Local bands talk about returning to the stage (in the column); Slowdown announces reopening…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 8:30 am March 5, 2021
Jon Taylor of Domestica’s funky get-down space.

The Slowdown announced Tuesday that they’re reopening in April. The plan calls for shows only on the main stage to make more room for social distancing as the pandemic begins to wind down. It’ll be a fun opportunity for smaller bands who are used to playing the small room to try the big stage and its massive sound and lighting system.

Their first show is April 2 featuring Journey cover band Recaptured followed by Two Drag Club April 9.

Slowdown joins The Waiting Room and Reverb, who announced late last month that their stages are reopening.

When will the majority of our favorite local indie acts be returning to stage? That was the subject of my March column in The Reader, which is online right here. I contacted a dozen local musicians to find out when they’re coming back, and their responses underscore their caution as COVID-19 is still very much with us in this community.

The story is in the printed edition of the paper, which should be in the racks around town now or very shortly. Check it out. And heck, you can also read it below:

What Are They Waiting For?

As COVID-19 retreats, the stage has been set. It’s the artists who have cold feet.

Last month I told you where some of the more important local stages for indie music stand in regard to booking shows. A year after the pandemic began, places like The Slowdown, The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge are reopening their stages. And while it’ll be some time before touring bands hit the road again, local acts are invited to plug in and rock on.

The only thing stopping that from happening are the bands themselves. I reached out to a dozen local musicians to find out when they’d play again on a local stage. Their answers reflected a serious respect for COVID-19.

Jon Taylor, lead guitarist for Lincoln-based seminal punk trio Domestica, is waiting for folks to get vaccinated. “Based on current vaccine shipping schedules, summer appears to be the earliest anyone should consider assembling large groups of humans for any reason,” Taylor said. He’s passed the pandemic time rocking out on his own glittering basement stage where, “I’m able to self-medicate with high volume until gigs happen.”

Domestica has been known to share a stage with Wagon Blasters, the tractor-punk powerhouse fronted by the inimitable Gary Dean Davis. Those with a sense of history will remember how these folks’ previous bands — Mercy Rule and Frontier Trust — were integral to Nebraska’s first wave of indie punk almost 30 years ago.

Davis has spent his downtime focusing on his record label — SPEED! Nebraska — which reissued Frontier Trust’s debut CD in June and released a new Mezcal Bros. album, Shakin’ Dog, in September.

“As Joe Strummer famously said, ‘The future is unwritten,’” Davis said. “Hopefully things can calm down over the summer, (and) we are able to return to playing shows. Maybe we’ll need to start off outside to keep everyone safe?”

Wagon Blasters bandmate, bassist Kate Williams, said while she would be comfortable on stage once vaccinations have reached the majority, “It will be strange to return to the small, intimate venues that I love, where the audience is right on top of the band.”

Williams hasn’t seen Davis or her other bandmates in person in a year. “Many of us are high-risk (or high-risk-adjacent) and aren’t comfortable practicing in an enclosed basement yet with each other, let alone playing in a room full of friends that we also haven’t seen in the last year,” she said. “It will happen though — I miss all of it so much!”

Caution also was the theme for legendary bassist/musician Dereck Higgins. “I’ll be 66 in July, and that is why I am being cautious and in no hurry to get out in the public gigging,” he said, pointing to fall for a possible return. In the meantime, he’s been recording new music and working on an art project with local choreographer Lauren Simpson.

Craig Fort of punk band Leafblower created an entirely new, outlaw-country-infused musical persona called Lightning Stills during the pandemic. “Obviously COVID is keeping us from booking anything, as well as neither project has been in the same room together in a year,” Fort said. “We all take this very seriously. Not being able to play shows is what’s keeping me from releasing anything physical. Without shows, I don’t have a booth to peddle my goods.”

Indie rockers See Through Dresses frontwoman Sara Bertuldo said her band is still together, “but we’re just focusing on different things at the moment. Some of us are back in school, focusing on work, and/or learning some new skills.” And she added, “We’ve also been working on our third album!”

One of my favorite songs released during the pandemic is “Snake in my Basement,” an infectious (in a good way) garage rocker by Those Far Out Arrows. Guitarist/vocalist Ben Keelan-White thinks his band will be back on stage possibly in early- to mid-summer.

