Live Review: Chemicals (and Hi-Fi House), Record Store Day recap; Rick Moranis tonight…

My Record Store Day 2016 haul...

My Record Store Day 2016 haul…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, another Record Store Day has come and gone and we’re all a little lighter in the wallet for it.

I purchased the majority of my booty down at Homer’s, which by early afternoon was still basking in the afterglow of the mob scene that it withstood earlier that day. Did I buy everything I wanted from the 2016 RSD collection? No, no. But I got what I needed. BTW, that Feelies recording is particularly sublime.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

I hit Drastic Plastic next, then after my trip downtown I checked out the mysterious Hi-Fi House that was celebrating RSD with an open house of its own. Located at the old Joseph’s College of Beauty building at 3724 Farnam St., the facility is first class all the way — a huge open, carpeted space with comfortable furniture arranged in circles throughout, centered around stereo equipment set-ups, like what I was told was an $80,000 system (shown above).

Part of the Hi-Fi House's extensive vinyl library.

Part of the Hi-Fi House’s extensive vinyl library.

Behind the big room are a couple smaller ones. Inside the first is the Hi-Fi House’s album collection, or what I was told was merely a portion of the collection (which is spread out in locations around the country). A glance at the titles indicated that the music touches all genres. Some of it looked unplayed and was still sealed. There also were some interesting music-related items lying around, like a Patti Smith edition of a Pono Music Player — something I’ve never seen in real life.

Tucked further back in the building was the remnants of the Bomb Shelter Radio studio, which had been housed at Milk Run. One assumes the broadcasts will continue at Hi-Fi House. But I can’t tell you for sure as I still can’t get anyone from the organization to do an on-the-record interview. Hi-Fi House might be open but it’s still hush-hush, for now.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

There was 20 or 30 people on hand at Hi-Fi House when Chemicals began its set. Of all the bands I’ve seen Dereck Higgins perform in since Digital Sex broke up, Chemicals was the most impressive. I don’t know much about jazz — or improvisational jazz for that matter — but I can still recognize great music played with fire and funk, and Chemicals was all of that. Higgins said during the set that the band was still in its development phase, but you couldn’t tell by Saturday’s performance.

The band includes guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips and keyboardist Jake Reisdorff. Horns were provided by trumpeter Blake DeForest and the always amazing James Cuato on saxophone (and keyboards). But keeping it all together was gritty drummer John Evans crashing the beats with style and finesse, and of course Higgins himself at the center, one of Omaha’s greatest bassists holding it all together.

At first I wasn’t expecting much thanks to the long, unstructured noise collage that kicked things off, and then Evans cut through the clutter with a defined beat and Higgins dropped his bass line and we were on our way. This is modern, progressive rock jazz in the same vein as Kamasi Washington, progressive but tuneful and exciting, and well played. I’m sure there was a lot of improvisation going on, but there was no mistaking each song’s foundation and arrangement — this wasn’t random noodling. Can a recording be far behind? (Hey Hi-Fi House, why not put it out on vinyl?).

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

After Chemicals I strolled down to Almost Music and caught Hand Painted Police Car rip the paint off the walls while a crowd thumbed through the bins.

Then it was off cross-town to the new Recycled Sounds, sort of hidden on 76th St. across from Buffalo Wild Wings but tucked in behind a strip mall. It’s easy to miss, but you won’t want to miss it. Recycled moved from its old location in Lincoln and will become a regular stop for used vinyl (along with Almost Music). The releases are very well organized — by band by alpha — and there’s a ton of it. It’s where I found that Lloyd Cole 12-inch 4-song 45.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge a handful of Omaha performers are getting together to celebrate the genius of Rick Moranis. Among them are Kait Berreckman, Michael Campbell, Castor, Vago, Doug Kabourek (who is the living embodiment of ’80s-era Rick Moranis) and Stephanie Krysl. Expect classic SCTV skits in the bar and the best of the best from past Canada Day events on The Reverb stage. $7, 8 p.m. Tell them Louis Tully a.k.a. The Keymaster sent you…

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Wolf Alice, Slaves (UK); Homer’s announces Record Store Day plans…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 13, 2016
Wolf Alice at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Wolf Alice at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We see bands on their upward trajectory; we see them when they’ve reached their apex and we see them headed downward in a steep dive with the rocks coming up fast from below.

Last night Wolf Alice was a band headed skyward. They were high enough where you could still see the engines clearly without binoculars, before the second-stage rockets kick in and take them above the blue sky, a band on the rise. Maybe they’re the next Garbage or Cranberries or, if they’re lucky, the first Wolf Alice marking their own territory as they go.

