Almost Music to exit Benson for Blackstone; BFF, Guster tonight (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm February 5, 2016
The Iwen Photography building at 3925 Farnam St., will become the new home of Almost Music.

The Iwen Photography building at 3925 Farnam St. will become the new home of Almost Music.

by Tim McMahan,

The big news (and it is big news) is that used record store Almost Music, which opened at a storefront on the west end of Benson (65th and Maple) in October 2013, announced yesterday via Facebook that it is moving operations to the Blackstone District.

The new store, which will also include Solid Jackson Bookstore, will be located at  3925 Farnam St., in the building that used to house Iwen Photography. The targeted opening date of the new location is April 1 or 2, according to Brad Smith, who runs Almost Music.

In addition to having the best curated selection of quality used vinyl (and some new vinyl, too), Almost Music hosted a number of in-store performances that included some tasty sidewalk barbecue. “We will still be doing in-stores, there’s room (in the new location),” Smith said. “As far as the grilling out goes…not quite sure yet. Maybe we’ll take over Archetype (Coffee)’s patio!”

Smith knows the move is risky, but says it’s a step he needed to take to continue growing the business. No doubt there will be more foot traffic along Farnam Street. Blackstone has quickly established itself as one of the most exciting new food and booze districts in Omaha in recent years. That addition of more retail outlets will only strengthen the area.

Smith said it’ll be business as usual at the old Almost Music/Solid Jackson location until the last week of March. So will there be a big “moving sale” leading up to the move? “There probably will at some point,” Smith said.

Read more about Brad’s vision for Almost Music and how it carries on a tradition that began with The Antiquarium Record Store in this 2013 Lazy-i interview.

* * *

Guster at Slowdown, Oct. 12, 2010.

Guster at Slowdown, Oct. 12, 2010. Guster returns tonight to Slowdown for a sold out show.

Is it time to start booking Guster in larger venues than The Slowdown? The laid-back good-time indie band (now on Network) sold out tonight’s show in the big room a few days ago.

They’ve been touring through Omaha since way back in 1999 when they first played at The Ranch Bowl. Even back then, the band traveled in style in a tour bus, as described in this vintage ’99 Lazy-i interview. I’ve interviewed the Guster dudes a number of times since, but not for this show, and guess what? I didn’t get tickets. Boo! Vetiver opens. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, Super Ghost and Timecat open for Fight Metaphor at Reverb. The 8 p.m. show costs $7.

Also, it’s another Benson First Friday. Check out the Brian Tait installation at The Little Gallery (across the street from The Sydney) titled 355. Runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Find out more. See you there.

That’s all I got for this weekend (slim pickin’s indeed). If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What does Knitting Factory booking Slowdown really mean? Buvette super show tonight (M’s benefit)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:34 pm January 21, 2016
The Slowdown's booking will now be partially handled by Knitting Factory Entertainment.

The Slowdown’s booking will now be handled in part by Knitting Factory Entertainment.

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday Pollstar reported that Knitting Factory Entertainment has signed a deal to book The Slowdown. The article doesn’t say much more than that.

I asked Jason Kulbel, who runs The Slowdown, it if means KF will be routing acts through the venue, and if Jason or someone will be filling in the gaps with local promotions/shows. “You got it,” he said.

So, is he psyched or freaked out by the change?

“A little of both… I mean, it’s change right?,” he said. “In the long run I think it will be a great thing for us.” Kulbel went on to mention that former booker Joe Teplitsky no longer is employed by Slowdown, something Teplitsky announced on Facebook a couple weeks ago.

Knitting Factory appears to book eight other clubs in addition to Slowdown, judging by their website. It’s hard to say what kind of bands they book, though. If you go to the site and click the KF Presents dropdown you’ll see bookings for Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Beatles cover band 1964 The Tribute, comedian Lewis Black, Joanna Newsom, piano dude Ethan Bortnick and so on.

Having glanced at the Knitting Factory NYC calendars over the years, they’ve never focused on any single genre. I suspect their bookings at Slowdown will be all over the board, from pop to blues to R&B to rock and even some indie.

