Live Review: David Nance, Matthew Sweet; new Whipkey, Twinsmith, See Through Dresses streams…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 11, 2017

David Nance at The Sydney, July 7, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s been pointed out to me that David Nance didn’t just come out of nowhere. He’s been plugging away and putting out music since before 2013, including as a member of Simon Joyner’s band The Ghosts.

And while I knew this, my point was that it’s been within the last year or so that Nance’s profile has exploded. I point toward  Matador co-founder Gerard Cosloy who listed among his favorite recordings in 2016 Nance’s More Than Enough (Ba Da Bing Records). That captured some people’s attention, but Nance already had the ball rolling thanks to his live sets.

Last Friday night was another classic Nance performance, this time at The Sydney as part of Benson First Friday. Nance backed by a drummer, bass and someone making noises on a pedal, ripped through a solid set of songs, some of them off his remarkable new album Negative Boogie, which comes out this Friday on Ba Da Bing. The difference between this set and past Nance sets (for me) was the shorter songs. I’ve seen Nance play sets comprised of only two 20-minute noise ensembles. By contrast, Friday’s set was practically a pop concert.

His guitar work is already respected — ranging from big riffs to lead fills to walls of feedback — now his voice is taking center stage. The only comparison in my mind is early Jon Spencer, and Nance does have a similar stage appeal, albeit hidden behind that huge head of hair.

I managed to capture a couple songs on Facebook Live Friday night, which you can view below. The picture doesn’t come in focus ’til after the 30-second mark (wtf, Apple?!).

Yesterday Brooklyn Vegan premiered a track off Negative Boogie. BTW, if you missed the last Friday’s show, Nance will be playing a duo release show with Noah Sterba this coming Friday night at Reverb Lounge. Sean Pratt & The Sweats opens. Sterba’s new album, 13-Bar Blues, comes out Friday on Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit label.

Also on last Friday night’s bill was Oquoa, who had the center slot. This is one of the tightest collections of local all-stars Omaha has to offer. Now if I only knew what language frontman Max Holmquist was singing in. Max’s vocals make lyrics virtually indecipherable and are more of an additional instrument to the overall psychedelic/shoe-gaze sound.  It’s interesting, but I confess to be a lyrics dude who gets added enjoyment when he knows what the music’s about.

Speaking of undecipherable lyrics, opener FiFi NoNo provided a tense barrage of rhythmic noise, augmented by shriek/mumble/yell vocals. You either got it or you didn’t. I thought it was a weird trip.

* * *

Matthew Sweet at The Waiting Room, July 8, 2017.

Saturday night’s Matthew Sweet show at The Waiting Room drew a respectable crowd — respectable both in size and in manner. It was nice not being the oldest dude in the room for a change. In fact, the majority of fans looked like they were in their 50s, no doubt followers of Mr. Sweet since his ’91 breakthrough album Girlfriend.

Well, those fans got what they paid for as Sweet performed the best songs from that album, including the title track and my personal favorite, “Winona.” The happy crowd sang along to all the hits, which Sweet and his band performed as if they’d been playing them for more than 20 years. My only criticism is that Sweet and his band don’t do much on stage except stand there and play, which can become somewhat boring, but the crowd didn’t mind as long as he kept playing those oldies.

* * *

Matt Whipkey dropped a couple new tracks from his upcoming album, Driver, via his Pledge page yesterday. Matt says he likes this new pre-sale platform. Check them out.

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Speaking of new music, Under the Radar yesterday began streaming the entire new Twinsmith album, Stay Cool, which comes out Friday on Saddle Creek Records. Check out the album here.

* * *

And See Through Dresses today is having their new album, Horse of the Other World (Tiny Engines) streamed in its entirety at Brooklyn Vegan, right here. Says BV about the record: “Co-fronted by the ethereal Sara Bertuldo and the whispered baritone of Mathew Carroll, See Through Dresses work bits of Cocteau Twins, The Cure, and other reverby ’80s bands into Horse of the Other World.”

Me, on the other hand, was mostly reminded of M83. This is definitely a change of direction for STDs. The band celebrates the album’s release Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

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


Review: Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever; Lincoln Calling adds more bands (Pile, El Ten Eleven, Palehound)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 6, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever (2017, Honeycomb Hideout)

What goes into writing a “hit song,” a song people will sing along to or remember or select for a play list or mix tape? It’s something I’ll have to ask Matthew Sweet if I ever get a chance, but I have an idea how he’ll answer: “I don’t know. If I knew, I’d have written more hit songs.”

