Live Review: Neva Dinova’s last hurrah; 2014: The Year in Music (favorite albums, shows)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:11 pm December 24, 2014
Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2014.

Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Is there a more beloved local indie band than Neva Dinova? I have yet to meet anyone who has met Jake Bellows who didn’t want to be his friend. Well, last night hundreds of those friends were at The Slowdown to soak in all the goodness that was — and is — Neva Dinova one last time.

It was not a sell out, but it was crowded. Neva came on at around 11 — the full band with Roger Lewis on drums. The set started a bit rough, but what do you expect from a band that hasn’t played live in six years? One of the three guitars was out of tune, or at least that’s what I thought I heard from my usual “big room” vantage point off stage left. Whatever it was fixed itself by the next song, and as the set rolled on, the band sounded tighter and tighter.

Neva Dinova always was fun to watch but I don’t remember them sounding this massive back in the old days. The band takes advantage of all those guitars, creating a mountain that Bellows can stand atop either with his vocals or his white-knuckle guitar solos. For every quiet sleeper of a song there’s also a fun shuffle and a monstrous epic.  Last night’s set list did a good job of varying the different styles and dynamics.

Conor Oberst joined the band for a handful of songs.

Conor Oberst joined the band for a handful of songs.

The addition of special guests also kept the hour-plus-long set rolling. Drummer Bo Anderson took over the drum set midway through for a couple songs, returning for two more songs during the encore. The Good Life’s Ryan Fox dropped in for one song, while cellist April Faith-Slaker added texture to a couple numbers including a rich version of “Tryptophan.”

And then out of nowhere — looking like a hitch-hiker who just stepped off the road — came Conor Oberst to relive a few tracks off the Bright Eyes / Neva Dinova split, opening with Bright Eyes song “Spring Cleaning” before joining in on a couple Neva numbers.

But the evening’s highlight didn’t come until that four-song encore. The band ended the evening with heart-rending revivals of classics “Clouds” off 2008’s You May Already Be Dreaming, and “Dances Fantastic” from their 2002 self-titled debut. You couldn’t ask for anything more, except maybe another reunion of this band next Christmas. If that doesn’t happen (and it’s unlikely that it will) there was no better way to put a bow on top of this band’s career than what we heard last night.

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Now it’s time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and soak in my annual Year in Review article. Consider it my present to you. It also appears in today’s issue of The Reader and is also online right here. The tone starts off rather bleak, but it picks up later on. This also includes my annual “favorites” list of 2014 recordings and live shows. Enjoy.

2014: The Year in Music

The one word that comes to mind when looking back at the past year in music: Survival.

Or, more accurately, the question: How will musicians survive? It finally started to dawn on people about halfway through the year that Spotify is really fucking things up.

I don’t know how independent musicians are going to make money in the future. Income from album sales appears to be drying up, for everyone. It’s even hurting the major labels. When platinum-selling mega-nerd Taylor Swift said she wasn’t going to allow her music on Spotify, non-musicians started paying attention, and the issues surrounding music streaming services briefly became the fodder for network morning shows, painting a defiant Swift as a voice of reason in an era when artists have seemingly been forced to give away their wares.

A few fellow superstars followed Swift boycotting Spotify, but in the end, the streaming service kept bumbling along. Spotify truly is the poison apple in the Garden of Eden. We all know Spotify’s instant access to millions of albums is nothing less than a salt-block of evil. We know using Spotify probably contributes to killing off indie labels naive enough to release their artists’ music to the service. We’ve all heard stories about the bands that got a 27 cent Spotify royalty check in the mail.

And yet, we can’t help ourselves. We keep reaching for our smart phones, putting in our earbuds and taking a bite out of that shiny green apple. Who’s killing the music industry? We are. You and I and anyone who uses Spotify, Pandora, Songza and other music streaming services, but god help us, we can’t stop ourselves.

