Big Harp drops new cassette (yes, cassette); Darren Keen in Rolling Stone; Simon Joyner, Danny Pound tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:10 pm August 12, 2015
Big Harp have a new cassette out.

Big Harp have a new cassette out.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

During a recent interview with Ryan Fox and Stef Drootin-Senseney for this story on The Good Life, guitarist Fox talked about his tape-only label Majestic Litter.

“The nice thing about the label, the point of it is to make music immediate and direct,” Fox said. “There isn’t long lead times that you have with vinyl, or ad budgets or lawyers. You have the songs, you record them, you make tapes right away.”

Fox said he uses high-quality chrome cassettes, but why even bother with what is considered an outdated medium instead of just releasing digital files? “It’s something that exists in space,” Fox said. “It has artwork, and I feel like we all grew up collecting records and tapes and CDs. I’m not a format snob. They all have their merits. They’re functional but not just a ‘remember these’ sort of thing. I think they’re cool and sound good.”

Big Harp, Waveless (Majestic Litter, 2015)

Big Harp, Waveless (Majestic Litter, 2015)

Drootin-Senseney and her husband, Chris, who play in the band Big Harp, couldn’t agree more. So much, in fact, that their brand new album, Waveless, is being released on Fox’s Majestic Litter imprint.

“Chris and I write so fast,” Stef said, “by the time a release comes out we’ve already written another record. With labels, you have to wait such a long time. With this tape we just wanted to get the music out there.”

The 12-song cassette became available for pre-order from Fox’s label website yesterday. All those buying pre-orders immediately receive a download of the album. Pure Volume premiered the first track, “Golden Age,” yesterday as well (which you can listen to below). Listen and order your copy of Waveless for $7, plus postage. The release comes just in time for Big Harp’s next tour, supporting The Good Life throughout the next couple months.

* * *

Former Nebraska resident now New Yorker Darren Keen has been burning up the media lately.

Fact Music News yesterday published an interview with the “Omaha-bred, New York-based producer” in support of Keen’s latest project, the LP He’s Not Real, out Aug. 28 on Orange Milk Records. Check out a track below.

In addition, Keen was interviewed for a Rolling Stone article about “footwork,” a style of music that Stone writer Andy Battaglia described as “marked by dizzying loops, staccato synth stabs, antic polyrhythms and blasts of repetition, repetition, repetition — seemed designed to go everywhere and nowhere at once.” See what Keen has to say about the genre in the story, online here.

Keen is conquering the Big Apple. “Brooklyn rules,” he said. “I’m always busy and I work full-time as a DJ in the East Village.”

He’ll be hitting the road touring with Giant Claw starting Sept. 8 in Cleveland, making his way back to Nebraska for gigs at the Bourbon Theater in Lincoln Sept. 10 and fabulous O’Leaver’s Sept. 13 (for a show that also features Channel Pressure — an electronic collaboration between Todd Fink of The Faint with Graham Patrick Ulicny of Reptar).

* * *

A quick heads up that today the folks from the Maha Music Festival issued a “low ticket warning” for this year’s festival. If you want to go to the day-long fest this Saturday at Stinson Park, you better get your tickets soon.

* * *

Pageturners’ summer concert series continues tonight with Simon Joyner and Danny Pound (ex-Vitreous Humor). The free show starts at 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

TBT: Eagle*Seagull is back (for one night only)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm August 6, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You’ve probably heard by now: Eagle*Seagull is getting back together, at least for one night.

Sayeth Ian Aeillo yesterday via FB: “Eli and I are getting back together to perform as Eagle Seagull again; October 9th at the club (which is fabulous O’Leaver’s, of course). Ten year anniversary of our album. So So Sailors headlining.” Little Brazil also is on the bill.

Aeillo said the lineup for Eagle*Seagull would be him, Eli and his brother Luther Mardock, Eli’s wife Carrie Mardock and Eric Nyffeler.

So just one show? “One show only,” Aeillo said. “And no plans for any new record because Eli and I might kill each other if we were to make another ES album.” Fair enough.

In recognition of this announcement and for Throwback Thursday, here’s an interview with Eagle*Seagull from nearly 10 years ago, written in conjunction with the release of that debut album.

Eagle*Seagull circa 2005.

Eagle*Seagull circa 2005.

