The Lazy-i Interview: Cursive’s Tim Kasher talks Winchester, Vitriola, 15 Passenger and (most importantly) volleyball…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:28 pm May 23, 2019

Cursive, from left, are Ted Stevens, Patrick Newbery, Matt Maginn, Tim Kasher, Clint Schnase and Megan Siebe. Photo by Tony Bonacci.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When Cursive takes the stage at Winchester Bar, the ramshackle home of volleyball and karaoke recently purchased by a consortium that includes members of the band, you’ll see some old and new faces.

The band’s core — frontman Tim Kasher, guitarist Ted Stevens and bass player Matt Maginn — will be joined by new permanent members keyboardist Patrick Newbery and cellist Megan Siebe. Drummer Pat Oakes will be sitting in for returning member, drummer Clint Schnase.

It’s a big group that creates a big sound on the band’s new album, Vitriola, recorded at ARC Studios with wizard knob turner Mike Mogis. To my ears, it’s a return to the classic bash-rock style Cursive became known for beginning in the late ’90s on its many Saddle Creek Records releases. 

My simplistic (and there’s no one more simplistic than I) take on the record’s theme is that Kasher’s getting older and these songs reflect his anxiety about aging and/or the struggle and futility of life (versus say, songs about his struggles with relationships (Domestica) or religion (Happy Hollow)). There’s also a  political theme that runs through a few songs that’s hard to miss, though I wouldn’t consider this a protest album. 

During a phone interview that took place a few weeks ago, Kasher talks about the new album, the band’s new record label, 15 Passenger (which they own and operate), working again with Schnase and buying yet another volleyball bar to run alongside The Club called O’Leaver’s.

Tell me about Winchester? Why did you buy it? What are your plans? What do you feel about playing there?

Kasher: Winchester is a bar that went up for sale a handful of years ago and the fellas that are in this group business that we have saw it as an opportunity. And Chris Machmuller (of Ladyfinger fame, who also runs O’Leaver’s) also has been wanting a kitchen for some time, and that has a restaurant as part of it. O’Leaver’s is also going to be utilizing its kitchen soon. But those are the reasons, I mean, the volleyball, essentially.  They know how that works, so they thought they’d go for it. I like the spot myself. I guess we all liked it, you know?

It is bigger. It’s got a stage, it’s got good cheeseburgers and you’re cornering the market on volleyball. You guys are becoming the volleyball kings.

Yeah, it’s funny, we have definitely become the volleyball people. And it’s really not that far out of the way. It’s just kind of relative to what we understand and which direction we go in Omaha.

So, you’re in Chicago, right?

No. I’m in L.A.

So, you’re in L.A. and they call you and say ‘Hey, we’re thinking about buying Winchester. What do you think?’ Because it couldn’t have been your idea, right?

No. It was not. The whole process really took a while. I guess it is over a year ago now, and we just kind of talked about it and considered it. But I only offer as much input as is necessary, only if there is any major red flags, but I don’t think that has ever come up for me. I’m just kind of happy to let them do what they do.

Alright, so tell me about the album. Everyone says it is this angry album, but I think it’s just delightful. I like ‘Remorse,’ which is my favorite Cursive song since ‘From the Hips.’ 

Thanks. That’s actually a song that Patrick Newbery brought in. This is the first time that we more completely wrote with Patrick. He worked on I am Gemini but it was a little bit after the fact. He kind of came in and rounded the edges and put organs and different things on. But this time he wrote from the start and I encouraged him to bring songs in, too, and that was one of the things he had lying around. So I put some melody and vocals on it and it’s a nice piece.

Yeah I assume you’re playing that live?

No. We actually haven’t been.

What?

Perhaps we should.

Why not?

I don’t know, I guess for us it felt like more of the appropriate somber deep cut for the album. 

You’ve really analyzed this record more than any of the others I think. It’s amazing the stuff you’ve said about it in interviews. Does that much thought go into it? I mean it seems no darker than the other records. 

Sometimes it just has to do with what the press says, you know? Prior to being released I kind of scratched my head and I’m not sure what to think of it and I wonder what others think of it. Others kind of enlightened me to what their impression is and what their perception of it is, so then I just kind of start going along. So apparently this one came off as a lot darker and heavier than what, though, I’m not sure. Because I agree with you, every Cursive record is pretty heavy, I guess. Happy Hollow was probably in a little bit of a different direction, but…

It sounds like you’re getting older to me, that’s all. You know. In the same way I’m getting older, too. You’re getting more pissed at stuff.

Yes, that’s true.

So, tell me how it’s going in terms of putting this out yourselves versus Saddle Creek Records? I talked to (Saddle Creek label chief) Robb Nansel and he said ‘I think they just wanted to do it themselves. I’m not sure why they want to do it themselves, because it’s such a pain in the neck, etc.’ Has it been difficult doing the label for you guys? Is it more work than you thought is was going to be? 

