The Hotelier, See Through Dresses tonight; Sucettes, Lupines, Arbor Labor Union Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm May 27, 2016
Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014. The band has a record release show Saturday night at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s another holiday weekend. Shows, shows, shows, but nothing on Sunday night. Come on, bookers! Don’t you know we all have Monday off? The one time you could have booked a great show on a Sunday night and you drop the ball… again.

Enough of that. Here’s what’s happening.

Tonight’s marquee show is at Milk Run and features indie act The Hotelier. I’m listening to their just-released album Goodness (Tiny Engines, 2016) as I type this. Pitchfork just gave it an 8.0. Retro-’90s emo never sounded so good. In an effort to outdo itself, Milk Run has made this a five-band bill that starts at 8 p.m. with a set by No Getter. Filling out the bill are Loone (which Milk Run describes as “currently an all trans and genderqueer four-piece,” New York “bedroom punk” artist Told Slant and Omaha’s own (and Hotelier label-mates) See Through Dresses. $12.

That’s it for Friday. There’s more variety on Saturday night.

At Reverb Lounge Saturday night Omaha super-group Sucettes celebrate the release of their new record. Joining them are DWNR and Those Far Out Arrows. $6, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Lupines will be playing new material from their forthcoming LP, which they just wrapped up at ARC Studio. Opening are Sean Pratt & The Sweats. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Milk Run just keeps booking the best touring indie shows. This time it’s Sub Pop artist Arbor Labor Union, who just released I Hear You, an album that I would describe as classic late ’90s Sub Pop fodder. They may be from Georgia but they sound like they’re from Seattle. We’re talking a big-sounding band playing in a tiny little room. Opening is brand new band Was, featuring Aaron Parker of Gordon fame, Jeremy Stanosheck of Relax, It’s Science fame and Ali-Jo Meyerhoff of Was fame.  Also on the bill are Justin Ready & the Echo Prairie and She/Her. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Actually, there is one show happening Sunday. The Cuterthans are playing at Lookout Lounge with Koo Koo Kanga Roo. The $10 Adv./$12 DOS show starts early at 5:30 p.m.

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Lazy-i

TBT May 25, 2006 — What you hear too loud CAN hurt you…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:51 pm May 26, 2016
Good ol' ear plugs...

Good ol’ ear plugs…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

For Throwback Thursday, a bit of a public service announcement —  a column I wrote 10 years ago about hearing protection at concerts and what was at the time considered an epidemic of people playing their iPods too loud, damaging their hearing.

I’m happy to say that my hearing remains intact after 10 more years of attending rock concerts, thanks to constant use of ear plugs at shows. These days people not wearing hearing protection is the exception rather than the rule, which is a good thing.

Lazy-i – May 25, 2006 – OK, consider this week’s column a public service announcement. I listen to a lot of music, both in live settings and with a variety of headphones. Within the last few months there has been a ton of press about the dangers of iPods to your hearing. In some articles, that fear bleached over to concern about wearing headphones in general. So I packed up my iPod along with my iPod earbuds, my Etymotic ER*6 earphones and my Ultrasone HFI-700 headphones and dropped in on earguy extraordinaire Dr. Britt Thedinger, who’s name I got from commercials heard every morning on NPR affiliate KIOS 91.5 FM.

We spent about five minutes talking about iPods and headphones and spent the rest of our two hours together talking about rock shows and earplugs. An area of focus that didn’t make it into the column was concerns faced specifically by musicians who are bombarded by loud music every night. He said being behind the stack protects them somewhat — it’s louder in front of the speakers. But that ultimately there are risks for rock stars. Just look at Pete Townshend, who has become a spokesperson for hearing loss.

“The point is, musicians are realizing that they’re at risk,” Thedinger said, “Old rock stars saying, ‘You young people, this will happen to you.'” Thedinger recommends making an appointment and getting fitted for “musicians earplugs” which cost around $150 but are effective in blocking out only dangerous frequencies and not all frequencies — like my trusty yellow earplugs do. It’s a small price to pay to be able to rock when your 65.

Column 78: Don’t be a Tough Guy

There are a few things that can make you feel like “an old guy” at a rock show. I won’t get into the gloomy specifics involving people looking young enough to be your children or bartenders not even looking for the fluorescent wrist-band — everyone knows you’re old enough to drink, pops.

Earplugs are another one. I’ve been wearing them to rock shows starting back in ’93 when I road-tripped with Lincoln band Mercy Rule to a show at Harry Mary’s in Des Moines. Before their set, bassist/frontwoman Heidi Ore strolled through the crowd of angry punks with a prescription vial in hand.