The four-piece took The Waiting Room stage at around 10 p.m. and proceeded to rip through most (if not all) of the tracks off their 2015 breakthrough album My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit/Sony) starting with “Your Loves Whore” with its sensuous, perfect breaks, and ending with a three-song encore kicked off with album opener “Turn to Dust.” In between, the band played 75 minutes of perfect, tuneful indie rock that sounded more than a little influenced by some of my favorite bands from the ’90s, updated with modern grit and a vintage snarl by way of bass player Theo Ellis, who was the life of the party.

In fact it was bleach-blond Ellis that kept things visually interesting on stage. While the rest of the band focused on their respective parts, Ellis played the Brit madman, leading the clapping, pointing out cell phone users, applauding spectators who danced/pogo-ed in the pit. Meanwhile. frontwoman Ellie Rowsell did her thing with reserved panache, eventually getting into it enough to toss her guitar to the stage and walk into the outreached hands of the crowd during the encore.

The band’s secret weapons were guitarist Joff Oddie, who forced your attention with quickfire fretboard gymnastics, and drummer Joel Amey, whose siren voice was the perfect harmony throughout and the perfect lead for dreamy setpiece ‘Swallowtail.”

If there’s a nit to be picked it’s that Wolf Alice could use a bit more stage theatrics, though it’s hard not to get sucked into their set once they get on a roll, which they did last night in front of a packed-though-not-sold-out crowd populated by a surprisingly older audience (I wasn’t the oldest one there, for a change).

The next time you see them live likely will be at a festival somewhere, or in a much larger venue. Wolf Alice is still headed skyward. To what heights they’ll climb, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Slaves (UK) at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Slaves (UK) at The Waiting Room, April 12, 2016.

Opener Slaves (UK, I assume a necessity due to the fact that there’s a U.S. version of Slaves) kicked off the night with a very British sounding set of rough-hewn rock, like listening to a rage-filled Mike Skinner (The Streets) voxed against power chord riffs instead of hip-hop beats. Slaves is a duo featuring drummer/vocalist Isaac Holman yelling more than singing while guitarist Laurie Vincent wailed away on his ax. Sort of punk, but not quite.

Between songs Holman told stories and painted pictures of life in the UK, describing the dreadful riders on public transport who look upset about their dreary careers. “If you don’t like your job, mate, do something else,” he sneered before the duo ripped into “Cheer Up London.” By set’s end, Holman asked everyone to hug the person standing next to them, and then berated those who were too cool to follow his orders.

Sidenote: I appreciate the fact that One Percent Productions is limiting some of its shows to just two bands, especially during the week. Those of us who have regular day jobs enjoy getting home by midnight (11:30 last night), allowing us to function coherently the following morning.

* * *

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 12.37.27 PMRecord Store Day 2016 is this Saturday and the shops are getting ready for the annual onslaught. Yesterday Homer’s outlined their plans, which will include lots of exclusives. According to their press release:

“Among the limited edition music releases being unveiled for Record Store Day 2016 are titles by David Bowie, Deftones, Alt-J, Cheap Trick, The Doors, Johnny Cash, Joan Jett, The Talking Heads and Twenty-One Pilots.
 
“Nebraska native and current Omaha resident Matthew Sweet will be releasing Goodfriend, featuring alternate takes of his iconic 1991 album Girlfriend. Omaha native Adam DeVine will also release his comedy rap album by the Wizards, which features DeVine and the other two members of the Workaholics’ TV show cast.”

BTW, Metallica is 2016’s Record Store Day Ambassador, which seems odd when you consider only a few years ago the only bands still supporting vinyl were indies and not major-label monsters. Looks like the monsters won again.

While Homer’s doors open at 10 a.m., the line generally forms at around dawn. Homer’s will be serving coffee and donuts to line-sitters starting at 8 a.m. Psychobilly rock trio The Rev. Horton Heat will be on hand at 4 p.m. for a meet-and-greet and autograph-signing session to celebrate the band’s RSD single, “Hardscrabble Woman.”

It’s probably a good idea to go to http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases to see what may be available at Homer’s as well as the other RSD participants including Almost Music and Drastic Plastic.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Wolf Alice; Live review: Foxtails Brigade, Ryley Walker; Bent Shapes tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:50 pm April 11, 2016
Wolf Alice plays Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room.

Wolf Alice plays Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a good reason why UK band Wolf Alice so quickly exploded on the global music scene. Though they officially formed as a duo between frontwoman Ellie Rowsell and guitarist Joff Oddie in 2010, the band in its current form has only been around for a few years, releasing their debut full length, My Love Is Cool (Dirty Hit Records/Sony) last year.