Eagle*Seagull: Flippin’ the Bird

Lazy-i, Nov. 17, 2005

Indie band Eagle*Seagull doesn’t take kindly to being called “Lincoln’s version of The Arcade Fire,” even if it’s meant as a compliment.

“Comparisons like that make you sound less original, like you’re trying to catch a wave or something,” said the band’s guitarist Austin Skiles while two brethren band members — frontman Eli Mardock and drummer Britt Hayes — sipped tasty beverages next to him at Caffeine Dreams.

Skiles is right, of course. No band wants to be compared to another band, especially if that band is the hottest thing currently happening in the indie world. It’s sort of like being called “This year’s Interpol,” another band, incidentally, that Eagle*Seagull also resembles, along with classic acts Talking Heads and David Bowie.

Originally called The Good Looks when first formed in October 2004, the band changed its name to Eagle*Seagull in January while recording their debut CD at producer Ian Aeillo’s bedroom studio. “Ian made these noises that sounded like an evil seagull,” Mardock said. Too much alcohol transformed that description into Eagle*Seagull (The asterisk, apparently, is meaningless).

“We’ve been told that eagles and seagulls also are natural enemies,” Mardock added for irony’s sake or to give the name a little more weight than merely being a drunken misunderstanding.

Before the band completed its nine months (off and on) in Aeillo’s bedroom, they already found a label — Nashville’s Paper Garden Records. Never heard of it? Probably because Eagle*Seagull’s debut is catalog number 001. Upon seeing the band perform in Lincoln, former Nebraskan Bryan Vaughan made up his mind to launch the label with their debut. Vaughan, a former intern at both Sub Pop and Saddle Creek Records, now lives in Nashville where he attends Belmont University.

He made a smart choice. Eagle*Seagull’s debut, released Oct. 11, is one of the year’s best locally produced CDs, capturing the band’s sweeping, urgent, yet jittery energy. The ensemble is rounded out by Eli’s brother, Luther Mardock, on guitar and vocals, J.J. Idt on guitar and banjo, Mike Overfield on bass, and newcomer Carrie Butler on violin and keyboards.

So far, Skiles said, the CD has received good notices. “It’s done well for an album recorded for as little money as possible,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good reception for a bunch of dorks writing songs.” — Lazy-i, Nov. 17, 20015.

 

By the way, Aeillo confirmed that Mike Overfield, J.J. Idt and Austin Skiles won’t be participating in this reunion.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Good Life back in the saddle again (in The Reader); Holly Miranda tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm August 5, 2015
The Good Life are back in the saddle again...

The Good Life are back in the saddle again…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

My feature story/interview with members of The Good Life for The Reader is on newsstands now and online right here. The band talks about their return, their new record (and what it means) and where the band fits in today’s music.

From the article:

He pointed to a number of Omaha bands influenced by ’90s rock, such as Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and See Through Dresses. The difference between The Good Life playing “120-Minutes-style” alternative rock versus those bands, Kasher said, is “we’re actually from that era.”

Read the rest here. Everybody’s Coming Down really is a great album and a departure for the band. As described in the article, there’s virtually no acoustic instruments on this record. It rocks more than any past Good Life record and as much as any Cursive album, though it’s not nearly as abrasive. Favorite tracks are “The Troubadour’s Green Room,” “Everybody,” “Holy Shit” and closer “Midnight Is Upon Us,” but it’s all good, and in some ways, more cohesive than a typical “concept album.” Read about it.

BTW, The Good Life kicks off their international tour at this year’s Maha Music Festival Aug. 15. Tickets are still available (for now). Kasher chimes in on Maha in my Over the Edge column in this month’s Reader. Look for it on newsstands, or wait ’til the column goes on line later this week…

* * *

Holly Miranda returns to Omaha tonight, this time to The Slowdown. I interviewed Miranda (via email) five years ago in support of a show at The Waiting Room. The inspirational line from that story:

…Miranda did say how much success in the music business depends on talent and how much depends on lucky breaks and Kanye flukes. “You’ll need a LOT of both, and a strong sense of self,” she replied. “If you don’t know who you are in this industry, someone else is going to tell you who you are and they probably won’t get it quite right.”

