…starting tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s where Lupines headline. Also on the bill are Lincoln bands Laughing Falcon and Falling Distance. $5, 9 p.m.
Saturday night’s main event is London indie folk band Daughters (4AD Records). The band’s most recent album, Not to Disappear, came out in January, which Pitchfork said “… spans that gap between the very real drudgery of everyday life, and the more potent stories we tell ourselves when times are bleak.” Rating: 6.7. I try not to miss 4AD bands when they come through town. Opening is Vancouver Sleep Clinic (Sony), described as a “rising Australian singer, songwriter and producer.” Where’s the Canada connection? $16 Adv/$18 DOS. 9 p.m.
Also Saturday night, Jason Meyer’s new band Wolf Dealer plays O’Leaver’s. Says Jason: “Wolf Dealer is a rock music band made up of old guys that have been in a bunch of local bands. Talking Mountain, Sun-Less Trio, Carsinogents, Virgasound, Skull Fight, Fonzarellies, Thuggs, the Cuterthans.” What more do you want? Also on the bill are The Vahnevants (Des Moines), Haunted Gauntlet (M34N STR33T/ex-Oh Possum), and the Afghan Hounds (Lineman’s Rodeo).. $5, 9:30.
Sunday night post rock duo El Ten Eleven headlines at Slowdown Jr., with Bayonne and Fontenelle. $12 Adv/ $15 DOS. Early 8 p.m. start time.
Also Sunday night La Bouvette in the Old Market is hosting a show — yes, that La Buvette. The lineup is Dunwoody & Son, David Ozinga, The Lazy Wranglers and Sean Pratt & The Sweats. The free show starts at 8 p.m.
And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.
Here Jeffrey Lewis was expecting no one to be at last night’s show at Reverb Lounge and there he was greeted by a nearly full room of around 35 to see the Manhattan troubadour and his uber talented band Los Bolts. And Lewis seemed quite pleased, saying it was the biggest crowd he’d every played for… in Omaha.
With guitar in hand he launched right into a set that included a lot of songs off his recent album, Manhattan, as well as a handful of chestnuts from years past. What I found most surprising was how much the set rocked. Lewis’ albums are mainly fast-paced upbeat acoustic folk fare, while last night’s show slalomed between acoustic and electric — somehow he made that acoustic guitar scream as loud as any Fender Strat, with full-blown feedback snarls. Lewis is, indeed, as good a guitarist as he is a great songwriter.
After every few songs he went to his Macbook, which fed a small projector that he used to tell stories supported by comic-book-style illustrations. One told the history of Sitting Bull; another told how he’s gone from being a hippy (clothingwise) to a regular dude. The funniest of these stories were adaptations of Nirvana songs from the album Bleach — specifically “Big Cheeze” and “Mr. Moustache” — that proved just how inane Kurt Cobain’s lyrics could be.
Lewis’ entire set had a lift of humor behind it, including his between-song patter wherein he reminded me of a young Gilbert Gottfried, complete with a Gottfried squint. Funny stuff. I ended up buying a couple issues of Lewis’ Fuff comic book and an outtakes and rarities album I hadn’t seen before. Judging from the lines, he did very well with merch sales.
David Nance at Reverb Lounge, Nov. 15, 2016.
There was as big a crowd for the show opener, David Nance and his band, which included Simon Joyner on bass (a first for Joyner). Nance’s music was quite a contrast to Lewis’. They played only two songs, but each lasted at least 15 minutes, and consisted of droning, building, feedback-layered head sounds. One well-schooled music fan I talked to said the set reminded him of Dream Syndicate (?) and Velvet Underground (dead on). Or imagine drawn-out, dark, slow, psychedelic tunes without keyboards and you begin to get the picture. Nance’s music is trance-like, almost hypnotic in its powerful dissonance. A great night of music.
* * *
Let me tell you a brief record-buying story.
I recently walked into Almost Music in the Blackstone District to do some record shopping. Flipping through the stacks, I made conversation with the proprietor, a fine lad named Brad Smith. “Brad,” I said, “why don’t you pick me out an album that you think I’d like. Every good record store proprietor should be able to pick out a record that can’t miss with one of his or her patrons.”
