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…?

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

Lazy-i

Brain Drain or Brain Gain? (In the column); Speedy Ortiz returns 3/21; acoustic King Buzzo, Gerald Lee Lr. and Miley tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 2:02 pm March 6, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, I contemplate the spate of musicians who have flown the coop (Jenna Morrison, Laura Burhenn, Kasher, etc.) and ask if the recent creative “brain drain” is a trend we should be concerned about. The column is in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Just noticed (via itsadigitalworld blog) that Speedy Ortiz has been booked to play Sweatshop Gallery March 21 with Digital Leather and Pile. I mention this because SO’s 2013 album, Major Arcana, was nothing less than amazing, and her new EP, Real Hair, is equally sublime. I can’t miss them this time…

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King Buzzo tour poster

King Buzzo tour poster

Roger “Buzz” Osborne a.k.a. King Buzzo is headlining tonight at The Waiting Room with Filter Kings’ frontman Gerald Lee, Jr. opening. For those of you who may not have grown up with their delicious noise, Buzzo is a member of seminal ’80s punk band Melvins, who have been credited as germinating a style of punk that evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view) into ’90s grunge. Melvins put out a new album late last year that also featured original members Dale Crover and Mike Dillard called Tres Cabrones.

Tonight’s Buzzo show will be a change of pace as he’s out on the road supporting his new acoustic solo EP This Machine Kills Artists. This review from mxdwn.com of a recent King Buzzo show will give you a taste of what you’re in for tonight: 

“Headliner King Buzzo did a mix of classic material from The Melvins’ back catalog and newer material from his upcoming, as-yet-untitled, all-acoustic album coming out this summer. True to form and reputation—see some of his appearances on Fox News’ Red Eye—Buzzo is a total card, cracking jokes at every possible turn. ‘Suicide in Progress’ and Stag’s ‘Captain Pungent’ both show the musical finesse The Melvins material is famous for, and because the songs are being rendered for the first time without drums or bass, how crucial Dale Crover’s drumming is to each track’s arrangement. On ‘Captain Pungent’ numerous crowd members take to singing the drum fills while Buzzo is silently counting the absent spaces to keep in time.”

Sounds like a riot. $13, 9 p.m.

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And then there’s Miley Cyrus tonight at The CLink. Driving into work this morning, I saw her fleet of tour busses — at least a half dozen — parked along the south side of the DoubleTree, along Capitol Ave. I looked but didn’t see Miley getting out of one of the rigs.

The controversy over her live show is… amusing. Maybe people make a big deal about her crotch-grab antics because she comes from the Disney cabal, I don’t know. She’s not doing anything that Madonna didn’t do two decades ago. Back then, people were up in arms about ol’ cone-tits and MTV and yes, there was a sense that pop music had died a little with every vogue, becoming that much more marginalized.

These days Madonna’s core discography is respected more than it was back then, if only for the sheer production value. Madonna had (has) a shitty voice, but it was pure gold compared to Britney’s ear-bleeding caw. Miley’s voice is a step up from her Disney sister, but it’s still pretty bad, while her music is as equally trite. In the end it doesn’t matter. The kids who are headed to Miley tonight are going for the foam-fingered spectacle, not the music. Let them have their fun…

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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.

Lazy-i

The Return of Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies (in the column); Snake Island, McCarthy cinema tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:47 pm February 20, 2014
Brad Hoshaw towers over the crowd...

Brad Hoshaw towers over the crowd…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, an interview with Brad Hoshaw on what went wrong with the last album and what he hopes will go right with the new one. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online at thereader.com website right here, or since this is a music-related installment, you can read it below:

Over the Edge 95: The Second Coming of Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies

When Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies released their debut album five years ago, I thought for sure it was going to be a breakthrough.

That record was pure bliss. If you haven’t heard it (and apparently not many of you have), it’s worth seeking out. It’s as good — if not better than — most records that came out in 2009, loaded with heart-wrenching hook-laden folk-rock songs that once heard are impossible to get out of your head.

Despite my growing pessimism about the ever-decomposing music industry, I still believe the only thing that matters is good songwriting — no matter how much music gets thrown into the giant milk barrel we call the internet, the cream will always rise to the top to be discovered by some enterprising record label exec looking to break the Next Big Thing.

And yet, that Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies’ debut album went nowhere. What happened?

Hoshaw said the record’s failure to gain traction outside of Omaha wasn’t for lack of trying. “I did as much as I could to capitalize on that last record, but trying to do the job of a record label by myself was probably unreasonable,” he said over a decaf Americano at a Benson coffee shop.

Hoshaw’s formula to break that first record involved a home-grown college radio campaign, where he personally sat down and called more than 300 radio stations from a promotion list he gleaned off a fellow musician.