No kidding. Read the rest of story from March 2010 here. Toronto’s Marnie Herald opens. $10, 8 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Homer’s Mike Fratt on ‘New Music Friday’ (spoiler alert: He doesn’t like it); new Protomartyr; Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:53 pm July 14, 2015
Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

Melvins play tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When the first New Music Friday happened last week — forever changing release date for new albums from Tuesdays to Fridays — I asked Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt for his take on the change. Here’s what he had to say, via email:

“I fought very hard against this while on the Music Business Association board. The idea came from Universal’s Global head of digital sales. There was no research to support this move and when we pushed back they presented this trumped up nonsense they called research. Funny to see it mentioned in the NPR piece as it was total bullshit.

“I am against removing a traffic driver from the middle of the week to the weekend. As the face of the fight against this I was on the cover of the Wall Street Journal back in November of 2014.

“It is stupid to move the dependency to just the weekend and to move away from the release date we shared with books, movies, comics, video games, etc. Doing so creates logistics issues for our suppliers, who ship all the products to stores together. Now they will have to manage new release shipments twice a week to accommodate music separate from the other categories.

“There is also concern about sales. Currently, if a new release blows up stores can easily restock for the weekend. Now, if something blows up on Friday there will be no restocking ’til Tuesday at the earliest. Dumb.

“We were for a global release day, just not Friday. We (U.S. retail) and the trade association for music retailers in the UK (ERA) agreed to both use Monday in an effort to keep it during the week but align to one day.

“Universal threatened to leave the Music Biz Association if the board approved the move to Monday as they were invested in it being Friday. I had the votes on the board lined up to approve Monday. That threat would have crushed Music Biz Assoc as Universal is the largest member and pays the largest dues. I was so disgusted by this unprofessional action that, after nine years on the board, I resigned.

“Soundscan has yet to get all retailers to alter their reporting of sales dates (during the week) to reflect this move to Friday through Thursday from the current Sunday to Saturday, so the first eight weeks’ sales numbers will be royally fucked up and very likely just made up.”

I asked Fratt, in this new streaming age does the release date matter to anyone except brick-and-mortar stores? Are we headed toward an age when music is released digitally whenever? His response:

“Regarding your question about digital, this aligns digital and physical even more so. So, I don’t see digital going rogue and releasing on different days than physical. But pay for digital album sales are falling faster than physical. And if all indie stores sales were actually counted (only 60 report to soundscan) we would see physical sales are actually pretty healthy.

“Streaming is the new radio, as you so often write. It creates awareness for releases, artists, music. We’re seeing it positively impact physical sales.”

A post script to all of this:

Last Friday the Saddle Creek Shop, located in north downtown in the Slowdown complex, announced it no longer will stock non-Saddle Creek Records titles, and that the store will only be open one day a week — Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

* * *

In other news, Protomartyr released the first song from their upcoming album, The Agent Intellect, out Oct. 9 on Hardly Art. Check it out.

* * *

Iconic ’80s/’90s/today doom/sludge/stoner/metal/grunge band Melvins plays tonight at The Waiting Room. If you’re wondering if you should go, here’s a review of last Wednesday’s Melvins show in Chicago, complete with set list, to help you decide. Le Butcherettes opens the show at 9 p.m. $17.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Digital Leather in Noisey (full album stream) and in The Reader; David Dondero, Electric Six tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm June 17, 2015
Digital Leather's Shawn Foree, left and Ben VanHoolandt.

Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree, left, and Ben VanHoolandt relax in The Nifty’s beer garden.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A rather lengthy feature/interview with Digital Leather came out a couple weeks ago in the June issue of The Reader. I’ve been sitting on it because the band’s new album, All Faded (FDH Records) won’t be released until next Tuesday, June 23. But since Noisey today began streaming the entire album I figured now is as good a time as any to point you to this rather controversial Reader article (It’s already receiving hate mail), online here.

The genesis of the story was an interview conducted in late May with Digital Leather frontman Shawn Foree, bassist Johnny Vredenburg and synth/keyboard player Ben VanHoolandt at classic midtown dive bar The Nifty. What ensued was two hours of interview, every second of it digitally recorded. The transcribed recording weighed in at just under 100 pages of single-spaced type, and reads like a twisted off-Broadway play. In fact, it dawned on me that it would be fun to recreate the interview verbatim on the Bluebarn stage, with the names changed to protect the innocent (of course).

