Strange Attractors tonight; Life is Cool Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:39 pm January 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s an extremely limited number of indie shows this weekend.

Tonight Strange Attractors opens for the Tom Phillips Trio at Reverb Lounge. Strange Attractors is Matt Kucera (Fornever/Lead), Aaron Gum (InDreama), Dereck Higgins, (InDreama, Son Ambulance), Wes Graffius, Brandon Voorhees and Scott Armstrong (Black on High). $7, 9 p.m.

At fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight it’s Clear the Day, The Sapwoods, Foxholes and Mitch Gettman. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday night Lincoln band Life Is Cool visits The Waiting Room. The band recently added bass player Craig Crawford of Mousetrap fame. Life Is Cool is one of the openers along with Edge of Arbor and the Decatures. The headliner is The Sub-Vectors, who are celebrating the release of a new album, Music on the Bones. $8, 9 p.m.

Wow, that’s about it. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a good 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.

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Big Wheel (w/Kevin Hiddleston) debuts tonight; Conor goes NYC Gov’r; and the winners are…

Category: Blog — @ 1:58 pm January 8, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Kevin Hiddleston has been a fixture of the Omaha music scene for years, whether you know or it or not. Hiddleston is that pony-tailed dude you may have seen running around stringing cables and staring at sound boards at some of the larger music events around town. Most musicians and sound guys who have worked in Omaha over the years know Hiddleston well.

I bring this up because Hiddleston’s band, Big Wheel, is having its stage debut tonight at The Reverb Lounge. In addition to Hiddleston, band members include Jason Churchill, Mike Matsui and Bill Nanso.

Hiddleston describes Big Wheel’s music on Facebook as all-original rock songs that are classic rock-ish or maybe “Americana,” but not heavy and not weepy songwriter stuff, either. The band’s full-length debut is almost completed.

Big Wheel opens for Clarence Tilton (Corey Weber’s band) tonight at Reverb, $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

In the wake of yesterday’s Coachella announcement, Conor Oberst has been named as one of the feature performers at this year’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival in NYC June 5-7. Other performers include My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams, Tame Impala, The Decemberists, St. Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Chromeo, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Charli XCX and more.

Hey Maha, when are we going to get an announcement?

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And now the moment you’ve been waiting for: The winners of this year’s drawing for a copy of The Lazy-i Best of 2014 Compilation CD are:

Jonathan Boulay of Saugerties, NY, and Paul Trap of Omaha!

I’ll be dropping your CDs in the mail tomorrow. Thanks to everyone who entered!

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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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What a drag it is getting cold; Desa to Coachella; Of Montreal 3/16…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:10 pm January 7, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I didn’t make it out to see The Good Life last night and it hurts my heart. It was a game-time decision, the wind-chill was in the negatives and I had to get up early this morning. In the old days (just a few years ago) I would have gone anyway, but it’s getting tougher to get out during the week, especially when I don’t know if there will be any air in my Tracker’s tires when I leave the club (They have this way of leaking out in sub-zero weather).

If you were at O’Leaver’s last night, let me know how it went. The band is reportedly in the studio today working on their new record.

* * *

What else…

Desparecidos is playing Coachella April 12. Impressive. Coachella is getting some blow-back this year because of the number of legacy bands playing the festival, including AC/DC, Steely Dan, not to mention the ’90s and ’00s bands (Built to Spill, Sloan, heck Desa’s been around for a decade). I’m not sure what all the whining is about. The majority of the lineup consists of modern-day acts (read the lineup at TIME).  You’re always going to have a few notable big names from back in the day that appeal to multiple generations. Congrats to Desa. Something tells me this Epitaph release could be a monster…

* * *

One Percent’s latest update went out this morning. The most notable nugget on their list of shows — Of Montreal March 16 at The Waiting Room. I think that might be smack-dab in the middle of SXSW, so it’s very likely I’ll miss them. Or maybe not. The press release says they’re playing SXSW March 19…

* * *

I got all your entries for the Comp CD giveaway. Thanks! I’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge legacy performer Sarah Benck takes the stage with Kevin Sandbloom and CJ Mills. $5, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Good Life tonight (and O’Leaver’s this month); CoS’s most anticipated 2015 releases; last chance to enter the 2014 Lazy-i Comp CD drawing…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:56 pm January 6, 2015
The Good Life at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011.

The Good Life at The Slowdown, May 1, 2011. The band plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Expect another crazy night at fabulous O’Leaver’s as the club hosts The Good Life tonight playing new music from their upcoming album. In fact, the band enters the studio tomorrow to begin recording, so tonight’s show is sort of like the date leading to conception. Opening is the incomparable James Maakestad (Gus & Call, McCarthy Trenching). $5, 9:30 p.m.