She wasn’t passing out drugs, she was handing out earplugs. She ambled up to one big guy with his arms crossed and made an offering. He just nodded his head. He didn’t need them. The pixie-ish, bespeckled, five-foot-nothing dynamo responded flatly, “Don’t be a tough guy, just take them.” He did. So did I. And she was right, we needed them. Few bands play as loudly as Mercy Rule did, thanks to Jon Taylor’s roaring guitar.

That was the first time I wore earplugs at a show. I’ve been wearing them ever since — little yellow pieces of foam tied together by a handy blue cord, the kind railroad workers wear in the field and in the shops. I’ve had a case of them in my cupboard all these years and always keep extra pairs in my car in case I forget to take them with me. Dr. Britt Thedinger, an otologist at Ear Specialists of Omaha, says the practice may well have saved my hearing.

I know, I know, you’ve read a gazillion stories about the dangers of loud rock music. I don’t blame you if you stop reading. And to be honest, I didn’t seek out Thedinger to do a story on earplugs. It was my iPod that motivated me, along with the dozens or recent stories about how prolonged listening to iPods could cause hearing damage. Could I have wasted all those years wearing earplugs only to be butchering my hearing with my iPod while cycling the Keystone Trail?

I dropped by Thedinger’s midtown clinic last Saturday morning. What I heard surprised me. I expected gloom and doom. In fact, things aren’t that bad.

Turns out the iPod scare is mostly hype. “I don’t think there’s a huge iPod crisis of people losing their hearing right and left,” he said. Still, too much of anything can’t be a good thing. Thedinger said a sign that you’re listening to your iPod too loudly is if the person next to you can clearly make out what you’re listening to. That’s pretty freaking loud. But what about my trusty Etymotic in-ear isolator earphones? “If they’re turned up so loud that they hurt your ears, you’re damaging your hearing,” he said.

Pretty simple advice. Okay, so while I’m here, what about those standard yellow, foam earplugs that cost about 50 cents at the Quik Pik? Are they doing the trick? Thedinger said they block about 29 dBs, more than adequate to protect me at a typical rock show, which he says can get as loud as 115 dBs. Wadded up toilet paper, by the way, blocks only 3 to 5 dBs — in other words, it doesn’t work.

But even if I didn’t wear earplugs at every show, Thedinger said I’d probably be okay. Hearing damage occurs from prolonged high-decibel noise exposure. “At that level, it has to be continuous,” Thedinger said. “The quiet few minutes between songs is usually enough to recover.”

It also depends on the room’s acoustics and where you stand, like right in front of speakers that can blow out up to 125 dBs. Even a short exposure at that level can erode your ability to hear frequencies between 2,000 to 8,000 hz — the range where human speech makes lispy syllables, like “sh,” “th,” p’s, and f’s.

Which brings us to tinnitus — the ringing in your ears that everyone’s experienced after a night at The Qwest Center. Turns out that ringing is always there. We just don’t notice it until our hearing has been damaged — then it’s all we hear.

“When I was doing my residency in a Boston emergency room, we’d have patients come in after a concert at The Garden saying, ‘My ears are ringing and it’s driving me nuts.’ The membranes had swollen in their ears resulting in decreased hearing capability, so they could hear the tinnitus. After a few days the swelling went down, their hearing improved and the tinnitus went away.”

Unless, of course, they sheered off the nerves, permanently damaging their hearing.

You might recover just fine after a few loud concerts without earplugs, but night after night of unprotected hearing will sneak up on you. “It’s an insidious process,” Thedinger said. “People don’t realize the damage they’ve done until it’s too late. And once you’ve lost it, it’s gone.”

It still amazes me every time I look around at rock shows and notice that I’m the only one wearing earplugs. The excuse that they “ruin the experience” is lame. They allow me to actually focus more on the bands and worry less about damage — even if they may make me look like an old wuss in the eyes of guys too tough to wear them.

“You can be as tough as you want,” the good doctor said, “but it’s a real pain in the ass being hearing impaired.” — Lazy-i, May 25, 2006

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A quick thank you to those who donated yesterday to Hear Nebraska during Omaha Gives!

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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

Omaha Gives (to Hear Nebraska); Live @ O’Leaver’s data disaster explained; Peach Kelli Pop tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:50 pm May 25, 2016
Peach Kelli Pop plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

Peach Kelli Pop plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Omaha readers already know that it would be a good idea to stay away from social media today, as all channels are being flooded with Omaha Gives solicitations.

Every year for one day every non profit in Omaha comes to Facebook and Twitter with hand in hat begging for cash to get them through the year. Fact is Omaha Gives is an effective way for them to raise money. Look, would you rather have someone asking for donations just once a year or all year long?