Needless to say, I got to ask all the questions I’ve been dying to ask Foree and Co. since I began listening to Digital Leather shortly after Foree’s arrival in Omaha sometime around 2009, including why they don’t play songs off Warm Brother, the meaning behind their seminal anthem “Studs in Love,” and how Jay Reatard influenced Foree’s songwriting. The story also covers how the band first got together, the making of the new album, Foree’s pursuit of a Pitchfork review and future pursuits. It clocked in at just under 2,000 words and is a double-page spread in the current issue of The Reader. But, as I said, you can read it online here. Check it out, listen to the Noisey album stream, and buy a copy when the record hits shops next week. And get ready for DL’s performance at Dog Fest at O’Leaver’s June 27.

* * *

Speaking of fabulous O’Leaver’s, the club is in the midst of a rather busy week with shows nearly every night, including tonight when Dave Dondero headlines. I’m not sure what Dave’s been up to lately because his website hasn’t been updated since 2013, but it’s still worth a visit just to check out the sweet photo of a Union Pacific train rolling through dusty bluffs outside of Salt Lake City. Also on tonight’s bill is roots/punk rocker Al Scorch (Orange Twin Records). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Detroit funk/garage/novelty band Electric Six (XL, Metropolis) headlines at The Waiting Room with White Reaper. $13, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Interview: The Rentals’ Matt Sharp; OPA pro panel redux…

Category: Blog,Interviews — @ 12:43 pm May 12, 2015
therentals

Matt Sharp of The Rentals navigates through a crowd. The band plays at The Waiting Room Friday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Sharp of The Rentals (and formerly of Weezer) talks about his band’s latest project, working with the Haden Sisters (of remarkable ’90s band That Dog) and what it takes to get heard in these days when there are a million channels instead of just three. From the story, which is online right here:

…Sharp knows that times have changed, and getting heard has never been more difficult. “If you go back to the ’50s and Elvis, there were only a few channels for the entire country,” he said. “Everybody had such limited options; they experienced things together, like this universal experience of seeing The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.”

Today, with countless channels and outlets for media, is it possible for The Rentals to enjoy the kind of success that Weezer had?

“I severely doubt that,” Sharp said. “I don’t even think that’s in the realm of thinking because that was a different time. For those kinds of moments to happen everything has to fall into the right place.”

Read the whole story at The Reader here. I’ll be including portions of the interview in this week’s Lazy-i Podcast, which will (probably) go online tomorrow. In the meantime, READ.

* * *

Fun times last night at The Waiting Room where I moderated a panel of music pros that included Orenda Fink, Mike Mogis, Matt Whipkey and CJ Olson. The room was packed and the time flew by as we discussed the art of songwriting, working in a recording studio and how to get noticed by a record label’s A&R guy. CJ talked about how Saddle Creek discovered and landed Hop Along, the newest addition to the Creek roster and the best non-Omaha addition in years.  Hop Along’s Saddle Creek debut is out now.

And Mike Mogis talked about how new artists should prepare for their first time in the studio, from having demos in hand to simply knowing what you’re going to play and how to play it, and then being open to what the producer or collaborator brings to the process. As he pointed out, the final product never sounds like the demos, nor should it.

And Orenda and Matt added technicolor to the writing process. Their bottom line: Be honest, write for yourself and don’t worry about trying to write a hit record. The best stuff always comes from the heart.

Someone was videotaping the entire panel. No idea if it’ll ever see the light of YouTube, but if it does, I’ll let you know.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Dereck Higgins and the life of an artist (in the column); pro panel (Mogis, Fink, Whipkey, Olson), songwriting comp winners tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:27 pm May 11, 2015
Dereck Higgins

Dereck Higgins

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins has been the topic of a number of cover stories and feature articles over the past year, all of them lauding his musical and artistic achievements. Good stuff, but I noticed none of the stories talked about the struggles Higgins deals with as a working artist and musician whose sole income comes from his music and art.

He talks about those challenges and the decisions he made to get where he is in this month’s Over the Edge column, which you can read online right here at thereader.com.

* * *

As mentioned last week, tonight I’ll be moderating a panel of local professionals involved in the music biz, all of whom you’re probably very familiar with: Mike Mogis, Orenda Fink, Matt Whipkey and CJ Olson. They’ll be providing insights about the music industry from each of their unique perspectives. Mogis from the studio; Olson as an A&R dude; Matt and Orenda as singer/songwriters.

