Rest in Peace Kronch; Low Long Signal tonight; Bazile Mills EP release Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:28 pm January 20, 2017

Mike Kronschnabel, a.k.a. Kronch, hosting an episode of Trout Tunes.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before I get to the weekend, some thoughts on Mike Kronschnabel, a.k.a. Kronch, who passed away yesterday.

If you were kicking around the Omaha music scene in the early ’90s you knew Kronch. He was a fixture at all the good rock shows with his video crew and their tri-pods and cables and microphones positioned off to the sides of the room, out of the way but close enough to catch the action on stage. Sometimes it was just Kronch with a video camera. Either way, you knew you were in the right place that night because Kronch was there videotaping the whole thing for his cable show, Trout Tunes.

We only spoke a few times when we bumped into each other at shows. He had a warm voice and a generous nature and was always good conversation because he knew his stuff and he had good taste and he was passionate about local original music. Everyone knew him and respected him because we knew he was documenting a scene that wasn’t going to be around forever. Well, more than 20 years later, Omaha’s music scene is still very much with us, built upon everything that came before it. And thanks to Kronch, we have a record of it to watch again on YouTube. Check out his channel.

These days when I go to shows every time I see a gang of digital camera people (usually from Hear Nebraska) I think of Kronch, who did it before anyone else. He is missed.

* * *

It’s a very limited weekend for rock shows.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Low Long Signal headlines with Tenenbaums and Mint Wad Willy. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night it’s the EP release show for Bazile Mills at Reverb Lounge. The 4-song 12-inch I believe is the first release on new label Widmest Productions. No opener is listed. $8, 9 p.m.

That is all I have for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section.

* * *

BTW, on this inauguration day, I’m listening to Battle Hymns, a compilation album created in direct response to the current political situation in the U.S.A. It is a protest record! It was released digitally on inauguration day in opposition to the incoming administration. The album is available pay what you want at www.quasiband.com with all proceeds divided equally between Planned Parenthood, The ACLU and 350.org. Artists include Mac McCaughan, Boss hog, Stephen Malkmus, Mary Timony, Qusi, Rebeccas Gates, Dough Martsch and more. Get your copy at quasiband.com.

I’m sure there will be a lot more records like this one in the coming months and years. Collect them all.

* * *

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.

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#TBT: Jan. 24, 2007: Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) drinks tea at Target and strolls the dying halls of Crossroads…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:58 pm January 19, 2017

Dev Hynes circa 2007, then a member of Lightspeed Champion, stands next to a giant Buster Sword at Ala-Ka-Zam in the Crossroads. Blood Orange was still years away…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The future of Devonte Hynes was a bit murky 10 years ago when the following story was published in Lazy-i and The Reader. I’d never heard of the singer/songwriter and was simply looking for a way inside Mike Mogis’ at-the-time brand-spanking-new ARC Studios. Little did I know after working with the likes of Sky Ferreira, Carly Rae Jepson, Britney Spears even Kilie Minogue that Hynes would emerge years later as the break-out act Blood Orange, with the infectious dance hit “Best to You” off last year’s Freetown Sound.

On this Throwback Thursday, let’s step into the Wayback Machine and set the dials to 2007 and revisit Dev Hynes before he became Blood Orange…

Column 111: Englishmen in Omaha — Lazy-i, Jan. 24, 2007

Of Target, Chili’s and large knives

So I get this e-mail from UK label Domino Records telling me that one of their bands, Lightspeed Champion, was in Omaha recording with superstar producer Mike Mogis at ARC Studios — the new mansion studio that replaced Lincoln’s Presto! studios. Having seen the bands I’ve covered in the past, would I like to do an interview for Lazy-i?

Devonte Hynes, the mad genius behind Lightspeed, used to be the vocalist in Test Icicles, a band that only a couple years ago was on the verge of exploding across the London musical landscape, thanks to a rowdy style that combined noise with hardcore dance beats. After only a few club gigs around London in ’05, Test Icicles became the subject of a fierce label bidding war. Domino won, but a year after the release of their debut, For Screening Purposes Only, Test Icicles broke up. Here was a chance to find out why, while also getting a glance inside what I’ve been told is the sweetest recording studio in the region.