“I wouldn’t really tag them with any genre or type of band,” Kulbel said. “If anything, they take more of a ‘book the bands that people want to come out to see’ (approach). We, of course, have taken more of that approach over the years as well.”

Who knows how many actual dates KF will fill on the Slowdown calendar. What will continue is the usual assortment of local bands and events that Slowdown has historically booked to fill out their calendar. And yes, 1% Productions will have access to booking Slowdown just like any other local promoter or band.

“(Slowdown is) still available for outside promoters as before,” Kulbel said. “This is really just an uptick in in-house booking.” As for who gets first dibs on the rooms: “There’s not a preference per se. First one to finalize a date with booking agents, bands, etc., gets it. Same way our calendar has always worked.”

* * *

Tonight La Buvette is hosting a very special show — a fundraiser for former staff at M’s Pub, which burned down last week. Performing is Orenda Fink, Ted Stevens, Sean Pratt & the Sweats, and Simply Jake. Show starts at 9 and suggested donation is $10. La Buvette is located at 511 So. 11th in the heart of the Old Market.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Interview: Dan McCarthy talks McCarthy Trenching (at The Reader); I guess you like Milk Run; Live @ O’Leaver’s gets some press love…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:59 pm November 3, 2015
McCarthy Trenching celebrates the release of the latest album this Saturday at O'Leaver's.

McCarthy Trenching celebrates the release of the latest album this Friday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Just posted at this morning, an interview/feature on Dan McCarthy of McCarthy Trenching. Dan talks about his new album, More Like It (Sower, 2015), which is being celebrated with an album release show this Friday, Nov. 6, at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The record is gorgeous, but what did you expect? You can read the story in the November issue of The Reader, which should be on newsstands any day now, or online right now right here.

* * *

If readership of yesterday’s Lazy-i interview about Milk Run is any indication, the new music venue operated by Chris Aponick and Sam Parker is headed for big-time success. The blog entry was the most read item in Lazy-i this year.

* * *

Speaking of One Percent (or at least Reverb), Looks like they’ve got a brand-spanking new website design over at Check it out.

* * *

And finally, websites Stereogum and Diffuser have both published items about the Live at O’Leaver’s website.

Said Stereogum, “Back in 2012, Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn, and Ted Stevens of Nebraskan indie rockers Cursive and Chris Machmuller of Ladyfinger purchased O’Leavers Pub in Omaha. They’ve been using the space to host small DIY shows, and they had the excellent idea to start recording performances professionally and releasing them.”

Something tells me they saw my story on O’Leaver’s that went online last month…  Can’t blame them for wanting to spread the good news…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


New concert venue Milk Run, first show Nov. 7; Here We Go Magic still on tonight at The Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:19 pm November 2, 2015
Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

by Tim McMahan,

The dynamic duo behind concert promotion company Perpetual Nerves — Chris Aponick and Sam Parker — are opening their own music venue and art gallery near downtown Omaha.

Milk Run is located at 1907 Leavenworth St., right next door to Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar in the same turn-of-the-last-century building. The concert room will be rather cozy, about the same size as The Sweatshop Gallery; while the art gallery space is much more open. The two rooms are connected via a fenced-in patio in the back of the buildings, which also will act as the venue’s main entrance located right off a parking lot shared with Shucks.

Here’s what the duo had to say about the new music venue:

Why are you opening an all-ages club?

Chris Aponick: We wanted a spot that we could run with consistent standard, a space that put music in the forefront of its mission and one that would be an ideal spot for smaller scale bands. We wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer. It’s an incubator for bands that are on the way up or bands that are looking to reconnect with the immediacy found in house shows or DIY spots. We want bands to have a good experience playing in Omaha, so that they make Omaha a regular stop as their fanbase grows. We want a place that is approachable for everyone that wants to see a band. We don’t want the term “all ages” to mean just for those under 30. We also want to provide a reliable venue for others bringing bands to town.

How did you settle on the location?

