Big Thief leaves Saddle Creek for 4AD; Brothers closed until March 8…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm February 27, 2019

Big Thief’s next album, U.F.O.F., will be released May 3 on 4AD.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Received a bit of a shock yesterday when I looked at my email. There it was in the subject line: Big Thief Sign to 4AD, Announce New Album.

The press release copy: “U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend,’ is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May 3.” The release goes on to describe the record, the recording process, the lyrics, as well as upcoming tour dates without once mentioning Saddle Creek Records, the label that released the band’s last two albums.

Via Twitter, Saddle Creek acknowledged the news. When @loosechange tweeted “BIG THIEF AREN’T ON SADDLE CREEK ANYMORE?” @saddlecreek responded with: “No, but it’s ok! We still love each other! Proud and excited to watch as they (gently and compassionately) take over the world. Everyone should hear their new song. It’s so good.

Gracious words indeed, but the fact remains that it had to hurt to lose Big Thief from the label’s roster. Just looking at their Spotify numbers, no other act signed to Saddle Creek over the past three years is nearly as popular, with Hop Along coming in a distant second.

I asked label chief Robb Nansel if Saddle Creek turned down Big Thief’s latest album or if 4AD out-spent them. His one-word response: “Neither.”

So what was the reason? Did Big Thief look at 4AD as a necessary step up from Saddle Creek or was it something else? I’m sure we’ll find out as the band begins to take interviews in support of the new record.

Meanwhile, Saddle Creek is busy promoting the new album by Hand Habits, Placeholder, which comes out this Friday.

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No rock shows tonight worth mentioning.

BTW, The Brothers is closed until March 8 according to Facebook! Wasn’t winter cold enough already?

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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.

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Author, Mountains Like Wax, And How tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:36 pm February 25, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Still digging out?

Not much else happening. Lots of shows got cancelled this weekend. I can’t wait until all this winter stuff ends.

As far as I know tonight’s show at Pet Shop Gallery is still on. Minneapolis band Author is on the bill along with Nashville band Mountains Like Wax and Omaha’s And How. No price listed. 9 p.m. start time.

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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.

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Satchel Grande tonight; Lodgings, Relax, It’s Science Saturday; Dr. Dog, The Nude Party, Single Mothers Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:19 pm February 22, 2019

Lodgings at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 2, 2017. The band plays at The Brothers Saturday..

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Somebody put a stake through the heart of winter so we can get back to something normal weather-wise? Sounds like tonight and Saturday night could be a shit-storm. If you go out, be careful, people.

Tonight’s big show is Satchel Grande at The Waiting Room. They always bring the party. Omaha Beat Brigade kicks it off at 9 p.m. $8.

And that’s it for tonight.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), the big show is at Brothers Lounge where Lodgings headlines. Opening is the double-bass attack of Relax, It’s Science and Lincoln power trio Her Flyaway Manner. $5, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Mike Schlesinger plays at The Sydney in Benson with Dirt House and Tom Bartolomei. 9 p.m. $5.

Sunday night Dr. Dog headlines the big room at The Slowdown. The Nude Party opens at 8 p.m. $25 Adv/$28 DOS.

Meanwhile, over at Lookout Lounge, Ontario punkers Single Mothers headlines Sunday night. Mobina Galore, Kill Vargas and Uh Oh open at 8 p.m. $10.

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.

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#TBT: Album Review: Box, Burdens of the a.m. (from Lazy-i.com, 1999?); Vundabar tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:00 pm February 21, 2019

Box, Burdens of the a.m. (1999, Spillway)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This is really going back, maybe 20 years? Funny thing, I can’t find mention of this album anywhere on the internet. When I do a search, it takes me to a 2012 Spotify entry that is unplayable. 

I originally wrote that Mark Weber, who was in Box, was in Clarence Tilton. Wrong Weber, though if you listened to this, you could see where I might have made that mistake… 

Box

Burdens of the a.m.