Domino set up the interview for last Monday. I was to meet Dev at the studio at 7 p.m. It was colder than hell the night I drove up to the large, ’60s-style house right on Dodge St. Sure didn’t look like a studio. I walked up to the door and knocked, certain that I had the wrong address. But no. Answering the door was Mike Mogis, spoon in hand. He was in the throes of making dinner for his family — a smiling wife appeared at the stairs, an adorable child skipped across the floor, and even Mike’s Brother, AJ, was there, standing next to the kitchen island by a large bowl of salad-looking food. I felt like an ass.

Dev? Oh, he’s over in the guest house. Mike pointed out his back window to another house across the compound. He kindly let me cut through his kitchen and out the back door. As I made my way across the frozen tundra, off to the right was the recording studio building, glowing in the night. That was the closest I got to it.

Instead, I made my way to the guesthouse where I was met by Tom Clarke, a cello player and part of Lightspeed. Inside, Dev sat behind a Powerbook near a kitchen table overflowing with sugary Halloween candies. Tiny empty boxes of Nerds littered the table. From upstairs came Ian Aeillo, an engineer who works with Mogis and is working on the Lightspeed project.

“They want to go to Target,” Ian said. “I’m sorry about all this.” There’s nothing like Target in London — at least not in the part of London where Dev and Tom are from — and the duo had become obsessed with it, having walked to Crossroads a number of times since arriving a week earlier to begin recording. So we all piled into my dirty Sidekick and headed to the mall.

So far, the English duo’s Omaha experience had been like Bowie’s in The Man Who Fell to Earth, aliens discovering mysteries in the most mundane things that we take for granted. Tom and Dev’s other memorable shopping experience: USA Baby, which they had mistakenly pronounced USA, Baby! and hence, expected a mod fashion boutique instead of a store filled with baby goods. “We have nothing like that in London,” Tom said. Nor do they have stores dedicated to cowboy gear, like Wolf Brothers next door — a store they were too intimidated to enter. “But we’re going back,” Tom said. “I want hats and spurs.”

“I could happily stay here for awhile,” Dev said, sipping his tea. “I’m quite content. I don’t need much.”

Omaha couldn’t be more different than the poverty-laden area where Dev lives, an East London borough called Hackney. “It’s one of the worst places in the UK,” he said. In fact, a few days before leaving for Omaha Dev was jumped by a gang brandishing guns and knives. He recounts the story nonchalantly. “The guy said, ‘You want your life to end right now?’ and I said, ‘I don’t fucking care.’ My friends had to pull me away, and pull me into my place so I didn’t get shot in the face.”

“We live there because our friends live there,” said Tom, who lives a few blocks from Dev in the nearby borough Towers Hamlets. “London isn’t like here. It’s so big. Here, it’s so small. Literally everyone is in this small place. It’s surprising, this Saddle Creek thing. There are a lot of bands in East London, but it’s not a connected scene, just a lot of people in bands. Here, it’s all local and integrated, it’s so awesome.”

Becoming part of that scene was the last thing on Dev’s mind when he made the demo that ended up with Mogis, who agreed to produce their debut album. “I was quite shocked,” Dev said. “He’s done some pretty awesome stuff, like Cursive’s The Ugly Organ.”

So far, Clark Baechle, Nate Wolcott and Mogis all have contributed to the Lightspeed recording. “The Tilly girls might do some percussion,” Dev said. “The music scene here is a bunch of friends. That doesn’t happen anywhere else. Ian and Mike don’t think twice about it. The other day they were talking about asking Tim to come over to watch football. I turned to Tom and said, ‘Is he talking about Cursive?’ It’s the way everyone wants their music scene to be.”

For the next hour over peppermint tea at Target, Dev and Tom talked about the recording and explained what happened to Test Icicles.

“We’d been saying we would split up for ages,” Dev said of his former band. “We didn’t like the music, we didn’t want the money, we didn’t want to be famous, why were we doing it? So we just split up. Everyone was saying, ‘Man, you could have played Brixton Academy.’ Well, wouldn’t you rather make music you like? People around London didn’t understand. Now they do.”

Dev said Lightspeed Champion gives him a chance to do what he wants. “The music shifts between country, folk and grunge, with a running story line,” he said. “And we’re doing this comic book with it. It’s all completely selfish. Being here now, recording it, it blows my mind.

