Live Review: The Lupines; Arctic Monkeys headed to Stir; Sleeper Agent tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:57 pm April 14, 2014
Lupines at The Barley Street Tavern, April 14, 2014.

The Lupines at The Barley Street Tavern, April 14, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I guess you could say The Lupines got Omaha’d Saturday night at The Barley Street Tavern.

Early in the evening, the place was as packed as I’ve ever seen it, there for singer/songwriter Danny Sabra. What was the draw? I’m not sure, though I think it might have had something to do with the fact that Sabra musically interprets Psalms from the Bible (along with Glen Hansard songs). The crowd was made up of a lot of kind-looking older people in Hawaiian shirts and khakis — not your typical Lupines crowd.

Sure enough, right after they finished their set, the Hawaiian shirts vanished, reducing the Barley to its more familiar-sized audience of around 12 people for the next band, Scruffy and the Janitors.

Scruffy/Janitors was a power trio hailing from St. Joseph, MO. Not knowing a thing about them, I wasn’t expecting much but was pleasantly surprised by a style of rock that sort of merges The Strokes with standard garage fare. Nice stuff. They say they’ll be back, and they’re worth checking out.

Lupines' new T-shirt design.

Lupines’ new T-shirt design.

By the time Lupines made it to the stage, there were six of us left in the crowd, not counting the Janitors. What canI  say other than the rest of you missed a great set of music highlighted by guitarist Mike Friedman, who was on fire not only from his blazing guitar solos but also by the Barley’s stage lighting, which he said was like roasting under a heat lamp. If you missed them (and most of you did) you’ll get another chance to see The Lupines this Saturday at Almost Music’s Record Store Day show. More info on that later this week — it’s gonna be a doozy.

BTW, also unveiled Saturday night was The Lupines new T-shirts, which are among the coolest I’ve seen from a local band. Buy them while you can.

* * *

Stir announced a handful of additional shows for their summer concert line-up. The most interesting of the bunch: Foster the People  Aug. 5 and Arctic Monkeys July 30. That AM show is quite a surprise…

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room, it’s Bowling Green band Sleeper Agent (Mom + Pop Records) with Holy Child and Pagiins. $15, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Pitchfork rates The Faint/Doom Abuse 6.1, others weigh in; Lupines Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm April 11, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 12.39.36 PMWell, the Pitchfork review of The Faint’s new album, Doom Abuse, just came out. Those arbiters of all things hipster gave the record a mediocre 6.1. To his credit, critic Ian Cohen spent a lot of time in his review trying to dissect the album’s lyrics, which is good and all, except no one listens to Faint records expecting some sort of lyrical revelation. They listen for the beat, the color, the energy. I mean, how many times have you contemplated the meaning behind “Going to the Hospital” or “Erection”?

The review’s closing line: “Doom Abuse isn’t so much an argument for the Faint’s continued relevancy as it is for the potency of their real-time nostalgia.” Huh? I’ve read that three times and I’m still not sure what it means. Read the whole review here.

A few other big hitters have weighed in on Doom Abuse:

Consequences of Sound gave the record a B-, saying, “The hiatus did them good, and in the Lorazepam paranoid dreams of The Faint’s world, that’s a glimmer of needed hope.Read it here.

Popmatters gave the record a 6: “Does it measure up to their greatest moments or delve into new terrain? Not at all. But if the Faint’s goal was to have fun and make a good Faint-sounding record, then mission accomplished.More here.

NME also gave the record a 6: “A good seven years out of date, ‘Doom Abuse’ is pure synth-pop mania, frequently teetering between unadulterated Trent Reznor pop brilliance (‘Unseen Hand’, ‘Lesson From The Darkness’) and impressions of Skrillex driving a monster truck through a Savages gig in a video arcade (‘Animal Needs’, ‘Dress Code’). Does it abuse you? Oh yeah…More here.

AV Club on the other hand, gave Doom Abuse a B+: “Whether agitated or brooding, Doom Abuse is a pointed reminder that The Faint is most comfortable when things are slightly askew.Review here.

And ol’ reliable All Music gave Doom Abuse 3.5 stars: “Equal parts whimsical and despondent, it’s Disintegration-era Cure wearing an Imagine Dragons hoodie that’s trying to have an LCD Soundsystem, ‘All My Friends’ moment, and while the Faint don’t quite pull it off, they’re all the better for trying.