“Come Correct,” the 13th track on his new double album Tomorrow Forever (2017, Honeycomb Hideout) and the last song on Side 3 has all the makings of a hit song — the crack rhythm track, chop guitar, a simple melody, sing-along lyrics. It’s a great song that stood out the first time I listened to the record. You can imagine it playing on your favorite FM channel… 20 years ago, back when there was such things as a hit record.

It’s not the only good song on the album. Tomorrow Forever is a return to form for Sweet and maybe his most accessible collection since 100% Fun or that Japanese “thank you” record, 2003’s Kimi Ga Suki. Old time fans will want to know how it compares to Sweet’s magnum opus, 1991’s Girlfriend. It holds its own, though it’s not quite as accessible or an obvious classic (only time will tell).

If you’re not familiar with Sweet’s sound, it’s sort of a power-pop amalgam of The Byrds with Big Star with Teenage Fanclub with The Posies with Sweet’s unique high-end, nasal voice. You could say there’s a ’90s flair to the music. His style hasn’t changed much since Girlfriend, but then again, why should it?

The only thing holding this album back is the lyrics, which too often are overtly obtuse or speculative — they’re too spacey and ungrounded, as if trying to be psychedelic. On the other hand, almost every song on Girlfriend was memorable thanks to lyrics that something anyone could identify with — love songs loaded with pain and/or redemption. “Come Correct” of this new one scores because the lyrics are obvious and real: “Don’t dance don’t dance / Get your head out of the sand / I don’t want to be in anybody’s band.”

The same holds true for tracks like “You Knew Me,” “Carol” and “Country Girl.”  But not so much for all those time travel/inter-dimensional songs, like opening track “Trick,” or “Entangled” and “Hello,” which have a ephemeral, hippy-ish quality wherein afterward you wonder what Sweet was trying to say (if you remember the lyrics at all).

In some of his past albums (and live performances) Sweet’s guitar noodling veered dangerously close to jam territory. Not so here, where the clear, simple arrangements keep the songs focused, as if Sweet was trying to write as many hit songs as possible. There’s more than a few on Tomorrow Forever, which is more than you’ll hear on most albums reviewed in Pitchfork. Rating: Yes

I only hope Sweet uses the same restraint when he plays The Waiting Room this weekend. The last couple times I saw him perform he and his band were more focused on rocking than trying to capture the subtleties of his best songs.

* * *

As if Lincoln Calling wasn’t big enough, this morning they announced another wave of 67 bands for the festival that runs Sept. 28-30 in Lincoln (duh), including Pile, El Ten Eleven, Mount Moriah, Umm, See Through Dresses and Digital Leather. They’re also now selling day passes that run from $29 to $34. 3-day festival passes are $59. Find out more at

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


Review: Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, PIAS); Old Sport, No Getter tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:46 pm June 29, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Listening to

Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, PIAS)

Public Service Broadcasting, Every Valley (2017, Play It Again Sam) — If you haven’t heard of Public Service Broadcasting, their shtick is creating gorgeous instrumental compositions in the typical quiet-build-climax sort of way. Within these compositions are clips of old broadcasts and interviews centered upon a topic.

Their magnum opus is 2015’s The Race for Space (Test Card Recordings) that, as the name implies, captures the Soviet vs. U.S. space race from Sputnik and beyond. The track “Go” is particularly amazing and inspiring, grabbing audio clips form Houston Space Center during one of the early Mercury Program launches.

Every Valley carries on the tradition, but in a more moribund sort of way. The topic this time is the rise and fall of the coal mining industry in South Wales. Tracks such as “The Pit” and “People Will Always Need Coal” take UK propaganda encouraging men to sign up for life in the mines and marries it to PSB’s usual driving instrumentals. But unlike The Race for Space, the effect can be harrowing.  The song cycle continues through the eventual decay of the mining industry and its impacts on the Welsh community.

It’s in these later tracks that PSB uses actual vocal lines — i.e., singing — with contributions from Tracyanne Campbell on “Progress” and James Dean Bradfield of Manic Street Preachers on “Turn No More,” which would have worked better if, say, an angry Roger Waters sang it instead of someone who sounds like Dennis DeYoung.