“It’s going to be the best album in the world,” he added, half-joking. “Sometimes I’m recording and I hear a whisper in the distance, and that whisper is saying ‘Grammy, Grammy, Grammy…‘ I’m aiming for the shelves of Target, the ones with the picture above it.”

Certainly the indie scene could use a savior to lift it from its current doldrums. Dev and Tom seemed skeptical that a savior is coming from London or anywhere else any time soon.

“Nothing’s happened on a world-scale since The Strokes, and before that, Nirvana,” Dev said. What about Arcade Fire? Dev and Tom both lit up with the mention of the Canadian band, having loved Funeral, but said a lot is riding on the band’s follow-up, the forthcoming Neon Bible. “I like to think that no one cares about this sort of thing, but if Neon Bible doesn’t sell as much as Funeral, it’s instantly going to be deemed a failure. You see it all the time. People are now talking about the downfall of The Arctic Monkeys. How can that band fall from grace without even having released a second album or touring?

“Shit like that is why (Test Icicles) broke up,” Dev said. “Things got to a really weird point. I’m sure there are a million bands doing what Test Icicles was doing. It wasn’t groundbreaking.”

Still, songs like the brazen “Circle. Square. Triangle.” were pure dance-floor candy. “I was listening to Dance Macabre at the time that came out,” Dev said. “We were listening to Ex Models a lot, and the first Rapture stuff. When we wrote it, we said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if this gets played and the club reopened? — The song is an ode to the club we played in, kind of like a joke.”

Did Dev outgrow his former band’s clubby sound? “We didn’t grow out of it, we weren’t into it as much,” Dev said. “You kind of change between 17 and 20. At the time, we all were making new bands every week out of complete enjoyment. We’d play a gig and break up. We did it repeatedly, constantly.”

Dev said that after the Lightspeed Champion sessions end — probably in the next few weeks — he’s going to disappear. “Mike will mix the record. I guess it’ll come out in the fall — it’s not up to me. After this is done I’m just going to lock myself away for awhile. I’m going to stay inside and chill until it’s time to tour.”

Before heading to Chili’s to pick up a “to go” order, the four of us strolled through the half-dark, dying mall to Ala-Ka-Zam, a store that features giant, 60-pound Final Fantasy “Buster Swords” (a best-seller, according to the store’s proprietor who was happy just to have someone to talk to), along with a collection of bizarre decorative weaponry inspired by comic books and role-playing games — the kind of stuff you see sold on cable shopping channels at 3 a.m. by guys who sound like trailer-park hillbillies.

Of course Dev and Tom had never seen anything like Ala-Ka-Zam, and took the opportunity to snap pictures holding the gigantic cheaply made metal swords. In a few weeks, they’ll be back in London, thousands of miles away from Omaha and Target and our dying mall. Ah, but they’ll always have the memories. — Lazy-i Jan. 24, 2007

BTW, the name of the Mogis-produced album Lightspeed Champion released a year later on Domino Records was Falling off the Lavender Bridge. It reached the No. 45 spot on the UK album charts. Pitchfork gave it a 6.3 rating and it pretty much has been forgotten in the annuls of time…

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

New Conor Oberst album, gig March 9 at TWR; new Whipkey ACLU track; Pile goes boating…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:46 pm January 18, 2017

Conor Oberst (sunglasses on head) with The Felice Brothers and Jim Keltner during the recording of “Salutations” at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, CA. Photo by Julia Brokaw.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Just when I said nothing was happening, along comes Conor Oberst this morning announcing that he’s releasing yet another album — a full-band studio version of the songs on last year’s Ruminations, plus seven new songs — that’s 17 songs and what I assume will be a double album called Salutations, out March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!) on Nonesuch Records.

From the press release:

When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo – with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica – he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band – upstate New York’s The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) – the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, as his seventh solo album.

Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations – co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott and Jonathan Wilson.

Oberst, with The Felice Brothers as his backing band, will tour in celebration of Salutations beginning March 9 at The Waiting Room.

Tickets for the tour’s March dates go on sale Saturday, Jan. 21, at noon EST.

* * *

Matt Whipkey has a new song out called “Fred, You’re Dead,” that was inspired by Friday’s presidential inauguration. “America is entering a period of uncertainty; our leaders, at times, appearing at great odds with the founding principles of our Constitution,” Whipkey said. “This song was born from that uncertainty.” Proceeds from the song’s purchase will be donated to the ACLU.