Spotify isn’t going away, so young bands can wave goodbye to substantial income from record sales. Musicians will have to survive off performance income and T-shirt sales. Merch. I’ve been told that’s the way it always was supposed to be, that the pre-internet years of records sales (where, in reality, only a handful of artists made big money and the labels took home the lion’s share) were an aberration. That the new music model revolves around musicians giving away their music to grow an audience that will come to their shows when they hit the road.

So says Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, a guy who already made his millions during better days. Grohl, as quoted in online music site Stereogum:

You want people to fucking listen to your music? Give them your music. And then go play a show. They like hearing your music? They’ll go see a show. To me it’s that simple, and I think it used to work that way. When we were young and in really noisy, crappy punk rock bands there was no career opportunity and we loved doing it and people loved fucking watching it and the delivery was completely face to face and personal. That’s what got people really excited about shit. Nowadays there’s so much focus on technology that it doesn’t really matter.

I wonder what “noisy, crappy punk rock bands” Grohl is referring to. Have you heard the new Foo Fighters record?

Anyway, for those musicians who never tour, making music is turning into a hobby — something to do on weekends, a reason to hang with your bro’s. If they’re any good, these hobbyist bands might play local shows where they’ll make enough money to pay off the evening’s bar tab — if they get paid at all. There are those who will still reach for bigger things, who contemplate getting “signed” or even touring, but fewer and fewer will ever make that leap regardless of how talented they are.

Why? It just costs too much money. Sure, recording music and putting it online is now within everyone’s reach, but touring, well, that’s expensive and time consuming. There is a handful of Nebraska bands talented enough to attract a national audience, but they never will because they’ll never tour. They’ll put their music online and wait for the phone to ring. Call them lazy, but the fact is despite their dreams they still need to feed themselves and their families. They need to survive.

Holy shit, that sounds bleak. And every year that I write these “year in review” articles it just gets bleaker, yet we’re all still here, listening to music.

Two good things to consider from 2014:

First, the number of music venues in Omaha continues to increase (supporting that idea that performance income is the only real musicians’ income). Classy Benson bar/music venue Reverb Lounge opened this past fall and joined an already crowded Omaha music venue population that includes The Waiting Room, The Slowdown, O’Leaver’s, Barley Street Tavern, The Sydney, 402 Collective, The Sweatshop, PS Collective, and good ol’ Sokol. In all my years I can’t remember there being more places for musicians to perform.

Secondly, while music sales continue ever downward, reaching out of the grave is old-fashioned vinyl records. It’s strange when more people are excited about the format of their music than what the format contains. Vinyl is everything, at least to serious music fans, but it’s still only a sliver of total music sales.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported LP sales surged 49 percent last year and that factories are struggling to keep pace, but in the end, vinyl sales represent only 2 percent of U.S. music sales (*sad trombone*). To the great unwashed masses feverishly downloading the latest Taylor Swift teen-wank fodder, the trend toward vinyl has gone unnoticed. They don’t even know what a record player looks like, let alone how to use one.

There is a third “good thing” to consider: The music itself. Here’s the list of my favorite albums of 2014. Notice I didn’t say “best albums”? These aren’t “the best” (whatever that means), they’re the ones I enjoyed the most, which means the new records by Beck, St. Vincent and U2 didn’t make the cut because, well, I didn’t like them.

benjiSun Kil Moon, Benji (Caldo Verde) — The best My favorite Mark Kozelek record, a collection of haunting personal elegies about living and dying (but mostly dying).

jagbagStephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador) — Continuing the smooth melodicism that Malkmus escaped to after leaving Pavement. Sublime.

spoonsoulSpoon, They Want My Soul (Loma Vista) — Laid-back indie rock from a veteran.

angelAngel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar) — Alt-country meets indie rock, an exquisite combination.

doomabuseThe Faint, Doom Abuse (SQE Music) — Local boys return to form. Where have you been, lads?

strandStrand of Oaks, Heal (Dead Oceans) — Raw reflections of nostalgia in the rock age.

lupinesoverThe Lupines, Over the Moon (Speed! Nebraska) — From a Nebraska garage comes the wolfen.

alvvaysAlvvays, self-titled (Polyvinyl / Transgressive) — Chiming indie pop is a salvation.

