Live Review: Closeness, InDreama, Tbd. dance collective…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:40 pm May 21, 2018

InDreama at O’Leaver’s May 18, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

Friday night felt like a “happening” at O’Leaver’s — a live show on stage and DJs on the patio. It was a wild, fun night.

The music kicked off with a set from InDreama, Nik Fackler’s psych-rock project which hasn’t played live in a couple years. Something indeed has changed over that time as the band never sounded so ferocious. So intense was the set that the music from the band’s debut album felt re-imagined, with Fackler slaying on lead guitar and vocals. Why they’ve been hiding all this time is a mystery.

A big part of the groovy vibe was supplied by the crowd, which was hyped and eager and very responsive. This would prove out next when .tbd dance collective took the stage.

.Tbd Dance Collective at O’Leaver’s May 18, 2018.

I wasn’t expecting much, considering the rather small and grungy confines of O’Leaver’s. The collective would have to come up with something creative to make this space come alive, and they did.

A trio of dancers, which included Fackler’s wife, Kat, walked out in formation dressed in shiny silver skin-tight jumpsuits and grabbed the audience with an interpretation of David Bowie’s “Girl Loves Me” off Blackstar that concluded with them ripping off their suits.

They were joined by the rest of the collective for a couple more routines that fell together seamlessly from song to song, concluding with a frenetic interpretation of Todrick Hall’s track “Dem Beats” where the crowd was invited to join in a communal dance that became a celebration. It was a high point of the evening.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s, May 18, 2018.

Finally Closeness — Todd and Orenda Fink — closed out the night with a set of their usual driving electronic rock. The music was as dense and ponderous as the heavy clouds of smoke that billowed from the floor between songs. I was thinking while listening that Closeness is a natural extension to what Todd did in The Faint married with Orenda’s unique style. Friday night’s show seemed to rely more on Todd than Orenda at least vocally, though both were in fine voice.

Now that summer is on its way O’Leaver’s is reaching some sort of party-scene apex, and I’m told there are more improvements to the club on the horizon…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club; Closeness, InDreama, Leafblower tonight; Velveteers, Ocean Black, U2 Saturday; Wye Oak Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 12:23 pm May 18, 2018

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at The Slowdown, May 17, 2018.

by Tim McMahan,

I’m told they did not roll in on motorcycles, but they looked like they could have. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took the stage in Slowdown’s main room last night to a large, older, darkly clad crowd come to see these ’90s alt rock giants.

Starting out as a trio, they ripped through new stuff and old, including a tasty version of “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” that had the crowd doing some overhead clapping. Listening to the band what came to mind was how many other acts (including a lot of grungy outlaw-country bands) have stolen their twangy blues-rock style. I could see how people initially compared them to early Led Zeppelin (in their blues-rock song structure) but also heard a Skynyrd and swamp-rock influence.

Guitarist Peter Hayes (who also played a small drum set) and bassist Robert Levon Been (who also played acoustic guitar) shared the mumbled vocals from song to song. A keyboardist joined them about 20 minutes into the set, filling out the sound especially on newer songs. Drummer Leah Shapiro kept the throaty, mid-tempo beat going all night. Fun set, and what little variety came from Hayes and Been switching off instruments or Hayes’ strange vocal microphone used for a few numbers I guess to give him an even grittier growl.

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Lots o’ shows happening this weekend…

Tonight Closeness — Todd and Orenda Fink’s dreamy electronic rock project — headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s for what could be a spectacle as the Tbd. Dance Collective will perform in the center slot. What that entails within the basement-like confines of The Club is anyone’s guess. Opening is Nik Fackler’s prog-psych-rock project InDreama, who hasn’t gigged in many a moon. $7, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Brothers Lounge, Max Trax Recording artist Leafblower headlines. Universe Contest opens at 10 p.m. This one’s $5.

Tomorrow night it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Velveteers — Demi and John Demitro out of Boulder playing a style that would have fit right in opening for BRMC. This is a loaded bill with the local stoner-rockers Ocean Black and Bad Bad Men (Hug, Wolf, Siebkin, say no more) . $8, 9 p.m.

What else… oh yeah, there’s a little band called U2 playing at CenturyLink Center tomorrow night (Saturday). I’m seeing tickets as low as $9 for this (behind the stage in nosebleed-land). Still, it’s U2. 8 p.m. start time.