Brad thought about this a moment, and then said something along the lines of “Everyone has his or her own specific tastes,” which is true. “But,” I said, “you still must have something I’ve never heard before that you can recommend.”
So Brad walked from behind the glass counter and began flipping through the new vinyl and said “Here” and handed me a copy of The Self-Titled Album by a group I never heard of called Tenement. I told him to put it on the stack, which included a used copy of Talking Heads 77 and Rolling Stones’ Goats Head Soup and a signed copy of James Ellroy’s Blood’s a Rover. There always lots of good stuff at Almost Music.
And I took that record home, put it on the turntable and was knocked out by it. Tenement is a trio from Appleton, Wisconsin, that has been kicking around since 2006. Their Wikipedia bio says they’re often associated with the American hardcore punk scene, though you wouldn’t know it by listening to this record. which was released this year on Deranged Records. While the first track, “Everyone to Love You,” does have a throbbing punk rock sensibility (in fact, Brad warned me about it — what’s with people thinking I don’t like punk rock no more?), the rest of the record bounced between styles as diverse as Pavement, Ted Leo/Pharmacists and ’80s-era Rolling Stones. It’s a gorgeous record and on my list of favorites for 2016, and you should definitely check it out.
Which just goes to show you that you can always trust Brad Smith to make a blind recommendation for how to spend your hard-earned dollars.
All of this is just a long-winded way of letting you know that Tenement is playing an early show tonight at Sokol Underground. I’ve been told this show originally was scheduled for a different venue, but was moved as an early show to compliment the NOFX show also taking place at Sokol Auditorium later tonight (though Tenement has nothing in common with NOFX).
Tenement, the second band for this early show, goes on at 6:15 after Meat Wave (a Chicago punk band on SideOneDummy, who starts at 5:30) and is followed by Direct Hit (Fat Wreck Chords). It’s a $10 show, but only $5 if you have a NOFX ticket.
That NOFX show at Sokol Aud includes openers PEARS and Useless ID, costs $30 and starts at 8 p.m.
Also tonight, Brothers Lounge is hosting Denver punkabilly band The Living Deads along with no-coast surf punks Huge Fucking Waves. $5, 10 p.m.
Saturday night was the first time I’ve been to a show in nearly a month. I have no explanation for my absence other than: 1) I’d seen the bands before; 2) I had to be at work early the following morning, or 3) I’m getting old. I’ll buy reasons 1 and 2 and never reason 3.
Somehow I dragged my tired old bones to The Barley Street Tavern Saturday night so see Jeremy Stanosheck’s band Relax, It’s Science, a band that, yes, I’ve seen before, and I’m hear to report they were as good as last time. Two basses and a drummer could be a confining combination, but Jeremy and Co. found a way to make it work on their sometimes droning two-chord prog songs. Some might find their lack of variation within compositions monotonous, but its hard to not be drawn in (especially when you’re standing eight feet from the stage).
It was when the band reached beyond their formula that things really got interesting, specifically on their final song, a composition titled “9-11, What a Bummer.” Here the trio played with more dynamics and variations — dipped and soared — climaxing with a rush, like a falling building. Jeremy tells me “9-11…” is an older song (in fact it appears on their debut EP); to me, it still points in a promising direction.
I intend to make up for missing all those shows the last few weeks by killing myself this week with shows. Or at least going out tonight.
As I wrote yesterday, tonight Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts graces the Reverb stage. If you’re into smart, topical, story-telling-style urban folk, look no further. Jeffrey made some waves a few weeks ago with a video asking people to vote for Hillary. It’ll be interesting to see what he has to sing about the outcome of the election. He said in the interview he’ll be trying out some new material, and his recent album, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade), is pretty awesome. And David Nance opens. What more do you want for $8? Starts at 9.
(Note: Pt. 1 of this interview actually appeared last Wednesday as a comment to the disasterous 2016 Presidential election. Take a look).
I first discovered Manhattan folk/punk singer/songwriter Jeffrey Lewis’ music back in 2013 when Lewis opened for Quasi at Slowdown Jr. I knew virtually nothing about him then, and a half-hour later, upon completing his set, I became a fan.
