Another year, another Maha; the day in photos; Hockey Dad tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:59 pm August 22, 2016
The crowd with hands in the air, as directed by Vince Staples during Saturday's Maha Music Festival.

The crowd with hands in the air, as directed by Vince Staples during Saturday’s Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve written a lengthy review of Saturday’s Maha Music Festival, but it won’t appear until the September issue of The Reader comes out in a couple weeks. Boo!

That said, here’s the CliffsNotes version: The weather was great, the park was wet, and the music for the most part was pretty good. Favorite bands of the day were (no surprise) Car Seat Headrest, Diet Cig (actually a huge surprise considering how poor their Slowdown set was a few months back) and Grimes. Diarrhea Planet also was a surprise, as I’ve never been a fan of their records.

All the locals I saw were good, but especially See Through Dresses. Matthew Sweet sounded shit-loads better than he did at 1200 Club a year or so ago (but how could he not considering how poor the sound was that night?). That said, he played too long. Someone should have told him he wasn’t the headliner.

Jay Farrar Trio was fine. Kind of boring, actually. Vince Staples did not resonate with me, but I don’t like that style of tuneless hyper-rap (but the crowd sure did). The Joy Formidable were technically on point playing forgettable songs.

Who am I missing? Oh yeah, the headliner. I made it through three Passion Pit songs before heading out. They weren’t awful, they just weren’t that interesting. But as I say in the review, I’ve never stuck around for the full set of Maha’s closing band.

Anyway, read the whole review when it comes out long after you’ve forgotten this year’s festival. It’ll be like Groundhog Day for those of you who went (Yes, I miss the days when The Reader was a weekly…). In the meantime, here are some photos taken at Saturday’s show…

Diet Cig drew a surprisingly large crowd for playing so early in the day.

Diet Cig drew a surprisingly large crowd for playing so early in the day.

 

See Through Dresses are always solid.

See Through Dresses are always solid.

 

Jay Farrar Trio were the first ones on the big Weitz Stage Saturday.

Jay Farrar Trio were the first ones on the big Weitz Stage Saturday.

 

Diarrhea Planet and their four guitarists. Loud. Fun.

Diarrhea Planet and their four guitarists. Loud. Fun.

 

Warren Buffett sings an a capella version of "Feelings" during Maha. It was... touching.

Warren Buffett sings an a capella version of “Feelings” during Maha. It was… touching. (Just kidding, don’t sue me, Warren).

 

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival.

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival.

Matthew Sweet on the Javlin Stage.

Matthew Sweet on the Javlin Stage.

 

Grimes and one of her crazy dancers.

Grimes and one of her crazy dancers.

 

Passion Pit peering through the smoky haze.

Passion Pit peering through the smoky haze.

* * *

Tonight Kanine Records act Hockey Dad headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Muuy Biien and Fun Runner. $12, 8 p.m.

* * *

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

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Live Review: Protomartyr; Maha Festival ED explains how the line-up was chosen (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 11:52 am August 15, 2016
Protomartyr at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 12, 2016.

Protomartyr at Slowdown Jr., Aug. 12, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Protomartyr brought the big noise with them Friday night at Slowdown, Jr.  The four-piece, fronted by nattily dressed Joe Casey, who looked like a young, slim version of John Goodman (get ready, Joe, you’re going to look just like him when you’re in your 60s), belted out at least 45 minutes of pure indie punk, gliding on Greg Ahee’s amazing guitar tone (and skill) and Casey’s barking vocal delivery.

Those vocals: Call them atonal, call them simply yelling, the closest we’ve got is Gary Dean Davis’ enthusiastic bark. Or maybe Craig Finn’s talk vocals, but that’s not quite right. Finn always sounds like a college guy snottily reading slam poetry when he fronts The Hold Steady, whereas Casey’s bark vocals seem more like someone scolding you about what’ll happen if you don’t start paying attention. And whereas Hold Steady songs play like ironic pictures of hipster America, Casey’s vision is darker, psychologically dystopian, not so much lacking in hope as providing a warning. But fun nonetheless.