Disintegration-era Cure? Uh, no. Read more here.

If you missed it, I weighed in on the record in the 1st Quarter reviews roundup, saying the record “not only is good, it’s Blank Wave Arcade good. As a whole, the record is more immediate than any previous Faint record, and by that I’m talking about their no-nonsense, straight-forward approach to each track. I read that unlike previous studio marathons, the band got in and got out quickly on this one — no fucking around, no over-thinking — and it shows. The arrangements at times can be acidic and brash, but the album still has classic Faint dance moments (“Evil Voices,” “Loss of Head”) that will get the crowd jumping every time. Welcome back, boys.”

I give a B+ and 4 stars (out of 5) and think history will be kind to it.

* * *

It’s a lousy weekend for shows — there’s a lot of cover and tribute bands playing around town tonight and very little original music.

With that in mind, we skip to Saturday and The Barley Street Tavern where the mighty Lupines are headlining a show with a couple bands I’ve never heard of: St. Joseph Missouri band Scruffy & the Janitors (This Tall Records) and Danny Sabra. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, William Elliott Whitmore (Anti Records) plays at The Waiting Room with Austin Lucas. $12, 9 p.m.

That’s it. Have a good 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Warpaint, Digital Leather; Q1 reviews roundup (in the column); Har Mar Superstar, Talking Mountain, Ted Stevens cinema tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm April 3, 2014
Warpaint at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2014.

Warpaint at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com 

Funny how people perceive concerts differently. I’ve had a couple folks tell me they didn’t like/were bored at last night’s Warpaint show at The Waiting Room. Conversely, for me, it was the best show I’ve seen this year.

It all comes down to personal preferences, I suppose. Some people don’t like female vocals; some hate anything that isn’t brutally heavy / angry / garage-oriented. I could see how those folks (specifically people who came out to see opener Digital Leather) might be bored. Even so, they can’t deny the other-worldly talent shown by the four women of Warpaint — the drumming, the bass work, the glowing guitar tones.

Their sound was equal parts ethereal mood music and beat-driven dance fodder, with sweet vocals by all four musicians — and when all four harmonized, well, bliss. For reference points for the uninitiated, one could throw out Beach House or TEEN or even Portishead, though I’d go a step further and mention similarities to M83 and ’90s acts like Ride and Mazzy Star and (some might say this is a stretch) Luscious Jackson (though there was no “rapping” going on last night).

Despite the thick beats, there was a darkness to their music, a throbbing shadow heard on songs like first single of the new album “Love is to Die” and “Undertow” off 2010 album The Fool. I loved it all, but I bring some bias here as I went in loving their new CD (And what do I know? Pitchfork hated it). There’s no argument over the fact the band was having a playful good time on stage or that all four are adorable.

Digital Leather at The Waiting Room, 4/2/14.

Digital Leather at The Waiting Room, 4/2/14.

Speaking of adorable, Digital Leather rolled out a number of new songs during their opening set. Like the best Digital Leather records, some songs were lethargic and trippy, others invited furious fist-pumping. Now a 5-piece featuring two synth players (one being The Faint’s Todd Fink), their set also was backloaded with DL chestnuts “Styrofoam” “Thrill is Gone” and “Studs in Love,” each of which is a guaranteed show stopper. When’s that new split album with The Hussy coming out, boys? And what happens when you lose Todd to The Faint later this year?

* * *

This week’s column is the Q1 2014 record reviews roundup, with comments on new ones by Beck, Future Islands, The Faint, The War on Drugs and more. For my money, there’s already been more good albums released in the first three months of this year than in all of 2013. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

Back at The Waiting Room tonight it’s the return of Har Mar Superstar. The band is out supporting their latest, Bye Bye 17 , released on Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records and recorded by Spoon’s Jim Eno. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m sure it’s another HMS masterpiece. Opening is the evocative John Klemmensen and The Party. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Talking Mountain returns to Slowdown Jr. with San Francisco (by way of Lawrence) band Mammoth Life and Gramps (Django of Love Drunk Studio fame). Starts at 9 and this one’s free.

