Live Review: Jeffrey Lewis/Los Bolts, David Nance; Tenement, The Living Deads, NOFX tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 8:18 am November 16, 2016
Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.

Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here Jeffrey Lewis was expecting no one to be at last night’s show at Reverb Lounge and there he was greeted by a nearly full room of around 35 to see the Manhattan troubadour and his uber talented band Los Bolts. And Lewis seemed quite pleased, saying it was the biggest crowd he’d every played for… in Omaha.

With guitar in hand he launched right into a set that included a lot of songs off his recent album, Manhattan, as well as a handful of chestnuts from years past. What I found most surprising was how much the set rocked. Lewis’ albums are mainly fast-paced upbeat acoustic folk fare, while last night’s show slalomed between acoustic and electric — somehow he made that acoustic guitar scream as loud as any Fender Strat, with full-blown feedback snarls. Lewis is, indeed, as good a guitarist as he is a great songwriter.

After every few songs he went to his Macbook, which fed a small projector that he used to tell stories supported by comic-book-style illustrations. One told the history of Sitting Bull; another told how he’s gone from being a hippy (clothingwise) to a regular dude. The funniest of these stories were adaptations of Nirvana songs from the album Bleach — specifically “Big Cheeze” and “Mr. Moustache” — that proved just how inane Kurt Cobain’s lyrics could be.

Lewis’ entire set had a lift of humor behind it, including his between-song patter wherein he reminded me of a young Gilbert Gottfried, complete with a Gottfried squint. Funny stuff. I ended up buying a couple issues of Lewis’ Fuff comic book and an outtakes and rarities album I hadn’t seen before. Judging from the lines, he did very well with merch sales.

 

David Nance at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.

David Nance at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.

There was as big a crowd for the show opener, David Nance and his band, which included Simon Joyner on bass (a first for Joyner). Nance’s music was quite a contrast to Lewis’. They played only two songs, but each lasted at least 15 minutes, and consisted of droning, building, feedback-layered head sounds. One well-schooled music fan I talked to said the set reminded him of Dream Syndicate (?) and Velvet Underground (dead on). Or imagine drawn-out, dark, slow, psychedelic tunes without keyboards and you begin to get the picture. Nance’s music is trance-like, almost hypnotic in its powerful dissonance. A great night of music.

* * *

Let me tell you a brief record-buying story.

I recently walked into Almost Music in the Blackstone District to do some record shopping. Flipping through the stacks, I made conversation with the proprietor, a fine lad named Brad Smith. “Brad,” I said, “why don’t you pick me out an album that you think I’d like. Every good record store proprietor should be able to pick out a record that can’t miss with one of his or her patrons.”

Brad thought about this a moment, and then said something along the lines of “Everyone has his or her own specific tastes,” which is true. “But,” I said, “you still must have something I’ve never heard before that you can recommend.”

So Brad walked from behind the glass counter and began flipping through the new vinyl and said “Here” and handed me a copy of The Self-Titled Album by a group I never heard of called Tenement. I told him to put it on the stack, which included a used copy of Talking Heads 77  and Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup and a signed copy of James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover. There always lots of good stuff at Almost Music.

And I took that record home, put it on the turntable and was knocked out by it. Tenement is a trio from Appleton, Wisconsin, that has been kicking around since 2006. Their Wikipedia bio says they’re often associated with the American hardcore punk scene, though you wouldn’t know it by listening to this record. which was released this year on Deranged Records. While the first track, “Everyone to Love You,” does have a throbbing punk rock sensibility (in fact, Brad warned me about it — what’s with people thinking I don’t like punk rock no more?), the rest of the record bounced between styles as diverse as Pavement, Ted Leo/Pharmacists and ’80s-era Rolling Stones. It’s a gorgeous record and on my list of favorites for 2016, and you should definitely check it out.

Which just goes to show you that you can always trust Brad Smith to make a blind recommendation for how to spend your hard-earned dollars.

All of this is just a long-winded way of letting you know that Tenement is playing an early show tonight at Sokol Underground. I’ve been told this show originally was scheduled for a different venue, but was moved as an early show to compliment the NOFX show also taking place at Sokol Auditorium later tonight (though Tenement has nothing in common with NOFX).

Tenement, the second band for this early show, goes on at 6:15 after Meat Wave (a Chicago punk band on SideOneDummy, who starts at 5:30) and is followed by Direct Hit (Fat Wreck Chords). It’s a $10 show, but only $5 if you have a NOFX ticket.