* * *

And one piece of nautical show news… Boston band Pile is headed on the road in support of upcoming full-length A Hairshirt of Purpose (Exploding in Sound Records), out March 31. Among the tour’s announced dates is a performance on The River City Star May 7. Having gone on the river boat for last year’s Shannon and the Clams show, I can tell you this one should be a blast. Presumably more info soon…

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Kevin Devine covers Conor Oberst; United’s having a sale, and how do bands make money off 7-inch vinyl?

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm January 17, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Quiet times these days, but it’s that time of the year where few touring indie bands are coming through and there’s just not much going on.

Looking through the clips, I found this clip of singer/songwriter Kevin Devine covering Conor Oberst’s “Mamah Borthwick” from Oberst’s last solo album, Ruminations. It’s part of a video project that Devine talks about here.

Also, for those of you looking to press some vinyl, a pitch letter arrived in my in-box from United Record Pressing for 7-inches: 300 with white sleeves for $849; 300 w/ one-sided foldover and polybag for $1,149; and 500 w/one-sided foldover and polybag for $1,349. I include this information only because I didn’t realize how expensive it was to press vinyl.

So let’s say you press 300 of the polybag version and then sell them for, what, $5 each? That’s a gross of $1,500, minus your $1,149 and then minus recording costs, etc., equals you’re in the hole. How do bands make money off vinyl?

Anyway, the sale runs through Feb. 15. A bigger question is whether United can guarantee you receive your vinyl by Record Store Day…

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

What’s 15 Passenger (and what’s it mean for Saddle Creek)? New Kasher music; Dave Dondero, The Morbs, Red Cities tonight; Worried Mothers Saturday; Cold Cave CANCELLED…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm January 13, 2017

Tim Kasher presumably celebrating both a new album and a new label, 15 Passenger Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The internet exploded yesterday afternoon with news that Cursive has launched its own record label called 15 Passenger Records, which I assume is a romantic nod to the Ford Transit Wagon passenger van. Actually, that only hauls 12 passengers. The only 15-passenger vehicle I know if is a short bus.

Anyway, according to the website, 15 Passenger is “the new INgrooves-distributed label founded and run by the members of Cursive: Tim Kasher, bassist Matt Maginn, and guitarist/vocalist Ted Stevens. In addition to ‘No Resolution’ this winter, the label plans to reissue Cursive’s entire catalog beginning with their 1997 debut LP ‘Such Blinding Stars For Starving Eyes’ and their 1998 LP ‘The Storms of Early Summer: Semantics of Song’ in fall of 2017.

Let’s start with INgrooves. It’s a multinational conglomerate that offers “a full suite of distribution, marketing and technology services to help independent labels and content owners manage their music with delivery to more than 600 destinations in over 200 territories worldwide.” It’s also “artist and label services” and “rights management.” INgrooves releases include the latest from Jimmy Buffett, Joe Bonamassa, Home Sandoval, Esme Patterson, Violet Sands, and more.

No Resolution is the name of Tim Kasher’s third solo album, slated for release March 3 on 15 Passenger, which you can pre-order right now from the 15 Passenger Bandcamp store in splatter blue vinyl and CD format. The first track off the album, “An Answer for Everything,” is below:

With this news, a few questions come to mind: Will 15 Passenger also be releasing The Good Life’s back catalog as well as recordings from past Ted Stevens’ projects? How about new music from other bands, just like a regular label? Do Saddle Creek Records bands control the rights to their back catalog for these kinds of releases or did Cursive purchase those rights from Saddle Creek? And what happens to those Cursive back catalog listings on the Saddle Creek Records website?

And the biggest question of all: What does this mean for Saddle Creek Records in general? One assumes a label like Saddle Creek floats its boat on revenue generated from back catalogue sales. Cursive has to be one of the label’s biggest sellers. Given Saddle Creek’s history of one-record deals, does this mean the next Cursive record will be coming out on 15 Passenger? Stay tuned…

* * *

It’s another relatively big weekend of mainly local shows.

One of the bigger offerings is happening tonight at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. Sunbrain frontman Dave Dondero headlines a show that includes Simon Joyner and David Nance. $7, 8 p.m. I suggest buying a growler of beer over at Scriptown and bring it over, then drink it hillbilly-style. Brad won’t mind.