And finally, Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1929 film The Manxman featuring live music by Ted Stevens Unknown Project featuring Stevens (Cursive, Lullaby for the Working Class), Lincoln Dickison (Chromafrost, The Monroes), Ian Aeillo (Eli Mardock, Eagle Seagull), and David Ozinga (UUVVWWZ). Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. Do it for the kids.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: St. Vincent (I liked her so much better when she was human); Warpaint, Digital Leather tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm April 2, 2014
St. Vincent at Sokol Auditorium, April 1, 2014.

St. Vincent at Sokol Auditorium, April 1, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Annie Clark looked like a kabuki toy standing center stage in her pretty outfit, a field of red rose petals covered the front across and down her skirt, her face painted / powdered white, cheeks blushed with rouge, her hair bleached and punk, a porcelain anime doll with big round eyes, a beautiful painting incomplete until the tech walked out and handed her a black electric guitar.

Annie Clark, a.k.a. St. Vincent, her voice thin and raspy, stared straight forward while she sang. When she wasn’t plucking out an electronic melody on her ax, she moved and bent and contorted her arms like a pantomime robot, doing Shields and Yarnell (look it up) with her fellow guitarist / keyboardist / vocalist. If Clark learned anything from touring with David Byrne it’s how to “dance” like an alien life form trying to communicate through arm gestures and hand signals. I don’t remember such theatrics the last time she came through town, so I have no choice but to blame Byrne who made a career out of his geek spastic dance motions throughout his time as a Talking Head.

I like it when Byrne does it; it seemed to make sense with his music. I don’t mind it when Clark does it, either, though her actions felt disconnected to what she was singing, as if she were trying to force a mechanical element onto something meant to be purely organic. The same thing can be said about her music. While I like the sterile beats, the oddly archaic rhythm-cut instrumentation (contrasted by a sonic blanket of synths), too often her melodies were reduced to elevating vocal tones crawling up and down a pentatonic scale.

All the while, Annie Clark was hatchet lit from below or shadowed by blazing-white LED panels that burned the retinas of a packed house who stood mesmerized more than moved by her music.

Between song sections, Clark performed short, pre-written monologues recited dryly and rehearsed. She told stories of how she and us weren’t so different. In fact, we were the same, as evidenced by her shared memories of lighting fires with a magnifying glass, feeling ill after telling a lie, admitting that her (our) friends don’t know us as well as they think they do.

I’m sure turning her concert into prolonged musical theater sounded like a good idea during tour rehearsals. The whole are-we-not-human? shtick worked well for Devo because it was weird and different and their matching jumpsuits made you want to believe it. Costumes are everything. I’d like to tell you that it was more interesting than previous St. Vincent shows, but it wasn’t. It looked and felt forced and uncomfortable, purposely rigid and thoroughly counter to the loose-and-rough spontaneity of rock. Instead, it was more of an attempt at art rock, but without the limitlessness of a Laurie Anderson.

Worst of all, after about a half hour, it became boring.

I fear that the bigger Clark/Vincent gets, the more disconnected she’ll become with her audience. I liked her better when she spontaneously paced around stage with her guitar and blazed the fretboard with the confidence of Prince. We saw a glimpse of the old Annie during the encore. After a quick wardrobe change, Clark reappeared alone on top of a tower of boxes and performed a sweet version of “Strange Mercy” off the 2011 album of the same name. For the first time that evening, her guitar sounded like a guitar, and her voice sounded oh so human.

* * *

Side notes…

If you’re looking for a set list for (and a different perspective of) last night’s show, Kevin Coffey has both at the OWH website, here.

With this show and last Saturday’s Neutral Milk Hotel show, I can’t remember Sokol Auditorium sounding better, in fact sounding better then I ever thought it could. I’ve seen some boomy shows at the ol’ gymnasium/dance hall (Regina Spektor comes to mind). Today’s audio technology can make any room sound awesome. Sokol has always been an alternative for shows too big for Slowdown. Now it no longer seems like a compromise. Conor, The Faint and Manchester Orchestra are all booked at Sokol for upcoming shows. Get your tix while you can.

I’ve also figured out how to park at sold-out Sokol shows — just put it on 16th St. and walk down the hill. When the show’s over, it’s a straight shot back to downtown.

* * *

There’s another in this week-long string of amazing show going on tonight.