O’Leaver’s is on a roll these days. Craig D, who books the club, shared their January schedule. Here are some of the highlights:

1/9- Clear the Day, The Sapwoods, Foxholes, Mitch Gettman
1/16- Bloodcow with Pro-Magnum and Nightbird
1/22- TIT and Worried Mothers
1/23- Handsome as Sin w/ The Toppings
1/24- Derby Birds, Shane Lamson (Brigadiers), All Young Girls are Machine Guns
1/30- Feel Tight with Christopher the Conquered
1/31- Lightning Bug w/ Fontenelle and Low Long Signal

Of particular note is the TIT show Jan. 22. TIT is Shawn Foree of Digital Leather and Bobby Hussy of The Hussy. Their debut album came out last month on FDH Records and is more of the electronic mayhem we’ve come to expect from these two. That Jan. 16 Bloodcow show should also be off the hook (as the kids used to say)…

* * *

I’ve been trying to find an online resource for upcoming releases. Not much out there, but I did stumble onto Consequences of Sound‘s “50 Most Anticipated Albums of 2015″ list, and found (sort of) what I was looking for, which is the more interesting indie releases in the coming months. Among them, new ones by Belle and Sebastian (1/20, Matador); The Decemberists (1/20, Capitol); Sleater-Kinney (1/20, Sub Pop); Ft. John Misty (2/10, Sub Pop); Will Butler (3/10, Merge) and Twin Shadow (3/17, Warners).

There are a handful of other interesting mentions on the list (The Wrens will have a new album out?), but as a whole, if this is all there is, we could be seeing the doldrums of the last quarter of ’14 continuing.

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bestof20014cdbembedOK folks, today is the LAST DAY to enter into the drawing to get a copy of the coveted Lazy-i Best of 2014 Compilation CD — the 20th Anniversary edition of this timeless classic. The collection includes tracks by Angel Olsen, Alvvays, Run the Jewels, Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadies, The Lupines, Twin Peaks, Spoon, Strand of Oaks, Protomartyr and ton more, including a wild-card surprise track from the 1994 Best of Cassette (each CD has a different surprise track). The full track listing is here. Entering is super-easy: To enter, either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3, Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. Hurry, contest deadline is MIDNIGHT TONIGHT!

* * *

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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The calm after the storm; Big Harp, McCarthy Trenching tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:54 pm January 2, 2015
Big Harp plays tonight at O'Leaver's...

Big Harp plays tonight at O’Leaver’s…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After the last couple weeks of stellar reunion shows, I guess it’s payback time. A glance at the calendars for the next few weeks (months) shows very few national touring indie bands coming through Omaha. The winter months always are rather sparse show-wise, but somehow we make it through to the spring.

It ain’t all bad news. In fact, there’s at least one big show going on this weekend.

Big Harp is playing a set tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band just opened for The Good Life last week, and now here they are again, this time on The Club’s tiny stage. Opening is the always impressive McCarthy Trenching. $5, 9:30 p.m. Expect a crush mob Looks like O’Leaver’s will be booking a lot of indie shows in the coming months. An early heads up for next Tuesday night’s show — The Good Life performing songs from their upcoming new release.

Also going on tonight, All Young Girls Are Machine Guns headlines at Reverb Lounge. Openers include the legendary Dereck Higgins, Xion and CJ Mills. $7, 9 p.m.

Barley Street tonight has Calling Cody, The Doneofits, Those Far Out Arrows, and Jazz Brown and the Afterthoughts. $5, 9 p.m.

And isn’t this supposed to be Benson First Friday? Maybe not… I don’t see any BFF info online anywhere. Maybe they’re skipping it this month.

Anyway, that’s it for shows this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section.

bestof20014cdbembedHey, while I still got your attention, a reminder that you can win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2014 compilation CD — it’s the special 20th Anniversary Edition. The collection includes songs by Courtney Barnett, Sun Kil Moon, Tei Shi, Protomartyr, The Faint, Stand of Oaks, The Lupines and a ton more.  The full track listing is here. Entering has never been easier: To enter either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3, Retweet a Lazy-i tweet.Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 6!

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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

Visions of 2015 (music predictions); Steve Bartolomei and Comrades tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 2:51 pm January 1, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

crystalIt’s a new year, and as such, time for my annual Visions of 2015 Music Predictions. You can read the article in first issue of the newly redesigned Reader monthly magazine, available at all the usual drop locations. It’s also available at the newly designed reader.com, right here. Or, heck, just read the darn thing below…

20 Music Visions for 2015

Imagine, if you will, the uncanny ability to see into the future, to know what’s going to happen before it happens. It’s an awesome talent that comes with great responsibility, kind of like being Spider-Man. But before we gaze into my crystal Fender Squire (it’s cheap, but it works), let’s score last year’s predictions for 2014:

2014 Prediction: Look for MTV to emerge as a primary launching pad for premiering new music and online video.

Reality: MTV hasn’t emerged as anything other than being a lousy cable station.

2014 Prediction: Streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora will enter the concert promotion business, creating packaged “caravan”-type concert tours.