The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian) — There’s nothing wrong with imitating Dylan and Dire Straits when it sounds like this.

singlesFuture Islands, Singles (4AD) — More than just fancy dance moves, fancy synth moves.

protomartyunderProtomartyr, Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art) — Proto-punk with a bitter, bitter heart.

And then there were the rock shows. It was another great year for live music. Here are my favorite rock memories of 2014:

The Front Bottoms, The Waiting Room, Jan. 12 — Their sound was reminiscent of some of my favorite humor-inflected bands of the ‘90s and ’00s — Atom and his Package, Fountains of Wayne, Too Much Joy, Mountain Goats, Dismemberment Plan, The Hold Steady, The Decemberists — bands that write smart, funny, self-referential lyrics that anyone can relate to.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, The Waiting Room, Feb. 16 — It was like a mini Pavement reunion for an over-the-top rendition of “Unfair” off Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain that featured special guest Bob Nastanovich contributing his classic yelling. The rest of the show was almost as special.

Neutral Milk Hotel, Sokol Auditorium, March 29 — Fans I spoke to never expected to see this band play again, let alone play in Omaha. And here they were, playing their best songs spot-on with every nuance from the original recording.

St. Vincent, Sokol Auditorium, April 1 — It looked and felt forced and uncomfortable, purposely rigid and thoroughly counter to the loose-and-rough spontaneity of rock. Instead, it was more of an attempt at art rock, but without the limitlessness of a Laurie Anderson.

Warpaint, The Waiting Room, April 2 — Their sound was equal parts ethereal mood music and beat-driven dance fodder, with sweet vocals by all four musicians — and when all four harmonized, well, bliss.

Deleted Scenes, Slowdown Jr., May 1 — The highlight was that closing number, “You Get to Say Whatever You Want,” when Dan Scheuerman walked into the crowd and touched foreheads with a couple innocent bystanders, performing a mortifying rock ‘n’ roll mind meld.

Morrissey, Rococo Theater, May 20 — Needless to say, there were a lot of pissed-off people walking out of The Rococo after Morrissey refused an encore. While I would have liked to hear a couple more songs, the decision to play is squarely on his shoulders, and if he wasn’t feeling it, that’s the way it goes.

Conor Oberst, Sokol Auditorium, June 4 — Fueling the energy was Dawes, a masterful four-piece that gave every song heft and soul. The band sounded so much like early Jackson Browne you would have sworn that was David Lindley playing those guitar solos and Craig Doerge tapping out the glowing keyboard fills.

The Faint, Sokol Auditorium, June 12 — From the floor, it’s all about the dancing, or more accurately, hopping since no one’s really dancing. They’re bouncing or “humping” to the electro-throb. Those in the middle of the mob became part of the collective body grooving where the Sokol’s oak floor had (apparently) been replaced with a trampoline.

Matthew Sweet / Tommy Keene, O’Leaver’s, July 30 — It was nothing less than a dream come true for Matthew Sweet fans. There he was, literally steps in front of them, surrounded by a top-notch band playing all of his “greatest hits” one after the other in fine voice. As Sweet said, it was like playing a gig in someone’s living room.

Maha Music Festival, Stinson Park, Aug. 17 —  It was a good, though rather exhausting, day thanks to humid weather and a loaded line-up that made it hard to sneak away to re-energize.

Future Islands, The Waiting Room, Aug. 28 — You did not hear Samuel T. at his best. His vocals were ragged from the very start, often breaking down to choked whispers.

Sebadoh, Reverb Lounge, Sept. 28 — Barlow’s getting shaggy in his old age, with a big head of hair and a massive beard. His voice was as good as ever (when I could hear it). Loewenstein also was in fine form (especial on his personal anthem, “My Drugs”), despite suffering from a tooth ache. Ouch.

Iceage, Slowdown Jr., Oct. 27 — The performance seemed like a captured moment in time, and I felt lucky to be there. Iceage is a band burning brightly. But like all bright flames, how long will it last?

