Spend your New Year’s Eve with The Lupines…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 11:35 am December 31, 2019

The Lupines at O’Leaver’s Nov. 9, 2019. The band will be rocking the New Year’s tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I literally will be spending my New Year’s Eve with the lupines — my lupines. Ever since Omaha decided it would be a great idea to sell fireworks leading up to NYE, I’ve been stuck at home when the ball drops covering my dogs’ ears as the world explodes around us. There’s nothing like living in Hillbilly Junction Omaha!

Anyway, for those of you looking for an awesome live show to bring in the New Year, look no further than fabulous O’Leaver’s, where The Lupines will be performing along with Hussies. Other than protecting my dogs from fireworks, I can’t think of a better way to welcome 2020. $5, 10 p.m., includes complimentary champagne toast at midnight!

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On a programming note: Look for the 2020 Music Predictions column online tomorrow here and at thereader.com.

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And have a Happy New Year!

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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Relive the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

* * *

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

2019 Music Year in Review: 4 big trends, favorite albums and live shows for the year gone by…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:04 pm December 30, 2019

Lazy-i 2019 Music Year in Review

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s not only the end of the year; it’s the end of a decade. But I’m not going to get into a review of the last 10 years because I only have about 1,000 words to write about 2019, and what a doozy of a year it was in music, especially local music.

Before I get to that, I would be remiss not to mention the quantum shift in how people consume music over the past 10 years. In 2009, we were just beginning to grasp how the move from CDs to MP3s was going to impact the music business. Those shiny new iPods were changing everything.

Ten years later and a different shift is near completion — from MP3s as the music format of choice to streaming. At least with MP3s, artists had something to sell, sort of. With streaming, paying artists has become an enormous shell game where no matter which shell they pick, nothing is found underneath, even for some established artists. As a result, for the first time in my memory, it is not uncommon to hear established artists say, “Why should I record new music? Fans don’t buy records anymore. All they want to hear when we’re on tour is the hits, anyway.”

As I’ve said in past columns, never has there been a worse time to be a start-up band. The new music business model: Record an album, upload it to Bandcamp, post a link to social media and get plenty of compliments, but no sales. I heard that story too many times last year from too many artists. Eventually, those artists may post their recordings to Spotify or YouTube, only to earn (if they’re lucky) a few bucks in streaming revenue. Touring for them has become a nonsensical money-losing endeavor if they don’t have merch to sell.

Even established indie artists are beginning to struggle to make money on tours. That, in a nutshell, is the music industry at the end of the teens decade. Where will it go in the next 10 years?

But back to Omaha.

There are four trends that deserve some reflection as we head into the roaring ‘20s:

The Great Exodus

I can’t remember any year as devastating as the last in terms of musicians moving away from Omaha. The list includes:

— Brad Hoshaw, singer/songwriter extraordinaire and leader of Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies;

— The dynamic duo of Todd and Orenda Fink, whose artistic output in addition to their own project, Closeness, includes Todd’s band The Faint and Orenda’s solo work and output as part of Azure Ray (her Azure Ray partner, Maria Taylor, left Omaha years ago);

— DJ and drummer Roger Lewis, one of the local legends this scene was built upon, whose projects include The Good Life and Oquoa;

— Singer/songwriter Jason Steady, once of the band Talking Mountain and more recently the guy behind Wolf Dealer; and

— Sarah Bohling and Graham Patrick Ulicny of rising act Thick Paint. Sarah’s also in Icky Blossoms, while Graham’s the newest member of The Faint.

And those are just the ones I know. Lord knows how many others have high-tailed it this year. Once upon a time, around the turn of the century, Omaha was a magnet for talented indie musicians who flocked here to be a part of “the next Seattle.” Well, those days are long, long gone. Most who left last year are now Californians. A few headed to other music cities, such as Nashville and Portland. What it says about the direction of Omaha’s music scene is obvious. How we change the course, less so.

Building for the Future

Flying in the face of that mass migration is the number of music venues that dot the Omaha landscape: The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge, Slowdown, The Jewell; arenas like CHI Health Center, Baxter and Ralston arenas; quality dive stages like O’Leaver’s, The Brothers, The Sydney, and just-opened boutique rooms like Bemis’ Low End. Have there ever been more stages for live music?