“I sent out 120 copies of the CD to radio stations, but when it came time to do follow-up calls, I was burned out,” Hoshaw said. “I hit a threshold with what I could do by myself without going crazy.”

What about touring? Hoshaw said his band went on a two-week East Coast tour, but afterward band members said they couldn’t afford to do more. “They have families and jobs, and it didn’t make sense to lose money on the road,” Hoshaw said. Eventually the “Seven Deadlies” evaporated to just one — guitarist Matt Whipkey.

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies, Funeral Guns (self-released, 2014)

Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies, Funeral Guns (self-released, 2014)

Now Hoshaw has a chance to try again. He’s celebrating the release of his new Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies album, Funeral Guns, this Friday night at The Waiting Room. The 10-song opus continues along the same path as the debut, with songs destined to be radio-station fodder (if they ever catch a programmer’s ear). Tunes like sinister opening ballad “New Tattoo,” sleek West Coast-rocker “Company” and album-closing magnum opus “It Falls Apart” continue to define Hoshaw as one of the best songwriters to come out of Nebraska.

So what’s he going to do differently this time ‘round? “I want to widen my fan base,” Hoshaw said. In collaboration with Whipkey, Hoshaw has picked Minneapolis, Des Moines/Ames and Kansas City/Lawrence as target markets where he’ll play gigs at least once a month.

Funeral Guns got made thanks to the support of 130 people who funded a Kickstarter online crowd-funding campaign. Hoshaw said he wants to keep that fan base happy and grow it as much as possible because he’ll need to call on them again when it comes time to fund his next record. Call it a grassroots effort rather than the traditional music career path that involves attracting the attention of a record label with hopes of signing a contract.

“Record companies are difficult; the odds are always against you,” Hoshaw said. “On the other hand, every time you go on stage you have a chance to make connections with new fans. It’s not a comfortable living, not like having a record deal where you can say, ‘We’ve made it.’ It’s hard work and constant stress.”

That said, Hoshaw still wouldn’t mind landing a record deal or a booking agent or a promotion company that could take some of the load off his shoulders so he could focus on what he says is his biggest priority: songwriting. He’s already talking about recording his next album this year, and has reached out to producers, including Saddle Creek Records’ veteran Andy LeMaster, whose credits include albums by Bright Eyes, Azure Ray and Now It’s Overhead.

And then there’s Nashville. “I have some friends who are songwriters down there,” Hoshaw said. “I’ve considered moving to Nashville. It would be more as a songwriter than a performer. I would pursue writing songs with other songwriters for other artists. For me, all the business stuff begins with the song — it’s the most important thing to develop, and writing with different people will make that stronger.”

Imagine Hoshaw selling a song like “Funeral Guns” to a hotshot like Blake Shelton. “I would consider it,” he said with a smile. “I would have to look at the contract and decide if it made sense.”

But what would make even more sense is writing songs for other Nebraska musicians. Hoshaw originally wrote the track “Delta King” off the new record for local band The Black Squirrels, while “New Tattoo” was written in collaboration with three other songwriters and album closer “It Falls Apart” was written by former Nebraska songwriter now poet Kyle Harvey.

Hoshaw’s contemplated recording an entire album of covers of songs by local songwriters, and would love for a fellow Omaha songwriter like John Klemmensen to record one of his songs.

“I would love more of that to happen locally the same way Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson played each other’s songs,” Hoshaw said. “I would love to see less fear about sharing art and letting other people interpret it, because in the end, it’s really about performing the best songs.”

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

First published in The Reader, Feb. 20, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room Snake Island headlines with Swamp Walk and Time Cat. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, it’s the first in Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series featuring the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1929 film The Farmer’s Wife featuring live music by Dan McCarthy and James Maakestad. Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here.

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

Lazy-i

Kyle Harvey on why he prefers words to music; Ghost Foot, Those Far Out Arrows tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:45 pm February 13, 2014
Poet Kyle Harvey

Poet Kyle Harvey

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, an interview with Poet Kyle Harvey on what it’s like to be a poet and why he turned his back on the music world. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here, and since this tangentially involves music, you can read it below.

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Over the Edge #94: The Life of a (Real) Modern-Day Poet

Hyacinth (Lithic Press, 2013)

Hyacinth (Lithic Press, 2013)

Just the word “poet” makes some people’s eyes roll in exasperation and disbelief. “Who does he think he is, calling himself a poet? Is he serious?” To those same people, anyone who would classify himself as a poet is very likely a self-involved, deluded, pretentious asshole who thinks he has all the answers and can even make those answers rhyme. Either that, or he’s a university professor.