Twin Peaks, Midtown Art Supply, Nov. 25 — Twin Peaks’ music is rowdy up-beat rock that borders on garage surf, but there is a precision to it that puts it on another level.

Ritual Device / Cellophane Ceiling, The Waiting Room, Dec. 26 — Two of the most anticipated reunions ever, straight out of Nebraska’s first Golden Age of indie rock.

First published in The Reader, Dec. 23, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Have a Merry Christmas. See you Friday at The Waiting Room…

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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One night only: Neva Dinova tonight at The Slowdown w/Twinsmith…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:53 pm December 23, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m simply reiterating what I posted yesterday: tonight is the Neva Dinova reunion show at The Slowdown. If you’re a fan of the band (or even if you’ve never heard of them) you should go there for this one-and-done show that may never be repeated.

It’s a big show: Opening is Twinsmith, The Both and Outlaw Con Bandana. With most of us having tomorrow off, you have no excuse for not attending. Plus, it’s only $10. Starts early, 8 p.m. And this is the last big show until after Christmas.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the annual Year in Review entry (which also appears in this week’s issue of The Reader), which includes my list of favorite albums from 2014 and favorite shows. See you then…

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Jake Bellows talks about the return of Neva Dinova (Tuesday night at Slowdown); Live Review: Son, Ambulance…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 22, 2014
Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Somewhere in the past few years, Christmas week became thee time for local rock band reunions. I’m not sure when this began. The concert poster on the wall in my office is for a show dated Dec. 26, 1993, featuring Ritual Device, Mercy Rule, Secret Skin, Frontier Trust, Clayface and End Crowns All (holy shit, six bands), all of which were very much active and not “reuniting” in 1993.

This week, we’re all going to see and hear Ritual Device reunite on The Waiting Room stage, exactly 21 years to the day of that amazing concert at the Capitol Bar and Grill.

But before that, tomorrow night (Tuesday) we’ll all be at a reunion of Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, which isn’t really a reunion, because I’m not sure Neva Dinova ever officially broke up. They’re still listed as “active” on the Saddle Creek website. And Neva Dinova frontman Jake Bellows confirmed the band never did really call it quits.

“Our last show was in December 2008,” said Jake just before band practice last Wednesday evening. “We never issued a press release about breaking up. Everyone had other important things going on. They were trying to sort out careers that would provide enough money to raise babies. We just couldn’t afford to be in a band anymore.”

That date on that show poster — 1993 — also was the year Neva Dinova first started playing together, but the line-up that’s performing Tuesday night first came together in 1999 at a now infamous gig at Grandmother’s Restaurant on 84th and L streets. You can read about that show (which included guest drumming by Conor Oberst, and Todd and Clark Baechle) in this 2001 Lazy-i interview with the band, written shortly after their self-titled, self-released album came out.

That line-up is back: Bellows, bassist/vocalist Heath Koontz, guitarist Tim Haes and guitarist Mike Kratky. Drummer Bo Anderson (who was tending bar at Grandmothers that fateful night in 1999) also will play Tuesday night on a handful of songs, along with most recent drummer Roger Lewis (The Good Life, Oquoa). Both Anderson and Lewis are credited on the 2004 Neva Dinova/Bright Eyes split, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels (originally released on Crank! but reissued years later by Saddle Creek).

“We’ve been looking for an excuse to play together again for a long time just for fun,” Bellows said. “Since everyone’s going to be in town, it seemed to make the most sense. We needed to make time to practice because we knew we were gonna need it.”

Bellows said Haes has the most rust of any of the band members… literally. “The strings on his guitar were literally rusty,” Bellows said. “I think he does all his playing in the rain.”

Bellows said for this gig the band has been thinking of itself as a Neva Dinova cover band. “The nature of this show is unusual,” he said. “Before, we just played what we wanted to play. In this case, the whole point is to get back together, and we felt like we should play songs people want to hear that we haven’t played or didn’t want to play before.”

That meant coming up with the quintessential Neva Dinova play list. “We’ve got 20 songs on the list, maybe 25,” Bellows said. “We’re kind of deciding what we think sounds cool.”