It’s an interesting concept for an album, and certainly apropos with today’s economies, though it’s much less enthralling than Race for Space (and certainly less uplifting). With this subject matter, PSB risks sounding too academic, too literal, and as a result, more educational than entertaining. I’d still love to see how they’d stage this album live… Rating: Yes

* * *

Tonight at Milk Run Denver emo/post-hardcore act Old Sport headlines a bill that includes Culture War and No Getter. $5, 9 p.m.

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


Live Review: Rusty Lord; new feature: NOmaha Alert (Broken Social Scene, !!!, Algiers)..

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 12:50 pm June 26, 2017

Rusty Lord at O’Leaver’s, June 23, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

It was a packed house Friday night at O’Leaver’s to see the debut of Rusty Lord. What can I say about Omaha’s latest garage-rock supergroup?

Their sound was close to what I expected: heavy-psych rock fueled equally by guitars and synths. Someone mentioned Ministry before the show, and you could hear the influence on the opening song, but mostly what we got was guitar metal a la Pro-Magnum with Johnny Vredenburg and Austin Ulmer screeching/yelling over layers of dense chaos.

Of course the main attraction was seeing Omaha rock legend Dave Goldberg behind a full drum kit riding his precise, hyper-kinetic rapid-fire attack. With everything else happening on stage, Goldberg carried these guys on his proverbial shoulders, keeping it all together, while the crowd went bananas.

If you missed it, Rusty Lord is scheduled to play Benson First Friday at The Sydney August 4 with Leafblower and DJ Tyrone Storm.

BTW, no sightings of the actual Rusty Lord (the WOWT weather guy). I’m told he was notified that he’d be on the list, but… no show. Next time, Rusty, next time…

* * *

I get lots of press releases from promoters and labels. Lots and lots.

And I open almost every one. The reason I do is to see if the band being promoted is coming to Omaha on its next tour. The tour list always is at the bottom of the press release. Like the one I got last week about The Afghan Whigs’ North American Tour.

I go down the tour stops list and find:



No Omaha

or, as it’s starting to become known: NOmaha

Unless I’m dreaming, it’s happening a lot more lately, at least when it comes to indie bands. If you’re wondering why Lazy-i isn’t updated every day, day in and day out, it’s because fewer indie shows means fewer reviews to post, fewer 10 Questions interviews, etc.

So, as a new feature here at Lazy-i, every time I get notified of a cool indie tour that is, once again, bypassing our fair city, I’ll put on a NOmaha Alert.

Today’s NOmaha alert(s):

Broken Social Scene:

The tour will follow the release of Broken Social Scene’s upcoming album Hug of Thunder, out on Arts & Crafts on July 7th, 2017.”

9/26/17 — Des Moines, IA @ Hoyt Sherman *
9/27/17 — Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater *
9/28/17 — St. Paul, MN @ The Palace *
9/29/17– Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom *

!!! (chk chk chk) with Algiers

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) have announced additional US tour dates beginning this fall, a selection of which will be supported by Matador recording band, Algiers.” This is one I’d love to see.

June 30 | Salt Lake City, UT – Kilby Court
July 1 | Denver, CO – Globe Hall
July 7 | Katowice, Poland, – Tabron Nowa Muzyka

Someone get on it! We need these shows…

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


Rusty Lord (Dave Goldberg, et al.) debut, Miwi on a boat tonight; Adult Mom, vinyl swap Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:08 pm June 23, 2017

Adult Mom plays Saturday night at Milk Run. Photo by Richard Gin.

by Tim McMahan,

On to the hotness that is this weekend…

Tonight, another mega debut, this time at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Omaha welcomes Rusty Lord. No, not the bald, nebbish WOWT meteorologist, the new rock project featuring Austin Ulmer (Dumb Beach) on guitar and vocals, Ben VanHoolandt (Digital Leather) on synth/guitar, Johnny Vredenburg (Digital Leather, Pro-Magnum) on bass/synth/vocals, and the legendary Dave Goldberg behind a FULL drum kit.

Says Vredenburg, “It’s somewhat what you’d imagine it to be. loud, abrasive dissonance with maniacal drumming driving it, yet a different sound from any of our previous bands.” I asked him to pin down a genre, and he said “probably psych/synth-punk.”

This is a four-band show, kicked off by Alcools, then Rusty Lord, followed by Effluvium and headlined by Satanic Abortion. $5, 10 p.m.

