Sleater-Kinney (SOLD OUT), Sucettes, Well-Aimed Arrows tonight; Brad Hoshaw/Deadlies Saturday; Lights Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 pm February 13, 2015
Sleater-Kinney plays a sold out show tonight at The Slowdown.

Sleater-Kinney plays a sold out show tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

That long sold out Sleater-Kinney show is tonight at The Slowdown (in the big room, obviously). If the setlist from last night’s show in Denver is any indication, expect to hear most of the band’s new album, No Cities to Love (including “Bury Our Friends,” which was dedicated to NYT columnist David Carr last night), as well as the usual hits like “Dig Me Out.” Opening is Minneapolis hip-hop artist Lizzo. Starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

Also tonight, Dave Goldberg’s new band Sucettes is performing at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band also includes Jeremiah McIntyre (Box Elders), Genie Molkentine & Todd VonStup (Killer Blow) and CJ Olson. Very groovy indeed. Opening are Well-Aimed Arrows and Those Far Out Arrows. This is the perfect after-party for you S-K concertgoers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, bluesman/rocker Kris Lager celebrates his CD release show at 311-bar The Hive downtown. This show runs from 9 to 11 p.m. only.

Tomorrow night those Weber brothers (Chris and Corey) are at it again, in the guise of their new band Clarence Tilton (which also includes the amazing Matt Rutledge of The Sons of…) at The Barley Street Tavern. They describe their music as “country rock / Americana,” which I guess means you should wear your Stetson. Opening is folk-rock band Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies and the Heather Berney Trio. There’s no better place for Valentine losers to hang out and get loaded. $5, 9 p.m.

For you Valentine winners, there’s a modern-dance show at Kaneko Saturday night that features an experimental film by Icky Blossoms/InDreama star (and director) Nik Fackler. It marks the first collaboration between Fackler and his wife, Kat Lessor, who created the choreography in the film. It’s an event that meets any Valentine’s Day requirement. $10 (includes wine), 8 p.m.

Sunday night Canadian electro pop act Lights plays at The Waiting Room. Lights was born Valerie Anne Poxleitner. Her latest album, Little Machines (Warner Bros., 2014) is said to have been inspired by Kate Bush, Bjork and Patti Smith. It’s very pop (hear for yourself below). X Ambassadors opens. $16 Adv./$18 DOS. 8 p.m.

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

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT Lazy-i Feb. 10, 2005: Looking for a New Sensation…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:55 pm February 12, 2015
Michael Hutchence during the glory days of INXS circa 1994.

Michael Hutchence during the glory days of INXS circa 1994.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With the impending release of Matt Whipkey’s new album, Underwater, Feb. 20 (and with no other news to report), it seemed like a good time to turn the Wayback Machine to February 2005, 10 years ago, and recap a pair of stories that appeared in Lazy-i and The Reader about the time Mark Burnett Productions rolled into Omaha looking for a replacement for INXS frontman Michael Hutchence. The rest of the story is below, and will appear next week. So for Throwback Thursday…

Published in Lazy-i Feb. 10, 2005:

INXSessive or American Idolatry?

So you wanna be a rock star, huh?

Well, Friday just might be your lucky day. Mark Burnett Productions, the fine folks who brought us such intelligent, thoughtful television programs as Survivor, The Bachelor and The Apprentice, will be at Mick’s in Benson all day looking for an “INXS Rock Star.” The talent search/reality TV series is an effort to help ’80s rock band INXS find a replacement for deceased frontman Michael Hutchence, who hanged himself in 1997.

“Sometimes in life, you get one shot to prove you have real talent,” says the call for auditions at INXS.com. “That chance is about to happen to anyone willing to prove they have what it takes to be a ROCK STAR.”

Word on the street was that they weren’t just looking for a pretty face, but for serious singer/songwriters, which is why Omaha was among the 18 cities chosen to host the auditions along with Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Sydney, Australia.

In my book, Anonymous American frontman Matt Whipkey and Galen Kieth from Lovetap, are the most qualified to audition. But Whipkey says he’s not interested. “It sounds like a great way to lose all your songwriting rights and get involved in some lengthy contractual obligation,” he said. “I’m sure it’ll be entertaining. I will likely watch it on TV and then say, ‘Boy, I should have done that,’ but right now… it seems silly.”