Warpaint plays at The Waiting Room. The band’s new self-titled album, released on Rough Trade, was produced by Flood (PJ Harvey, U2, New Order) and is one of my favorites this year (I like it a lot more than the new St. Vincent record). And get this: Digital Leather is opening. $17, 9 p.m. See you there.

Also tonight, And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead plays at The Slowdown. They’ll be performing Source Tags and Codes. La Femme opens. $20, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Neutral Milk Hotel at Sokol Auditorium (and maybe all shows should ban cell phone photos?)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:56 pm March 31, 2014

Neutral Milk Hotel as seen from the edge of the crowd at Sokol Auditorium March 29.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I have a theory why Neutral Milk Hotel is held with such reverence by so many. In 1999, Jeff Mangum did what Kurt Cobain did in ’94. Mangum turned off Neutral Milk Hotel, walking away from the band after it released its masterpiece, Aeroplane Over the Sea. Shortly after the album dropped in ’98, he did a few shows with the band, than simply…stopped. There was no grand announcement, Mangum just went away, leaving his audience wanting more. And he did it without dying.

What’s the old story about always wanting the girl you can never have? Absence makes the heart grow fonder; while denial makes love that much more intense. Mangum has been around all these years doing other things, but denied fans a performance. As a result, whether he intended to or not, he turned Neutral Milk Hotel into the kind of legend reserved for bands that ended after tragedy. He created a modern myth. Rare is the person who can walk away while standing on top of the mountain; and I don’t know anyone who did it like Mangum.

So, after more than a decade of silence, Mangum came back to life in 2010 with a surprise guest appearance at a benefit concert. That was followed by more surprise appearances. Then came a tour. And then another. Fans who long ago gave up hope of ever seeing a Neutral Milk Hotel show were finally getting their wish.

Omaha fans got their wish Saturday night at a long sold-out Sokol Auditorium show. I saw it with my own eyes: There on stage, singing “Two-Headed Boy” was Jeff Mangum. He looked like one of the Duck Dynasty guys. Actually, he looked more like Tom Hanks at the end of the marathon-running sequence of Forrest Gump — full, graying beard, hair sticking from beneath a Castro hat, baggy jeans, he looked like a recluse who had just rolled out of hiding.

Maybe that’s why they banned the cameras. Throughout Sokol flyers were taped to walls that read, “Out of respect for the artists, no photography allowed, including cell phones.” Sokol’s T-shirted security team watched like hawks for anyone pointing a phone at the stage. When they saw one, they swooped down, briskly pushing into the crowd toward the person taking the picture. In one case, the bouncer firmly shook the flyer under the nose of the scared hipster.

I doubt the photo ban had anything to do with Mangum looking like a street guy. Instead it was about feeding the Neutral Milk Hotel myth. No photos or videos on the web means growing mystery.

So why the mystery? Who knows. Why stop performing for more than a decade? Especially when your voice and your musicianship is in prime form. Mangum sounded amazing Saturday night as he brought Aeroplane back to life on stage, backed by his original band and Elephant 6 compatriots playings horns, accordion, even a willowy, haunted saw.

From my vantage point way off stage left, the crowd reacted as if seeing a ghost come back to life. Fans I spoke to never expected to see this band play again, let alone play in Omaha. And here they were, playing their best songs spot-on with every nuance from the original recording. It was a dream come true, but not for me. I’ve only been a passing Neutral Milk Hotel fan, having come to the party long after it ended. There’s no denying that Aeroplane is a modern indie-rock masterpiece, its influence can be heard on every Arcade Fire, Decemberists and Bon Iver album, though no band has ever quite matched the album’s twisted lyrical genius.

Maybe that’s another reason Mangum disappeared. He knew he’d never be able to recreate the magic of Aeroplane. Just thinking about it may have driven him mad. Why even try?

Saturday night’s setlist is online right here. Despite everything he’d seen and heard that night, the guy next to me was disappointed they didn’t play his favorite song, “Communist Daughter.” Maybe next time, I said, if there is one. Something tells me there will be.