Casey sold it all with his visual cues — a sort of sarcastic glare or look of indifference — as if none of it matters because you’re not listening, anyway. You’re just trying to dance. Which they did. Friday night’s crowd (of around 75?) was one of the youngest I’ve seen at an indie punk show, with mainly of young women crowding the stage. Mark Kozelek would have been envious.

* * *

You’re going to be hearing a shit-ton about the Maha Music Festival this week, seeing as it happens this coming Saturday. I’m adding to the din with this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader wherein Maha Executive Director Lauren Schomburg explains how they came up with this year’s line-up, which features electro-dance headliner Passion Pit. Read the column here.

Apparently Ryan Adams was in the running. So were a lot of other acts, but in the end, this line-up made the most sense both fiscally and for their target audience (a younger crowd than in year’s past).

I asked Schomburg what her “dream line-up” would be. Her answer: “Probably some combination of Florence and the Machine, Arcade Fire and LCD Soundsystem.” Yes, that would be impressive. It also would cost a bazillion dollars and would have to be held somewhere much larger than Aksarben Village.

At the time of the interview, Schomburg said Maha’s ticket sales had been slower than last year’s festival. She pointed out that festivals have taken a hit this year across the board nationally. Bonnaroo 2016 was the least attended year in that festival’s history, with attendance down 45 percent since its 2011 peak. Attendance at the 80/35 Festival was down as well versus the previous year.

Schomburg said the election year could be playing into the attendance decline as well as the fact that we seem to be saturated with festivals these days. That said, Maha’s line-up appeals to a younger audience, an audience that waits longer to purchase tickets. Expect a solid run-up in sales this week and the day of event. “The community is always supportive,” she said, adding that sponsorships “have been phenomenal.”

* * *

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: Pleasures, Universe Contest; The Faint release retrospective on Saddle Creek…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm August 8, 2016
Pleasures at O'Leaver's, Aug. 6, 2016.

Pleasures at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 6, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I can’t think of a band as densely electronic as Sarasota’s Pleasures, who played at O’Leaver’s Saturday night. The four-piece drenched everything in technology, from the guitar, which was run though an onslaught of pedals, to the the stack of synths to Katherine Kelly’s vocals that were twisted and stretched and strangled by synths and vocoders and pedals all night. The music dripped in a haze of buzzing distortion cut through by a top-notch rhythm section that kept things grounded and rocking.

As interesting as the tech was, there were a few too many times when the vocal distortion got in the way of the music, and I wondered how the songs would have sounded had Kelly simply sung them sans electronic filters. The few moments when her voice peeped through the digital fog reminded me of a young Grace Slick, and certainly she carried the stage with a similar pomp.

Universe Contest at O'Leaver's, Aug. 6, 2016.

Universe Contest at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 6, 2016.

Pleasures were followed by Lincoln’s Universe Contest, whose pounding riffage and bellowing vocals were as musically subtle as hitting a thumb-tack with a sledge hammer — massive walls of throbbing sound and quirky (though barely recognizable) proggy melodies a la early Modest Mouse. The band had one of the better rhythm sections I’ve heard in recent memory, fantastic drumming. And hat’s off also to the violinist, who added much needed sonic nuance (and to the sound guy for somehow making sure she was heard through all the racket).

* * *

That massive Faint / Gang of Four tour is beginning to make more sense. I had been wondering why The Faint had signed up for so many dates without a new album to push. Then last week the band announced that it’s set to release Capsule:1999-2016 on CD and digitally on Sept. 30 and 2xLP on Oct. 28 via Saddle Creek.

The retrospective collection represents a golden era for The Faint and includes 16 of their most beloved songs from five albums reaching back to Blank-Wave Arcade (What, nothing from Media?). The 2xLP is pressed on sexy silver vinyl and the first pressing will contain a bonus  7-inch featuring new songs “Skylab1979” and “ESP,” which feature the newest member of The Faint, Graham Ulicny (Reptar) on synths. Pre-orders are being taken at The Saddle Creek online store, where you can check out the track listing.

It’s a pretty solid collection, though most early Faint albums are pretty solid top to bottom. In fact you can’t go wrong with the trilogy of Blank-Wave Arcade, Danse Macabre and Wet From Birth, whose tracks dominate this new collection…

* * *

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 Benson Days and Marcey Yates; Wavves tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:44 pm August 1, 2016
Marcey Yates at Burke's Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 29, 2016

Marcey Yates at Burke’s Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 30, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Benson’s getting crazy. Saturday night’s Benson After Dark crowds were impressive, but activity on the streets was over the top. But it’s getting that way almost every weekend in Benson. Now if they could just figure out a way to get a little biz in the daylight hours.