Reality: Pandora partnered with Lexus for a Southern California concert series as well as StubHub for its “Next Stage” concert series. Pandora selected the series’ artists based on their partner’s target market and information from its listener base, including age, gender and music preferences.

2014 Prediction: Target, Walmart, Best Buy and even Kmart, will reinstall record bins as the vinyl renaissance continues.

Reality: Target calls vinyl a “throwback gift” and features more than 10,000 new and oldies vinyl releases. Walmart also supposedly sells vinyl, but I’ll never know for sure because I won’t step foot in one.

2014 Prediction: With the advent of computers integrated into apparel— i.e. “wearables” — almost every concert you attend will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube.

Reality: Well, not every concert is online yet, but many of the major ones are (and the quality of video is horrendous). Rare is the rock show where I don’t see someone in the crowd holding up an iPhone “videoing” an entire song.

2014 Prediction: Pussy Riot’s release from a Russian gulag will land them in America, where they’ll create a breakthrough punk album.

Reality: Earlier this month, The Guardian reported that the band is in the studio with members of Le Tigre and may record an album with JD Samson and Johanna Fateman.

2014 Prediction: Upon its release next year, a song off a new Cursive double-live album will make the band the next Cheap Trick or Peter Frampton.

Reality: Despite multiple nights of live recording, Cursive has yet to release a single live track. What a bunch of teases.

2014 Prediction: A one-time-only all-day outdoor concert will rival the Maha Music Festival in attendance.

Reality: This did not happen (Thanks for nothing, John).

2014 Prediction: Speaking of Maha, the festival will land multiple headliners this year and will finally reach attendance that exceeds Stinson Park’s capacity, forcing organizers to look for a larger venue in 2015.

Reality: Maha had its biggest crowds ever, but the one-day festival still hasn’t outgrown its Aksarben location. The next Maha Festival has already been announced for Aug. 15, 2015, at Stinson Park.

2014 Prediction: In an effort to keep CD prices from eroding, more artists will follow Beyonce’s lead and release albums exclusively on iTunes.

Reality: U2 blew up Beyonce’s model by giving away its latest album exclusively on iTunes. Though it was the largest record distro in history, the blow-back was so severe we’ll never see a repeat.

2014 Prediction: More artists and independent labels will say “I’ve had enough” and follow Thom Yorke’s and Nigel Godrich’s lead and pull their music from Spotify.

Reality: Taylor Swift made headlines by announcing her new album, 1989, would not be available on Spotify. Coincidentally, 1989 is the only new-music album released in 2014 to go platinum.

2014 Prediction: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: Radiohead, U2. The Faint, Conor Oberst, Cursive, Ted Stevens, Beck, Prince, Animal Collective, Digital Leather, Frank Ocean, Grizzly Bear, Future Islands, Sleigh Bells, Spoon, Death Cab for Cutie, Little Brazil, Tame Impala, Local Natives, Modest Mouse and Icky Blossoms.

Reality: Almost all released or announced upcoming releases.

2014 Prediction: Bands we won’t be talking about: Miley, Springsteen, Flaming Lips, Bieber, Chris Brown, Ritual Device, Monae, Haim, Kanye, Katy Perry and Skrillex

Reality: No one saw that Ritual Device reunion coming. As for the rest, Miley who?

2014 Prediction: All Bob Dylan’s problems will be solved once and for all.

Reality: Bob is still Blowin’ in the Wind…

2014 Prediction: New Lincoln venues, including Vega, will put a squeeze on Omaha music-goers, forcing them to “make the drive” more often to see their favorite touring indie bands.

Reality: Pinnacle got McCartney, and Vega is getting Mark Kozelek Jan. 26, but there hasn’t exactly been a stampede to Lincoln.

2014 Prediction: One local online music-focused website will shut down forever in 2014 (and no, it won’t be Lazy-i).

Reality: They’re all still kicking (including SLAM Omaha).

2014 Prediction: Believe it or not, a local radio station will integrate a College Music Journal-style playlist into its regular programming

Reality: Don’t stop believing.

2014 Prediction: Yet another new live music venue will open in Benson, but this one will focus on either jazz, blues or country music.

Reality: Reverb opened in Benson this summer, and while it hasn’t distinguished itself for any one genre, Jim Johnson, who co-owns the place, said he’d like to book more country bands on Reverb’s stage.

2014 Prediction: An indie music legend with Nebraska roots who moved away from the Midwest more than a decade ago will return to The Good Life state and open a recording studio.

Reality: Matthew Sweet is now living somewhere in Omaha, where he’s built a home studio.

2014 Prediction: Look for another local singer/songwriter to break out nationally in 2014, but without the help of Saddle Creek Records.

Reality: There were big pushes by Kris Lager and Josh Hoyer, but no breakout, yet.

2014 Prediction: Next year Conor Oberst really will appear the Saturday Night Live stage, but not as a music performer…Oberst, the actor!

Reality: Um, no.