Aponick: Shuck’s crab legs led me to the spot. I hit up their Monday happy hour with my friend (and now our neighbor Greg Sechser of Howlin’ Hounds coffee shop) and I peeked in at the two bays. I inquired about them the next day and they were perfect for what Sam & I had discussed for an ideal all-ages space.

What kind of shows will you be booking?

Aponick: Our shows will continue to be more of what has already been booked under the Perpetual Nerves banner, though we’re hoping to dabble in a little bit more variety. The goal is to get bands we and others like into town. We want to bring stuff to Omaha that would not play in town without our involvement. We’re still hoping to do shows with venues like O’Leaver’s Pub, Lookout Lounge, Slowdown and the Waiting Room Lounge when those rooms are good fits. We also want others to use our space, too. It’s available for shows that others put together.

How will you curate and operate the art gallery?

Sam Parker: We intend to have a monthly rotation of various artists in the gallery. Particularly trying to focus on musicians who are also artists in the visual arts aspect as well. Ideally, they would display their artwork, make a playlist of songs that influences their work and that list would be played during the showings. Gives the viewer a more in-depth feel to the artist.

Who’s involved other than Chris and Sam?

Aponick: Sara Bertuldo and Matthew Carroll of See Through Dresses are responsible for sound. The equipment, the ongoing management & hopefully upgrading of the system and running live sound will all be spearheaded by these two. Sara Bertuldo will be the main sound engineer for shows. Mike Zimmerman (DWNR, Chalant) will also be helping with projects both aural and visual. We hope to include others in what we hope is a collaborative space for shows, performance, art and more.

When is your first show and who are the bands performing?

Aponick: American Cream, David Nance, Robust Worlds, and Church of Gravitron — it’s a show organized by Church of Gravitron’s Justin O’Connor. It’s November 7 and it’s only $5. Even Lazy-i readers have $5.

How do you guys line up your bands? Who do you work with?

Aponick: People email or (We) email some band or booking agents and pray for a positive reply. Some bands have been pointed in our direction by local friends, which is always appreciated. Booking Pile really jump-started things. Pile is everything.

How do you keep up with new bands that are awesome? You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all your PN shows.

Aponick: Mike Kronberger, who designed the PN logo, turned me on to Exploding In Sound Records. That’s been a big one. I love getting recommendations on things to check out. Others have just been from listening and making gut calls on stuff that ends up in the inbox. Some of it, like All Dogs, is just obvious on a first listen that they’re something special.

Is there a club that you’re trying to emulate or that will influence your club? i.e., “We’re trying to do what the Cog Factory did.” or “We really like how they do things at Jackpot down in KC”, etc.

Aponick: Mostly we just wanted to keep going with the positive momentum that was flowing at the Sweatshop Gallery between Craig Dee’s Eyeball Promotions shows and our shows there. We felt the best route was to give ourselves a home base that we curated and organized.

Why did you call it Milk Run? What’s the origin of that name?

Aponick: It’s called Milk Run, as a playful nod to the area’s gay history. A milk run was an innocuous excuse to get out of the house and go downtown in the ’80s and ’90s for gay men. We want people to be open and be themselves in our space. By embracing a part of the area that was once secretive, we’re saying that your identity is welcome here.

Are you concerned that the name could alienate some people and/or parents?

Aponick: If it’s alienating for any other reason than homophobia, I’d be surprised, but willing to discuss those feelings.

What’s your definition of success when it comes to the club? What are you trying to accomplish?

Aponick: Paying our rent and paying touring and local bands well. We want to make sure touring bands have the ability to leave Omaha with a good experience and a good payday. We want to make Omaha a spot worth stopping for more bands. And we want to add to the idea that Omaha is a vibrant, artistically progressive city.

Do you think you could fill a niche that all the other venues aren’t filling? What’s that niche?

Parker: Let’s leave that for the people to decide. Our goal is strong in bringing touring acts that people as well as ourselves, want to see. But, at the same time, highly focusing on the great local scene that’s constantly growing and forever evolving. Bigger show. Little show. Doesn’t matter, hit us up. Our venue is yours.