Apparently not, and more are on the way. Shovels turned dirt for the new multimillion-dollar La Vista indoor club and amphitheater being brought to you by the fine folks at One Percent Productions, announced in 2018 but only just now getting all the paperwork in order to begin construction. We’re talking a venue with a capacity of 2,000 inside and 4,500 outside, all at a cost of millions.

And speaking of millions, how about the proposed $109 million music hall that Omaha Performing Arts wants to build downtown, designed to accommodate up to 3,000 standing patrons (because there are no fixed seats)?

Add to that at least two more smaller stages getting ready to raise curtains, with more on the way. All this money to build venues while the local talent needed to perform on them either moves away or quits because they can’t make a living playing music. Maybe it’s time someone figures out a way to funnel at least a portion of the millions spent on venues to local artists making the music.

Courtney Barnett at the Maha Music Festival, Aug. 16, 2019.

Maha Mania

It wasn’t all bleakness in 2019. The Maha Music Festival enjoyed its biggest year ever, thanks in part to booking superstar act Lizzo just before she blew up nationally. The two-day festival sold out its second day (Lizzo Day) rather quickly. Now the question for 2020 is whether Maha will continue along its original mission of bringing the best indie music to Omaha, or if last year’s Saturday crowd has organizers thinking of bigger, more pop-oriented fare. My advice: Bigger is almost never better.

Omaha Girls Rock

While women continue to dominate the national indie (and pop) music charts and best-of lists (off the top of my head, Lana Del Rey, FKA Twigs, Big Thief, Angel Olsen, Solange, Billie Eilish and Sharon Van Etten), Omaha women have never been more under-represented in our own music scene. This was no more apparent than when The Reader compiled its annual Top 20 bands lists — lists dominated by male-fronted bands. Of my own contribution to that list, only a few acts even had a female member — See Through Dresses, Domestica, Wagon Blasters, Thick Paint and Cursive.

Ironically, the roster of new acts for Omaha’s flagship indie music label — Saddle Creek Records — has consisted almost entirely of women-fronted projects: Ada Lea, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Stef Chura, Hand Habits, Hop Along, Tomberlin and Adrianne Lenker (and Big Thief, a band the label lost last year to 4AD). And, as a result, Saddle Creek is earning accolades along with plenty of airtime on Sirius XMU (and, hopefully, some revenue).

Never has an organization like Omaha Girls Rock been more needed. The nonprofit’s mission is to empower youth to find their unique voice through music education, performance and creativity. It does this through a strong team of local musicians who work one-on-one with girls and young women, teaching them all kinds of things, but especially how to rock. And Lord knows, Omaha needs more of that.

In fact, my top-10 list of favorite albums has the least Omaha representation in recent memory. Here they are in no particular order:

DIIV, Deceiver (Captured Tracks)

Orville Peck, Pony (Sub Pop)

Simon Joyner, Pocket Moon (Grapefruit)

Hand Habits, Placeholder (Saddle Creek)

Lodgings, Water Works (self-release)

Sharon Van Etten, Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)

Purple Mountains, self-titled (Drag City)

Lloyd Cole, Guesswork (Edel)

Better Oblivion Community Center, self-titled (Dead Oceans)

Strand of Oaks, Eraserland, (Dead Oceans)

I attended fewer rock shows last year than any year previous. I blame my day job, but I can’t ignore the fact that fewer indie shows are being booked at our main clubs — The Waiting Room, Reverb, Slowdown and O’Leaver’s. It’s a sign of the times and that we need more concert promoters in Omaha, because, like I said, we’ve got more than enough venues.

Still, it was a great year in live music. Here are the best shows I attended:

Better Oblivion Community Center at The Slowdown, March 21, 2019.

Better Oblivion Community Center at Slowdown, March 21 — Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers’ side project was a main event throughout most of 2019.

Hand Habits w/ Tomberlin at Slowdown Jr., April 1 — A mini-Saddle Creek showcase, Hand Habits’ Meg Duffy showed why she’s one of the most sought-after guitarists in the indie world.