No, I don’t really think there’s been much of a problem. Also Saddle Creek has a lot of bands. They have a lot more moving pieces as a result of that. We are very boutique, as you can tell. It might be a better question for Matt and Ted, but it’s been actually pretty enjoyable and we do have a distributor and stuff, too. It’s not like every role has been thrown in our laps.

Part of the joy of life is doing things yourself and running your own business. The bars are kind of like that as well. It’s a challenge, and I think everybody kind of likes the challenge.

Is it more financially satisfying?

You know, probably not. But that wasn’t part of it. Those were the conversations we had with Robb before we ever made the decision.

Money really wasn’t the driver?

No, we were always clear about that. Money is not a factor at all because we actually know that money won’t be a factor. There’s not some big slice that we’re getting, you know? It’s a modest business.

So it’s about controlling the product then?

Yeah, yeah. And feeling good about that and representing ourselves.

Why hasn’t Cursive issued a Greatest Hits album? Or a live album, you know? Conor’s done a live record, The Faint did Capsule (a retrospective). When are you guys going to do your Greatest Hits collection?

We never talk about it. It’s not a terrible idea.

Well, it brings up the question if whether they’re even relevant in an era of streaming?

True. I mean really, it’s just almost like making a play list. I think we’ve already done that. We still have an interest in documenting what we do live, and that’s still a conversation we throw around. We still haven’t pulled the trigger on that. But that would probably be our version of a “best of” record.

Like… Cursive Live at Oleaver’s, maybe?

Absolutely.

So where does the band live these days?

Actually everybody is here in Omaha. Except for me.

What’s it like having Clint Schnase back in the band?

It’s a blast.

How did that come about?

It was just great timing. Everything clicked together really well. As 15 Passenger, Matt, Ted and I saw it as a means to slowly re-release our catalog under the same umbrella. But as we would have those conversations it was always just kind of fun to play around and say, ‘Jeez, we could really do what we want, we don’t have to set any perimeters.’ And the obvious conclusion to that would be, ‘I guess if there’s anything we were to release, it would probably be a new Cursive record.’ So we asked ourselves, ‘Are we doing another Cursive record?‘ Because we sincerely never know. Every record we do, we never really talk about another one.

So doing 15 Passenger kind of helped stimulate us, made us curious and gave us something to work toward. It would be kind of cool to release another Cursive record on our own label. So that idea was very slowly marinating between us, and then out of the blue Clint reached out and (said), ‘If you guys ever want to do a record again, I’d love to.’ And so hearing that we were like ‘Actually, we’ve been talking about doing another record, so if you wanted to then that’s perfect.’ Once he reached out to us, we were just like ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to do it.’

I assumed he kind of pulled away for personal or possibly family stuff and now he must have some time to do this.

I probably shouldn’t speak on his behalf, but I think that’s quite fair to say that he wanted to kind of settle down more and start a family. And I think for him his daughter is like a young lady now, so I think he felt that he could dedicate a little more time. But I don’t think he would ever like to do the heavy tour circuit again like we used to do. (Pat Oakes is the band’s tour drummer and will be playing the Winchester show). Even when we were young and we were doing that, it really wasn’t his bag. And Clint was always very vocal about that.

He’s just a crazy drummer. I mean he’s one of my favorites, so muscular and aggressive. 

For me it really shines through. I’ve loved the other drummers we’ve played with, they’re just amazing. But the actual Cursive drummer is Clint. That’s the sound of what we are and what we do, you know?

How’s Megan enjoying being part of the band? She’s kind of been touring with you for years before this anyway, right?

Yeah, Megan and I have become really close touring partners. She does solo tours as well now and it’s great. We get along great. We’re great friends and I think she’s enjoying herself.

So tell me about what’s next. What are you guys working on after this tour is done?

Well, I kind of had to ask myself that. I wasn’t really sure. I always want to keep moving forward, writing stuff. So after some consideration of what it is I do in this life, I just started writing songs again. So I started working on another solo record that I’ll hopefully put out next year. I’ll see how it goes.  And then, of course, I’ll always have scripts. I’m having a string of good luck right now, so I’m hoping to give that a shot this summer.

So another movie possibly (Kasher wrote and directed 2017 feature film No Resolution)?

Yeah. But I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve had those things fall through so many times in my life, but I’m trying to stay on track to shoot it this summer.

What about the label? There’s rumors about another band joining the label.

Yeah, we have two things and maybe a third thing. I don’t think it’s stuff I can talk about yet, because it’s another thing that, if it falls through, that’s like… And then there’s a secret announcement that we are going to do for one of them, too, and who knows?