That NOFX show at Sokol Aud includes openers PEARS and Useless ID, costs $30 and starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Brothers Lounge is hosting Denver punkabilly band The Living Deads along with no-coast surf punks Huge Fucking Waves. $5, 10 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: Wrong Pets; NOBUNNY tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm October 24, 2016
Wrong Pets at O'Leaver's Oct. 21, 2016.

Wrong Pets at O’Leaver’s Oct. 21, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Friday night was the debut of Wrong Pets, the new band fronted by Reagan Roeder with Landon Hedges (bass), Danny Maxwell (guitar) and Ryan Haas on drums. The band took its cues from ’90s indie with a whole lot of grunge thrown in for good measure. Heavy stuff, but what did you expect from a Maxwell/Hedges production, the same folks who brought you Little Brazil?

It’s been years since I’ve seen him on stage, but Roeder continues to hold his own with great, growling flair. For an act that hasn’t played together long, they sounded remarkably tight performing their short, six-song set. Debuts are always fun because you never know what to expect, but this was pretty much what I expected, or certainly what I hoped for. What this crew does next is anyone’s guess; keep your fingers crossed that they play again soon.

BTW, it was  big crowd, a packed crowd, especially for the early band, though Wrong Pets didn’t get rolling until around 10:30. One can only guess how crowded it got as the night edged closer to the Her Flyaway Manner 20th anniversary set, which, alas, I was unable to see.

* * *

One show of consequence on this Monday night — NOBUNNY headlines at Milk Run. Nobunny is musician Justin Champlin, who has released his brand of garage rock on such vaunted labels as Goner and Burger Records. The show has a crowded bill with Articles, Lemmons, and Relax, It’s Science opening. 9 p.m., $10.

* * *

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: Mark Kozelek; Elvis Costello, Larkin Poe tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:09 pm October 4, 2016
Mark Kozelek at Slowdown Jr., Oct. 3, 2016.

Mark Kozelek at Slowdown Jr., Oct. 3, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mark Kozelek and his keyboard player, Ben, walked onto the Slowdown Jr. stage a little after 9 last night and didn’t leave for two and a half hours. In that time, they ran through a set list of Sun Kil Moon songs that included a few off Benji (“Richard Ramirez…” “Micheline” and “Dogs”), Universal Themes (“The Possum,” “This Is My First Day…”) and the just-released Jesu/Sun Kil Moon album (“Fragile,” “Exodus”) as well as a few new ones (“He’s Bad,” a song about Michael Jackson with the chorus “He’s Bad / And he’s dead / And I’m glad“), a cover of “Send in the Clowns” and a few I didn’t recognize, including a set intro and a set outro wherein Kozelek talked about never having been to Omaha before, his lunch at The Blatt (where his waiter called him “Boss” repeatedly), and seeing Conor Oberst play at The Forum when he was this tall (and who Kozelek will be opening for in a one-off show in a few weeks).

Kozelek only played guitar on a couple songs (including “Richard Ramirez…”).Most of the time he stood on the front of the stage with his microphone or sat next to Ben, directing the beat with his free hand in a solemn wave. At times, especially on new songs, he referred to lyrics written in a binder. This was the first of three shows with this new keyboard player and Kozelek warned there would be some rough edges, and there were, but they only added to the charm of the set.

I’ve read he can be nasty to his audience, but he was nothing but kind and funny last night, laughing often and mostly at himself. The laughter countered the hard-reality lyrics that dealt with death and murder and getting older and memories of loved ones gone… depressing lyrics mostly sung but sometimes spoken as keyboardist Ben tickled his Roland and controlled a thick, dark beat.

I think Benji is Kozelek’s masterpiece, and he acknowledged that the album is what most new audiences know him from, saying Red House Painters (his first band) was so long ago. The Benji songs, which came out in 2014, indeed stood out next to the newer material that at times seemed like stream-of-conscious poetry. The moments when Kozelek used that angelic voice of his and reached beyond his slow, guttural, spoken delivery were when he raised the night to the next level.

There’s not much more to say. The crowd of around 60 were seated at tables throughout the club and a few yards away from the stage. Kozelek asked people to come closer all night, and eventually they scooched their chairs forward toward the stage. It was a quiet, intimate performance that kept the audience rapt and silent.

* * *

Another master story-teller songwriter performs tonight, this time at the Holland Performing Arts Center. It’s a solo performance by Elvis Costello. Based on the set list from Saturday’s show at Town Hall in NYC (which you can read here) this could be a greatest hits collection — played with piano and guitar — that spans to his first album. Opening is Larkin Poe, who I wrote about yesterday. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show range from $46 to $126.