Final score 11 for 20. Now onto 2015:

2015 Prediction: An all-out Spotify rebellion will break out next year, and it won’t be coming from independent labels who are getting gutted by the service, but rather (ironically) from big name stars who make the most money off Spotify. And you’ll have Taylor Swift to thank.

2015 Prediction: 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).

2015 Prediction: But before that happens, more record labels will be forced to follow record label Fat Possoms’ lead and open their own vinyl pressing plants due to the shortage of vinyl manufacturing options. Watch smaller labels ban together to acquire their own presses.

2015 Prediction: BTW, CDs are still the second-best selling format (vinyl only accounts for about 4% of total music sales). Record labels will discover a way to add new value to CDs, either by offering better audio quality (hi-res audio), lower prices or new packaging options.

2015 Prediction: Oculus Rift virtual reality technology is a revolution for the video gamers, providing an experience so real, it’s scary (I know, I’ve tried it). Glomming on to this new tech, a rock band will produce the first-ever Oculus Rift music video. You’ll be able to view it via OR booths at independent record stores.

2015 Prediction: The soundtrack of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie made history as the first soundtrack album consisting entirely of previously released songs to top the Billboard 200 chart. Watch as record labels try to replicate that success by releasing new collections consisting entirely of chart-topping oldies tied to popular television programs or films. Who cares if all the songs are already available on Spotify?

2015 Prediction: The ’90s indie/alt-band reunions will continue next year. One reunited band will release a new recording that will break into the mainstream in a big way. Will it be Sonic Youth, Buffalo Tom, Jane’s Addiction, Galaxy 500, The Grifters, R.E.M. or Commander Venus

2015 Prediction: Bands we’ll be talking about this time next year: Modest Mouse, Hop Along, U2, Desaparecidos, Low, Cursive, Prince, Savages, Lloyd Cole, The Mynabirds, The Replacements, The xx, The Rolling Stones, Tom Wait, For Against, PJ Harvey, Icky Blossoms.

2015 Prediction: Bands we won’t be talking about: Iggy Azalea, Madonna, Metallica, Bright Eyes, Sun Kil Moon, The War on Drugs, Swans, FKA Twigs, Kanye, Led Zeppelin.

2015 Prediction: The Rolling Stones will be down one Stone.

2015 Prediction: Omaha’s bar-club bubble will burst as one or more local music venue/clubs will change hands and stop offering live music. You’ll be shocked.

2015 Prediction: Maha Music Festival organizers’ wish will finally come true and they’ll book “that band” that they’ve always wanted to play the festival. Hey, didn’t I make this prediction for 2012? Proof that persistence pays off.

2015 Predication: We’ll experience the first wave of rock ‘n’ roll “retirements” as a number of long-time well-paid singers/songwriters/musicians/bands will announce they’re getting out of the music business because they can no longer make a living at it, thanks to declining album sales and streaming services.

2015 Prediction: Along those same lines, look for a Kickstarter campaign from a former Billboard chart-topping act (and I’m not talking about Creed). You will be appalled.

2015 Prediction: While mainstream pop music becomes more sugar sweet, indie music will become more miserable. Depressing, dark acts like Pharmakon, Swans, Perfume Genius and Sun Kil Moon will be joined by even more miserable acts that will counter-balance pop’s bright banality.

2015 Prediction: With the continued popularity of music contest shows like The Voice and American Idol, it was only a matter of time until a network decided to revive American Bandstand. The format will focus on live performances by chart toppers (rather than teens dancing), and none of us will recognize Dick Clark’s replacement.

2015 Prediction: Conversely, thanks to its airing on Palladia, someone will create an American version of Later… with Jools Holland — a fantastic music-based TV show that airs on BBC that presents live performances by a mix of cool artists playing across a circle of stages.

2015 Prediction: Look for the launch of yet another new FM radio station in the Omaha market that plays CMJ-style indie. I know, I know, but it’s bound to happen.

2015 Prediction: As the industry continues to crumble, more historically huge bands will sign deals with mid-level indie labels. Along those same lines, you’ll see more formerly “large” bands and performers self-releasing material as they turn their back on labels altogether.

2015 Prediction: No local or Saddle Creek artist will make it to the SNL stage next year (duh), but one (other than a Conor band) will make it on national TV, and (in classic Buzzfeed fashion) when you see who it is it’ll blow your mind.

First published in The Reader, Dec. 31, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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What better way to celebrate the new year than a rock show? Consider this the last reunion show of a big reunion season. Steve Barolomei a.k.a. Mal Madrigal plays tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. According to the Facebook invite, it’s a mystery which of “his comrades” will join him, but it could be Ben Brodin, Ryan Fox, John Kotchian, Dan McCarthy and/or Mike Saklar. You’ll just have to show up to find out. Opening is the talented Anna McClellan $5, 9:30 p.m.

Happy New Year.