My advice: Jot down your list of favorite charities, bite the bullet and make your donations. Then step away from the chatter for the rest of the day. Kind of like turning off NPR during their semi-annual fund drives (after you’ve made your pledge, of course).

That said, if you’re a music fan and you’re looking for a good 501(c)(3) organization to give to, you’d be hard pressed to find a better organization than Hear Nebraska. I say this not only because I’m a founding board member of HN, but because no other non-profit does more for local music than Hear Nebraska.

HN’s sole purpose is to promote Nebraska bands and music. That’s it. If you’re in a band, consider HN your personal PR agency. It’s there to help you get people to come to your shows and buy your music. It does this through hearnebraska.org — a website that covers local bands and musicians with in-depth feature articles, interviews, videos and photos taken at performances (lots of them). The site also has the most comprehensive gig calendar for Omaha and Lincoln you can find anywhere online. HN also organizes a shit-load of programming featuring Nebraska bands all year long throughout the state.

Has Hear Nebraska ever:

— written about your band?
— covered one of your shows?
— posted photos from one of your gigs?
— promoted your upcoming concert on its calendar?
— booked your band to play one of its many programming events?

Or have you ever gone to an event sponsored by, organized by — or that you heard about from — Hear Nebraska?

Then, come on, take a second and click this link and donate to Hear Nebraska during Omaha Gives. Minimum donation is $10 — less than the price of a single movie ticket. That donation will help HN continue to promote Nebraska bands and musicians.

Do it.

* * *

Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 12.49.13 PM
This morning Live @ O’Leavers announced via Facebook the reason why they haven’t released any new live recordings lately. The reason:

“...during an electrical storm, we happened to lose both our main and backup drives which we thought were safe as they were stored at separate locations. This means nearly everything from July to February has been lost.”

Well, not lost entirely. The data still may exists, but it’ll cost just north of $900 for a data recovery outfit to try to get the sessions back.

Among those lost sessions are live recordings of performances from Cursive, Beach Slang, Lithuania, Mike Schlesinger, Bib, Bus Gas, So So Sailors, All Dogs, Whispertown, The Subtropics, Wet Nurse, The Ridgeways, Super Moon, The Vahnevants, Brilliant Beast, Bellum Boca, Sucettes, Lithuania, Ex-Breathers, Boytoy, Eagle Seagull, Megafauna, Lineman’s Rodeo, Sean Pratt and The Sweats, Sharkmuffin, The Olympics, Tara Vaughan, MXMW, Ecstatic Vision, Pleiades and the Bear, The Sunks, Hag, Ocean Black and a ton more. As many as 85 sessions.

That’s a massive chunk of live recordings. O’Leaver’s doesn’t charge listeners for the service, so there ain’t no money to pay for the data recovery. What money they do have to invest in the Live @ O’Leaver’s project has gone toward making sure this kind of massive data crash never happens again.

“We have a better redundancy system in place now; multiple backups of each session spread across five drives placed in multiple locations and a cloud backup of the entire shebang. All told, we have over 11 terabytes of data since the February restart,” said Ian Aeillo, who does all the work surrounding Live @ O’Leaver’s.

Ian says new sessions could begin going online next week, hopefully. To whet your appetite, Ian posted the following recording from local super group Healer, recorded last October before the troubles, appropriately titled “Rainy Day Song.”

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s Peach Kelli Pop. Read my 10 Questions interview with frontwoman Allie Hanlon from yesterday. Should be a high-energy show. Opening is The Way Out. $8, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Peach Kelli Pop; The Good Life, Speedy Ortiz tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:55 pm May 24, 2016
Speedy Ortiz at O'Leaver's, 8/15/15. The band plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Speedy Ortiz at O’Leaver’s, 8/15/15. The band plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Peach Kelli Pop is Canadian Allie Hanlon and four other women playing jangling, abrasive, driving straight-four beach-flavored punk rock that sounds like go-carts and too much coffee. On the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it LP, Peach Kelli Pop III (2015, Burger Records), Hanlon and her band race through 10 songs in just over 20 minutes — simple math tells you that averages about two minutes per song, just long enough for punk rock. Popular themes are video games, Chinese food and conspiracy theorists as well as the usual songs of love.

We caught up with Hanlon and asked her to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Allie Hanlon: Red Cross’ s/t EP, released 1980

2. What is your least favorite song?

“(You’re) Having my Baby” by Paul Anka

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

Free stuff! Just kidding, I like going on adventures, traveling and playing music with 4 really cool girls.

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

Having your work and time constantly devalued. Also rude sound people

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

Ice-cream & fancy cheese

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

Tokyo, Japan will always be #1.

