Ten Questions with Cracker (@ The Slowdown 8/4); Ester Drang (Jade Tree Records) tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm August 2, 2017

Cracker plays at The Slowdown Friday, Aug. 4. Photo by Bobby Conner.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you listened to CMJ-style indie rock in the early ’90s (or watched MTV for that matter) you’re already familiar with Cracker. Their anthem “Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now),” from their 1992 eponymously named debut on Virgin Records, was unavoidable, with the fist-shaking line: “Cause what the world needs now / Is another folk singer / Like I need a hole in the head.” Then there was their brooding rocker “Low” off the follow-up, ’93’s Kerosene Hat, where frontman David Lowery says being with his girl is like being stoned. Ah, now you remember.

Well, there was a lot more to Cracker than those two songs. Lots more. The band, who at its core is Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman, grew out of the ashes of seminal ’80s indie band Camper Van Beethoven. Since their debut, the West Coast act has released nine studio LPs whose sound ranged form alt rock to alt country to everything in between. No doubt Cracker fans at The Slowdown Friday night will get a smattering of favorites and deep cuts from the band’s 25-year recording history, including material from their most recent double-album, 2014’s Berkeley To Bakersfield.

We caught up with Cracker guitarist Johnny Hickman and gave him the Ten Questions treatment. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Johnny Hickman: After 25+ years and nine albums I can honestly say that at any given time I can go back and revisit a Cracker album that becomes a favorite again for a while. When we write and record them, they are all the best thing we ever did… at the time. I think that’s a pretty common thing with recording artists. You’re always trying to top yourself, or why do it?

2. What is your least favorite song?

The answer to the first question likely applies here, too. We don’t have any songs that I can’t stand. It doesn’t make it onto an album unless David and I are both pretty proud of it. Sometimes they wear on us and we take them out of the live show for a bit, but then we often bring them back at some point. We always play our radio hits because those songs put us on the map. Bands that think that they are too cool to play their hits are shooting themselves in the foot. The rest of the set list changes as we go. It’s more fun that way.  I think the fans like that variety, too.

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

It really all comes down to playing the songs live for people. That’s why we do it year after year. The rest of it, the fame, the rave reviews and attention, in time you realize are largely a lot of tedious bullshit. In the end, the music and the fans are all that count.

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

The travel. The jet lag and constant exhaustion of it all is more than most people could even imagine. There are days when I wish I’d followed a more normal path and could have the luxury of a decent night’s sleep in my own bed every night, more time with loved ones. But then again, I was bored senseless when I did work regular jobs as a young guy. It’s a blessing and a curse as the saying goes.

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

As a teenager playing in bands with older musicians I witnessed the frightening end result of overindulgence. I was in or around bands with guys that overdosed and died by the time I was in my early twenties. I like a glass of wine or bourbon or the occasional hit off a joint, but I don’t let them wreck my career or my life. It’s more just recreational to wind down after the shows.

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

There are hundreds of towns that I love to work in. At the top of that list are the major cities of Spain like Madrid or Valencia, the Basque region, Bilbao. In the United States I especially like the towns that got us early on with our debut album “Cracker” in 1992 and stayed with us. There are plenty, but Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Toronto come to mind.

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

That’s hard to say. After 25 plus years at this we’ve had great and terrible experiences all over the place. I remember Houston being kind of awful for us in the early days, but it has since really redeemed itself and been fine the last several years. Some places take a while to get this band but once they do they tend to stay with us.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, very fortunately. We’re not wealthy, but we get by. It took years of paying dues before that as the saying goes. Let’s just say that I worked a succession of awful jobs before this. With people less willing to pay for recorded music these days, a band has to stay on the road to survive, and so we do. Every member of Cracker is involved with side projects that involve music as well.