Disq at Slowdown Jr., June 2, 2019.

Sasami at Reverb Lounge, April 19 — Her soaring guitar riffs and soft, low voice reminded me of Exile-era Liz Phair powered by an amazing rhythm section.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, May 24 — It came down to that moment everyone waits for — “Glass Danse” — when the whole crowd erupts, and that night was no exception. The floor became a trampoline, just like in the good ol’ days.

Minne Lussa at Farnam House backlot, June 6, 2019.

Disq at Slowdown Jr., June 2 — They sounded like a modern-day mix of all your ‘90s favorites — from Teenage Fanclub to Weezer to Pavement to No Knife — played by youngsters too young to have heard of any of them.

Minne Lussa / Wagon Blasters at Farnam House backlot, July 6 — From rousing to haunting in a makeshift space behind a brew pub.

The Beths at Slowdown Jr., July 15 — They played like a family unit, maybe because they’re all New Zealanders stranded in this very strange land.

Little Brazil at Benson Days, July 27, 2019.

Little Brazil at Benson Days, July 27 — The new tunes pointed toward the same short, sweet rock direction heard on their last record, as if the band is trying to put together a string of singles.

No Thanks at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 5 — Shirtless in tight black pants and black lipstick, Castro Turf’s spaz-rock preening conjured comparisons to The Cramps’ Lux Interior, nervously/feverishly pacing back and forth in front of the band for the first half of the set and spending the second half immersed in the humanity that crowded the stage.

The Oh Sees at the Maha Music Festival Aug. 17, 2019.

Maha Music Festival, Stinson Park, Aug. 16-17 — Everyone was talking about Lizzo, but for me it was all about Courtney Barnett on Friday night and that killer Oh Sees set Saturday afternoon.

Digital Leather at The Sydney, Sept. 6 — Shawn Foree shifted to bass fronting on a set of recent and new songs (“Compass”) that gave me hope for the next album.

Cursive at O’Leaver’s, Sept. 23 — Always dark, Cursive’s new music was pointedly political, representing a shift from anxiety to fear — a reflection of our times when a monster is running amok before our very eyes and there’s nothing anyone can (or will) do about it.

Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge, Sept. 27 — A cross between The Pixies and every three-chord punk band you’ve ever heard, propelled full-throttle by a double-barrel drum attack and sung in Spanish for good measure.

Deerhoof at Low End, Oct. 25, 2019.

Deerhoof at Low End, Oct. 25 — The venue — a new Omaha stage dedicated to experimental music — was as interesting (or more so) than the headliner.

Lupines/Unexplained Death at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 9 — Lupines rolled out a new piano-driven folk-rock sound; Matt Whipkey rolled out a new poli-punk rock sound; and O’Leaver’s got everyone drunk.

Solid Goldberg at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 26 — Nothing says Thanksgiving like O’Leaver’s and an Omaha legend with a new punk/blues attack. I’ll take another drumstick, please.

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Look for the 2020 Predictions column on New Year’s Day here and on thereader.com, or pick up a copy of the January issue of  The Reader on newsstands now.

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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Relive the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

* * *

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Minne Lussa, Domestica, Staffers tonight; Criteria, Little Brazil, Las Cruxes, Fox (debut) Saturday, Twinsmith, J&M Mowing (supergroup) Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:35 pm December 27, 2019

Criteria at The Waiting Room, Dec. 30, 2017. The band returns to The Waiting Room this Saturday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, 2019 is going out like a lion.

There’s a solid triple-bill tonight at Reverb Lounge headlined by Minne Lussa (Matt Rutledge and Co.), Lincoln legends Domestica (ex-Mercy Rule, maybe it’s time I quit referencing that classic ’90s act?) and Silversphere (ex-Lepers) who opens the show at 9 p.m. $8.

Also tonight, The Brothers is hosting a three-band bill with Staffers (Anna McClellan, Noah Kohll, Ryan McKeever, Ameen Wahba), Razors and Sean Pratt & the Sweats. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at The Slowdown it’s Satchel Grande with Omaha Beat Brigade. $10, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is crowded.

