Criteria’s ‘Years’ drops (last week); new Digital Leather, Dereck Higgins…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:40 pm January 20, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Criteria, Years (2020, 15 Passenger)

Last Friday Criteria’s new album Years dropped via 15 Passenger Records. It’s a banger. BrooklynVegan was the first outlet to sort of review the album, saying: “The more polished sound suits them well, and helps elevate their chunky post-hardcore/alt-rock to a level where Criteria sound like even more of a force than they did during their initial run. The songwriting is inspired, the songs rip, and it just feels great to have this band back.”

Indeed. Get your copy and have a listen here. Tonight Criteria opens for Cursive at Neumos in Seattle.

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Digital Leather last week shared yet another song off its forthcoming album, Because You’re a Winner, called “V.” Check it below:

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And the always prolific Dereck Higgins dropped a new track in Soundcloud called “Scoobs.” He says he’s “causally working” toward a new album. And pssst…. InDreama also is in the studio.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Buggy Lewis and the Rabbit Grenades tonight; Your Smith Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:48 pm January 17, 2020

Photo I took a few years ago of someplace that was a lot warmer than here.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A bleak weather weekend and a bleak music weekend — what did you expect in mid-January?

If you want to brave the weather tonight, The Brothers has hardcore punkers Bunny Lewis and The Rabbit Grenades. Joining them are D.N.D. and The Lawsons. And it’s always warm in The Brothers Lounge. $5, 10 p.m.

If the weather takes a turn for the worst, you may want to double-check that this is still happening. They’re talking end-times ice-related weather events as a possibility. I don’t think it’ll get that bad, but what do I know?

I’ve got nothing on my radar Saturday night.

And then Sunday Your Smith plays at Slowdown Jr. Her real name is Caroline Smith. From Minneapolis, she’s been playing around for years but has a way of changing her style and musical identity. Soundwise, I liken her to an indie version of Sheryl Crow, a great voice, a way with a hook, she’s sneaky good. LA’s Chelsea Jade opens at 8 p.m. $12.

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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Cursive, Criteria, Cloud Nothings tonight at Winchester…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:19 pm January 15, 2020

A bronzer-infused Cursive in their official tour photo featuring tour drummer Pat Oakes (far right, Western shirt). Photo by Ariel Panowicz.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cursive, Criteria and Cloud Nothings kick off a 2-week winter tour tonight with a massive concert at Winchester Bar and Grill, the sister club to O’Leaver’s that’s owned and operated by a team that includes Cursive’s Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens and Matt Maginn.

Despite Cursive and Criteria both playing ’round these parts in recent months (in Cursive’s case, this past September) the show should draw a sizable, raucous crowd. My first foray at attending a rock show at Winchester was a less than stellar experience thanks to surprising sight-line problems — i.e., you couldn’t see the band through the crowd. We’ll see tonight if they’ve remedied that problem by raising the stage.

The Boise Weekly has a new interview with Kasher that could act as a nice preview to tonight’s show. The funniest line of the article is the closer:

“I can assure you,” Kasher said, “that we will probably be going back into hiding for a little while after this.”

Ah, but there’s no place to hide when you own and operate a record label.

The wild card on this tour will be Criteria. Cloud Nothings has a similar if not more hyperactive style of angst-ular indie as Cursive, whose latest album, Get Fixed, is another angry downer of a collection of very densely packed, mathy indie rock songs, the highlight (for me anyway) being the chopped-riff-powered “Black Hole Town,” that begs everyone to sing along to the chorus “This town’s a black hole / This town’s an asshole!”  By contrast to those two bands, Criteria’s music is a sparkling flying rainbow unicorn of bright shiny indie rock — certainly a palette-cleanser between two rather acidic flavors, though I have a feeling Criteria will likely have the opening slot on this tour.

$20, 8 p.m. You may want to get there early and grab one of Winchester’s famous cheeseburger baskets. You’ll thank me later.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Waiting for the other Bright Eyes shoe to drop; S. Raekwon gets the Document treatment (from Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:43 pm January 14, 2020

S. Raekwon is the latest artist in Saddle Creek Records’ Document Series.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Been slow ’round these parts lately. Everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop regarding Bright Eyes. I’ve been told that part of what I posted last week was correct. Not the part about Fevers and Mirrors or back catalog reissue via Team Love. Go back and do the math. Now we just wait for the inevitable announcement from the winning record label and what have you. It’s going to be an interesting 2020.