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

One of the things I did before music made me a decent living was work as a hair stylist. I actually worked at a mortuary styling the deceased for a while, too. It was peaceful and not a bad way to make a living. At one point I thought about going into law enforcement but I’m glad that I didn’t now. I prefer to be appreciated instead of vilified as people in that field are so often.

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

As a kid, my military dad was stationed at Lincoln Air Force Base and we lived there for four years so I know more about that area. Omaha was where we went to get things at the big department stores like Gold’s. The winters seemed harsh, but I have great memories of Nebraska. Corn, sledding and fishing. I look forward to being back there for the show!

Cracker plays with Clarence Tilton Friday, Aug. 4, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $29 Adv./$32 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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One of my favorite records of 2006 was Ester Drang’s Rocinate, released on the mighty Jade Tree label. I described the album in an interview I conducted with the band (when they played at Sokol Underground with The Minus Story and Go! Motion in March 2006) this way:

Ester Drang’s just-released full-length, Rocinate, is, in a word, gorgeous.

Think Avalon-era Roxy Music with a touch of The Sea and Cake and Flaming Lips and you’re halfway to this Oklahoma band’s big-sky vibe. Tracks like “Hooker with a Heart of Gold” and “Great Expectations” sport a cushion of lush strings, brass and piano that would make Burt Bacharach blush with admiration. Jazzy and carefree, it’s hard to believe this was released on post-punk label Jade Tree, home to such angst brutes as Girls Against Boys, Onelinedrawing and Omaha’s own Statistics.

What a great label and what a great band; a band that I’d all but forgotten until I saw tonight’s show listed on The Slowdown’s website. Yes, Ester Drang is back, and (apparently) with new material and a forth-coming EP. I can’t wait to hear what they’ve been up to. The inimitable Sam Martin opens the show at 9 p.m. $8.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Conor Oberst and Trump (and Charlie Rose); Metal Rusty Lord tweets; Man Up; The Faint tear up FYF; Steve Earle, The Frights tonight…

Category: Blog — @ 12:53 pm August 1, 2017

Conor Oberst talking politics on The Charlie Rose Show last Thursday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you missed it last Thursday, Conor Oberst appeared on the venerable Charlie Rose Show. Not only did Conor sing two songs backed by a couple Felice Brothers, he also sat down at that famous round table and did a Q&A with Mr. Rose.

I recently had an online discussion about the late, great Tom Snyder and how much we miss the Tomorrow Show and his acerbic question-and-answer sessions. No one has filled Snyder’s shoes, but the person who comes closest is probably Charlie Rose, though his direction is more politically focused than Snyder’s cultural grab-bag.

In the interview, Conor talks about his “complicated” relationship with his hometown, saying “at its heart it’s politically abysmal. For my tastes, they have their priorities all backwards” and then went on to say, “but I try to focus on the good things; I like my house, my friends, my dogs.”  Who can argue with that? How many people have been driven away by Nebraska’s politics?

Oberst talked about his politics, and his willingness to talk about his politics. His focus: The current  lack of agreement on reality and facts. “How can you disregard science and facts? Now, anything goes,” he said. It’s a point he’s bringing up in other interviews, including this one posted yesterday by CNN.

Meanwhile, on stage, he’s been more straight-forward regarding President Trump. He went off during the Xponential Fest in Camden, NJ, referring to Prez Cheeto (as reported here) as an “admitted sexually assaulting Russian oligarchy charlatan … f—king piece of sh-t.” Yeah, but how do you really feel about him, Conor?

While I love seeing him finally speak his mind on Trump, where was he before the election, when it could have mattered?

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In other news…

I don’t bother listening to weather forecasts any more now that I’m following Metal Rusty Lord on Twitter. Do yourself a favor and follow the metal masters @RustyLordsBand.




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Speaking of metal (though not necessary good metal), there’s a new radio station on the FM Dial called (and I shit you not): 94.9 MAN UP. That’s right. Now you’ve got a new place to find your Nickelback.

Remember when Omaha had great radio stations? I don’t, either.