Every holiday season there’s always one gig where a classic local band reunites. This year it’s Criteria at The Waiting Room. The band, with a new album about to drop on 15 Passenger Records, is warming up for a tour with Cursive next month. Huge. Opening is Little Brazil and Lodgings (whose 2019 album, Water Works, made my list of 10 favorite albums of the year). $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Spanish-language punk band Las Cruxes is playing O’Leaver’s with a new line-up seeing as Landon Hedges and Nate Van Fleet no longer are with the band. Mere Shadows and Towering Rogue open at 10 p.m.

Over at The Barley Street Saturday night it’s the debut of Fox, a new project by Jessica Errett Renner and Marta Fiedler (ex-Blue Bird). Fox opens for Sadie Sanner and Dave Tamkin at 9 p.m. $5.

Sunday night over at Reverb Lounge, it’s one of those holiday shows where folks are in town and just want to jam, which is exactly what J&M Mowing is. The cover band consists of Mike Jaworski (SAVAK, The Cops), Kelly Maxwell and Mike Loftus (both of Sons of…, Shovelhead, 60-Watt Saloon and Hong Jyn Corp.) and Dave Mainelli of Bazile Mills, who is headlining the show. WARNING: This is a 5 p.m. show because these guys are super-old. $8.

Also Sunday night it’s the return of Saddle Creek Records act Twinsmith to Slowdown Jr. The band plays with opener Salt Creek and headliner The Real Zebos. $7, 8 p.m.

And 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Best of 2019 compilation CD track list; Bull Nettles, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:33 pm December 26, 2019

Lazy-i Best of 2019 compilation CD.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here it is, the annual Lazy-i Best of… comp CD. It’s become a much sought-after collector’s item by those eager to gather this annual assembly of the best of the best stuff I’ve listened to and/or written about over the past year in Lazy-i and/or The Reader. I’ve been sending out these comps since ’94, first as cassettes, then switching over to Compact Discs in ’99. They’re time capsules of the year that was in indie music, both nationally and locally.

I count only six tracks this year with local connections — the fewest local tracks I’ve gathered for any previous collection. What’s it mean? Find out in when you read the 2019 Music Year in Review article in The Reader, which hits the stands in January (but will be online at thereader.com and Lazy-i.com by the end of the year).

Anyway, here’s the 2019 Best of Lazy-i CD tracklist:

1. “Skin Game” – DIIV, from Deceiver (Captured Tracks)
2. “Summer Girl” – HAIM, single (Columbia)
3. “Seventeen” – Sharon Van Etten, from Remind Me Tomorrow (Jagjaguwar)
4. “Can’t Calm Down” – Hand Habits, from Placeholder (Saddle Creek)
5. “Communication” – Disq, single (Saddle Creek)
6. “Bad Idea!” – Girl in Red, single (AWAL)
7. “Stick N Poke” – Palehound, from Black Friday (Polyvinly)
8. “Try Not to Hang on So Hard” – Young Guv, from GUV II (Run for Cover)
9. “Weird Ways” – Strand of Oaks, from Eraserland (Dead Oceans)
10. “Turn to Hate” – Orville Peck, from Pony (Sub Pop)
11. “Moments and Whatnot” – Lloyd Cole, from Guesswork (Edel)
12. “Little Trouble” – Better Oblivion Community Center, single (Dead Oceans)
13. “Yellow Jacket Blues” – Simon Joyner, from Pocket Moon (Grapefruit)
14. “Mr. President” – Prettiest Eyes, from Volume 3 (Castle Face)
15. “In Degrees (Purple Disco Machine Remix)” – Foals, single (Warner)
16. “All My Happiness is Gone” – Purple Mountains, from self-titled debut (Drag City)
17. “Hang On” – Uh Oh, from Stay Close (Ghost Light)
18. “You Got the Coast” – Left is West, from How to Be Happy Without Even Trying (self-release)

Want a copy of the CD? Enter to win one in the annual drawing! To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 6, at midnight.

If you just want to listen to the collection, the CD’s playlist is now available in Spotify. Simply click the link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find it along with a few from past years, too. Thanks as always to design genius Donovan Beery (eleven19.com), who’s been putting together the CD sleeves since 2000!

