Desaparecidos signs to Epitaph; new Twinsmith single released in the wild…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In what could be the worst-kept secret in the history of indie rock, it was officially announced yesterday that former Saddle Creek Records band Desaparecidos has signed with Epitaph Records for the release of the band’s first new album in 13 frickin’ years.

Rumors of the Epitaph signing go as far back as the band’s 2013 Maha Festival performance. Conor Oberst all but confirmed the deal (or more accurately, didn’t deny it) in this May 2014 interview in The Reader.

Epitaph’s official announcement adds nothing new to the story, not even a street date for the album, only that it’ll be released this year. One assumes that the release would be sometime around the start of the band’s brief April tour, that starts April 8 in Denver. We shall see.

Not being discussed is why the new Desa record isn’t coming out on Saddle Creek. I suppose the writing was on the wall when they self-released three singles over the past couple years. With Oberst now on Nonesuch and Bright Eyes seemingly on indefinite hiatus, it appears Oberst has all but cut ties with the record label he helped create.

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Twinsmith's new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Twinsmith’s new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Speaking of Saddle Creek, its newest addition, Twinsmith, saw the debut of the first track off its sophomore album, Alligator Years, premiered this morning at AV Club (Don’t forget check out the comments at the end of that AV Club story). Twimsmith is touring with Cursive in February before they begin a headlining tour March 2 in Chicago (which leads to their appearances at SXSW in mid-March). The rekkid comes out May 5.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Take Cover, Bahamas, Bass Drum of Death, Dumb Beach; Mark Kozelek, Mitch Gettman’s farewell show tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:01 pm January 26, 2015
Icky Blossoms at Take Cover IV, The Waiting Room, Jan. 23, 2015.

Icky Blossoms at Take Cover IV, The Waiting Room, Jan. 23, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The 4th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska at The Waiting Room Friday night appeared to be a smashing success. At least there were a ton of people there when I arrive at a quarter to 10, just in time to see members of Icky Blossoms squatting down on the stage performing a stripped down version of “Burn Rubber,” a track presumably off their upcoming Saddle Creek Records release. It was followed by a funky cover of a Capgun Coup song.

That was the recipe for the evening: One original tune, one cover by another local artist. Unlike year’s past, I actually recognize a lot of the covers, or at least some of them. As mentioned before, the Take Cover effect can be rather weak when you don’t know the person performing or the band he or she is covering. That wasn’t a problem for Matt Whipkey as he covered Simon Joyner ( “Double Joe”), See Through Dresses covering Little Brazil (“God” off 2009’s Son), Dan McCarthy covering Conor Oberst (“Common Knowledge” off Upside Down Mountain) and most successful of all, John Klemmensen and the Party covering Bright Eyes’ “Four Winds.” You could argue that JK’s version, complete with accordion, was as good as Conor’s. It was a great way to close out an evening of fun and fellowship.

Bahamas at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 24, 2015.

Bahamas at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 24, 2015.

There’s still a market for simple song craft, judging by the sold-out audience that showed up for Bahamas last Saturday night at Reverb Lounge. At the heart of the band is singer/songwriter Afie Jurvanen, an indie music veteran whose tours of duty include a stint with Feist. Standing center stage backed by a second guitarist, drummer and backing vocalist, Jurvanen played a set of simple acoustic ballads and laid-back rockers reminiscent of beachy acts like Jack Johnson.

The live setting stripped out the more intricate production heard on Bahamas’ last record, much to my chagrin, leaving little in the way of variety. No doubt he’s a talented dude with a knack for hooks, but a little goes a long way and halfway through the set (just after he began a mid-set solo-acoustic section, where he did his best story-teller riff about the last time he came to Omaha 10 years ago and got stoned on Ecstasy) I began looking for the door. I never made it to what was probably his set closer or encore — “All the Time” — the soundtrack to that James Franco Motorola commercial. I bet the crowd went wild.

Bass Drum of Death at Sweatshop Gallery, Jan. 24, 2015.

Bass Drum of Death at Sweatshop Gallery, Jan. 24, 2015.

