Ten Questions with Mega Bog (opening for Destroyer Saturday); Son Ambulance tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:38 pm January 31, 2018

Mega Bog opens for Destroyer this Saturday at The Waiting Room. Photo by Vanessa Haddad.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mega Bog is the project of Seattle native now Brookynite Erin Birgy, who has been making her unique potion of jazz-infused art rock for eight years. Her latest album, Happy Together (2017, Nicey), runs and wobbles between free-form loveliness and dizzy indie rock, giddily capturing an artist in motion with a breathy voice that evokes memories of Nico. Her band has included members of iji, Hand Habits and Big Thief’s James Krivchenia (who also mixed and mastered her new record).

We caught up with Birgy and asked her to take the Ten Questions plunge. Here’s her answers:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mega Bog’s Erin Birgy: Definitely don’t have a favorite, but Diamond Dogs is almost always on standby. It’s what I use to practice vocals. Deeply inspiring.

2. What is your least favorite song?

(Bandmate) Zach (Burba) and I are trying to pick a least favorite song, but it’s hard! We thought of a time our friend, Joel, who helps with all the album art, was playing something by a Magnetic Zero band.

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

I enjoy the responsibility of learning how to take care of others, my family, and act as an ambassador for this weird music world.

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

Peanut butter in the car. Having to compromise with other peoples cleanliness standards, or lack of.

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

Water and cedar oil.

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

“Every place is home” by Vollmar

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

A show at Bard College eight years ago. It was a terrible tour, with an abusive guy in the band we were touring with, and I was at the end of my rope dealing with their creepiness and anger. It was freezing, everyone in the band was fighting, and I cut my hand on a borrowed guitar after mine broke, and just laid my head down on the concrete floor and started crying. I took it all out on Zach while we played, which made it doubly worse. He left the “stage” early and people were backed up against the garage door, just scared and annoyed.

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?

In some moments, it seems like it. I do a lot of strange gigs, but kind of a $200 an hour minimum, if it’s not music.

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

I don’t see myself as a professional. Or a musician. I do see myself as a citizen scientist. I could take that more seriously.

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

I’ve never heard a story about Omaha, Nebraska.

Mega Bog plays with Destroyer Saturday, Feb. 3, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m.; tickets are $20. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

Tonight Son, Ambulance returns to the stage, this time as part of Pageturners’ Winter Concert Series. The band just played a few weeks ago at O’Leaver’s, but no two Son, Ambulance sets are ever alike nor is the line-up from show to show. Expect some surprises, and a large crowd. Sean Pratt & the Sweats open at 9 p.m. Admission is, as always, free.

* * *

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 Mimicking Birds; new Anna McClellan track; John Maus, LukDlx tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:49 pm January 17, 2018

Anna McClellan this morning leaked a new track off her upcoming LP, Yes or No. Photo by Ebru Yildiz.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sunday night Mimicking Birds opened for someone at The Waiting Room or Reverb, not sure who now. Regardless, the band’s publicist had reached out weeks ago for some promo. I sent her the Ten Questions survey; she’d get back to me.

A few days before the show she sent me some answers from Mimicking Birds frontman Nate Lacy — half of them. Nate didn’t want to answer some things, and asked for different questions. I explained the premise behind Ten Questions is that everyone answers the same 10 questions. He wasn’t interested, and so, no harm, no foul.

Then Saturday afternoon Nate had a change of heart and his publicist sent the following answers. Too late. She asked that even though the concert had passed, would I run them anyway, so here they are. I’ve been listening to Mimicking Birds on Spotify this morning before work. The music is trippy, ethereal, laid-back indie rock that kind of reminds me of Ester Drang. It’s definitely worth checking out. From Portland. On Glacial Pace Records.

So, here’s Ten Questions with Mimicking Birds:

Mimicking Birds

What is your favorite album? 

Mimicking Birds’ Nate Lacy: Pink Floyd’s The Wall 

What is your least favorite song?

Prob anything by AC/DC

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The exhilaration of performing together as if we’re one entity.

What do you hate about being in a band?