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There are a couple post-X-Mas shows happening tonight…

At Reverb Lounge it’s the debut of new Omaha Americana act Bull Nettles, a band featuring Doug Kabourek (Fizzle Like a Flood), Travis Linn (Black Squirrels) and Steve Vincik (Township and Range). Joining them is The Broke Loose. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship opens for Jump the Tiger at Slowdown Jr. (JtT will be playing an all-covers set). Sack of Lions opens at 8 p.m. $10.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Clarence Tilton, Stephen Sheehan, Oquoa, Mitch Gettman tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:42 pm December 23, 2019

Stephen Sheehan at The Waiting Room, Dec. 23, 2018. His band plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

‘Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and all through the town, three shows to choose from, because we know you’ll be around…

…and most of you/us don’t have to get up tomorrow morning for work. So…

Over at The Waiting Room it’s the Drive for the Heart Ministry. The annual event raises money for the Heart Ministry Center, an organization that assists people with life’s basic necessities. Headlining tonight’s benefit is Omaha alt-country band extraordinaire Clarence Tilton. Joining them are Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex, The World) and his band, Andrew Bailie and Dan Olsen from Sack of Lions. Tickets are $10 or a minimum 3-item donation (stuff like toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, shampoo and deodorant). Music starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Slowdown Jr. is hosting Oquoa (that’s right, Roger Lewis is back for the holidays). Joining them are Mesonjixx and Tonina. $10, 9 p.m.

Finally, Mitch Gettman is hosting something he’s calling “A Decade of Obscurity,” at Cedar, 8726 Countryside Plaza. It’s three hours of Mitch. No price listed, but it starts at 9 p.m.

And that’s going to do it until after Christmas. Most bars are going to be open Christmas Eve, but many will be closed Christmas Day. Your best bet is to call ahead (or get loaded at home).

Have a fabulous holiday…!

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ah, the holidays… Uh Oh, Bayside Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:10 pm December 20, 2019

Uh Oh at Take Cover Five at O’Leaver’s Jan. 30, 2016. The band plays Sunday night at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Ah, the pre-Christmas weekend…

If you’ve looked at the various and sundry venue calendars you already know there ain’t nothing happening over the weekend except DJs, cover bands and benefits shows. I suggest using this down-time to pay a visit to The Brothers Lounge for some delicious jukebox punk rock and beer (I would have said “for an ice cold Rolling Rock” but The Brothers no longer serves Rolling Rock because (I’m told) I was the only person who drank it, along with one other guy, who died).

OK, there are a couple shows on Sunday.

Sunday night Uh Oh opens for Orca Welles and The Beeves at Slowdown Jr. Uh Oh has the proud distinction of having a song on the Lazy-i Best of 2019 comp CD. More info about that later. This $8 show will cost ya $8.

Also Sunday night, The Waiting Room is hosting a night of emo/pop-punk bands headlined by NYC band Bayside (Hopeless Records) with Capstan (Fearless Records) and Moonlighting. $24, 7:30 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT Now Where? 2009: The Year in Music

Category: Blog — @ 1:50 pm December 19, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

St. Vincent at Slowdown Jr., June 3, 2009 (it happened to be my birthday!).

Everyone says it’s the end of the decade, so why does it seem like the end of the world?

And thus began the 2009 Music Year in Review article for The Reader and Lazy-i from waaaay back in Dec. 2009. What were the best albums? How about the best gigs (Who remembers that Bear Country show at The Waiting Room June 14, 2009? or Yo La Tengo at The Slowdown Oct. 11, 2009?)?

Read all about it right here (But don’t bother entering the drawing for the 2009 comp CD. We’re all out.)

I’ll be posting the 2019 Year in Review sometime in the coming weeks…

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Brother Ali, Garst tonight; Gerardo Meza, Sean Pratt & the Sweats Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:39 pm December 13, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Pretty thin weekend.

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Brother Ali. The Minneapolis rapper is a member of the Rhymesayers consortium and has made Omaha a regular tour stop since back in the early 2000s. Check out the Ten Questions with Brother Ali from 2017. Joining him tonight are DJ Last Word and Nur-D. 8 p.m., $25.