That album not only was critically lauded (nominated for a Mercury Music Prize) but the band also netted a Grammy nomination. Their sleek, blaring rock has been compared to everyone from Hole to Elastica to The xx. They remind me of early Garbage crossed with one of those dreamy 4AD bands, with brazen,  grungy hooks balanced by Rowsell’s beautiful, breathy coo.  It won’t take them long to jump from rock-club sized venues like The Waiting Room (where they play Tuesday night) to arenas and headliner status on the festival circuit. Catch then now when you can still get close enough to touch them.

The band took the Ten Questions challenge. Here’s how guitarist/vocalist Joff Oddie responded (to most of the questions, anyway).

1. What is your favorite album?

Wolf Alice’s Joff Oddie: The velvet underground and Nico – the velvet underground

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

Seeing people be brought together through our music is a really special thing. There are kids we know all over the world who are now friends and go to shows together through listening to Wolf Alice. That’s a special feeling when you see that.

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

Not being able to cook for myself whilst on long trips on the road. I really miss the kitchen. Sunday’s roasts..

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

Champagne. If you are coming to a show of ours then please bring champagne.

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

Wherever there’s a good crowd we’ll have a good show. We love the states. Been making trips here for about 18 months now and we always love it. You guys know how to treat a band!

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

We had a nightmare show in London once at a small venue called The Lexington. It’s a great venue but all our shit just broke and we were standing on stage for about 20 minutes telling jokes while people tried to fix our shit. That was horrible.

8. How do you pay your bills?

With money…. ??

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

I trained to be a teacher before Wolf Alice so I’d like to do that. Or maybe a butcher.

I don’t think I’d last long in the military.

Wolf Alice plays with Slaves (UK), Tuesday, April 12, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple Street.. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 Adv./$17 DOS. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com

* * *

I would suggest if you’re planning to see Wolf Alice tomorrow night, it might be a good idea to get your tickets now. Yeah, I know advance tickets cost about a dollar more than DOS (which is upside-down, but you know how ticket fees work), cuz I’ve got a feeling this could sell out like Saturday night’s Kurt Vile show. Just sayin’…

Speaking of the weekend.

Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney, April 9, 2016.

Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney, April 9, 2016.

Saturday night I was down the street from that Vile show watching Foxtails Brigade at The Sydney. The four-piece, anchored by Laura Weinbach on vocals, played two styles of rock. I preferred the more  straight-forward style that was reminiscent of early Suzanne Vega, thanks to the folk-rock fueled melodies and Weinbach’s flute-like vocals, which I would have loved to hear more of.

Countering this were prog-rock style songs with bracing time changes and melody shifts that sounded like improv jazz fused with jangle-pop. There were moments that had a sort of renaissance fare quality circa ’70s Jethro Tull. I was waiting for Anton Patzner to pick up the violin I saw him tuning prior to the set, but we didn’t stick around long enough to hear it.

Sunday afternoon I swung by Almost Music’s new location in the Blackstone District for the Ryley Walker in-store and noticed that they painted the building yet again. The striking yellow had been painted black, except for one charming yellow heart. I’m sure there’s a story behind the change.

The new Almost Music — and new Solid Jackson Books, which shares the building — is impressive, roomy and well organized, with gorgeous old-style floor tile, high ceilings and even more product than the old Benson store. The bookstore also is a big improvement over the old location, with high book cases and even more volumes to look through.

Ryley Walker at Almost Music, April 10, 2016.

Ryley Walker at Almost Music, April 10, 2016.

I got there too late to see opener Ian O’Neil from Deer Tick, but just in time to catch Walker, who was set up with a small PA in the bookstore-side of the building. His gorgeous, intricate guitar style perfectly suited his beautiful modern-day folk songs that left the crowd of 20 or so lost in the performance.

Almost Music last week announced the line-up of its annual Record Store Day music festival, which takes place all day next Saturday. Here it is:

12:00 – Nathaniel Hoier
1:00 – John Klemmensen and the Party
2:00 – Brad Hoshaw Music
3:00 – Bien Fang
4:00 – Hand Painted Police Car
5:00 – See Through Dresses
6:00 – Sucettes
7:00 – The Shrinks
8:00 – Ramon Speed

I suspect we’ll be hearing tons more about RSD in the coming days…

* * *

Seems like Milk Run has a show every night. I don’t know how Chris Aponick and Sam Parker do it. Tonight it’s Slumberland Records artist Bent Shapes. Their new album, Wolves of Want, netted a 6.8 on the ol’ Pitchfork meter in a review that called their music “inherently likeable.” Like all Milk Run shows there are three more performers on tonight’s bill: Atlanta’s Hello Ocho, Bed Rest and Little Ripple. $7, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Quilt; MiWi La Lupa, Bomb Shelter Radio tonight, Josh Hoyer Saturday; Yuck, Big Thief Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:38 pm April 1, 2016
Quilt at Reverb Lounge, March 31, 2016.

