Ten Questions with White Mystery (at O’Leaver’s March 4)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:06 pm February 28, 2018

White Mystery plays at O’Leaver’s March 4. Photo by BANGTEL/By the Barkers

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A favorite memory of past South By Southwest festivals was seeing White Mystery play outside at seminal Austin punk venue Beerland. The duo of Miss Alex White on guitar/vocals and Francis Scott Key White on drums belted out their usual ragged-edged garage rock startling passers-by on Red River Street. Before long, a mob formed blocking traffic in all directions.

It was like seeing local heroes make good, as the Chicago siblings have made Omaha a regular tour stop on their many national sojourns, like the one they’re currently on in support of their latest album, the blistering F.Y.M.S. that brings them to fabulous O’Leaver’s March 4.

Check out what Alex had to say in the Ten Questions survey:

1. What is your favorite album?

Miss Alex White: Who’s Next by the Who

2. What is your least favorite song?

Taylor Swift “Shake It Off.” Fight me!

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

The best part about being in a band is the open road ahead of you. It’s a very free feeling of independence.

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

The worst part is the claustrophobia of being stuck in a vehicle all day, that sets in shortly thereafter.

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

My favorite substance is ice cream. My least favorite is mushrooms.

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

Omaha is an awesome city to play in the Midwest because everyone is very down-to-earth, loving, and yet wild-out rock’n’roll. I spun records after Farnham Fest and realized how much everyone appreciated the DJ set, which is a really good, validating feeling. Doing that again at O’Leavers this time around. Beyond that, White Mystery shows in New York are always sold out, bonkers affairs. I also love playing Stockholm, Sweden, because it feels so geographically far away, yet super familiar.

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

Angers, France, was one of the worst gigs ever, because of what happened afterwards — we stayed in an absolutely pest-infested apartment above the ancient venue. A carpet of tens of thousands of cockroaches dispersed when the door opened! It’s hard to relax in that kind of environment.

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, White Mystery has been full-time for eight years. It required a lot of saving while reinvesting income into growth opportunities, like self-released albums and merchandise. The first four years, we did not buy any new clothes, shoes or recreational items. We have toured in the same hatchback this whole time, which is great on gas, but a sacrifice in comfort. The best way to get ahead is to do what is right for you, versus what you think people expect you to do. Take calculated risks to advance your career.

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

One profession I would like to attempt is cartoon animator! I would be a terrible veterinarian though, because I’m extremely allergic to most animals.

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

Legends about our pals in Digital Leather, The Faint, Solid Dave Goldberg, and the Box Elders circulate worldwide. Love you all!

White Mystery plays with Those Far Out Arrows and FiFI NoNo Sunday, March 4, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. $7, 5 p.m. For more information, go to liveatoleavers.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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review Matt Whipkey, Charlie Ames; Ten Questions with Palehound (@ Slowdown Jr. 2/27)…

Category: Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:43 pm February 26, 2018

Matt Whipkey and his band at Reverb Lounge Feb. 25, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Whipkey helmed two album-release shows this past weekend — one on Friday night and a second in the early evening yesterday for old folks like me, I guess. In fact there were a lot of older people seated at tables in the Reverb’s stage room, making the concert feel more like a matinee performance than a rock show, though Whipkey did all he could to give the room a rock show vibe.

Whipkey and his core band of Zimmerman, Sing and Anderson (a perfect name for a law firm) ripped through a set of songs off his new double-LP Driver, which currently stands as my favorite Whipkey release. Like an episode of Storytellers Matt gave background between every song while he feverishly re-tuned his guitar (We were told that the songs off Driver have a variety of “tonal colors” that required alternate tuning).  Unlike on the recording, there were no keyboards at these weekend performances, which (to me) gave the set a more rocking feel.

One of those between-song stories was Matt telling the crowd about a convo he and I had during our interview. I had told Matt that, while I like the song “Fred, You’re Dead,” that it would be perfect candidate to be revamped into a punk song, especially considering the political nature of the lyrics. Lo and behold, Matt pulled out a punk verson of the usually slow, dour song, and it, indeed, ripped. The punk “Fred…” would make a perfect 7-inch single just in time for Record Store Day. Come on, Matt!