I threw out “Tryptophan” and “Supercomputer” as two possibilities; Bellows verbally nodded his head. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they make the cut.

Those who might wonder if this is the beginning of something bigger, Bellows assured me the show is a one-time thing. He’s called Echo Park in central Los Angeles home for four years. “LA is fine,” he said. “I miss everyone back home and come back five or six times a year.”

As for his solo career, Bellows said he has a bunch of new songs that will either be on a Jake Bellows record or recorded under a different band name. “Naming a band after yourself is weird,” he said.

Tomorrow night’s show is rather big in scale. Playing with Neva Dinova is the latest addition to the Saddle Creek Records roster, Twinsmith, along with local faves Outlaw Con Bandana and hip-hop act The Both. This 8 p.m. show is happening on Slowdown’s big stage. Get your $10 tickets here.

Son, Ambulance at O'Leaver's Dec. 20, 2014.

Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s Dec. 20, 2014.

Saturday night’s Son, Ambulance gig at O’Leaver’s wasn’t a reunion, though it felt like one (maybe because Dereck Higgins was back on bass). The band had a new sway in its step, a pronounced swing that it lacked in its prior, more stoic form in year’s past. Their set included old and new, but all of it sounded new to me. I credit a more relaxed Joe Knapp, the band’s mastermind, songwriter and frontman. In the old days, Joe always looked nervous — or at the very least tense — on stage, as if he was expecting something to go wrong at any moment.

Saturday night Joe looked and sounded like a guy having a good time playing his music with a large group of friends, despite the technical glitches that hampered the first three songs (including a keyboard that refused to play).

Son, Ambulance's Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Son, Ambulance’s Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Knapp always has reminded me of Elvis Costello at his most playful, but even more so now. Maybe his confidence comes by way of a solid band built on the bedrock rhythm section of Higgins and drummer David Ozinga. A bongo player also was crammed into one corner, though you couldn’t hear him. Dylan Strimple handled electric guitar, but the most arresting moments were between James Cuato on sax and flute and cellist April Faith-Slaker. Their layered interplay added a whole new dimension to the band.

BTW, if you’re counting, that’s six people crammed onto O’Leaver’s tiny “stage” area, and I’m told that wasn’t even the entire band — a few were missing, including Joe’s brother Daniel.

Everything came together for funky set closer “Copper Lady” with a back beat that bordered on blues rock. So hot was this number that the band brought it back for a crowd-demanded pseudo encore.

Rather than a reunion, Saturday night sounded like a rebirth for Son, Ambulance. The band has a new energy. I’m told they’ve got at least six new songs recorded and ready to go (including a version of that aforementioned “Copper Lady”). When and where those tracks eventually show up is anyone’s guess. Saddle Creek, who put out past Son, Ambulance records, hasn’t mentioned the band in regards to future releases, though I believe they’d be wise to welcome them back to the active roster.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The weekend before Christmas… The Sons of Reverb tonight, Son Ambulance, M34N STR33T Saturday…

Category: Blog — @ 2:08 pm December 19, 2014
Only the Sons of... can drive somebody that crazy...

Only The Sons of Nakatomi Plaza… can drive somebody that crazy…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

‘Twas the weekend before Christmas and all through the clubs, not a creature was stirring except… the four assholes coming in the rear in standard two-by-two cover formation…

OK, we’re not at Nakatomi Plaza. We’re in Omaha. And the weekend before Christmas in Omaha means rock shows. And believe it or not, there actually are a couple good ones happening this weekend.