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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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The Reader to reveal new design this afternoon (and free tacos!!!)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 2:08 pm December 30, 2014

readerrenewby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m as curious as you are about what the “new” Reader will look like. I haven’t a clue what we’re going to see when publisher John Heaston and his team reveal the new design down at Sokol Underground at 3 p.m. this afternoon. It will no doubt be the beginning of a new era for a publication that’s survived as a weekly for the past 20 years.

Heaston also will be unleashing a new version of thereader.com. I’ve seen it and it is, indeed, an improvement over the current website, though it should be stressed that the new web design is only V 1.0, and that John says we’ll see even greater improvements in design and functionality in the near future.

Anyway, you’re all invited to the big reveal from 3 to 6 p.m. today. In addition to free copies of the new publication there will be free tacos, (some) booze and what’s been described as a “20 Year Maze” that walks people through the past 20 years of The Reader. No idea what this is, but it should be plenty weird.

If that wasn’t enough to set your curiosity ablaze, this first issue of the newly designed Reader will contain my annual Music Predictions for the Coming Year article — always a real crowd-pleaser.

See you this afternoon at Sokol Underground…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Faint; The Faint return tonight to TWR (tickets still available)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:03 pm December 29, 2014
The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Faint concerts are becoming a rite of the holiday season, like putting up a Christmas Tree or anxiously figuring out what you’re going to do on New Year’s Eve (and always getting it wrong).

The crowd last night at The Waiting Room was a one-eighty from the crazy biker AARP crowd at last week’s Ritual Device/Cellophane Ceiling show (which, if you missed it, was reviewed right here, posted on Saturday). We got there early again to get a seat and were surrounded on one side by a mother and her high school-aged daughter (though that couldn’t be because I saw her drinking a wheat beer) and the other by a father and his teen-aged son (clearly too young to drink, spending most of the pre-Faint time fiddling with his cell phone).

Other than the stools along the ledge off stage right and a few around the soundboard, The Waiting Room staff had cleared the hall of tables and chairs, making as much room as possible for the sold-out crowd and what had to be a monstrous guest list. It would end up being a smart decision though at 8:15 when the opening act was on stage — a guy with a laptop and a microphone who mumbled over head-splitting drone beats — the room looked empty despite a hundred or so youngsters mulling around the floor.

Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

Sucettes at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

It picked up by 9 when Sucettes took the stage. Dave Goldberg’s new band (first reviewed here) continues to be the embodiment of pre-psychedelic ’60s rock, a mash-up of Nuggets and surf driven by Goldberg’s flashy drumming (and organ playing). There is a childlike quality to their music, simple and happy and smiley-faced and fun, and downright innocent compared to the evil dance noise of The Faint.

As I write this I’m forced to recall the first time I saw The Faint at The Waiting Room, back in 2007, three days after they opened the place, before they tore out the ceiling when the club felt like a dive bar with a big stage in the back. I spent that night standing on a tiered ledge across from stage right above everyone, with a bird’s eye view of the mauling crowd below, hot with giddy aggression, chaos and dance frenzy. The bass at that show was pummeling; it was the loudest rock show I’d experienced since the last time I saw Bob Mould eviscerate ear drums at The Ranch Bowl. The bass was so loud and deep and disturbing that it rattled your internal organs, forcing you to wonder if something was being damaged inside your body. It was an exquisite performance.

In comparison, last night’s show was tame but still ferocious by modern-day Omaha rock show standards. The set was plenty loud, but not scary loud. The band left its orgy of lighting effects home for this gig, instead leaning on colored floor lights and smoke machines, a throwback to the very early days of The Faint when that was all the band could afford. As a result, the staging naturally felt stripped down, as did the performance.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

And unlike the Sokol Auditorium shows earlier this year, I noticed the lack of the band’s fifth member. Bassist/guitarist Joel Petersen left The Faint a few years ago, to little or no fanfare, and the band continued well without him, but last night early in the set, his absence left a void on some of the songs. Guitarist Dapose spent the first half on bass instead of guitar, and there were times during older material that something was missing. The four-man line-up sounded best playing Doom Abuse material, which was created with this specific line-up.

And then midway through, for a stunning version of “Animal Needs,” Dapose switched to electric guitar and all was right with the world. I assume the bass was coming through either programmed tracks or a keyboard, and it sounded fine, as Dapose scorched the earth with his axe.

As for the crowd, from my vantage point, they didn’t really get into the set until the last half, erupting in the usual bounce-bounce-bounce fashion for the greatest hits, but jumping along admirably to some of the new material, specifically “Evil Voices” and “Help in the Head.” And of course during the encore and set closer “Glass Danse” that had the entire sold-out crowd bouncing.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

The Faint at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2014.

You can check it out for yourself tonight, when The Faint do a repeat performance at The Waiting Room. Who knows when we’ll see this band again. With this leaner, meaner four-piece ensemble, writing music would appear to be quicker and easier. Will they put out another record this year? Who knows. Without new material, future shows would merely be a repeat, which would be just fine for most of last night’s crowd.