At the time, Lewis was out supporting the vinyl re-release of his Rough Trade debut LP, The Last Time I Did Acid I Went Insane, a set that captures his earliest urban folk storytelling in all its glory. A few years after that came out, Lewis caught a broader audience’s attention with 12 Crass Songs (2007, Rough Trade), wherein our hero covered 12 songs by ’70s English punk band Crass.
Lewis’ latest, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade), collects 11 clever, tuneful story songs, this time backed by his band Los Bolts. His style has been described as anti-folk, maybe because any of these songs could be reimagined by a hyper-kinetic straight-four hardcore band. In fact, Lewis’ style has more in common with the latter-day Lou Reed (album opener “Scowling Crackhead Ian” would sound right at home alongside anything on Reed’s New York album). while “Avenue A, Shanghai, Hollywood” sung by Mim Pahl and indie band life lesson “Support Tours” would make Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle smile. Other songwriters that come to mind include Wall of Voodoo’s Stan Ridgway and fellow story-teller Mark Kozelek, though Lewis’ music is never as dour.
For me, Lewis and his music epitomize the same raw, matter-of-fact narrative style and humor of some of my favorite underground comic book writers/artists, like R. Crumb, Daniel Clowes and Harvey Pekar. Not surprising, Lewis augments his music career with his own comic book series, Fuff, a copy of which you’ll likely have a chance to examine (and buy) when Lewis and Los Bolts play Reverb Lounge Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Usually I give touring musicians the Ten Questions treatment, but I couldn’t pass up an offer to do a phoner a couple weeks ago with Lewis from his Manhattan home.
Are you still touring your latest album, Manhattan, which came out a year ago?
Jeffrey Lewis, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade)
Jeffrey Lewis: Part of the reason for that is because I do everything myself. I’m the one who has to book all the gigs. Right now I’m sort of deeply embroiled in mailing out all of the posters for the different shows. I just mailed a bunch of posters out to Olympia, Washington, today and I’ve got to mail out posters to Denver tomorrow. The constant checklist of things that need to be done kind of means that I can’t really do these tours back to back because it’s just too much work to do all at once by myself. I kind of need things to be spaced out just because there’s only so many hours in a day.
Do you get any help at all from the label? I ask because I don’t know what a label provides anymore. I guess they put out your record. In the old days, a label could help with tour support, they could help you book the tour, they could help you with promotion. It seems like labels don’t have the resources for anymore.
It certainly seems to be the case. I don’t know. I feel like in some ways I entered the music business at the right time, although some people might think it was the exact wrong time. My first album on Rough Trade came out in 2001. My entire experience touring and dealing with record labels has been in the internet age. I’ve been on Rough Trade 15 years and I’ve been touring and doing all this stuff and making my living at this for that whole time period, I never existed in the music industry during a time when there was a thought that it could be a different way.
I never existed in the music industry during the time when independent bands and alternative music was riding a certain financial wave through the late ’80s and through the ’90s; there was so much more money in it in terms of album sales, in terms of what you would expect even a small-level independent album to sell and the amount of support that was available, tour support and promotion and everything else.
I feel like a lot of artists went through a real crashing of expectations or a real readjustment of what they were expecting to do or what they were expecting to make. I never had that. For me from the get-go it was like, if I was going to do anything I basically learned pretty quickly that I was going to have to do it for myself and figure out ways to make it work.
Of course I do credit Rough Trade tremendously with really helping me out by being interested in me in the first place and continuing to be interested in me all these years later. I can’t imagine there’s very many artists on the label that could possibly make less money for the label than me. They put out the Strokes, they put out Belle and Sebastian, they put out some pretty major players in the Indie music realm.
It’s almost crazy to me that they’re still interested in putting out a Jeffrey Lewis album every couple of years. To me that’s just really cool. I’m happy about that element of the relationship. I’m happy to be associated with them and I’m glad that they’re so far still happy to be associated with me.
Tell me about your backing band, Los Bolts. Who’s in it?
It’s definitely been a challenge to keep one band together for a long period of time. Since I have been doing this about 15 years, I’ve probably had maybe six different drummers and maybe four different bass players or something like that.
Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts on this tour is the same band that I’ve been with for about a year now, which is Brent Cole on drums. He was in the Moldy Peaches and Dufus, which are two New York bands that I did a lot of touring with over the years. I’ve known Brent for a long time and I’ve toured with him before though not as a member of my own band.
On bass is Mem Pahl, and she’s very young. She just turned 22. It’s kind of an interesting contrast where Brent and I are both 40 and we’ve been doing this essentially since the late ‘90s, although only doing it professionally since 2001 or so. Mem is really just like of a younger generation and brings the music that she wants to play in the car, and the perspective that she has on the music scene is really interesting and it’s made a really cool dynamic.
We’ve done a lot of touring together in this particular trio format of the past year. Mem was actually playing bass with me for almost a year prior to that, too. I’m sort of almost going into two years with Mem on bass. She was only 20 when she started with me.
It’s kind of interesting to have these different dynamics over the years and how the different combinations of people that I’m with kind of create different chemistries. It’s like any relationship, when you start dating somebody and over time it just gets deeper and the layers of experience kind of make it richer. It’s sad if some musician ends up not being able to continue touring because maybe somebody got married or had a kid or they move away from New York City. There’s a million reasons why somebody wouldn’t be able to stay in my band forever. Every time that chemistry breaks up and I have to sort of start trying to develop a new relationship it’s a bit sad to have to start from scratch.
My favorite song on the record is “Have a Baby.” I assume it’s about people who lose interest in things that they love after they have a family. Is that kind of what you were going for and were you experiencing that with your friends when you wrote that song?
Yeah. I like that a song a lot. It was really a fun song to put together because I feel like it’s structurally different than other stuff that I’ve done. The sentiment of it in some ways cancels itself out because it can be seen from two different perspectives I guess depending on which side of the argument somebody is looking at it from. I didn’t really realize that when I wrote it I guess.
I feel like if you were the person who was having a baby you could look at that song as a sort of unpleasant sarcastic comment on how maybe now that you’re having a baby you’re not going to be able to do anything interesting anymore. The other side of it which was sort of more of the side that I started writing the song with in mind, I was just thinking of all of the frivolous things that life is filled with, all of the details that we pay attention to, that occupy our time. Some event can come along that makes them seem very petty — things that you sort of put aside when something more important arrives. Proliferation of details that seem important when you’re engaged in it, but some life changing event can happen that can make them actually look sort of insane, in their detailed specificity, or the necessity that they seem to have when you’re absorbed in them.
I did realize while making the song that it kind of, it had to be two different perspectives that it could be seen by, each of which is kind of unpleasant for, it could kind of sort of be insulting for both sides of the equation I guess.
Well when I first heard it I thought of your original intention until I read a review of the record where the reviewer said the opposite. I hadn’t thought about it and I said ‘Oh, that must be what he was going for.’ Obviously that wasn’t what you were going for.
Yeah, and of course it’s always a mistake for the artist to say, ‘Well it’s supposed to be taken like this.’ A lot of times people hear something and if they like it then it’s really not a good thing for me to explain ‘Oh no, you’re wrong, you like it but you’re not thinking of it the right way.’ Whatever way people want to think of it is their own business and I think me putting my two cents in to say that you’re supposed to think of it one way or the other is really only to the detriment of the art. It should just be out there for people to make of it what they will.
Speaking of art, I love your artwork. First of all why don’t you sell your artwork online anywhere and how important is making your comics in your life?
The comics are an important component of my financial existence, but are very tied in with the music. Most of the freelance art jobs that I get are through people knowing me through music. The Mountain Goats comic book press kit thing that I drew a few years back or the artwork that I’ve done for the band the Cribs or other projects like that where somebody knew me through music or a band that I toured with or played gigs with.
Fuff No. 2 by Jeffrey Lewis.
These ended up being really good freelance art jobs for me but I wouldn’t have gotten them if it wasn’t for the fact that they knew me first through music and then when they needed an artist or they needed a comic book artist or an illustrator. I just happened to be there or I was somebody that they had already met. It’s not like I’m going around to magazines and dropping off a portfolio.