So, anything else? Anything else going on that you want to mention?

We’re excited about doing Winchester. Excited for people come out and see it. I imagine a lot of people probably haven’t yet.

Cursive plays with mewithoutYou and The Appleseed Cast Saturday, May 25, at Winchester Bar & Grill, 7002 Q Tickets are $22, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to winchesteromaha.com.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Lady Lamb (at Reverb April 22); Sasami, The Crystal Method, Glow in the Dark tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:00 pm April 18, 2019

Lady Lamb plays at Reverb Lounge Monday, April 22.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lady Lamb is singer/songwriter Aly Spaltro, who you may remember as Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, a moniker she dropped shortly after her 2013 debut, Ripely Pine. She’s actually been releasing EPs and LPs since 2009, bouncing between indie labels Ba Da Bing Records and Mom + Pop Records. Her most recent, Even in the Tremor, brings her back to Ba Da Bing for an intimate collection of folk rock songs. Spaltro paints intricate personal portraits of daily life with all the messy emotions that come with it.

We caught up with Aly and asked her to take the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Aly Spaltro: Widow City by The Fiery Furnaces

2. What is your least favorite song?

Maybe ‘Thrift Shop’ by Macklemore?

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

Having friends with which to contemplate snack options at gas stations.

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

Late load-outs with tons of gear after shows!

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

Black diner coffee

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

New Orleans

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

In Brussels, Belgium, our van was robbed and they stole my pedalboard and discarded our merch all over the street. That was a rough show to say the least!

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 I am very fortunate to have been supporting myself with my music since 2010 when I left home in Maine and moved to NYC.

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

I’d like to attempt film editing. I would absolutely hate to be a helicopter pilot.

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

Romantic Saddle Creek stories of some of my favorite musicians like Conor Oberst, Jenny Lewis and Tim Kasher all hanging out and making music together!

Lady Lamb plays with Renata Zeiguer and Alex Schaaf Monday, April 22, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 8 p.m., tickets are $15 Adv./$17 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Two red-hot shows tonight:

At Reverb Lounge, indie darling Sasami, a.k.a. Sasami Ashworth, headlines. Her self-titled debut was released on Domino Records last month. Canadian singer/songwriter Ellis opens at 8 p.m. $12.

Meanwhile, around the corner at The Waiting Room, the electronica duo The Crystal Method headlines. Their sixth studio album, The Trip Home, was released on Tine e Records last September. Opening is our own electro-rock kingpin Glow in the Dark, who’s getting ready to drop a new record called Teenline. Aaron Gum and Co. just dropped a new video for a song from that album, called “Gemini Looks.” Check it. Tickets are $25, showtime is 8 p.m.

* * *

Who’s excited about the Maha Festival line-up announcement tonight at The Slowdown? Let’s hope it’s bigger than the Mueller Report…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with DeVotchKa (@ TWR Feb. 10); Samantha Crane, About-Face, Cult Play tonight; Lupines, Janglepop Saturday…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 8, 2019

Devotchka plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“Devotchka” is a Russian word for “girl,” according to Wikipedia, whereas DeVotchKa is a Denver four-piece fronted by brassy crooner Nick Urata. The band’s history dates back to 1997 and 11 studio albums including their latest, This Night Falls Forever (2018, Concord Records), a romantic collection of lush ballads that, on tracks like “Done with Those Days,” and opener “Straight Shot” sees Urata channeling such vintage vocalists as Roy Orbison and Chris Isaak.

One common thread in these songs is their sentimentality,” Urata says. “When you first discover rock and roll, that’s usually the same time you’re discovering girls or boys, when everything is so romantic and huge — that era of your life is where these songs are coming from.”

We caught up with Urata and gave him the Ten Questions treatment. Here’s eight of his answers:

1. What is your favorite album?

Nick Urata: Revolver by the Beatles. Every song on it is a classic and in a genre of its own. The moment I heard it I knew I had to make music.

2. What is your least favorite song?

The “877 Kars 4 Kids” (jingle/commercial)

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

I’ve always wanted to be in a band. I’ve been in so many that fell apart when you find one that works it’s like magic. To have brothers and sisters in music, to share the peaks and valleys of this life is a blessing.

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

“Hate” is a strong word, but if you’re serious about your band it takes over every aspect of your life.

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

I left (this one and No. 10) blank. They will just get me in trouble…

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

Omaha, obviously.

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

There have been a few.  When we look back it turns out our home town of Denver is the sight of some of our worst disasters. Mostly because that’s where we cut our teeth and learned how to put on a show. It’s always the ones that you think are going to be earth-shattering that are the biggest let down. For us early on we were asked to open for Marilyn Manson, we were elated, but the reality was a harsh one. I thought his fans would be enlightened and open to something different, but the diehards up front hated us and made our first arena show a nightmare, it was also the day GW got re-elected, very dark…

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?