* * *

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: Mountain Goats, Oh Pep!; Ten Questions with Larkin Poe; Mark Kozelek solo tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:34 pm October 3, 2016
Mountain Goats at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016.

Mountain Goats at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another crushed, table-clearing night at The Waiting Room last Friday for The Mountain Goats — especially impressive when you consider it was a $25 ticket.

John Darnielle and company have been coming through Omaha literally for decades. Darnielle pointed that out from stage, reminiscing about first hearing a young, bombastic folkie named Simon Joyner when Joyner passed through Darnielle’s town. They exchanged information and eventually would record and release music together. In fact, I’m holding a copy of the Why You All So Thief 7-inch, a split between Joyner and The Mountain Goats that came out on Sing, Eunuchs! way back in 1994 (and which is still available from Simon’s grapefruitrecordclub.com website).

Darnielle played a couple songs which were either inspired by or recorded at the time of those Joyner sessions, recorded “with Simon just around the corner from the Antiquarium.” One of those songs was “Baboon,” played during the solo acoustic interlude in the center of his set. The rest of the night, Darnielle was accompanied by his band, including a dude on a jazzy tenor saxophone, playing songs from their latest album, an ode to professional wrestling called Beat the Champ (2015, Merge). Most were preceded by a funny story explaining the lore of the world of wresting and the characters that inhabit it.

I’ve been watching and listening to Darnielle for years and other than a few recent loungy additions, his story-telling song-writing style hasn’t changed. Every song is an introduction to a new character who is trying to do his or her damnedest just to get by. Simple, honest songs that no doubt have influenced a variety of bands from The Hold Steady to Decemberists.

While the crowd was definitely into the set — a few even moved to the beat on the floor — Mountain Goats isn’t exactly a dance band, and is now reaching a level of popularity where a sit-down concert at a formal theater might make sense. Imagine them at The Orpheum…

Oh Pep! at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016.

Oh Pep! at The Waiting Room, Sept. 30, 2016.

Opening act Oh Pep! drew upon gorgeous melodies and frontwoman Olivia Hally’s remarkable voice for a memorable set of music from their debut album, Stadium Cake, which they said took seven years to make. While Hally handled the acoustic guitar parts, the “Pep” part of Oh Pep! —  Pepita Emmerichs — switched between mandolin and violin while adding gorgeous harmonies. This is a band to keep an eye on.

Oh Pep! closed out the set with help from Mountain Goats, who joined them on stage for a rousing version of the band’s first single, “Doctor Doctor.”

* * *

Larkin Poe opens for Elvis Costello tomorrow night at The Holland.

Larkin Poe opens for Elvis Costello tomorrow night at The Holland.

Talk about your sweet opening gigs, Atlanta sister act Larkin Poe will have a hard time finding a better tour mate than the legendary Elvis Costello, who they open for Oct. 4 at the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The band, fronted by Rebecca and Megan Lovell, started out as the Lovell Sisters with their sister, Jessica, an act that ran its course in 2009. In their new iteration, the sisters have definitely gone electric, playing a southern-fried style of rock that sounds like heavy Alison Krauss meets Iris Dement.

Here’s how the sisters tackled the Ten Questions gauntlet:

What is your favorite album?

Megan: Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd.

Rebecca: Living with the Law, Chris Whitley.

What is your least favorite song?

“This Is The Song That Never Ends”

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Megan: Playing music for a living! The opportunity to get up onstage and share a connection with people of all shapes and sizes. It’s amazing to see so many different parts of the world.

Rebecca: Creative freedom. The art of singing and songwriting has been around since the dawn of enlightened man; to be able to carry on that tradition and walk the righteous way of rock’n’roll is an incredibly satisfying way to live.

What do you hate about being in a band?

Megan: You have to say goodbye to your home and loved ones far too often.

Rebecca: The temptation to be highly critical of yourself as an artist. All the time.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Megan: Cheddar flavored popcorn. It should be illegal.

Rebecca: Patchouli oil.

In what city or town do you love to perform?

We played a sold out show in London at the Borderline a few months ago – having ticket scalpers working the sidewalks out front of the club, for our show, was a rush. We appreciate the support our British fans have shown us.

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

The worst gigs we’ve ever played are the gigs that we didn’t get to play. We’ve only had to cancel a few shows due to illness, but canceling a show is the worst thing of all.

How do you pay your bills?

