Paying to play… at the Superbowl (in the column); Future Islands (SOLD OUT), David Kenneth Nance tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 12:49 pm August 28, 2014
Future Islands at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2011.

http://lazy-i.com/wp-admin/post-new.php Future Islands at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2011. The band returns to The Waiting Room tonight for a sold-out show.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, the NFL’s plan to charge bands to perform at the next Superbowl half-time, and what it means to the ongoing erosion of the value of music. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

People are underestimating how much Spotify and similar streaming services are undermining the market for music sales. We’re quickly heading to a future of 1) music superstars — i.e., the folks that performed on the VMAs — and 2) no one else, at least when it comes to making a living from music. Indie performers are going to be left in the dust, with income only from touring and tour merch sales to scrape by on. Maybe we’re already there.

* * *

Tonight’s big show is Future Islands at The Waiting Room, a show that sold out earlier this week. Here’s how their show went the last time they came through town in 2011. It was among my top-3 favorite shows that year. I expect more of the same tonight. Opening is Operators (Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Divine Fits). This one starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, David Kenneth Nance, whose album Actor’s Diary (on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit Records label) blew me away last year, headlines a show at the Almost Music record store in Benson with Staffers and Sean Pratt and the Sweats. 8 p.m., $5.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Post-script Maha comments, and the live review (in the column); Dereck Higgins Indiegogo campaign, Travelling Mercies, Feel Tight tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:01 pm August 20, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

More comments and review of this year’s Maha Music Festival are in this week’s column. You can read it in the new issue of The Reader, out tomorrow, or online right here.

Some final thoughts/post scripts to Maha 2014:

Domestica's Jon Taylor at the microphone.

Domestica’s Jon Taylor at the microphone.

– Jon Taylor sung leads on at least two Domestica songs during their Maha set — a departure as Heidi Ore has handled lead vocals with Domestica and Mercy Rule for about 20 years. Jon did a stellar job. It’ll be interesting to hear how it translates on future Domestica recordings.

– As mentioned in the review, Icky Blossoms’ new material is harder and more acidic than stuff off their debut album, but that doesn’t make it any less danceable. Expect their new album on Saddle Creek probably early next year.

The intense crowd in front of the stage during Icky Blossoms' set.

The intense crowd in front of the stage during Icky Blossoms’ set.

– Speaking of Icky Blossoms, the band got a nice shout-out from The Head and the Heart during their set, gushing that Icky was their favorite band so far at the festival. Maybe the Ickys should try to get an opening slot on THATH’s next tour?

– I was skeptical about the Maha Ferris wheel until I saw it. It actually was pretty cool and when I went past it early in the evening there was quite a line of people waiting to get on.

–  Maha outdid themselves with this year’s Global Village. Lots of cool shit for kids to do while mom or pop is rocking. This is one of the central things that make Maha a festival rather than just a day-long concert.

– Ain’t none of my business but it was disturbing to see — while leaning through the crowd near the stage during Local Natives’ set — some guy carrying a baby with no hearing protection standing right next to me. Even with ear plugs I thought their set was loud from that vantage-point. Can that level of decibels be healthy for a baby?

– The Boulevard seasonal ale being served in the beer tents (something sweet blended with ginger) was indeed tasty. I’m developing a taste for sissy beers.

– It wasn’t all roses for Maha. The food selection was…lacking. I’m not sure what they can do about this. I swear I saw people walking around with cheeseburgers but I couldn’t find where they were coming from. That said, would it kill them to find a vendor that offered a pleasant, refreshing salad? Or ribs?

– For every person I talked to who loved the line-up there was someone who whined about the line-up. Maha will never be all things to all people, nor should it be. I like their basic two-stage recipe, though I think they’re going to begin struggling to find new, decent locals to fill that local stage who haven’t already played in the past two years.

– BTW, I’ve gotten plenty of shit about missing Radkey’s and Doomtree’s sets. Sorry fans. I’m quite familiar with their catalogs, and it just ain’t for me. Knowing that I was going to miss about two hours of the festival, I had to choose judiciously. I’m sure they were fan-fucking-tastic…

– The biggest disappointment was The Both’s set. The idea was good on paper, but I don’t think it translated to a festival. Aimee Mann’s music is probably better suited for a sit-down concert in, say, the Holland or the Orpheum rather than an outdoor stage. Conversely, someone needs to book Ted Leo at The Waiting Room.

