Remembering Rilo Kiley 15 years later (#TBT from the Lazy-i vault); Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:46 pm August 4, 2016
Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Music blog UPROXX has a remembrance of sorts of Rilo Kiley on the band’s 15th anniversary. The writer goes through their catalog and has some nice comments about the sole Saddle Creek release in 2002, The Execution of All Things, which was something of a landmark for the label, its first real, non-Nebraska success. Rilo Kiley also would become the first band to to leave the label.

The details of their defection are interesting a decade later. This from Aug. 2, 2004, Lazy-i:

Rilo in the L.A. Times — Aug. 2, 2004

The LA Times published a story about Rilo Kiley yesterday with the headline “Leaving indie life behind — L.A.’s Rilo Kiley, with a new album on its own label and support from Warner Bros., believes its time has come.” Jenny Lewis lays out the logic behind jumping from Saddle Creek, saying essentially that they felt it was time for their big break, even if it costs them their creativity.

“I think we’re excited, but we’re a little nervous as well because we’ve been completely independent up until this point,” says Lewis, 28, in the LA Time article. “Once you start considering stockholders and the way these corporations are run, it isn’t necessarily in line with experimental music and continuing to do things in a totally organic way. But at the same time I feel like, you know, it’s been eight years for us, and if we’re not gonna do it now, then when? And I think we owe it to ourselves to continue to grow.”

Later, she explains that the band couldn’t get airplay on an indie label, which is absurd. “I think after making the record we started playing songs for our friends and we realized for the first time that [radio airplay] could possibly be an option, and I think that led to our decision in trying new things,” she said in the Times article. “With the shift that’s happening in music right now, where bands like Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand and all these rock bands are starting to get played on the radio again, it just seemed like the appropriate time.”

That’s kind of like saying that Creek bands are damned to only get airplay in college radio. She could have led the charge to help change that. Oh well, I’m sure there’s more to the story than this…— Aug. 2, 2004

There was.

Two years later I got a chance to ask Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel about why the band strayed from Saddle Creek in this interview. Here’s an excerpt from the story from Sept. 22, 2004:

“We made this record with Saddle Creek and made it for Saddle Creek and figured it would come out on Saddle Creek,” (Boesel) said from his home in Los Angeles where the band is rehearsing for the upcoming tour. “Shortly after completing the record, we had some ideas and talked about them with Saddle Creek and discovered that we differed on a couple issues. Ultimately, we created our own record label to have total freedom over the record and the music.”

That, despite the fact that the CD was already in the can. Seems the disagreements between the band and Creek stemmed not from creative issues, but from what Boesel characterized as limitations inherent to indie record labels. Saddle Creek label manager Jason Kulbel said in last month’s issue of Alternative Press that one of the main differences was in how the two parties approached commercial radio. “Even if we had it, we are just not down with throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at commercial radio so they will play our stuff,” Kulbel said in the AP article.

But Boesel said it was more than just the cost of doing business with commercial radio. “I don’t know if we’re throwing thousands down for commercial radio. That might be an exaggeration,” he said. “We didn’t want to put a ceiling on what we did.”…

“At some point, the hope is that this record would move to Warner Bros. proper,” Boesel said. “We wanted that to be a possibility. Even if it had been released by Saddle Creek that was a possibility, but it wasn’t something they (Saddle Creek) were comfortable with. They’re definitely crusaders with high morals and ethics, trying to do this thing for the greater good. For some, that’s the right approach. For us, it wasn’t. We’re trying to do something similar, but in a different way. We’re trying to enter into that world with full knowledge of the traps. We came in with a finished record and have not compromised it in the least.”

(Saddle Creek label executive Robb) Nansel said there were a number of reasons why Saddle Creek frowned upon a deal where Warner Bros. or any other major would simply take over the record. “They wanted us to sell ‘x’ number of records and then they would take it from us,” Nansel said. “The first few weeks are the most difficult time for any release.”

Boesel added, “It would be wrong to say we’re not taking a gamble choosing to go into this world. We’re taking a risk. These companies are set up to make money, while indies like Saddle Creek started out as a way to put out good music, which is a completely different thing.”--Lazy-i, Sept. 22, 2004

It is indeed. So did the gamble pay off? One assumes (maybe incorrectly) that Rilo Kiley made more money by moving to a major. Regardless, the band officially broke up in 2014. Jenny Lewis went onto a semi-successful solo career.