Just a stone’s throw away, The Brothers Lounge is hosting Lincoln band The Morbs tonight. Opening is new Omaha riot grrrl act Boner Killerz (the winner of the “best new band name” award) and Those Far Out Arrows. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, Lincoln garage rock band Red Cities headlines tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Also on the bill are The Broke Loose and Half Wit. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), Worried Mothers returns to O’Leaver’s with Total Voltage and Chalant. $5, 9:30 p.m.

CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHERAnd then Sunday night, LA dark wave band Cold Cave plays at The Waiting Room with Drab Majesty and Lincoln leather geek dance sensation Plack Blague. $12 Adv/$15 DOS. Starts at 9.

That’s all I got. If I forgot your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend, and don’t get caught in the ice.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Vinyl drove Homer’s sales increases in 2016; Closeness new EP on Graveface 2/24…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:40 pm January 12, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt sent out his annual sales letter to the media a few days ago, and it’s good news: Homer’s business was up 4.5 percent in 2016.

“Vinyl drove the increase, though lifestyle helped,” Fratt said, referencing so-called lifestyle products — i.e., non-recorded products (i.e., trinkets).

Vinyl sales boomed by a robust 18 percent, and new vinyl sales overtook new CD sales in gross dollars. That’s because vinyl costs about $25 per unit, while CDs cost on average around $11.  In fact, CD sales slumped 2 percent last year at Homer’s partially due to retail price declines, Fratt said. Overall CD unit sales were basically flat, off by only 110 units.

“But unit sales in new CDs were were well over two times that of new vinyl,” Fratt said.

Despite that impressive 4.5 percent year-over-year business increase, Fratt says Homer’s has no plans for expansion in 2017. “Running one great store matters more than a handful of average stores,” he said.

Fratt also had some thoughts on my “vision of 2017” that said vinyl sales will plateau in 2017 nationally. He said that peak won’t be reached until 2019 or 2020.

“While the increase (in vinyl sales) is not as great as the last couple years, it’s still significant,” Fratt said. “Add the fact that boomers are now digging out their turntables and playing records again. It’s really quite stunning how wide the demographic is buying vinyl now. So lots of gas still in the tank on vinyl.”

And, Fratt added, Homer’s sold 150 8-track tapes in 2016. Somehow I can’t see that medium making a return.

Top vinyl sellers for Homer’s in 2016: Twenty One Pilots: Vessel and Blurryface; David Bowie, Blackstar; Adele, 25; Radiohead, Moon Shaped Pool; and Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago.

Top CD sellers for Homer’s: Twenty One Pilots, Blurryface; Rolling Stones, Blue & Lonesome; Melanie Martinez, Cry Baby; Chris Stapleton, Traveller; Kevin Gates, Islah; and David Bowie, Blackstar.

* * *

Todd and Orenda Fink as seen in negativeland…

Closeness, the dreamy electronic duo of Orenda and Todd Fink, will release their debut EP, Personality Therapy, Feb. 24 on Graveface Records. The Savannah label counts Xiu, Xiu, Whirr, Dosh, The Appleseed Cast and Black Moth Super Rainbow among its roster.

Check out the first single below. BTW, the Finks will be performing at SXSW this year….

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Saddle Creek Records sells Ink Tank Merch; and the winner is…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:49 pm January 10, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It was nearly 10 years ago when I reported here in Lazy-i that Ink Tank Merch was open for business. The new  Saddle Creek Records subsidiary, operated by Chris Esterbrooks, screen printed T-shirts and other items for touring bands, including Saddle Creek acts. Esterbrooks came to Ink Tank after working at Impact Merchandising for four years handling their clients’ tour merch. At the time, Esterbrooks also was frontman for punk band Virgasound and was the former guitarist of the legendary Carsinogents.

From that 2007 Lazy-i article:

“Saddle Creek felt they could offer their bands a cheaper product, so why not get into the market?” Esterbrooks said from Ink Tank’s world headquarters, located in the industrial ghetto around 88th and H St. Ink Tank is little more than screen-print presses, a dryer that looks like a giant Quizno’s sandwich oven, and lots of storage. Add some computer equipment and a website (inktankmerch.com) and you’ve got yourself a start-up.