We’re proud to be full-time musicians. We pay our bills by being ’21st century artists’… In short: we do just about anything and everything to bring in the dough – touring, recording, writing, you name it.

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

Megan: I’d be a professional stunt double. I’d hate to work in a slaughterhouse.

Rebecca: I’d be a crystal-gazing clairvoyant. I’d hate to be a competitive eater.

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

We’ve made our own stories in Omaha with native son, Conor Oberst. We’ve spent a couple pleasant nights at his place, Pageturners Lounge, listening to friends perform or playing songs of our own!

Larkin Poe opens for Elvis Costello Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Holland Performing Arts Center, 13th & Douglas Streets. Tickets range from $46.25 to $126.25. Showtime is 7 p.m. For more information, go to ticketomaha.com

* * *

Tonight, Mark Kozelek makes his first appearance ever at Slowdown Jr., and if I’m not mistaken, first time ever in Omaha. He’s played the last two Sun Kil Moon shows at Vega in Lincoln. Tonight’s show is listed as “An Evening with Mark Kozelek,” with no opener. I’m curious how this will deviate from a SKM show and the set he performed Sept. 26 as Sun Kil Moon in Denmark, which you can read here. I can tell you it’ll be a heavy experience for those who attend. I saw Kozelek as SKM perform in a church at SXSW a few years ago, and it was a long, dark evening that I’ll never forget. $23, 9 p.m. See you there…

* * *

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

Review: Metropolitan Farms (a.k.a. what Joe Kobjerowski has been up to); Porches tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:52 pm September 27, 2016
Metropolitan Farms, featuring Joe Kobjerowski on drums.

Metropolitan Farms, featuring Joe Kobjerowski on drums.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been burning a hole in my iPhone listening to the new album by Portland rock band Metropolitan Farms. Wha? Never heard of them?

Metropolitan Farms is the latest project by legendary former Nebraska drummer Joe Kobjerowski. Joe was the drummer in seminal ’90s Omaha tractor punk bands Frontier Trust and Pioneer Disaster as well as Darktown House Band, among others. He moved to Portland a long time ago (more than a decade ago?).

Metropolitan Farms, Oafish Twist (2016)

Metropolitan Farms, Oafish Twist (2016)

Out of the blue last week I saw that Metropolitan Farms is having a CD release show at Portland’s The Foggy Notion this weekend for their latest album, Oafish Twist, which is available on Bandcamp. It’s the best $7 I’ve spent this year. The album  is loaded with well-crafted jangle-pop rock songs reminiscent of acts like The dBs, Tommy Keene and The Smithereens.

I asked Joe how he met the guys in Metropolitan Farms.

“I was playing in a band out here called The Lodge Club (with Dave Sullivan and Nancy Wieblehaus…both Nebraska folks also…Dave played in the legendary Lincoln band, Trout Mystery, and Nancy played with Dave Cosgrove in a couple different bands) and one night we played with a band called Metropolitan,” Kobjerowski said. “They were a weird and quirky pop band with great songs.  But, more importantly, they were _super_ awesome people.”

He said they all quickly became friends. “A year or so later, Metropolitan was in the middle of a recording project when they asked if I wanted to come by, learn two or three songs, and record with them.  After that, I just sort of kept forcing myself on them until I was in the band permanently.  Eventually, Metropolitan dissolved and Josh (Mayer, guitar), Linc (McGrath, bass) and I became Metropolitan Farms.”

Kobjerowski said the band has been working on this new album for three years. Will we ever get a chance to see and hear them play on an Omaha stage? Highly doubtful, Joe said. The band’s never toured before, and isn’t likely to. So you’ll just have to enjoy them on your stereo system. Go to their Bandcamp page and download a copy. You’ll thank me later.

* * *

Milk Run is on a roll. Tonight their hosting Porches, who I described back in April as: “Porches is Aaron Maine, a NYC musician who recorded his debut full-length, Pool (2016, Domino), mostly in his Manhattan apartment before sending it to LA to be mixed by Chris Coady (Beach House, Grizzly Bear). The production is crisp with bouncing rhythms and glowing synths that sit beneath Maine’s bright vocals.”  Also on the bill are Japanese Breakfast (Michelle of Little Big League) and Rivergazer. $10, 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: Flowers Forever; Ten Questions with Jackie Greene; Weathered, Super Ghost tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 11:42 am September 26, 2016
Flowers Forever at O'Leaversfest, Sept. 23, 2016.