Finally, Wye Oak plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night. Their new album, The Faster I Call, the Faster It Runs (2018, Merge) is a departure from their past stuff in that it actually kind of rocks in an electronic sort of way. Their best record yet? You be the judge. Palm (Carpark Records) opens a 8 p.m. $15.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Bazile Mills tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:35 pm May 17, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

No time for much today other than to say…

Tonight Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) plays at The Slowdown with Pete International Airport (Peter Holmström of The Dandy Warhols, among other). You read my BRMC 10 Q right here. Main Room, 8 p.m., $28.

Also tonight the Summer Happy Hour Music Series kicks off at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Bazile Mills in the beer garden. $5, 6 p.m.

While over at the Down Under Lounge tonight it’s Guts and Bones, DHX (Dereck Higgins) and Big Slur. Starts at 9:30, no price listed.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


O’Leaver’s launches beer garden series, buys Winchester Bar & Grill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm May 16, 2018

The fabulous Winchester Bar & Grill is now owned by the same folks who own fabulous O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

There’s no better place to enjoy great weather than your own back yard… or a beer garden. The folks at fabulous O’Leaver’s know this, so a couple years ago they built a giant beer garden behind their building. This hidden Narnia is one of the Omaha music scene’s best kept secrets (that’s not really secret).

Anyway, O’Leaver’s just announced a new “Summer Happy Hour Live Music Series” that takes place out in the beer garden one Thursday per month. The schedule:

May 17 — Bazile Mills
June 21 — Clarence Tilton
July 19 — Electroliners
Aug. 16 — RAF
Sept. 20 — Clarence Tilton
Oct. 11 — Shithook

These 6 p.m. gigs are $5, and what’s interesting is they haven’t limited the bands to quiet acoustic combos. RAF is a violent, raucous punk band. What will the neighbors say? Well, it’s so early in the evening I can’t imagine they’ll say anything.

Noise issues are the only reason I can fathom why more Omaha beer gardens don’t host outdoor gigs. Benson’s 1912, for example, has a massive beer garden on its roof perfect for a weekly local gig. The just opened Bärchen, also in Benson, has a great beer garden behind its building.

Speaking of O’Leaver’s, the club’s ownership group has expanded its holdings with the purchase of Winchester Bar & Grill at 7002 Q St., right across the street from Fun Plex. In addition to their attempt at cornering the market on volleyball (Winchester has five nets), there’s also pool, darts and karaoke.

Winchester’s motto: “A Legend of Good Times and Food Since 1975,” which is probably the last time I was there. Actually, I remember Winchester’s as part of the ’80s club scene that stretched along 72nd street (Who remembers Jodhpurs, Brandywines, The Crazy Horse and The Ranch Bowl — meat market bars that featured cover bands? Toss Arthur’s in there for good measure since it was right up the street).

I’m told the new owners haven’t had a chance to make any changes but “anything is possible there” including live rock shows, maybe in line with what we’ve seen at O’Leaver’s. Maybe they’ll play off the name and focus on a C&W theme, or Americana? Time will tell. I intend to drop by this weekend before or after the races at Horseman’s Park.

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Monday’s item about Maha charging volunteers a $35 deposit caught the attention of the Maha folks.

They said the grizzled Maha veteran volunteer who complained to me literally didn’t get the memo, as veteran volunteers were offered an early-bird opportunity in April to volunteer and waive the $35 fee. Any other veteran volunteers who didn’t get the memo should get in touch with Maha at

Maha also reiterated that volunteers are what keep the festival a well-oiled machine, which is something anyone who’s gone to a Maha Festival already knows.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Ten Questions with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (at Slowdown May 17); Helmet tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:39 pm May 15, 2018

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays Thursday night at The Slowdown. Photo by Tessa Angus.

by Tim McMahan,

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — a.k.a. BRMC — have been a force in the West Coast psych rock scene since the band formed in the late ’90s. The core has always been guitarist Peter Hayes and bassist Robert Levon Been, who have shared the vocals throughout the band’s eight studio albums.

Their style: a grimy gutter groove, a loud fuzz guitar and a gritty growl spitting out words about the wrong kind of love. Rock stomps like “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo” off the 2010 album by the same name, and “Spread Your Love” off their 2001 debut B.R.M.C. are the perfect soundtrack for anyone who wants to feel like a bad-ass. The band keeps the grind going strong on their latest, Wrong Creatures, released this past January by Vagrant Records.