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And here’s an interesting read from Stereogum: Who Knew The Faint Were Still So Popular? And Other Thoughts After FYF Fest 2017

Best lines of the story: “If anything, the Drums and the Faint are indicative of a couple of sounds that never go out of style, particularly in Los Angeles — that of jumpy, Smiths-meets-Spector mope and gothy emo. Judging from the way the audience lost their shit for songs from Doom Abuse and Abysmal Thoughts, you never had to doubt that people who were there to see the Faint and the Drums were really there to see them — and this kind of hardcore dedication for bands whose supposed relevance has waned can often go unacknowledged at a time when even the most hyped records feel like they fade from view even after a few weeks.

So true. This review generated some chit-chat at O’Leaver’s Sunday — top of mind: When will The Faint release a new album, and if so, what label will it be on? They released their CAPSULE comp last year on Saddle Creek, which would seem to indicate they’ve mended their ways with the label after straying on the past few releases. Wouldn’t it be a kick if The Faint put out their next one on Creek?

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A couple shows worth noting tonight…

Legendary rock/roots/Americana singer/songwriter Steve Earle & The Dukes play tonight at The Slowdown. The Mastersons open. 8 p.m., $35.

Also tonight, San Diego surf-punk band The Frights play at Lookout Lounge with King Shelter, On Drugs and Kill Vargas. $15. 6 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: The Lupines/Leafblower/Dog Party; Digital Leather, The Life and Times tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm July 31, 2017

Leafblower at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The O’Leaver’s Sunday Social is as good an excuse as you’ll find to get blasted, eat good food and listen to some fine music on a lazy summer afternoon. That’s exactly what happened yesterday at The Club where a trio of bands played to a hot, packed room.

Dog Party at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017.

First up was Dog Party, a Sacramento two-piece consisting of sisters Gwendolyn and Lucy Giles that played some groovy up-tempo pop-punk as you’d expect from a band that opened for Green Day on their 2016 North American Tour and has four albums out on Burger and Asian Man Records. I typically don’t like guitar-drums two-piece acts (White Mystery is an exception) because they tend to sound hollow and/or flat, but these sisters had a well-rounded sound. Fun!

Leafblower was a necessary contrast to all that pop-punk. A power trio that combines fuzz metal with noise punk, they’ve never sounded better, with both Danny Maxwell and Craig Fort yelling at their primal best. Great guitar and bass interplay, I was reminded of mid-’90s noise punk outfits like Cactus Nerve Thang and Culture Fire combined with Sabbath.

With a flair for the theatrical, the trio came out in matching sleeveless jumpsuits with their band logo screen-printed on back, and cranked up their fourth member — a large, old-dude mannequin/dummy maned Tim holding a leaf blower that spewed plumes of stage smoke. Yard work was never this fun.

The Lupines at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017.

Finally The Lupines came on at around 8 p.m. playing their usual fine set of bone-breaking punk-Americana — the kind of rock you’d hear want to hear blaring from our Plymouth Charger’s AM on a road trip across Nebraska circa 1967. Frontman John Ziegler pointed out this was not their official CD release show, nonethelesss, the band’s tasty new album, Mountain of Love, was available for purchase (So when’s the real deal, gentlemen?).

If you listen to the album, you’ll notice plenty of real piano keyboards, which, alas, were not performed live for one obvious reason — Ziegler plays keyboards and guitar on the record. The band would have to bring on another member to allow Ziegler to get behind a piano. That said, I’d love to hear these songs with the full compliment of instruments performed live — dare to dream.

Sunday Socials at O’Leaver’s are all-afternoon events. They begin at 4 with free food (this week, fine smoked pork-butt sandwiches courtesy of Smoke Buds). The music was suppose to start at 5, but didn’t get rolling until 6, giving the crowd even more time to imbibe, which I did out in the beer garden where DJ Tyrone Storm spun the good stuff. Good times indeed.