* * *

One other aside about last Saturday night’s show: The photography ban (including with cell phones) changed the tone of the audience and maybe the performance. Instead of seeing a sea of lights held overhead throughout the set, Mangum and Co. were treated to a crowd that danced and writhed with ecstasy, a crowd of people who were paying attention to what was going on in front of them. There no longer was a need (or an ability) to shoot a photo, no need to post it to your Facebook or Instagram or Twitter account. The only thing left to do was to pay attention and enjoy the show. It was a like watching an audience circa 1999, back when we all did just fine without texting and Facebook and cell phones and the endless electronic distractions that get in the way with living our lives…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers CD release show tonight; Neutral Milk Hotel Saturday (no cameras allowed!)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 2:13 pm March 28, 2014
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers celebrate their CD release at The Hive tonight.

Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers celebrate their CD release at The Hive tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I don’t write much about blues music. I leave that to the expert — B.J. Huchtemann. B.J.’s been writing about local music as long as I have, maybe longer. She, too, was part of the Omaha bullpen of Lawrence music magazine The Note way back in the early ’90s, and has had a column in The Reader that pre-dates my own. Her forte, her focus always has been the blues and I challenge anyone to find another local music journalist who has written more about the topic than B.J. So with that, I acquiesce all intelligent introspection on the new Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers album to her. You can find her writings every week in The Reader and online at The Reader website (Her latest is right here).

That said, I do know something about the kind of horn-powered blues that Hoyer is known for. I know my way around a saxophone. I played tenor and alto in high school jazz bands, and I’ve listened to my share of his style of R&B over the years. I’m no expert, but I know what I like and don’t like, and I most certainly like Hoyer’s new project. I liked his old project, The Son of 76 and The Watchmen, too. But to me, this new outfit is more realized, more thought-out and swings more righteously.

On his website, Hoyer says he borrows from Stax, Motown, New Orleans and San Francisco. There’s something in his vocals that remind me of Dr. John as much as Robert Cray. But from an indie perspective, I’d slide Hoyer into the same category as funk/soul maven Sharon Jones + the Dap-Kings, though Jones’/Dap-Kings’ sound is more ’60 traditional/revivalist than Hoyer’s more modern take on the genre. I say this because Jones is an accepted commodity among indie-music followers (and for good reason); Hoyer deserves the same acceptance since his music is just as dirty, just as authentic in its own way.

It’s one of those records you can put on while you do your thing. It pushes you along, it gives you whatever you need to get by, if only for the afternoon, or the night, with as much attitude as you’ll need. Always gutsy, usually free-wheeling, and above all, never corny (and when it comes to modern blues, that’s key). Don’t over-think it, just enjoy it. You want more detail? Ask B.J. or even better, check out the album yourself.

So I say all this because Hoyer and the Shadowboxers are celebrating the release of their debut album tonight at The Hive, a new rock club and art gallery at 1207 Harney St. The club is known as a sort of 311 tribute bar (hence the name). I’ve yet to step foot inside, but have heard good things about their space and sound. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, London acoustic balladeer Bear’s Den plays at The Waiting Room with Landon Hedges (Little Brazil). $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, See Through Dresses headlines a show down at Slowdown Jr. with Dan Mariska And The Boys Choir, and The Boy & His Wolves. $7, 9 p.m.

Over at The Sydney there’s a going away party for Tom and Lindsay Barrett which will feature a performance by Tom’s new project, Xendless, which consists of Barrett (DJ- keys loops), Chad Gregerson (drummer of Dead wave) keys loops and Erin Eckerman (vocals). Huge Fucking Waves also is on the bill. Starts at 9.

Meanwhile, at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Des Moines band The River Monks with Kaloko and Brad Hoshaw. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And finally tonight at Sweatshop gallery it’s the JT Bonafide T-Shirt Art show with performances by The Filter Kings and The Lupines. It’s free and starts at 8.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s the long-awaited Neutral Milk Hotel show at Sokol Auditorium. This one has been sold out forever. Opening is ’90s indie legends Elf Power. A note for the lucky ones who got tickets: According to the One Percent website, no photography or video recording of any kind is allowed, and that includes cell phones! Start time is 8 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Matt Whipkey and his band play at The Hive. $5, 9 p.m.

Did I forget anything? Put it in the comments section. Have a grand 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

First Listen: The Faint returns (in fine form) with Doom Abuse; John Klemmensen / food bank benefit tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:04 pm March 26, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Faint, Doom Abuse (2014, SQE) is out April 8.

The Faint, Doom Abuse (2014, SQE) is out April 8.