Actually, I don’t know how any musician or artist measures success these days. She had a number of quality solo releases; who knows how well they did from a money standpoint.

Lewis’ new project, Nice as Fuck, is something of a step backwards compared to her solo work. The first single, “Door,” is fun and clever but as lightweight a pop song as you’ll ever hear. And then it’s regurgitated six more times to fill out the collection (the band’s “theme song” is also included on the album). A nice little distraction for Lewis until she gets around to her next solo outing…

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room is that Deerhoof show I mentioned yesterday. $15, 9 p.m. You really should go. Philly dark-punk band Blank Spell opens along with local hero Thick Paint.

* * *

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 Deerhoof; Conor Oberst’s ‘Ruminations’ out Oct. 14; Sam Evian Creek debut Sept. 30…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:40 pm August 3, 2016
Deerhoof returns to The Waiting Room Aug. 4.

Deerhoof returns to The Waiting Room Aug. 4.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

San Francisco experimental rock band Deerhoof are known as much for their live shows as their quirky, jittery, inventive music. On stage the four-piece is an explosion of music that fuses rock, jazz, prog and noise into one throbbing, powerful sound. Frontwoman/basist Satomi Matsuzaki is a wound-up rock ‘n’ roll cheerleader, jumping and kicking and chirping in a language that sounds like a fusion of Japanese and English. It is, indeed, a sight to behold.

While the band’s idiosyncratic art-tortured albums can be a challenge to navigate, their latest, The Magic (2016, Polyvinyl) comes as close as they’ve ever dared to something resembling traditional rock. Nestled among the Eno-esque rhythms are some of the best holy-shit power-chord riffs I’ve heard from a rock band since Superchunk. Over the course of 15 tracks, the band can go from high-energy Sonic Youth grind (“Dispossessor”) to throbbing, blue-light art lounge (a cover of “I Don’t Want to Set the World on Fire”). The Magic is a career high-water mark.

With the band returns to The Waiting Room Thursday, Aug. 4, I caught up with Satomi Matsuzaki with a Ten Questions survey. Here you go:

1. What is your favorite album?

Satomi Matsuzaki: The Magic by Deerhoof

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Hotel California” by Eagles

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

Making music with Deerhoof.

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

Long flights when we go on tour.

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

Barley tea and dried squid.

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

Everywhere we go.

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

If there was any, I already erased that memory from my brain. I wanna stay positive and keep going forward. I learn from mistakes and just move on.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Usually bank wire through my phone bill payment app.

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

My profession is music and I prefer not to do other work. I won’t hate any job though if I decide to do whatever to live.

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

I have been there before. It’s located in the middle of USA and The Waiting Room is a great venue! They have a laundromat in backstage and that helps me a lot on tour!

Deerhoof plays with Blank Spell and Thick Paint Thursday, Aug. 4, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m., tickets are $15. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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How did you spend last winter? If you’re like me, you wasted those cold January days watching TV and wishing for spring to return.

Conor Oberst, Ruminations (2016, Nonesuch)

Conor Oberst, Ruminations (2016, Nonesuch)

Conor Oberst spent his winter writing a new album called Ruminations, which drops Oct. 14 on Nonesuch Records.

Said Oberst about his winter in Omaha last year: “I wasn’t expecting to write a record. I honestly wasn’t expecting to do much of anything. Winter in Omaha can have a paralyzing effect on a person but in this case it worked in my favor. I was just staying up late every night playing piano and watching the snow pile up outside the window. Next thing I knew I had burned through all the firewood in the garage and had more than enough songs for a record. I recorded them quick to get them down but then it just felt right to leave them alone.

Over the span of 48 hours, Oberst recorded Runinations at ARC Studios with engineer Ben Brodin. According to Oberst’s publicist, the tracks don’t have the multi-layered instrumentation of the most recent Bright Eyes and solo albums: This is Oberst alone with his guitar, piano and harmonica; a sort of throw-back to his earliest recordings, but with modern lyrics.