It will be for Saddle Creek Records, too (but not because of Bright Eyes). Today the label announced that S. Raekwon will be the next artist to release a single as part of their Document singles series. Did you, like me, immediately think of Wu Tang? Well, it’s not that Raekwon. This one is Steven Raekwon Reynolds, who records meditative bedroom indie rock under the name S. Raekwon. “Parts Towards Whole” b/w “A Crow’s Smile” comes out Feb. 7. Check out the A-side below and pre-order here.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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What’s the deal with Bright Eyes? Relax, It’s Science Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:39 pm January 10, 2020

Bright Eyes new graphic added to its website and social media accounts.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday the folks behind Omaha indie band Bright Eyes changed the branding on their social media and band websites. What could it mean?

My sources tell me… actually, my sources don’t tell me anything. It could be a promotion for a 20th anniversary release of Fevers and Mirrors. Or it could be that Bright Eyes has retained the rights to its back catalog from Saddle Creek and will use its own label — in this case, Conor Oberst’s Team Love Records — to do a series of reissues, much the way Cursive did when it reissued its back catalog on its label, 15 Passenger Records.

If you sign up for the Bright Eyes mailing list from the rebranded website, you’re provided with this mailing address:

Bright Eyes
11 Church Street
New Paltz, New York 12561

That’s the address for the Team Love Records worldwide headquarters. (By the way, take a look at a Google street view of that address — New Paltz looks absolutely charming!).

Or maybe it could just mean the boys are getting the band back together. With Phoebe Bridgers releasing a new album and presumably touring throughout 2020 and Mogis and Walcott apparently wrapping up soundtracks and other projects, maybe the time is right to kick the tires on the ol’ Bright Eyes jalopy? No doubt a tour would be something special.

Anyway, we’ll find out soon enough. Probably.

There’s only one show of note this weekend: Libations, a KC band that calls itself  “a three piece mathy indie band,” headlines at fabulous O’Leavers Saturday night. Joining them are a couple new Omaha bands I’m not familiar with — Yoga with Cats and Goosehound. In the middle is the double-bass-attack madness we know as Relax, It’s Science. All four bands for just $5. 9 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section have a great, snowy 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Jack McLaughlin’s new track features help from Conor Oberst, Shawn Foree; he plays tonight at Slowdown, Jr…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:16 pm January 9, 2020

Jack McLaughlin plays tonight at Slowdown, Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Omahan Jack McLaughlin is a relatively new name on the scene. He’s played around Omaha (and Colorado) for a couple years, according to his Facebook page. The singer/songwriter, who’s playing a gig tonight at Slowdown Jr., is releasing a single called “Madyssen Is So Quick to Sin” this month, produced by MiWi La Lupa with a couple special guests — Shawn Foree of Digital Leather and Conor Oberst.

“It’s going to be put out on Jan. 23 as a single with a B-side called ‘Rained All Summer Long,’” McLaughlin said. “Conor came in and sang with me on the third verse. Shawn came in and recorded the main synth melody that plays across the track.”

McLaughlin said he’s known Oberst since he was about 15. “My good friend Phil (Schaffart) used to let me play at Pageturners when I was around that age and I met Conor there,” he said. “I met Shawn through (restaurant Blackstone) Meatball when I was 16. He used to always sit at the bar and say what’s up when I’d pop out on a break from dishwashing!”

You can get a sneak peek of the track below via Soundcloud, and of course, tonight at Slowdown Jr. Also on the bill are The Sunks and Daisy Distraction. $7, 8 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Disq drops first track from upcoming Saddle Creek LP debut, Collector…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:29 pm January 8, 2020

Disq circa 2020.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Madison, Wisconsin indie rockers Disq are releasing their debut full-length Collector, March 6 on Saddle Creek Records.