Quilt at Reverb Lounge, March 31, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last night’s Quilt performance at Reverb Lounge was a gorgeous step back into another time and place: San Francisco circa 1967, or at least what I think it must have been like back then, sans drugs and war and technology and free love.

Audibly the band captured that fractured, beautiful era with its own pastoral rock rife with Byrd-ian harmonies, Jeffersonian Airplane guitar and sun-streaked flowers-in-your-hair melodies amped up to modern times with flourishes of pace and rhythm likely absent from the Nixon era.

That’s a colorful and long-winded way of saying that Quilt’s performance dripped with even more nostalgia than what’s heard on their sublime new album, Plaza. That record is, without a doubt, destined to become a modern indie rock classic, dense with strings and flute and keyboards along with the band’s sterling performance. But Plaza is more upbeat, modern-sounding and “rocking”  than what we got last night, which for the most part, felt a tad subdued and painted in sepia tones.

The four-piece recently became a five-piece with the addition of a keyboard player, who gave dimension to the traditional rock arrangements. It’s harmonies that take the sound to the next level. While front-woman/guitarist Anna Rochinski and guitarist/vocalist Shane Butler provided the bulk of the lead vocals, drummer John Andrews’ tight harmonies on almost every song  provided glowing nuance. Bass player Keven Lareau also threw in some extra woo-hoo vocals. Andrews got to sing lead on one number, which he dedicated to local hero Simon Joyner.

While most of the songs were laid-back, the band got the crowd moving on the night’s closer, “Own Ways,” which also is the album closer on Plaza and my favorite song on the album. Imagine Feelies’ rhythms with spy guitar and CSN&Y harmonies — the perfect highway driving song.

Afterward, it was a feeding frenzy for merch back inside the bar (and I think I accidentally screwed the band out of $5 when I bought a vinyl copy of the new album and a T-shirt. I’ll pay you back next time, Team Quilt).

Halfloves at Reverb Lounge, March 31, 2016.

Halfloves at Reverb Lounge, March 31, 2016.

Opening band, Iowa City’s Halfloves, played standard indie fare that too often felt muted and  withdrawn for what they were trying to pull off. That said (and this is the strangest thing), the band had a way with how it ended songs. I started noticing this toward the end of their set. The third-to-last song (no idea what it was called) had an amazing instrumental outro that played off a shimmering keyboard line and could stand on its own as a musical piece (and that got the best crowd reaction of their set). Wonder if these guys ever considered doing instrumental-only compositions…

* * *

What a week of shows. From an indie music standpoint, the weekend lets up on the gas pedal, at least until Sunday night.

Tonight’s big show takes place at fabulous O’Leaver’s, where native New Yorker now Omahan MiWi La Lupa celebrates the release of his new album on Team Love Records, Ended Up Making Love, produced by Mike Mogis and Conor Oberst. I would not be surprised if half of Bright Eyes doesn’t make a guest appearance during MiWi’s set. Opening is McCarthy Trenching and Mike Schlesinger. $8. Starts at 9:30. Expect a crowd.

Tonight also is the swan song for Bomb Shelter Radio at Milk Run. The art project / guerrilla radio station located in the art room next to Milk Run will be broadcasting tonight’s show live starting at 9 p.m. at 95.5 FM in downtown Omaha and online at http://mixlr.com/bomb-shelter-radio/.

Bands will be playing in both the Milk Run and in the Bomb Shelter room. The lineup: No Thanks, Sam Martin, Conchance, Dominique Morgan, Silversphere, Was (members of Gordon, Universe Contest), Rogue Moon, Graham Ulicny, The Shrinks. The show starts at 9 sharp and is $10.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal celebrates the release of their new album, Running from Love, at The Slowdown (no doubt in the big room). Opening is Satchel Grande and Rothsteen. The 8 p.m. show is $8 Adv/$10 DOS.

Also Saturday night, O’Leaver’s has Anthems, Low Long Signal and Super Ghost. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally Sunday night, Lookout Lounge does it again. Indie band Yuck (MAME Records) headlines a show that also includes Saddle Creek Records’ latest signing, Big Thief, making their Omaha debut. Opening is Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. I suspect this will be a rather massive show. Better get your tickets now. $12 Adv / $15 DOS. Show starts at 9 p.m.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Operators; Quilt vs. Teen, Oh, Rose tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm March 31, 2016
Operators at Reverb Lounge, March 30, 2016.

Operators at Reverb Lounge, March 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Operators at Reverb last night wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. Instead of a full-out synth dance explosion like what’s heard on the band’s new album, Blue Wave, Dan Boeckner and his band ratcheted up the guitars so it sounded more like Spoon than Depeche Mode. At least most of the time.