“Outdoor shows seem more likely, but maybe some indoor venues might be willing to make some moves,” he said. “I feel like there is an optimism with more vaccine administration on the horizon. Nobody wants to be a part of a spreader event, but I think the type of individuals who want shows back would be absolutely willing to take the utmost precaution needed to go forward.”

“We’re all dying for shows, but nobody should die for shows,” said Aaron Gumm, half of the red hot electronic rock duo Glow in the Dark. “My parents in Iowa get their second shot next week, and my sister in Austin got her first today. Things are moving in the right direction.”

Some aren’t waiting to return to the stage. Josh Hoyer, one of the area’s best blues and soul voices, played a Sunday residency Feb. 21 at The Jewell in downtown Omaha.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but it came down to me needing to get back to work and the venues needing to start getting people in or shutting down for good.” Hoyer said. “At this point, I am trusting people to do what is best for their health and the health of the community. So far, everything has been good, but the moment I feel that there is too much risk in any given venue, I will have to reassess my involvement with them. I think if people are intelligent about it, we can slowly get back to live entertainment.”

Darren Keen, the mastermind behind The Show Is the Rainbow and now a new electronic act, Problems, has a gig booked on St. Patrick’s Day at Boombox Social Club in Lincoln.

“As long as people are masked up and distanced, I’m OK with it at this point,” Keen said. “I’m still hesitant to book my own shows because I can’t honestly say, ‘You gotta come to this gig’ right now. I respect that people want to stay home and safe, and so if I can’t promote things 100% I’m not comfortable booking them.”

I saved the final word for Landon Hedges of one of my all-time favorite indie rock bands, Little Brazil. Hedges doesn’t know when he’ll be back on stage.

“It’s a matter of responsibility and feeling comfortable in the sort of environment that I’m used to playing a show or going to a show,” he said. “I want to do both. But this virus isn’t about me or what I want to do. I just want to try to do the right thing. It fucking sucks. You can quote me on that one.”

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. First published in The Reader, March 2021.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


McCarthy Trenching Sunday (streamed from The Trap Room); new Leafblower video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:01 pm February 26, 2021
McCarthy Trenching at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 17, 2015. The band plays The band is being live streamed from The Trap Room Sunday at 8 p.m.

There will come a time where Friday’s will be dedicated to previewing the weekend’s shows. That time is still a ways off.

That said, there is a performance that’s being streamed live at The Trap Room (the bar across the sidewalk from The Slowdown) featuring McCarthy Trenching, which at the very least will feature singer/songwriter Dan McCarthy and (I’m guessing) sideman bass player James Maakestad, though there could be more to the band.

Dan and Co. no doubt will be playing songs off the latest McCarthy Trenching album, Perfect Game, which you can buy here on Bandcamp. Sunday night’s streamed performance begins at 8 p.m. and can be watched for free via Facebook Live.

. * * * .

The Reverb Lounge is hosting an album release show for rock band The Long Awaited tonight. Gallivant and The Party After open at 9 p.m. $10. No doubt masks and social distancing protocols will be firmly enforced. If you haven’t checked out the new Reverb Lounge, this is your chance.

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I leave you with this new video from Omaha indie-punk band Leafblower. The song, “Yes Men,” comes from the 7-inch released right when Covid was getting started early last spring. The band will be making a second push of the record next week for Bandcamp Friday. Until then, check out yet another video interpretation by band member Craig Fort. It’s weird, but I bet the “making of the video” video would have been even weirder.

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Next week is March. It’s warming up. Covid numbers are down. People are getting vaccinated. We’re getting there, people. It’s just going to take a little more time.

Have a great weekend.

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes Covers Chesnutt, 1% says ‘we’re back’; new Spirit of the Beehive (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 25, 2021
Vic Chesnutt in his practice space in 2005. Photo by Tristan Loper.

I woke up this morning with a dozen hits on the ol’ Conor Oberst Google Alert, thanks to Bright Eyes releasing a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life,” on YouTube. The track was first released as the B-side of last year’s “Persona Non Grata” 7-inch. 

Vic’s version was originally part of his 2009 album At the Cut, one of his last, released the year of his death at the age of 45. It is, indeed, a dark piece of work, with a chorus that goes, “Oh, death / Clearly I’m not ready.” 