Spillway Records

Omaha’s own, Box calls its sound “rural rock,” because the members all come from small towns in the area “where their roots run strong.” Whatever you want to label it, it’s definitely well-crafted, radio-friendly southern-styled pop music that, when it’s at its most honest, recalls a feeling of dirt roads, corn fields and silos. They’re at their best on the slower, acoustic-based tracks, like “Best I’ve Got,” and “St. Peter,” that can best be compared to Lonesome Jubilee-era John Mellencamp or the Jayhawks. The faster, rave-up numbers are more twangy and will immediately make you think of the Gin Blossoms. Mark Weber’s voice so eerily resembles Gin Blossom’s Jesse Valenzuela’s that he could break into his house if it was protected by a voiceprint lock. Songs “Dragline,” “Round the Block” and “Fall,” continue to push the comparison along, thanks to song structures that also seem to match old Gin Blossoms’ tracks. And that isn’t such a bad thing… as long as you like the Gin Blossoms. Based on the band’s sheer musical talent, there’s tons of room for Box to develop a more unique, and ultimately, more satisfying style. Until then, kick up your boots and enjoy. — Lazy-i.com, sometime in 1998 or ’99…

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Vundabar plays tonight at Reverb Lounge. The Boston. Mass indie rock trio truly is indie, releasing  stuff on their own Gawk Records label, and Bandcamp, of course. And catching some traction, thanks to lots of touring. They’ve been on the road since late January and won’t be home until sometime next month, supporting their most recent album, 2018’s Smell Smoke, an album that received a massive 7.8 rating from Pitchfork, which said “Vundabar have brilliantly crafted an album that feels like it resonates with joy and sorrow both here and in the hereafter.” Chicago by way of Madison indie band Slow Pulp and our very own The Natural States open at 8 p.m. $14.

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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.

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Fred Armisen at The Slowdown; Kikagaku Moyo at The Waiting Room, Moonraker at The Brothers…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:29 pm February 20, 2019

Fred Armisen performs tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tonight’s Fred Armisen show is still very much on despite this morning’s snowmaggeden. The Portlandia star will perform everything from hardcore punk (Crisis of Conformity) to yacht-rock (the Blue Jean Committee), according to this Rolling Stone article about the tour.

From the article:

Armisen’s stage personas, premiered during his tenure on SNL from 2002 to 2013, lovingly blur the line between parody and tribute. The eclectic catalog includes Seventies yacht-rock (the Blue Jean Committee), artful Eighties synth-pop (the Fingerlings), hardcore punk (Crisis of Conformity), suave piano pop (Joshua Rainhorn) and Brazilian Bossa nova (Paulinho e Beatriz).

Armisen has quite an indie rock pedigree including stints with Les Savy Fav, Matthew Sweet and Devo. Sounds like fun. The show’s been sold out for weeks, by the way. Starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Kikagaku Moyo plays at The Waiting Room. The Tokyo-based psychedelic rock band’s sound incorporates elements of Krautrock, Indian ragas and acid folk. Very lush stuff. Very proggy. And what difference does it make if you don’t understand the words? This one could be interesting. Portland psych quartet Weeed opens at 8 p.m. $15.

Finally, intense Santa Clarita punkers Moonraker play tonight at The Brothers. Their last LP,  Lanterns, was released on Tiny Dragon Music. Dsm5 and Hand Painted Police Car open at 9 p.m. $5.

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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.

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Do Ryan Adams’ records sound different this week?; The Love Language, Bokr Tov tonight at The Sydney…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:43 pm February 18, 2019

The Love Language plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve never been a fan of Ryan Adams. Not sure why, but his music just never resonated with me. And though I’ve listened to a few of his albums, I was more aware of his odd stage antics and past erratic behavior than his music.

So when The New York Times published this article last Wednesday with the subhead: “Several women say Adams offered to jumpstart their music careers, then pursued them sexually and in some cases retaliated when they spurned him. He denies the claims.” it had no material impact on how I felt about his music. But I can see where it would for his fans, even though not a note of his songs changed one iota from what they were before the article came out.

