is Travelling Mercies. $10, 8 p.m.

Saturday night Satchel Grande returns to The Waiting Room with Funk Trek. $8, 9 p.m.

And that’s all I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section.

For those of you doing the Black Friday treasure hunt, good luck. I’ll likely be hitting the racks this afternoon, so don’t take all the good stuf.

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.