Pre-orders are under way at the Nonesuch website. The tour kicks off in Grand Island Aug. 18. and some locals are opening some dates, such as MiWi La Lupa, Anna McClellan, and on Nov. 23 Simon Joyner will open when Oberst plays solo at Carnagie Hall in NYC. That should be a show for the ages.

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Sam Evian, Premium (2016, Saddle Creek)

Sam Evian, Premium (2016, Saddle Creek)

Saddle Creek Records also announced today that the debut release by newest roster addition Sam Evian, entitled Premium, will drop Sept 30. Sam Evian is Brooklyn’s Sam Owens of band Celestial Shore. You read about his signing in Lazy-i here.

According to the publicist, the album’s nine songs “reflect the casual, relaxed atmosphere Sam created for himself at Brooklyn’s Figure 8 Studio.” Among the players on Premium are Austin Vaughn on drums (Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), Brian Betancourt on bass (Hospitality, Here We Go Magic, Luke Temple), Michael Coleman on keys (Figure 8’s studio manager), Dan Iead on pedal steel (Cass McCombs), vocalists Cassandra Jenkins and Hannah Cohen, Shahzad Ismaily, Eddie Barbash (the saxophonist on the Colbert show) and Steve Marion (aka Delicate Steve).

Pre-orders are, of course, under way at Saddle Creek’s online store.

* * *

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 Benson Days and Marcey Yates; Wavves tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:44 pm August 1, 2016
Marcey Yates at Burke's Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 29, 2016

Marcey Yates at Burke’s Pub as part of Benson After Dark, July 30, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Benson’s getting crazy. Saturday night’s Benson After Dark crowds were impressive, but activity on the streets was over the top. But it’s getting that way almost every weekend in Benson. Now if they could just figure out a way to get a little biz in the daylight hours.

Here’s another observation from this weekend: For the first time I can remember, Benson Days worked. After the parade, Maple Street from down by the post office up to the Masonic Lodge was lined with tents and food trucks (maybe the most food trucks I’ve seen at one Omaha event). Hundreds of people crowded the streets. It was… surprising, exciting. When I came back later that afternoon, around 3 p.m., the crowds were still hanging on.

I have no idea if Benson After Dark was a success because the bars would probably have been jam-packed anyway. The venue where I spent a couple hours — Burke’s Pub — had a steady stream of people paying to hear the music.

I hung out at Burke’s not only because my wife was working the door, but because Marcey Yates was on the line-up. Actually, I’m not positive the project is called “Marcey Yates.” Op2mus? The Dilla Kids? Stdnt Body? All those names were used at one point.

The group consisted of a drummer, bass player and two guys with microphones, one of whom controlled samples. Not every song used a sample; some merely featured bass and drum and voices. That minimal, spare production gave them breathing room for the rhythms and backing track.

On a musical level, Yates’ is enticing. Warm, subtle rapping atop the beats. It’s a pleasure to see live instruments at a hip-hop show rather than someone yelling over pre-recorded tracks. The rap flowed smooth from one man to the next; and the room bounced  with the rhythm. The drawback (for me, anyway) was I couldn’t make out a word either of the rappers were saying. I could hear them just fine, rhythmically they were a smooth force, but the meaning was lost, and that’s a shame.

I need to hear and understand the words to get to the next level. Maybe not “understand” as much as comprehend what’s being said. My favorite hip hop (and it’s a short list) has easily recognizable lyrics that take me to wherever the artist is living. Kendrick, for example, can race along at a furious pace and I can still make out every word. Friday night the lyrics were lost on me. Maybe it was the PA, though this morning I’m listening to some of Yates’ Bandcamp stuff and while the production is first class it’s still a struggle to catch all the rhymes.

But I love the groove. So much so I’m contemplating hitting up this Friday night’s New Generation Music Festival at Aksarben Village featuring the Dilla Kids (Marcey Yates and XOBOI). Read more about the event in today’s Hear Nebraska blog entry.

* * *

Wavves returns to The Waiting Room tonight. Seems like the band is making Omaha a regular tour stop. This is the fourth time they’ve played here, if my math is correct (2011, 2013, Maha 2015). Tonight they’re playing with Philly act Steep Leans (Ghost Ramp Records) and Party Baby. $23, 8 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.