We caught up with BRMC’s Robert Levon Been and asked him Ten Questions:

What is your favorite album?

Robert Levon Been: Still waiting for it.

What is your least favorite song?

Nearly all of the them, except the very few that somehow give just enough hope to music to trick it into believing it might all carry on into infinity and beyond.

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

It’s the real dream: to find a place where you set aside all your differences with another person and create something new, beautiful, and unexpected with another person. It’s not far from child birth or any great work of art that’s a collaborative exploration into violent and unknown territory.

What do you hate about being in a band?

The sex, drugs, lies, egos and the distractions. But then again, what would rock ’n’ roll be without all those things?

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

MUSIC. I know it’s like the most pretentious answer of all time, but I don’t care. It really comes down to the song, atmosphere, weird sonic vibrations, and soul. Everything else is just is surface, sugar, icing on the cake, and always fleeting…

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Our dream is to play Iceland, which is the only place we’ve never played and we’ve always tried year after year after year… so please start a petition! To get BRMC TO ICELAND, please.

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

I think most towns we’ve bombed as many time as we’ve soared, so it kinda balances out. As far as why…I don’t know, I guess we all get nervous and choke just as much as the next guy or gal.

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?

This is actually a good question, because when the band started we ALL AGREED for each member to only be paid a monthly salary (as if we had normal jobs). So if we got a huge licenses for $800,000 dollars we would still just take out a small allowance of that, and that kept us from blowing through our money super fast (with fur coats and lambos). What I’ve noticed though is that after each album we usually have about one year before the accountants start saying ‘Hey look, you’re gonna completely run out of your savings in about six months unless you deliver another new album.’ And that fucks with your head, because you’re just not always inspired every single year to write a new album, which is why I think ‘Wrong Creatures’ took longer than most because we didn’t want to release an album just for, like, tax purposes, which would be almost sacrilegious artistically. So we dragged our feet more than ever before and waited until the songs came more naturally, and it started to feel like an album that we needed in these times. And that’s the only thing that really matters at the end of the day.

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

A film director or an astronaut. I would hate to vacuum the floors at an airport at like 3 a.m. on the slow Zamboni they’ve got there. I’ve never seen anything more mind numbing than watching a human sitting on a vacuum cleaning going 5 miles per hour, and very understandably looking half asleep while doing a job that’s only purpose is to ease all creativity and soul from your body. But what do I know? Maybe there’s an upside that I’m missing.

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

Just the title all of our all time favorite Bruce Springsteen album, ‘Nebraska’. And that album alone got us through a lot of long van drives cross country in the early days of the band. It’s a spooky album to listen to on an open highway in the dead of night.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays with Pete International Airport Thursday, May 17, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $25 Adv/$28 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to

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The ’90s are back loud and clear tonight at The Waiting Room — Helmet headlines a show alongside metal dudes Prong. $25, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Surprised by the Maha Festival schedule? Single-day tix on sale; volunteers charged $35 deposit…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:40 pm May 14, 2018

by Tim McMahan,

Was anyone surprised by the Maha Music Festival lineup announcement last week? Pairing Weezer and Father John Misty makes perfect sense considering Maha is charging $70 for Saturday and $35 for Friday. In some ways, the line-up announcement changed the complexion of the festival, for me anyway. Saturday looks very solid:

Father John Misty
The Kills
Rayvn Lanae
Hop Along
U.S. Girls
David Nance
The Dilla Kids

They’ve grouped everyone I wanted to see on Saturday; and while I’m not a big Weezer fan (especially of their output the past decade) I generally skip the headliner anyway. For a few people I’ve spoken to, FJM is their headliner, and they were hoping he was playing Friday night (so they could save some cash, I suppose). But it would make no sense to put two headliners on the Friday half-day show. FJM makes Saturday more than just a Weezer concert with a string of opening bands (though for some Weezer fans, that’s all it is).