Charlie Ames at Reverb Lounge, Feb. 25, 2018.

Opening Sunday evening was singer/songwriter Charlie Ames, who performed an acoustic set of originals. Ames had a striking voice and a nice guitar style on a set of broken-hearted pop songs of the woe-is-me variety. A very talened dude, I’d love to see him write a set of songs that stretched him more creatively.

Palehound plays at Slowdown Jr. Feb. 27, 2018.

Ten Questions with Palehound

Led by singer/songwriter Ellen Kempner, Boston’s Palehound released their sophomore album, A Place I’ll Always Go, on Polyvinyl Records last summer (which received a 7.3 rating from Pitchfork, for those who care about such things).  Since then, the indie combo also dropped a new 7-inch release — “YMCA Pool” b/w “Sea of Blood” — as part of Saddle Creek Records’ Document Series singles program.

Having recently finished a U.S. headlining tour, which included shows with Big Thief, Jay Som, Mitski, and M Ward, Palehound launched a co-headlining tour with Weaves that brings them to Slowdown Feb. 27. We asked Kempner to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Ellen Kempner: I definitely don’t have one! My favorite album of this week has been Jolene by Dolly Parton.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I hate “Blurred Lines.”

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

Getting to travel and see the country in a way I never would be able to without music.

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

Being anxious about shows/people liking our music.

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

Soda

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

Hometown Boston shows are great because our friends are there.

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

Fort Worth, Texas,  the only people we played for were the two teenagers who were in the other band that played.

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?

(No comment.)

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

Cooking!! I love cooking and used to work as a cook in a restaurant and loved it. I wouldn’t wanna be a professional runner.

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

Honestly my answer will be really bad cuz all of them just have to do with Conor Oberst.

Palehound plays with Weaves and See Through Dresses Tuesday, Feb. 27, at The Slowdown front room, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $10 Adv/$12 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers (Feb. 22 @ The Slowdown)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:05 pm February 20, 2018

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers play The Slowdown Thursday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Being the self-proclaimed indie music snob that I am, I typically would never have discovered Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers. I mean, the Michigan-based band has been classified in the jam band / funk / pop category, has counted major label Universal among its distributors. and has been known to perform in Hawaiian shirts. That’s about as far away from “indie” as it gets.

But after receiving multiple emails from their publicist, I watched the video for the single “Lonely” off their Kickstarter-financed latest release, Pluto, and found myself tapping my toe. When I read via Wiki that Hertler started the band in an effort to get the attention of a girl who hosted an open-mic night, I was hooked.

Hertler was game to take the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Joe Hertler: It’s basically impossible to pick my favorite, but off the top of my head, maybe Black Radio by Robert Glasper? Sgt Peppers and maybe Live in Verona by Jamiroquai are up there, too.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I love It, by Iconopop. My sax player uses it as a wake up song sometimes for the band when everyone’s been sleeping in the van and we’ve reached our destination. I really do not care to ever hear that song again.

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

Obviously playing music is super fun, but the adventure of tour with my bandmates (and getting to visiting and reconnect with friends and family in distant locations) is ultimately what makes it the most meaningful.

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


It can be stressful at times, but honestly we have a pretty damn good time playing music together and keeping each other in good spirits. It’s important to be aware of your emotions and the emotions of others. It’s also just as important to take care of yourself, you know, like exercising, eating decently, sleeping, and doing fun shit that doesn’t have to do with music, like hiking, site seeing, etc. If you’re aware of how your behaviors affect your bandmates, then really, there’s really not too much to hate. You gotta embrace all aspects of band life.

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

I think they’re all pretty damn fun 😉

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

Michigan, Mountain States, and the West Coast have always treated us very, very well!