Keep track of the Milk Run concert and art show schedule at the venue’s Facebook page.

* *

Despite the tragic murder that took place Halloween night at Slowdown Jr., tonight’s Here We Go Magic show is still happening, according to Slowdown booker Joe Teplitsky.

For those who live out of town (or in a cave), details about the crime are reported here by the Omaha World-Herald. The shooters reportedly are still at large.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


The Origin of Desaparecidos (Denver Dalley interview), Team Rigge and Commander Venus; Twin Shadow, La Luz tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm September 8, 2015
Desaparecidos' 2001 stage debut at the Holy Name High School fieldhouse.

Desaparecidos’ 2001 stage debut at the Holy Name High School fieldhouse.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m back.

The feature on Desaparecidos in The Reader is on newsstands now and online right here. Denver Dalley (and I) recall the origin of the band, starting in 2000. He talks about its rise, its unannounced hiatus, its return and the band’s new album, Payola. Better go read it. The interview was conducted in support of the band’s concert this Thursday, Sept. 10, at The Waiting Room, which, rumor has it, is close to selling out. And as Dalley says in the story, if you’re on the fence about seeing them this time ’round, “There’s a chance there won’t be a next time.” Better get your tickets now.

One thing that didn’t make it into the story…

I concluded the interview with Denver the way I’ve concluded all the Desa interviews I’ve had with Denver, with this question: When will Team Rigge return?

Named after a building on Creighton’s campus — Dalley said hip-hop act Team Rigge has included Ian McElroy, The Faint’s Clark Baechle, Oberst, former Cursive drummer Clint Schnase, Son Ambulance’s Joe Knapp and Dan Maxwell of Little Brazil, who at the time was a member of Secret Behind Sunday.

Team Rigge tracks have shown up in the strangest places.  The first Team Rigge recording was included as a pretrack on Criteria’s 2003 debut LP. The only way to find it was by dropping the CD in a player and hitting the “rewind” button to discover — voila! — something preceded the first track. McElroy, who has carried on the team’s tradition as Rig 1, said in this 2008 interview that at the time Oberst lived next door to Criteria’s Stephen Pedersen in a small house just north of Dundee. The two shared recording equipment along with a copy of Pro Tools. That first recording featured McElroy, Oberst and Jenny Lewis. Here it is:

“I would love to see an actual Team Rigge reunion,” Dalley said. “Unfortunately, one of the original members, Dave Vederami, passed away recently.”

Still, Dalley said he’d “be curious” to see a reunion of surviving members. “I’d also love to see a Smashmouth reunion,” he said, referencing a band that included Criteria’s Pedersen, bassist Bart Volkmer and drummer Schnase.

“We’ve been trying to get Conor to cover a Commander Venus song,” Dalley added. “We tried back in 2001, but he thought the two bands (Desaparecidos and Commander Venus) sounded too similar.”

Denver said during Desa practices he’ll start to play a Commander Venus song and guitarist Landon Hedges will immediately join in, “but it just fades off. Maybe that will be my ultimate goal — to break him down before Sept. 10 to do one encore song.” Do you think CV guitarist Robb Nansel would join them on stage?

Get a load of baby Conor heard on this classic Commander Venus track:

* * *

Twin Shadow returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Twin Shadow is Dominican-born George Lewis, Jr., whose 2012 album Confess (4AD) was a dizzying trip back to ’80s electro-pop with a sound that recalled everything from General Public to Fine Young Cannibals to New Order. I caught the band this year at SXSW, where they played music from their current release, Eclipse, which isn’t much of a departure from Confess. Opening is electronic trio LANY. $17, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Seattle band La Luz headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s (where I’m told the new beer garden has finally opened (and must be seen to be believed)). Opening is Will Sprott and the always entertaining Sucettes. $7, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


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,

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.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.



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

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

by Tim McMahan,

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 — 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.


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,

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 — 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.


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,

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.

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

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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 — 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.


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,

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.

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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.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.