It’s hard not to agree. Look, I’m an INXS fan, too. “Don’t Change” from ’82’s Shabooh Shoobah is one of my favorite songs from my high school years. I have no doubt that this event will be an enormous success both for Mick’s and Mark Burnett Productions, but let’s not kid ourselves. Are they really looking for a singer/songwriter or just another stud? Isn’t this just another version of American Idol?

Absolutely not, says casting director Michelle McNulty, calling from Chicago. “We’re not looking for a Michael Hutchence look alike. The person has to be able to get up and front this band. He has to be the real deal.”

McNulty said the show, and the band, are looking for that person who has “it.”

“‘It’ is that charismatic quality that comes from someone who can perform in front of 50,000 people. It could be a man or a woman.”

McNulty said she understood Whipkey’s reticence and skepticism. “I get where he’s coming from. But I’m telling you the winner will become a full-fledged member of this band and will go on a world tour.” They’ll also be writing music with keyboardist Andrew Farriss, just like Hutchense used to do.

McNulty confirmed it was Omaha’s music scene that drew the production to town. “Look at that kid, what’s his name?” Bright Eyes? “Yeah. He’s blowing up everywhere.”

By the way, don’t bother dropping by Mick’s unless you’re planning on taking the stage. Auditions are closed, McNulty said, and they won’t be aired like they are on American Idol. You’ll just have to wait until this summer when CBS begins airing the series to see if they found any “it” in Omaha. – Feb. 10, 2005

* * *

Tune in next week to see what happened.

By the way, this also was going on in February 2005:

Lazy-i Feb. 10, 2005 — An addendum to the Jan. 26 column predicting Bright Eyes’ first week sales for I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and Digital Ash in a Digital Urn: According to Saddle Creek, I’m Wide Awake clocked in at #10 on the Billboard charts with 56,167 scanned during its first week of sales. Digital Ash was #15 with 45,736 scanned. That’s a combined total of 101,903 sold during the first week. In addition, Wide Awake and Digital Ash also made Billboard‘s Independent Album Chart — #2 and #3 respectively — and Alternative Album Chart — #3 and #4 respectively, as well as the BBC Radio 1 Top 40 Indie Albums Chart — #3 and #5 respectively.

Exciting times indeed.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Contemplating summer days (Stir, Decemberists, etc.); New Jake Bellows videos; Orenda Fink tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:49 pm February 11, 2015
Orenda Fink plays tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson.

Orenda Fink plays tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The news lull continues, which explains why updates have been spotty lately. When I don’t have something to write about, I’m not going to post an update, and lately there hasn’t been much to write about regarding local indie music. At least nothing definitive.

From a national indie perspective, one of the bigger announcements was the continuation of The Replacements reunion tour, with shows now slated for Denver April 19 and Chicago April 29 and 30. Why not Maha in August? You never know, though I don’t see it happening. I suspect we’ll be getting a Maha headliner announcement in the very near future.

I was a tad bit disappointed that Replacements won’t be in Austin for South by Southwest this year, mainly because I will, once again, be attending the annual confab / endurance test. Expect the usual coverage at thereader.com and (of course) right here.

And there very likely also will be a podcast from Austin, but more about podcasting later (I still have to figure out how to do it).

In other outdoor festival news, Stir Cove announced a slew of lackluster summer dates including Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes, Colin Hay of Men at Work, the godawful Hozier and novelty star Weird Al. Looks like my string of avoiding Stir Concert Cover shows will continue in 2015.

One outdoor concert I will be attending (in addition to Maha) is The Decemberists at Sumtur Amphitheater May 29.  Where the f*** is Sumtur? Way out in Papillion out by Walnut Creek Lake. Where’s that? It’s 20-some miles south of Dodge on 108th St. No opener named, yet. Decemberists have been touring with Alvvays, and two days before the Omaha date Decemberists are playing at Red Rocks with Courtney Barnett. Barnett alone is worth the 8-hour drive to Denver.