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

We had a sound system take a shit on us at a gig in Ashville. This was also after the promoter moved us to their rave cave room because there were issues with original room we were going to play. The heat went out, too, so it was like 50 degrees in the venue. Made for kind of a rough show. Honestly, though, we don’t really have bad shows. We tend to get pissed and nit-pick over little fuck-ups, but being critical of oneself is just part of it. Certainly doesn’t determine whether a show is good or bad. As long as the crowd is engaged, which they always seem to be – that’s what makes a show good.

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?

Yep! We do various side hustles, but for the most part we support ourselves through music. Aaron is an ex-engineer and part-time chainsaw carver. I used to be a teacher. Micah and Ryan do some work for our producer’s company on the side, and Rick makes giant mechanical wooden clocks.

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

I would love to make horror movies!

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

Haven’t heard many stories, but there’s some really great music happening in Omaha. My buddy, Rick Carson, owns a really incredible studio called Make Believe, which is a really hot space right now. Of course, there’s the Saddle Creek label. It’s a pretty bad-ass city 🙂

Joe Hertler & The Rainbow Seekers plays with Here Come the Mummies Thursday, Feb. 22, at The Slowdown, . Tickets are $22 Adv/$25 DOS. Show starts at 9 p.m. For more information, go to TheSlowdown.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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Behind the wheel with Matt Whipkey; Diet Cig, The Spook School tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:42 pm February 6, 2018

Matt Whipkey behind the wheel of his Town and Country.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader is a feature on Matt Whipkey’s new album, Driver, which Whipkey will be celebrating with a pair of shows later this month at Reverb.  You can read the story online here, or in the printed version of The Reader, which should be on newsstands now or in the very near future. Or you can just read it below…

Uber Confessions
Rocker Matt Whipkey’s new album captures life behind the wheel.

Maybe, if you’re lucky, the next time you call for an Uber or Lyft after a hard night of partying, you’ll get Matt Whipkey.

He’s the guy who drives the black 2010 Chrysler Town and Country. The guy with the perfect hair.

“OK, here’s a weird one I had last night,” Whipkey said during some off time on a drizzly Sunday afternoon at Zen Coffee. “This woman grabbed me too many times during the ride. I felt uncomfortable. She was in her 40s or 50s and told me she’d just done drugs. She didn’t tell me which ones, but by the way she was acting I can only guess. It happens. I wasn’t scared.”

But there have been plenty of times when he was scared.

“One time I picked up these guys at Oscar’s at around 8 p.m. It was three dudes. Two of them were average people, but one was huge, six-nine, a big guy, bigger than everybody. He was intoxicated and excitable. They were going to this strip club, American Dream off 72nd and F, and this guy gets excited and says ‘We’re gonna see naked chicks’ and he starts jumping up and down, shaking the whole car, then grabs my shoulders and starts shaking me, lifting me up and down. We’re on the Interstate doing 80. I said, ‘You’ve got to stop him.’ But this guy could easily have taken all three of us.”

Whipkey, one of the smoothest talkers you’ll ever meet, somehow calmed the monster and got him to put him down. “You get really good at conflict avoidance, de-escalating the situation,” Whipkey said. “I dropped them off and reported it to Uber immediately. The sad thing was that it was on his friend’s account, and that guy — not the big guy — will get banned from Uber for it.”

Whipkey’s been driving for Uber and Lyft for two years as a side hustle from his regular job teaching guitar lessons and being a rock star. As a result, he’s got a million stories about life behind the wheel hauling drunks, druggies, bigots, homophobes, horn dogs, celebrities and normal folks like you and me.

“I’ve given rides to the most down-on-their-luck people to the most desolate places in Omaha and also given rides to billionaires to their private air strips. It’s a strange equalizer. For that fraction of time, it doesn’t matter. It’s my car. I’m driving you. There’s trust there.”

Matt Whipkey, Driver (self-release, 2018)

It’s a job that inspired the songs on Whipkey’s latest album, the double LP Driver, which he and his band will showcase Feb. 23 and 25 at Reverb Lounge. The collection is 14 portraits of loneliness, desperation and inner monologues (along with a Beatles cover), all of which rock, at least most of the time.