Now it looks like Esterbrooks has moved on, as Ink Tank has been purchased by Kansas City company Seen Merchandising. The following press release, which announces the change, came to my attention last week, but it was only this weekend that I was able to confirm it:

We are excited to announce that Seen Merchandising has purchased Ink Tank Merch. My name is RL Brooks and I am an owner of Seen Merchandising and now Ink Tank Merch.

Seen Merchandising is a full service screen printing shop and e-commerce distribution center located in Kansas City. We have been in business since 2009 and have over 30 years of combined experience among our leadership team. At our Kansas City location, we have a daily capacity of 20k shirts with a staff of 15 team members to support high quality, fast turn arounds with today’s most progressive inks. Working with acts such as August Burns Red, Hum, Shiner, Eric Andre, Electric Lady Studios, We are Scientists, Marian Hill, Dexter and many other amazing artists and businesses. We specialize in tour merchandising, retail-ready clothing lines and online store fulfillment

I have been a fan of Ink Tank Merch for sometime now and have become good friends with Pat Oakes, the current production manager at Ink Tank Merch. Over the years, I have felt adopted by the people and culture of Omaha and consider myself a Nebraska native son, as I was born in Lincoln, Nebraska. Pat and I have enjoyed several rock and roll excursions together as well as our shared love for all things screen printing. This purchase is an exciting opportunity for me and my company as we partner with Pat to bring Ink Tank Merch to even greater heights. This partnership will allow Ink Tank to grow its capacity, improve production, offer new products and services as well as provide a better overall experience. Ink Tank Merch will continue to operate under the same name in Omaha.

Pat Oakes, the production manager of Ink Tank for the past eight years, has become an owner in the business and will continue to run production at Ink Tank as well as take on operations management. Pat is committed to working with the team at Seen Merch to grow and improve Ink Tank Merch to be able to provide exceptional products and outstanding customer service…. Pat will become your primary contact at Ink Tank Merch with the full support of Seen Merch’s ownership and production staff.

LeAnn Jensen, the current art department manager, will stay with the company and continue to provide the exceptional attention to detail in preparing jobs for for production and lead the outstanding design work you have come to expect from Ink Tank.

Chris Esterbrooks is no longer with Ink Tank Merch and no longer represents Ink Tank Merch in any way.

You may have heard rumors that Ink Tank is closing. We want to assure you that this rumor is entirely false. We have the endorsement of former Ink Tank Merch owner Robb Nansel and Saddle Creek Records to continue and grow Ink Tank Merch. We will be staying open in Omaha with a strong commitment to improving and expanding the services Ink Tank offers you. All online stores will remain up and running without any interruption.

I’m told Esterbrooks is gainfully employed by another local merch/promotions company. I’m also told that Saddle Creek bands will continue to have the option to use Ink Tank, or any other merch company they wish to use, just like they’ve always had.

Why Saddle Creek sold Ink Tank remains a mystery. Believe me, I asked. Considering how merch has become more important than ever to bands as a source of income in a time when bands can’t depend (as much as they used to) on revenue from record sales, you’d think a merch company would be a valuable asset, especially to a record label. On the other hand, Saddle Creek may have seen Ink Tank’s sale as a convenient (and profitable) way of getting out of a costly operating expense they no longer needed to carry to satisfy the bands/musicians on their roster…

* * *

And the winner of this year’s drawing for a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2016 comp CD is… Joe Liebentritt! Congrats Joe. Your CD will be dropped in the mail tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who entered.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Back from CES; Visions of 2017 (and how those 2016 visions came out); last day to enter drawing…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm January 9, 2017

visions-of-2017
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well I’m back from CES in Vegas. What can I say, it was like going to a gigantic Best Buy where you couldn’t actually buy anything — actually it was more like a million-square-foot-sized Best Buy filled with thousands of people wearing laminates. I saw lots of TV sets, drones, fitness trackers, toy-like robots and geeks wearing Virtual Reality headsets.

Richard Blade at CES 2017.

Richard Blade at CES 2017.

One of my favorite moments: Getting to meet SiriusXM DJ Richard Blade, one of the voices on SiriusXM’s “1st Wave” channel. Richard, who I listen to daily, was the first thing I heard as I walked onto the CES show floor Thursday. He couldn’t have been any nicer.