* * *

Hey, here’s some news: Mouser just posted three new videos by Jake Bellows. You can see them all here or check out the YouTube embed below (which connects to the full playlist). Good ol’ Jake.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson it’s Orenda Fink live and in concert. She is, in my opinion, the kind of artist perfectly suited for this very intimate venue. Expect a special performance. Opening is Thayer Sarrano & Mike Schlesinger. $8, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

On Grammy’s and indie music; Beach Slang, Taboo tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm February 9, 2015
Beach Slang plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Beach Slang plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thoughts on the Grammy’s… Morning Phase to me was merely a sequel to Beck’s far superior (and out of the blue) Sea Change album from 2002, so the fact that it won Album of the Year is really a testament to his earlier, better release. At least that’s how I see it. The whole deal with Kanye rushing the stage — a publicity stunt. In fact, most of Kanye’s career is a publicity stunt. At least that’s how I see it.

As for the rest of the Grammy’s, well, as I said last night on Facebook, the Grammy’s have always sucked. Look back to the history of the awards and you’ll see they’ve been consistent in honoring the most commercial, flavorless pablum released in the prior year, because that’s what the public wants. Even Beck’s victory is nothing more than a rehash of something he did before.

Needless to say, none of my favorite records from 2014 received accolades last night. Imagine if they had. Imagine if, say, Mark Kozelek had been nominated — or had won — a televised Grammy. It would have been surreal, since virtually no one in the audience has ever heard of Sun Kil Moon or Kozelek. Would I/we really want to see that? Do I/we really need our tastes validated by Grammy voters? The only thing I’d want to see is Kozelek giving Kanye a beat-down if/when he tried to grab his mic.

An aside: I recently heard on the Dan Patrick Radio Show a conversation about pop music, where Patrick lauded the qualities of Taylor Swift because she “writes her own music.” In fact, Swift does have writing credits on all the tracks on 1989, along with a stable of co-writers. You can’t blame Patrick for not knowing how modern pop music is created, with all the producers involved.

But Patrick went onto compliment Swift by saying no one writes their own music anymore. “They used to call them singer/songwriters.” Today’s pop stars are performers, not songwriters. Patrick points to people like Bieber, who is a media star as much as a pop star. That hasn’t changed much over the years, but if you look at the history of the Grammy’s pre-2000 a lot of the top-tier nominees wrote their own music — for better or worse. And certainly Beck wrote Morning Phase.

Patrick ignores (as most people do) the entire sub genre of indie music, where the material is almost always written by the performers rather than created in a production lab. Those folks who really enjoy The Grammy’s have never heard of indie music and never will and that’s the way it’ll always be. The Grammy’s and the music they recognize are a business, whereas indie music is a way of life, an often thankless one that involves holding down a couple jobs and walking away when it comes time to raise a family. So be it.

* * *

We have a few things going on this week. Orenda Fink is Wednesday night at Reverb. Will she sell out? Maybe, maybe… Sleater-Kinney, which is Friday at Slowdown, sold out weeks ago.

Tonight, Cursive tour mates Beach Slang plays a headline show at Slowdown Jr. The Philly punk trio, which released an EP last September on Tiny Engines, joins Cursive on tour Feb. 10 in Denver and hangs with them until March 16. Telepathy Problems and Timecat open tonight’s 8 p.m. show. Tix are $8.

Also tonight, Maine goth/noise band Taboo (they’ve been compared to Throbbing Gristle and Royal Trux) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Ruby Block and Hag. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Lots to do for a Monday…

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Klemmensen and Party Saturday; New Lungs, Broncho, Small Houses Sunday; Lincoln Exposed…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:47 pm February 6, 2015
Small Houses plays at O'Leaver's Sunday night...

Small Houses plays at O’Leaver’s Sunday night…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When it comes to indie music, it’s slim pickin’s this weekend show-wise. There virtually is nothing on my radar tonight. I guess it’s Benson First Friday, but you wouldn’t know it based on what’s happening in Benson this evening.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) John Klemmensen and the Party headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s. JK is on the verge of releasing a new album, and no doubt we’ll be hearing tunes off that collection during his set. Opening is State Disco, Backwater Spawn and Riverbirds. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and our long-awaited return to The Slowdown. Actually, Slowdown Jr. to be exact, with headliner Broncho. The Norman Oklahoma trio has been opening for, of all people, Billy Idol recently. Opening Sunday’s show is the always awesome New Lungs (fronted by DMax of Little Brazil). Tix are $7 today, $10, Sunday. 9 p.m.