– Oddest moments at Maha: The times between sets when there was no music. I mean nothing. You’d think they’d at least have some house music going over the PA. Even the annoying generic reggae beats that I’ve heard at so many other large concerts between sets would have helped fill the void. The simple answer is for Maha to hire one (or a few) of the area’s many DJs to fill in the gaps between sets. It would be a nice tip o’ the hat to the local DJ culture.

After six festivals, Maha is finally reaching its capacity. No, it hasn’t outgrown Stinson Park. Even at (what I think was) its maximum attendance level (toward the end of The Head and the Heart or at the very beginning of Death Cab’s set) it was still possible to comfortably walk through the crowd (By contrast, try navigating through the crowd during the last band at the annual Memorial Park freedom rock July 4 hog-calling concert).  The attendance number being reported is 7,000. Maha could squeeze a couple more thousand into Stinson, and maybe even reach that golden 10,000 number if they find the right headliner. Does Maha need to get bigger than that? It will have to if it’s going to attract the Beck / Wilco-level headliners.  How else can Maha grow? How about a second day-long festival — one held in the spring, the other in the late summer? Or add an amazing Friday night warm-up set in the park…

BTW, if you went to Maha, fill out the Maha survey so they can capture your thoughts and make it even better next year.

More Maha review here.

* * *

You know that Dereck Higgins release I mentioned the other day that I wondered would ever make it onto vinyl? Well it is, probably. Dereck launched an indiegogo campaign to help fund the pressing. You can contribute (and pre-order the LP) here.

* * *

Hear Nebraska’ second-to-last Live at Turner Park concert for the season is tonight. The line-up is Lincoln bluegrass outfit The Bottle Tops and roots rockers The Travelling Mercies.The show starts at 6 p.m. Bring a blanket and some booze and enjoy. More info here.

Also tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s the debut of Feel Tight, a new project featuring members of Talking Mountain, The Seen and Weird Howl. Opening up is Huge Fucking Waves and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Interview: The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo); Maha: The Head Vs. The Heart (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:57 pm August 14, 2014
The Both = Aimee Mann + Ted Leo. They're playing at Saturday's Maha Music Festival.

The Both = Aimee Mann + Ted Leo. They’re playing at Saturday’s Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Maha Music Festival pre-coverage is hitting the streets today, including the stuff I worked on for The Reader.

Every year I do one Q&A with one of the traveling Maha artist, and this year it was with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo of The Both. Among the questions asked:

  • - Is playing together everything you dreamed it would be?
  • - Are you creating something with a new fan base or building on your solo fan bases?
  • - During the songwriting phase, Aimee, did you ask Ted to throttle back / Ted, did you ask Aimee to ramp it up?
  • - Aimee, did you foresee the decline of the music industry when you created your own record label in ’99?
  • - What do you think of Kickstarter?

And the question I was most interested in asking:

  • - Aimee, I have to ask a two-part Magnolia question: 1) What did you think when PT Anderson had the characters sing the lines to “Wise Up,” and 2) What did you think the first time you saw it in the finished film?

And so on. You can read the answers to those questions and more in this week’s issue of The Reader, or online right here.

Aimee and Ted were a lot of fun to interview, especially Ted, who reminisced about past shows he’s played in Omaha and how lousy they were. Leo came through with Dismemberment Plan in 2001, as a headliner at Sokol Underground in 2003, and opened for Against Me at Slowdown in 2008. He always puts on a great show, whether he thinks he does or not.

I have not had the best shows of my life in Omaha, and that’s not inflective of Omaha per se,” he said. “There’s so many factors that come together like a perfect crap storm to make a show crappy, there are so many moving parts and every day you’re on tour, you can’t blame it on one thing. I’m happy to be back in this context with Aimee at the Maha festival.”

This is the first time Aimee Mann’s been to Omaha, and she had no preconceptions about our fair city.  “I’ve heard nothing (about Omaha), so it’s a lovely clean slate,” Mann said. “The reason any musician doesn’t or does go to a town or area has nothing to do with personal preference, it’s all about the promoter or booking agent. If there’s not a promoter that thinks that people will come to see you, you don’t show up at that town.

Go read the interview. It’s long.