Here’s another observation from this weekend: For the first time I can remember, Benson Days worked. After the parade, Maple Street from down by the post office up to the Masonic Lodge was lined with tents and food trucks (maybe the most food trucks I’ve seen at one Omaha event). Hundreds of people crowded the streets. It was… surprising, exciting. When I came back later that afternoon, around 3 p.m., the crowds were still hanging on.

I have no idea if Benson After Dark was a success because the bars would probably have been jam-packed anyway. The venue where I spent a couple hours — Burke’s Pub — had a steady stream of people paying to hear the music.

I hung out at Burke’s not only because my wife was working the door, but because Marcey Yates was on the line-up. Actually, I’m not positive the project is called “Marcey Yates.” Op2mus? The Dilla Kids? Stdnt Body? All those names were used at one point.

The group consisted of a drummer, bass player and two guys with microphones, one of whom controlled samples. Not every song used a sample; some merely featured bass and drum and voices. That minimal, spare production gave them breathing room for the rhythms and backing track.

On a musical level, Yates’ is enticing. Warm, subtle rapping atop the beats. It’s a pleasure to see live instruments at a hip-hop show rather than someone yelling over pre-recorded tracks. The rap flowed smooth from one man to the next; and the room bounced  with the rhythm. The drawback (for me, anyway) was I couldn’t make out a word either of the rappers were saying. I could hear them just fine, rhythmically they were a smooth force, but the meaning was lost, and that’s a shame.

I need to hear and understand the words to get to the next level. Maybe not “understand” as much as comprehend what’s being said. My favorite hip hop (and it’s a short list) has easily recognizable lyrics that take me to wherever the artist is living. Kendrick, for example, can race along at a furious pace and I can still make out every word. Friday night the lyrics were lost on me. Maybe it was the PA, though this morning I’m listening to some of Yates’ Bandcamp stuff and while the production is first class it’s still a struggle to catch all the rhymes.

But I love the groove. So much so I’m contemplating hitting up this Friday night’s New Generation Music Festival at Aksarben Village featuring the Dilla Kids (Marcey Yates and XOBOI). Read more about the event in today’s Hear Nebraska blog entry.

* * *

Wavves returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Seems like the band is making Omaha a regular tour stop. This is the fourth time they’ve played here, if my math is correct (2011, 2013, Maha 2015). Tonight they’re playing with Philly act Steep Leans (Ghost Ramp Records) and Party Baby. $23, 8 p.m.

* * *

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

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Live Review: Refrigerator, Simon Joyner; Lincoln Calling tix on sale Thursday; Electric Six tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm July 5, 2016
Refrigerator at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Refrigerator at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Refrigerator is a literate indie rock band that puts its guts out there for everyone to see, but still doesn’t take itself that seriously. Case in point: Halfway through their set Friday night at O’Leaver’s, guitarist Dennis Callaci decided it was a good time to form a congo line and bounce on out to the beer garden with his brother, frontman Allen Callaci, while the bassist and drummer kept the beat in the club. And out they went doing the usual bunny hop with grins on their faces (along with the dozen or so people who joined in, hands on hips).

The show had been promoted as a special occasion based on the fact that Refrigerator has never played in Nebraska before, despite having close ties with some prominent Nebraska musicians — Simon Joyner chief among them. To me, the band is identified with The Antiquarium, which was where you’d find their albums and cassettes, along with other releases on Callaci’s label, Shrimper. Their music has the same pleasantly abrasive style of a few of my favorite ’90s indie bands like Silkworm, Grifters, a more refined Guided by Voices — smart, earnest rock with a crashing beat that gets you moving. It was a great set.

The band had a big spread of their releases available at the show — lots of cassettes and some vinyl. But with only $20 to spare, I bought a copy of Allen Callaci’s book, Heart Like a Starfish, a handsome tome and a challenging read that I began tackling this weekend. The story recaps Allen’s medical struggles involving his heart. I’m just 40 or so pages into it and it’s getting rather grim, but I know the book has a happy ending because I saw it being lived out on O’Leaver’s stage.