The reason I charged out before the end was to catch a show at Sweatshop Gallery. I made my way through the maze of slouched smokers and poorly parked vehicles in the back lot to enter the jam-packed garage-turned-music-venue. I don’t know if it was a sell out, but it was crowded enough to get me wondering if that overhead door was functional in case of a fire.

The highlight of the evening (and of my weekend) was a fiery set by Dumb Beach. I’ve seen these guys a couple times at O’Leaver’s, but they’ve never sounded this good or this inspired. Their style combines modern garage (think Digital Leather without synths) with heavy metal (the most ferocious moments from Neil Young/Crazyhorse). It was a fantastic set that had the room moving.

It was followed by Bass Drum of Death, who owe a lot of their style to The Ramones, though the trio had enough versatility to change up their sound from song to song. Good stuff.

It was a real 180 going from Reverb, with its high-tech sound board and digital lighting, to Sweatshop’s four screwed-in colored light bulbs and micro mix station. The contrast was almost as stark as the one between Bahamas and Bass Drum of Death. Who says there isn’t variety in Benson?

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As of this writing (noon) tickets were still available for tonight’s Mark Kozelek show at Vega in Lincoln, though the venue warns that they are in short supply. If you have a chance to go, you should. Kozelek provided my favorite moment at last years South By Southwest Festival. Benji, Sun Kil Moon’s last album, was my favorite for 2014. You cannot go wrong. $20 tickets are available here (for now). The show starts at 9.

Also tonight, at Pageturners, Omaha singer/songwriter Mitch Gettman plays his last local show before moving away, again. Gettman said he’s headed to Leavenworth, Kansas, to live with his pop in an effort to save cash for his big move to New York City this summer. Gettman says he’s doing it for the challenge. You know what they say about people who can make it there… Custom Catacombs opens. 9 p.m. and free (as far as I know).

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Take Cover Pt. 4, Relax It’s Science tonight; Bahamas (SOLD OUT), Bass Drum of Death, Oquoa Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:03 pm January 23, 2015

takecover2015by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here we go.

At the top of list is the fourth installment of Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover series, tonight at The Waiting Room. The concept is simple: Musicians are invited to perform one original song and one cover from one of their favorite Nebraska musicians/bands. The line-up:

Anna McClellan
Mim Aparo
Sarah Bohling (Icky Blossoms), Graham Ulciny
Jeremy Mercy
Sam Ayer
Jessica Errett
Matt Whipkey
Heather Berney
Jason Meyer (Talking Mountain, Feel Tight)
Edem Kegey
See Through Dresses
Lars & Mal
Dan McCarthy
Andrew Gustafson
John Klemmensen

And among the artists being covered are Baby Walrus, Jake Bellows, Capgun Coup, Ojai, John Klemmensen, Little Brazil, Criteria and, of course, Conor Oberst. $8, 9 p.m. This is a benefit for Hear Nebraska (of which I’m a Board member, btw). See you there.

Also tonight at the Reverb Lounge the band Relax, It’s Science headlines with nanaHara and Montee Men. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight, LA band Handsome as Sin headlines with The Toppings and The Clocks. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Bahamas, a.k.a. Afie Jurvanen, headlines at Reverb Lounge. You might recognize one of his songs used for that Motorola TV commercial that featured James Franco. The tune is “All the Time” off Bahamas’ latest album, Bahamas is Afie. Something tells me a lot of people now know the song, as the show sold out a couple weeks ago. Opening is Burkum Boys. 9 p.m. start time.

The other big show Saturday night: Bass Drum of Death at Sweatshop Gallery. The detes: American garage rock band from Oxford, Mississippi, signed to Innovative Leisure Records. John Barrett formed Bass Drum of Death, and performs and records his own albums. Until 2008, he performed as a one-man-band, playing bass drum and guitar. Currently, the touring band consists of two guitars and drums. The debut LP, GB City, was released on April 12, 2011, by Fat Possum Records. Opening is Dumb Beach and  Those Far Out Arrows. $7 Adv./ $10 DOS. 9 p.m. start time.