It goes back to my previous answer: If you are willing to give up any semblance of a normal life you can eventually quit your day job. I’m happy to report we all have.

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

I would love to be a cinematographer, but I’m not sure I can even spell it so I guess that says something, but I think the fact that we can capture our world in such a beautiful light is a miracle we take for granted and future dystopian generations will cherish.

On the flip side, anything around an airport or church.

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

Devotchka plays with Neyla Pekarek (formerly of The Lumineers) Sunday, Feb. 10, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple Street. Tickets are $25 Adv/$60 M&G. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

Now onward to the rest of the weekend…

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Samantha Crain headlines tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. She’s a Choctaw singer, songwriter, poet, producer and musician from Oklahoma and a two-time Native American Grammy Award winner. Sean Pratt and McCarthy Trenching open at 10 p.m. $10.

Meanwhile, over at The Sydney in Benson, Cult Play headlines with Lincoln band Universe Contest and Dross (members of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship). 10 p.m., $5.

There’s also a four-band emo show at West O bar Dr. Jack’s Drinkery, 3012 No. 102nd St. Headlining is Nebraska band About-Face, with Missouri act Faintheart, and Nebraska bands Midwest Coasta and Phantom Killer. $10, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for the amazing Lupines. Also on the bill are Las Cruxes and Chase the Ghost (Reagan Roeder/Brian Tait madness). $5, 10 p.m.

Also happening Saturday night is the return of ’90s/’00s Omaha act Janglepop at Reverb Lounge. Read this ancient article about the band here. Modern-day jangle-pop alt-country band Clarence Tilton opens at 8 p.m. $5.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Future Generations (tonight at The Waiting Room)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:32 pm January 15, 2019

Future Generations plays tonight (Jan. 15) at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Brooklyn indie band Future Generations was trying to get their heads around their changing world on their sophomore album Landscape (2018, Frenchkiss). “The title partly came from ending the first significant relationship of my life, and with the band’s move to Brooklyn, we were all put into this world we’d never experienced—living on our own and navigating the landscape of being in New York City,” said frontman Eddie Gore.

Produced by Justin Gerrish (Vampire Weekend, Hamilton Leithauser), Landscape also is the first Future Generations release to feature their full lineup which, in addition to Gore, includes Mike Sansevere, synthesizer/guitar/percussion; Eric Grossman, guitar; Devon Sheridan, bass, and Dylan Wells, percussion.

We caught up with the band and gave them the ol’ Ten Question treatment. Here’s what they said.

*Band note* This was done in the van on the way to Indianapolis and later to Omaha, with Devon dictating and transcribing questions and answers.

1. What is your favorite album?

Dylan Wells: Kid A by Radiohead

Mike Sansevere: I gotta think about it. You can probably just put Donuts by J Dilla for me. It’s a played-out answer, but that’s probably it.

Eric Grossman: That’s a good question I have no idea. That Bruce Springsteen live album probably, I have no idea what it is.

Eddie Gore: Parachutes by Coldplay

Devon Sheridan: It always changes but right now I’d say Modern Vampires of the City by Vampire Weekend.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Dylan: “Piano Man” by Billy Joel.

Mike: Ohhhh yeah that song sucks (Dylan and Mike fist bump). Might have to second that.

Devon: Mine is “We Are Young” by Fun..

Eddie: Whatever that “Thunder” song by Imagine Dragons is.

Eric: I don’t know what are some bad songs?

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

Dylan: Traveling, specifically eating at cool little diners every morning.

Mike: Making music, that’s why (I’m in) in a band, to make music.

Eric: *too busy playing Mario* just say uhhhh, figuring out and eating lunch.

Eddie: Getting paid to hang out with my friends.

Devon: I’m with Eddie. I also just like putting good energy into the world via music. Always thought it’d be so cool to do that.

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

Dylan: Financial insecurity.

Mike: Traveling. I also really hate foreign bathrooms, just a different toilet everyday. That kills me.

Eric: The stress of being in a different place everyday. I like being in my own bed.

Eddie: I don’t really hate anything about being in a band.

Devon: I hate the always nagging feeling of never feeling like you’re doing enough, either creatively or professionally, for the band. Even if it’s not true.

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

Eric: You can say butter.

Dylan: A nice Northern Rhone Syrah.

Mike: You can put down water for me.

Eddie: Cheese.

Devon: Eggs, they’re freaking next level.

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

Dylan: Austin.

Mike: Atlanta.

Eric: The North Pole.

Eddie: Nashville.

Devon: Nashville, because of hot chicken and Eddie’s parents’ super comfortable basement.

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

Dylan: Baltimore, because I fell out of my drum throne.

Mike: I never make mistakes.