Touring is prob a hate/love relationship, the uneconomical and negative environmental impacts of it, the exhaustion/health affects, being away from loved ones for long periods of time, the danger of endlessly careening across highways in deranged states, etc., etc., but at the same time there are few things  more rewarding than bringing your music to people and experiencing first hand how much the art has affected lives, and being able to hug those people and share that moment of deep connection through the music and its message.  It truly gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment more than any amount of money or things ever could.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Water

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Denver, CO

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

We’ve had a fair amount in similar fashion but more recently prob Austin due to late set time (12:30-1 am set), rude crowd, poor sound, exhaustion, sick, etc., bookended by very long drives.

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?

No, I also work at a hotel in Portland as a bellman/valet.

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

Entomologist

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

Heard many times we should have been in Omaha instead of Lincoln, NE.

* * *

I’ve been listening to this new Anna McClellan album, Yes or No, a ton. My favorite track is the 8-plus-minute epic “Nail-biting Song” which takes you around the sun and back again. Anna’s got such a unique, soulful voice, there’s no question in my mind she’s going to be discovered by a large audience. It takes time.

Anyway, today McClellan dropped another song from the album (below), which comes out Feb. 23 on Father/Daughter Records. You should pre-order your copy now before they run out, cuz they probably will and then you’ll feel stupid for not pre-ordering your own copy.

* * *

John Maus plays electronic music. Here’s a guy who (according to Wiki) took two years off to learn how to build modular synthesizer. Now that’s dedication to a genre.

A couple of his albums have garnered praise including a “best new music” nod from Pitchfork; the latest, Screen Memories (2017, Ribbon Music) garnered a massive 8.0 Pitchfork rating. Whoot!

Maus headlines tonight at Reverb Lounge. LukDlx opens.$15, 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Sara Bertuldo (See Through Dresses) on racism and exploitation in art; Thick Paint, Anna McClellan tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In my November column in The Reader, I wrote an essay titled “With the Best of Intentions: Yellow face, the N-word and a divided music community.” The column discussed accusations of racism made toward members of the Omaha music community. If you haven’t already, read the column now to understand the context of the rest of this post.

As an addendum at Lazy-i.com, I also posted a Q&A with Simon Joyner about the controversy, which you can read here.

After I posted links to both the column and the Q&A in Facebook, a number of people reacted, saying I didn’t capture both sides of the issue. Someone suggested I ask See Through Dresses front woman Sara Bertuldo for her thoughts on the matter, and Bertuldo indicated she’d be willing to do an interview or answer questions.

See Through Dresses was on tour at the time, so I suggested we do it via email (as I’d done with Joyner’s Q&A), and sent Sara the following questions to be published with her responses as a post in Lazy-i.

My questions:

— What was your reaction to: Joyner’s song, Noah Sterba’s song, Harouki Zombi?

— Do you think the artists in question have done anything wrong or were trying to intentionally hurt anyone through their actions?

— Is it OK for artists and musicians to broach these sorts of topics in their work? Why or why not?

— Were you satisfied with the apologies or explanations offered by these artists about their choices?

Sara sent her responses late last week in the form of the following essay:

The first reaction is anger.

Imagine someone says something bad about you. What you did. What you said. Or maybe what you wore. How would you feel? I’d feel pretty angry. Is it really bad? Was it something to feel ashamed about? Did you make a mistake? Can you apologize for it? Should you?

Now imagine someone says something else bad about you. Only this time it’s something undeniably true, like something about your identity. Or the color of your skin or shape of your eyes. Something you can literally do nothing to change. How does it feel? I know I was angry. 

When you react with anger, people say things like “don’t take it the wrong way” or “it’s a joke” to minimize it. What it feels like when that happens is that they minimize me and my experience.

Racism.

It’s a scary word to a lot of people.

My experience with racism is like a book I carry with me. That book is a heavy weight that sits on my chest. And every time I experience something like this, that book opens. It is filled with my memories of prejudice. Memories of being asked if I was Chinese or Japanese in elementary school, being told I “act white,” being fetishized, and learning my mother withheld our language from me to make me more American. She did this to help me fit in. She was treated poorly because of her accent when she immigrated to the U.S. in the 1970s. When she had children she promised herself that wouldn’t happen to them.

Racism.