Also Sunday night, O’Leaver’s hosts Small Houses a.k.a. Philly singer/songwriter Jeremy Quentin, who’s on tour supporting his new album, Second City. Opening is Anna McClellan. $5, 9:30 p.m.

What else…

Almost forgot that Lincoln Exposed is happening tonight and Saturday night. More info here, and here’s the line-up:

FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6

Duffy’s Tavern
7:40-8:20 – Gabe w/ Pants
8:40-9:20 – Dylan Bloom Band
9:40-10:20 – Emmett Bower Band
10:40-11:20 – Laughing Falcon
11:40-12:20 – Bogusman
12:40-1:20 – Bottle Tops

Zoo Bar
6-6:40 – Producers of the Word
7-7:40 – Evan Bartels and the Stoney Lonesomes
8-8:40 – Magma Melodier
9-9:40 – Weldon Keys
10-10:40 – The Whiskey Drinkers Union
11-11:40 – Her Flyaway Manner
12-12:40 – Halfwit

The Bourbon
7:20-8 – Pure Brown
8:20-9 – Tie These Hands
9:20-10 – Sputnik Kaputnik
10:20-11 – Bud Heavy & The High Lifes
11:20-12 – Once A Pawn
12:20-1 – Foam Form

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 7

Duffy’s Tavern
6:40-7:20 – Giant’s Arrow
7:40-8:20 – The Allendales
8:40-9:20 – Powerful Science
9:40-10:20 – Thundersandwich
10:40-11:20 – A Ferocious Jungle Cat
11:40-12:20 – Dude Won’t Die
12:40-1:20 – Thirst Things First

Zoo Bar
6-6:40 – Tupelo Springfield
7-7:40 – Gerardo Meza
8-8:40 – The Renfields
9-9:40 – Stonebelly
10-10:40 – The Crayons
11-11:40 – Commander Kilroy
12-12:40 – The Gov’t

The Bourbon
7:20-8 – Within Wilds
8:20-9 – Better Friend
9:20-10 – Ghost Town Radio
10:20-11 – Dude’s Gone Rude
11:20-12 – Night Push
12:20-1 – Eyes For Higher

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

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

TBT: Lazy-i Feb. 5, 2003: Dealing with ‘A Situation’…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:54 pm February 5, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Since there’s nothing to report, how about a little “Throw Back Thursday” action? With Lincoln Exposed going strong tonight and for the next couple of nights, here’s a chestnut from 2003 about “A Situation,” the Lincoln-based indie-music co-op that spawned five year’s worth of compilation CDs, and some might say inspired today’s local music festivals (like Lincoln Exposed) and Hear Nebraska.

Dealing with ‘A Situation’
Lazy-i – Feb. 5, 2003

A few of the bands involved in A Situation in 2002.

A few of the bands involved in A Situation in 2002.

A handful of Lincoln bands are joining forces to raise the profile of local music, share resources and work together to make a name for themselves.

Called “A Situation,” the idea was born out of frustration from bands that had hit the same glass ceiling, not knowing what to do next. They’d done their local gigs; a few had recorded their own CDs, but a future of continually playing the same clubs over and over while hocking CDRs seemed pointless.

Pulling together was a logical next step, said Malcom Miles, bassists for the Post-Trendies, one of five bands involved in the project.

“This is about efficiency and resources,” Miles said. “We are trying to be more effective at doing the things musicians want to do, which is record and release music, play live shows and tour, and have fun doing it. Having the support of a larger group makes some of these things easier to do.”

He said any single band can put out a CD, but doing a compilation and pulling together the recording resources is easier and cheaper. Then there’s touring. “None of us have toured extensively,” he said. “If one of the bands adopted a city and built a following there, they could take the other bands along. Sharing club contacts is just going to make it easier for each band to set up a tour.”

Bands involved in A Situation in 2002.

Bands involved in A Situation in 2002.

Miles gave a rather sophisticated take on the meaning behind the confab’s name, saying “a situation” refers to a late-’60s movement by French intellectuals and artists working around the idea of society being a spectacle that they wanted to live outside of.