Also tonight, it’s another River City Star rock ‘n’ roll cruise down the Missouri River, this time featuring Miwi La Lupa, with AllSortsOfGood and the turntable stylings of DJ Tyrone Storm. The details:

Gates – 7 p.m.
Boat Access – 8 p.m.
Set Sail – 9 p.m. (they leave with or without you, folks)
Dock – Midnight

Cost is $20 for General Admission-only ticket, or $35 for General Admission + Miwi La Lupa’s Beginners Guide on vinyl!

And then Saturday night…

Through some happy accident a few years ago a link to Adult Mom’s Bandcamp page made it into my email, wherein I purchased a cassette copy of her 2014 release Sometimes Bad Happens, a great debut. That release must have caught the attention of Tiny Engines (the label that releases See Through Dresses’ albums), who put out Adult Mom’s 2015 full-length debut Momentary Lapse of Happily.

Now along comes Soft Spots (2017, Tiny Engines), which is her best release yet. “Her” is Adult Mom frontwoman/songwriter Stephanie Knipe, who is described by her label as “a gender-weird queer navigating through heartache, trauma and subsequent growth” and who gives the record an RIYL of The Weakerthans, The Cranberries, Girlpool, Liz Phair and Diet Cig.

In fact, Adult Mom emerged from the crowded forest of indie bands at about the same time as Diet Cig. I thought AM would be the one to break through, but it’s been Diet Cig that’s gotten all the attention, unfortunately. As a result, Diet Cig has had sweet opening tour slots and played Maha and Slowdown, while Adult Mom is relegated to playing tiny venues like Saturday night’s show at Milk Run.

Soft Spots is a gorgeous collection of bitter-sweet relationship songs that sonically remind me of K Records bands like The Softies while lyrically her music has a similar honesty heard on Elliott Smith albums. Knipe has a one-of-a-kind voice that emotes a sort of confident loneliness that fuels rocking tracks like “Steal the Lake from the Water” and “Drive Me Home.” The record is definitely worth checking out.

And so is the show — Saturday night at Milk Run. Opening for Adult Mom is Philly band Free Cake for Every Creature and our own The Morbs. $8, 9 p.m. Remember, Milk Run is now at Midtown Art Supply. Enter through the alley.

One more thing to mention this weekend… Brothers Lounge is hosting another Omaha Record Swap from 4 to 7 p.m. Almost Music, Homer’s, Vinyl Therapy and D-Tour are among those who will have stock on hand. It’s free and the drinks are extra tasty at Brothers.

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

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


Review: Priests – Nothing Feels Natural; Big Business, Ocean Black tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm June 21, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Currently listening to…

Priests, Nothing Feels Natural (2017, Sister Polygon)

Priests, Nothing Feels Natural (2017, Sister Polygon) – The band is playing Maha this year. Pitchfork gave this an 8.5. DC post-punk that’s been compared to Savages. I actually prefer it to Savages, but that doesn’t say much since I’ve never been a Savages fan. This is more like if Protomartyr were fronted by Debbie Harry… or Heidi Ore. In fact track “Pink White House” reminds me a lot of Mercy Rule thanks to the guitar line and Katie Alice Greer’s howl, which I prefer to her snotty, spoken delivery on tracks “No Big Bang” and “Puff” that, combined with the jittery bass-driven arrangements, sound like ’80s post-punk Debora Iyall/Romeo Void territory. Each song ends with a nice *wump* which will be good audience cues when blasted on the Maha stage. Rating: Yes

* * *

Seattle sludge rock band Big Business headlines at Brothers tonight. They’ve released a lot of stuff on Hydra Head, though their last one came out on Joyful Noise. Anthem stoner rock? The band’s name is apt. Opening is our own sludge/stoner rock power trio Ocean Black. This is a $15 show that starts as 9 and will be louder than hell.

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


Live Review: Jake Bellows, Sun-Less Trio; Hussies, Cat Tatt, Drive By Truckers tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:16 pm June 13, 2017

Jake Bellows at The Sydney, June 9, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m still catching up on last weekend, specifically last Friday night when Jake Bellows played at The Sydney. I point to the crowd and the overall vibe of the room for what ended up being one of the best Bellows sets I’ve ever witnessed. Jake solo with electric guitar played a selection from his rather extensive oeuvre with the crowd pushed right up to the Sydney’s stage/platform. You can hear a bit of the set in the Facebook Live recording below (I always feel like a dork when I’m shooting these things, but…).