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Two shows on a Monday night? Why not.

Over at Pageturners Lounge (which I keep hearing referred to as PTL) Digital Leather performs tonight as a digital-only two-piece. Not sure who’s joining Shawn Foree behind the consoles, but will tell you it’s worth it just to hear songs off the new album, Pink Thunder. Something called 2:46 Club also is on the bill. These free shows start at 9.

Also tonight. KC band The Life and Times plays at Reverb Lounge. These guys have been touring through Omaha for more than a decade. This past spring the band released their fifth LP for digital download, titled The Life and Times, on Slimstyle Records. Opening is the double-bass attack of Relax, It’s Science. $12, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Twinsmith, Ex-Cult tonight; Benson Days Saturday; Leafblower, Lupines album releases Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 28, 2017

Is this not the most bad-ass poster you’ve seen in a while? Lupines and Leafblower celebrate releases Sunday night at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

These are prolific times for local music.

Two weekends ago it was a celebration of David Nance and Noah Sterba’s album releases. This weekend we three more local bands celebrating the release of new material.

It starts tonight at The Slowdown main room where Saddle Creek Records band Twinsmith celebrates the release of their third long-player, Stay Cool. This one was something of a surprise for me. I’d pretty much written off the band as a low-octane version of Vampire Weekend, with the same light-bounce indie pop sound. Well, the pop is still there, but the sound has indeed evolved. Stay Cool is a fun listen, a synth-fueled dance-rock album ripe for pop radio that has more in common with Phoenix or Twin Shadow or current-day (dancy) M83  than their past releases. Did I say “synth-fueled?” We’re talking super-synthy. Infectious in a good way; a perfect companion for a run in the park. I Forgot to Love my Father and Thick Paint open. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Goner Records mainstay Ex-Cult rolls into fabulous O’Leaver’s. Their latest, Negative Growth, out on In the Red, is brutal, static noise-rock at its finest. This is a massive four-band bill with Wrong Pets, KC’s Kool 100s (Rainy Road Records) and NOWHERE. $7, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday is something of a blank music-wise. If you have the day free, stop by for Benson Days, which is happening in… Benson. Parade, food trucks, beer tents, face paint. What more do you want? I’ll be there manning the Little Gallery booth (buy some art). And later that night it’s Benson Soul Society at Reverb. Your day is planned.

Then comes Sunday and a duo album release bonanza at O’Leaver’s.

The Lupines just dropped the gorgeously recorded LP called Mountain of Love (Speed! Nebraska Records) that sees John Zielger and the boys crawling out of the “garage rock”cellar that, too often, is code-language for home-made and low-fi. This one sounds huge, majestic, like watching a’70s-era 70-millimeter western saga on the big screen. Recorded over two days at ARC Studios by Ben Brodin, Ziegler on vocals, guitar and piano, never sounded more ominous testifying on these 13 stompers backed by lead guitarist Mike Friedman, bassist Mike Tulis and drummer Calvin Retzlaff. Copies of the release will be available on that new-fangled Compact Disc format. Get it.

Meanwhile, the boys in Leafblower opted for the more traditional cassette tape format for the release of their new one, Live at O’Leaver’s 11-23-16. The four-piece consists of members of Danny Maxwell’s New Lungs, with Craig Fort, drummer Tab Tworek, guitarist John Svatos and DMax. It’s probably no coincidence that the song names are typed in ALL CAPS because this one is bigly loud; in fact, it’s one of those albums that sounds better the louder you play it. I guess that’s why they call it metal.

If that weren’t enough, Asian Man Records band Dog Party also is on the bill. This is part of O’Leaver’s Sunday Social program, which means the music starts at 5 p.m. AND there’s food, this time courtesy of your friends at Smoke Buds who will have pork butt and beans (and more) while it lasts. $5!