Lazy-i

John Klemmensen, Montee Men tonight; Oquoa, Bien Fang, Pupppy, Benson After Dark Saturday; Jayhawks, Shy Boys Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm July 29, 2016
Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015. The band celebrates a cassette release Saturday night at O'Leaver's.

Oquoa at Farnam Festival, Sept. 12, 2015. The band celebrates a cassette release Saturday night at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here’s your weekend round-up, again heavy on the locals, light on touring bands, but what else is new?

It’s been nearly a month since I went to a show, which has to be some sort of record. I blame timing (late night shows during the week ain’t happening) and the preponderance of local shows by the same handful of local bands weekend after weekend. I’ve never been someone who tries to see the same local band perform more than a couple times a year. Call it a personality trait (or flaw?) — I also own zero DVDs as I have no interest in seeing the same movie more than, say, once every 10 years.

I understand why some local bands play weekly (a few play multiple times during the week). They’re trying to generate a fan base or want the gig money for touring, recording, etc. Or they just love playing all the time. But that doesn’t make their shows any more interesting.

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. He plays at The Barley Street tonight.

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015. He plays at The Barley Street tonight.

One act I haven’t seen for quite a while and who is consistently interesting is John Klemmensen. He’s doing what appears to be a solo set tonight at Barley Street Tavern with Muscle Cousins, Robo Dojo and Michael Wunder. $5, 9 p.m.

Over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Montee Men opens for The Regulation along with Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

At the Down Under, 3530 Leavenworth (formerly the Side Door), Relax, It’s Science opens for Pyrate and Anonymous Henchmen. No price listed, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night, Qquoa celebrates the release of a new cassette that’s a follow-up to their 2014 debut. I have a cassette deck, a nice one. But you have to wonder how many other people have a tape deck these days. Bien Fang opens along with Lodgings and Another Afternoon. $5, 9 p.m.

Benson After Dark, the Maple-street-wide music event, happens Saturday night as part of Benson Days. Six venues (seven if you count the beer garden outside of Jake’s, which also will host live music), 25 performers, all for $10. Bands get rolling at 9 — Jake’s show begins at 1 p.m. The full lineup is online here.

Two New York City acts play Milk Run Saturday night, apparently both as solo artists — Thelma and Pupppy. Also on the bill are Nathan Ma and the Rosettes and Middle Folk. $7, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday.

Over at The Slowdown it’s the return of The Jayhawks, who you read about earlier this week right here. Fernando Viciconte opens this big room show at 8 p.m. GA tickets are $25 (I guess they sold out that special balcony/wing seating).

Also Sunday night, O’Leaver’s is hosting a “Sunday Social” headlined by the Burkum Boys but also featuring a couple Kansas City bands: Shy Boys and Fullbloods. This show runs 5 to 8 p.m. and your $7 entry also gets you “food,” though I do not know what that “food” will be.

And 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Question with The Jayhawks (at Slowdown Sunday); M83, Pro-Magnum tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:09 pm July 27, 2016
The Jayhawks play at The Slowdown Sunday night.

The Jayhawks play at The Slowdown Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Minneapolis indie folk-rock band The Jayhawks have a history of sorts with Omaha. They’ve been touring through our fair city literally for decades, culminating in a spot on the Maha Music Festival last year — a victory lap of sorts for local fans who remember the band playing to small crowds during the early days.

The band is the product of the mid-80s Twin Cities music scene, releasing their first album in 1986 followed by their Twin/Tone Records debut, Blue Earth, in 1989. They broke in a big way in ’92 with Hollywood Town Hall (American Recordings). Viewed by many as their masterpiece,  the album would have sounded right at home on a ’70s rock radio station, thanks to its laid-back, afternoon melodies.

Often described as an “alt country” band, their sound, especially on their latest album, Paging Mr. Proust (2016, Thirty Tigers), has more in common with acts like Big Star, Pete Yorn, Crosby Stills & Nash and local alt rocker Matthew Sweet. Produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, the new record finds Gary Louris reuniting with the band’s late-’90s line-up.

We tossed our Ten Questions survey to the Jayhawks and bass player Marc Perlman took up the reins.

1. What is your favorite album?


Marc Perlman: Big Star, #1 Record

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Kokomo,” Beach Boys

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

The music (when it’s working).