In addition to that, a lot of people who buy my comic books are buying them through my website, which is kind of like my music. People might come to my website because they’ve heard an album and then they’re like ‘Oh, these comic books are here also, maybe I’ll buy some of those.’ Then I have the comic books at the merchandise table at my concerts. I perform, there’s like illustrated songs that I perform at the gigs, too. The comics and the music are sort of very much tied together in a way that isn’t really two different careers, they sort of rely on each other and I can’t really totally separate them out as two different careers even though they’re sort of two very different disciplines.
As far as selling original art, I don’t know. I don’t know how much to price it. I’ve never thought of my art as something to sell. I just draw stuff so that I can turn it into comic books really. I’ve just never really entered that realm of like somebody who sells original art. It’s just kind of alien to me.
That’s another like just sort of hassle in trying to do all the stuff myself. Right now I’m trying to calculate well how many comics do I need for this tour, how many boxes should I mail to the west coast. How many can I fit in my car actually, how many CDs, how many records. How much room is the drum case going to take up so how many t-shirts can we take with us. You don’t want to run out of merchandise when you’re out on the road because it’s a major part of the financing of a tour. But it is hard to know how much to take.
I think you need to hire an intern.
I did actually, I did hire an intern a couple of years ago. I had a couple of people that would come over like once a week and I was paying them an hourly wage to help me do the website stuff. The people that order stuff from my website, we sort of had one day where we’d all work together packing up orders and bring them to the Post Office and dealing with that. I don’t know, somehow everybody just always ended up being too busy.
I was sort of up to paying people 15 bucks an hour which seems like a pretty good rate to just sit around with me and listen to records and pack comic books into envelopes. Even at that rate, it was like I had all these different people that just kept not being available and I kept ending up doing it myself. Now as of the past six months I’ve pretty much just been back to doing it all myself.
I do think I do need more help in general. But everybody does. If you were Donald Trump somebody would do your laundry for you and scrub your floor. For the rest of us there’s work to be done and someone’s got to do it and that’s us.
You could literally draw things when you’re not driving (on tour) and sell them at shows.
Well I mean it’s also I guess for me it’s a problem because I’m not, what’s his name David Shrigley, and I’m not Daniel Johnston in the sense that the art that I make is very time consuming. I feel like for something to actually be a Jeffrey Lewis drawing it might take me like a day to do. I could of course do some kind of quick doodle but then I would kind of feel bad charging money for that and somebody, you know, I don’t know, that’s part of the problem with me selling the original art is I’m like it’s just too valuable to me. I put too much time into it to think of like, well I can’t just sell this for 20 bucks.
It took me two days to do. That means I’ve got to charge 500 bucks for it. But then it’s like well who the hell’s going to pay 500 bucks for it. So it just stays here in my closet.
Those sketches you did for your box sets are just fantastic.
That was a very fun insane project that was a huge amount of work. Those are basically are like how fast can I crank out 500 drawings without thinking about it at all. I don’t know if I would do that again but it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Are you working on new material now? Are we going to hear any new stuff on this when you play in Omaha?
Yeah, I’m always trying to work out some new stuff. I actually just played a show in New York City last night that was 100% all new songs. I was just reading all the lyrics off of lyric sheets for the entire night. I feel like I usually have to write a lot of songs before I end up with any that I feel strong enough to really hold on to. Part of that process is trying out some new material after just letting it having a chance to take shape over the course of different performances and just sort of feeling what it feels like to play stuff in front of people. That’s part of the writing process for me.
I’ll definitely be trying some new stuff. I’m one of those people that feels like just because I wrote a song doesn’t mean that it’s really worth people hearing. Right now I have a pile of maybe about 25 new songs but of those there’s maybe might be four or five that I actually consider contenders that I might start doing something with.
I do want to ask you one last question which is, which I ask everybody as part of that is what stories have you heard about Omaha, Nebraska.
What stories have I heard about it? In some ways in song writing circles it’s kind of legendary for being the home of Simon Joyner. Simon Joyner was an important influence on me in the ‘90s when I was just starting to get into Indie music and songs and songwriting. Of course Bright Eyes is a pretty major figure in the alternative music and Indie songwriting. For like an Indie songwriter or an Indie rock band that concentrates on songwriting, I think Omaha has a sort of legend or a sort of a atmosphere to it.