And thats all I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a  good one.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Brad Hoshaw hits house circuit; Noah Sterba love; Nomaha Alerts: Luna, Beach Slang; Closeness tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm July 26, 2017

Closeness at O’Leaver’s April 30, 2016. The band plays at The Slowdown tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What’s becoming a common occurrence (even with more established artists — Eric Bachmann just played a show at a house a couple blocks from me), Omaha singer/songwriter Brad Hoshaw announced he’s put together a “Summer House Tour.”

Although I’ve performed many house concerts over the years, this is my first time trying a full tour of house concerts,” Hoshaw said. “I will be performing 10 shows in living rooms and backyards across six states (NE, IA, WI, MN, SD, KS). The hosts are fans who have invited their friends and family to come enjoy a concert in their home. I’m not charging the hosts any money for the concert, but will rely on audience donations to fund my travels. My goal is to create a more authentic personal experience that will connect and strengthen the community that has formed around my music.”

Hoshaw will be selling an exclusive 4-song EP on the tour, which runs Aug. 3-20 starting in Overland Park, KS, and finishing in Lincoln, NE. The full schedule (including the Omaha date) is at bradhoshawmusic.com/shows.

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Noisey did a nice write-up on Noah Sterba’s new album, 13-Bar Blues. You can read it here.

People are taking notice of the cadre of talent talent surrounding Sterba, consisting of David Nance, Simon Joyner, and the team of musicians who appear on their records. Someone should come up with a name for them — how ’bout the Almost Music Collective, since they all have been known to hang out there…

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I’ve been told that my NOmaha Alerts are little more than whining and are a negative especially in the face of all the other talent local promoters are bringing to town. Maybe so, but more than anything, they point out who’s passing over Omaha on their tour, and maybe one of those promoters can work a miracle and get them to add a local date, who knows?

Top of my NOmaha list is Luna, who just announced a North American tour. The closest pass to our fair city is Nov. 1-4, when they play Minneapolis, Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Louis. The tour is in support of an album of covers (including songs by The Cure, Mink DeVille and Fleetwood Mac) called A Sentimental Education, and an instrumental EP called A Place fo Greater Safety — the band’s first  output since Luna’s last studio album Rendezvous, released 13 years ago. Someone get them here.

I think I already mentioned the Afghan Whigs NOmaha alert. Today the band released a new single called “You Want One,” which is available as a free download here. Anyway, they’re still not coming here.

And Beach Slang yesterday announced their fall headlining tour. The closest pass to Omaha is KC Sept. 9, Chicago Sept. 17, Denver Nov. 7. NOmaha, though notably See Through Dresses will be joining them on five dates in mid-November.

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Back to what IS happening in Omaha… tonight Closeness, the project featuring Todd and Orenda Fink, opens for Nicolas Jaar at The Slowdown in the big room. Jaar is a Chilean music producer, mixing engineer and DJ based in NYC. Having listened to some of his stuff this morning on Spotify, dancing not only is advised, it’s recommended. $20, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Tobin Sprout, Elf Power, Lovejoy tonight; Typesetter, Ratboys Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 21, 2017

Plack Blague at The Slowdown, Dec. 30, 2016. The Blague plays The Waiting Room Sunday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another horribly hot weekend. Ah, but you’ll be looking back on it with envy come late January. We all will. Anyway, here’s what’s shaking indie music-wise starting…

Tonight ex-Guided By Voices dude Tobin Sprout and his band play at Reverb Lounge. You read his 10Q on Wednesday (and if you didn’t, read it now). His new album, The Universe and Me, out on Burger Records, is pretty sweet. Iconic ’90s-era Elephant Six band Elf Power opens. Their latest, Twitching in Time, came out this past May on Orange Twin. Both bands for just $15. With all the GBV fans around here, I’m shocked this hasn’t sold out…yet. Starts at 8.

Also tonight, Stir Cove’s sweat-a-thon continues tonight with Goo Goo Dolls. Remember when those guys were a “punk” band?