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

Washing Gary’s socks.

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

Chocolate covered raisins

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

Utrecht

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

Utrecht (but it wasn’t my fault)

8. How do you pay your bills?

By the grace of G-d

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

Professional hand model; the guy who has to clean the dressing rooms after a Jayhawks show.

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

In 1986 the Jayhawks played in front of 6 people at Howard Street Tavern… Matthew Sweet and Conor Oberst sponsor and play in a sand volleyball league at O’Leavers (their team is called the “The Power Poppers”)… the dressing room at Sokol Auditorium is haunted… it’s easy to get lost driving from Omaha to Lincoln…

The Jayhawks play with Fernando Viciconte Sunday, July 31, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $25 Adv., $40 for balcony seating. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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Tonight at Stir Cove it’s the return of indie rock band M83. The band is on the road supporting their new album, Junk (2016, Mute), which was a shift in direction to a more dance-oriented sound than heard on their earlier albums. Opening is NYC-based duo Sofi Tukker. $35, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, the might Pro Magnum headlines at Pageturners Lounge. How will such a loud band translate to such a delicate setting? Find out. Leafblower opens. The free show starts at 9:30.

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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.

Lazy-i

A (very) detailed history of The Brothers Lounge; Yelp Helper (in the column); Lullaby’s purge; Pinegrove tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:53 pm July 26, 2016
Pinegrove plays tonight at Milk Run.

Pinegrove plays tonight at Milk Run.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you haven’t checked out the My Omaha Obsession blog you’re missing out on some fantastic writing and colorful history of our community. The latest installment is an exhaustively researched history of The Brothers Lounge and the buildings that surround it. The piece includes diagrams, advertising and lots of historic photos (including some great shots of Trey and Lallaya). I typically don’t share anonymous stuff, but I’ve been told by a reliable source who “Miss Cassette” is (and you probably know her, too). Check it out.

It’s a pleasure to see long-form writing like this online instead of the usual down-and-dirty write-ups designed to be shared in their entirety as a Facebook post. If you like this kind of writing, check out Medium.com for more.

* * *

Speaking of long-form writing, I neglected to share last month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader with you. It’s a write-up about Yelp and how Yelping has resulted in my ridicule and being banned from  restaurants. It also includes an interview with Omaha’s Chief Executive Yelper Will Simons. Read it online here or pick up a July copy of The Reader while it’s still on the racks.

* * *

Something else to check out, The AV Club’s Binge and Purge column, which details a writer going through his CD collection to make much-needed cuts. Our own Lullaby for the Working Class is among the artists featured. I find I have a lot of the same music in my collection as this dude, but I don’t feel the burning need to dump my CDs. Maybe because I have a place to store them. I know as soon as I sell something I’m going to be reaching for it in six months, and it’ll be gone…

* * *

Tonight at Milk Run, Montclair, New Jersey’s Pinegrove headlines. The band is on the road supporting their recently released debut full-length, Cardinal, on Run For Cover Records (which got a massive 8.0 rating from Pitchfork). Joining them are Halfwaif and SPORTS. $10, early 7:30 p.m. show!

* * *

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

Ten Questions with Annalibera (at Milk Run tonight); more For Against reissues in the works…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm July 25, 2016
Annalibera plays at Milk Run tonight...

A screen-cap from the film “Loveil” by Annalibera.The band plays at Milk Run tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Annalibera is a project fronted by Nebraska ex-pat now Des Moines resident Anna Gebhardt. She’s been performing since 2012, but made her first indelible mark on the music world with 2015’s Nevermind I Love You, a dense, soaring 8-song collection of chiming, beautiful indie rock songs you absolutely must seek out (It’s on Spotify, btw).

In a change of direction, Gebhardt followed the album with ambient/noise/experimental cassette called Loveil (Warm Gospel Records) that included a 26-minute companion film shot at her family farm in Nebraska. Available on YouTube or at annaliberamusic.com the art film is haunting in a Warhol-ian sort of way. Gebhardt will be joined by drummer David Hurlin for the July 25 Milk Run show performing songs from Loveil, along with new material.

I caught up with Gebhardt and gave her the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album? 

Anna Gebhardt: To answer this question I go by what album I’ve listened to the most times so it’s between Loveless or Heaven or Las Vegas.