My other brush with fame was a walk-by from Shaquille O’Neal as I waited in line for a convention shuttle. Transportation was a problem at CES, among other things. How CES got to be as huge as it is considering how poorly the event is managed is beyond me. It makes SXSW seem like a well-oiled machine in comparison.

If I had to make a prediction based on my week at CES, I’d say we’re five years or more from ever seeing VR being more than a curious novelty, though the music industry is going to try to leverage the tech (see below). Self-driving cars? Not anytime soon, but who really wants them?

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Speaking of predictions, yesterday my annual Visions of 2017 music predictions story went online at TheReader.com. It’s also in the January printed edition. I look back at my 2016 predictions and try to wow you with my visions of the coming year. It’s one of my more popular annual articles. Check it out and see who we’ll all be talking about this time next year.

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Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

It’s the last day to enter to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD.

It’s a collection of my favorite indie tunes that I came across last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: Car Seat Headrest, Sam Evian, Whitney, Big Thief, Father John Misty, A Tribe Called Quest, Conor Oberst, Navy Gangs, Jeff Runnings and lots more. The full track listing is here, or take a listen if you have Spotify.

Entering to win a CD copy is super simple: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. You also can enter by sending me a direct message in Facebook or Twitter. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Faint, Plack Blague; 2016: The Year in Music (fave releases/fave live shows); spotty reception this week…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:07 pm January 2, 2017
The Faint at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016.

The Faint at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I think we’re going to start a new tradition for New Years — instead of celebrating on New Year’s Eve, when the drunks are out, with all the traffic and the unholy fireworks, we’re going to celebrate the new year the night (or the weekend) before NYE. I figure I’m going to be home on NYE at midnight anyway to shield the dogs from the war noises booming overhead, I might as well celebrate the new year before the fact. Kind of like we did this year. Now if only we could get The Faint to play a pre-NYE show every year.

The Slowdown was packed Friday night, but not too packed. In the old days, The Faint would have easily sold out two nights in a venue the size of The Slowdown. Now the best the band can do is comfortably fill a large venue two nights in a row. Let’s face it, the band’s heyday was 15 or so years ago with the breakthrough of Danse Macabre, and even back then, I remember seeing The Faint perform that album at Sokol Underground — a show that stands out as my all-time favorite Faint performance. It’s followed closely by an unannounced pre-grand-opening performance at The Waiting Room in 2007 — probably the loudest Faint show I can remember.

That same year, in June 2007, The Faint had sold out a two-night residency at Sokol Auditorium. All of those Sokol Aud shows from that decade (and the years that followed) were complete madness — hot sweaty bouncing dancing messes of humanity; absolute spectacles.

Last Friday night’s show didn’t quite reach the level of those Sokol shows, but it was a good time nonetheless. If there was a drag on the performance it came from the audience, because the band was clearly on point playing a set of greatest hits in support of their CAPSULE: 1999-2016 album that just came out on Saddle Creek. It’s easy to forget how many great songs these guys have recorded. It’s a good time to mention that the new material — three new songs released as part of the CAPSULE album — stand tall among their finest efforts, seamlessly blending into the set.

A haunting Clark Baechle behind The Faint’s drum kit….

A ghostly Clark Baechle behind The Faint’s drum kit….

The Faint’s light show has been an evolution over the years. I remember the days where they controlled colored floodlights with floor pedals, to haunting effect. These days the light show is a flashing, strobing choreographed wonder in perfect sync with every bone-rattling beat. I have no idea how it could get any better.

Maybe it was thos awe-inspiring lights or the enormity of the music but the audience on the floor seemed a bit dumbfounded. It took half a set to get their butts moving and not until the end until they got their arms in the air and bodies began to be carried over the crowd — a far cry from those old Sokol Aud days.

The band kicked off the four-song encore with a rehearsal of sorts for a surprise they intended to roll out the next evening, NYE — a cover of Prince’s “1999” — a sloppy, rowdy, slam-bam version wherein the band got lost somewhere after the second verse, which the crowd either didn’t notice or didn’t care. The whole place blew up for the last song of the encore — a celebratory version of “Glass Danse” that left them covered in sweat. There is no such thing as a bad Faint show.

Plack Blague at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016.

Plack Blague at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016.