In the press materials, Oberst talks about seeing Chesnutt perform many times from a young age. I, too, remember seeing him play around town back in the ‘90s, most notably at a show at the old Capitol Bar & Grill with sideman Omahan Alex McManus seated next to his wheelchair. Chesnutt was indeed an original, and it’s good to see his songs live on for another generation to enjoy. 

. * * * . 

Which gets me thinking, I never wrote a postscript on the Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL appearance, which I thought would end Oberst’s drought on the late-nite sketch show. I’ve been predicting Conor’d perform on SNL for years, but he wasn’t part of Bridgers’ band that night, so the wait continues. I figure if Bright Eyes didn’t get a slot on SNL last year, it probably will never happen. As for Bridgers and her guitar-smashing histrionics, you have to wonder what she’ll do next. There are no boundaries for her except the limitations of her own songwriting. 

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Yesterday One Percent Productions sent out its email newsletter proclaiming “We’re Back.” 

After shutting down completely in March of 2020, we were able to produce some events from late June through early December. And after stopping again over the last few months, we are back at it again! So we just needed to thank all the artists for still performing and the customers for still attending the shows. We look forward to continue producing safe events while patiently waiting for the party to return!!!

Those events include closing out a run of a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch this month, and Yutan band The Long Awaited playing tomorrow night at Reverb with Gallivant. The first bigger national show is Crash Test Dummies March 20 at The Waiting Room.

A big test will be the April 3 Bennie and the Gents show at The Waiting Room. Always a good draw, this should be a good indicator as to whether people are willing to go to an “inside show.”

Now would be a good time for venues to consider how they’ll host shows outdoors while we wait for the vaccine to get into people’s arms.

I got in touch with about a dozen local artists last weekend for an article that will appear in next month’s issue of The Reader, asking when they’ll return to the stage. Look for that one in the racks next week, as well as online. 

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Saddle Creek’s latest signing, Spirit of the Beehive, yesterday released its second single off the upcoming Creek debut, Entertainment, Death, out April 9. Check out “The Server is Immersed,”  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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Waiting for something to happen; Trap Room series continues w/Pony Creek, McCarthy Trenching, more…

Category: Blog — @ 12:40 pm February 19, 2021
Here’s what we were doing last year around this time — SUSTO at Slowdown Jr., Feb. 24, 2020.

It seems like forever since I’ve updated ol’ Lazy-i but it’s only been a couple weeks. Work has gotten the better of me lately and I haven’t been able to get around to posting updates. So there’s that and the fact that there’s just not a heckova lot going on music-wise in Omaha.

If you watch the COVID numbers as closely as I do, you’re hopeful that at least some local shows will begin popping up here in there. But even if there had been some shows in this past week, who would have been crazy enough to go out in Ice Station Zebra weather?

I’m told the venues are willing to booking local bands, but that the bands are still skittish about going back on stage. I guess I can’t blame them. But people are getting desperate to get back out and into the clubs. Yeah, maybe we’d be pushing it, but by now we’ve all gotten used to wearing masks and know what to do and not to do in public settings. Here’s hoping something happens soon…

. * * * .

While we wait for local shows to return, The Trap Room is continuing its livestream series shot from Omaha’s favorite hole-in-the-wall located across from The Slowdown. Your host, Dan Brennan, is one of the best sound guys in Omaha, so the sound quality of these shows is better than anything you’re going to hear on broadcast TV.

This Sunday’s Trap Room stream features the country twangin’ of Pony Creek featuring Dan Olson and Ryan Osbahr. The stream starts at 8 p.m. and you can watch it for free via Facebook Live by following The Trap Room Facebook page (right here).

Next week, The Trap Room presents McCarthy Trenching, whose latest album, Perfect Game, is one of my recent faves. That one streams Feb. 28 at 8 p.m.

Here’s the rest of the Trap Room streaming-show line-up:

March 7 — Andrew Bailie and Aly Peeler

March 14 – Blue Moon Ghetto

March 21 – Steady Wells

March 28 — Hartford/Focht

That’s all I got. 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


It’s another Bandcamp Friday (and there’s loads of local stuff to buy/download)…

Category: Blog — @ 1:24 pm February 5, 2021

You should know the drill by now — Bandcamp is waiving fees for download purchases from its platform today only so artists can pocket more revenue. A lot of record labels are joining in on the deal as well, so there’s never been a better time to purchase a download of that album or song that you’ve been listening to on Spotify or Apple Music.