Racism is a normal word to me.

I believe it is embedded in all of us and the only way we can fix it is by educating ourselves.

I’m really tired of absorbing everything and keeping silent. It makes me feel sick.

There was a time that I let things slide. I kept quiet because I wanted to preserve some sort of peace. Talking about it was way too real. And people say things that make you question how you feel. To make you quiet. But all these little things that have been said just add up. Every single thing I hear or read, it just eats at me.

Link: http://seethroughdressesband.com/post/161006916559/

I had written something before detailing my experience post-Harouki Zombi stuff. I personally left out names. I didn’t want people to feel attacked. I did not want them to feel the way I felt. I was so angry when this all started, but I tried to let go of that for a moment and write my story. I felt by offering a personal account on what it feels like to be a person of color I could help them see how upset I was. I thought my way for me to change someone’s views was through compassion and not anger.

But months later, it keeps coming up so here we are again.

So to Orenda, Noah, and Simon:

With all due respect, yes, you are all artists. And you are all white. You benefit from things I do not. You absolutely have the freedom to do whatever you wish in your art. But if you are so progressive minded, if you are as compassionate as your friends say you are, please treat our culture and words with reverence. Keep making art, but please do not exploit us. I don’t believe there was intent to cause harm. But the fact of the matter is, you did. I believe it’s more meaningful to take a step back and listen now. Listen to us.

I resent this whole ordeal. I am upset it’s taken so much time from me. I spent so much time thinking about it, crying about it. I’ve cancelled band practice over it, been depressed about it at work, and now I’m out on tour writing about it when I should be enjoying where I am.

And to the people that were so outwardly angry about it, I sympathize with that anger. I really do. People called them bored, childish, social just warriors… You know why marginalized people react that way sometimes? It’s because people don’t listen to us. And it happens again and again.

Here is one marginalized person’s opinion. Because we coexist in this community, I thought you should hear it. You can take it or leave it.

I find solace in my friends and family that support me. I can only work on the people I care about or people that want to be better and if you don’t want to learn from this, that is totally fine.

I’m sorry if that sounds angry, but if anger is all you see then you’re missing the point.
— Sara Bertuldo

Thanks, Sara, for the thoughtful comments on a very difficult subject.

* * *

Tonight at Brothers Lounge it’s the return of Thick Paint. The band has been on the road for awhile and swings back into Omaha with Anna McClellan, who just leaked the first single, “Heart of Hearts,” from her forthcoming album Yes and No, due in February on Father/Daughter. Dilute also is on tonight’s bill. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Mogwai (at The Waiting Room Nov. 30)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:43 pm November 29, 2017

Mogwai plays The Waiting Room Thursday, Nov. 30.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mogwai is a Glaswegian ensemble that creates intricate, throbbing headphone-friendly instrumentals. Their debut album, Mogwai Young Team, released in 1997 on Chemikal Underground and Jetset in the U.S., is considered a post-rock masterpiece that helped open the door to other instrumental-heavy art-rock projects. It was followed in ’99 by Come On Die Young, their first release on indie stalwart Matador Records that led up to their commercial breakthrough, 2001’s Rock Action.

The band’s latest, Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence, 2017), holds tight to the formula that has made them indie-rock icons — songs that start with a quiet guitar melody, keyboard or soothing percussion line that slowly build-build-builds as if climbing a mountain until they reach some sort of breathless peak — usually at ear-bleeding wake-the-neighbors decibels — to slowly come back down in wait for the next mountain to conquer.

It’s a formula that’s worked for 20 years, along with a live show augmented with intense stage lighting, blinding strobes and unmatched sonic drama. Find out for yourself Thursday night at The Waiting Room. I caught up with Mogwai multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns and asked him to take the dreaded Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album? 

Barry Burns: Eek. It’s always changing and very often, too, so I’d be lying to name one.

2. What is your least favorite song? 

This is much, much easier. That Maroon 5 song “This Love.”

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

The concerts and hanging out with some of the funniest people I’ve ever met.

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

Traveling on planes and being away from my wife and daughter.

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

Probably scotch whisky. It’s rarely a disappointment

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

Glasgow, Tokyo, Osama, Barcelona.