Low Long Signal plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Leaves Brown and Lectrofy. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Milk Run has Lincoln band Oketo with The Grand Poobahs and Chicago soul-psych-rock band Lovejoy. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night Reverb hosts Chicago emo rockers Typesetter. with Camp Cope and Worriers. $7, 9 p.m.

Milk Run hosts another Chicago band Saturday: Ratboys. The band released their second studio album, GN, last month on Top Shelf Records. Jacob James Wilton and No Getter open. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, those fabulous teachers at Omaha Girls Rock! are having their annual teachers’ showcase at O’Leaver’s Saturday night. This follows an OGR! student showcase earlier in the evening at The Waiting Room at 5 p.m. The kids’ show at TWR is $8 donation. The O’Leaver’s show, which starts at 10 p.m., is $5.

Finally, end the weekend with a bang as everyone’s favorite leather-fetish electro-dance geek explosion Plack Blague opens for LA-based industrial band 3TEETH at The Waiting Room. Noise ensemble FiFi NoNo opens. 8:30. $15.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Stay cool!

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


David Nance, Noah Sterba album releases tonight; See Through Dresses album release Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm July 14, 2017

See Through Dresses at Maha Music Festival in 2016. The band had an album release show Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s a busy weekend of shows as far as local band releases are concerned.

It kicks off tonight with a duo release show at Reverb Lounge featuring David Nance and Noah Sterba.

David Nance, Negative Boogie (BaDaBing, 2017)

Nance’s new album, Negative Boogie, out today on Ba Da Bing Records, is among my favorites so far this year — a tight, gritty collection of blues rock songs straight out of the garage (or basement), straight to a studio and straight to your heart. The closest comparison I can come to Nance’s intensity is ’90s-era Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, though Nance’s music sounds nothing like it. Nance already has attracted national attention. After this record and subsequent touring, expect him to jump to the next level.

Noah Sterba, 13-Bar Blues (2017, Grapefruit)

Then there’s the release today of Noah Sterba’s 13-Bar Blues on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit Records label. This is a re-working of his 12-Bar Blues cassette that came out in 2015 on Unread Records, weeding out the covers and adding a few new ones.

Sterba sits in the rarified company of Joyner and Oberst when it comes to turning a golden phrase; his lyrics are central to these bluesy folk-rock tunes. Who else could imaging building a house of out porkchops and eating his way out? The album concludes with a 16-plus-minute opus that features Sterba spitting out a manifesto of sorts over jangly garage blues chords.

Both Nance and Sterba and their bands perform tonight at Reverb Lounge. Joining them is the inimitable Sean Pratt & The Sweats. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, alt country-folk band Clarence Tilton headlines The Waiting Room with Excellency and Sack of Lions. $8, 9 p.m.

See Through Dresses, Horses of the Other World (2017, Tiny Engines)

Then Saturday night is the album release show for See Through Dresses latest, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines), at The Waiting Room. The record is something of a breakthrough for a band who in the past too often sounded like a reincarnation of ’90s college rock a la Dinosaur Jr. They come to their own with this album, creating a sound that combines post-punk shimmer with classic dream-pop drone for an end-product reminiscent of Saturdays = Youth-era M83 or early New Order. Opening is Fullbloods and Bokr Tov. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, LA four-piece Froth (Burger, Wichita, Lollipop) plays at Milk Run. On their new album, Outside (briefly) (2017, Wichita), they reinvent their sound in solid dream-pop fashion. So much so, the band goes on tour with Ride following this show. Sam Martin opens. $10, 9 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The return of Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex); Big Thief, Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:42 pm July 13, 2017

Stephen Sheehan (ex-Digital Sex) returns to the stage Aug. 18 at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One band that is part of Omaha’s music folklore is Digital Sex. The band, who at its core was Stephen Sheehan, Dereck Higgins and John Tingle, released material in the late ’80s and last reunited in ’94. You can read about their history and that ’94 reunion right here.