There haven’t been a lot of new local releases since my “Soundtrack to a Pandemic” list from this past December, but here are a few:

— Problems — Darren Keen’s new project — has a new single out called “Dog is Love” that you should check out here (especially if you love dogs).

— McCarthy Trenching’s new one, Perfect Game, is a winner. Check it out here.

— Check out the new Hartford/Focht LP that came out on Christmas right here.

— Shaun the Loud just dropped a new EP called 3, right here.

And here’s that list of favorites from 2020 again. Go out and get some!

Jack McLaughlin, “Madyssen Is So Quick to Sin” b/w “Rained all Summer Long” — Released Jan. 23, the A-side features guests Conor Oberst and Shawn Foree.
Buy/download/listen: https://jackieboymac.bandcamp.com/album/madyssen-is-so-quick-to-sin

Criteria, Years (2020, 15 Passenger) — The band’s first album since 2005’s When We Break (Saddle Creek), it absolutely rocks.
Buy/download/listen: https://criteriane.bandcamp.com/album/years

InDreama, “Poison House” — Four minutes of bouncy psych-rock candy from Nik Fackler and Co.
Buy/download/listen: https://dereckhiggins.bandcamp.com/track/poison-house-by-indreama

Relax, It’s Science, Now It’s Your Problem (2020, self-release) — The debut album by the double-bass-attack punkers.
Buy/download/listen: https://relaxitsscience.bandcamp.com/album/now-its-your-problem

Death Cow, Pioneer (2020, self-release) — The songs’ harmony vocals and power-chord riffs are pure ’90s FM rock territory.
Buy/download/listen: https://deathcow.bandcamp.com/album/pioneer

Magū, Renovate (2020, self-release) — A refined psych-rock experience that borders on prog rock.
Buy/download/listen: https://magumusic.bandcamp.com/album/renovate

Twinsmith, “Dreamer” — Second single on their new label, Silver Street.
Buy/download/listen: https://twinsmith.bandcamp.com

Win/Win, Home (2020, self-release) – 4-song EP of sing-along indie.
Buy/download/listen: https://winslashwin.bandcamp.com/album/home

Joan App, “Beautiful Machines” — Joe Knapp (Son, Ambulance) returns with a one-off that left us wanting more.
Buy/download/listen: https://joanapp.bandcamp.com/track/beautiful-machines

Simon Joyner, Some Only Let the Jukebox Hear Them Weep (2020, Grapefruit) — A 2014 live set recorded in Phoenix, just one of many releases from Joyner in 2020.
Buy/download/listen: https://simonjoyner.bandcamp.com/album/some-only-let-the-jukebox-hear-them-weep-live-in-phoenix-2014

The Sunks, “Dear Judy” – First song from a never-released album.
Buy/download/listen: https://thesunksband.bandcamp.com/releases

Supermoon, Half Country (2020, Majestic Litter) — (Former) Omahan Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and Morgan Nagler of Whispertown. Gorgeous.
Buy/download/listen: https://majesticlitter.bandcamp.com/album/half-country/

Big Nope, Back to You (2020, self-release) — See Through Dresses’ drummer Nate Van Fleet steps out on this rocking 3-song EP.
Buy/download/listen: https://bignopebignope.bandcamp.com/album/back-to-you-ep

Nathan Ma, “Blue Bird”— One of my favorite tracks of the year, produced by David Nance.
Buy/download/listen: https://nathanma.bandcamp.com/track/blue-bird

Mike Schlesinger, Live at The Sydney (2020, self-release) — A bright spot streamed live during spring’s COVID misery.
Buy/download/listen: https://thesydneybenson.bandcamp.com/album/mike-schlesinger-live-at-the-sydney

Pagan Athletes, Live at the DN (2020, self-release) – A sonic acid trip from the Wolf Brothers, Griffin and Nathan.
Buy/download/listen: https://paganathletes.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-the-dn

Eddy Mink, Open Container Heart Surgery (2020, self-release) — Pedal-steel fueled indie rock sung with grit, heart and soul by Kerry Eddy.
Buy/download/listen: https://eddymink.bandcamp.com/

Jack Hotel, A Town Called Hesitation (2020, Sower Records) — Acoustic C&W by way of Lincoln, NE.
Buy/download/listen: https://jackhotel.bandcamp.com/album/a-town-called-hesitation