Tonight’s show starts again at 8. Openers are Ramona and the Slim Dudes and Feel Tight. $20 tickets are still available as of this writing…

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bestof20014cdbembedA reminder that you can win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2014 compilation CD — it’s the special 20th Anniversary Edition. The collection includes songs by Courtney Barnett, Sun Kil Moon, Tei Shi, Protomartyr, The Faint, Stand of Oaks, The Lupines and a ton more.  The full track listing is here. Entering has never been easier: To enter either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3, Retweet a Lazy-i tweet.

Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 6!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Ritual Device, Cellophane Ceiling, Nightbird…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 8:11 pm December 27, 2014
Ritual Device at The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

Ritual Device at The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m surprised to this day, 20 years after they were really a band, that Ritual Device continues to divide the music community.

On one hand, you have those who think the band not only was the ultimate product of Nebraska during its day in the ’90s, but think Tim Moss and Co. may be the best band that ever emerged from the Good Life State. I was told last night that people had made exoduses to The Waiting Room from as far away as Minneapolis and, of course, Kansas City, where Ritual Device played often back in its heyday. I even traveled down I-29 one summer in the ’90s and saw them tear apart a used record store somewhere on the edge of Westport. Unlike local bands today who seem to play every weekend for reasons I’ll never understand, Ritual Device shows were something of a rarity back then. I can remember the band playing only a few times in Omaha, usually at The Capitol Bar & Grill. So rare were their shows that they became events.

On the other hand, there are those who never “got” Ritual Device, who felt they were a “performance thing” or a gimmick, Tim Moss being little more than a circus geek who instead of biting heads off live chickens showered his crowds with pig ears and other raw meats, a demented circus barker tied up in microphone chord, spitting vitriol and mucus into an adoring crowd that could never get enough of either. I talked to a half-dozen people inside and outside the club last night who planned on leaving after Cellophane Ceiling’s set. Strike that — there were a few who wanted to see “what the fuss was all about,” who could barely remember Ritual Device in their later years but never bothered to see them at The Capitol or wherever they were playing.

I have never been on the fence when it came to the band. Those who malign Moss have their reasons — either they were turned off by the violence of the songs or the crowd that followed them. So be it. But even the most cynical who viewed the band as “an act,” who also have a modicum of interest in punk or metal, have to acknowledge the band’s talent. Strip away Moss’s histrionics and you still have some of the most memorable rhythms and riffs from an era in Nebraska music defined by rhythms and riffs. Mike Saklar was — and is — a top-notch guitarist; Jerry Hug, a genuine groove master, and then there was the preppy-looking guy behind the kit, the secret engine that made the band what it was on stage and on recordings — Eric Ebers — who gets lost in the conversation even though his throbbing drumming is the guidepost to every Ritual Device song.

Anyway… We got there early last night because Teresa didn’t want to stand up for three hours, and we weren’t alone. At 8:15 p.m., an hour and 15 minutes before any band would take the stage, all the tables already were taken by folks who looked older than me, all apparently with the same idea of finding a place to sit down for what would be a long night. Like a bloodhound Teresa found two stools along the ledge 10 feet from the soundboard squeezed behind a table of people that was a mix of biker-looking dudes and their soccer-mom wives. All around us were late-middle-aged couples and overweight guys in 20-year-old concert T-shirts. It didn’t so much seem like a wedding reception as a reunion of retired Hell’s Angels who long ago threw away their leathers.

Nightbird was joined by Pat Dieteman, center, for a handful of Cactus Nerve Thang songs.

Nightbird was joined by Pat Dieteman, center, for a handful of Cactus Nerve Thang songs.

Nightbird didn’t make it on stage until 9:30. By then the entire back end of the club was a mass of boozed up AARP members who clearly were not prepared for what they were about to hear. Nightbird is a stoner-rock band in the Sabbath / Sleep vein, maybe not that plodding but certainly not exactly an uplifting listen. As frontman Lee Meyerpeter ripped into the first song, backed by bassist Jeff Harder and drummer Scott “Zip” Zimmerman I leaned over and yelled into Teresa’s ear, “This one will last 20 minutes.” The set? she asked. No, the song.

And sure enough, it did — 20 minutes of exquisite, plodding, riffage broken into stanzas and brazen guitar solos and Meyerpeter’s raspy, guttural vocals that recalled Kurt Cobain if Cobain could hold a note without shrieking. Nightbird’s debut last July at The Sydney was hit and miss, almost experimental in its take on stoner rock. Last night they sounded like a stadium stone-metal band thanks to The Waiting Room’s far superior sound system and five months’ worth of gigs that honed their sound.

That first 20-minute song was followed by a second, pushed along in the same plodding, stoner pace. And then Meyerpeter welcomed former Cactus Nerve Thang drummer Pat Dieteman to the stage to join the band on some Cactus numbers for what would be a two-thirds reunion. Original CNT bassist Brian Poloncic apparently has hung up his bass for good, refusing to step away even for one night from his current life as a fine artist and author (btw, a large Poloncic print hangs proudly on the wall in Teresa’s home office).