A few songs were butt-shake-inducing thanks to the dynamic rhythm section of drummer Sam Brown (who was celebrating a birthday last night and was serenaded with the usual song by the crowd) and bassist Dustin Hawthorne, who looked like a Russian accountant until he took off his blazer revealing sleeves of tattoos.

Two of the best songs of the set are both from 2014’s EP Vol. 1. “One True Love,” the set closer, had a brittle, corrosive (in a good way) rhythm line and intricate synth parts via synth player Devojka that recalled Eno and Jerry Harrison’s first solo album. Intense. It was followed by the first of a two-song encore — the song “Ancient,” performed as a trio sans bass — pure dance heaven.

The live arrangements had me rethinking their new record. I think this was only the second date on their tour supporting this new album, and they may still be adjusting things. For example, another song with a mind-bending deep-groove synth intro was started and stopped two times before the band threw up their hands and moved onto a slower guitar-rock song from the new album. I’ll take the synths — fractured or not — over the riffage every time.

Bogan Via at Reverb Lounge, March 30, 2016.

Bogan Via at Reverb Lounge, March 30, 2016.

I also caught three songs from opening duo Bogan Via, including their twee take on “Hallelujah.” Sweet voices behind two synths and pre-recorded beats. I should have gotten there earlier.

* * *

Two big shows are happening tonight. Which will you be at?

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s TEEN headlines. Prepare by reading my Ten Questions interview with the band here. This is a pretty big name for the Club, and I expect it to be packed to the gills. It’s a fully loaded bill with Naytronix (member of tUnE-yArDs) and Icewater opening. $8, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile across town at Reverb Lounge (where I’ll be) Quilt headlines. Like I said yesterday, their new album, Plaza (Mexican Summer Records) is on top of my ’16 list. Read their 10 Questions here. Opening is Iowa City band Halfloves. 9 p.m., $12.

Also tonight, iOlympia Washington indie band Oh, Rose headlines at Milk Run. Thick Paint (Graham Patrick Ulicny of Reptar) and The Shrinks open. $8, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with OPERATORS; Live Review: Those Far Out Arrows; Mamiffer tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:28 pm March 28, 2016
Operators' Dan Boeckner. Photo by Liam Maloney.

Operators’ Dan Boeckner. Photo by Liam Maloney.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Don’t overthink Operators, the band playing Wednesday night at Reverb Lounge. Their glowing synth music is pure dance rock that recalls all the usual suspects: Depeche Mode, New Order, Psychedelic Furs, Oingo Boingo, Future Islands, Friendly Fires, Big Black Delta, you get the drift. This is full-on strut rock at its finest

Operators is helmed by Dan Boeckner, who you might remember from Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs and Divine Fits.  His new trio includes drummer Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks, Divine Fits) and synthmaster Devojka, who (along with Boeckner) provides all those glowing dance tones. Those looking for local comparisons, Boeckner’s vocals have always reminded me of Eli Mardock’s (or Mardock’s reminded me of Boeckner’s), while the music has the same acid-buzz that Icky Blossoms’ fans will recognize (and love).

When it came time to make their debut full length, Blue Wave (out this Friday on Last Gang Records), the band brought in the big guns in the form of producer Graham Walsh, who’s worked with METZ, Alvvays and Viet Cong, among others. The record is an uplifting rock album that as a whole recalls classic ’80s good-time new wave dance music as embraceable as your favorite John Hughes movie.

We asked Boeckner to do our Ten Questions, and he responded with gusto.

1. What is your favorite album?

Dan Boeckner: Right now it’s:

(chronologically)
Sister – Sonic Youth
New Plastic Ideas – Unwound
Roots Manuva – Brand New Second Hand
London Zoo – The Bug
Laurel Halo – Quarantine
Not Waving – Animals
The Body – No One Deserves Happiness

2. What is your least favorite song?

Right now they’re:

“When I’m 64” – The Beatles.  Awful.  Just awful.

“Blood On The Leaves” – Kanye.  Kanye takes one of the most brutally effective, devastating,  righteous political songs ever written (Strange Fruit)…and turns in into an allegory for not wanting to pay alimony.   And something about courtside seats.

“Sexy Mexican Maid” – Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Weapons grade bad.  The ’90s were a time where you could spot weld casual racism to ham-fisted tuneless funk metal and be applauded for it.  Here, look: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEf_Wfqou3I

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

Playing shows and the ability to travel.  Playing shows because, it’s a transcendent experience.  I’m not a spiritual guy but…being onstage and playing music, transmitting something to an audience, having that catharsis…that’s a blessing.  It’s a lucky thing to get to do.  Travel because I grew up in a tiny, rural town in Canada in a low income family and had no real prospects for getting to see the world.  I could read about it and look at it but it was unavailable to me.