Tonight, the best show in town is The Sons of Reverb opening for Bazille Mills at the Reverb Lounge in Benson. The Sons of… are always a good time. Bazille Mills I know nothing about, nor the other opener, The Talbott Brothers, but something tells me I’m going to find out about them tonight. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Power Slop has its LP release show at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Swamp Walk and FLAK. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for the “Winter Solstice Celebration” headlined by none other than Saddle Creek Records band Son, Ambulance. Opening is hip-hop superstars M34N STR33T and The Renfields. Expect a full house. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night Reverb Lounge hosts a Sower Records showcase. Sower’s roster is “is a collection of artists fancied in the styles of American roots music.” I’m not sure where they’re headquartered (contact info is missing from their website) but probably somewhere in Nebraska, considering who’s playing the showcase: The Bottle Tops, Bud Heavy and the High Lifes, Jack Hotel, Matt Cox, Little Marais and Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes. $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night Routine Escorts headlines at Reverb Lounge with Thinkin Machines & Forest Television. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile it’s C&W night at The Waiting Room Sunday night with Clarence Tilton, The Electroliners and Matt Cox. Your $7 cover will go toward the Coat Drive for the Heart Ministry Center. This is an early 7 p.m. show.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Merry Christmas, or as John McClane would say, Yippee-ki-yay, motherf***er! and to all a good night.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Reader Interview — The Return: Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions…

The cover of this week's issue of The Reader featuring a profile on Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions.

The cover of this week’s issue of The Reader featuring a profile on Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

That cover story in support of the Dec. 26 Ritual Device / Cellophane Ceiling reunion show at The Waiting Room is now online at TheReader.com (right here).

The story covers the history of both bands as well as the rise and fall of Main Vein Productions — the concert promotion company run by Ritual Device’s Tim Moss and Cellophane Ceiling’s John Wolf.

The story also talks about the Omaha music scene circa the early ’90s when a handful of bands (including the ones mentioned above) attracted national attention thanks to recording and touring outside of the state. It was those bands that set the stage for what would come later in that decade — the rise of Saddle Creek Records’ bands and Nebraska’s notoriety as an indie music Mecca.

Check it out and try to pick up a printed copy. It contains a ton of photos including old Main Vein show posters from back in the day. And get your $10 tickets to the show (while you can) — Dec. 26, 9 p.m. The Waiting Room. Nightbird (also performing Cactus Nerve Thang songs) opens.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Nightbird joins Ritual Device/Cellophane Ceiling bill; Denver Dalley’s Broken Bats; Darren Keen mixes…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:00 pm December 16, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There was no update yesterday as I was buried writing a cover story for Thursday’s issue of The Reader about Cellophane Ceiling and Ritual Device, who are playing Dec. 26 at The Waiting Room. It’s a Main Vein Production (which is also discussed in the article). Huge show, huge reunion.

If you didn’t already know, Nightbird has been added to this line-up, and I’m told Lee Meyerpeter and his crew will be playing some Cactus Nerve Thang covers (Lee, as you know, was in Cactus) just to make this post-Christmas trip inside the Wayback Machine that much more authentic.

It’s great that we have all these reunion shows happening next week (Neva Dinova is next Tuesday at The Slowdown, for example) because there’s virtually nothing else happening around here (at least until Friday). I mean, holy shit, has there ever been a bigger drought in local news?

The hottest buzz is that Icky Blossoms has finished recording their new record, which is headed for a release on Saddle Creek next year. And Matt Whipkey informs me his new record is in the can, ready for a 2015 release.

And then yesterday Hear Nebraska reported (right here) that Denver Dalley of Desaparecidos, Statistics, Intramural and Two of Cups fame (as well as Har Mar Superstar’s sideman) has formed a new band with Pink Spiders frontman Matt Friction called Broken Bats. What that will sound like is anyone’s guess.

And finally, Darren Keen has chimed in from his new home in Brooklyn, New York, to say that he’s posted a couple new DJ mixes:

This is a worldy / tropical bass / club oriented type mix: https://soundcloud.com/darrenkeen/darren-keen-the-opposite-of-a-cold-snowy-city . This is a retro / synth / vocoder funk mix as my loose “DJ Tango Cash” pseudonym: https://soundcloud.com/darrenkeen/dj-tango-cash-waking-up-marcy

The DJ Tango Cash mix got me through my morning. I’m still trying to catch up with Darren to see what his plan is for conquering The Big Apple…

In case you were wondering, there are no shows going on tonight. Head over to The Barley Street Tavern for the Viva La Vinyl Christmas Party and buy DJ Brad Hoshaw a tall boy…

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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McCarthy Trenching, Brad Hoshaw, M34n Str33t tonight; Bloodcow, John Klemmensen and the Party Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:15 pm December 12, 2014
Hip hop graphic design pioneer Cey Adams opens a one-month show at The New BLK tonight. M34N STR33T will perform.