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

Our shows in Nashville have sucked the last few years, so we stopped playing there. On tour in Europe last fall, we played a show in France where we were playing on the floor, with some drunk, confrontational people inches from my face during our entire set. They spilled beer all over my pedals. I don’t condone violence, but I was ready throw down.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Usually via credit card over the phone.

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

Canine massage therapist or a psychic. I think I’d be a great aerobics instructor as well. I would hate being a meter maid or having any profession involving sales.

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

Growing up in Ottawa, Canada, I didn’t know anything about Omaha, NE. I learned about Saddle Creek Records and its bands, which were really influential when I was a little teen, and became more familiar. The rich music history makes Omaha stand out. I also heard that 311 is from Omaha which is pretty cool.

Peach Kelli Pop plays with The Way Out Wednesday, May 25, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

One of the biggest shows of the month is happening tonight at The Waiting Room where The Good Life kicks off its latest tour in support of their 2015 Saddle Creek release, Everybody’s Coming Down. That alone is worth the price of admission, but then you add indie superstars Speedy Ortiz and you’ve got yourself a monster of a show. But wait, there’s more. Local indie rockers Oquoa are opening the show. All this entertainment for a mere $15. The show starts at 9 p.m.

* * *

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: Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club; So So Glos tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm May 23, 2016
Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

Dolores Diaz & The Standby Club at The Waiting Room, May 21, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You wouldn’t have thought Saturday night’s show at The Waiting Room was only the second live gig for Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club. But then again, we’re talking about a band filled with music veterans doing what they do best.

The band, which includes Conor Oberst and his wife, Corina Figueroa, surrounded by some of the best musicians in town (read about the band’s origins here), fancies itself as a country & western act but really falls into the Americana / country rock category. I was reminded of Robbie Robertson and The Band throughout Saturday night’s set, how each member sang lead on a handful of C&W classics not so much in an effort to replicate the original’s sound, but to adapt its style to a modern construction.

That said, you could point to a handful of players that added a level of authenticity to the proceedings. First on the list was pedal steel player Mike Mogis, because let’s face it, pedal steel makes everything sound country, and as a world-class producer, Mogis knows his way around any genre. Dan McCarthy’s keyboards also brought a classic western feel to the arrangements, and then, surprisingly, Matt Maginn’s bass work included all the note bends heard on the honky-tonk circuit.

Maybe most authentic of all was Figueroa, who sang leads on about half the songs. Figueroa’s rough-edged voice is pure Tammy Wynette. What she lacks in range she makes up for in heart, throwing herself into every note, leaving little doubt that she loves this music. Joining Figueroa was a new face to the Standby Club — First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg, going by the stage name of Greta Soundmountain, whose spot-on pitch brought everything into focus.

The band split their performance into two sets with a brief intermission. The first set featured a lot of the same songs played this past January at O’Leaver’s (which you can hear online here). The highlight was a new song featuring Phil Schaffart, who was absent during their debut performance. Schaffart, a giant of a man with a high voice reminiscent of Neil Young’s, covered John Prine’s “Speed of the Sound of Loneliness.” Gorgeous stuff.

Another new song from the first set was “Stay a Little Longer” by Bob Willis and His Texas Playboys. If you’re wondering how I know this with zero background in country music, the secret involved tapping song lyrics into Google.

The band took five and then came back with a rocking version of Jerry Reed’s “Amos Moses” featuring Miwi La Lupa on lead vocals. Figueroa and Greta sang a duet of Skeeter Davis’ “The End of the World,” which was followed by Oberst belting out the Felice Brothers’ “Rockefeller Drug Law Blues.”

As he did in January, Oberst performed Randy Newman’s “Jolly Coppers on Parade.” He was in good voice, looking a bit isolated and laid back playing guitar at stage-right in crumpled jacket and jet-black fright-wig hairdo. He led the band on the night’s final song, a round robin version of the Dylan song he sang in January, but sharing verses with his cohorts.

Saturday night’s show was well attended. No idea of the final number, but it was crowded throughout the bar, and the event had a rock concert feel to it despite the C&W content. Was it “real country”? It was certainly more real than the mainstream “bro-country” that dots the charts these days, though the overall tone felt more like something Levon Helm would admire.

I have no doubt if the entire band had the capacity to tour, Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club could do well on the road, but Oberst said there were no plans for anything like that. This one’s just for fun, something to share with his friends and his fans before he hits the road again for a handful of solo dates this summer, topped by three days at the Austin City Limits Festival in October. After that, who knows.

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Brooklyn punk rockers So So Glos headline. Opening is Canadian band The Dirty Nil and our very own Montee Men. $5, 9:30 p.m. This one should be fun.