It’s also an interesting part of the country for me to play. I don’t get to play there that often. I mean considering how many times I’ve played Chicago or San Francisco or something I’ve probably played Omaha only like maybe three times or something like that. It’s kind of cool to have a chance to get back there.
Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts play with David Nance Tuesday, Nov. 15, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.
Still reeling from Trump? Who isn’t. Well, maybe some music will help blunt that funk. Can you even imagine what kind of music Trump likes?
Here’s what’s happening this weekend…
Lawrence’s The Appleseed Cast has played Omaha so many times over the past 20 years it’s practically a “local band.” Chris Crisci, Taylor Hollenbeck and Nate Wilder have had the emo tag thrown on them from back in the day. They’re actually a pretty heavy band in the Built to Spill vein. They haven’t released a record since 2013’s Illumination Ritual (Graveface Records), so who knows what they’ll be playing tonight when they open for Caspian at The Waiting Room. $15, 9 p.m.
Also tonight, you’ve seen him playing next to Conor Oberst on Kimmel, see Miwi La Lupa doing his own thing tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Miwi just released a new album called Beginner’s Guide (Tigershrimp Records). Headlining is Carl Miller & The Thrillers. Opening is McCarthy Trenching. Three bands, $7, 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight, Omaha’s best alt-country/Americana indie band, Clarence Tilton, headlines at The Barley Street Tavern with The Pink Flamingos and Mace Hathoway. $5, 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night Relax, It’s Science is out supporting their new release, a 3-song ep called Paranoia, at Barley Street Tavern. We’re talking a two-bass three-piece centered around veteran drummer Jeremy Stanosheck. Must be seen and heard to be believed. Stronghold and Altura also are on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.
Also Saturday night, KC low-fi/garage marvels Man Vs. Animals (Shit Shack Records) headlines at Milk Run with Gongfermour and Sweatpantsdaze. $7, 9:30 p.m.
And down at Slowdown Jr. (you remember that place?) Eklectica, SIRES, and Ridgelines play. $7, 9 p.m.
Finally Sunday night back at Milk Run, Pittsburgh power-punk band CALYX headlines. Jettison and Benjamin Charles Freeman also are on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.
That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments. Have a great weekend and keep ya head up.
On this day of shock and awe, my only comment on this election is: We’ve got to pick ourselves up and move on. It is what it is, and you can’t change it, but you can make it better.
The worst possible outcome of yesterday’s election was definitely on my mind last week when I interviewed singer/songwriter and New Yorker Jeffrey Lewis, who plays at Reverb next Tuesday night. Last week, Lewis posted a video in support of Hillary Clinton, which you can view here, which prompted this back-and-forth about last night’s worst possible outcome…
Me: I just watched your Low Budget Public Service Announcement 2016. This interview is going to come out after the election. What do you think about waking up November 9th to a President Donald Trump?
Jeffrey Lewis: Well, it’s definitely an unpleasant thought. In some ways not just politically but because he’s like a New York City real estate guy, he’s like already the enemy to me aside from his view on politics. It’s kind of ironic that he was already one of the people that makes me feel awful regardless of his political stances.
I feel like throughout our lives we go through these period where there’s some candidates in power that we would prefer not be in power and vice versa. What can you do? You can’t always have it your way. I wouldn’t commit suicide, but to me it’s a frightening thought. It’s also kind of scary to think that there are a lot of people in America — a lot of Trump supporters — who feel that way about Clinton. They just recoil in horror. The people in the right wing recoil in horror at the thought of Clinton being elected and the left wing recoils in horror at the thought of Trump being elected. No matter what happens there’s going to be a lot of upset people.
Me: Yeah. It’s what I try to think about, which is as much as I hate Trump, the Trump people hate Obama and Clinton in a way that I can’t understand. It’s weird.
Right, and up until this moment I didn’t know if you were a Trump supporter or an anti-Trump or what. Actually it’s always very interesting touring across America because of course we plan in blue states we play in red states we play all over the place and some places that are extremely left wing to middle ground to right wing, you really sort of get… You take the pulse of the country in a certain way as a touring band.