* * *

In other Maha news, my column this week focuses on the future of summer music festivals and how Maha fits into the equation. For perspective, I interviewed Tre Brashear, one of Maha’s founders, about the challenges he and his team face putting the festival together every year, and where he thinks Maha is headed. You can also read that in The Reader or online right here.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

New Orenda video; Big Star tour; new ROAM; Mula, Zucchini, Maha, Guardians and Chubby Cyclists (In the column); Talbott Brothers, Burkum Boys tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm August 7, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Orenda Fink yesterday released a new video for the song “Ace of Cups” from upcoming album Blue Dream, which comes out on Saddle Creek Records Aug. 19. The video (below) was directed by Nik Fackler (the director of feature films Lovely Still and Sick Birds Die Easy as well as a member of Icky Blossoms and InDreama) and Aaron Gum (also in InDreama). It’s a head trip. Look for cameos by The Faint’s Todd Fink and InDreama’s Dereck Higgins.

* * *

Some Big Star news…. A band is being pulled together to play Big Star’s Third in concert that includes original member Jody Stephens on drums. Joining him are Mike Mills, Mitch Easter (Let’s Active), Chris Stamey (The dB’s) and “guest musicians from each city.” The band will be backed by a chamber orchestra and sets also will include songs from #1 Record. Cities are Carrboro, NC; Washington, DC; Seattle and LA. More info at ardentmusic.com. Ardent recently announced that #1 Record and Radio City are being remastered and rereleased by Stax, with a drop date of Sept. 2. I do love Big Star…

* * *

When in ROAM: Audio Postcards from the Four Corners of the Globe

When in ROAM: Audio Postcards from the Four Corners of the Globe

David Matysiak (Coyote Bones) posted the next installment of his ROAM audio series. This time it’s audio postcards from around the globe. Contributors include Sarah Bohling (Icky Blossoms), Sam Martin (Capgun Coup), Mike Albanese (Maserati), Graham Patrick Ulicny (Reptar), among others.

Check it out via SoundCloud here.

* * *

In this week’s column, random notes on Mula (delicious), zucchini (big), Maha (soon), Guardians (awesome) and cyclists (chubby) . You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

Speaking of Maha, the Maha Team announced yesterday that the festival is getting a Ferris wheel for the Aug. 16 concert at Stinson Park. “We are also introducing a game truck to the entertainment lineup in the early part of the day,” Maha said in a press release. “This truck will be stocked with a variety of XBOX, Nintendo Wii, and PlayStation 3 games.”

Ironically, I jokingly called their $50 ticket an “all-day ride pass” in my column this week not knowing about the impending Ferris wheel addition, which is bound to cause some confusion with someone.

* * *

Couple shows to consider tonight:

At The Waiting Room indie/country blues band Bazile Mills headlines with Burkum Boys (the bros from Skypiper). $7, 9 p.m.

At The Barley Street, it’s The Talbott Brothers Band w/ Maxwell Hughes (former Lumineers guitarist, yes those Lumineers) and John Larsen. 9 p.m. $5.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Live Review: Matthew Sweet, Tommy Keene; 2Q’14 reviews roundup (in the column); Brilliant Beast, Filter Kings tonight…

Category: Column,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:39 pm July 31, 2014
Matthew Sweet at fabulous O'Leaver's, July 30, 2014.

Matthew Sweet at fabulous O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

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

Earlier in the day someone apparently hauled more PA equipment to bolster O’Leaver’s modest system. Speaker stacks were balanced on either side of the the club’s staging area. I was told 100 tickets were sold for this show, but the crowd was probably two-thirds that size — I’ve seen it more crowded in there at Digital Leather shows. With the tables taken out, there was plenty of room up and around the band. Sweet seemed to like the proximity to his fans. “I’m used to looking down on you.” Not last night.

Tommy Keene at O'Leaver's, July 30, 2014.

Tommy Keene at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2014.

Before he kicked into his set, The Lupines warmed up the crowd with a fractured set of Nebraska-style garage rock that I’m sure startled some of the oldsters there to see Sweet. A badly shorting cable marred the set’s opening song, but after some fiddling around the crew got it fixed and the good times rolled.

Next up was surprise “special guest” Tommy Keene, an East Coast-based singer songwriter who Replacecments fans may remember for having played guitar with a touring Paul Westerberg in the late ’90s. I remember him from his handful of solo albums released on Matador earlier in that same decade. Keene was always a first-rate songwriter who despite a sizable push by Cosloy and Co. never took off as everyone had hoped.

With a 12-string and later an electric guitar, Keene played a selection of tunes from his career, closing out the set backed by the band that would back Sweet. And what a band it was. Consisting of two members of Velvet Crush, bassist Paul Chastain and drummer Ric Menck, they were joined by guitar-slinger Dennis Taylor who shared grinding leads with Sweet all evening.