2. What is your least favorite song? 

Kid Rock “Picture,” that song makes me want to crawl out of my skin, always has.

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

The usual stuff, making music, touring, it’s fun.

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

Juggling everyone’s schedules, all the marketing and emailing.

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

Water. So versatile.

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

Not sure I’ve toured enough for this question. Always great shows in Nashville and Chicago. Recently been thinking about a great one in Gorzow Wielkepolski (Poland), but so far I’ve only played there once. A lot of times those smaller towns make for a magical show (if you go on a weekend).

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

That’s a toss up between Columbus, OH, or Paris. Long story.

8. How do you pay your bills?

With money, unfortunately. (Freelance writing and teaching piano/voice lessons. Occasionally I am employed to be a backup singer! Can’t pay the bills singing in Des Moines, IA, though).

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

I would like to study visual art. I would hate to be in business, law or politics – those are not me. I would feel like an actress every day in my suit.

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

Omaha Nebraska wasn’t good enough for me / always thought i was the roaming kind / with a pocket full of dreams and my one shirt on my back / I left there lookin’ for something to find/ Omaha you’ve been weighing heavy on my mind/ Guess I never really left at all/ I’m turning all those roads I walked around the other way / And coming back for you Omaha (When it’s late and people are passing the guitar around I sometimes play this song, one of my favorites!).

Annalibera performs with Devin Frank Vanishing Blues Band, Sean Pratt & the Sweats and Mike Schlesinger Monday, July 25, at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth. Tickets are $7, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to facebook.com/widmestproductionsllc

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Some of the For Against relics at Friday night's This is Jeff Runnings program. Photo by Stephen Sheehan.

Some of the For Against relics at Friday night’s This is Jeff Runnings program at Hi-Fi House. Photo by Stephen Sheehan.

Friday night Hi Fi House hosted an appreciation of the music of Jeff Runnings — former frontman of the seminal ’80s-’90s band For Against — as part of HFH’s new “This is…” series. I was asked the day prior to the event to conduct the interview with Jeff alongside Stephen Sheehan, former frontman of ’80s Omaha ambient-rock band Digital Sex. It turned out to be a quite a night.

Runnings brought a rather sizable archive of For Against recordings, posters and other relics that spanned the band’s career. The interview traced the history of the band, with Runnings filling in a lot of blanks along the way. Sheehan provided insightful questions taken from the vantage point of someone who lived in the rock ‘n’ roll trenches alongside them.

The entire interview was videotaped with professional-looking gear (and technicians). I have no idea when or where this video will be made available. The interview was followed by a “listening” of Running’s new solo album, Primitives and Smalls, released earlier this year by Saint Marie Records.

A bit of news that surfaced during the interview — Saint Marie is planning on reissuing four more For Against albums: Aperture (1993) and Mason’s California Lunch Room (1995), both originally released on Rainbow Quartz Records; Shelf Life (1997) released on World Domination, and 2002’s Coalesced, released by Minneapolis label Words on Music. No word on the exact timing of these releases, but they’ll likely drop sometime early next year. There’s even whispers of a possible For Against reunion (but only for Europe).

* * *

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

This is your life, Jeff Runnings; Cherry Death, Eklectica tonight; Graham Ulicny, Omaha Girls Rock Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:52 pm July 22, 2016
jeffrunnings

Jeff Runnings’ career and future career are celebrated tonight at Hi-Fi House.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The super secret/mysterious Hi-Fi House is putting on a special program tonight at 7 p.m. called “This is, Jeff Runnings.” This celebration of Running’s career “so far” will include a sit-down Q&A discussing his musical endeavors as well as a spin of his latest album, Primitive & Smalls (2016, Saint Marie), which I’m listening to now on my home hi-fi system (worth dramatically less than the one at Hi-Fi House).

Runnings, as you may or may not know, was a member of seminal Lincoln ambient-rock band For Against, which I wrote about waaay back in 2007 when the band reunited. The write-up includes a brief history of the band, whose members also included guitarist/keyboardist Harry Dingman III and drummer Gregory Hill. Runnings was the singer and chief songwriter. Read that story here.