Now that he’s living in LA, every Bellows set in Omaha is like a family reunion, with lots of familiar faces in the crowd come to pay their respects to our lost hero. Jake may be a Californian these days, but he knows he always has a home in Nebraska.

Sun-Less Trio at The Sydney, June 9, 2017.

Opening for Jake Friday night was a new line-up for Sun-Less Trio. Usual drummer Marc Phillips was replaced for this gig by someone banging on a tom with mallets. Frontman Mike Saklar played a couple of my favorites from his last couple albums along with a few new ones. The set felt stripped down and bare compared to the usual larger, fuller S-LT sound.

* * *

Two shows tonight…

Over at The Brothers Lounge Hussies headline for Brooklyn’s Cat Tatt. The Natural States also are on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, alt-country southern-fried rockers Drive-By Truckers headlines at The Waiting Room. Opening is BJ Barham. $30, 8 p.m.

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


Live Review: Jon Langford & Friends, Kyle Harvey; Black Marble, Ian Sweet, Thick Paint tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm May 30, 2017

John Landford and his supporting Omaha supergroup at O’Leaver’s May 28, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

What a crazy Sunday night. It felt like a Saturday with all the shows going on and with everyone having Monday off…

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s Jon Langford of The Mekons performed a cracking set that included songs from his upcoming album as well as some Mekons gold and songs from his Waco Brothers project. I was expecting a C&W set, but Langford’s style was more of a rootsy British folk meets rock mix. He started off with a handful of acoustic tunes, including a fantastic version of “Millionaire,” which happens to be the only Mekons EP I own.

A storyteller at heart, Langford filled time between tunes with charming quips and anecdotes that reached back to his early punk rock days. Oh, the stories he must have. He said he was in town to visit inlaws that live in Omaha. That said, this show, along with a special gig at Hi Fi House the night prior, were the first times he’s played in our fair city.

Next, Langford brought up a “local super group” that included Mike Tulis on bass, Matt Rutledge on guitar and Sue Hendrick on drums. Great stuff, as you can hear from the embedded Facebook Live video, above. I’m told the band had a head’s up in terms of what they’d be playing, and did their best to learn the numbers before Langford showed up. They sounded like they’d been playing with him for years.

Kyle Harvey at the Down Under Lounge, May 28, 2017.

I didn’t catch the end of this set because I had to head off down Leavenworth to the Down Under Lounge where everyone’s favorite wandering poet musician Kyle Harvey was playing a solo set. There was Kyle and his beard on stage belting out songs from his new solo album surrounded by a packed room of fans and friends. It makes you wonder why he ever backed away from music in the first place. While the material stands strong as a solo presentation, I’d love to hear these songs fleshed out with a full band. Dare to dream…

This was my time inside Down Under since it switched over from being The Side Door Lounge. The room has a more laid-back, lived-in groove to it than its more refined previous self. It feels more inviting and less pretentious, which is what you want from a live music spot.

* * *

One Percent has a couple interesting shows happening in their properties tonight, both are on NYC label Hardly Art.

Over at Reverb Lounge NYC artist Black Marble headlines. The project, fronted by Chris Stewart, is out their latest, It’s Immaterial. Very cook, jangly post rock. This one looks sneaky good. Cult Play and Effluvium open. $12, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, NYC dude Ian Sweet headlines. Last year’s Shapeshifter LP is kind of dreamy. Just as dreamy is opening band Thick Paint. $10, 9 p.m.

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


A comment, a couple reviews (CLOSENESS, jtvrdik) and DJ Dave (Goldberg) at Scriptown tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm May 25, 2017
Solid Goldberg at The Barley Street May 13. See him tonight at O'Leaver's.

Solid Goldberg at The Barley Street May 13, 2011. DJ Dave a.k.a. Dave Goldberg spins tonight at Scriptown Brewery.

by Tim McMahan,

I was going to post this yesterday but decided against it because I thought the Facebook scrap was dying down. These things have a way of exploding and disappearing in a matter of days. Then it flared up again yesterday afternoon.

I have no point of view on all of it. For whatever reason, I never saw Harouki Zombi when it was staged five or six years ago.