Also tonight, newcomers Garst celebrates the release of a new EP, Deathly, at Reverb Lounge. Joining them are Death God and and Lincoln’s Death Cow. $7, 8 p.m.

And then there’s The Regulation opening tonight for Light Speed Highway at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Blandford kicks things off at 9 p.m. No price listed, but it’s usually $5.

For all you C&W fans, The Electroliners are playing tonight at the Barley Street Tavern with 24 Hour Card Lock an King of the Tramps. $5, 9 p.m.

And I typically don’t hype cover bands or tribute acts, but The Sydney has something unique tonight — She’s Crafty, an all-female Beastie Boys tribute act. CatBeret and DJ Kobrakyle open at 9 p.m. $10.

Saturday night has Lincoln’s Gerardo Meza and the Dead of Night headlining at The Sydney in Benson. Joining them are Mike Schlesinger and Sean Pratt and the Sweats. $5, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr. Win/Win headlines Saturday night with Muscle Cousins, Bach Mai and Bailey Tamerius. 8 p.m., $7.

And Omaha emo band Names Without Numbers is having a CD release show at The Waiting Room Saturday night. Opening are Dear Neighbor, Wither Decay and Indian Caves. $10, 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. 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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: Forget 2009, here’s a look at 1999; Big Nope debuts tonight at OutrSpaces…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:13 pm December 12, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Everyone’s looking back on the ’10s decade as we close it out, and I will as well, but on this #TBT I thought it would be fun to look back at how we closed out the ’90s. And thus I give you…

1999: The Year in Music

Who remembers these guys?

Originally published in Lazy-i and The Reader, Jan. 6, 2000 — We can only hope that the current state of popular music in no way reflects what’s to come in the so-called “new millennium.” The 1900s were ushered out of our collective psyches under the rattle and hum of the worst possible soundtrack for the end of anything, let alone the ’90s.

If this year is remembered from a popular music standpoint, it will be for the rise of perhaps the two most vacant and uninteresting musical trends in recent memory: boy groups and Goon Rock.

It was impossible to ignore the rise of “boy groups,” such as Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, ‘N Sync (and the female equivalent — this year’s Debbie Gibson/Tiffany known as Britney Spears). Back in the heyday of New Kids on the Block, children (mostly young women) “ooohed” and “aaaahed” over those five post-pubescent, lip-synching wunderkids whose faces adorned such rough-hewed music publications as Tiger Beat and 16. Adults certainly didn’t take Menudo or the New Kids seriously. They smiled at the popularity of say, Vanilla Ice, and laughed warmly during the annual Christmas parties when little Jason or Caitlin would be dragged out to the living room in their footie pajamas to imitate the dance steps of their favorite Saturday morning cartoon boy groups. Soon, New Kids quietly disappeared into the “where are they now” category.

Things certainly have changed. Look at the year in review issue of Rolling Stone, regarded as one of the premium rock music journals of our day, and you’ll see large, full-page photos of Backstreet Boys lauded as one of the best groups of ’99. Throughout the year respected music publications have featured chin-rubbing analyses of the lyrical content of the latest ‘N Sync opus, along with embarrassing, sacrilegious comparisons of acts like 98 Degrees and Britney to the great musical artists of the ’50s. MTV, once (and very briefly) a bellwether for important pop musical trends, quickly found itself with its pants down, fondly stroking off the ‘N Sync boys during “serious interviews” in the TRL studios. It is painful to watch a once-respected rock journalist like Kurt Loder seriously interview five dancing puppets who haven’t written a single note of music, who in a time well-past would have been laughed off as the limp-syncing aerobic instructors that they are. A breathless following — not only of children but also mini-van-driving adults — has given boy groups credibility that before would have been reserved only for serious musicians.

Put simply, those sexy, soon-to-flameout boy groups ruled in ’99, but they weren’t alone.