This isn’t a huge surprise considering the band’s “Document-series” single “Communication” b/w “Parallel” was released by Saddle Creek last January and caught fire with the indie kids (It was one of my favorite tracks of 2019 as well).

From the Bandcamp page: “Produced by Rob Schnapf, Collector is a set of songs largely pulled from each of the five members’ demo piles over the years. They’re organic representations of each moment in time, gathered together to tell a mixtape-story of growing up in 21st century America.

Rob Schnapf has quite a track record. He co-produced Elliott Smith’s Either/Or, XO, Figure 8 and From a Basement on the Hill albums, and as a co-founder of Bong Load Records helped discover Beck and record his Mellow Gold album. Schnapf also is credited with producing albums by Guided by Voices, Tokyo Police Club, Dr. Dog, FIDLAR and Dilly Dally, among others.

I’ve seen Disq live a couple times and this first track is indicative of their stage style, which is slacker-fied heavy indie a la Pavement spliced with Weezer but with more refined compositions reminiscent of Teenage Fanclub. In an era of slick, vibe-fueled Yacht-rock-style indie (Tame Impala comes to mind) Disq gives me hope for a more rocking future.

You can pre-order vinly, CD and those goofy cassettes right here from the Saddle Creek store.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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The record distribution mess: Saddle Creek, 4AD and others leave ADA for Redeye Distribution…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:45 pm January 7, 2020

Redeye is now the distributor for Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A couple weeks ago I read a rather lengthy and alarming story in Pitchfork where they talked about a company called Direct Shot and how it’s screwing up the distribution channels for record labels. It’s a long read, but it basically details how Direct Shot has dropped the ball getting vinyl and other orders to outlets.

Among the largest labels impacted by Direct Shot is Warner Music Group, who switched distributors to Direct Shot last April.

This switch also extended to the indie labels that work with Warner’s Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), which has Sub Pop, 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, XL, Domino, and Saddle Creek listed as partners on its website. “ said the article.

Well, that switch really messed up a lot of labels’ ability to fulfill orders because of Direct Shot’s struggles with getting their part of the job — the distribution part — done efficiently.

I emailed Saddle Creek Records’ head honcho Robb Nansel at the time and asked if Saddle Creek was being impacted by the Direct Shot fiasco.

“It has impacted everyone, yes,” Nansel said, always a man of few words.

Welp, yesterday Saddle Creek was among a handful of indie labels that announced they have left ADA. The labels include 4AD, Matador, Rough Trade, Young Turks, Domino and XL. Their new distributor: North Carolina’s Redeye Distribution.

Over the years, I remember Redeye being a tiny player in the indie distribution game. Way back in March 2006 Mt. Fuji Records (the label operated by former Omahan Mike Jaworski and that included among its foster Little Brazil) signed a deal with Redeye, who at the time was working with the likes of  Yep Rock, Gern Blandsten, Flameshovel, Parasol and GSL.

Redeye was one of the small distro houses that made it possible for the little guys to get their records in stores across the country. So it’s kind of cool to see them playing a role in trying to fix the enormous distribution problems facing the music industry.

From the MusicBusiness Worldwide article about the deal:

Redeye feels like the right place for us to be,” said Saddle Creek’s Robb Nansel. “With a staff that is clearly made up of music fans and creators, we are excited to be a part of the independent community at Redeye and we look forward to growing together in the future.

No doubt the Direct Shot distribution headache has impacted record stores as well, including our very own Homer’s. Just ask Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt.

“It’s been one of the biggest challenges we have faced in my 40 years at music retail,” Fratt said. “With the move of a half dozen major indies to Redeye, they become a major player going forward.”

The move to Redeye may solve Saddle Creek’s and those other indies’ distro problems, but when it comes to the industry as a whole, there’s still a whole lot of work that needs to be done…

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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January shows of note: new Digital Leather track; Las Cruxes makes NPR best of Latin list…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:40 pm January 6, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looking at the calendar it’s going to be slim pickens show-wise for the month of January. Still, there are a few shows on my radar:

— Criteria has been added to that Cursive/Cloud Nothings show Jan. 15 at Winchester Bar and Grill. The only surprise here is that Criteria wasn’t on the original show line-up, as the band will be hitting the road the following day on tour with Cursive.