Sweet was all business as he rolled through an hour-plus-long set that included just about every song any fan would want to hear, drawing heavily from his classic ’90s breakthrough album, Girlfriend. We’re talking “Winona,” “Evangeline,” the title track, and on and on, spanning through songs off Altered Beast and 100% Fun and beyond.

It really was a greatest hits show for Sweet fans who will not be disappointed if they make the trek to Lincoln to see him perform again tonight. That show, at the shiny new Vega, will be a completely different and no doubt more detached experience than the reach-out-and-touch-him intimacy of last night’s O’Leaver’s show. I wonder if anyone happened to record it…?

* * *

In this week’s column, the quarterly album reviews round-up (featuring an exciting new rating system!) including thoughts on new ones by Strand of Oaks, Courtney Barnett, Alvvays, Mark Kozelek, Digital Leather, Gold-Bears, Mitch Gettman, The Both, Bob Mould, Orenda Fink and more. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

Tonight, it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Minneapolis indie band Brilliant Beast with up-and-coming Omaha band Post Verse. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Omaha’s favorite outlaws The Filter Kings open for Jason Boland and The Stragglers at The Waiting Room. 8 p.m. $15.

Tonight also is the public opening of 1912, the new bar and roof-top deck across the street from The Waiting Room. Drop by and grab a cold one and get a whole new view of Benson.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

The Return of Little Brazil, V 2.0 (in the column); Oberst on songwriting; M34n Str33t, Worried Mothers, Tie These Hands tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm July 17, 2014
Little Brazil circa now, from left, are Landon Hedges, Danny Maxwell, Mike Friedman and Matt Bowen. Photo by Zach Hollowell.

Little Brazil circa now, from left, are Landon Hedges, Danny Maxwell, Mike Friedman and Matt Bowen. Photo by Zach Hollowell.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s heating up for Saturday night’s big local slow at The Waiting Room. When was the last time you saw Ladyfinger? You’ve got See Through Dresses, who are blowing up (and it’s Sara’s birthday party). And then there’s Little Brazil…

In this week’s column, Landon Hedges and Danny Maxwell introduce us to the newest players in one of Omaha’s better-known indie bands. You can read it in the pages of the just-dropped issue of The Reader or online right here. The new line-up will debut a handful of new Little Brazil songs at Saturday night’s show. Clear your calendar.

* * *

One of the longer and more detailed interviews with Conor Oberst went online yesterday at American Songwriter. Oberst talks about his writing process, his influences and life in the fish bowl. It’s an interesting read. Take a look.

* * *

I’m still trying to figure out the relevance of the “Fair Digital Deals Declaration” that was signed by 700 indie labels, and reported throughout the internet yesterday, including this concise Rolling Stone article.

The declaration (online in its entirety here) basically states that the signing labels aren’t going to screw their artists or make under-the-counter deals with streaming services that cut artists out of whatever payout the labels receive. It’s all about “transparency.” Saddle Creek is among those signing the manifesto. While this is all nice and good, hasn’t this sort of transparency been standard operating practice for most indie labels to begin with? What is the expected outcome of this declaration? And do the major labels, Spotify and YouTube (who one could argue are all in cahoots) give a shit?

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room, one of he more talked-about local indie outfits is headlining at The Waiting Room: M34n Str33t. If you haven’t heard their latest, Mutants of Omaha, you can check it out below and download the mofo. Opening is the punk chaos of Worried Mothers, who I haven’t seen perform outside of O’Leaver’s. Could be very weird indeed. Also on the bill is Articulate/Deejay CMB & Coaxed. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Lincoln post-punkers Tie These Hands opens for Prawn at Slowdown Jr. Lot Walks also is on the bill. $10, 9 p.m.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Orenda Fink, The Hold Steady tonight; new Faint vid, Jenny Lewis, RAA, Strand of Oaks…

Screenwriter of Jurassic Park III, Alexander Payne, is among those who will be on hand for tonight's Chuck Hassebrook fundraiser. Hey Al, just playin' with ya...

Screenwriter of Jurassic Park III, Alexander Payne, is among those who will be on hand for tonight’s Chuck Hassebrook fundraiser. Hey Al, just playin’ with ya, Mr. Oscar…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a couple shows happening tonight scheduled in such a way that you should be able to hit up both of them.

Show No. 1 is Orenda Fink at The Slowdown. The gig is a campaign fund-raiser for Chuck Hassebrook, who’s running for Nebraska governor against Pete Ricketts.