A lot of times in the past we’ve been on touring during presidential election campaigns. I think October and November are often good months to be on tour in the states, and I’ve done a number of tours that happen to be prior to presidential elections. It is really interesting to kind of see the different parts of the country at these very heated times.
Me: Did you think maybe I was a Trump guy because I’m in Nebraska?
Well you know as a journalist it’s, you could have just be getting answers from me and not necessarily showing me your cards. I think that happens sometimes where people are just sort of asking me questions without necessarily revealing anything about their own take on it.
Of course I imagine as a band we’re probably playing in clubs where the majority of people are probably maybe more artistic types or they’re more of a liberal college student type atmosphere in some places so that we’re seeing a somewhat biased perspective on America. I feel as though there’s been so much opposition to Clinton from the left wing. I feel like I encounter that in my life more because there’s not as many right wing people in my life as there are left wing people, and I feel like the discussions and debates that I have generally tend to be with people that are further left than me rather than further right than me. That’s kind of been a factor.
Making this Hillary Clinton video, my immediate thought was of all of the friends of mine on the left that we’re going to be upset with me because I just don’t have as many friends on the right.
Me: I saw at the very beginning (of the video) you kind of throw a bone to them, too. Saying you like Bernie.
Right. It certainly doesn’t stop the endless, the harangue of internet trolls that immediately pile on the assault any time you set your foot into the ring politically you’re just inviting a whole lot of internet trouble. It’s hard to emotionally distance yourself and not want to get into debates with all these people or not let it make you upset or sad. You have to just… I try not to get too caught up in reading all the nasty comments that come up any time you sort of make a statement about anything.
Me: Yeah. That explains the last statement in your video which is this is not a time for those negative comments.
That doesn’t stop them, though.
Trump is as much a product of the left as the right. Anyway, I’ll post the rest of my interview with Jeffrey tomorrow. Get some sleep.
Let me be the 100th person to tell you to go out and vote. Me, I’m waiting until after work to do my civic duty, which will mean long lines, but it’s a small price to pay for blah-blah-blah… Seriously, tomorrow could be historic, or we could all be living in a Trumpian world…
Looks like the post-election after-party is at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight, where progressive band Sand headlines. They’re described as “a heavy psychedelic power trio lined with nods to proto-metal.” What more do you want? Well, how about Chemicals, the red-hot jazz-infused progressive rock band featuring (among its line-up) legendary bassist Dereck Higgins. Plus you also get Kansas garage-punk band Arc Flash. All that for $5. Wear your “I voted today” sticker and get a free handshake from one of O’Leaver’s inebriated staff. Show starts at 9.
Also tonight, Denver band Grampus headlines at Milk Run with The Hottman Sisters $8, 9 p.m.
Research for this article was my first introduction to Murder by Death, though the band has been kicking around since 2000. My wife and I listened to Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon (2012, Bloodshot) all yesterday afternoon, enraptured by the album’s gorgeous cinematic style — consider it spaghetti western outlaw folk. I was reminded of Decemberists and Johnny Cash as well as Silver Jews, Morphine and Elvis Perkins, though the Louisville-based 5-piece has a unique sound all its own.
Their latest album, Big Dark Love, came out in 2014 on Bloodshot, which tells me they’ve got to be due to release something new. Maybe we’ll get a peek at the new stuff when they play at The Waiting Room Wednesday night.
I asked Murder by Death to take our Ten Questions survey. Guitarist/vocalist Adam Turla took the plunge.
1. What is your favorite album?
Adam Turla: Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust
2. What is your least favorite song?
Pretty much anything Top 40.
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
Writing, being creative.
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
The “hurry up and wait” aspect of touring. Never getting enough sleep, then hurrying to the venue, where you sit around waiting to play.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
Bourbon or Gin. But really, probably, good crusty bread.
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
Anywhere where folks care!
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
Hmmmm. We had a crazy one outside of Charleston, SC, where the club was falling apart and the cops came. It got pretty bananas.
8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?
Yes, have done so for 13 years (some better than others!). Took a couple years, but we didn’t make much, and lived modestly. We also stayed on the road constantly during that time to keep down expenses and stay busy.