Whipkey, known for his catchy, guitar-fueled pop songs and bombastic stage presence, stretches in new directions on this record, most notably with the album’s opening and closing tracks that bookend the collection with warm, acoustic touches and unexpected keyboards. The songs contrast nicely with riff-rock ballads that underscore Whipkey’s guitar prowess and his tight backing band consisting of Travis Sing, bass; Scott Zimmerman, drums; Korey Anderson, guitars; and keyboard player J. Scott Gaeta.

The thread that ties it together is Whipkey’s breathy, growling vocals, which do their best to coax every last drop of emotion from these lonely stories, like the longing “Amy Knows” about a woman who just transferred to Omaha and has “fourteen days to fix a lifetime” and the rocking, Nugent-esque screamer “The Driver” where Whipkey keeps a tight stranglehold on his blazing ax.

Whipkey spent a good nine months recording the album with Scott Gaeta at Gaeta’s Music Factory Productions studio, laying down tracks when he wasn’t on the road. During that same time, he also recorded his previous album, the 2017 pop collection Best New Music. All of this came shortly after opening 30 dates for music legend Dwight Yoakam on his 2015-2016 tours.

The week prior to this interview, Whipkey opened for ’70s legacy act America in Sioux City, Iowa. He hopes to get more of those kinds of large-stage gigs, though he’s just as determined to get his music heard in his home town.

“The goal was to make the best record with the resources we had,” Whipkey said. “I don’t have the national mentality of ‘This song is going to take you to the next level.’ I want this to take me to the next level as a songwriter and as an artist. If you think in that regard, it will translate into other areas where people will recognize that you’re growing and doing something that no one else is doing.”

Matt Whipkey and his band perform with Stephen Sheehan Friday, Feb. 23, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 9 p.m. Whipkey will perform a second show at Reverb Sunday, Feb. 25, with Charlie Ames at 6 p.m. Both shows are $10. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s the return of Diet Cig. The band has made Omaha a regular tour stop of the past few years, even making a special appearance at 2016’s Maha Music Festival. This tour marks the first time the band is playing as a 4-piece, as the duo will be joined on stage by Anna from The Spook School (bass) and Karli from Plush (keyboards/vox). The Spook School will actually open tonight’s show, along with Great Grandpa. $15, 8 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Destroyer (at The Waiting Room Saturday)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:40 pm February 1, 2018

Destroyer plays at The Waiting Room this Saturday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Sometimes I wish I had an eleventh question. If I did, I’d ask Dan Bejar why he called his project Destroyer when there’s nothing destructive about it.

Destroyer songs, like the ones heard on the band’s latest album, Ken (Dead Oceans, 2017), swing and sway and feel like riding a bike with no hands. In fact, Destroyer has more in common with sweater-wearing acts like Belle & Sebastian than a faux-metal monster like KISS.

Bejar, a Vancouver-born Canuck and part-time member of The New Pornographers, formed Destroyer in 1995. And while he’s had a number of breakthrough records, the one that first stood out (for me, anyway) was 2011’s Kaputt (Merge/Dead Oceans), a dazzling collection of infectious indie pop songs. Ken carries on in the same way, at times dreamy and introspective, at other times dancey and introspective.

I caught up with Bejar and asked him to take my Ten Questions survey. Take it away, Mr. Destroyer:

1. What is your favorite album?

Dan Bejar: Strangeways Here We Come, Hejira, There’s A Riot Goin On, Veedon Fleece, stuff like that…

2. What is your least favorite song?

There’s so many terrible ones it makes me think I’m maybe just not that into songs.

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

The nights when the stage sound is killer.

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

There are people at home that I miss very much.

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

Peace of mind.

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

Bologna.  Outside.  For free.

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

I have played a couple fairly gnarly college shows.  Won’t name names in case I decide to enroll.

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.  It took five years.  And then another five years of mostly hovering just beneath the poverty line.  It also helped to write songs for the New Pornographers in those lean Destroyer years.

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

Acting coach.  Actor.

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

Debauched… And possibly frozen.

Destroyer plays with Mega Bog 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

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

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

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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.

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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 © 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 © 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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

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.

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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…

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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