The lowest entry price-point for this show was $50, but organizers repriced general admission tickets to a mere $15. Also on hand will be screenwriter of Jurassic Park III (and director of a few movies, including About Schmidt and The Descendents) Alexander Payne.

Opening for Orenda are The WordSmiths (?) and McCarthy Trenching. Look, it’s a good opportunity to do what you can to keep Ricketts out of office while getting some quality music to boot. You can give more than $15 if you wanna. Donations range right on up to $2,500, Mr. Moneybags.

Get your tickets here. The program runs from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight.

That means you’ll have plenty of time to get across town to The Waiting Room, where The Hold Steady will be playing tonight. I can take or leave ol’ Craig Finn and Co., but have to admit it’ll be a treat to see them on TWR stage, and surprisingly, this one has yet to sell out. Opening is the Josh Berwanger Band (He’s the dude from Lawrence band The Anniversary and The Only Children). This is nice-priced at $18. Show starts at 9.

* * *

Check out the new video by The Faint for “Scapegoat” off SQE release Doom Abuse. What dungeon basement was this shot at?

* * *

Also released yesterday, the title track off Jenny Lewis’ upcoming album The Voyager. Check it below. Lewis is booked to play the Slowdown Aug. 4, by the way…

* * *

While I’m cleaning out the ice-box, here’s the latest track from Saddle Creek band Rural Alberta Advantage. Their new one, Mended with Gold, comes out Sept. 30 on the Creek.

* * *

This is connected to nothing local, I just wanted to pass along that I’ve been digging the new album by Strand of Oaks, HEAL (Dead Ocean). I’ve been looking for the vinyl in Omaha, and of course, no one has it. This one is on my shortlist for the first half of 2014. For you Spotify-ers out there:

* * *

In this week’s column, what happens when a top music PR flack (Catherine Herrick of Beggars Group) turns her back on the business and hits the road with her band? You can read it in the current issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

Scott Severin talks New York rock stars (in the column); The Hussy’s ‘Studs…’ gets an NSFW video;Simon Joyner, The Bruces, The Renderers tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:01 pm July 2, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, I touch base with Omaha singer/songwriter Scott Severin about Time Out New York’s list of New York City’s Top 10 All Time Greatest Rock Stars. Never one to mince words, Severin provides insight and Technicolor from the perspective of someone who lived there when it was all going down punk-wise. KISS and Richard Hell fans beware.

You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here. Many thanks to Scott for sharing his unique, relevant viewpoint.

* * *

Huffington Post premiered what it says is a NSFW (though I’m not sure why) video by The Hussy for their cover of Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.”

Director Shane O’Neill said in the HuffPost article, “It’s hard for me to get excited about something unless there’s at least a trace element of something funny, and hearing Bobby whine that he likes hairy asses still makes me giggle. I wanted the video to reflect the song’s spirit of hyper-masculinity crossed with absurdity. And I wanted to make a pun on the word ‘stud.’

Check it out at here at HuffPost.

* * *

There’s a special night of music happening this evening at Almost Music in Benson. New Zealand legends The Renderers are topping a stellar bill that includes The Bruces (this is the farewell show for Alex McManus as he and his family head north) and Simon Joyner and The Ghosts, who will be playing material from the band’s upcoming album.

And if that wasn’t enough, Brad at Almost Music is offering 20 percent off all used vinyl tonight. $5 minimum donation, 7 p.m. start time.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

New Orenda Fink 8/19; new vids (HERS, Rig 1) Protomartyr tonight; the MF-ing Food Express (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:04 pm May 15, 2014
Protomartyr at this year's South by Southwest Festival. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Protomartyr at this year’s South by Southwest Festival. The band plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Orenda Fink, Blue Dream (2014, Saddle Creek)

Orenda Fink, Blue Dream (2014, Saddle Creek)

The always amazing Orenda Fink yesterday announced that her new album, Blue Dream, is coming out Aug. 19 on Saddle Creek Records. The first released track off the album, “Ace of Cups,” is being streamed at Soundcloud here.

The press release calls the new album “a year-long meditation on death” that started with the death of Fink’s dog of 16 years, Wilson. I’m already feeling bummed out.

The album truly came together at ARC in Omaha, NE with the help of producers Ben Brodin and Todd Fink (The Faint), along with drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Swans, R.E.M., King Crimson),” says the release. Sounds enticing.

* * *
Speaking of new releases, a few new videos from bands with local ties (and new albums) have been released in the past few days.