I missed Closeness, but got to see about half of Plack Blague’s set. It’s been too long since I’ve experienced Raws on stage. The last time was at O’Leaver’s a few years ago for a set of ear-bleeding distorted noise and screaming. Last Friday night’s set was a different story — a raw, leather-clad set of electro-noise-fueled disco fronted by a bondage geek with slippery, greasy dance moves. For any other crowd, Plack Blague would be controversial if not shocking, but Faint fans have been following Raws’ path for years and expect nothing less than the most salacious performance. What a way to kick off a new year…

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2016yearinmusic
It wouldn’t be a new year without looking back on the old year, and as such my 2016: The Year in Music story finally went online at The Reader‘s website.

The article includes a look back at a rather rough year, a year that will be remembered more for its deaths than its music. We lost a lot of heroes in 2016, and the wounds are still very much open for a lot of us.

The article also includes my list of favorite albums as well as my favorite live shows from 2016, along with a crapload of photos. Take a look.

Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

And while you’re remember 2016, you might as ell ahead and enter the drawing for a copy of Lazy-i Best of 2016 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: The Faint, Oh Pep!, Mitski, Quilt, Low, Big Thief, Father John Misty and lots more. The full track listing is here, or take a listen if you have Spotify.

Entering to win a CD copy is super simple: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. You also can enter by sending me a direct message in Facebook or Twitter. Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 9.

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Reception at Lazy-i central will be spotty this week as I’m off to Las Vegas for the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). I may or may not update the ol’ blog. I’m considering posting photos and info about cool music-related gadgets that I find on the show floor, or maybe I won’t. Best bet is to check back either way…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

High Up video debuts, new EP on Team Love; The Faint, Closeness, Ridgelines tonight; goodbye 2016 (and good riddance)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm December 30, 2016
A screen capture from the new video for High Up tune "Two Weeks."

A screen capture from the new video for High Up tune “Two Weeks.”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looks like the fine folks in High Up have been plenty busy. Today Elle magazine debuted the new video for the song “Two Weeks,” deeming it one of the “10 Best New Songs to Listen to in January.” I guess someone forgot to tell the editors that the song came out two years ago. But the video, directed by Harrison Martin, is brand new and features a lot of local heroes. See how many you recognize.

The other bit of news from this video release is that High Up is now working with Team Love Records, who is releasing the band’s EP Jan. 20. What other High Up music will Team Love be releasing?  This could be the beginning of something big…

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You’ve made it to the NYE weekend.

The big show tonight is at The Slowdown where The Faint takes the stage. As of this writing, tickets were still available from The Slowdown website. Who knows how long they’ll last. Opening is Closeness (featuring Todd and Orenda Fink) and Lincoln noise-beast Plack Blague. This is a 9 p.m. show. If you intend to see Closeness, you better get in line early (doors open at 8). My past experience at Slowdown is that they start the shows at the stroke of 9 p.m. regardless of the monstrous line of people waiting to get in. Tix are $25.

The Faint play Slowdown again tomorrow night for Happy Goo Year X, which I assume will feature Goo DJ sets in addition to a Faint performance. Tix to that one are $40 today, $50 tomorrow.

Back to what’s happening tonight…

Ridgelines is hosting a show tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s that will also feature The Sunks and hip-hop act Both. Ridgelines, which is an electronic/ambient project by Mike Johnson, will be celebrating the release of their new album The Scarlet Ibis: a soundtrack by ridgelines tonight as well. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Milk Run has Club Nothing (Anna Sun), Twin Reflex and Inflatable Egg. $3, 9 p.m.

Which brings us to New Year’s Eve… NYE is a night dedicated to DJs and cover bands — not a night to see original music (let alone indie music). I shall spend mine at Alamo Draft House and will be home in time to protect my poor hounds from the annual firework onslaught, which has become worse than the 4th of July.

On many fronts, 2016 has been a pretty lousy year, but with the New Year brings new hope for a better tomorrow *puke*. Here’s hoping yours is better than ever.

Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

Lazy-i Best of 2016 Comp CD

But before we leave 2016 behind, why not remember it one last time with the Lazy-i Best of 2016 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: Conor Oberst, Maria Taylor, Jeffrey Lewis, Navy Gangs, Jeff Runnings, Pet Shop Boys and lots more. The full track listing is here, or take a listen if you have Spotify.

Entering to win a CD copy is super simple: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. You also can enter by sending me a direct message in Facebook or Twitter. Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 9.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i