Saturday night The Derby Birds headline at O’Leaver’s with All Young Girls Are Machine Guns and Shane Lamson. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night Oquoa is among the bands playing the Band Build benefit for Habitat for Humanity at The Waiting Room. Also on the bill are Matt Cox, Belles and Whistles, Thinkin Machines and The Broken Matches. $12 Adv./$15 DOS, show starts at 8 p.m.

That’s what 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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TIT, Worried Mothers, Cold War Kids, Elliot Moss tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:32 pm January 22, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been awhile since I hyped a show, and tonight we have two.

TIT, self-titled (FDH Records, 2014)

TIT, self-titled (FDH Records, 2014)

Top of my list is TIT at O’Leaver’s. TIT is Shawn Foree of Digital Leather and Bobby Hussy of The Hussy. The duo released its debut on FDH Records late last year. The 4-song EP features Bobby on lead vocals for two tracks, Shawn on lead vocals on one song, and a nearly 9-minute instrumental. Keynote soundwise are the severe, tonal synths and the atonal, robotic vocals, all of which give a nod to electro pioneers like Gary Numan, Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, all the usual digital suspects. Just how TIT will be configured tonight, I do not know. Shawn and Bobby behind duo keyboards with guitars slung ’round their necks? Will there be added players? Go to O’Leaver’s tonight and find out.

Opening is Omaha apocalypse punkers Worried Mothers. Violent. Controversial. Subversively catchy (Primo track off 2013’s Tape, “Gray Corpse Banner,” can get any tired old sagging ass shaking). No two Worried Mothers shows are alike. If you go tonight, you very well might find yourself getting groped by a large, naked, sweaty man.  If that weren’t enough of a sell, Nate Ma and the Rosettes also open. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at The Slowdown, Cold War Kids headlines. The band is out supporting last year’s Hold My Home (Downtown Records) a very mainstream, commercially targeted album, which probably explains their popularity. Slightly more interesting is NYC youngster Elliot Moss, who opens the show. His style of electronic sounds like upbeat Washed Out. $25, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Joyner track streamed; new LPs coming from Higgins, See Through Dresses, Mountain Goats; Whipkey love…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:56 pm January 21, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots of release news today…

Simon Joyner, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015)

Simon Joyner, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015)

“You Got Under My Skin,” the first track off Simon Joyner’s upcoming album, Grass, Branch & Bone, is being streamed via Stereogum today (right here). The album comes out on Woodsist Records on St. Patrick’s Day. Pre-order your copy here. You won’t regret it.

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Dereck Higgins, Myths...Realities (DHV, 2015)

Dereck Higgins, Myths…Realities (DHV, 2015)

Dereck Higgins’ follow-up to last year’s Murphy LP is titled Myths…Realities and is being co-produced with KiNETiK Records (Greece). The collection is archival material, most of it never released. Preorder your copy of this limited-run release here.

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See Through Dresses, self-titled (This Charming Man, 2015)

See Through Dresses, self-titled (This Charming Man, 2015)

Preorders are being taken here for the European release of See Through Dresses’ self-titled LP on German label This Charming Man Records. The record drops in late March.

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In non-local music news, The Mountain Goats today announced they’ve got a new album coming out April 7 on Merge called Beat the Champ, which is about professional wrestling. “I wrote these songs to re-immerse myself in the blood and fire of the visions that spoke to me as a child, and to see what more there might be in them now that I’m grown,” said head goat John Darnielle. Check out the first track from the album, below.

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Rock NYC has written a love letter to Matt Whipkey in the form of a glowing review of his upcoming album, Underwater, calling Matt “Omaha’s best export since Conor Oberst.” Read the review here and check out Matt’s latest video, below.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Jeff Runnings (For Against) signs to Saint Marie, new album in late summer…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:49 pm January 20, 2015
Jeff Runnings of For Against will have his solo debut on Saint Marie later this year.

Jeff Runnings of For Against will have his solo debut on Saint Marie later this year. Photo by Phil Glynn.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There has been plenty of buzz about about a new For Against album in the making.