The only problem with that theory is that Kyle Harvey is a poet, and he’s anything but a pretentious asshole.

He used to be a musician, the kind that plays rock ’n’ roll and folk songs of his own writing. Once upon a time when he lived in Omaha, Harvey was known to stand on stage with his guitar behind his rather bushy beard and sing painful, personal love songs designed to draw tears from your eyes (and often succeeded). He also played in a rock band that no longer exists called It’s True, which released records and drove around the country in a van playing concerts in night clubs.

All of that was a long time ago. These days Harvey lives in picturesque Fruita, Colorado, a town of around 12,000 located just outside of Grand Junction on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains. He and his wife, Veronica, live a quiet life raising kids (with twins on the way), hold down day jobs and are part of a community where Harvey recently was elected to the City Council.

But on top of all that, Harvey writes poems, like this one from his latest “chap book”:

Tulips

There’s an overcoat of cottonwood,
on a quilted field in Holland.

Words spill from one pocket
and rhythms from the other.

Down into the soil they seep,
Cupping seeds in their hands

and sprouting the promise of bulbs
from which colorful miracles leap.

“I’m only a poet when I write a poem,” Harvey explained. “The rest of the time I’m just an average dude.”

How does one go from performing rock songs in front of an audience to quietly writing at the foot of a mountain? Harvey says at some point he “fell out of love” with being a musician and the pressures that came with it.

“Music just doesn’t hold as much value as it used to,” Harvey said. “I think it stopped a long time ago, well before I started stepping back from it. I got burned out on the formula of writing songs. Poetry seemed a little bit more open-ended and felt a little more free.”

Harvey said he also didn’t feel fulfilled playing rock shows. “The fulfillment came from the process of creating something,” he said. “With the band, the value for me was hanging out with my friends and traveling to different cities, but the shows and the grind of it was not as exciting or fun. I don’t crave being on stage in front of people, I almost like not being on stage — which is weird considering how long I played music.

“There doesn’t seem to be much to a poet’s lifestyle, like there is to a musician’s.” he added. “Poetry is solitary, you do it in solitude.”

Well, except for when he takes part in poetry readings, but even then all he has to do is read four or five poems. “Then you get to hang out with people who read books,” he said. “I’d rather read a book than listen to an album.”

What? Sacrilege!

Harvey said he began writing poetry back in his musician days. After he moved to Colorado one of his poems, “Hyacinth,” won the 15th Annual Mark Fischer Poetry Prize awarded by the Telluride Arts Council.

Shortly after that, friend and fellow poet Danny Rosen suggested Harvey collect his poems — many of which had been published in small poetry journals and magazines — and put out a book. Named after that award-winning poem, Hyacinth was published by Rosen’s Lithic Press. Harvey calls it a “chap book,” which he said is the term for books under 42 pages that use staples for the binding.

Unlike the music business, which seems to thrive on album sales, there isn’t a lot of pressure to sell copies of his chapbook. Harvey said Rosen would love to at least break even, but “in his mind, the most important part (of the process) is creating the artifact, the beautiful book,” Harvey said. “(Rosen) would tell you he already considers it a huge success, which is neat to hear.”

So what’s the pretentious part in all of this?

“There’s a misperception that (poetry) is some sort of pretentious high art. It’s not like that at all,” Harvey said. “What I’ve learned is that the poetry world to me doesn’t seem nearly as pretentious as the music world. Even the biggest, most widely read, best-selling poets — and there’s not a whole lot of them — are still nothing like rock stars. There’s a purity to it that maybe comes from the fact that there’s not much of an audience for poetry, and from the lack of exchange of money. There’s not even a whole lot of people who have been to a poetry reading. They’re almost considered taboo.”

And now you can take part in this taboo ritual when Harvey presents some of his work at a poetry reading Feb. 24 at the Petshop Gallery, 2727 No. 62nd St. in Benson. Joining him will be Greg Kosmicki (the 2000 and 2006 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council’s Merit Award), Paul Hanson Clark (co-founder and operator of the poetry studio SP CE in Lincoln), and Omaha musician and novelist Michael Trenhaile.

And if you’re wondering what Harvey sounded like on stage, well you’ll get your chance to find out when he once again slings on a guitar as the opener at the Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies album release show Feb. 21 at The Waiting Room. No one said poets can’t sing, too.

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

First published in The Reader, Feb. 13, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Tonight at O’Leaver’s, Shreveport band Ghost Foot plays along with locals Those Far Out Arrows. Whenever I see shows like this listed, I wonder how they got booked. Ghost Foot has almost no web presence. They have a Facebook page with 375 likes with an “about” section that has almost no information about the band. They have a bandcamp page but no formal releases. Beyond that, nothing. And yet, here they are hundreds of miles away from home on tour.