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
I love food, I want to open a restaurant — it involves a lot of creativity beyond the food, from building renovation to decoration, spatial creativity and an awareness of people. I would hate to be a politician.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
We have probably played in Omaha over a dozen times, maybe more. My best personal story was when we were driving from Omaha to Denver, and a snowstorm shut down all the highways. We had to stop in Kearney, NE, but all the hotels were booked up, so we had to stay at the National Guard Center, where we helped set up cots and hand out pizza. Then we watched Total Recall in our van, had a few beers, and went to sleep. Next morning our trailer hit some black ice, smashed into the guardrail and the walls of the trailer ripped right off. Managed to find a trailer shop a few miles down the road, bought a new one, and still made the show in Denver.
Murder by Death plays with Laura Stevenson Wednesday, Nov. 9, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 Adv./$17 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.
I’ve never been a big Wilco fan, though they do have a few songs I love, like “Either Way” off 2007’s Sky Blue Sky. But for the most part, Wilco’s music unravels into noodling jam-band territory too often for my liking. Whenever I listen to one of their records I always wonder how it would sound had they remained focused on the songs rather than trying so hard to sound different — i.e,, why can’t they be more like Fruit Bats.
The new Fruit Bats album, Absolute Loser (2016, Easy Sound) sounds like the Wilco album Wilco never made — a 10-song collect that leans closer to indie rock than alt country, though there’s a hint of twang throughout. The Chicago band has been putting out indie folk-rock albums since the early ’00s, mostly on Sub Pop. Frontman Eric D. Johnson cites ’70s AM radio as an influence, and if you try real hard, you might hear it, though I think the only transistor residue comes in the form of solid song-writing with strong melodies — something that all too often is missing from modern indie music.
Anyway, Fruit Bats headline tonight at Reverb Lounge. Opening is Lincoln band Walk By Sea. $17, 9 p.m.
For me, the above show caps off a strong week’s worth of indie shows in Omaha, but highlights a pretty sparse weekend of music. Benson has Benson First Friday tonight (swing by The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple Street, tonight to check out Flock; we’re open ’til 9).
Fabulous O’Leaver’s has Briner tonight with The Clocks and The Cosmic Smiths. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Tomorrow night (Saturday) The Brothers Lounge is hosting Swamp Walk with Leafblower and High Ruler. $5, 9 p.m.
Also tomorrow night, Milk Run has Cedar Rapids band Hunter Dumped Us Here, Switchblade Saturdays, Gallivant and Liar Wire. $7, 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, back at O’Leaver’s Saturday night it’s Philly indie punk band Mumbler, Tulsa’s Lizard Police and No Getter. $7, 9 p.m.
The weekend concludes with the Sunday Social at O’Leaver’s, this week featuring Lodgings, Eric in Outerspace and Green Trees. Early 4 p.m. start time. $5.
That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments area. Have a great weekend.
Nothing to do with Omaha music, more to do with a band I dug in the ’90s…. LA-based indie band That Dog. is recording their first album in a decade, and needs help to pay for it. That’s where you come in. It’s the same old story:
“We’ve managed to self-finance most of the recording process, but we need help covering costs for mixing, mastering and some preliminary marketing.”
The premiums are pretty rad — they’ve obviously never done a Kickstarter before and have no idea what a pain in the ass fulfilling these premiums will be. Needless to say, they’ve already exceeded their $17,500 goal. Check it out here. Apparently they’ll be touring this record…
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If you missed The Faint show on Halloween, never fear. The Slowdown just announced they’re playing again Dec. 30, and doing a Faint+Goo show New Year’s Eve. Tix on sale tomorrow.
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Tonight is that long sold-out Conor Oberst show at the 40th Street Theater, 4006 1/2 Hamilton St. The $35 tix sold out quick; congrats to those who snagged some. Doors open at 7 p.m. Hartford/Focht (Matt Focht and wife Crystal Hartford) are the warm-up act.
Also tonight, Brooklyn indie band Yeasayer plays at The Waiting Room. The band had a hit with Odd Blood in 2010. They’re touring their latest album, Amen & Goodbye, which came out this past April on Mute. Canadian electronic musician Lydia Ainsworth opens. She was a shortlist nominee for the Juno Award for the Electronic Album of the Year. $25, 9 p.m.