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

Oslo. All the gear, like, ALL of it stopped working and I remember trying to hide behind the piano (which was also broken)

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, we’ve been lucky in some ways but also worked constantly the entire time we’ve been together.

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

I’d like a go at proper cooking. Having a lot of time at home for long spells gives me time to practice that so I’m getting better. I’d probably hate being a taxi driver.

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

Only that a guy who used to tour manage and do our live sound used to live in Omaha and he stole 10,000 dollars from us.

Mogwai plays with Xander Harris Nov. 30 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St.. Tickets are $23 Adv./$26 DOS. 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Simon Joyner on ‘As Long As We’re in Danger’ – Q&A…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:44 pm November 14, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Simon Joyner, Step Into the Earthquake (2017, Shrimper)

A follow-up to yesterday’s entry

Prior to leaving on his European tour at the end of October, I asked Simon Joyner about his song “As Long As We’re in Danger,” mentioned in the column that appears in this month’s issue of The Reader, which you can read online here. In fact, if you haven’t read it yet, please do so now to put the following in context.

Joyner posted the song’s lyrics on his Facebook page, along with comments about why he wrote it and what it means. As mentioned in the column, the timing almost seemed like Joyner was making a pre-emptive move to head-off any controversy surrounding the song’s lyrics. So I asked him about it.

Was the song written before the blow-up over Noah Sterba’s song?

Simon Joyner: The song was written a year ago, during the election year, long before any blow-ups in Omaha on social media that I was aware of. It takes awhile to get an album recorded and then manufactured and released but it is, in fact, an older song.

Was publishing the lyrics and the explanation a way to get the issue out in the open rather than wait for those who might be offended to discover it?

Due to the corrosive nature of social media, I wanted to contextualize my song before it could be taken out of context by anyone who wanted to misrepresent its themes and intentions. So that’s why I posted the song and explanation. But Facebook and Twitter, it’s like Telephone, things spread and get presented out of context and editorialized for new people on so many different threads where my statement and the full lyrics couldn’t be seen for context. Knowing it would happen either way, I at least wanted to set the tone on my own page. The song is unambiguously targeting racists and racism in the country, xenophobia generally speaking, and the identity politics that are used to divide us. I hoped that by explaining who the narrator was in the song and exactly what my intentions were and what I was targeting, it would help direct the conversation so we could start in the place of recognizing we’re on the same side here on the broader points the song addresses. Whether or not people agreed that I should have used the word in my effort to paint a scathing portrait of America at its ugliest, I wanted them to know that the rage in the song is directed at those who hold those feelings and I wanted them to know I think this is an age-old American trait, not something new.

Most people at least understood my intentions and appreciated that I was commenting on our culture even if some thought that using the word to expose those painful realities was insensitive or unnecessary. I’m sensitive to those views and found that criticism valuable. But some people promoted the idea that the use of the n-word even in a song obviously against racism made the song racist and made me a racist. That’s a really irrational take. I’m not a racist and neither is the song. I was describing the world we actually live in, not the one we aspire to live in. That’s why I used the word in the song but would never use it in my life.

Do you have any regrets using the N-word in the song or posting the lyrics/explanation?

I don’t regret posting the lyrics and explanation at all. I think it made space for a lot of good dialogue on very important issues and that was really encouraging. Once the lyrics of the song were taken out of context on different threads and people started targeting me rather than discussing the issues the song brings up, it took a turn and followed a predictable corrosive path we are used to seeing on social media platforms. It became obvious that most of the people commenting at a certain point hadn’t read the lyrics of the song but were reacting to things they were hearing and seeing posted which weren’t accurate. The conversation is over when it gets to that point. But I’m not going to throw the baby out with the bath water, I had a lot of good discussions with people who wrote me directly and I saw a lot of people really engaging the topics on my thread too and being respectful of those with different opinions. Even for the brief window of time that was happening, it was nice to see.

Do I regret the word choice in the song? I am definitely sorry that people experienced pain because of my word choice. I know the n-word is a painful reminder of the racism black people have experienced personally throughout their lives. Since the object of my song was to target the racism all around us, within our institutions and out of the mouths of actual racists who have been emboldened by the current administration, I was especially sad to hear that even some of the people who agreed with the points I was making also felt hurt over how I chose to make those points.