But that was followed by a more reasonable explanation. “We also didn’t know what we were doing,” he said. “We’re not a label or a collective or a commune. We’re a situation of bands working together.”

Five Lincoln bands currently are caught up in this situation:

– Crush the Clown, a power trio that sports a tight, angular punk sound;
— Joe Buck — consisting of the irrepressible Dan Jenkins, the force behind the now-defunct power-alt-country outfit Drive-by Honky;
— The Honey Hush — a 5-piece that includes former members of Black Dahlias, Starboy and Bronco;
— Junior Mighty — the duo of Lori Allison (the Millions) and Brian McCue (The Black Dahlias).

And, finally, Miles’ own Post-Trendies. Called The Trendies in their first incarnation that included Matt Silcock (Head of Femur, Opium Taylor and a handful of other notable bands), when Silcock moved to Chicago in 2001, the band changed its name to the Post-Trendies and stayed a four-piece.

“We make a joke on our Web site (http://geocities.com/grothescene/) that none of the bands in ‘a situation’ sound alike,” Miles said. “This isn’t an exclusive thing. We’ve talked to other bands, including bands from Omaha. Our main goal is to raise awareness of local music, that’s the priority.”

So how is it different than starting a record label? Miles said the comparisons have been drawn, but that the ‘label’ label doesn’t really apply. “We love the fact that what we’re doing is undefined,” he said. “We looked at Saddle Creek and Sub Pop as models of similar efforts that have been successful. Both of those labels did great things to help their bands out. But our main focus is promoting the local scene. We’re not doing anything that costs a lot of money. This is something that any group of bands could pull together.”

The first project out of the gate is producing a compilation CD with contributions from all five bands, each contributing two songs. The tracks are being recorded at Crush the Clown guitarist Nick Westra’s home studio. The group’s “launch party” Saturday, Feb. 8, 2002, at Duffy’s in Lincoln, is a fund-raiser to pull together cash to cover the CD’s production costs. A similar group show is planned for Omaha some time in April.

Once completed, the bands will sell copies of the CD at their individual shows. “We hope that this starts a cycle and keeps moving forward,” Miles said. “If we play enough shows and continue to sell CDs, we would get enough back to put together a second compilation.

“Most local bands don’t have any sort of notion of becoming Britney Spears or The Backstreet Boys. Most of us would like to make music a lifetime job. You sort of make the best music you can, and just see how it goes.”

So how did it go? Malcom Miles provided an update this morning via Facebook: “We did one compilation a year for five years running (2004-2008). The short story is two things happened simultaneously – one was CD sales dropped each year we did it and so it wasn’t fiscally viable; the second thing is I ran out of steam as the coordinator of the project.”

In some ways A Situation was a precursor to things like Hear Nebraska and Lincoln Calling/Exposed. Miles says he feels a kinship to those modern-day efforts.

Absolutely – We came out of the Broadside Cassettes and Linoma CDs and passed the torch on to Hear Nebraska, and all the local music festivals,” he said. “Bands have much more ability to share their music digitally now, but I still like the historical artifact of a record or CD or cassette. I’m glad Hear Nebraska has continued to put out compilations as well as doing streaming / video.”

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

AYGAMG Kickstarter; Neil Young chimes in on vinyl ‘fashion statement'; New Sam Martin video; Lincoln Exposed tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:22 pm February 4, 2015
A screen capture from Sam Martin's latest video...

A screen capture from Sam Martin’s latest video…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s amazing how little is happening musicwise this week (these days). The biggest bit of news is that The Waiting Room is undergoing some sort of transformation, according to their weekly email blast. I’ve reached out to one of the club owner’s asking for details, but got no response, and since they virtually have no shows this week… well, we’ll just have to wait and see. What more could they do to the place?

* * *

A few days ago, Reb Lowry of All Young Girls Are Machine Guns (AYGAMG) emailed saying she launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the pressing of a two-song 7-inch single. She’s trying to raise two grand. You can help her out here.