In fact, the audience (which can include you, as this is free and open to the public) is singer/songwriters who took part in the Omaha Performing Arts songwriting contest held in conjunction with their presentation of the Broadway musical Once down at the Orpheum starting tomorrow night. Think of this as a mini-seminar with some of the area’s most successful talent as your teachers.

The panel starts at 6:30 at The Waiting Room and is free. It’s followed by performances from the winners of the OPA songwriting contest. Come on out and see me sweat under The Waiting Room lights.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Matthew Sweet talks about moving home, Kickstarter, O’Leavers & Girlfriend; Oketo tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm March 12, 2015
Matt Sweet and his glasses.

Matt Sweet and his glasses.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This week’s podcast, below. Give it a listen…

That Q&A I did with Matthew Sweet for The Reader went online this morning. Sweet talks about moving back to Nebraska, why he did a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming album, playing at O’Leaver’s and the legacy that is Girlfriend. You can read the Q&A online right here.

Sweet is playing at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center March 28. It’s a cool place to see a show. Even has a bar, with drinks and everything, nice tables. Definitely a good evening out. Tickets are $45 (all general admission, just grab a table) and $100 for VIP that let’s you meet Sweet and give him a big ol’ bear hug and get a selfie with him. Get tix here.

Proceeds from the Sweet concert go to Hear Nebraska, so you’re getting a great night out while helping out a worthy cause. DO IT.

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Lincoln band Oketo. The band is closing out a spring midwest tour, so they should be honed and ready to rock. Opening the show is Chicago band The Boxers and CB’s Pancho & The Contraband. $6, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Jake Bellows talks about the return of Neva Dinova (Tuesday night at Slowdown); Live Review: Son, Ambulance…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 22, 2014
Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Somewhere in the past few years, Christmas week became thee time for local rock band reunions. I’m not sure when this began. The concert poster on the wall in my office is for a show dated Dec. 26, 1993, featuring Ritual Device, Mercy Rule, Secret Skin, Frontier Trust, Clayface and End Crowns All (holy shit, six bands), all of which were very much active and not “reuniting” in 1993.

This week, we’re all going to see and hear Ritual Device reunite on The Waiting Room stage, exactly 21 years to the day of that amazing concert at the Capitol Bar and Grill.

But before that, tomorrow night (Tuesday) we’ll all be at a reunion of Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, which isn’t really a reunion, because I’m not sure Neva Dinova ever officially broke up. They’re still listed as “active” on the Saddle Creek website. And Neva Dinova frontman Jake Bellows confirmed the band never did really call it quits.

“Our last show was in December 2008,” said Jake just before band practice last Wednesday evening. “We never issued a press release about breaking up. Everyone had other important things going on. They were trying to sort out careers that would provide enough money to raise babies. We just couldn’t afford to be in a band anymore.”

That date on that show poster — 1993 — also was the year Neva Dinova first started playing together, but the line-up that’s performing Tuesday night first came together in 1999 at a now infamous gig at Grandmother’s Restaurant on 84th and L streets. You can read about that show (which included guest drumming by Conor Oberst, and Todd and Clark Baechle) in this 2001 Lazy-i interview with the band, written shortly after their self-titled, self-released album came out.

That line-up is back: Bellows, bassist/vocalist Heath Koontz, guitarist Tim Haes and guitarist Mike Kratky. Drummer Bo Anderson (who was tending bar at Grandmothers that fateful night in 1999) also will play Tuesday night on a handful of songs, along with most recent drummer Roger Lewis (The Good Life, Oquoa). Both Anderson and Lewis are credited on the 2004 Neva Dinova/Bright Eyes split, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels (originally released on Crank! but reissued years later by Saddle Creek).

“We’ve been looking for an excuse to play together again for a long time just for fun,” Bellows said. “Since everyone’s going to be in town, it seemed to make the most sense. We needed to make time to practice because we knew we were gonna need it.”

Bellows said Haes has the most rust of any of the band members… literally. “The strings on his guitar were literally rusty,” Bellows said. “I think he does all his playing in the rain.”

Bellows said for this gig the band has been thinking of itself as a Neva Dinova cover band. “The nature of this show is unusual,” he said. “Before, we just played what we wanted to play. In this case, the whole point is to get back together, and we felt like we should play songs people want to hear that we haven’t played or didn’t want to play before.”