Digital Sex split up shortly after that reunion and hasn’t played since, despite almost constant calls for another reunion. Well now, fans of Digital Sex will finally get to hear some of those songs again when when Stephen Sheehan performs at Reverb Lounge Aug. 18, the night before the Maha Music Festival.

Called “Stephen Sheehan: A Reunion of Songs 1982-2017,” the show will feature Sheehan performing songs from his bands Digital Sex, The World and Between the Leaves backed by a band that includes Donovan Johnson on keyboards, Randy Cotton on bass, Ben Sieff on guitar (all from Bennie and the Gents) and Dan Crowell on drums, who played in the final version of Digital Sex in 1994.

Sheehan says it was his work with Bennie and the Gents as part of a David Bowie tribute concert in January 2016 that sparked the idea of returning to the stage to perform his own material.

“This has been a thought of mine for several years, to do a retrospective show with musicians who could test the elasticity in the songs,” Sheehan said. “I’ve always been interested in hearing artists revisit their songs and ‘develop’ them years after they were written, even if it means only a slight flourish. I’ve never really done that with my material. It’s always been about performing them as close to the recording as possible.”

Sheehan said he approached the guys in Bennie and the Gents specifically for this project as they are “master interpreters.”

“With many of the songs, we are straddling the line between note-for-note reproduction and 2017 interpretation,” he said. “I don’t want to be bored doing these songs as I always have and I don’t want the band to feel they are a human jukebox.”

In addition to the greatest hits selection, Sheehan and company also will perform a new song. That said, he says the Aug. 18 performance is a one-and-done sort of thing… as of now.

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As of this writing, that Big Thief show tonight at O’Leaver’s is still not sold out. Surprised? I know I am. I still anticipate a crushed room tonight at the club. Thick Paint opens. $10, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Thick Paint added to Big Thief show; NOmaha alerts (but Beck plays CB); Esme Patterson tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm July 12, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thick Paint has been named as the opener to tomorrow night’s Big Thief show at fabulous O’Leaver’s. If you remember, Big Thief was slated to open for Conor Oberst outdoors in Benson (on Military Ave.) but the show got nixed by the City who said no more outdoor shows during the week.

Conor cancelled but Big Thief was rescheduled at The Club. I understand there was some competition for this opening slot. Congrats to Thick Paint for nabbing it. I’m also told that this show will sell out, so you may want to get your tickets today.

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This week in NOmaha Alerts; tours have been announced by Gillian Welch, Protomartyr and Matt Pond PA. None are headed to Omaha.

Gillian Welch has some local connections and no doubt would do well here. On the other hand Protomartyr and Matt Pond PA both played here recently. Still, I’d love to see both again. Protomartyr, who got their start on Hardly Art Records, just signed with Domino for their next album, A Private Understanding, which comes out Sept 29.

BTW, this morning Oh Sees shared a new track off their upcoming Castle Face release, Orc. Still no Omaha date on the tour list. Come on, promoters!

Outweighing that dreary news is the fact that Beck has been scheduled to play Stir Cove Sept. 9. Beck is sort of a bucket-list band for me, and it looks like I might finally have a reason to check out Stir Cove, which I’ve managed to avoid all these years. Pre-sale for Beck started today with the promo code DREAMS; it continues tomorrow at 10 a.m. with code WOW2017; general ticket sales start 10 a.m. Friday. Pre-sale GA tickets are priced at $60 and some change, including fees, via Ticketmaster.

It should be interesting to see how well this one does. Sell out? BTW, Beck is opening for U2 on their fall stadium tour.

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Tonight Esme Patterson returns to The Waiting Room. She was just there in March with Lucero.  The Hottman Sisters open tonight’s show, which starts at 9 and costs $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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: David Nance, Matthew Sweet; new Whipkey, Twinsmith, See Through Dresses streams…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 11, 2017

David Nance at The Sydney, July 7, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been pointed out to me that David Nance didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s been plugging away and putting out music since before 2013, including as a member of Simon Joyner’s band The Ghosts.