Eric: There was a hectic show in D.C. where my pedals didn’t work. It was with Mt. Joy earlier this year.

Eddie: We played the wrong venue in Alabama a couple years ago. That was bad.

Devon: We played an empty show at a terrifying bar in Memphis on a Monday, and now we always say “at least it won’t be as bad as ‘Memphis on a Monday.’”

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?

Devon: Not quite yet, but getting there. Mostly we all bartend and work in the service industry to varying degrees. We all love and appreciate food, and it keeps us flush when we’re not touring. Mike does royalties for labels.

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

Dylan: I would want to work on a winery; would hate to do an office job.

Mike: Accountant/Accountant.

Eddie: Food critic. I’d hate to be a music critic.

Eric: Would love to work and office job; would hate to work on a winery.

Devon: Would love to do criminal defense law; would hate to be a gun manufacturer.

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

Dylan: Birthplace of 311.

Mike: Warren Buffett. And they got a Whole Foods by the hotel.

Eric: All I know is Omaha Steaks.

Eddie: I don’t know anything about Omaha.

Devon: OMAHA!!!

Future Generations plays with Magic City Hippies, Tuesday, Jan. 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple Street. Tickets are $20, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Middle Kids (at The Sydney Dec. 8)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:00 pm December 6, 2018

Middle Kids play at The Sydney in Benson Saturday, Dec. 8.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Middle Kids’ debut LP, Lost Friends (Domino, 2018) is one of the funnest, hookiest, prettiest records of the year. I point to the band’s Australian roots (they’re from Sydney) for their music’s sheer golden-sun tunefulness, because in my experience, those Aussies know their way around a beautiful melody (And as Exhibits A, B and C I give you Courtney Barnett, Tame Impala and Wolfmother, all past winners of Australia’s highly coveted Triple J award for album of the year, just like Middle Kids was this year).

The trio’s origins go back to 2014 when frontwoman Hannah Joy met bassist Tim Fitz through mutual friends and began making beautiful music together, both the kind you listen to and otherwise (as in they’re married now). Drummer Harry Day filled out the combo on their self-titled EP in 2017. 

The follow-up full-length, Lost Friends, is a buoyant ride of anthemic indie rock that shuffles and shimmers in a style that fits right alongside acts like Alvvays, First Aid Kit and Oh Pep! — bands that aren’t afraid to put melody above all else. 

I caught up with Middle Kids’ Tim Fitz and gave him the Ten Questions treatment. Here’s what he had to say: 

1. What is your favorite album?

Middle Kids’ Tim Fitz: Pretzel Logic by Steely Dan

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Aja” by Steely Dan

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

The joy and community that comes with mutual experience and creation.

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

Continually trying to work with others and love them is a terribly painful blow to the ego.

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

Cheetos

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

Too many! Philadelphia comes to mind. Also played a great show once at Stubbs BBQ in that great Texan city known as Austin.

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

Had a terrible gig in Portland once that involved a sound guy who was definitely affected by some substances, to the point where he didn’t know how to get any sound out of the speakers. They called in another guy to help, who was also out of his mind, and together they drunk drove that sound-desk for the duration of the show.

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?

We all do a few things in music, a few little fingers in a few pies. We get by with a little help from our friends. It took a while but once you get that first Porsche you never look back. You gotta diversify, hustle and follow your gut. You gotta buy low and sell high. That’s how we do it anyway.

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

We would love to open a Boulangerie in Paris. We would hate to run a Lawn Mower Shop.

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

We hear that the people are good souls. We’ve heard their skies are cold and gray but their hearts are warm and their eyes are bright.

Middle Kids plays with The Shacks Saturday, Dec. 8, at The Sydney, 5918 Maple St. Tickets are $13 Adv./$15 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Cloud Nothings (@ The Waiting Room 11/13)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:39 pm November 12, 2018

Cloud Nothings plays at The Waiting Room Tuesday, Nov. 13.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cleveland’s Cloud Nothings began as singer/songwriter/frontman Dylan Baldi’s secret basement project that caught fire in a big way, resulting in a record deal with rising indie label Carpark Records (Speedy Ortiz, TEEN, Dan Deacon). Through the course of their five-album career spanning back to their self-titled 2011 debut, the project has worked with some of the hottest producers in the business including Steve Albini, John Congleton and John Goodmanson.

For their latest, Last Building Burning (2018, Carpark), the band worked with metal producer Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Myrkur, Black Mountain). The result is a bracingly sharp turn from the melodic indie rock of 2017’s Life Without Sound; a move toward hard, fast, punk wherein Baldi’s croon had devolved into a sneering, angry, agitated bark that cuts through a wall of shrieking guitars. Intense.