I’m a Woody Allen fan. I’ve loved his films all my life. But as one allegation after another gets hoisted in Allens’ direction — all of which he’s denied — they cannot help but echo in the back of my mind while I hear his voice narrating during Radio Days or see him flirt with Diane Keaton in Play It Again, Sam. Allen is now fighting with Amazon who pulled out of a deal for future Allen films. He’s suing, of course, and Amazon will likely settle for an ungodly amount if only to rid themselves of the perceived stigma of being associated with Woody Allen.

That said, I still laugh out loud whenever I see the “Coke Scene” in Annie Hall. Should I feel guilty? Because I don’t.

This is a long way of asking what will Ryan Adams’ fans do with all those albums? Will they still listen to and enjoy Heartbreaker as much as they did before last Wednesday? Is it OK to still like his music? Or now that he’s been unveiled, is his music unlistenable? Because they’re the same songs they were before last Wednesday…

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Merge recording artist The Love Language plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson. The Raleigh, N.C., band fronted by Stuart McLamb has been kicking around since 2009 playing a free-wheeling style of indie pop that sits well alongside bands like The Rosebuds and Arcade Fire. Except for the yacht-rock-flavored single “Juiceboxx,” the new record, Baby Grand (2018, Merge), is more layered and spacier than past efforts, one might even deploy the overused term “shoe-gaze” to describe it. Locals Bokr Tov open 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.

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Dross (and Slowdown’s new sound system), The Natural States, Todd Snider tonight; Lissie Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm February 15, 2019

Singer/songwriter Todd Snider plays at Scottish Rite Hall Saturday tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Two reasons to go to Slowdown Jr. tonight.

The first is to hear The Slowdown’s new sound system. When the bar first opened 11 years ago it boasted the best sound system in the area and quickly earned national huzzahs as one of the finest music venues in the country. Now I’m told by OEA Award winning sound engineer Dan Brennan that both Slowdown’s big room and front room have brand new audio systems.

Which brings us to the second reason to head down to Slowdown tonight. Opening band Dross features members of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Mint Wad Willy, and will be the perfect break-in band for the new audio experience. Also on the bill are Jump the Tiger and Two Shakes. Dross kicks it off at 9 p.m. $8.

What else is happening this weekend?

Well, over at The Sydney in Benson tonight local indie band The Natural States opens for Unmanned and Living Conditions. 10 p.m., $5.

Meanwhile, over at Scottish Rite Hall tonight singer/songwriter Todd Snider performs. Seems like Snider’s been coming through Omaha for decades. Kevin Gordon opens at 8 p.m. $40.

Saturday night is wide open, people. I suggest heading over to The Sydney for the return of the Benson Soul Society. It’s free and starts at 10 p.m.

Sunday night singer/songwriter Lissie headlines at The Waiting Room with Roscoe and Etta. $18 Adv/$20 DOS.

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.

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Unexplained Death (a.k.a. Matt Whipkey and band) takes on the Ricketts family…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:32 pm February 13, 2019

A screen cap from the new Unexplained Death video for “Wall Street Pete (Daddy’s Money).”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Whipkey has been working on a secret project for a number of months. He’s known for a style of music that falls somewhere in the folk rock / Americana / alt country / singer-songwriter genres. The new project, going by the name Unexplained Death, is Whipkey’s take on punk as only he can.

His first angry solvo has been hurled at Pete Ricketts and the Ricketts family in general. Called “Wall Street Pete (Daddy’s Money)” it throws the Ricketts spaghetti agaisnt the wall. See what pieces stick below.

I asked Whipkey, “Why punk, why now?”

“Look at the world; it’s a flaming shit storm. In all directions, fireballs of shit flying,” Whipkey said. “A lot of musicians are speaking out against the current state of affairs and that is great, but a lot of these songs are borderline lullabies.”

Whipkey’s abrupt change in musical style also is the result of too often being hung with the “Americana, singer/songwriter” genre tag. “I’ve carried it for a long time,” he said.

So is what he’s doing punk? Probably not in the truest sense. This song and others off the upcoming collection fall closer to Replacements-style indie rock.