Somehow they found O’Leaver’s, or O’Leaver’s found them and they booked a show for tonight. Maybe they’re friends with the TFOA guys, who also only have a Facebook page and a Reverb Nation page. I think it’s safe to say this is the punk underground at its finest. $5, 9:30 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The inside scoop on Sick Birds Die Easy (in the column) plus outtakes; Long Low Signal, Betty Jean, Lincoln Exposed tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:53 pm February 6, 2014
Ross Blockley from a scene from Sick Birds Die Easy.

Ross Brockley from a scene from Sick Birds Die Easy.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, an interview with the Nik Fackler, Sam Martin and Ross Brockley, the stars of Fackler’s new film, Sick Birds Die Easy. Fackler separates the real from the unreal, the fact from fiction in this documentary that isn’t a documentary but kind of is. You can read it in the current issue of The Reader, or online right here. Go ahead and read it now and come on back, we’ll wait for you…

With the column being more of a review and description than a Q&A, there was a lot of leftover interview content that didn’t make into the 1,000-word news hole. Hopefully much of what I missed was covered in a story that (I was told) was being written by Leo Adam Biga, The Reader‘s cover story writer. That said, here are a few details:

– Sam Martin’s soundtrack is as central to the film as the visual footage. Martin seamlessly combines the style of music he’s known for with a sublime score that perfectly accentuates the mirth and madness of every frame. “All the score work was done after a (mostly) final cut was done,” Martin said, “but while Nik was editing I gave him a hard drive of everything I recorded in the last two years so he picked (music) out of that hard drive. After that I tracked all the score work.”

“It was like a treasure chest hard drive of amazing music,” Fackler added. As I mentioned in the column, the DVD version of the film comes with a separate copy of the soundtrack.

– Fackler said the film’s budget was a little less than $100,000. His producer was Steve Hays of 120 dB Films, who Fackler had met when his film Lovely, Still premiered in Toronto. “(Hays) whole concept was ‘Let’s make a film that’s kind of like this new genre that’s popping up that’s a hybrid, kind of like Paranormal Activity.’ Initially I wasn’t interested in doing it, but then sent him a one-page concept.”

Hays gave the green light and Fackler proceeded to shoot more than 500 hours of footage that took a year and a half to edit between tours with Icky Blossoms and Tilly and the Wall. The entire time Hays was breathing down his neck for a print to hand over to various festival committees.

“It was good having that pressure to get the film edited,” Fackler said, but added. “I’m really burnt out on editing. Editing this film really took a lot out of me. I’m ready to put that hat away.”

– I’ve been a fan of Ross Brockley since he played the slacker son in the series of commercials with the pitch phrase: “What do you think this is, a Holiday Inn?” Brockley becomes the central figure in this film — you love him, you hate him. I asked why he doesn’t do more work and Brockley said his main focus these days is his organic farm operation located south of Lincoln called Brockley Farmaceuticals that he’s operated for the past 14 years. The farm was partially paid for by his Holiday Inn work. Still, Brockley hasn’t turned his back on acting. “It’s not like I”m passing up roles and offers all over the place,” he said.

– Dana Altman of North Sea Films, who is seen running a camera in the movie and plays a minor role, is said by narrator Fackler to be giving up film making to buy a farm of his own. “He did buy a farm,” Fackler said during the interview. “It’s so beautiful, I think if Dana had his choice, he would be there full time, but you can’t take the film maker out of him. He’ll always love film.”

– As for Fackler’s future: “I don’t know what I’m going to do next,” he said. “I like to have small goals and work real intensely one thing at a time. I don’t like to have all my eggs in one medium. Right now the focus is releasing Sick Birds and then music full-time. I’ve started writing a new script. Film will always be a part of my life. I don’t see being a musician and touring into my 40s and 50s.”

If you don’t have tickets to next Tuesday’s screening of Sick Birds at Film Streams and you want to go, you better get them soon. Fackler implied sales have been brisk. I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells out. And though it will be available on DVD and Video on Demand, it’s worth seeing on the big screen. Details/tickets are available here, and the after-party at The Slowdown should be (as the kids say) off the hook.

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A couple shows on the radar tonight.

New band Long Low Signal headlines at The Waiting Room with The Love Technicians, The Sub Vectors and Let Alone. Interestingly, LLS plays tomorrow night at Slowdown, apparently prepping to go into the studio. I have no idea what they sound like. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, tonight at Slowdown Jr., Betty Jean of The Betties is hosting a CD release show. Joining her is Travelling Mercies and Matt Cox. $5, 9 p.m.

And in Lincoln, it’s night two of Lincoln Exposed. Get the deets here.

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

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