That is if you’re into “fashion statements,” as Neil Young described vinyl in an interview that is catching fire on social media. I’ve seen the quote a dozen times in a dozen different online publications, always taken out of context. Here’s the full quote, which isn’t nearly as negative as everyone thinks, from the source, The Frame, 89.3 KPCC:

[There’s been] a little vinyl resurgence — you might point to that. But let’s face it: this is a convenience-oriented society and vinyl is not a convenient thing. It’s a niche and it’s a great niche and it’s a wonderful thing and I hope people continue to enjoy vinyl and it continues to grow because it’s a good thing. However, a lot of people that buy vinyl today don’t realize that they’re listening to CD masters on vinyl, and that’s because the record companies have figured out that people want vinyl. And they’re only making CD masters in digital, so all the new products that come out on vinyl are actually CDs on vinyl, which is really nothing but a fashion statement.

If vinyl is a “niche” market, what would you call the market for the PonoPlayer, Young’s latest business venture that everyone is saying is a piece of shit? Among the critics, technology hardware reviewers Ars Technica, who called Pono “A tall, refreshing drink of snake oil.”

Among Ars‘ findings in their review: “As most audio-obsessed geeks will tell you, research and tests about high-res audio tend to make Neil Young and his Kool-Aid salesmen sound like fools. In many cases, higher-rate sampling can make audio sound worse. (Go down a real frequency rabbit hole here if you want.) Hell, Mr. Young must know by now that his older, degraded ears are less likely to pick up higher-range frequency audio than any of his potential customers.”

Harsh. Ars concluded: “No amount of testing (with PonoPlayer) made 192kHz/24-bit FLAC audio sound noticeably better than high-quality MP3s.” Plus, Pono doesn’t have a “hold” button? What?

Let the battle rage on. Apple owns this market and will until Spotify begins to produce its own (unnecessary) player, which I have to believe is just around the corner.

* *
Sam Martin has a new video out called “I Like to Hide” from his new album, A Notion In an Ocean. He shot, edited and directed the whole damn thing. Sam’s music reminds me of Harry Nilsson. I have no idea how Sam will take that comment, but it’s meant as a compliment. And if you don’t know who Nilsson is, Google him. You’re missing out.

* * *

What else.

There might not be shit happening in Omaha this week (month) but there is in Lincoln. Tonight is the kick-off of Lincoln Exposed — three venues tons of Lincoln bands. Tonight’s sched:

Duffy’s Tavern

8:40-9:20 – Domestica
9:40-10:20 – Kerry Eddy and the Current Situation
10:40-11:20 – This Machine Kills Vibes
11:40-12:20 – Life is Cool
12:40-1:20 – Blue Sky Angel Parade

Zoo Bar

8-8:40 – Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band
9-9:40 – Omni Arms
10-10:40 – Powers
11-11:40 – Red Cites
12-12:40 – Universe Contest

The Bourbon

8:20-9 – Melon Company
9:20-10 – Floating Opera
10:20-11 – Emily Bass
11:20-12 – I Forgot To Love My Father
12:20-1 – The Dancing Dead

Check out the full festival calendar here: https://www.facebook.com/events/904564312896270/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Winter screwed my weekend; is vinyl a ‘fad’ or here to stay?; Pono sound challenge…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:36 pm February 2, 2015

recordsby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I spent all day yesterday cooped up in my house watching bad pre-Super Bowl television and playing Trivia Crack on my phone. That’s the extent of my weekend. It wasn’t a total loss. I did score some very fine original artwork created by Brian Tait, which I spent the daylight hours hanging. Tait’s the guy that runs Midtown Art Supply. He also makes great art, including the large, giant possum painting I’m looking at over my shoulder right now.

But what does any of this have to do with music? Maybe this:

Last Friday AV Club published this bit of click-bait called “Vinyl is just a fad, record executives say.” The piece compiled quotes from RCA Records president Tom Corson and Universal Music Distribution general manager Candace Berry pooh-poohing the recent jump in vinyl sales (up 52 percent last year, while digital sales dropped 12.5 percent).

Among the executives interviewed for the story was Saddle Creek Records exec Robb Nansel. Says Nansel about vinyl in the story, “It’s always going to be a niche…Not to be negative about it, but I feel like it’s going to peak, if it hasn’t already.

Turns out the AV Club story is merely a rehash of this more detailed Rolling Stone article, and the AV Club writer left out the rest of the Nansel’s quote, which was:  “From a label perspective, it’s expensive. You’ve got to ship it. There are environmental concerns. But we love vinyl. It’s our preferred format.