That meant coming up with the quintessential Neva Dinova play list. “We’ve got 20 songs on the list, maybe 25,” Bellows said. “We’re kind of deciding what we think sounds cool.”

I threw out “Tryptophan” and “Supercomputer” as two possibilities; Bellows verbally nodded his head. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they make the cut.

Those who might wonder if this is the beginning of something bigger, Bellows assured me the show is a one-time thing. He’s called Echo Park in central Los Angeles home for four years. “LA is fine,” he said. “I miss everyone back home and come back five or six times a year.”

As for his solo career, Bellows said he has a bunch of new songs that will either be on a Jake Bellows record or recorded under a different band name. “Naming a band after yourself is weird,” he said.

Tomorrow night’s show is rather big in scale. Playing with Neva Dinova is the latest addition to the Saddle Creek Records roster, Twinsmith, along with local faves Outlaw Con Bandana and hip-hop act The Both. This 8 p.m. show is happening on Slowdown’s big stage. Get your $10 tickets here.

Son, Ambulance at O'Leaver's Dec. 20, 2014.

Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s Dec. 20, 2014.

Saturday night’s Son, Ambulance gig at O’Leaver’s wasn’t a reunion, though it felt like one (maybe because Dereck Higgins was back on bass). The band had a new sway in its step, a pronounced swing that it lacked in its prior, more stoic form in year’s past. Their set included old and new, but all of it sounded new to me. I credit a more relaxed Joe Knapp, the band’s mastermind, songwriter and frontman. In the old days, Joe always looked nervous — or at the very least tense — on stage, as if he was expecting something to go wrong at any moment.

Saturday night Joe looked and sounded like a guy having a good time playing his music with a large group of friends, despite the technical glitches that hampered the first three songs (including a keyboard that refused to play).

Son, Ambulance's Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Son, Ambulance’s Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Knapp always has reminded me of Elvis Costello at his most playful, but even more so now. Maybe his confidence comes by way of a solid band built on the bedrock rhythm section of Higgins and drummer David Ozinga. A bongo player also was crammed into one corner, though you couldn’t hear him. Dylan Strimple handled electric guitar, but the most arresting moments were between James Cuato on sax and flute and cellist April Faith-Slaker. Their layered interplay added a whole new dimension to the band.

BTW, if you’re counting, that’s six people crammed onto O’Leaver’s tiny “stage” area, and I’m told that wasn’t even the entire band — a few were missing, including Joe’s brother Daniel.

Everything came together for funky set closer “Copper Lady” with a back beat that bordered on blues rock. So hot was this number that the band brought it back for a crowd-demanded pseudo encore.

Rather than a reunion, Saturday night sounded like a rebirth for Son, Ambulance. The band has a new energy. I’m told they’ve got at least six new songs recorded and ready to go (including a version of that aforementioned “Copper Lady”). When and where those tracks eventually show up is anyone’s guess. Saddle Creek, who put out past Son, Ambulance records, hasn’t mentioned the band in regards to future releases, though I believe they’d be wise to welcome them back to the active roster.

* * *

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 Reader Interview — The Return: Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions…

The cover of this week's issue of The Reader featuring a profile on Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions.

The cover of this week’s issue of The Reader featuring a profile on Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling and Main Vein Productions.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

That cover story in support of the Dec. 26 Ritual Device / Cellophane Ceiling reunion show at The Waiting Room is now online at TheReader.com (right here).

The story covers the history of both bands as well as the rise and fall of Main Vein Productions — the concert promotion company run by Ritual Device’s Tim Moss and Cellophane Ceiling’s John Wolf.

The story also talks about the Omaha music scene circa the early ’90s when a handful of bands (including the ones mentioned above) attracted national attention thanks to recording and touring outside of the state. It was those bands that set the stage for what would come later in that decade — the rise of Saddle Creek Records’ bands and Nebraska’s notoriety as an indie music Mecca.

Check it out and try to pick up a printed copy. It contains a ton of photos including old Main Vein show posters from back in the day. And get your $10 tickets to the show (while you can) — Dec. 26, 9 p.m. The Waiting Room. Nightbird (also performing Cactus Nerve Thang songs) opens.

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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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