When I wrote the song I thought about the master/slave dynamics at the root of modern racism and on display in the NFL, for example. Colin Kaepernick hadn’t yet begun his kneeling protest when I wrote the song but I think the overwhelmingly negative reaction to his dignified, respectful protest, makes those master/slave dynamics all the more apparent to the naked eye. We have the manager of the Cowboys telling his players if they kneel, they don’t play, using threats to suppress their first amendment rights. So, although I was tempted to use a euphemism or a weaker word about how America feels about black people, and spare myself the controversy, I thought I’d be letting America off the hook. When people talk about moving away from use of the word, I always assume they mean in our lives and public discourse, which I totally agree with. But that’s aspirational, it hasn’t happened yet, not everyone in our lives has gotten that memo. So as long as we have people still talking that way and thinking that way, and more importantly, systems still designed to marginalize people of color, it seems important to be able to call attention to it and to use the language these people are actually using if we want to depict how vile this thinking really is. I don’t think it’s a bad thing for us to have extreme reactions to art we experience, I think it’s good, but I personally don’t enjoy making art that creates painful reminders for people. So, in that sense, I regret using the word, but I wonder if I’d have been doing black people a disservice to suggest in my song that America feels less harshly towards them, when all evidence points to the contrary.

From what I can tell, you’ve stayed out of the fray on your Facebook post, standing back and letting the critics voice their concerns. Why haven’t you reacted online (or have you been responding privately to these critics?)

I stated on Facebook that I didn’t think social media was a healthy place to have real dialogue about important issues and encouraged people to write me directly if they wanted to discuss my statement and my song. I responded to anyone who wrote through direct message or email and I did have some good discussions that way. But it’s impossible to reply thoughtfully in real time when so many people are commenting on something. A mob mentality can develop really quickly on all sides so it gets pretty gross. People will say things to one another that they’d never say to the other’s face. So much of it is because their “friends” are watching too. You get the feeling that people are addicted to shaming more than they are interested in convincing anyone of anything in particular or reaching an understanding of different viewpoints. It’s not interesting to me at all to watch people behave that way. It’s depressing. So, I stay out of that stuff in general. If I hear about someone I know writing something or saying something that surprises or concerns me, I call them up or text them or email them to talk to them directly. I think people deserve that courtesy and respect and no one deserves to be publicly humiliated. People seem to love it though and some are building identities around this behavior.

Finally, after your European tour, do you intend on hosting a local album release show for Step Into the Earthquake?

I don’t know. I don’t have anything set up in town yet but we’ll see if it works out with everyone’s schedule when we get back from this tour.

* * *

It’s worth noting that there have been a couple national reviews of Step Into the Earthquake that mention the controversial lyrics. Dusted Magazine went as far as publishing a portion of them in its review. So did AllMusic.com in its review. We’re still waiting for that Pitchfork review, however…

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

How Saddle Creek signed Stef Chura (and more); Night Shapes, Box of Stars, The Drums, Methyl Ethel, TOP Nachos tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:44 pm November 7, 2017
The Drums at The Waiting Room, May 1, 2012.

The Drums at The Waiting Room, May 1, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

About that recent signing by Saddle Creek Records…

Saddle Creek executive Robb Nansel said the label’s signing of singer-songwriter Stef Chura was the handiwork of the label’s new A&R rep Amber Carew.

Carew said she discovered Chura via a friend of hers from Houston who sent her Chura’s Bandcamp link.

“At that time, I was working for Anti Records and was considering pursuing her for them,” Carew said. “After a few missed connections between me and Stef over the following year, we finally connected during my transition to Saddle Creek.”

Chura’s debut LP, Messes, already had been on store shelves for some time, and Chura expressed interest in reissuing it. “We really clicked and I trusted her passion and plans for the future,” Carew said. “I felt more confident in her as a fit for Saddle Creek than I did Anti, so I felt compelled to explore that.”