Flowers Forever at O’Leaversfest, Sept. 23, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another O’Leaversfest has come and gone. Alas, I was only able to take part in Day 1, last Friday night, and only for the closing band. If the rest of the weekend was as well attended as Day 1, organizers may want to consider adding a camping option for the festival — let all those out-of-towners pitch their tents in the volleyball courts.

On warm evenings like Friday, it’s become more and more common for the majority of the crowd to be out in the new beer garden, and that was certainly the case, all basking in the glow of Tyrone Storm’s deft DJ skills. So crowded and hectic was it that I escaped to the old front beer garden, where only a few people sat around and smoked and waited for the band to play. Old-school O’Leaver’s… for the beautiful people…

Flowers Forever drew everyone back inside. In the old days, Flowers Forever was Derek Pressnall and whoever joined him on stage (but with a couple regulars). Friday was the same thing, with original member Craig Dee on drums. Third original member. Chris Senseney, was not in the house (or at least I didn’t see him). The other five slots were filled with a few familiar faces, including Annie Dilocker on keyboards and Sarah Bohling of Icky Blossoms on bass.

The set kicked off with an rousing version of “American Dream” off the 2008 debut (and as far as I know, the only Flowers Forever album released) and barrelled through a number of other songs off the album including “Black Pope” and “Strange Fruit.” I’d forgotten how much I liked the record when it came out. To me it always felt like an outsider coming into the cloistered Nebraska scene and creating his own, new thing from the bits and pieces that resonated with him. The outsider being Pressnall, the bits and pieces being the more upbeat moments from Bright Eyes’ early 2000s offerings.

Of the unknown players on stage, a standout was the lead guitarist, a young guy who absolutely shredded throughout the set. The next day Craig Dee told me the guy was Cubby Phillips, who, upon further research, I discovered is a jazz dude who won the Outstanding Soloist Award at the 2013 Great Planes Jazz Festival. Head-spinning skills, he has. (Update: Dereck Higgins just pointed out that he’s the guitarist in Chemicals).

I never found out what inspired this Flowers Forever “reunion,” though I must say the music has aged well. I’m told this wasn’t just a one-shot, and I’d certainly pay to see them again, though reunion bands have a way of fading if they don’t augment their past with something new. Pressnall now has Icky Blossoms as a creative outlet these days, and for him, maybe that’s enough…

* * *

Jackie Greene plays at Slowdown Jr. Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Jackie Greene plays at Slowdown Jr. Tuesday, Sept. 27.

Roots / American singer-songwriter Jackie Greene is known as a musician’s musician, having played with a ton of people over the years, including as a member of the last iteration of Black Crowes and with Joan Osborne in Trigger Hippy. His latest album, Back to Birth (2015, Yep Roc), was produced by Los Lobos member Steve Berlin, and will appeal to Black Crowes fans or anyone who enjoys dense, guitar-infused American Trad rock.

I sent Greene the ol’ Ten Questions and this is what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Exile On Main Street

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Lovin Cup”

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

Spooning the merch girl.

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

Spooning the bass player.

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

Chipotle-flavored anything.

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

Osaka, Japan.  A distant second would be Perth.

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

Somewhere in rural South Dakota.  It was winter and the gear froze.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Online, generally.

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

Someday, I’d like to open my own typewriter repair shop.  We’d only service post-war American-made machines. We’d have limited hours. I probably wouldn’t like to do anything involving a nail salon.

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

I have a friend from Omaha.  I’ve heard lots of stories.  Most of them good.

Jackie Greene plays with The Cordovas Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Slowdown Jr.,  729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $18 Adv./$20 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com

* * *

It’s a night of emo rock at Milk Run this evening. Headlining is Omaha’s own Super Ghost, whereas the traveling band is Minnesota act Weathered. Altura and Medlock open. 9 p.m. $5.

* * *

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: Eros and the Eschaton; Oberst talks Omaha in NY Mag; Dog Party, Swingin’ Utters tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm September 19, 2016
Eros and the Eschaton at Reverb Lounge, Sept. 16, 2016.

Eros and the Eschaton at Reverb Lounge, Sept. 16, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It must be a pleasure for local musicians and bands who have moved away to return to their homes on tour and see all their comrades again. No doubt that was the case Friday night at Reverb for Adam Hawkins when his band, Eros and the Eschaton, played a sort of homecoming show.

With old friends scattered in the audience, Hawkins and his crew rifled through a deep selection from the band’s new album, Weight of Matter (2016, Bar None), closing with my two favorites from the recording: The spacey, floating “Center of the World” (wherein I could have sworn Hawkins changed the lyric on the main line of the song) and the brazen, post-punk burner “Rxx” that highlights co-frontperson Kate Perdoni barking out the staccato lines in all her feral glory.