And while I knew this, my point was that it’s been within the last year or so that Nance’s profile has exploded. I point toward  Matador co-founder Gerard Cosloy who listed among his favorite recordings in 2016 Nance’s More Than Enough (Ba Da Bing Records). That captured some people’s attention, but Nance already had the ball rolling thanks to his live sets.

Last Friday night was another classic Nance performance, this time at The Sydney as part of Benson First Friday. Nance backed by a drummer, bass and someone making noises on a pedal, ripped through a solid set of songs, some of them off his remarkable new album Negative Boogie, which comes out this Friday on Ba Da Bing. The difference between this set and past Nance sets (for me) was the shorter songs. I’ve seen Nance play sets comprised of only two 20-minute noise ensembles. By contrast, Friday’s set was practically a pop concert.

His guitar work is already respected — ranging from big riffs to lead fills to walls of feedback — now his voice is taking center stage. The only comparison in my mind is early Jon Spencer, and Nance does have a similar stage appeal, albeit hidden behind that huge head of hair.

I managed to capture a couple songs on Facebook Live Friday night, which you can view below. The picture doesn’t come in focus ’til after the 30-second mark (wtf, Apple?!).

Yesterday Brooklyn Vegan premiered a track off Negative Boogie. BTW, if you missed the last Friday’s show, Nance will be playing a duo release show with Noah Sterba this coming Friday night at Reverb Lounge. Sean Pratt & The Sweats opens. Sterba’s new album, 13-Bar Blues, comes out Friday on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit label.

Also on last Friday night’s bill was Oquoa, who had the center slot. This is one of the tightest collections of local all-stars Omaha has to offer. Now if I only knew what language frontman Max Holmquist was singing in. Max’s vocals make lyrics virtually indecipherable and are more of an additional instrument to the overall psychedelic/shoe-gaze sound.  It’s interesting, but I confess to be a lyrics dude who gets added enjoyment when he knows what the music’s about.

Speaking of undecipherable lyrics, opener FiFi NoNo provided a tense barrage of rhythmic noise, augmented by shriek/mumble/yell vocals. You either got it or you didn’t. I thought it was a weird trip.

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Matthew Sweet at The Waiting Room, July 8, 2017.

Saturday night’s Matthew Sweet show at The Waiting Room drew a respectable crowd — respectable both in size and in manner. It was nice not being the oldest dude in the room for a change. In fact, the majority of fans looked like they were in their 50s, no doubt followers of Mr. Sweet since his ’91 breakthrough album Girlfriend.

Well, those fans got what they paid for as Sweet performed the best songs from that album, including the title track and my personal favorite, “Winona.” The happy crowd sang along to all the hits, which Sweet and his band performed as if they’d been playing them for more than 20 years. My only criticism is that Sweet and his band don’t do much on stage except stand there and play, which can become somewhat boring, but the crowd didn’t mind as long as he kept playing those oldies.

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Matt Whipkey dropped a couple new tracks from his upcoming album, Driver, via his Pledge page yesterday. Matt says he likes this new pre-sale platform. Check them out.

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Speaking of new music, Under the Radar yesterday began streaming the entire new Twinsmith album, Stay Cool, which comes out Friday on Saddle Creek Records. Check out the album here.

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And See Through Dresses today is having their new album, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines) streamed in its entirety at Brooklyn Vegan, right here. Says BV about the record: “Co-fronted by the ethereal Sara Bertuldo and the whispered baritone of Mathew Carroll, See Through Dresses work bits of Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and other reverby ’80s bands into Horse of the Other World.”

Me, on the other hand, was mostly reminded of M83. This is definitely a change of direction for STDs. The band celebrates the album’s release Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.