The Faint’s promo company, Big Hassle, is distributing the band’s new album, Doom Abuse, to various and sundry journalists, including yours truly. It’s good. In fact, it’s Blank-Wave-Arcade good.

“Evil Voices” was the record’s first wait-what-the-f***-is-this? moment. It has my vote for first single, though I guess “Help in the Head” has that honor as it’s being premiered on NPR right now (here) with the laser-site-paranoia video for the song up at Pitchfork (here).

“Loss of Head” was another a-ha moment; it sounds like a radio track. As straight-forward as The Faint has ever been.

Another song that raised an eyebrow was album-closer “Damage Control,” which takes the song “B12″ by Shawn Foree project Mere Mortals and adds different lyrics and synth textures. There is no mistaking that amazing synth hook at the front end. Foree, who fronts Digital Leather, said he co-wrote “Damage Control” with Faint frontman Todd Fink, who also plays synths in Digital Leather. Needless to say, it’s another highlight in an album filled with them.

As a whole, the record is more immediate than any previous Faint record — and by that I mean there is a no-nonsense, straight-forward approach to each track. I read the band got in and got out quickly on this one — no fucking around, no over-thinking — and it sounds like it. You’ll find out for yourself when the album is released April 8 on SQE Records, though I have no doubt it’ll leak in its entirety before then on NPR or Huffington or some other mega-website (Hey, why not leak it on Lazy-i and give my core 300 readers a head start?).

BTW, once this record gets around, that June 13 Faint show at Sokol Auditorium will sell out. You may want to beat the stampede and buy your tickets now.

* * *

After a rather dull 2013 this has been a very solid first quarter of new music. For those of you wondering where the quarterly wrap-up is, I’m working on it now. Album reviews are easily the hardest thing to write — harder than interviews, features or live reviews. Stay tuned.

* * *

There’s a benefit going on tonight at The Pizza Shoppe in Benson for Food Bank for the Heartland. Featured performer is John Klemmensen and The Party. The music starts at 6 p.m. and there’s no cover, though 10 percent of your food purchases will go to cover the food bank’s administration costs. More info here.  Go ahead, eat pizza.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Gardenheads, John Larsen; Son Ambulance tonight..

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:01 pm March 24, 2014
The Gardenheads at O'Leaver's, March 22, 2014.

The Gardenheads at O’Leaver’s, March 22, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I think there maybe was six people in the audience when The Gardenheads played at The Barley Street last year, and only two at the end of their set. The show was the same night (I think) as Real Estate down at Slowdown, and the Beatseekers opened and then promptly took their audience with them when they left.

Needless to say, there was a lot more on hand to see The Gardenheads Saturday night at O’Leaver’s, and for the most part, the band pulled it off, though I don’t remember their music sounding quite so…twangy. Their set was definitely more southern-fried than what you can hear on their record  — which can be a tough sell for O’Leaver’s garage-loving audience. Still, they did it well, playing the best songs off their current album along with a few rural-flavored oldies.

They capped it off with ball-busting set closer “Fucked Up Kids” which featured a drum solo followed by the drummer smashing his kit. Big finish indeed.

I knew what to expect with those guys; I had no idea who John Larsen was, and was knocked out by his solo guitar work. Do you call that a “touch technique” or “high fretboard strumming”? Whatever it was, it was amazing in its rhythmic virtuosity. A harmonica player sat in on a couple songs, giving the set more weight. I’ve been told that Larsen hasn’t been playing guitar that long, which I guess makes him kind of a genius. Check him out next time he time he plays.

* * *

It’s a very special engagement tonight at Pageturners as Son Ambulance performs. Joe Knapp and Co. did a bang-up job at a sort of reunion show this past January (review here). I expect more of the same tonight. Opening is Andrew Ancona of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. Show starts at 9:30 and is 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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SXSW: And in conclusion…; Fat Whites, Skeleton Man, St. Patty’s Day tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:46 pm March 17, 2014
Fat Whites are playing at Sweatshop Gallery tonight with Skeleton Man and Sam Martin...

Fat Whites are playing at Sweatshop Gallery tonight with Skeleton Man and Sam Martin…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The final entry of my SXSW coverage went online at thereader.com yesterday. You can read it right here. It features Cate Le Bon, Protomartyr, EMA, Angel Olson, Eros & the Eschaton, Urge Overkill and Mark Kozelek.