Here’s a band that changes your perception of them when they perform live. Like, for example, Hawkins sang a lot more of the leads than I thought he did on the album. You could argue he has a higher voice than Perdoni. I also was impressed at the amount of guitar work Perdoni performed, spending a lot of time kneeling down, bending her strings alongside a bank of foot pedals.

I also learned (I think) how bands create that underwater, shimmy guitar sound so prominent on My Bloody Valentine albums. Hawkins grasped his whammy bar the entire time he stroked that guitar, which I assume constantly loosens and tightens the strings, causing that uneasy, drunken shimmy effect. Or maybe not. I’ll let the guitarists chime in to clarify. A final surprise was how little Hawkins and Perdoni harmonized — a lot of the harmonies were provided by the keyboard player.

Now a full band (including a dynamic drummer) Eros and the Eschaton have evolved beyond the duo-centric performance I saw a few years back. The band wraps up this tour tomorrow night in Chicago before heading out East again in a few weeks, closing out the tour with a gig at Cake Shop in Manhattan. Here’s hoping a solid album and all this touring helps them break through the waves.

* * *

Culture site vulture.com this morning posted a lengthy feature on Conor Oberst that also appeared in the September issue of New York magazine. In it, Oberst recaps the last year or so of his life in Omaha, as well as the years leading up to it, including his health scare and rape allegation bullshit that turned his world upside down. You get a snapshot of what it’s like in La Casa Oberst as well as a sense that Omaha represented a necessary healing environment amidst a time of chaos. It’s an interesting read.

The article precedes the Oct. 14 release of his next solo album, Ruminations, which comes out on Nonesuch, as well as the release of the massive Bright Eyes box set, which was slated for release by Saddle Creek Records last Friday but has apparently been pushed back (due to manufacturing delays) until Oct. 21.

* * *

There’s a couple hot shows happening tonight…

At fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s the return of Baltimore duo Dog Party (Asian Man, Burger Records).  Joining them are fellow Baltimore-ites Wing Dam, Every Goddess Wanted and Muscle Cousins (the Matz brood of Andy, Mari and Collin). $7, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, classic Bay Area punk band Swingin’ Utters (Fat Wreck Chords) plays at Lookout Lounge with Lincoln’s The Killigans and our very own Hand Painted Police Car. $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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Album Review Sam Evian, Premium (2016, Saddle Creek); Off With Their Heads, Bad Cop / Bad Cop tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:59 pm September 14, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

From the label’s earliest days, there have been those who have sworn there’s a “Saddle Creek sound” that iconically identifies every act on the roster. And, of course, they’ve always been wrong. There is no sonic common denominator that linked Bright Eyes with Cursive with The Faint, nor with late-comers like Ladyfinger, Rilo Kiley or Son Ambulance, and certainly not with latter-day acts starting as far back as Tokyo Police Club through the list of artists you may already have forgotten, like Rural Alberta Advantage and Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson.

If there was a common thread among Creek artists, one could point toward solid song-writing and an uncompromising approach to the music that seemed genuine and unselfish. No one can accuse a Saddle Creek act of trying to write a hit song to benefit themselves or the label. Just didn’t happen (as far as I know). Instead, acts were — and are — free to make their own decisions based on the music they want to make, for better or worse, and commerce be damned.

Maybe that same philosophy drives the label’s roster decisions. After all, how does an act like Sam Evian fit into Saddle Creek’s history of signings? What qualities did the staff hear that made them decide, “We need to sign this guy; he belongs on Saddle Creek Records”? It certainly wasn’t a commerce-driven decision. I can’t imagine anyone thought, “Sam Evian’s gonna make this label a fortune.” It’s a head-scratcher.

Sam Evian, Premium (2016, Saddle Creek)

Sam Evian, Premium (2016, Saddle Creek)

So no, after listening to Premium for the past few weeks, the new album by Sam Evian, I can’t figure out why the label signed them. But then again, who would have thought that recent roster additions Big Thief and Hop Along were natural Saddle Creek bands? None have ties with Nebraska or sound like anyone else on the label.

Sam Evian’s music has a casual pop sound, an easy-going, loping meter augmented by glowing guitar tones, lilting synths and Sam Owens’ (the real Sam Evian) cooing voice that add up to the perfect soundtrack for walking barefoot along a West Coast beach at sunset. Call it Indie Yacht Rock; these tracks would sound right at home next to ’70s FM soft rock heroes Boz Scaggs, Player, Stephen Bishop, 10 cc and Bertie Higgins.