Dereck Higgins, DHX (2020, self-release) – One of six 2020 releases of electronic club music by the Omaha legend.
Buy/download/listen: https://dereckhiggins.bandcamp.com/album/d-h-x

Digital Leather, New Wave Gold (2020, No Coast) — The 24th full-length album released by Digital Leather (Shawn Foree) over 20 years, and one of his best.
Buy/download/listen: https://nocoastrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/new-wave-gold

Benny Leather, Temporary Insanity (2020, FDH Records) — Electro-punk debut LP features Modern Love’s Chandra Moskowitz (yes, the world famous chef!) and Thick Paint’s Sarah Bohling.
Buy/download/listen: https://fdhrecords.bandcamp.com/album/temporary-insanity-2

DÉSIR, Solar (2020, self-release) — Layered, dense ambient electronic songs from Omaha.
Buy/download/listen: https://queenofwands.bandcamp.com/album/solar

Uh Oh, Joe and Mari Sing the Hits (2020, self-release) — Includes covers of songs by Alex G, Waxahatchee, Better Oblivion Community Center and Joe Frusciante.
Buy/download/listen: https://uhoh.bandcamp.com/album/joe-mari-sing-the-hits

The World, The World (unreleased tracks – 1990) (2020, self-release) — Long-lost vault tracks featuring members of Digital Sex (Stephen Sheehan) and Mousetrap.
Buy/download/listen: https://stephensheehan.bandcamp.com/album/the-world-unreleased-tracks-1990

Bright Eyes, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was (2020, Dead Ocean) — This first new Bright Eyes recording since 2011 will be remembered as a pandemic event.
Buy/download/listen: https://brighteyes.bandcamp.com/album/down-in-the-weeds-where-the-world-once-was

No Thanks, Submerger (2020, Black Site Records) – Debut on KC label Black Site by self-proclaimed Omaha “goth punks.” Essential.
Buy/download/listen: https://no-thanks.bandcamp.com/album/submerger

Koso, “The Potential of Getting Violent” — Protest song of pure rage over the James Scurlock homicide pulls no punches.
Buy/download/listen: https://koso.bandcamp.com/track/the-potential-of-getting-violent

McCarthy Trenching, Perfect Game (2020, self-release) — The 10-song LP has all of Dan McCarthy’s storytelling charm.
Buy/download/listen: https://mccarthytrenching.bandcamp.com/album/perfect-game

Stephen Sheehan, “Thanks for Living — Quiet, powerful new track by former Digital Sex frontman.
Buy/download/listen: https://stephensheehan.bandcamp.com/track/thanks-for-living

STATHI, “Her Memoir” – Omaha singer/songwriter Stathi Spiros Patseas’ first release since debut EP Life of Compromise.
Buy/download/listen: https://stathi.bandcamp.com/album/post-truth-ep

James McMann, I’m On My Way (2020, self-release) —Funk by the former Grasshopper Takeover bassist.
Buy/download/listen: https://jamesmcmann1.bandcamp.com/album/im-on-my-way

Steady Wells, “Good Again” — Jordan Smith of Twinsmith; good time indie rock.
Buy/download/listen: https://steadywells.bandcamp.com/track/good-again

Those Far Out Arrows, Fill Yer Cup (2020, self-release) — More modern takes on classic psych rock styles that recall BRMC and Them.
Buy/download/listen: https://thosefaroutarrows.bandcamp.com/album/fill-yer-cup

The Laces, Wooden Change (2020, Mighty Feeble Records) — A “best of” collection of bedroom pop from Doug Kabourek’s pre-Fizzle Like a Flood project.
Buy/download/listen: https://mightyfeeble.bandcamp.com/album/mf58-wooden-change-the-best-of-the-laces

Anna McClellan, I Saw First Light (2020, Father/Daughter) — The follow-up to her 2018 debut Yes and No.
Buy/download/listen: https://annamcclellan.bandcamp.com/album/i-saw-first-light

James Schroeder, Mesa Buoy (2020, self-release) — David Nance sideman/guitarist extraordinaire cooks his own dinner on this stunning debut.
Buy/download/listen: https://jamesschroeder.bandcamp.com/album/mesa-buoy

Ethan Jones, McMcCartney (2020, self-release) — Ladyfinger/Dumb Beach guitarist’s homemade rock anthems seethe and sizzle.
Buy/download/listen: https://ethanjones.bandcamp.com/releases