I caught up with Dylan Baldi and gave him the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Cloud Nothing’s Dylan Baldi: It feels reductive to choose a single favorite album of all time. Favorite album of 2018 so far is Rose Mercie’s self-titled. Wild Raincoats/Electrelane-sounding hybrid out of Paris, France…very cool band.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Honestly there are so many bad songs. Most songs are bad. How can a person pick just one?

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

I like the feeling of actually creating energy. Like when a song is at its peak there can be an actual, almost tangible energy created. Pursuing that energy is the whole reason I play music, it feels good to hit those highs.

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

I hate waiting for our records to come out. I wish there was a way for vinyl to come into existence the second we finished recording. But unfortunately major labels are clogging the vinyl pressing plants with deluxe Rolling Stones reissues or something so we have to wait four months for our puny little records.

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

Lead. I love to just sit in an old basement full of lead and breathe it in. That’s also my other favorite part of being in a band. The free access to lead. I can smell it now…

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

I like playing anywhere that has good food. There are lots of places with good food. Even better is when the venue gives you dinner. That is the apex of luxury to me. Chicago seems to have an inordinate amount of venues that also feed you delicious food. I’ll say Chicago.

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

We played a show in Singapore a few years ago that stands out. Our drummer and I missed our flight from Cleveland because we were buying Naked Juices at the bagel store in the airport, so we ended up getting to Singapore like an hour before we were supposed to play. Then during the jetlagged fever dream of a show all the mics and drum hardware kept falling over, and the soundpeople just pointed and laughed and didn’t fix anything. Then we got a beer near the venue to pretend the show didn’t happen, and the beer turned out to cost $40. Singapore was hard for 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?

Yeah we’ve been strictly musicians for about six years now. It’s the biggest luxury. Gives me lots of time to make sure I’m making the best music I can. It took us three years of touring and working together for basically zero dollars. But luckily it resulted in an album that people liked in 2012, so since then we’ve been doing okay.

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

I would like to be a librarian. I feel like the library science must have lots of layers that I wouldn’t understand unless I went through school to learn it all. And I like books. I would hate to do anything where I have to be alone for a long period of time. I like being around people.

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

We have lots of friends in Omaha, and my girlfriend made a record here with Mike Mogis. She loves it here. We’ve never been, I’m looking forward to it!

Cloud Nothings plays with Nap Eyes and David Nance Tuesday, Nov. 13, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Interview: David Nance — on his new record, Jack White and how music feeds his soul (at Reverb Lounge Oct. 12)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:15 pm October 11, 2018

The David Nance Band plays at Reverb Friday, Oct. 12.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last weekend I got a chance to interview David Nance at his Dundee home while rain poured down around us. I sat on the porch swing with my lap-top while Dave walked around with his huge, shaggy head of hair, in a worn-out illegible band T-shirt and flannels and answered my meandering questions for a half-hour before it got too cold. We finished up in his living room with his dog, Wild Man, staring me down and occasionally barking.

Last week Chicago label Trouble in Mind Records released his latest album Peaced and Slightly Pulverized under the name David Nance Group (don’t go looking for it in Spotify under “David Nance” because you won’t find it; better yet, just go to a record store and buy a copy or pick it up at the show). Joining Nance on the record are drummer Kevin Donahue, bassist Tom May and guitarist Jim Schroeder performing a collection of psych-rock anthems — huge, droning monoliths grounded in Nance’s grinding guitar and echoing vocals.

David Nance Band, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (2018, Trouble in Mind)

AllMusic critic Mark Deming called the record “a raw and raucous exercise in no-frills hard rock” adding that his guitar work is “a style that splits the difference between Neil Young’s primativist noise and Keith Richards’ fractured blues, with a bit more slop than either but a similar passion for volume and blissful crunch.” I guess that’s a compliment — Deming gave the record 3-1/2 stars.

Peaced isn’t so much a natural progression from Nance’s earlier records — last year’s break-through album Negative Boogie and 2016’s More Than Enough (both released on Ba Da Bing!) — as much as a slight turn toward more structured rock songs that evolve into amazing guitar jams — satisfying and easy to get lost inside.

Nance said the album was recorded in Jim Schroeder’s basement. “Jim has a nice tape machine set-up,” Nance said. “He’s a little more focused than me when it comes to fidelity. He’ll dial it in a little more; he cares about tape hiss.

“Out of the gate it’s the record that sounds most like a live band,” he added. “The last one we recorded in a day and then threw stuff on it. This one was recorded in a room with maybe a vocal overdub. It’s 90 percent live and that was the intent.”

Regardless of the live nature of the recording, Nance said the band likely will only play four songs off the record when on stage. “We’re also doing covers and old ones,” he said.