No matter, Harder handled the bass and Dieteman joined in on guitar and vocals for a handful of CNT songs including “High” and “Sunshine” off their infamous Sloth CD recorded in ’93 at Junior’s Hotel in Otho, Iowa, and released on Grass Records. I’d forgotten how many good songs were on that record. The band sounded better than the last time I saw them play, which I think was on a sun-drenched deck outside Sharkey’s for a one-day music festival sometime in the mid-90s.

Meyerpeter is something of a sonic chameleon. I’ve now heard him play in punk, country, heavy-metal, post-punk and now stoner rock bands. He is one of the more versatile and prodigious musicians and songwriters Nebraska has produced in the past 20 years. I was told one of his electric guitars – one he played with Cactus Nerve Thang 20-odd years ago – was being retired after last night’s show, to be displayed in The Reverb Lounge “until they find something better to hang up there” — though I can’t imagine what that would be.

Cellophane Ceiling at The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

Cellophane Ceiling at The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

Next up was the main attraction for a large part of the audience, the reunion of Cellophane Ceiling. I scoured my memory for the last time I saw the band. During the interview a week or so ago, I mentioned to frontman John Wolf that it was probably at The 49’r and he just shook his head. “We rarely played there,” he said. “You’re probably thinking of Bad Luck Charm.” At one point BLC, a band that also included Meyerpeter, was practically the house band at The 49’r, playing there what seemed like every weekend. If I had seen Cellophane it was probably at the Howard Street Tavern or maybe the Capitol, two other long-lost bars in the annuls of Omaha music history.

I also have no copies of Cellophane recordings. It appears the band pre-dates my interest in Omaha music, and when Wolf and his band took the stage, the only song I recognized was the single “Don’t Play God,” and only because the video on YouTube. But there was a familiar quality to Cellophane’s music that would pop up in Bad Luck Charm and, with the heavier numbers, could be traced as influences to Ritual Device.

What makes Cellophane stand out from the rest of the late-’80s early-’90s punk rock bands is Wolf’s vocals, which have a sort of trucker slur to their delivery, almost a forced, ironic twang as if to say “We’re hicks from Nebraska, you got a problem with that?” It’s a style that would live on in BLC.

Wolf is anything but a hick. He looks, sings and plays exactly as I remember him in BLC. One old Cellophane fan told me his guitar work sounded better than it did back in the day. An ageless precision attached to an ageless rock fury. But maybe not ageless after all. Wolf displayed evidence of his age in the form of his 14-year-old son who joined the band on a half-dozen songs, looking like a well-dressed young punk in his shirt and tie, and more than able to keep up with his old man.

Why Wolf isn’t in a band these days, I do not know. Maybe his life and his family and job keep him too busy to play in bands on the weekends. It’s our loss.

Ritual Device's Moss and Hug center stage, The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

Ritual Device’s Moss and Hug center stage, The Waiting Room, Dec. 26, 2014.

Finally, Ritual Device. Tim Moss climbed on stage in an untucked long-sleeved dress shirt, jeans, boots and a ZZ Top-style beard, ready for action. Maybe not ZZ Top. Moss with beard looks more like an R Crumb comic-book hippie, a middle-aged San Francisco Mr. Natural but with shoulder-length hair, neither foreboding nor threatening as he briskly strolled around the stage pulling microphone cords in various directions, grabbing the front stage mic and announcing, “We’re Ritual Device from Omaha, Nebraska” as the band kicked into the first number.

I had pushed my way up toward the front, near stage right, just a dozen steps from what would turn into a pseudo mosh pit and launching pad for Moss’s relentless stage dives that were more like stage lurches, leaning forward onto extended hands that pulled him into and above the crowd while he continued to speak-howl lyrics about serial killers and bizarre sex. Midway through the first melee the older and more timid members of the crowd began peeling off and heading toward the sides or back to their tables with frightened smiles pressed on their faces.

Moss’s stage thing hasn’t changed at all in 20 years. He continuously lurched at the crowd as if begging them to hurt him before he hurts himself… or them. During the second song he pulled out a brown paper grocery sack and began flinging raw pigs ears into the crowd; fans either kept them as souvenirs or threw them back at the stage — all except one Manson-esque looking dude who leaned against center-stage shaking a pig’s ear in his teeth, wagging it at the band.

The rest of the guys looked down at their instruments and smiled while old man Moss continued to get groped in the crowd. Saklar, urban chic in black dress shirt, leaned over his Fender in focused concentration while across the stage was Hug, dressed in a black T-shirt looking like a cross between a fitness instructor and hip Loyola English Lit professor as he shredded his bass. Behind them was the ageless Ebers dominating the sonic landscape with relentless, frenetic yet precise drumming — drumming that, when combined with the riffs and breaks and Moss’s insane mumble-howl, created the tense energy that defines this ageless band.