There are modern touch-stones as well. I was reminded of laid-back Kurt Vile and Foxygen. Highlights include the screaming sax solo on “Dark Love,” the 10 cc-sh “I Need a Man” and opening track and natural first single “Sleep Easy.” The whole album is warm and pretty and easy to take in, but unlike some of the more substantial Saddle Creek releases over the years, that good feeling is rather fleeting. Like a walk on the beach, the golden moment is lost after the sun goes down. This isn’t life-changing music, but it’s fun.

How does the album fit into the Creek catalogue? For those who’ve come to expect a quality product from the Saddle Creek imprint release-after-release, they won’t be disappointed. And maybe that’s the only requirement that matters. Premium comes out Sept. 30.

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I felt as if I had to write something about Saddle Creek after a post on Facebook a few days ago about tonight’s Off With Their Heads show at Lookout Lounge suggested I only write about O’Leaver’s and Saddle Creek bands. Pshaw… (though, yeah, I do write a lot about Saddle Creek and O’Leaver’s…).

Minneapolis punk band Off With Their Heads records for Epitaph. They’ve toured with Bad Religion and Dropkick Murphys, among others. Openers include West Coast act Bad Cop / Bad Cop (Fat Wreck Chords), Omaha hardcore act Stronghold and The Ridgways. $15, 8 p.m.

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Quick Note: That big (but actually quite small) show I mentioned last week that I didn’t get to announce will be announced tomorrow at noon… probably.

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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: Clarence Tilton at a block party; Terror Pigeon, Iska Dhaaf tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm September 12, 2016
Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016.

Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

From the porch of my house on Sunset Trail I could see the lights glowing from the stage through the trees. This was no ordinary block party, it was the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, an event that’s been held since 2014 along the said neighborhood street between Western and Underwood. It’s gotten bigger every year; this year’s featured performer was Clarence Tilton. Next year I expect Wilco to headline.

Despite the stage and professional sound (Hiddleston is first class), it really is just an annual block party. The street was blocked off on either end and long tables were set up leading to the stage, which was a riser surrounded by white Christmas lights strung from poles. It was like a small-town concert, with kids tooling around on push-scooters screaming and laughing, people in groups drinking beers and wine, a portable fire pit and kiosk loaded with flat-panels that showed night college football games for those who couldn’t bear missing a snap.

What I found interesting was how everyone knew everyone; whereas I didn’t know anyone on the street. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised — I don’t live on Parkwood Lane. But then I got to thinking about how many people I really know on my street; know by name. Or who know me. The number is maybe five or six? That’s what happens when you don’t have kids. If you have kids, well, you’re going to know everyone in a four-block radius…who has kids. That’s how it’s always been and should be.

Anyway, we sat on a hay bale and listened as the Clarence Tilton gang ripped though a set of alt-country songs that deserve attention from the rest of the world. At the core is the Weber Brothers on electric guitars and vocals, surrounded by some of the tightest-playing musicians in Omaha. Though alt-country in style, the music reminded me of bands like The Rave-Ups, The Reivers, The Windbreakers and Uncle Tupelo. It’s music that will appeal both to country fans and fans of good, upbeat, tuneful indie music. In fact, I don’t know why they haven’t been discovered by a label. Their debut album, which came out last year, is among the best things produced out of Nebraska.

Though I didn’t see anyone doing a two-step (which got me thinking, these guys really should try playing a few sets at Bushwackers in Ralston) the neighborhood looked like it was having a good time. And the sound was immaculate. We left after about an hour, and of course, was able to continue listening from our house, and didn’t mind at all…

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Tonight there’s a pretty cool electronic/dance show at Lookout Lounge. I haven’t been able to find a shit-ton of info about the headliner, Terror Pigeon, on the interwebs. The best info was from this 2014 Stereogum article:

…formed as Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, it’s a collective that was created in 2008 by then-SUNY Purchase student Neil Fridd. They signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label and put out one full-length in 2010, the charmingly-titled ‘I love you! I love you! I love you and I’m in love with you! Have an awesome day! Have the best day of your life!’ They were written up in The New York Times and played shows at SXSW, CMJ, and around DIY venues in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Their emoji-heavy website shows that they’ve been touring consistently for the past four years since the release of their debut. With “Girl!,” they’ve officially started the rollout for their sophomore album, called Live It Up Before You Die It Up!, which will be released through Nashville-based label Stay Magical.