David Nance, Staunch Honey (2020, Trouble In Mind) — Follow-up to 2018 break-out LP Peaced and Slightly Pulverized features a stripped-down, soulful sound.
Buy/download/listen: https://davidnance.bandcamp.com/album/staunch-honey

Problems, Ought Not Be Overthought (2020, Knightwerk Records) — Infectious electronic club music by Darren Keen (The Show Is the Rainbow).
Buy/download/listen: https://knightwerk.bandcamp.com/album/ought-not-be-overthought

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


When Will Live Music Return? (in the column); Saddle Creek signs Spirit of the Beehive…

Category: Blog — @ 1:51 pm February 3, 2021
The message on The Slowdown’s east-facing marquee says it all…

In this month’s issue of The Reader, I ask Marc Leibowitz (One Percent Productions, The Waiting Room), Jason Kulbel (The Slowdown) and Eric Dimenstein (Ground Control Touring) when live music will return to our stages — or at least to the stages at venues I frequent.

The good news our most important stages for indie music seem to be weathering the COVID-19 storm. The bad news is we’ve still got a long ways to go before we’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder at a club watching a touring indie band.

Read the article right here at The Reader website. Or pick up a copy of the printed version wherever you pick up copies of printed stuff.

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This morning our hometown label Saddle Creek Records announced it signed “Philadelphia shape-shifting band” Spirit of the Beehive. The band’s Creek debut LP, Entertainment, Death, is slated for release April 9.

From the press release:

The newly modified 3-piece (founding members Zack Schwartz and Rivka Ravede are now joined by new member Corey Wichlin), an adjustment that better suits the new record’s musical stylings, engaged in an entirely different writing process than their past records. Where their breakout Hypnic Jerks was recorded in a week, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH was planned and plotted over the period of four months; a dangerous amount of time for a band whose attention to detail is exceptional, allowing for their most focused and exploratory work to date. ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH is also the first to be entirely self-recorded and produced by the band giving a wider periphery and deeper scope into their intricate pop genius, a view unlike any SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE record that has come before.”

Check out the first single, “There’s Nothing You Can’t Do,” below, and pre-order the LP right here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


McCarthy Trenching makes Christgau’s Dean’s List 2020…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:30 pm January 27, 2021

This is kind of a follow-up to the review Robert Christgau posted a few weeks ago (and I mentioned here). The grandmaster of music critics gave McCarthy Trenching’s latest album, Perfect Game, an A- grade in his January Consumer Guide.

Christgau’s year-end list used to be part of the Pass and Jop year-end music coverage at the Village Voice — something he wrote from 1975 to 2005. This morning Christgau published his “Dean’s List” of the “71 best albums of the last year (or so)” and Perfect Game came in at No. 24, between Ashley McBryde’s Never Will at No. 23 and 75 Dollar Bill Little Big Band’s Live at Tubby’s at No. 25. It should be noted that No. 1 was Hanging Tree Guitars, which I’ve never heard of. Run the Jewel’s RTJ4 came in at No. 2.

Making Christgau’s year-end list was always kind of a big deal and still is today. Check out the list online here and congrat’s, Mr. McCarthy.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Sunks drop new LP; new Ohtis/Stef Chura (Saddle Creek); Teenage Fanclub…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:23 pm January 26, 2021
Ohtis in springtime? Photo by Andrew Remdenok.

Talk about your boring January’s, there’s just not a whole heckova lot going on. Next week I’ll be posting my February column in The Reader, which has some reporting about when we can expect to see live music return to Omaha. Spoiler alert: It’s gonna be awhile until any tours come passing through, but there’s hope for the future…

. * * * .

Omaha indie band The Sunks dropped their debut full-length, Wedding Season, today on Bandcamp. The 13-song LP was recorded at ARC by Adam Roberts. “Wedding Season marks the band’s debut album after playing in town for nearly six years,” says the site. “The album is a reflection of the myriad influences the band has and results in a finished product featured a variety of songs that can be enjoyed by any listener.” Check it out!

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This morning Saddle Creek Records announced the next installment in its 7-inch “Document” series will feature Illinois trio Ohtis, with special guest vocals by Stef Chura. “Schatze” b/w “Failure” is slated to come out on 7-inch vinyl Feb. 26, but the amusing video for the A-side dropped today.