“When I was learning to play guitar, these were the kind of jams I first figured out,” he said. “Fast and loud is definitely part of my nature. In no way am I claiming to be a punk purist. I still like melody too much. But the energy it carries has always been a part of my identity.”

The Unexplained Death songs were mostly recorded in Whipkey’s unfinished basement. “I did the drums for some songs at Scott Gaeta’s (studio),” Whipkey said. “I mixed all the songs and even played everything (sans drums).”

He’s looking for a record label to put it out, but, “I have little hope because the music industry is also part of that flaming shit storm.”

We’re all still waiting for the first Unexplained Death rock show; do you hear that Lookout Lounge and The Brothers?

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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.

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Gang of One (um, Four), Eric in Outerspace tonight at Slowdown Jr…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:51 pm February 12, 2019

Gang of Four plays tonight at Slowdown, Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m one of the odd ones. Even if all four members of Gang of Four were playing tonight at The Slowdown there’s a pretty good chance I wouldn’t go see them. I’m just not interested in heritage acts whose heyday was 40 years ago.

That said, I do get the appeal. Most (almost all) people not only are more enamored with the music they grew up with, but it’s the only music they can bear to listen to. Play a new band or a new sound for them and you’re bound to get a pinched-face reaction. It’s human nature, folks, which makes me a freak of nature, because I’d much rather hear something I haven’t heard before than to rehash the past with new actors in the power positions.

And don’t get me started on cover/tribute bands. Like I said, I understand the appeal — music-wise, people love what they’re familiar with, which is why cover bands always have made multiples above what original local bands earn on a given night. Such is life.

So, tonight is Gang of Four down at Slowdown Jr., with one original member, guitarist Andy Gill. And while I’m not going, I’d much rather see this band than, say, a Gang of Four tribute band. At least you’re getting one of the original gang, and a nice selection of oldies along with their newies.

Their Feb. 5 set at The Casbah in San Diego included “Anthrax,” “He’d Send an Army” “I Love a Man in Uniform” and “At Home He’s a Tourist” among its 17-song set list, which you can view right here.

By the Way, this is a Slowdown Jr. show — i.e., in the front room. I’m surprised it isn’t sold out yet. Opening is our very own Eric in Outerspace, so get there early. 8 p.m., $25.

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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.

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#TBT: The Wrens, The Meadowlands (2003, Absolutely Kosher)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:20 pm February 7, 2019

The Wrens, The Meadowlands (2003, Absolutely Kosher)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With no news, on Throwback Thursday I thought I’d advocate for you to rediscover The Wrens 2003 magnum opus The Meadowlands.

I had the good fortune of interviewing The Wrens’ guitarist/vocalist Charles Bissell a.k.a. Charles Mexico and writing a story about the making of that album in support of a Sokol Underground gig they played with Criteria back in the day. Turned out, there was an Omaha connection to the record’s origins. From the story:

By the summer of ’99, The Wrens were close to calling it quits. The album that they had expected to take four weeks to record had lingered for six months. That’s when Bissell received a call from someone he’d met at the band’s first-ever show — an August 10, 1994, gig with Babe the Blue Ox and Big Drill Car at the Capitol Bar & Grill in downtown Omaha. It was Todd Baechle of the then little-known band The Faint.

“Robb Nansel (who runs Saddle Creek Records) and Todd wanted to set up a show with us in New Jersey,” Bissell said. “We kept putting them off, trying to tell them we weren’t playing anymore, which sounded preposterous since we were six months into making the record. So we had a nifty loft party for them in Hoboken and played drunk, which is very rare for us. They had just defined their new sound and played this great set. We didn’t play again for four years. They went on to become virtual powerhouses.”

It would be four years after that loft party before The Meadowlands was released and became an instant classic. It still holds up today, almost 16 years later.

As for “where are they now”: According to their last news update on wrens.com the band just finished mastering a batch of new songs. Unfortunately, that last news update was dated January 5, 2017…

Check out the album on Spotify:

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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.

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