Carew said that beyond Chura’s songwriting and tenacity as a musician, she understands and promotes community-based ethics “much akin to the Saddle Creek spirit — authentic and compassionate. Some artists on the label, like Big Thief, were already fans as well. It just felt right. I thought that Messes was great and deserved another push, so we made it happen.” Saddle Creek will reissue Messes on CD, cassette and LP Feb. 2.

Carew said the follow-up to Messes already has been recorded, produced by one of the hottest new names in the indie world. You’ll just have to wait to find out who that is. Here’s a clue: The producer has performed in Omaha a few times in the past couple years.

Chura and Carew represents one aspect of the continuing expansion of the Saddle Creek empire. Nansel said Saddle Creek also is opening a formal office in Eagle Rock, a section of Los Angeles between Burbank and Pasedena. He and Carew will eventually be joined by a marketing director, which the label currently is seeking, and “we’ll likely be inviting some other music industry friends in to the space to share it with us.”

Now we all have somewhere else to visit the next time we’re in La La Land.

* * *

There’s a good rock show going on tonight at The Brothers Lounge. Oakland’s Night Shapes headlines. They’re described as what would happen if “Yuppies and Nick Cave joined forces.” Opening is Vermont band Box of Stars, New Englander Jake McKelvie and our very own FiFi NoNo. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Brooklyn band The Drums (Anti Records) plays at The Waiting Room with Aussie act Methyl Ethel (4AD). $15, 8 p.m.

That’s not all. There’s an indie punk show tonight at OutrSpaces, 528 So. 24th St. The headliner is TOP Nachos from New Paltz, NY. Also on the bill are NYC’s Dolly Spartans (Noble Media) and Omaha faves Hussies and Magu. $10 donation, 7 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with The Yawpers (at O’Leaver’s Nov. 2)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:30 pm October 31, 2017

The Yawpers play at O’Leaver’s Nov. 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Denver trio The Yawpers plays a gritty, groovy style of alt country/punk/blues that combines the best parts of J. Cash, C. Isaak and C. Stapleton with their own rootsy take on rock ‘n’ roll. The band scored a deal with Bloodshot Records after a successful showcase at 2015’s South By Southwest Festival. Their latest album, Boy in a Well (2017, Bloodshot), was recorded with Tommy Stinson of The Replacements behind the knobs. Can their sound be contained inside fabulous O’Leaver’s vintage walls? Find out Thursday night.

I caught up with Yawpers frontman Nate Cook and gave him the Ten Questions treatment. Check it:

1. What is your favorite album?

Nate Cook: King Bee (Muddy Waters) is probably the one I’ve played the most. It was the first record I ever bought on vinyl, and probably still the one I spin most frequently.

2. What is your least favorite song?

There’s only one answer to this question, and it is “Smooth.”

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

Casting a wide net, eating the finest regional cuisines, and being empowered to act like a 12 y/o.

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

Divorce.

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

Laundry detergent. That shit is a god send on the road.

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

Chicago will always be my jam. My current record for “most days spent awake consecutively” was set there.

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

I once fell down an ice ridden fire escape in Lawrence, KS, after having to open for a Grateful Dead cover band. Sometimes I wish the fall had killed me.

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, but meager to the point of embarrassment. If I want to eat something besides crow and Annie’s I’ll pick up the occasional bartending shift.

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

I always wanted to try my hand at cooking, though I doubt I possess the patience. If you made me teach 8th graders, I’d climb that fire escape in Lawrence every day, praying God relieve my burden.

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

Just of your reputation for putting out quality music, and never letting us fucking play there. Until now, of course.

The Yawpers play with The Velveteers and Clarence Tilton Thursday, Nov. 2, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $10. For more information, go to widmestproductions.com.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Cults (at Bemis Center Oct. 27); SAVAK streams Cut-Ups; KMFDM, Primitive Man tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm October 26, 2017
Cults at 1100 Warehouse, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Cults at 1100 Warehouse, South by Southwest Music Festival, March 15, 2012. The band plays the Bemis Art Auction After Party Oct. 27.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dreamy synth-rock duo Cults have generated a musical cult of their own since their self-titled full-length debut released in 2011 by Columbia Records imprint In the Name Of, run by indie star Lily Allen. Since then, New Yorkers Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion have released two more critically acclaimed albums, 2013’s Static and their latest offering, titled Offering, which came out earlier this month on Sinderlyn.