Hip hop graphic design pioneer Cey Adams opens a one-month show at The New BLK tonight. M34N STR33T will perform.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Not a lot of indie rock happening this weekend. OK, no indie rock happening. Still, there are some shows worth checking out as we slog our way through these holiday doldrums.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s McCarthy Trenching headlines tonight with the Burkum Boys. $5, 9:30 p.m. There are few better places to get your weekend drunk on than The Club on Saddle Creek.

The annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is happening tonight at The Barley Street Tavern. Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is a non-profit organization that collects and delivers toys for children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, and raises donations for heating, clothing, food, and educational resources for residents of the reservation. The toy drive started in 2003 with Larry Dunn, a.k.a. Lash LaRue. On the bill are Brad Hoshaw, Prairie Gators and Vago. Show starts at 9 p.m., and your donations are welcome.

Cey Adams, a renowned hip hop graphic design pioneer, old school NYC graffiti writer, and former Def Jam creative director, is having a one-man show that opens tonight at The New BLK Gallery, 1213 Jones St. Adams co-founded the Drawing Board, the label’s in-house visual design firm, where he created visual identities, album covers, logos, and advertising campaigns for Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z. Impressive. Providing the jams is Omaha’s own M34n Str33t. Music starts at 10 p.m. Swing on down and pick up an original Adams print.

No one loves Christmas more than the guys in Bloodcow, and they’re going to prove it Saturday night when the host their annual Bloodcow Holiday Show at T’z Sports Pub, 128 W. Broadway in Council Bluffs. Joining them to celebrate are When Towers Fall and Coupedevillian. $5, 9 p.m. Ugly Christmas sweater optional.

Also Saturday night, John Klemmensen and the Party play at the Reverb Lounge with DANA T and Wild Kingdom. $7, 9 p.m.

And back at O’Leaver’s Saturday night it’s Matt Cox Band with The Willards Band and 24 Hour Cardlock. $5, 9:30 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a good weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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‘Conor Oberst and Friends’ rock at NYC benefit; Outlaw Con Bandana tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 11, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Conor Oberst collected a bevy of NYC’s best singer/ songwriters at the Beacon Theater Monday night for a benefit concert.

Among the talent was Jonathan Wilson, Felice Brothers, Laura Marling, Natalie Merchant and one of my all-time faves, Suzanne Vega. ‘Conor Oberst and Friends’ was part of the 10th Annual ‘Holiday Cheer for FUV,’ a benefit concert for NPR radio station WFUV. According to Diffuser: “Calling this concert ‘magical’ is a severe understatement, but we are simply at a loss for words for how special the evening was for all involved.”

Conor’s keeping himself pretty busy these days. In addition to finishing up that Desaparecidos record, he’s also taking part in a tribute concert for Emmylou Harris Jan. 10 in Washington, D.C. alongside such music luminaries as Mavis Staples, Kris Kristofferson, Joan Baez, Sheryl Crow and Lucinda Williams.

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Speaking of great singer/songwriters, there’s a special show at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight. Outlaw Con Bandana returns. It’s been awhile since I’ve seen Brendan Hagberg and Co. Joining them is Charity. $5, 9:30 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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TIT drops debut on FDH; new Semicircle (Reptar members) LP out today…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:56 pm December 9, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2014-12-09 at 12.52.07 PMShawn Foree of Digital Leather is at it again. After releasing a split LP with The Hussy earlier this year on FDH Records, Foree and Bobby Hussy spent a week together to write and record a side project called TIT, whose debut dropped today, again on FDH.