* * *

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

Twinsmith, Bloodcow, Tara Vaughan, Miwi La Lupa tonight; Dolores Diaz/Standby Club, Low Long Signal Saturday; Future Punx Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 20, 2016
Twinsmith rocks the crowd at Bar 512 in Austin March 12, 2014. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Twinsmith rocks the crowd at Bar 512 in Austin March 12, 2014. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another busy weekend of shows. So without further ado..

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. Twinsmith (Saddle Creek Records) returns. Will they be playing new material or just stuff off the last album, Alligator Years? You’ll have to wait and see. Also on the bill are Halfloves and Eklectica. $10, 9 p.m. And don’t bother getting there before 8:30 unless you have tickets to see Hannibal Buress, who performs in the big room prior to this show.

Also tonight, local singer/songwriter Tara Vaughan celebrates the release of her debut album Dandelion Wine, produced by former Joe Pisapia (ex-Guster) down in Nashville. Opening is Miwi La Lupa (Team Love Records) who (I’m told) might be joined by Orenda Fink. And I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a local celebrity in the audience. $10, 9 p.m.

No doubt fabulous O’Leaver’s also will be chock full o’ local celebrities tonight… or at least drunk degenerates, there to see Bloodcow once again try to raise the soul of L. Ron Hubbard with their diabolical form of metal (Give it up, guys; he’s with Xenu now). Joining them are Jump the Tiger and Towering Rogue. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Lastly tonight, Milk Run is hosting a CD release show for The Way Out, with Super Ghost, Mint Wad Willy and Joe Champion of Uh Oh. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow, before all the night-time stuff begins, swing on over to The Brothers Lounge at 4 p.m. for the Bar Stool Record Swap. Vendors on hand will include Almost Music, Homer’s Music & Gifts, Vinyl Therapy record shop, D-Tour Records and several more. The fun runs 4 to 7 p.m.

Saturday night’s big show is Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club at The Waiting Room, which you read about here yesterday. Opening is Carl Miller & The Thrillers. $10, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Low Long Signal headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Citizen’s Band (who will be recording their set for inclusion with an upcoming studio album) and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Speaking of record release shows, Lodgings is hosting a show for its 12-inch vinyl release Saturday night at Milk Run. Lodgings is Bryce Hotz, Eric Ernst, Dave Ozinga and Jim Schroeder “playing music somewhere between Weezer and Crazy Horse,” according to Milk Run. Also on the bill are Eric in Outspace, The Sun-less Trio and The Morbs. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday it’s back to Milk Run for Brooklyn band Future Punx (Dull Tools Records) with The Razors, The Shrinks and Plastic Garbage. $8, 9 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. No doubt I’ll also be spending a lot of time at Horseman’s Park this weekend for the spring track meet. Three words come to mind: Let it ride.

* * *

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

Conor Oberst talks Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club (Saturday at The Waiting Room)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:47 pm May 19, 2016
Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club, from left, are Ben Brodin, Miwi La Lupa, Dan McCarthy, Roger Lewis, Corina Figueroa, Mike Mogis, Matt Maginn and Conor Oberst. Not pictures is Phil Schaffart.

Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club, from left, are Ben Brodin, Miwi La Lupa, Dan McCarthy, Roger Lewis, Corina Figueroa, Mike Mogis, Matt Maginn and Conor Oberst. Not pictured is Phil Schaffart.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
What do you do for fun when musically you can do anything you want? You put together a country cover band.

That’s what Conor Oberst did with his wife, Corina Figueroa, and their two roommates, Roger Lewis and Miwi La Lupa.

The project began last November strictly as a lark. Among the belongings La Lupa brought with him when he moved to Omaha from Brooklyn was a copy of Them Old Country Songs, a 1972 “various artists” classic that includes songs by the likes of Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton.

“We love this record,” Oberst said last week over drinks at his Dundee bar, Pageturners Lounge, while fellow Standby Club member Dan McCarthy pounded out ragtime tunes on the bar’s upright piano. “I’ve not been a person to cover a lot of songs. It was nice to learn new ones. I’ve never played songs with this many key changes before.”

Oberst said Figueroa has a great voice and loves to sing, so it made sense to give the band a try. “She’s sang with me a few times before,” he said. “She was super excited at practice, but for that first show, she was extremely nervous. We all were.”

The rest of band is made up of people Oberst said are part of his extended household: Phil Schaffart, Oberst’s partner on the road and in running Pageturners; Mike Mogis and Ben Brodin, whose studio, ARC, is practically an extension of Oberst’s home, and Cursive’s Matt Maginn, who at one time also lived with Oberst.