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

Any time I feel like being in a band is a burden I think about playing shows, the fact that I get to travel and the fact I’m not telemarketing or working demolition or being a line cook and those feelings just…melt away.

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

Coffee

6. What city or town do you love performing at?

Belgrade, Serbia.

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

Probably Kaunas, Lithuania.   I played a Russian owned mafia club.  Halfway through the set, the security tasered a guy for dancing and threw him down a flight of stairs.  After the set was over, the promoter leapt onstage and gave a 5 minute speech in Russian and Lithuanian, the main theme being: the band would play his favorite song.  We did not know how to play his favorite song.  He like…kind of sprung that on us.  So: he kept us onstage and encouraged us to MIME that song while the mobbed up club “investors” got drunker and angrier.  Later in the evening he got apocalyptically wasted in my hotel room and told me how when he was in the Soviet Navy he almost died in a nuclear submarine accident.

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

If I wasn’t doing this, I’d probably be doing journalism or working for a foreign intelligence agency.  Hate to do: my old job working for a pharmaceutical company.

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

The one about radioactive “Fukushima” bees.

The one about the salt witch.

The one about the creek named after the guy who was skinned alive for murder

The one about the devil worshipping sex cult that turned out to be about embezzlement

The one about how tackling Steven Malkmus of Pavement mid set at Slowdown while you’re wearing a “Tricerasquatch” (Sasquatch body-Triceratops head) costume will only make him pissy and not just laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation and then high five you like you thought it would.

Operators plays Wednesday, March 30, with opener Bogan Via at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $10 Adv./$12 DOS. For more information, visit onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Those Far Out Arrows at O'Leaver's, March 26, 2016.

Those Far Out Arrows at O’Leaver’s, March 26, 2016.

The mob couldn’t have been more crushing than Saturday night at O’Leaver’s for Those Far Out Arrows’ record release party. It was hard just to find a place to stand.

Despite the SRO pressure, the band reproduced all the subtle touches heard on their new record, right down to the whistle intro on “Fantasizing Lover.” The trio’s sound centers on the brothers Keelan-White — one on drums, the other on guitar. Evan seemed to have the leads most often (brother Ben was mostly on drums), while Jon Oschner provided the groovy bass. They unapologetically cross ’60s British psychedelic with Bowery proto-punk a la Velvet Underground.

I guess you could call it retro in as much as Burger Records garage rock is retro, though TFOAs feels more authentic and structured than most modern-day low-fi fuzz rock. The record is definitely worth finding (Almost Music is your best bet).

The trio’s gritty psych-rock was dulcet tones compared to the band that proceeded it. Dead Flower Preservation Club Band consisted of three or four musicians — I couldn’t see how many were on stage from my perch way in back of the club — that played loud, bleating waves of dense noise. Feedback, guitar, drums and synths created a cacophony of harsh sound that can only be described as a symphony of chaos.

* * *

Yet another big show tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s when Mamiffer comes to town. The duo  of Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom, Hydra Head Industries) bring the heavy. Opening is Downtrod, Bus Gas and CBN. $7, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Brad Hoshaw; SWMRS (Mr. Green Day’s son), The Frights, Pleasures tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm March 21, 2016
Brad Hoshaw at The Shark Club, March 19, 2016.

Brad Hoshaw at The Shark Club, March 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Notes from Saturday night’s show, please bear with me…

The Shark Club, located at 2808 S 72nd St, felt like the kind of place that was a hip, happenin’ hot-bed of late-night action… about 20 years ago.

Built above a Quality Inn hotel, the first thing you’re met with as you walk inside the ginchy, all-maroon lounge is a humid wave of chlorine, evidence of a nearby swimming pool. I asked the door guy, and he pointed to the adjacent room whose windows overlooked an enormous indoor pool and hot tub salon. Down below kids with yellow floaties on their arms splashed away while their parents enjoyed beverages neck-deep in hot bubbles. Ohh-la-la…

A loud crack! brought me back to reality, and a young ponytailed girl walked through the hall with a 3-stack of billiard-ball racks. I almost bumped into a guy eating french fries staring at a table while Fast Eddie Felson grimaced watching his cue ball drop in the corner pocket.

Back in the bar, Brad Hoshaw tested his microphone, surrounded by high-top tables, flat-panel TVs and 100-gallon fish tanks glowing with coral. His stage was a plywood platform backed by a huge 10-foot by 30-foot mirror. The lighting was weird. Hoshaw looked like an alien covered in odd patterns of cheap green-red-blue digital lights.

But after 10 minutes of futzing around, the sound wasn’t half-bad and Hoshaw began rolling through another high-quality solo acoustic set. He’s one of the few local performers who can entertain a room with just his voice and his guitar, thanks to the strength of his songwriting (first-tier all the way; like I said, if I only owned a label…).