The new album is a collection of dreamy, floating pop songs that display Follin’s floating, echoing voice over a cushion of synths, guitars and tapping drums, a perfect setting for an early evening bike ride on a vacant, treelined blacktop county road. The duo’s Oct. 27 performance with Omaha’s own dream-pop duo, Closeness, is part of the Bemis Center Art Auction After Party, a joint promotion of Bemis and the Maha Music Festival.

I’m told that there are fewer than 50 tickets left for this show, btw…

I caught up with Cults and asked them to take my Ten Questions survey. Here’s what they had to say.

1. What is your favorite album?


Cults: Home Schooled-The ABCs Of Kid Soul. Pretty sure everyone in our band could sing every lyric to every song from this record. The mix of incredible musicianship with the most bizarre/touching vocal performances you’ve ever heard perfectly rides the line between emotionality and kitsch.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Sugar Ray, “Every Morning.” I once had the song stuck in my head for an entire year. It’s a great song but having any song stuck in your head for that long will ruin it for you!


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

Being able to travel to places I never imagined I would see.

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

It’s hard to keep in touch with people when you are constantly changing time zones and leaving for long periods of time.

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

Salt! I am definitely guilty of over-salting my food on a regular basis.

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

Omaha. The last time we stopped here on tour we played The Slowdown. There was a snowstorm, we did our laundry in the venue, hung out at the bar next door and caught up with an old friend. We felt so at home. One of the best nights of the tour!

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

Soon after our first EP came out we were asked to open for a pretty large act in D.C. Save for a few tiny warm up gigs we had never really played a show before. Let’s just say it was a little too early for us to be playing a stage that big and we could’ve used quite a bit more practice.

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?

Luckily, yes. When we were offered our first tour we immediately dropped out of college and quit our jobs without hesitation. With only one semester left!

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


One of my good friends travels setting up and testing out zip lines. If I was more of a daredevil I think I would try to steal his job. I would hate to be an accountant. Math stresses me out!

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

I heard that the bobby pin was invented in Omaha and for that I am eternally grateful!

Cults plays with Closeness at the Bemis Center Art Auction After Party Friday, Oct. 27, at Bemis Center’s Okada Sculpture & Ceramics Facility across the street from 723 So. 12th St. Showtime is 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 through Oct. 26, $30 thereafter. For more information, go to bemiscenter.org/benefit

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The new one by SAVAK, Brooklyn indie-punk band fronted by former Omahan Mike Jaworski, made their new album, Cut-Ups, available for streaming before tomorrow’s drop day. The band — which includes members of Obits, Holy Fuck, The Cops, The Make Up and more — just played several dates in support of Pinback and  will be supporting Hot Snakes in Brooklyn and Boston next month.

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It’s a night for heavy music.

Over at The Waiting Room, industrial giants KMFDM headlines. Opening is fellow industrial band OhGr (Nivek Ogre and Mark Walk of Skinny Puppy). $28, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, doom metal monsters Primitive Man headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Bell Witch, Vickers and Houma. $8, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Deer Tick (at The Slowdown 10/25)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:46 pm October 23, 2017

Deer Tick plays The Slowdown Oct. 25.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some might describe Deer Tick as an alt country band, and certainly when they got their start in the early 2000s there was more of a twang in their giddy-up. But these days Deer Tick’s music more closely resembles an indie-fueled folk-rock act with a big heart.

Their latest releases — Deer Tick Vol. 1 and Deer Tick Vol. 2 — an acoustic album and a separate electric set,  both recorded at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee — are a diverse combination of music styles with solid songwriting snarled to life by frontman John McCauley.

We caught up with McCauley and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

John McCauley: I don’t know if I could pick one. Mystery Girl by Roy Orbison was the first album I had as a kid and I still really love that record. I’ve been playing the recently reissued A Man Called Destruction by Alex Chilton a lot. Probably wouldn’t count it as a “favorite” but I sure do like that record a lot.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I really don’t like “Rosanna” by Toto. Something in the way the music swings really pisses me off.

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

Traveling, enjoying food in places far from home.