Robb’s “niche” comment sounded eerily like one of my 2015 predictions, which went something like: “The vinyl craze will slow, this after a year that saw 49 percent increase in U.S. vinyl sales vs. 2013 numbers. The growth will level off as younger music fans refuse to embrace a medium they see as an interesting but inconvenient gimmick that costs twice as much (or more) than what they pay to download the same album (if they pay at all).

Both my comments and Nansel’s raised the eyebrow of Homer’s general manager Mike Fratt. Fratt said (on his Facebook timeline) that the AV Club article caused him to spit out his drink in laughter. In response to my 2015 prediction, Fratt emailed me saying. “Vinyl is still on the way up and we don’t anticipate a peak until 2017 or 2018. 16 to 24 year olds make up 22 percent of the vinyl buying public. This means they will remain invested in the format for another 10 years until they start getting married and have babies which can curtail music/purchases/discretionary items.

Fratt went on: “Right now vinyl pressing plants cannot meet demand so as more come on line this year sales will continue to increase. Also, less than 100 indie stores report sales to Soundscan, so actual sales are WAY under-represented. Soundscan reports 6 million; (the) real number is over 10 million. This holiday season we sold more turntables than the last three years combined and reports are there is no stock to replenish stores as they sold so well everywhere this holiday season. I believe three or more vinyl titles sold over 100,000 units in 2014. Pretty amazing.

Amazing indeed. Only time will tell who’s right in predicting the future of vinyl. The only thing I have on my side of the argument is personal experience. The few 20-somethings I’ve spoken to who aren’t already vinyl collectors find the idea of acquiring a turntable amusing. They love listening to music, not collecting it. And believe me, there is a distinction.

As a 40-something guy, I grew up with vinyl, switched to CDs, bought a click-wheel iPod and now subscribe to Spotify. That said, when I buy music (and not rent it), I almost exclusively buy vinyl, and then download the album via a digital key that comes in the package. I doubt I’m alone. But then again, I’ve always been a collector, as evidenced by the bookshelves filled with comic books and albums, drawers filled with CDs and the local art hanging on my walls (like those amazing Taits). For many, collecting vinyl is like a fetishist activity — just ask the dudes standing in line outside of Homer’s on Record Store Day.

Where do I listen to the vast majority of my music? On my iPhone, while I’m running, shopping, working. I rarely listen to the vinyl copies of new albums more than a few times because I’m never sitting where my turntable is located very long (unless I’m writing, in which case, I don’t have music on at all). I think that could be the case for most people, especially those who work in an office or go to school. If you want to listen to music during the day, you probably have to take it with you. It’s that necessity that will limit vinyl to a collectors’ market.

I hope I’m wrong; I hope Fratt is right. I’d like nothing more than to see vinyl sales continue to grow, and believe me Nansel would like to see that, too.

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Speaking of music portability, Yahoo! Tech shoots holes in Neil Young’s PonoPlayer High Definition music device, saying it lost in a blind taste test vs. a regular ol’ iPhone. A summary is here at 9-to-5 Mac, that says: “For the blind trial, Pogue assembled 15 people aged 17 to 55, asking them to flip between three songs on the iPhone and PonoPlayer, each song in the device’s best resolution. In separate tests using ‘standard Apple earbuds’ and Sony MDR-7506 headphones, more people preferred the iPhone to ‘Pono’ or ‘neither.’

Interesting. Reminds me of all the articles comparing vinyl to digital. In the end, can anyone but those with the most expensive audio equipment tell a difference in sound quality?

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Feel Tight, The Envy Corps, Take Cover (Lincoln) tonight; Lightning Bug, Strange Attractors, Channel Pressure Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:58 pm January 30, 2015
The poster for tonight's Feel Tight EP release show at O'Leaver's.