Simon Joyner at O'Leaver's, July 1, 2016.

Simon Joyner at O’Leaver’s, July 1, 2016.

During the opening set, Simon Joyner on electric guitar, accompanied by a drummer, ripped through a number of new songs as well as some chestnuts like “Joy Division” (or at least part of that song) and “Javelin.” Always a good time.

* * *

Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

Lincoln Calling Oct. 6-8

As you may or may not know, Lincoln Calling is getting a rather massive facelift this year. The primary change: Hear Nebraska is now putting on the three-day festival, which is being held Oct. 6-8 in venues throughout downtown Lincoln. Believe me, you will be impressed by the line-up, which HN will begin to announce July 13 (they’re doing incremental lineup announcements).

That said, tickets go on sale this Thursday, July 7. Early bird, three-day general admission festival passes will be available at a discount price of $29. Once those sell out, 3-day passes will increase in price to $39 for a limited time, and will eventually sell for $49.

Sales of all-ages 3-day passes that allow entrance only into two venues — The Bay and Tower Square — also go on sale Thursday for $25. Comedy-only passes will be sold for $25.

And then there are the two specialty passes:

Trustee passes at a cost of $250 includes a three-day festival pass, access to a lounge area with comfortable seating and tables, food and drink tickets, and additional perks to be announced.

SPEED! passes at $150 (only 10 available) gets the bearers to the front of the line at every concert, and allows access even when shows are at capacity.

One-day passes may be available day of show — subject to availability. In other words, at these price points, they’re expecting to sell out those 3-day passes.

No doubt Hear Nebraska is going for a South By Southwest-type event. The difference is they’re combining national touring acts of various genres with some of Nebraska’s finest bands, all playing in multiple venues for multiple days.

BTW, I have seen the initial line-up, and yes, it rivals this year’s Maha Festival. Get your tickets Thursday morning at lincolncalling.com.

* * *

Tonight Detroit disco-punk-new wave-garage-metal band Electric Six makes its annual pilgrimage to The Waiting Room. Joining them are In the Whale. $15, 9 p.m.

* * *

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

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Live Review: Twin Peaks, Ne-Hi; Sinkane (DFA Records), Lunch Duchess tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:52 pm June 30, 2016
Twin Peaks at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Twin Peaks at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The kids, they love their Twin Peaks. Last night’s show at The Waiting Room had all the charm of a modern day American Bandstand production.

The Chicago five-piece has evolved from the garage band that played at Midtown Art Supply a couple years ago to a full-blown stage act with four dudes sharing lead vocals. My favorite was probably the guitarist who looked like Greg Brady and sounded like Mick Jaggar or maybe the bass player who looked like Bobby Brady belting out rockers in his deep basso voice, or the guitarist in the overalls with the shag cut that fell over his eyes or the keyboardist/left-handed-guitarist in the white T-shirt who really leaned into the microphone. No wonder there were so many young girls in the audience pressed against the stage. Twin Peaks is the veritable Tiger Beat of rock bands.

They meld a ’60s rock vibe to a ’90s indie-rock esthetic. The acts that came to mind: Pavement, The Stooges, Velvet Underground, maybe the most central was mid-’60s era Rolling Stones circa “Get Off of My Cloud.” While I dig their new album, Down in Heaven, the recording seems  subdued compared to the live versions, which added manic energy. Or maybe it was the young crowd, who danced/slammed/jumped, even tried a bit of awkward crowd-surfing atop the estimated 150 or so on hand. Maybe rock ‘n’ roll is back?

Ne-Hi at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Ne-Hi at The Waiting Room, June 29, 2016.

Opener Ne-Hi reminded me of a different kind of stones — The Stone Roses — thanks to the band’s awesome rhythm section — a rolling bass that owned the melody while the drummer pounded away on those heavy toms. Add post-wave guitar lines and you’ve got a band that would sound at home in Manchester as well as its hometown of Chicago. Keep an eye on them. They’re label-mates with Twin Peaks on Grand Jury Music. When is their next LP going to arrive?