Their music reminds me of Matt & Kim, sorta, though I like TP’s music a lot more.  Also on the bill is Real Dom, a lap-top dance dude. Locals Thick Paint (Graham Ulicny of Reptar) and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes) open. $5, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Iska Dhaaf,  is playing a sneaky show at Milk Run. Sneaky because it came out of nowhere. They played at O’Leaver’s this past April (BTW, here’s Ten Questions with Iska Dhaaf written in support of that show.)Opening are Idle Fox and King Pegion.  $8, 9 p.m.

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

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Ten Questions with Gringo Star (at O’Leaver’s tonight); Maha review online (finally); Better Friend at Femme Fest…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:08 pm September 6, 2016
Gringo Star plays at O'Leaver's tonight...

Gringo Star plays at O’Leaver’s tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Atlanta 4-piece Gringo Star is keeping alive the sound their grand-parents adored — ’50s and ’60 rock ‘n’ roll.

“Our grandad started out in radio in the ’40s and ’50s in Columbus, GA.,” said Nick Furgiueles, who started Gringo Star with his brother, Peter, in 2007. “He was a huge promoter of R&B back when it was still super segregated, and he was playing black music and putting on shows with Little Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Sam Cooke & the Soul Stirrers, a lot of Gospel shows. So we grew up hearing all these stories, listening to all this music. Our grandfather was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame posthumously. And my grandma — all her photo albums are like Jackie Wilson shirtless backstage, hanging out.”

The sounds of those AM gems reverberate in Gringo Star’s modern take on classic rock infused in surf, garage, doo-wap and psychedelic. The band’s been playing around with indie brethren like The Black Angels, Wavves and Best Coast for years, then at SXSW they caught the attention of Nevado Music execs who put out their new album, The Sides and In Between, just last week. Hear the band play it live tonight at O’Leaver’s.

I sent the Gringos the ol’ Ten Questions survey and Nick was kind enough to fill it out.

1. What is your favorite album?

Nick Furgiueles: David Bowie- Ziggy Stardust

2. What is your least favorite song?

Everything by Fleetwood Mac

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

Doing interviews

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

Doing interviews

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

The jalapeño.

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

Bacup, England

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

Savannah, GA, we recently played a daytime show that was outside and it was no cooler than 108.  And the stage was in the sun.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Usually I write a check.

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

I always wanted to be a professional baseball player, but I’d hate to be a police man, having to constantly ticket and leech off the public to maintain the war machine.

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

In 1879 the trial of Standing Bear v. Crook was held at Fort Omaha. During the trial General Crook testified on behalf of Standing Bear, leading the court to recognize American Indians as persons. This was the first time this occurred in a U.S. Federal Court.

Gringo Star joins Hussies and Eklectica tonight at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Entry is $8, show starts at 9 p.m. For more information, go to liveatoleavers.com.

* * *

Hey, remember that festival that took place a few weeks ago called Maha? Well, I went to it and wrote this long-ish review for everyone’s favorite arts and music alternative monthly, The Reader. And now that review is finally online. No, this isn’t Throwback Thursday, and yet here I am, asking you to step into the Wayback Machine and read my thoughts and ruminations about Nebraska’s premiere one-day indie music festival. Of course if you prefer the analog version, you can pick up the latest issue of The Reader, which is on news racks ’round town.

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Better Friend at The Sydney during Benson First Friday Femme Fest, Sept. 2, 2015.

Better Friend at The Sydney during Benson First Friday Femme Fest, Sept. 2, 2015.

Speaking of festivals, I swung by Benson First Friday Femme Fest last week for a drop in on Lincoln band Better Friend at The Sydney (seein’ as they came highly recommended by a certain executive at Hear Nebraska). Fronted by vocalist Meghan Munyon the band cranked out a rough but lively set of dark rock they describe as punk on their Facebook page, though I think leans more toward mid ’90s-era emo (as opposed to, say, ’80s-era emo — there is a distinction (at least in my book)). Munyon is a howler in a sort of Thalia Zedek vein, and when one of her guitarists adds a layer of scream/screech vocals, the emo turns to screamo. The crowd of around 30 seemed into it, and there’s  a lot of buzz about these folks, though I think we’re just seeing where they’re starting off. Where they go next, well, now that could be very intriguing…

As for Femme Fest, there’s little doubt that the annual event (in its second year) has surely become “a thing” that will continue for years to come.

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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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