“No one in the band is a country player in any way, shape or form,” Oberst said. “Even Mike (Mogis) doesn’t consider himself a country player. He doesn’t know all the Nashville things. The guy who’s most dialed in is Ben. He can play anything.”

The band’s first gig, at O’leaver’s Jan. 3 of this year, included covers of songs by the aforementioned country legends along with Charlie Pride, Sammi Smith, Bob Dylan and Randy Newman and more. The evening’s music was recorded and is online at liveatoleavers.com. Expect to hear a lot of those numbers when the band plays at The Waiting Room Saturday, May 21, along with a few new covers, possibly including “Honey Won’t You Open the Door” by Ricky Skaggs and “Good Girl Gone Bad” by Tammy Wynette.

Oberst said unlike playing in one of his other bands, this band has access to an unlimited musical catalog. “I never realized all the virtues of being in a cover band,” he said. “We’re never going to run out of good songs.”

It’s unlikely this band will ever enter a recording studio. “It sounds like a joke, but I feel like we’re a good band for parties and weddings and funerals and all that kind of stuff,” Oberst said. “It would seem weird to record covers, and I don’t know if we’d ever have originals, definitely not for this show.”

La Lupa, who sat next to Oberst during the interview, said the band may be “just for fun,” but that it takes the music seriously. “Someone wrote a review after our first show and said it sounds like we didn’t practice or something, and we were all kind of bummed,” La Lupa said. “We practice more for this band than any other band we play with. We’ll be practicing a lot over the next week.”

The band’s name, The Standby Club, grew out of a phrase used by a friend of Oberst’s who does film editing of live sporting events. “He always says ‘standby,’ and began using the phrase in everyday life,” Oberst said. “The Standby Club — I thought it would sound dope.”

As for Figueroa’s musical nom de plume, Oberst said she was afraid about going on stage. “I suggested putting on a persona, like a Superman cape,” he said. “Dolores Diaz is a Spanglish version of Doris Day and has an old Hollywood sound to it.”

“And it works out because the name ‘Dolores’ signifies heartbreak,” La Lupa said, adding that the name means “sorrow” in English, a fact that surprised Oberst, who quickly added, “We’re going to have some nice T-shirts made.”

Dolores Diaz & the Standby Club plays with Carl Miller & The Thrillers Saturday, May 21, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $10; showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Faint track, tour dates w/Gang of Four (Omaha Oct. 31); new boat concert; Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, Monsters of Folk) living room concert tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:40 pm May 17, 2016
Will Johnson plays a living room concert tonight in Omaha.

Will Johnson plays a living room concert tonight in Omaha.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Faint released a new synth-dance-rock track this morning called “Young and Realistic” via YouTube (listen below). In a Stereogum article, Faint frontman Todd Fink said, “This might be a love song. Maybe it’s a respect song. Those are intertwined concepts I suppose. Without respect, love is a weaker bond.

One assumes a new album can’t be far behind. Even more noteworthy was the announcement that The Faint will be touring with Gang of Four throughout October, closing out the tour at Sokol Auditorium Oct. 31. Start working on that costume now.

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In other Fink-related news, looks like the fine folks at Perpetual Nerves are riding the wave of success from Sunday’s concert on the River City Star, announcing yesterday that they’re doing it again July 16. The featured artist is High Up, with Benson Soul Society, so be prepared to dance.

Since July 16 is a Saturday, they pushed the boarding time back to 10:30, with the cruise lasting until 1:30 a.m. Whoa! Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. The last one sold out in a matter of hours, so be prepared with your credit card. More info here.

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Somewhere in mid-town Omaha tonight, singer/songwriter Will Johnson will be playing a concert in someone’s living room.

While the address is not on the website where you can buy your $20 tickets, it’s located on the event’s Facebook invitation. It’s somewhere north of Dundee.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Will way back in 2004, where I learned that as much (or more than) music, he loves baseball.  From that article:

Driving around alone also allows him to indulge in one of his more eccentric past-times — visiting baseball parks. While in Omaha, he hopes to check out Rosenblatt Stadium and, if necessary, sneak inside. “I have a list of stadiums I’ve visited,” Johnson said. “I love them. I love the architecture — just the choices that were made in designing and building a stadium. And I love baseball. It’s a flawless, beautiful game. The challenge is sneaking in and getting out. I’ve had quite a few close calls, including Wrigley Field.”

He’ll be in for a big surprise if he tries to visit Rosenblatt today. Actually, Johnson has been through town a few times since that ’04 concert at The Ranch Bowl, where Teresa and I were among the few in the audience. Will swung by our table and had a drink with us afterward. I’m sure he’ll do the same with you if you go to tonight’s concert.