* * *

There’s a very interesting under-the-radar show tonight at Reverb Lounge. London artist Sinkane is described as “a musician who blends krautrock, free jazz and funk rock with Sudanese pop.” His last full-length, 2014’s Mean Love, was released on NYC-based independent dance-punk label DFA, who you might recognize as the label of such acts as The Rapture, Hot Chip, Holy Ghost! and most prominent of all, LCD Soundsystem, whose mastermind, James Murphy, co-founded the label. When was the last time we had a DFA-type artist in our town? Carl Miller & The Thrillers opens. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Minneapolis, MN grunge-pop band Lunch Duchess headlines at Milk Run with Apes of the State, Anna McClellan and The Way Out. $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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Sam Parker’s running Milk Run (with a little help from his friends); live review: Outer Spaces; Blitzen Trapper tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm June 27, 2016
Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

Outer Spaces at Milk Run, June 24, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First, let’s put a capstone on last week’s question about who’s running Milk Run. Sam Parker, who was at Friday night’s Milk Run show, made it clear he’s still very much involved with the venue. He’s enlisted members from a few local punk bands (No Thanks and See Through Dresses among them) to help run shows. And that Facebook post asking for people to help book the room was merely a way to give others an opportunity to try their hand at the show promotion game.

Parker will continue to book Milk Run, along with his promo company Perpetual Nerves. In fact, Parker mentioned a couple interesting upcoming shows at Milk Run that have yet to be announced, so stay tuned. Missing from the equation is Chris Aponick, who Parker said has stepped away from both Milk Run and Perpetual Nerves for personal reasons.

If that wasn’t enough, Parker, who also works at the mysterious Hi-Fi House, has been über busy working on yet another exciting live music project, which you will hear about shortly.

Friday night’s Milk Run show was held not in the micro-sized music room, but the adjacent, larger art gallery. They made the move because the AC in the small room was on the fritz. One reason shows haven’t been held in the gallery was fear of the acoustics — it’s a bigger room with a tin ceiling — but bouncing sound wasn’t a problem for this show. Even with their smallish PA, the room sounded pretty good.

So did Outer Spaces. The Baltimore four-piece (looks like they added a new bassist) played a short, sweet set of songs from their just released album, A Shedding Snake (2016, Don Giovanni). On that record, frontwoman/guitarist Cara Beth Satalino has a voice that at times is the spitting image of Edie Brickell’s, at other times she reminds me of Maria Taylor, whereas my wife think she sounds like Anna Waronker (That Dog). Performing live, Satalino has a simple, quiet quality all her own on songs that are classic ’90s-style indie. The live set was more laid-back than what you get on the record, which is one of my favorites from the first half of the year.

I told Parker he should use that gallery space for shows more often. In addition to sounding good, it was more comfortable, with plenty of room to move around. No doubt the room’s capacity is twice as much as the small room, and concerns that the gallery would feel empty during small shows was unfounded. Friday night’s show felt well-attended even though only 15 or 20 people were in the audience.

Find out for yourself tonight when Austin band Pale Dīan plays at Milk Run, a band whose music has been described as “dreamy swirling melodic sounds inspired by classic 4AD artists like Cocteau Twins and Lush.” Shrinks and Hiraeth open. Price ranges from $5 to $7 (you pick). Show starts at 9

The Pale Dian show has been cancelled.

 

Also tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Portland-based indie folk group Blitzen Trapper (Vagrant, Sub Pop). Opening is Frontier Ruckus. $18, 8 p.m.

* * *

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

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Live Review: Hottman Sisters in the park; Ten Questions with Laura Gibson; The Garden tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:07 pm June 20, 2016
The Hottman Sisters at Aksarben Village, June 18, 2016.

The Hottman Sisters at Aksarben Village, June 18, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

While people are loudly muttering about a local festival that dropped the ball over the weekend (I’m looking at you River City Music Festival), another pseudo festival was carried off nicely. I’m talking about the Proseeds show at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, which happened Saturday night.

About 500 people were lazing on the green when I was there just after 7:30 to see Hottman Sisters’ set. There were food and other vendors and along with about a dozen cops — I saw more cops at this tiny one-day local show than I’ve ever seen at a Maha Festival, they were everywhere, smiling, talking to people, looking as if they were enjoying the show as much as the audience.