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

Sharing a hotel room sucks. Pretty fun otherwise.

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

LSD. I wish I had the time to do it more often. I think it’s a really beautiful drug. It’s been a couple years since my last dose, I think I’m due for one.

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

Dublin, Ireland. Nice place to buy hats and sweaters, too!

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

It all depends on how you look at the situation. Sometimes we don’t sell a lot of tickets somewhere and the show is uneventful and that sucks. A stretch of shows like that can be really hard on you. But if you want Deer Tick behaving badly stories, they’re quite numerous. One gig in San Francisco we didn’t get paid for because I took my clothes off and got the crowd to started a chant, cursing the sponsor. I was pretty deep in my cups that night and determined to make mischief. Some people thought it was really funny. I think it seemed to some people that I was having a meltdown. I dunno, maybe I was! The guy who did the lights that night said it was the best show he’d ever seen, but other spectators thought the show was a total disaster, worst they’d ever seen! I played a really bad show in Lawrence, Kansas, once. I was in a bad way, mixing pills and alcohol, and played poorly and forgot a lot of lyrics. I think I sang the same verse two or three times in one of our songs. That is one show, maybe the only show, I truly regret.

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. I’ve been doing nothing but music since 2007 or so. Deer Tick started in 2004.

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

I used to be a projectionist and I liked that job a lot. I’d love to run an old cinema, maybe someday I’ll have the chance to get involved with one. I waited tables for a few weeks once and absolutely hated it. Wouldn’t want to do that again. Because of that experience I always tip well. To get less than a 20 percent tip from me you’d have to do something like spit in my food right in front of me.

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

I heard that the band Deer Tick went to Fun-Plex once.

Deer Tick plays with Chris Crofton Wednesday, Oct. 25, at The Slowdown,  729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $20 Adv./$23 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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Yes, I did attend a show this weekend — Lung/Crybaby at O’Leaver’s Friday night. Look for a review and pictures from that show tomorrow.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Zola Jesus; Ice Balloons (TV on the Radio, Samiam), Low Long Signal tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm October 9, 2017

Zola Jesus plays The Waiting Room Oct. 11. Photo by Tim Saccenti.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After seeing Zola Jesus perform at SXSW in 2012 I walked away thinking frontwoman and creative force Rosa Danilova was an indie Gaga. I couldn’t take my eyes off her as she exploded into dance the moment the band broke into its dreamy, spiritual, post-ambient rock drenched in synths, guitar and drums.

Her music has been compared to Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, though it bears an even darker tone on her latest album, Okovi, released last month on Sacred Bones Records.

While writing Okovi, I endured people very close to me trying to die, and others trying desperately not to,” Danilova said. “This album is a deeply personal snapshot of loss, reconciliation, and a sympathy for the chains that keep us all grounded to the unforgiving laws of nature.”

We caught up with Danilova and asked her to take the Ten Questions survey:

What is your favorite album?

Zola Jesus’ Rosa Danilova: It changes. Right now it’s the Stalker OST.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Hmm… I don’t know that I have one.

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

Being able to insidiously connect with people I’ve never met.

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

The pressure it makes me put on myself.

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

Sap, from trees.

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

I like to play cities that remind me of home…

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

Well, I once cried on stage at Silencio in Paris. Not my best moment.

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?

Thankfully, I am, though it takes a lot of work and sacrifice. I tour a lot and live in the middle of Wisconsin, which is cheap. It helps make it possible to focus on doing what I love.

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

Sometimes I wish I would be an architect, but I would build very bad buildings. I’m sure they would collapse. I’ve worked many jobs in the past and was fired from most of them. I’m not a very good employee!

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

I’m not sure I’ve heard many stories, but I sort of glorify Omaha in my mind. Being a midwesterner from Wisconsin, I feel companionship with Nebraska. Which is why I’m excited to finally play there.

Zola Jesus plays with John Wiese and Ivan Zoloto Wednesday, Oct. 11, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Tonight Brooklyn noise rock band Ice Balloons (Volar Records) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band includes Kyp Malone of TV on the Radio and members of Samiam, among others. Benny Leather (Ben VanHoolandt of Digital Leather) and Low Long Signal open. 9 p.m. $5.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i