Those live shows used to be a mixed bag. I remember seeing Nance play a few years ago, possibly at Reverb or O’Leaver’s, where the set consisted of a half-hour of drone and feedback with a slight pause in the middle. On the other hand, recent shows, including at this year’s Maha Music Festival, have been relatively straight-forward, focused on selections from his latest albums but always climaxing with him and Schroeder trying to kill each other with feedback.

“I love the way it sounds when we’ve played recently” Nance said. “It’s been really present and in the moment – lots of uncalculated things happened. It’s been deep; I get a deep feeling coming away from it.”

One recent notable gig was opening for Jack White at ONEOK Field in Tulsa (Home of the Drillers) Sept. 17. “I never thought something like that would happen,” Nance said. “Someone from Jack’s team called and asked if we could play Shreveport and Tulsa. I said we already had a gig for the first night but would love to do the Tulsa show. We didn’t hear anything back. I wrote him three days before the show to see if it was still happening and they said ‘sure.'”

Nance said they got the gig thanks to someone who works at White’s Third Man Records who’s a fan of his band. “This guy emailed and we talked back and forth about records we like,” Nance said. “I found out later that he’s the guy running the show with Jack.”

Nance said he only spent a few moments with White in Tulsa. “We were all back stage and they just showed up in a van, got out and 20 seconds later were playing on stage,” Nance said. “As they were leaving the stage, Jack said thanks for playing and apologized for forgetting to say our band’s name from stage. It was insane.”

Old connections also helped land a new label. It was Nance’s history playing with Brimstone Howl that got him in front of Trouble in Mind Records. “I met Bill and Lisa (Roe, the label’s proprietors) through Brimstone,” he said. “When we went through Chicago we stayed with them. I love their label, they put out my favorite current stuff. Years ago they said if you ever want to do a record, we’d be more than happy to release it.”

Connections over the years also helped Nance book his upcoming tour on his own. Nance and his band (Schroeder, Donahue and Sarah Bohling of Thick Paint on bass) start out in St. Louis Oct. 24 for a 22-date tour that takes them south and east, back through The Waiting Room Nov. 13 before ending Nov. 16 in Chicago. Next March they’re headed back to Europe, followed by shows in Australia with indie-punk act Thigh Master.

“I worked at Coachella cooking pad thai and that funded my first tour,” Nance said. “I’ve been booking things myself for awhile. It works out pretty well. I’ve been connected through the underground to a lot of great people doing great stuff.”

Nance said he looks at music as “another part-time job. I would love to do it full-time, but I don’t know if that’s possible. I’m lucky to have the ability to do what I do, book shit myself and come home with enough money for rent. I’ve had opportunities to meet people and see great bands.

“I just want to keep doing it. It feeds my soul. I feel whole doing it. I always go in assuming no one’s going to like anything and nothing’s going to happen, so I’m pleasantly surprised.”

David Nance plays with Closeness Friday, Oct. 12 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

Note: This story also appears online at The Reader website.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Soccer Mommy (at Reverb Sunday); Lord Huron, Cut Worms tonight (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:00 pm October 3, 2018

Soccer Mommy plays at Reverb Sunday, Oct. 7.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Soccer Mommy is Sophie Allison, a Nashville singer/songwriter influenced by the likes of pop stars Avril Lavigne and Taylor Swift, though her music is more easily filed alongside fellow indie singer/songwriter projects Mitski, Waxahatchee and Big Thief.

In fact, on her 2018 Fat Possum release, Clean, Allison’s style and voice are reminiscent of ’80s folkie Edie Brickell, and I’d throw early Liz Phair in there as well (someone Allison has opened for recently) except lyrically Allison’s songs are more longing and withdrawn than Phair’s Exile-era, jaded, take-it-or-leave-it love rants.

Instead, Allison often comes off lost or left-behind, as if watching as her lover hits on someone else at a party she wasn’t invited to in the first place. Even on indie radio hit “Your Dog,” the modern anti-thesis of the Stooges’ tune, Allison sounds worn out rather than angry. Clean is, indeed, a beauty of a record, but I’m waiting for when Allison’s had enough and returns as a mad-as-hell reincarnation of early PJ Harvey.

We caught up with Allison and asked her to take our Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

Sophie Allison: It’s hard to pick just one! One of my favorites that I’ve returned to this week is Yankee Hotel Foxtrot by Wilco. It’s a popular choice for a reason!

2. What is your least favorite song?

I really don’t like that F-R-I-E-N-D-S song that is on the radio right now. I don’t know who it’s by, but I hear it all the time. (“FRIENDS” by Marshmello & Anne-Marie — Tim).

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

I like getting to share experiences of traveling and playing music with other people, especially since I really like the guys I tour with.

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

Sharing the bathroom in a hotel is pretty much the worst part. It can be a battle in the mornings!

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

Right now I’m going to just say Malibu so we can keep it user friendly.