Or these guys…

Rising from the ghettos of suburban Los Angeles and the posh, baggy-Gap-adorned mini-malls across the U.S. rose the dumbest of dumbed-down heavy-metal rawk. Call it “Goon Rock” for a lack of a better term. The playas: Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, the Kottonmouth Kings (note the bizarre use of the letter K in all these band names?) Insane Clown Posse and Eminem. The music: poorly played and conceptualized white-boy rap, where the constituents brag about being playas and “keeping it real” with such mundane lyrics as “I did it for the nookie/And you can take this cookie/And stick it up your Yeah.” Limp Bizkit is the fully realized commercialization of white-boy pseudo-urban music taken to new levels of oafishness. And the kids loved it.

It wasn’t all shit in ’99. There were a number of highlights, few of which were heard on your radio. Among the best CDs of the year:

1. Those Bastard Souls — Debt & Departure
2. Nine Inch Nails — The Fragile
3. Guster — Lost and Gone Forever
4. Burning Airlines — Mission Control
5. The Faint — Blank Wave Arcade
6. Pet Shop Boys — Nightlife
7. Pavement — Terror Twilight
8. Shannon Wright — Flight Safety
9. Built to Spill — Keep It Like a Secret
10. Reset — My Still Life
11. Folk Implosion — One Part Lullaby
12. Beck — Midnight Vultures

In addition to Reset and The Faint, other notable releases by local bands included Simon Joyner’s The Lousy Dance, (given a four-out-of-five rating in the latest issue of Alternative Press); Bright Eyes’ Every Day and Every Night EP (which, along with The Faint, continues to climb the CMJ charts), and Ravine’s soundtrack to the movie Killing Diva.

Saddle Creek Records’ bands continue to be the shining hope for relevance of the Omaha music scene. If 2000 sees any breakthroughs locally, it’ll come from Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), who will release a full-length CD this year that will push him to the next level of national exposure and acceptance. But before we get into predictions for 2000, let’s take a look at how I did last year. In my ’98 year-in-review column in The Reader, I predicted: the death of swing (hit!), a loud-then-soft reaction to a new Nine Inch Nails CD (hit again!), the rise of Oi! music (miss!), the continued rise in Internet music promotion (no duh!), another major Omaha signing a la Mulberry Lane (miss!), the opening of a new Omaha showcase lounge and the closing of a beloved one (The Music Box, although its yet to actually open its doors; the closing of the Stork Club, though I thought The Cog Factory would be the victim). Four for six, not too bad…

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God, I don’t miss the ’90s.

Meanwhile, back in 2019…

Tonight at OutrSpaces, 1258 So. 13th St., it’s the stage debut of Big Nope, the new project by See Through Dresses drummer (and now Criteria tour drummer) Nate Van Fleet. Nate’s taking the frontman position this time handling guitars and vocals, with Liv Baxter also on guitar, Aaron Lee on bass and Zachary Roland on drums.

The band has a two-song single on Bandcamp: “Never Going Outside” b/w “Grass is Greener,” recorded at Little Machine by Van Fleet and Matthew Carroll (also of See Through Dresses), mixed by studio wizard Ben Brodin at Hand Branch.

Bach Mai opens the show at 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation supports the artists.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cursive to return to Winchester Bar & Grill in January…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:55 pm December 10, 2019

Cursive at Winchester Bar & Grill, May 25, 2019. The band is returning to Winchester Jan. 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I can’t remember it being this quiet show-wise or music news-wise. I mean nothing is going on. No shows this week. Omaha is a ghost town.

Except for this one bit of news: Cursive just announced that they’re returning to Winchester Bar & Grill Jan. 15. This is a new show listing, I believe. Playing alongside Kasher and crew are tour mates Cloud Nothings and “TBA.” No mention of Criteria, who will be joining Cursive and Cloud Nothings the next night in Denver at the Bluebird Theater, unless, of course, Criteria is the “TBA.”

Cursive first played at Winchester, a bar owned by Cursive’s Tim Kasher, Ted Stevens and Matt Maginn (among others), back on May 25. In the write-up for that show, I espoused dreams that maybe the bar could become a new venue for indie rock shows, but that never materialized. Instead, Winchester remains a prime choice for all your karaoke and cover band needs (As well as a great place to get a cheeseburger).

Anyway, mark your calendar.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i