The 30 or so on hand paid attention in a room not designed for live music. Three folks sat in a large out-of-place red-leather bolstered couch in front of a dormant fireplace that had a large TV mounted over it that showed a courtroom documentary instead if the NCAA tournament which was wall-to-wall in the other room. A group of folks next to the front door erupted in laughter. A family reunion. Hugs all around. Meanwhile, behind where I’m sat, plates of hot wings and nachos cooled untouched in the kitchen’s pickup window. A bell chimed for someone to fetch the victuals, but no one showed.

And so it went, a very different scene from 20 years ago, before cell phones and Tinder, back when a bar like The Shark Club got its name not because of the fish tanks but because of the action happening on the dance floor. Technology has made meat markets obsolete, turning them into pseudo sports bars, pool halls and now, music venues… sort of.

* * *

Lots o’ stuff happening this week. Two shows of note tonight alone.

Lookout Lounge does it again, this time bringing in SWMRS for a headlining show. The Oakland-based punk band features the son of Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong (Joey Armstrong) on drums — don’t hold it against them. From what I’ve heard online, they blow Green Day out of the water. Opening band The Frights has a new album just released produced by FIDLAR’s Zac Carper. Also on the bill are The Beat Seakers and The Way Out. Four bands for $13. Show starts early, at 7:30.

Also tonight, fabulous O’Leaver’s welcomes the cool synth-rock sound of Pleasures. The Florida band lists Battles, Flying Lotus and Tame Impala among their influences. Stephen Nichols opens. $5, 9:30 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Whipkey, Wild Powwers, Bien Fang; Basia Bulat tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:43 pm March 7, 2016
Wild Powwers at O'Leaver's, March 4, 2016.

Wild Powwers at O’Leaver’s, March 4, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A look back at the weekend, or Friday night to be more precise.

Matt Whipkey performed in one of his most high-profile gigs in Omaha at 1200 Club Friday night. Backed by guitar, drums, bass and keyboards, Whipkey was center stage under the white-hot lights giving his all to a mostly full house. Ironically, even though there were a few hundred people collected around tables in the crowded room, it was likely one of the smaller crowds he’s played to recently, thanks to becoming one of Dwight Yoakam’s standard opening acts.

Matt Whipkey at 1200 Club, March 4, 2016.

Matt Whipkey at 1200 Club, March 4, 2016.

That road work has left Whipkey and his band water-tight as they played his double-LP Penny Park in sequence (even announcing the end of each side throughout the set). You might think it was strange he was playing an album that came out in 2013 rather than his most recent material except that Whipkey undoubtedly looked at this performance as a career high water mark and wanted to make it something special. Penny Park is probably his most thought-out release to date, something he may never duplicate. Might as well give it the staging it deserves.

I stuck around for two sides of Penny Park before heading cross town to O’Leaver’s. On stage when I arrived was Low Long Signal, a proggy, mathy four-piece instrumental rock band that ripped though a set of high-energy compositions rife with intricate rhythms. Just when you got inside one of their fast, tight grooves they’d throw a heavy riff into the mix. Very interesting and worth further investigation.

Wild Powwers were harder and faster than they sound on their most recent album — they sounded more like a punk band than a self-proclaimed grunge act. I point to the density of production on that new record for the Pacific Northwest narrative, vs. the straight-up, stripped down sound we got Friday night.

While Lara Hilgeman’s vocals and guitarwork were spot on, it was the rhythm section of while-knuckle drummer Lupe Flores and bassist Jordan (JoJo) Gomes (his bass acting more like a second guitar on most of the songs) that “powwered” the evening.

Bien Fang at O'Leaver's March 4, 2016.

Bien Fang at O’Leaver’s March 4, 2016.

Finally locals Bien Fang closed out the night. I didn’t know going in that BF is a Rachel Tomlinson Dick project (or I’d forgotten) and was pleasantly surprised to see her on stage fronting the band on heavy rock songs that bordered on punk. Two ’90s bands — Live Skull and Come — came to mind. A comrade who watched the night’s festivities said Wild Powwers had a riot grrrl flair to their set; I’d say that tag more appropriately belonged to Bien Fang.

A great night of music.

* * *

Very quickly: Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the Omaha return of Basia Bulat. From the press release: “Her new album Good Advice is out now to rave reviews—the LA Times callis it ‘an irresistible blend of lush pop and effervescent R&B…undeniable’ while Paste says it’s ‘playful to the point of pure effusiveness, each [song] swathed with catchy choruses and brisk, bubbly refrains.'” I haven’t heard it yet. No doubt you will tonight. The Weather Station opens. $13, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Dirty Dishes, Misers; no Creek at SXSW; short week…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:45 pm February 22, 2016
Dirty Dishes at O'Leaver's, Feb. 20, 2016.