As for the Hottman Sisters, the duo (supported by a drummer and bassist) kicked through a set of mostly uptempo pop songs. They’re marketed as an indie rock band, but their sound lies closer to alt country, thanks to an overhanging rural lilt to their harmonies and guitar style. I think they’re going for a sort of Decemberists thing with a touch of Lilith — a predictable description, I suppose.

* * *

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan at Reverb Lounge Tuesday, June 21. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan at Reverb Lounge Tuesday, June 21. Photo by Shervin Lainez.

Ten Questions with Laura Gibson…

Singer/songwriter Laura Gibson’s life is at a crossroads. Originally from Portland, Gibson has been releasing albums since her 2006 debut If You Come to Meet Me (Hush Records). These days she’s on Barsuk/City Slang and lives in NYC where she studied to be a fiction writer. In fact, her new album, Empire Builder, which came out in April, was inspired by the name of the Amtrak route she took while crossing the country to her new home (and bears a resemblance to a certain Simon and Garfunkel song about a couple lost in America). But shortly after she arrived, her East Village apartment burned to the ground, an experience that “will continue to be, something that shapes me for the rest of my life. I cannot separate that experience from these songs,” she said.

There is a haunting poise to Empire Builder, a solemn intimacy that’s warm and pleasant and heartfelt. Contributors on the album include members of Death Cab for Cutie, Decemberists and Neko Case’s band, an artist whose style her music most resembles.

I asked Gibson to take our Ten Questions survey, and she obliged:

What is your favorite album?

Laura Gibson: Songs of Leonard Cohen by Leonard Cohen

2. What is your least favorite song?

There’s a song that keeps playing at my gym that says something like, “Girl you’re beautiful because you don’t know you’re beautiful.” I don’t know its name, but I hate it.

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

Getting to meet and connect with people all over the world.

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

Being away from home so often.

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

Tie between coffee and wine.

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

New York; Spring Green, Wisconsin; tiny German towns.

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

I had a few rough SXSW shows in Austin, but they’ve became pleasant/comedic in memory. Bad shows always make for good stories.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Music: a combination of tour income, royalties and licensing for film and commercials.

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

I would like to write novels and I would like to do some sort of social justice advocacy work. I would be terrible at law enforcement.

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

There is such an incredible music community in Omaha, so I feel like I’ve gotten to know it through song. I’ve heard stories of tornado alerts (but no actual tornado stories).

Laura Gibson opens for David Bazan Tuesday, July 2,1 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $15. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Orange County punk duo The Garden (Burger, Epitaph), along with local boys Shrinks and Guts. $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: Charly Bliss, Lightning Bug; Silversphere, Worried Mothers tonight; Proseeds Festival, Those Far Out Arrows Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:35 pm June 17, 2016
Charly Bliss at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

Charly Bliss at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the weekend…

I was pretty spot-on with my original comparisons to Charly Bliss: Weezer meets The Breeders with Cyndi Lauper-esque vocals thrown in for good measure. What I missed (and what became more apparent from the Reverb stage last night) was the touchstones to ’90s band That Dog, who I assume frontwoman Eva Hendricks and Co. never heard of so it probably doesn’t count. Though if they listened to, say, 1995’s Totally Crushed Out, they may recognize similar melodic and harmonic tendencies, tendencies which I’ve always loved.

When you consider the wave of female-fronted heavy/’90s-sounding bands currently stomping across American Indie — Diet Cig and Dilly Dally among them — Charly Bliss has one-upped them if only by having a better ear for melody, a broader variety of song styles and Hendricks’ unmistakable vocal style. When heard on the band’s earlier recordings, you got a sense she was always about to spin out of control in a glowing ball of uber-cuteness (Imagine Jennifer Tilly singing rock songs). But last night (and on the band’s recent single, “Ruby”) Hendricks keeps it under control, and it’s for the better, though she can’t help to let out a yelping scream-squeak every once in a while.

We all knew we were in for something weird on the set’s last song when Hendricks unstrapped her guitar and put her pedal board away to give her more room to move. And move she did, like a girl possessed, hopping and thrashing her arms as if having a seizure while the rest of the band practiced their feedback-fueled riffage for what seemed like five minutes. She ended the number by pounding her belly with both hands much in the same way Charlie Babbitt pounded his head in Rain Man. Crazy fun from a band you’ll be hearing more from.