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

I always love playing in New York and Boston. I feel comfortable with both of those cities since I lived in NY and my sister lived in Boston and it’s always just a fun time.

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

Probably Liverpool. We showed up right before the set because we missed the ferry and it was just an odd vibe after that.

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?

I can at least sort of support myself at this point. I don’t really have another choice since I’m always on the road. It took at least half a year to be able to not be struggling to make it through tours, but sometimes we still struggle through it a bit.

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

I don’t really think I’d like to do anything else. I guess maybe I’d be a poet, but that’s basically what I do now. I’d hate to be an accountant or something like that.

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

I haven’t really heard any to be honest! We played there once (with Jay Som and Stef Chura Sept. 12, 2017, at Reverb — Tim) and it seemed like a nice town, the show was pretty small though and not a ton of people came.

Soccer Mommy plays with Sasami Sunday, Oct. 7, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $12, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Tonight Lord Huron headlines a sold out show at Sokol Auditorium. Opening is Brooklyn’s Cut Worms headed by Max Clarke, whose Jagjuwar release Hollow Ground earned a 7.2 rating from Pitchfork. 8 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Is Lincoln Calling the next SXSW? (preview/interview with organizer Spencer Munson)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:46 pm September 11, 2018

Is Lincoln Calling the next SXSW?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here’s the nut graph to my Lincoln Calling preview article in the current issue of The Reader:

With more than 70 national, regional and local acts, Lincoln Calling has the makings of the first Nebraska-based festival with a vibe that could be compared to the early days of Austin’s South By Southwest Festival.

Yeah I know, a bold statement, but when you look at the line-up of up-and-comers, there’s no question that Lincoln Calling is the most cutting-edge of local music festivals.

Lincoln Calling organizer Spencer Munson talks about how he and his team booked the bands, the schedules and the non-music activities, as well as how he’s made this year’s event as relevant as last year’s while having access to a much smaller overall budget.

You can read the article online right here at The Reader website or in the September issue, which is on newsstands now.

The full Lincoln Calling venue schedules finally have been uploaded to the Lincoln Calling website. Here’s each day:

If you’re only driving down for one day, Friday is likely the sweet spot, with Parquet Courts, Criteria, Ron Gallo, Nude Party, Fantastic Negrito and Stephen Sheehan among the choices. That said, Thursday’s and Saturday’s lineups are nothing to sneeze at. Full ticket/schedule info at www.lincolncalling.com.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The return of John Klemmensen; Son Ambulance, Oquoa, English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:15 pm July 12, 2018

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. Klemmensen returns to the stage tomorrow night (Friday) at O’Leaver’s as a member of The Candy Boys.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hard to believe it was more than three years ago — May 1, 2015, to be exact — that John Klemmensen & The Party hosted their album release show for the LP Party All Night at Reverb Lounge.

The album was a career benchmark for Klemmensen, who had been performing music for more than 20 years both solo, with The Party and in a slew of bands, the most recent having been Landing on the Moon.

But shortly after that album release show, Klemmensen’s world unraveled. Among the lows was when Klemmensen stole a King Kong poster from a King King fast-food restaurant wearing a panda hat — an act that got broadcast on Crimestoppers. It was just part of a downward spiral.

“The underlying story was depression, massive prolonged intake of HARD drugs, overall bad decision making. A lot of self-sabotage, basically,” Klemmensen said.

“I never planned on taking such a long hiatus, but getting myself out of the trouble I had caused myself took some time,” he said.  “I’m still working on being human.”

And among the best parts of his humanity is his music. Klemmensen will return to the stage tomorrow night (Friday) at fabulous O’Leaver’s fronting a new rock band called The Candy Boys. The band consists of Vern Fergesen on bass, Daniel Dean Leonard on drums, and Klemmensen on guitar and vocals.

Klemmensen said it’s “a little more sloppy and loud (on purpose) than ‘the Party.’ I think it’s closer to where I came from, like Reset or Revilo (although I wasn’t in Revilo).”

Tomorrow night’s set will focus on all new music, a reflection of Klemmensen’s new life. “I’m better now,” he said. “Weed, ice cream maybe an occasional shot of whiskey. I’m a good boy now.”

The Candy Boys play tomorrow night (Friday) at O’Leaver’s with Columbus/Omaha punk/folk act Not Funny.

* * *

OK, but what’s going on tonight at O’Leaver’s? Just another stacked bill. Headlining is Oquoa (Max Holmquist and the boys) with Saddle Creek Records band Son, Ambulance. Joining them is Denton, Texas act Claire Morales, whose new record All That’s Wanting, was released June 29. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, The English Beat, who probably plays more often in Omaha than in their origin city of Birmingham, England, returns to The Slowdown. The Bishops open at 8 p.m. $28.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i