In their day, no one around these parts were writing and performing the kind of music For Against was making. Spotify users can dive into the catalog, though I’m told there may be a vinyl alternative available again soon.

Runnings new album takes the most accessible elements of For Against and modernizes it in beautiful ways. Jeff’s breathy voice lies warmly atop layers and layers of synths and beats that shimmer like a dream. Gorgeous stuff.

I’m not sure what the rules are for Hi Fi House, and there is no information on the Facebook event listing. If you’re interested, I suggest showing up just before the 7 p.m. start time. The house is located at 3724 Farnam St. Capacity is limited to 100. See you there.

What else is happening tonight and this weekend?

Tonight at the infamous Brothers Lounge Oklahoma City indie band Cherry Death headlines. Check out their latest EP here. Opening is Stomach, Carl Miller & The Thrillers and Nathan Ma & The Rosettes. Whoa, that’s a huge bill. This 9 p.m. show will run you $5.

Meanwhile, over at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Waterloo, Iowa band SIRES plays with Eklectica and Lineman’s Rodeo. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Tomorrow night the kids from Omaha Girls Rock! play a summer showcase at The Waiting Room. The free event starts at 5:30 p.m. Then later that night at O’Leaver’s, the Omaha Girls Rock instructors are putting on a show of their own. Who will grace the stage? Find out. $5, 9;30 p.m.

There’s a special program at Kaneko Saturday night — the tbd. dance collective will be performing to live original music by Graham Ulicny of Reptar. In addition, Nik Fackler will be premiering a short film called “One Day, One Month, One Year.” The 6:45 p.m. show is free for Kaneko members and $10 for the rest of you. Kaneko is at 1111 Jones St.

Also Saturday night, Scott Severin performs at The Barley Street Tavern with Two Shakes and Bazille Mills. $5, 9 p.m.

That is all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a red, hot American 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Matthew Sweet wraps ‘Tomorrow Forever’; #TBT photo: Cursive from June 3, 2000; Atlas Genius, New Generation showcase tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:28 pm July 21, 2016

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been two years since Matthew Sweet launched a Kickstarter project to fund his next album, which generated more than $55k. Today Sweet reports that he’s finally wrapped up recording. “Last Friday morning I completed recording for the album. I now have final rough mixes done for all 38 songs I started,” he told Kickstarter backers.

Sweet said once he’s settled on a sequence, he’ll start final mixing, prioritizing by what goes on the album time-wise. “I’m guessing mixing will start in two or three weeks,” he said.

Sweet also reported that the album will be called Tomorrow Forever, but didn’t mention a release date. “I know It’s been painful to wait so long, but the wisdom of recording multiple batches in order to get the best stuff possible has paid off big time,” he said. “I really can’t see how it could have been as good as it is any other way.”

Perhaps we’ll get a taste of those 38 songs when he plays the Maha Music Festival in August.

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Some #TBT goodness on a very sweaty Thursday, this previously unpublished photo of Cursive was taken June 3, 2000 (which just happens to have been my 35th birthday). The venue is, of course, Sokol Underground. It was quite a show...

Some #TBT goodness on a very sweaty Thursday, this previously unpublished photo of Cursive was taken June 3, 2000 (which just happens to have been my 35th birthday). The venue was, of course, Sokol Underground. It was quite a show…

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Couple shows tonight…

Down at Slowdown Aussie alt band Atlas Genius headlines. The Jeffrey brothers started as an indie before signing to Warners in 2012 for their debut. Warners released their last album, Inanimate Objects, in 2015. Bear Hands and The Moth and the Flame open. $20, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, The Waiting Room hosts the New Generation Music Festival Showcase, featuring a slew of acts (Ragged Company and Low Long Signal among them) that will be playing the festival slated for Stinson Park August 5. The free show starts at 8 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 Goo Goo Dolls; Bright Eyes Ludwig-mastered box set; Closeness, Navy Gangs again tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:37 pm July 20, 2016
Closeness at O'Leaver's April 30, 2016.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s April 30, 2016. The duo plays tonight at Pageturners Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If the first three paragraphs of the below story look familiar it’s because I lifted them from my 1999 interview with Goo Goo Dolls, which you can read online here. GGD’s Robby Takac was a very good interview way back then. He laid it all out when I asked why the band switched from being basically a pop-punk band to mainstream AOR alt rockers. The answer has something to do with selling millions of albums.