Ritual Device is indeed the band that time forgot, except of course for Moss, whose crazy beard and shoulder-length Jesus hair has turned him into an angry, crazy grandpa complete with weird, black tiger-stripe tattoos up and down his forearms. Even when he was a clean-shaven lad in the ’90s there was something sinister about his stage presence, a far cry from the person he is in real life.

For those keeping score, the band played all the favorites including “Charlie Jones” and “What You Got.” They did, indeed, sound as good as I remembered them sounding 15 or 20 years ago. And while the frenzy in the middle of the crowd continued until the end, it never got out of hand. There are few modern-day local (or national) bands that bring the level of energy to the performance that Moss does (The closest that comes to mind for sheer weird chaos is probably Worried Mothers).

Reunion shows are precarious things. By their very nature they distort fans’ memories of who the bands were and what they sounded like the last time they played, which may have been decades ago. The risk is that whatever climbs on stage will be a weaker, sloppier and obviously older version of their former selves. That was not the case last night. All the bands did their legacies proud.

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Last minute reminder about tonight’s Good Life show at The Waiting Room. It’ll be butting up against the Huskers playing in the Whatever Bowl, so who knows what kind of crowd will be there. Opening is Oquoa and Big Harp. $13, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Best of 2014 Comp CD (and giveaway!); Cellophane Ceiling, Ritual Device tonight; Good Life Saturday; The Faint Sunday, Monday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:14 pm December 26, 2014
It's the 20th year for the annual Lazy-i comp. The cover reflects all the past years' artwork.

It’s the 20th year for the annual Lazy-i comp. The cover reflects all the past years’ artwork.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This year’s Lazy-i Best of… compilation CD marks the 20th year that these collections have been made. The collection is my favorite tracks from 2014 pressed on CDR for friends and family. To commemorate the 20th anniversary, Donovan Beery designed packaging that shows all the cassette and CD artwork used since 1994 (starting with the Alpo cover). In addition, every copy includes a different “1994 Surprise Track,” taken from the original 1994 comp tape.

Here’s the track listing:

1. Avant Gardner – Courtney Barnett

2. Do You – Spoon

3. J Smoov – Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks

4. Sun Kil Moon – Richard Ramirez Died Today of Natural Causes

5. Forgiven/Forgotten – Angel Olsen

6. Maria – The Lupines

7. Mirror of Time – Twin Peaks

8. Archie, Marry Me – Alvvays

9. You Are Now – The Trouble with Templeton

10. Bassically – Tei Shi

11. Money Rain Down – Big Black Delta

12. Lie, Cheat, Steal – Run the Jewels

13. Tarpeian Rock – Protomartyr

14. Evil Voices – The Faint

15. You Can’t Help Me Now – The Both

16. It Falls Apart – Brad Hoshaw & the Seven Deadlies

17. JM – Strand of Oaks

18 – Cruel Sexuality – Le Roux

19 – ’94 Surprise Track

Want a copy? Enter the drawing! I’m making it oh so easy this year. To enter either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3, Retweet a Lazy-i tweet.

Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 6!

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Well, you made it through another year, and as a reward this last weekend of 2014 happens to be one of the best weekends for rock shows.

It starts tonight with the big Cellophane Ceiling / Ritual Device show at The Waiting Room (read all about it here). As of this posting, $10 tickets were still available. If this doesn’t sell out, it’ll be darn close. Opening is Nightbird, who will be playing songs by Cactus Nerve Thang, another legacy band from the early 90s. It all starts at 9 p.m.

While that’s going on, just around the corner at Reverb Lounge Little Brazil headlines a show with Millions of Boys and Dumb Beach. $7, 9 p.m.

Down the street at the Barley Street Tavern Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies headlines tonight with Matt Whipkey and friends, John Klemmensen and The Party and Matt Cox. $5, 9 p.m.

And down at The Slowdown Satchel Grande holds court with special guest Buck Bowen. $8, 9 p.m.

Saturday night, The Good Life returns to The Waiting Room. This show has gotten very little hype, though it’s one of the bigger shows of the weekend. Joining Tim Kasher and Co. will be Big Harp and Oquoa. Expect another packed house. $13, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Pyrate plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Chicago band The Howl. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Brad Hoshaw opens for Two Drag Club and Civicminded Saturday night at Reverb Lounge. $7, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and the first of two nights with The Faint at The Waiting Room. Sunday night’s show, with openers Sucettes and Ruby Block, is SOLD OUT. Show starts at early at 8 p.m. Tickets are still available for Monday night’s Faint show with openers Ramona and the Slimdudes & Feel Tight. $20, 8 p.m.

Also Sunday night, The Sweatshop Gallery is hosting a rock show with David Kenneth Nance & his band, Nathan Ma and the Rosettes, and Stomach. $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers returns to The Slowdown Sunday night with All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. This is a super-early show, starts at 7 p.m. $8.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i