Lightning Bug at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

Lightning Bug at Reverb Lounge, June 16, 2016.

As for opener Lightning Bug, I think I’ll need to update that list I published yesterday. I’ve never caught these guys before last night, and now I’m sorry for all the previous nights I missed. In fact, I only caught the last three songs of their set and I’m a little pissed about that.

An indie-rock four-piece, there’s a preciseness about their sound that elevates above garage and recalls Three of a Perfect Pair-era King Crimson, thanks to frontman David Moore’s at times intricate guitarwork, which swapped between old-fashioned tapping technique and all-out riffage. Add Moore’s tuneful howl — one of the more unique voices I’ve heard from an Omaha band — and they’re onto something. I ran home and listened to their Soundcloud recordings since they weren’t selling anything at the show (that I could see). When’s the next show, boys?

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So, looks like it’s gonna be another O’Leaver’s weekend…

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s electronic post-punk band Silversphere headlines. The band features Owen Cleasby and Ken Brock, who you may remember from the previous incarnation as The Lepers. Opening the show is gritty garage rock goodness of Worried Mothers and new trio, Was. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, local punk band No Thanks has a tape release show at Milk Run. Opening is Bien Fang and Super Moon. Show starts at 9:30 p.m.

Proseeds, a local firm that helps generate money for non-profits, is hosting a free local music festival at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village Saturday evening. Among the performers are All Young Girls Are Machine Guns, Routine Escorts and State Disco. See the full line-up here.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Those Far Out Arrows. Opening is Heavy Lungs and KC band Psychic Heat (High Dive Records). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Start your evening off early Saturday with an in-store show at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. On the card are Topeka experimental act Aaron Martin with Erinome (Aaron Hansen) and Sopor (Zach Schiermann). $5, 7 p.m.

And that’s the sum of it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great Father’s Day weekend…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Cultural Attraction, Sons of O’Leaver’s, Little Brazil sing ‘Happy Birthday’…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm June 13, 2016
Cultural Attraction at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Cultural Attraction at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

About halfway through the Sons of O’Leaver’s set Saturday night, frontman Kelly Maxwell pulled out something draped on a coat hanger, covered in what appeared to be white butcher’s paper, and presented it to man-of-the-hour, bass player Mike Tulis. I didn’t take notes, but Maxwell said something like, “We usually wear jackets when we play, but it’s just too hot up here.” (It was abysmally hot inside O’Leaver’s despite the AC blowing full blast).

BTW, this moment happened halfway through a song halfway through the set, while the band played on. Maxwell pulled the butcher paper from the hanger to reveal an impressive black sports jacket, heavy wool, probably around a 38 regular. Spray-painted on back in white: the number 50. The crowd went wild as Tulis held it high, later donning the jacket for the rest of the set.

Saturday night not only was a celebration of Tulis’ 50th birthday, but also 25 years of Tulis performing in bands, the first of which kicked off the evening. Cultural Attraction played a solid selection of songs from their two cassette releases from the early ’90s. Highlights included trippy acoustic-driven versions of such chestnuts as the politically charged “Anita Hill,” and personal favorite “Good Ol’ Days,” wherein the singer had to refer to a sheet of notebook paper. That was the only song, however, where notes were needed.

Cultural Attraction’s groovy, acoustic-guitar driven music was propelled by John Riley pounding away on a fine set of  congas. Yes, congas. But the real power of their music came from the voices and the harmonies, which were as strong as ever. CA drew the biggest crowd of the night, a testimony to a band that likely hasn’t played together in 20 years.

Sons of O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

They were followed by Sons of O’Leaver’s. The four-piece, that features Tulis on bass and Matt Rutledge on guitar, sounds sort of like a cross between early Spoon (Maxwell’s voice is a gravelly version of Britt Daniel’s) and The Replacements. Drummer Mike Loftis’ stick work was particularly impressive Saturday night.

Little Brazil at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil closed out the evening with a short set that included a handful of songs off their upcoming record. Frontman Landon Hedges led the crowd in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” that included an interlude where Tulis thanked everyone for coming out. Good times indeed.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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