Dirty Dishes at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 20, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yes, that was indeed a Bart Simpson sweater Dirty Dishes frontwoman Jenny Tuite sported on the O’Leaver’s stage Saturday night.  Mad-cap apparel for a mad-cap night of music played to a more-packed-than-normal house.

Actually, the music itself — not so mad-cap. Dirty Dishes plays rather dark, grinding indie rock — that slow-burn rolling-bass stuff you remember from the ’90s updated for a modern world by Tuite’s glowing guitar and her dreamy, Bjorkian yelp. The trio’s guttural power came from the rhythm section — dynamic bass work by Alex Molini both acting as the foundation and a second fuzz-toned melody (and pounding out keyboards on a couple numbers), and the drummer, who’s name seems to be missing from all the usual online sources. His stick work was nothing short of amazing.

Dirty Dishes releases music on the Exploding in Sound label, though they’d be just as home on 4AD (4AD band Daughter has a similar though more shoegaze-y quality). They remain under the Pitchfork radar, who knows for how long. Pitchfork would be wise to pay attention to them instead of wasting time throwing bouquets at Kanye.

I caught a few songs by opener Misers — dense sound collages, huge, pounding waves of noise created by guitars, cello, drums and synths. There were no vocals, at least on the three songs I heard.  Call it experimental if you want to. Though they self-identify as improvisational, there was a method to their madness. Brutal.

* * *

One of the executives at Saddle Creek Records confirmed last week that the label will not be hosting a  showcase at this year’s South By Southwest Festival in Austin.  You gotta take a year off once in awhile. That said, the label’s latest recruits, Big Thief, will be there.

* * *

It’s gonna be a short week for me. I’ll be out of town starting Wednesday. I’ll do what I can tomorrow to list the can’t-miss / don’t-miss shows that’ll be playing throughout this week and weekend…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor; New Icky video; new Darren Keen track; Once a Pawn tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:37 pm February 11, 2016
Godspeed You! Black Emperor at The Slowdown Feb. 10, 2016.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at The Slowdown Feb. 10, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Even if you’ve never seen Godspeed You! Black Emperor before but are familiar with the band’s music you pretty much knew what you were in for last night at The Slowdown.

Five minutes before the band walked onto the darkened stage a low-end rumble quietly roared like distant thunder. One at a time the eight members found their places among a stage cluttered with equipment and pedals and cables, looking for a place to set down their drinks, and quietly picked up their instruments, each adding to the building din. This went on for another five minutes or so as scratchy abstract marks began being projected on the screen behind the stage.

Eventually, the noise took form. Two percussionists began rattling things as the violin and cello added something akin to a melody that ultimately was overtaken by the three guitars and bass, and 15 minutes later you realized the concert had indeed begun.

Most compositions (songs?) were deep, repetitive ambient tonal melodies that evolved into haunting and/or majestic sweeps of sound. Sludgy, slow, deep ponderous movements were played in dim, deep-red sepia lighting, perfect for setting a mood or developing film. Overhead, the projections became less abstract — images of burning fields, film sprocket holes, a deer standing in a field, a sunset shot from inside a moving car — all in black-and-white (of course).

There wasn’t much to see on stage except lots of people leaning over things, huddled over guitars or effects pedals. Sometimes the compositions transformed into big rock numbers that reminded me of Meddle-era Pink Floyd or Mogwai, but most of the set was a pulsing dirge set to a 6/8 beat. Throughout the set, none of the performers talked to the audience. There were no microphones on stage if they’d wanted to.

It was beautiful and awful and exhausting. The set began at a quarter after 9. When I left at 11 and it was still going strong, the sold-out crowd standing in front of the stage was transfixed, mesmerized.

* * *

A day or so after this interview from Nik Fackler hits the internet, Nik’s band Icky Blossoms released a new video for “Living in Fiction,” directed by Aaron Gum. Omahans, see how many people you recognize on the dance floor. Hey Ickys, I’m still waiting for a video for my favorite track on the album, “Away from You”…

* * *

Everyone’s favorite Nebraska ex-patriot Darren Keen just released a new track called “10,000 Dollar Pyramid Scheme” that is twisted remix of the $10,000 Pyramid game show theme.  It’s included in Channel Flippin’ 2, a comp of TV theme song remixes. Enjoy, and as we like to say, “Big money, no whammy.”

* * *

They’re calling it Bands for Bernie. It’s a rally for Bernie Sanders at Reverb tonight. Bands playing include CJ Mills and Lincoln punk band Once a Pawn. The free show begins at 7 p.m.

Also tonight, Fizzle Like a Flood’s Doug Kabourek does a rare set at The Barley Street Tavern. It’s part of a free six-band show that starts at 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i