The $20 tickets must be purchased online here. No tickets will be sold at the door. Show starts at 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Shannon & the Clams on the river, Halfwit; Ten Questions with A Giant Dog (at Milk Run tonight)…

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m growing tired of this cold weather. I imagined how much more pleasant last night’s “Sailin’ and Wailin’ Boat Cruise on the River City Star” would have been had the temps been 20 degrees warmer. Instead, it was cold and windy and I’m happy I wore my insulated hoodie.

Weather issues aside, Perpetual Nerves has a hit on its hands if it decides to do more of these River City Star concerts, because last night’s was a blast. The cruise couldn’t have gone smoother. If you weren’t on board by 6:55 you were left standing on the shore. In fact, I know one party of people, only seconds late, who had to practically fight their way to the deck (heroically saved by booker Sam Parker).

The River City Star is a small two-story river boat that launches from Freedom Park near the Gallup campus. The festive bottom deck was where the free keg and cash bar were located. Those standing in line were serenaded by the finest party music (from Prince to  Tom Tom Club) via a DJ. With drink in hand it was up to the top deck where Nathan Ma and The Rosettes were already performing as the boat drifted away from the dock. I recognized among the band mates Sarah Bohling of Icky Blossoms adding vocals. Their music was a mix of garage and indie, including a cover of The La’s “There She Goes” that got the loudest applause.

They were followed at 8 p.m. sharp by Shannon and the Clams, an Oakland-based four piece that played early ’60s-style garage rock with doo-wap and surf elements. It felt very much like a very hip sock hop played on a drifting dance floor, all the while floating past either Deliverance-style river-bottoms foliage or urban industrial decay. For every bit of picturesque wildlife (geese, flying fish) there was a reminder that you were adrift on a river of dark brown sewage.  Floating up and down the Missouri River, we were met time and time again by a large white half-submerged floating upright refrigerator. Was there someone inside it, traveling to the Gulf of Mexico? We’ll never know.

The sound, by the way, was amazing. No doubt the river people, who were either fishing or dumping garbage along the shore, could easily hear the bands, and wondered who those lucky bastards having the time of their lives?

The obvious question on everyone’s minds: Why doesn’t Perpetual Nerves book these cruises all the time, or at least once a month during the warm months? Especially considering it sold out the same day it was announced (within hours of the announcement).

Halfwit at O'Leaver's, May 13, 2016.

Halfwit at O’Leaver’s, May 13, 2016.

Friday night I caught Halfwit at O’Leaver’s. The Lincoln band fronted by Dan Jenkins of Ideal Cleaners and including bass-playing madman Saber Blazek crushed the crowd with heavy rock that bordered on proggy metal. The guitar interplay between Jenkins and guitarist Kevin Waltemath was next level amazing. Unfortunately the usually high-flying Blazek was seated for the performance, a victim of some sort of foot injury judging by the massive isolation boot he was wearing. I tried to imagine him at full thrash. Probably would have take out a wall or two. I’m told the performance was recorded for a possible future Live at O’Leaver’s set. Keep your fingers crossed.

Well Aimed Arrows at O'Leaver's May 13, 2016.

Well Aimed Arrows at O’Leaver’s May 13, 2016.

Last up was Well Aimed Arrows playing their usual brand of stripped down, minimalistic post New Wave music that combines almost atonal vocals with intricate rhythms. People who “get them” love them, and those who don’t are left scratching their heads. Their loss. If you grew up with very early REM or Wire — of if you’re old enough to remember groundbreaking ’90s Omaha band The Protoculture — seek them out immediately.

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A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

Tonight at Milk Run Austin indie band A Giant Dogs perform. Just this second, I received back a Ten Questions response from the band. Here it is:

1. What is your favorite album? 

A Giant Dog: Sparks,  Angst In My Pants. This is one of our favorite albums and we have been doing a cover of “Angst In My Pants” at our shows recently. Sparks had a big influence on us when recording the new record, PILE, and this album is on repeat while driving on tour.

2. What is your least favorite song?

It’s a never ending list. Nothing in particular comes to mind.

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

We started our band as a way to have fun, make music and hangout with other bands in Austin and around the country. We’ve also been close friends since high school and played in different bands together. So it’s great being able to play music and travel with your long time buds. Aside from that aspect, we’re generally unsettled with how repetitive, boring and predictable rock music can be. One of the best things about being in a band is considering the bleakness out there and then finding ways to make a song more creative, interesting and against the grain. I’m not sure how well we do that, but it’s something we enjoy trying to do.