Waitaminit? You never heard of For Against? The Lincoln band was one of the first Nebraska acts to make a national mark in the ’80s for its unique take on post-punk. As I said in this 2007 interview with the band, For Against made 4AD/Factory Records-style Euro-pop that bordered on today’s version of electronic dance music. Their sound was directly influenced by ’80s and ’90s-era European post-punk from bands like Durutti Column, Joy Division, Gang of Four and Kitchens of Distinction.

Last year, NYC-based indie label Captured Tracks released a box set of the first three For Against full lengths: Echelons (1987), December (1988) and In the Marshes (1990), originally released by Independent Project.

Now comes word that For Against frontman Jeff Runnings has signed with Saint Marie records, who will release a new Runnings solo album as well as more For Against reissues. Jeff said he recorded the new album at his home studio last year “then decided to finish by doing the vocals in a ‘proper’ studio with good microphones (Milktone Studios, Lincoln, NE). I mixed the album with Mark Wolberg (owner of Milktone).”

What inspired the making of the record?  “A challenge to myself,” Runnings said. “Can I make a record alone? Guess so! ”

Saint Marie was so impressed with what they heard, they not only offered Runnings a deal for the record, but also expressed “great interest” in reissuing the For Against albums from the ’90s — Aperture, Mason’s California Lunchroom, the long out-of-print Shelflife, and Coalesced.

“The offer was accepted and I signed with Saint Marie,” Runnings said. The label has a focus on shoegaze, dreampop, electronica and more, and includes among its roster Seasurfer, Static Daydream and Scarlet Youth.

The album, Primitives and Smalls, will be available on CD/digital in July or August 2015, Runnings said. He’s still working out details on a vinyl edition. “I play all the instruments on this album, all the vocals, lyrics, etc., which is why it’s a solo album instead of a For Against album,” he said.

Runnings said he’s also contemplating a solo tour in support of the release. “It’s certainly being discussed (Europe, NOT the U.S.); nothing set in stone yet, though,” he said.

Well then, what about a For Against reunion? “I want to get Mave (Steve Hinrichs) and Paul (Engelhard) to tour for the reissues,” Runnings said, “but (I’m) not sure when the reissues will ‘hit the shelves’… before year’s end?” Keep your fingers crossed.

BTW, I’ve heard three tracks off the Runnings solo album and they are, in a word, sublime. For Against fans (and anyone who likes groovy indie dreampop) are in for a treat.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Ted Stevens Unknown Project, Miniature Horse, McCarthy Trenching…

Ted Stevens Unknown Project at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 15, 2015.

Ted Stevens Unknown Project at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 15, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Big draw Saturday night for Ted Stevens Unknown Project at Reverb Lounge in Benson, though almost no one was there when I dropped in at 9 p.m. As much as I like Ted and his crew, I wanted to see Miniature Horse a.k.a. Rachel Tomlinson Dick, who I’d seen a few months ago at an afternoon concert at Almost Music and couldn’t believe my ears.

Miniature Horse at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015.

Miniature Horse at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015.

Namewise, why Miniature Horse instead of RTD? Who knows. She didn’t say from stage what the name meant. Miniature horses are cute little creatures that have been known to take a chunk out of the back of a child’s head or crush a passerby’s kneecap whether provoked or not. No one knows what goes through the creatures’ minds other than somber bitterness and/or barely contained rage over being born a diminutive reflection of their more regal brethren. It’s only a matter of time before that rage boils over into a reflex motion that requires surgery and long-term rehabilitation to an unfortunate passerby.

I don’t think that’s what RTD had in mind when she came up with the name, though there is a “beauty and the beast” style to her one-woman show, brought to you by her amazing voice (one of the best singers in town) and her effects pedals that alter her guitar’s tone from quiet reflection to Neil Young feedback blaze with a tap of her toe. Consider her our own version of Polly Jean Harvey circa her 4-Track Demos phase. An intricate finger-picking style had a couple of the guys next to me (there were only guys in the crowd early in the evening) staring in awe. One of them wondered what her songs would sound like with a full band, and I wondered, too, but would be afraid the added instruments could clutter up the solitary majesty. Maybe a simple trio, though RTD is doing fine by her lonesome, standing like her namesake on an empty stage.

McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015.

McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015.

Next up was the string-band version of McCarthy Trenching. Dan McCarthy is known as a piano man by a lot of people who have only seen his early-evening weekly gigs at Pageturners, but he’s just as comfortable with a guitar hanging ’round his neck, backed by talented upright bass player James Maakestad. McCarthy rolled through a set that included familiar chestnuts (the one about kicking a ball through the Cathedral uprights; another about being a self-employed, self-hating lout) as well as new songs (including one that perfectly captures my seething road rage).

McCarthy balances a forlorn loneliness with humor and a knack for capturing every-day details lyrically I haven’t heard since John Darnielle, though musically Trenching songs in no way resemble Mountain Goats songs. When played on piano, they more closely resemble Randy Newman tunes, and I would recommend McCarthy Trenching albums to anyone who loves Newman’s solo piano songs.

McCarthy said he wants to enter the studio again. We’re all waiting, Dan.

By the time Ted Stevens and his all-star band rolled onto the Reverb stage the lounge was a jam-packed calamity of fans and fellow musicians come to pay homage to the guy behind Lullaby for the Working Class and Mayday, and who, by the way, also plays and writes for Cursive. Backing Stevens as the Unknown Project is Lincoln Dickison (Putrescine, Monroes) on electric guitar, Ian Aeillo (Eli Mardock, Eagle*Seagull) on bass and David Ozinga (UUVVWWWZ) on drums.

Stevens’ songwriting is like no one else’s around here. It’s linear, without the usual chorus and verse structure, more like a stream of conscious telling of his life backed by an indie version of Crazy Horse. The closest resemblance to Stevens’ music (to me) is American Music Club/Mark Eitzel, which has a similar foreboding sense of chaotic ennui. There is a darkness to his music, a sense of stark anxiety like we’re getting a look inside what drives Stevens’ life, a sense of uneasiness accented by a voice that sounds like a hand outstretched to something just out of reach. Gorgeous stuff

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Bloodcow, Pro-Magnum tonight; Ted Stevens Unknown Project Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:40 pm January 16, 2015
Bloodcow plays tonight at O'Leaver's...

Bloodcow plays tonight at O’Leaver’s…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m back. And just in time for the weekend. Only two shows are showing up high on my radar.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s the return of Bloodcow. One assumes from the design of the flyer that that band will be playing tuneage off their upcoming album Crystals & Lasers. It’ll be a night of metal-infused carnage with sledgehammer openers Nightbird (Omaha-flavored stoner rock) and Pro-Magnum (Omaha-flavored punk). This will be loud. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Kait Berreckman Band plays at The Barley Street Tavern with Weatherwise, The Ronnys and John Larsen. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, John Klemmensen and the Party opens for The L1MBS at Reverb Lounge, along with John Larsen (Wait…isn’t he playing at the Barley Street?). $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) the main event is Ted Stevens Unknown Project at Reverb Lounge. As most of you know, Ted is the guitarist of Omaha indie rock godfathers Cursive and one helluva singer/songwriter. You will not be disappointed. Opening is the always entertaining McCarthy Trenching and the mysterious Miniature Horse (Rachel Tomlinson Dick). $7, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, The Broke Loose plays at The Sydney with Anthems and a TBA band. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s what I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments area. Have a good one.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Life Is Cool, The Sub-Vectors; Paul Collins Beat tonight (in Lincoln)……

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:32 pm January 12, 2015
LifeIsCool011015

Life Is Cool at The Waiting Room, Jan. 10, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The version of Life Is Cool that I saw at The Waiting Room Saturday night was a lot different than the version I saw play years ago somewhere in Omaha. That old version was a sort of Icky Blossoms party-band trying too hard to have fun, and it showed. This new version, featuring seven members split between Omaha, Lincoln and Chicago, is a different animal altogether. Think of them as a Midwestern version of Talking Heads combined with, say, B-52s and more than a smidgen of Arcade Fire and you’d be on the right track.