Former Omaha Melissa L. Amstutz, and her band. HERS, debuted a new video for “Please,” a track of her forthcoming album Youth Revisited. The vid was directed by filmmaker Lindsay Trapnell.

Also, Desaparecidos keyboardist Ian McElroy’s Rig 1 project has a new video for “Duality,” the first single off the new album North of Maple (Team Love Records).

* * *

One of my favorite discoveries from this year’s South By Southwest Festival, Protomartyr, headlines a show tonight at Slowdown Jr. The Detroit band’s post-punk sound has been compared to The Fall, Pere Ubu and Wire. Their new album, Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art) is already on my best-of list for 2014.

Opening for Protomartyr is Coaxed, Worried Mothers and Telepathy Problems. This is a big one, folks. $10, 9 p.m.

* * *

In this week’s column, a rant about the Omaha World-Herald‘s litter distribution system called “Food Express” and how the paper is reacting to the public uprising against it. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader, or online right here.

* * *

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

Lazy-i

The final SXSW recap (in The Reader); Saddle Creek consortium re-ups with ADA; Alex McManus does Hitchcock, Conchance insurance tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:56 pm March 20, 2014
Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The final word on this year’s South By Southwest conference/festival in this week’s issue of The Reader. It includes summaries of my favorite performances from Coachwhips, Protomartyr, Future Islands, Twinsmith, Eros and the Eschaton, Destruction Unit, Eagulls, Mark Kozelek and more. Check it out in the printed edition, which also includes a ton o’ pics by yours truly. You can also read it online at thereader.com right here.

The Reader‘s coverage also includes Chris Aponick’s take on SXSW’s sights, sounds and smells (Over the course of the week, I smelled dope smoke more often than cigarette smoke. Have they legalized it in Austin already?). Chris spent a lot of time at Beerland (as he always does), and also gives his perspective on Trust, Perfume Genius, Coachwhips, Charli XCX, Perfect Pussy, Burger Records and more. It’s online here.

Over the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of SXSW dissing, mostly by people who have never been there. Fine. I get that you don’t need to take a bite out of a shit sandwich to know it tastes bad (probably). And anyone who tells you SXSW is anything more than an industry boondoggle is feeding you some of the above. That said, if you go to SXSW simply to listen to music, you’d have to try pretty hard not to have fun.

As for performers/bands, well, my heart goes out to them. It’s expensive and it’s a hassle — there’s nothing like seeing a very tired-looking band hump gear through the 6th Street chaos. And then wonder if the cost/hassle was worth it. Most bands I’ve interviewed who have gone to SXSW told me nothing ever came of their performance. I think if you’re only playing once during the festival, you’ll be overlooked. The bands that make the biggest mark — that get noticed — play at least eight times during the week. Fans/journalists/industry gimps are bound to notice your name when it shows up over and over on the SXSW master schedule — and then wonder “Who the hell are these guys?” But if you’re in a brand new band, the chances of getting multiple showcases/sets during SXSW are slim and none.

Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes posted an honest perspective at Hear Nebraska that’s worth your attention (read it here). His summary, “..only a statistically insignificant percentage of bands who play SXSW get discovered, and for the rest, it’s just a good excuse to hang out and enjoy a little bit of springtime before anyone else.” No doubt.

Now that should be the last word on SXSW 2014…

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Super-indie consortium Independent Distribution Cooperative (IDC), which consists of Saddle Creek Records, Merge, Beggers, Domino and Secretly Canadian, resigned a physical distribution deal with Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), according to this Billboard.com article.

ADA is an arm of Warner Music Group. According to the article, “As part of the deal, ADA will continue to provide physical distribution services to major brick-and-mortar chain accounts for the consortium of labels and their distributed labels too. ADA will also sell select indie accounts on a non-exclusive basis, meaning that the labels can also sell directly to indie accounts too.

The rather convoluted article also mentions that IDC has negotiated for digital distribution, but isn’t clear what that means for the labels. The take-away for me is that these indies continue to work together to keep their product stocked in your local record stores. Wonder what they could accomplish if all five labels merged into one major label?

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Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1927 film The Ring featuring live music by Alex McManus (The Bruces), Aaron Markley and Daniel Ocanto. Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. If you haven’t been to one of these, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Also tonight, Conchance and Rock Paper Dynamite perform at the Rock Enroll showcase at The Slowdown. The free event will provide information about how to get health insurance coverage as the March 31 deadline looms. Music starts at 9.

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

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