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

The music biz is tough right now and that is a constant frustration we and other bands have to work around. Music has always been tough, but I think it’s okay to say there is a lot less money now than in the early 2000’s pre-Napster. There is a bad gap between good music and getting it to people who will appreciate it. I hope streaming can get its shit together, and this is a problem they need to solve. I know that journalism and film are in the same boat.

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

Mostly weed and more legal substances these days to keep our voices in tact and be able to keep up with the fast pace lifestyle we live. It’s been most interesting buying weed across the U.S. in the last two years. It’s funny buying it in Colorado and then sneaking it through Utah like you’re still at your parents house and sneaking in past curfew.

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

Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and any town with a passionate promoter who knows how to put together a cool show. The funny thing about live music is that any town can be killer for shows. You just need one guy or gal who loves putting on shows and knows what bands are good.

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

Pittsburgh. We showed up to a DIY space that was had the right elements for a good show – big empty house with a good turnout and decent bands booked. But the place was run by kids in pajamas eating ramen. There was a thunderstorm that day and they were afraid of the thunder thinking the show should be canceled. We bought them a six pack and passed on the show.

8. How do you pay your bills?

We work part time or remote jobs in addition to making music. Andrew (guitar/vocals) is a door guy, Graham (bass) makes pizza, Danny (drums is a waiter, Sabrina (singer) works at a Ramen place and has an Airbnb and Andy (guitar) is a software consultant. Multiple incomes is the main way we get by and it’s well worth the time and effort to be able to tour and keep making records.

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

Sabrina was talking about becoming an acupuncturist the other day. Eastern medicine in general is interesting and it seems that could be a rewarding job.

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

Nothing yet. Friends have said the Milk Run is cool and a good place to play. Let’s see what stories come from the show tonight.

A Giant Dog performs with Kitten Forever, No Thanks and Worried Mothers tonight at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Tickets are $8, show starts at 9 p.m. 

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Well Aimed Arrows, Relax, It’s Science, Electroliners tonight; Anna McClellan, Domestica Saturday; Shannon and the Clams cruise, Brian Jonestown Massacre Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:14 pm May 13, 2016
Well Aimed Arrows closed out Take Cover Five at O'Leaver's Jan. 30, 2016. The band celebrates its album release tonight

Well Aimed Arrows closed out Take Cover Five at O’Leaver’s Jan. 30, 2016. The band celebrates its album release tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Big weekend for local-band shows capped off by a big national indie show on Sunday.

Let’s start with tonight.

There’s a record release show for Well Aimed Arrows new self-released album Head Arrangements at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The album was recorded by Matt Carroll, mixed by J.J. Idt and mastered by the master himself, Doug Van Sloun. It’s available at a “name your price” price at Bandcamp right here. Get a preview before the show! Opening is infamous Lincoln indie-punkers Halfwit and up-and-coming Omaha duo The Natural States. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Relax, It’s Science is hosting an EP-release show of their own at Reverb Lounge. We’re talking two basses and a massive drum kit. Must be seen to be believed. Opening are The Sunks and Montee Men. $5, 9 p.m.

Just ’round yonder from them, the country bumpkins that call themselves The Electroliners have a CD release show at The Waiting Room. It’s indie Western swing at its finest. Opening are a couple lonesome cowpokes by the name of CJ Mills and Fizzle Like a Flood. $7, 9 p.m.

If that weren’t enough, Low Long Signal headlines at The Barley Street Tavern tonight. Joining them are Port Nocturnal and The Sleeperhits. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for indie wunderkind Anna McClellan. See her while you can on a tiny stage. Joining her are McCarthy Trenching and Alcools (ex-Dead Flower Preservation Society (What happened, guys?)). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Down at little ol’ Milk Run it’s the big ol’ sound of Domestica from Lincoln Nebraska. They’re opening for Red City Radio. Russian Girlfriends opens. $10, 9 p.m.

And a surprise show: Shannon and the Clams are playing at The Brothers Lounge Saturday night with Vegetable Deluxe and Skull Fight. $10, 10 p.m.

Finally Sunday a couple very special engagements.

The first is the big Sailin’ and Wailin’ Boat Cruise on the River City Star featuring Shannon and the Clams with opener Nathan Ma and the Rosettes. This one’s been sold out since the day it was announced. For those who are going, I’m told if you’re not aboard at 6:55  you’re being left behind.

Also Sunday night ’90s psych-rock superstars The Brian Jonestown Massacre perform at The Waiting Room. Check out this review of their May 12 show in New Orleans. From the review: “The show continued for a full 3 hours and 20 minutes until it abruptly ended, the band left the stage, leaving behind only the instruments and a pile of maracas.” Needless to say, there’s no opening act. Tickets are $16 Adv/$18 DOS. I’m surprised this hasn’t sold out yet. Starts at 9 p.m.

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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