The set-up is (almost) traditional, with two guitars, bass, synths, trumpet, drummer and percussionist. The sound is eclectic bordering on artsy, with songs heavy on rhythms and light on melody. Maybe it was the mix but the dense arrangements worked best when they weren’t so crowded, when each instrument was given room to breath. When they played all at once (and loudly) the little details, which glowed so brightly individually (that cool woodblock percussion, Eric Bemberger’s chopping guitar), got lost in the din.

Frontman James Reilly seemed anxious holding it all together and occasionally shot a look like even he wasn’t sure where things were headed. Based on the number of cues from the stage during the set, monitor problems could have contributed to the sonic challenges (which is a nice way of saying it’s hard to keep a 7-piece band together when you can’t hear yourself on stage).

At their best, the band eschewed a post-punk jittery-ness that felt unsettled yet still leaned in with rhythmic funk, like the best early Talking Heads. Too often Reilly sounded restrained rather than letting it all hang out, unlike his co-vocalist (who played keys and whose name I don’t know) who willfully let herself get lost in the moment. On the other hand, there were times when they sounded like a reductive version of Arcade Fire. I prefer the direction heard on the closing number,  played after an admirable cover of Adam Ant’s “Desperate But Not Serious” that could have used a tad more swing.

No one around here is doing what Life Is Cool is trying to do, or at least no one around Omaha. For as long as I can remember, you had to head south to Lincoln for bands attempting anything this artsy, experimental and, well, cool.

sub-vectors011015

The Sub-Vectors at The Waiting Room, Jan. 10, 2015.

The night’s “main event” was The Sub-Vector’s CD release show, which was a ball… literally. As in a few dozen blow-up beach balls that bounced hyper-kinetically over the crowd throughout most of the set of fun-loving surf rock. The instrumental-only trio (bass, drums, guitar, in that order) showed the proper respect to the originators of the genre while at the same time adding their own sonic touches, hard and heavy, almost casting a metal sheen. If the songs seemed too long at times it could be due to the simple, stripped down arrangements that forecast every chord change like a hammer slamming on an anvil.

Edge of Arbor closed the evening with a set of laid-back folk rock accented by crisp bongos and guitarist Matt Whipkey’s usual glowing guitar solos. Frontwoman Jessica Errett does this style of indie-folk as well as anyone on the Lilith circuit (Maybe it’s time to retire those “Lilith Fair” comparisons, the last fair was five years ago). Oddest part of their set — at least three couples were doing ballroom dancing down on the floor, complete with twirls and dips, like watching auditions for the sequel to Silver Lining Playbook...

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Reception will be spotty this week, and if I skip a few days I apologize in advance.

Show-wise, the week starts with a bang in Lincoln with the return of the Paul Collins Beat, who just played at Slowdown Jr. in October and is now taking the stage at The Zoo Bar at 7 p.m.. Go if you can.

Beyond that, nothing stands out on the rock-show radar until Friday night’s Bloodcow gig at O’Leaver’s. It could be a long week…

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Strange Attractors tonight; Life is Cool Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:39 pm January 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s an extremely limited number of indie shows this weekend.

Tonight Strange Attractors opens for the Tom Phillips Trio at Reverb Lounge. Strange Attractors is Matt Kucera (Fornever/Lead), Aaron Gum (InDreama), Dereck Higgins, (InDreama, Son Ambulance), Wes Graffius, Brandon Voorhees and Scott Armstrong (Black on High). $7, 9 p.m.

At fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight it’s Clear the Day, The Sapwoods, Foxholes and Mitch Gettman. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night Lincoln band Life Is Cool visits The Waiting Room. The band recently added bass player Craig Crawford of Mousetrap fame. Life Is Cool is one of the openers along with Edge of Arbor and the Decatures. The headliner is The Sub-Vectors, who are celebrating the release of a new album, Music on the Bones. $8, 9 p.m.

Wow, that’s about it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a good 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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