This collaboration is a perfect mesh of pop sensibility, dark gloomy undertones, and experimentation that you would expect from this team,” says the press release. “The 4-song EP features Bobby on lead vocals for two tracks, Shawn on lead vocals on one song, and a nearly 9-minute instrumental.

The LP is limited to 666 copies — 166 on Yellow vinyl / 500 Black vinyl. I ordered my copy from the label months ago and still haven’t received it, though I’m sure it’ll show up in my mail box any day now (*looks at watch, stares longingly at wall calendar*). Until then, I’ll just have to listen to it streamed version below from the TIT Bandcamp page, where you can buy a download or order the vinyl.  So when is TIT going to make its Omaha debut?

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I’m out of the loop when it comes to these Reptar guys, but I’m sure someone told me that one of them moved to Omaha. Well it probably wasn’t the one who’s in Semicircle, who today dropped their new LP, Blown Breeze, Grown Grass, and We are Part of the Earth (self release). The Reptar members in Semicircle are Andrew McFarland and Ryan Engelberger. Either name ring a bell? Not with me, either. Anyway, Noisy is streaming the whole album here. And you can check out one of the tracks below:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: The psychedelic buzz and howl of Calm Fur, Slushy, the electric blue Lupines…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 8, 2014
Calm Fur at the Barley Street Tavern, Dec. 5, 2014.

Calm Fur at the Barley Street Tavern, Dec. 5, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I found the buzz and howl of Calm Fur to be rather sublime — a psychedelic cascade of noise and color and sound that blended every ’60s arena rock acid trip with the post-modern noise of, say, Sonic Youth to create a wholly new and cumbersome thing.

It didn’t come easy; it took awhile for the band to get into a groove.  Wearing a white-fur jacket (epitomizing the band’s name) frontman Jason Meyer has emerged as Omaha’s version of Wayne Coyne, a colorful, arty dude who isn’t happy with just playing shows. Instead, his gigs are audio-visual-powered “happenings.” Think back to one of those notable Talking Mountain shows (one of Meyre’s other bands) where smoke broiled out the club’s doors and audience members wore sun glasses to protect their eyes from blazing LED light rigs.

Meyer shows always involve special effects panache, even if it’s just a couple guys wearing furry Muppet-style masks. For Calm Fur, the enhanced experience involved two overhead projectors set up on either side of the Barley Street stage, along with an assortment of markers, glitter and confetti. Audience members were invited to come up during the set and let their creative spirit run wild, but no one did, at least not until about halfway through their set when a young women began scribbling with a marker which washed out over the band. Psychedelic, man.

Give credit to Meyer. Nothing is more boring than watching a bunch of guys slumped over their instrument, hardly moving. Meyer doesn’t want to fall into that sanguine trap, though no special effects were necessary to make Friday night’s set interesting… or at least different.

Like I said, it took awhile for the band to get things going. When they started out, I wondered why Meyer wanted that keyboard to fuss up the sound. By the third song I was thinking ‘That keyboard really makes this work.” I don’t know who keyboardist “Jesy” is, but her simple tones and style (and voice) were the perfect complements to Garrett Schmelzel from Snake Island’s acidic 12-string electric guitar and Meyer’s ever-droning bass. By the fourth or fifth song, the band hit its stride and even had me buzzing. They followed it with a couple shaky covers that featured the next performer, Slushy.

Slushy is former Omahan (and Talking Mountains guy) Chris Kramer doing his rendition of Nuggets-era pop songs sung alone over pre-recorded tracks, karaoke style. Kramer’s choice of music and his aerobic-styles performance made for a fun set, at least for the first 15 minutes. I’m told that Kramer has a working band he plays with in Chicago. Someone needs to get those folks out here.

Lupines at The Barley Street Tavern Dec. 5, 2014.

Lupines at The Barley Street Tavern Dec. 5, 2014.

Finally sometime after midnight The Lupines took the stage, basking in the full intensity of Barley Street’s fancy new digital lighting system, which cast them in eerie electric blue. What more to say about Lupines that I haven’t already said, other than you need to check them out if your thing is blistering garage rock. It was a great way to cap off what turned out to be a looong night.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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