For those who missed the earlier posts, here they are, in order:

SXSW Day 1 – John Moreland, Deerpeople, Boyfrndz, Sour Notes, Those Howlings…

SXSW Day 2- Tragedy on Red River; Protomartyr, Coachwhips, Destruction Unit, Twinsmith, Kurt Vile…

SXSW Day 3 – Eagulls, Future Islands, Jeremy Messersmith, Total Bathing Culture, Classixx…

SXSW Day 4 - Cate Le Bon, EMA, Angel Olsen, Urge Overkill, Eros & The Eschaton and Mark Kozelek…

As for the photos from SXSW, simply scroll down and see all four days worth of images, posted on Lazy-i.com.

It’s good to be back in Omaha.

Throughout the festival, there was a lot of talk about the “commercialization” of SXSW, specifically centered around the exclusive showcases for mainstream acts like Lady Ga Ga and various hip-hop icons. There may be truth to the claims, but I couldn’t tell you because I don’t go to SXSW to see mainstream pop stars. SXSW didn’t feel much different than the first time I went in 2009. Same crowds, same chaos (except this year when a drunk murdered innocent bystanders).

For the first time ever I didn’t step foot in Mohawk or Stubb’s during the entire festival. Mohawk was beset with marathon-long lines every time I walked past it. As was Stubb’s, though to be honest, Stubb’s is a lousy place to see a band at SXSW — it’s hard to get anywhere near the stage unless you show up hours in advance, and who wants to waste an afternoon waiting in line outside of Stubb’s?

Another criticism thrown at SXSW is that it no longer has the ability to break an unknown independent band. But did it ever? Most bands that perform in Austin already have label deals and have done moderate touring or else they wouldn’t have been selected by the SXSW star chamber selection committee. It is what it is. As Mark Kozelek said during his set last Friday night, there are two types of bands who come to SXSW: The ones that are thrilled to be there, and the one’s that can’t figure out how they got talked into coming back. I saw plenty of both…

Will I be coming back next year? I’m not as certain as I was when I returned from Austin in 2012. The whole routine is beginning to grow old. And the festival itself seems to be flattening out. As we drove to the Austin airport, our cab driver told me he thought there were a lot fewer people in Austin this year than last year, for both the Music and the Interactive conferences. Maybe it’s time SXSW got back to its roots, though I doubt that’ll happen.

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I’ll be enjoying a pint of Guinness at The Dubliner this afternoon. You should join me.

As for music, the Sweatshop Gallery will be hosting London’s Fat Whites tonight. Joining them is Skeleton Man,  Telepathy Problems. and Sam Martin. $5, 10 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

SXSW Day 4 Photos: Angel Olsen, EMA, Mark Kozelek, Eros & the Eschaton, Urge Overkill, Cate Le Bon…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:00 pm March 15, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

STOP: First read the Day 4 South by Southwest summary/diary online at thereader.com.

All done? Then please enjoy these photos from the Day 4 events…

Cate Le Bon on the Waterloo Records stage March 14, 2014.

Cate Le Bon on the Waterloo Records stage March 14, 2014.

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We stuck around for a second dose of Protomartyr.

We stuck around for a second dose of Protomartyr.

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Caulfield Records represent!

Caulfield Records represent!

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The legendary Urge Overkill at Maggie Mae's Gibson Room.

The legendary Urge Overkill at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room.

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EMA captivated the fans in the pews at Central Presbyterian Church.

EMA captivated the fans in the pews at Central Presbyterian Church.

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Angel Olsen's country twang was that much more  heavenly...

Angel Olsen’s country twang was that much more heavenly…

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Destruction Unit at Red 7 Patio. Brutal, loud, angry.

Destruction Unit at Red 7 Patio. Brutal, loud, angry.

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Eros and the Eschaton brought the drone to Valhalla.

Eros and the Eschaton brought the drone to Valhalla.

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Mark Kozelek closed out my SXSW 2014 with a dream-like performance back at Central Presbyterian Church.

Mark Kozelek closed out my SXSW 2014 with a dream-like performance back at Central Presbyterian Church.

Check back later for a link to the summary, and pick up next week’s issue of The Reader for a recap of the entire week.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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