I’m told that their show Friday night at Stir Cove is getting close to selling out. Here’s Ten Questions:

goo-goo-dolls-bob-mussel

Goo Goo Dolls play Friday night at Stir Cove.

Ten Questions with Goo Goo Dolls

The first time I heard the Goo Goo Dolls was way back in ’92, after staying up late on a Sunday night to watch 120 Minutes on MTV. When the video for “There You Are” came on, featuring Goo Goo vocalist John Rzeznick doing his best Paul Westerberg-style crooning over a punchy, punky power chord, I was intrigued.

It was the band’s first video, and pretty much summed up their indie punk-rock sound and style — three average Joes running around an empty Buffalo, New York, baseball stadium, smiling for the camera without a care in the world.

But six years later, Goo Goo Dolls were a different band. Riding the success of their million-selling 1995 album, A Boy Named Goo, which featured the smash ballad, “Name,” Goo Goo Dolls went on to record the most played song on radio in 1998, “Iris,” the theme from the Nick Cage/Meg Ryan chick flick, City of Angels. It netted them three Grammy nominations and a first-class ticket out of the smoky punk bars and into sold-out arenas.

With the release of their latest album, Boxes (2016, Warner Bros), the Goo Goos are trying to change course once again. Rzeznik and co-founder/bassist Robby Takac hired a stable of writers in an effort to push themselves past their comfort zone. The product is a collection of king-sized alt-rock anthems that are a perfect fit for Stir’s Cove’s outdoor concert space, where the band performs Friday night.

We threw the Ten Questions gauntlet down on the Goo Goo Dolls, and Robby Tatac breached it with the following answers:

1. What is your favorite album?

Robby Takac: Todd Rundgren, A Wizard / A True Star

2. What is your least favorite song?

“The Weight,” by The Band

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

The completion of the song cycle you experience at live performances.

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

Being away from my wife and daughter.

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

Green Tea

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

Buffalo, NY

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

They’ve all been perfect …. of course.

8. How did you pay your bills back when the band was just getting started?

Worked at a flower shop, was a DJ, spent lots of time recording punk rock bands, was a barback & bartender, spent some time as a stage hand ….

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

I would like to own a Pez museum. I wouldn’t want to be a cop.

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

I was there once and it was so hot cows were exploding ….. no lie.

Goo Goo Dolls play with Collective Soul Friday, July 22, at Stir Cove, 1 Harrahs Blvd., Council Bluffs. Tickets are $43, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to facebook.com/StirCove.

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Saddle Creek is squeezing every last penny out of its back catalog with the release of a new six-record Bright Eyes box set. Remastered by legendary sound engineer Bob Ludwig, the box includes Fevers and Mirrors (2000), LIFTED or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground (2002), I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning (2005), Digital Ash in a Digital Urn (2005), Cassadaga (2007) and The People’s Key (2011).

That’s six albums on 10 LPs housed in tip-on jackets, including digital downloads of each album. The vinyl box set exclusives include colored vinyl, twelve 8×10 photo prints by Butch Hogan, and an essay by Nathaniel Krenkel. The vinyl box set is limited to 5,000 copies and includes all 10 LPs housed in a foil stamped linen-wrapped box. Price, a cool $150. You can pre-order now, release date is Sept. 16. Look for black vinyl individual copies of each remastered album available in November.

Saddle Creek is also offering a CD box of the same albums limited to 1,000 copies, also out Sept. 16. It costs a mere $60 a box.

Hey Saddle Creek, we’re still waiting for that exclusive Ladyfinger box set…

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The new Todd and Orenda Fink ambient rock project Closeness performs tonight at Pageturners Lounge. Here’s a review of their O’Leaver’s debut.  It’s definitely worth your while to see and hear them. Ridgelines opens the evening at 10 p.m. and the ‘nice price’ is absolutely free.

Also this evening, if you missed Navy Gangs last night at Milk Run, the band plays again this evening at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. Joining them are Staffers and Sean Pratt & The Sweats. This early 7 p.m. show will cost you $5. Also, Coneflower Creamery will be on site serving their home-made ice cream. Yum!

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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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