So instead of tracking on the back-and-forth in Facebook, I’ve been busy listening to recordings by O+S, High Up and CLOSENESS. Orenda Fink is one of the most talented people who has ever graced an Omaha stage, and I would be saddened if this controversy did anything to sway her from taking a stage here again, though I wouldn’t blame her if she didn’t. We may quickly forget about all this; I doubt she will…

* * *

Speaking of CLOSENESS, here are a couple of those Q1 2017 album reviews that never got published in The Reader:

CLOSENESS, Personality Therapy (Graveface) — Whereas Faint songs (especially the early ones) have a sinister, pleatherish quality, Orenda’s sound always has been ethereal (by nature of her sterling voice). This electronic hybrid doesn’t so much combine the best of both worlds as create something new and glisteningly futuristic. The final product is more computeristic than organic. Todd is never satisfied with letting his voice stand on its own without a Mr. Roboto filter. Fine. Orenda, on the other hand, is merely enhanced by shoe-gazy delay. Whether you believe either effect is necessary is a matter of taste, though too often the tech gets in the way of the words. But do words matter when you’re reaching for such sonic drama? The lasting impression is that of the duo climbing a chrome mountain, surrounded by lasers and kliegs, never out-stepping their songs’ monolithic, mid-tempo beats. And while I like the vibe, I’d like it more if I knew what they were singing about.

jtvrdik, IRONS — Though the one-sheet suggests you’ll be reminded of the glory days of Factory Records, I more often recalled early Interpol or The Faint (thanks to Clark Baechle’s touch on these recordings) though this is synthier and even more blank wave than those. It’s also dancier in a dirty, strobe-lit, Meatpacking District sort of way. The times Tvrdik lets his voice stand in contrast to the tech (like on centerpiece “A Funeral in Moscow”), the human irony shines through the shimmer and the dense, layered  beats. Black-lit, stylish, oddly gothic, oddly futuristic, ultimately cinematic.

* * *

I typically don’t post about DJ sets, but when it comes to Dave Goldberg…

Dave is spinning tracks tonight at Scriptown in the Blackstone. If you haven’t been there, here’s a great time to check out their outstanding beers and catch a local legend’s vinyl interpretations. 8 to 10 p.m. and free.

One other DJ note… Teresa and I had a blast Friday night at Benson Soul Society at Reverb Lounge watching/listening to DJ Tyrone Storm do his thing. We left shortly after his set (around 10), and I’m told these things don’t really heat up until midnight. We will return…

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


Chris Cornell epitomized Seattle grunge; reviews: The Sun-Less Trio,Thigh Master…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 18, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Chris Cornell

The death of Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell is definitely on my mind.

Moreso than Cobain or Vedder, Cornell to me epitomized the Seattle grunge movement. While you could argue Kurt’s and Eddie’s voices were just as distinctive, Cornell’s was iconic, a strange, beautiful trapeze act of a voice that seemed to be daring himself and the audience to take an extra step… higher. Nirvana and Pearl Jam may have grabbed more headlines and more airplay; but Soundgarden was that flannel in the closet that you haven’t worn in too long.

At age 52, he was too young to die, but I have a feeling I’ll be saying that a lot over the coming years…

Of note, I asked a couple people in my office who are in their 20s if they knew who Cornell was. They’d never heard of him — a testimony to my years… or their lack of years, I suppose. It’s odd to talk to interns and discover they’ve never heard of Tom Jones or bands like Boston or ELO — acts that you just assume have permeated every facet of modern culture. One intern had never heard of U2. How is that possible?

* * *

I put together a 1Q 2017 CD reviews collection for this month’s issue of The Reader, but it got pre-empted by my feature/interview with Tim Kasher. The reviews still exist in one form or another, so I thought I’d sprinkle them in blog posts (and occasionally at

The Sun-Less Trio, Spirit Jar/Spirit Glass (ANT Records) — Released on cassette and Bandcamp and destined to be overlooked, which is a shame because mastermind Mike Saklar and his supporting team has never sounded better, especially on the 8+minute Zeppelin-esque burner “Spirit Glass,” at the centerpiece of which is Saklar’s blistering electric guitar work. While his voice too often still sounds tentative, his guitar never does.

Thigh Master, “BBW” b/w “Park Road Clinical” (12XU) — Brisbane, Australia, jangle-indie sounds like early Pavement sung by, well, Aussies — drunk (and or drugged) Aussies at that, judging by the line: “It was just the drugs, slipping right through me.” Can’t wait for the long-player…

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