— Indie singer/songwriter Your Smith has a gig at The Slowdown Jan. 19. I dug her last album — very dance-y, very fun.

— Cold War Kids are coming to The Waiting Room Jan. 23 (*yawn*).

— Lawrence, Kansas, legacy indie act The Anniversary play The Waiting Room Jan. 29. Band member Adrianne Verhoeven is no stranger to Omaha, as she’s performed as as a member of bands Art in Manila and Flowers Forever.

— And InDreama closes out the month with a show at Reverb Lounge. What has Nik Fackler and Co. been up to lately? Find out.

There are more smaller shows dotted in between those, which I’ll keep you apprised of as they come near. I’m to the point now where I’m happy if there are at least two solid touring indie shows coming through town per month. Anything more than that is frosting on the cake these days.

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Remember that Digital Leather song “Compass” I mentioned was a stand-out at the last two DL live shows? Well, a recording of the song was released via Bandcamp last week as the first single off the band’s upcoming album. Dig it:

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The last single from everyone’s favorite Omaha-based Latin-language punk band, Las Cruxes, made it onto NPR program World Cafe‘s list of the Best Latin Music for 2019. Check out the track, “1303 Mente Enferma,” on their playlist included in the article.

From the article “... it was great to hear bands like Las Cruxes, Davila 666, Mueran Humanos, Choked Up, Le Butcherettes and Mi Puga Mi Pishgo rocking out with punk, Brit-influenced rock en español and even dark wave sounds.” Lsten along here.

And look for a new Las Cruxes recordings (hopefully) by the end of the month.

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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Today is the last day to enter to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is TONIGHT, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Solid Goldberg, Marcey Yates, BFF, Minne Lussa, Ragged Company tonight; James Mendenhall trib listening party, Jocko Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:01 pm January 3, 2020

The Prom circa 2002 with James Mendenhall in the middle. James is the subject of a new tribute album, which will be played tonight at Hi-Fi House.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Is it the weekend already? Strange what these holidays do with your perception of time.

Tonight’s marquee show is at…. The Sydney! Where it’s a celebration of Benson First Friday (#BFF). Headlining the festivities is Midwest legend Dave Goldberg and his groovy project Solid Goldberg. Dave’s been in some of the most iconic local bands in the past 20 years, including Sucettes and The Carsinogents, just to name a couple. You’ve never seen him quite like this. Joining him tonight at The Sydney are hip-hop artist Marcey Yates and The Natural States. $5, 10 p.m.

If you’re going to be in Benson anyway, you might as well walk across the street from The Sydney to The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple St., where tonight we’re presenting a group show called “Conditions,” featuring the work of four artists with chronic medical conditions: Mary Ensz, Jeff Mack, Jennifer Novak Haar and Jennifer Shannon. The opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Come by, say hi!

Also tonight, that French-crooning Matt Rutledge and his band Minne Lussa open for Farewell Transmission and Soul Ghost at Slowdown Jr. 8 p.m., $10.

Finally, Omaha Americana folk band Ragged Company headlines tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Satellite Junction and Jeremy Mercy. $7, 10 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) at Hi-Fi House get a first listen of I’ll Send You The Stars, a tribute album to the late, great James Mendenhall of The Prom, released today on Barsuk Records. Mendenhall and David Broecker, both former Omahans, formed the band in Seattle in the early 2000s. Prior to that, Mendenhall was in a slew of bands including Calico with Vic Padios and Clark Baechle of The Faint. (Read a brief history from a 2002 Lazy-i article). Mendenhall died from a heart condition in Portland Jan. 1, 2019. The tribute album features contributions from Tim Kasher, Little Brazil, Ben Gibbard, Calico, Telekinesis, Young Elk and more. The listening party runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday night at Hi-Fi House and is free.

Finally, Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney St., is hosting a Fargo punk invasion Saturday night headlined by death metal act Maul, with “Fargo melodic punk” act Baltic to Boardwalk and Body By Torture. Sandwiched in between is Omaha hardcore band Jocko. $7, 8 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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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Relive the classics of the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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