The poster for tonight’s Feel Tight EP release show at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Another weekend without a touring band coming through town. What else is new? Chock it up to the time of year (I guess). I’m trying to think of the last show I hyped at The Slowdown… New Pornographers? It’s not like Slowdown doesn’t have shows coming up. New Lungs plays at Jr. a week from Sunday (Feb. 8, opening for Broncho), and there’s that long-sold-out Sleater-Kinney show Feb. 13. And then… nothing indie-wise until Retox March 2 and the just-announced King Khan BBQ Show March 10. T’was a time when there was at least one decent indie show at The Slowdown every weekend. Why the drought?  One reason could be that One Percent Productions, which historically has booked the better indie shows at Slowdown (New Pornographers and Sleater-Kinney are 1% shows), now has its bases covered with their own clubs: The Waiting Room and Reverb.  Another reason could be a general change in booking strategy…

Anyway… Let’s talk about this weekend, much of which will likely be spent at fabulous O’Leaver’s (Thanks to their booker, Craig D). Tonight, Feel Tight celebrates its EP release at The Bar That Mach Built. I have yet to see this latest project by Jason Meyer of Talking Mountain, but have been told their performances are cinematic spectacles. No doubt Meyer and Co. will be throwing out all the stops in front of the usual crowd of blasted degenerates. Opening is Des Moines’ Christopher the Conquered and Big Slur. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, The Envy Corps plays at Reverb Lounge with Holy White Hounds and Field Division. $7, 9 p.m.

And if you’re in Lincoln tonight, check out Take Cover, a benefit for Hear Nebraska (of which I’m a board member). The rules are the same as last week’s Take Cover show at The Waiting Room — each band plays one original and one cover of a song by a Nebraska artist. The performers include Eli Mardock, Aaron Parker (Gordon), Spencer McCoy and Cole Keeton (blét), Tim Carr and Joe Humpal (Universe Contest), Günter Voelker and Joe Salvati (Jack Hotel), Cortney Kirby (FREAKABOUT), Churls, Rachel Tomlinson Dick (Hers, Manic Pixie Dream Girls, Miniature Horse), Mike and Kerry Semrad (The Bottle Tops), Chanty Stovall (Producers of the Word), Gerardo Meza (Mezcal Brothers), Max Holmquist (Oquoa), Mikey Elfers (THIRST THINGS FIRST), Zachary Watkins and Ishma Valenti (AZP) and Mary Lawson (Mesonjixx, Xion). The fun starts at 9 p.m. at The Bourbon, and your cover of $8, goes to a worthy cause.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Lightning Bug returns to O’Leaver’s. Opening is Fontenelle and Low Long Signal. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room Saturday night, The Strange Attractors headlines with The Decaturs. $7, 9 p.m.

Finally, at The Sweatshop Gallery in Benson, its an Fitness #000006. Featured performers include Channel Pressure (An electronic act that combines Todd Fink of The Faint with Graham Patrick Ulicny of Reptar), Ruby Block, Nick Holden and the infamous Superstar and Star. $5, 10 p.m.

That’s what 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 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

The poster for tonight's Feel Tight EP release show at O'Leaver's.

The poster for tonight’s Feel Tight EP release show at O’Leaver’s.

Lazy-i

Desaparecidos signs to Epitaph; new Twinsmith single released in the wild…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In what could be the worst-kept secret in the history of indie rock, it was officially announced yesterday that former Saddle Creek Records band Desaparecidos has signed with Epitaph Records for the release of the band’s first new album in 13 frickin’ years.

Rumors of the Epitaph signing go as far back as the band’s 2013 Maha Festival performance. Conor Oberst all but confirmed the deal (or more accurately, didn’t deny it) in this May 2014 interview in The Reader.

Epitaph’s official announcement adds nothing new to the story, not even a street date for the album, only that it’ll be released this year. One assumes that the release would be sometime around the start of the band’s brief April tour, that starts April 8 in Denver. We shall see.

Not being discussed is why the new Desa record isn’t coming out on Saddle Creek. I suppose the writing was on the wall when they self-released three singles over the past couple years. With Oberst now on Nonesuch and Bright Eyes seemingly on indefinite hiatus, it appears Oberst has all but cut ties with the record label he helped create.

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Twinsmith's new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Twinsmith’s new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Speaking of Saddle Creek, its newest addition, Twinsmith, saw the debut of the first track off its sophomore album, Alligator Years, premiered this morning at AV Club (Don’t forget check out the comments at the end of that AV Club story). Twimsmith is touring with Cursive in February before they begin a headlining tour March 2 in Chicago (which leads to their appearances at SXSW in mid-March). The rekkid comes out May 5.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i