From the release: “‘Schatze’ was mixed by Collin Dupuis (Lana Del Rey, Angel Olsen, St. Vincent) and it follows the release of Ohtis’ critically acclaimed 2019 debut album Curve of Earth, which was released via Full Time Hobby.” Ohtis was formed nearly 20 years ago, but went into a 15-year hiatus, according to the announcement. Check out the video below and pre-order the single right here.

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And all you oldsters will love to know that Teenage Fanclub is releasing its next full-length, Endless Arcade, April 3 on Merge Records. The band released the next single from the album, “I’m More Inclined,” this morning, along with European tour dates (September in the UK, and a larger Euro tour in 2022).

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Hi-Fi House closes, will leave Blackstone; new Hand Habits (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:08 pm January 19, 2021
Tears of Silver, a band fronted by The Posies’ Ken Stringfellow and Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue, performed at Hi-Fi House on Oct. 2, 2017.

Last Thursday the Hi-Fi House account on Facebook posted that the members-only listening club and vinyl vault will be “going on hiatus effective immediately until this pandemic subsides for good.”

Located on the corner of 37th and Farnam, Hi-Fi House has been closed for almost a year and is giving up its Blackstone location with hopes of returning elsewhere sometime in the future, according to the post.

The brainchild of Kate Dussault, Hi-Fi House opened its listening room back in 2016 boasting high-end audio stations used for spinning a dazzling collection of vinyl, with records counting in the tens of thousands. In addition to hosting educational music labs and listening parties, the space hosted a number of live performances.

The first question that popped into my mind when I heard the news was what will happen with that massive vinyl collection? Dussault said the answer is being discussed now and storage options are being considered, including a satellite operation that utilizes parts of the collection. Stay tuned.

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Saddle Creek Records today announced it’s releasing a new 2-song EP by Hand Habits, a.k.a. Meg Duffy, titled Dirt. Co-produced by Sasami Ashworth and Kyle Thomas (King Tuff), Dirt hits the streets Feb. 19. The first track of the 2-song EP, “4th of July,” dropped this morning on YouTube via the following video. Pre-order the EP here.  

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


McCarthy Trenching gets A- from the dean of music critics; new Sunks track…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 3:34 pm January 13, 2021
McCarthy Trenching, Perfect Game (2020, self release)

Long-time Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau is still writing reviews, these days via a Substack newsletter account (you can subscribe here). The subscription includes his monthly “Consumer Guide” reviews, and the January edition includes a glowing review of McCarthy Trenching’s latest LP, Perfect Game.

Said Christgau:

Alerted by Phoebe Bridgers’s cover of this ‘band’’s ‘Christmas Song,’ I spent a fine little Spotify morning checking out all 57 of Dan McCarthy’s entries. These date back to 2007 with the band part mostly theoretical—guitar strummer McCarthy doubles on the piano that dominates here and has hooked up with a bassist who I presume inflected the horn arrangements that add welcome color to his latest and most impressive tunes—most of which, to be clear, truly are tunes. McCarthy sings clear, mild, droll, calculated, casual and writes clever and inventive without ever overwhelming his offhand affect—the many laugh lines are more chuckle lines. ‘Why Don’t I See You Anymore’ devotes single lines and whole stanzas to 16 reasons before ‘Phaethon’ modernizes Greek mythology. ‘Red Maple’ and ‘Russian Olive’ chronicle dead trees. ‘I Didn’t Come to Town to Get a Haircut’ is something his uncle used to say only by the time Dan finally gets around to it the town doesn’t even have a barber. And that’s only the half of it. A MINUS

Christgau has been writing reviews since the ’60s and is my all-time favorite music critic. It’s a joy to see him recognize a local boy.

BTW, he wasn’t so glowing with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, in which he said: “If articulated depression is what you crave, does she have lyrical and musical detail for you—philosophical solace or melodic relief, no (“I See You,” “Graceland Too”) **

The ** rating is an honorable mention on the Christgau scale.

Read the entire January Consumer Guide here.

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Omaha indie band The Sunks’ have a new album coming out next Tuesday. The band consists of frontman Sean Paul on guitar/vocals, Ben Volkman on lead guitar; Adam O’Connell on bass and Kevin Kelly on drums. Here’s the first single, “The Sunks Song.”

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.