As it stands, unless you’re a TV on the Radio fan (and I’m not), Friday night’s line-up, which starts at 5:30, is a bit of a snooze:

TV on the Radio
ZZ Ward
Benjamin Booker
Hurray for the Riff Raff
State Disco
Clarence Tilton

If you buy the two-day pass, you’re getting Friday for just $25 more ($95) — worth it for TVotR fans (and for Hurray for the Riff Raff, whose 2017 concept album The Passenger (ATO Records) was a critical smash in a bluesy Big Thief sort of way). TVotR currently is only scheduled to play three other dates this year, including a Red Rocks show Aug. 15 with Father John Misty (which is why some thought FJM would be playing with them Friday night).

Something else new this year: Maha volunteers are being asked to submit their credit card info and will be charged a $35 deposit “which helps make sure everyone comes to their shift and your fellow volunteers aren’t left hanging.” I’ve already heard a complaint about this from a long-time Maha volunteer who says she’s never screwed Maha so why are she being charged? What about loyalty? Etc.

And this new policy would seem to exclude anyone who doesn’t have a credit card, but how many 19-year-olds (the minimum age for most volunteer slots) don’t have a credit card these days?

By the way, Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival requires volunteers to authorize an $85 charge on their credit cards.

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Did anyone else notice that The Decemberists have been booked to play The Holland Oct. 1?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Justin Townes Earle, Boner Killerz tonight; Wagon Blasters, Marmalakes Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:24 pm May 11, 2018

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016. Gary Dean and the gang play Barley Street Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan,

Not much happening this weekend. No touring indie bands, very few local shows of note. Maybe because it’s Mother’s Day weekend? No, that’s not it.

Let me see what I can find…

Steve Earle’s son Justin Townes Earle headlines tonight at The Waiting Room with Blake Brown. $25, 9 p.m.

The Boner Killerz are opening a show at Barley Street Tavern tonight with three bands I’ve not heard before: Robo Dojo, Catberet and When Particles Collide. $5, 9 p.m.

The Barley Street might be the place to be this weekend actually, as tomorrow night (Saturday) The Wagon Blasters play with Anonymous Henchmen and headliner Big Al Band. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday afternoon Hi-Fi House is hosting a listening party for Austin band Marmalakes new album Please Don’t Stop, which comes out today on Austin Town Hall Records. The band consists of Chase Weinacht (guitar/songwriting) and Josh Halpern (drums/production). Halpern plays with Shearwater and Palo Duro, while Weinacht performs with The Hermits. The listening party runs from 4 to 6 p.m. It’s a shame they’re not going to perform.

UPDATE: Marmalakes are playing a gig Saturday night at Lucy’s Pub, 8932 Blondo St. (which isn’t a pub at all, rather it’s the location for house shows) with Bokr Tov, Oatmeal 97 and You Doo Right.

Also Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s Lawrence folk-rock band The North Fork plays with Mr. E and the Stringless Kite. $5, 10 p.m.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Hear Nebraska Lives: 2018 Good Living Tour, Hear Grand Island and Beer Nebraska all announced…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:47 pm May 10, 2018

The 2018 Good Living Tour, brought to you by Hear Nebraska.

by Tim McMahan,

Even though it’s been explained a dozen ways, I continue to run into people who think Hear Nebraska folded when the organization merged with The Bay earlier this year to form Rabble Mill. No matter how many times I tell them that ain’t the case, they don’t listen, probably because the small army of Hear Nebraska photographers no longer are hanging around local shows.

Fact is Hear Nebraska is very much alive and kicking. This morning HN announced the 2018 Good Living Tour. The fourth-annual statewide event combines Nebraska music with skateboarding, and it’s probably the highest profile program HN has put on since the org formed in 2011.

This year’s tour locations are Broken Bow June 9 (featuring See Through Dresses and Matt Cox, among others); Imperial June 23 (with Conny Franko); Red Cloud July 7 and Norfolk July 20 (with Bokr Tov).

Showtimes weren’t given, but these typically are evening shows in public-square-style locations and they’re always free. More info here.

Hear Grand Island 2018

What was a by-product of Hear Nebraska but is no longer affiliated with the org is Hear Grand Island, which announced its 2018 schedule this week. All the shows are on Friday nights from 7 to 11 p.m. at the Railside Plaza in downtown Grand Island. The sched:

June 1: Twinsmith, Taking the Hourglass and Unforsaken Allies
June 8: Universe Contest, Cruz control and Misfire
June 15: Domestic Blend, Field Club and Isaiah Dominguez
June 22: The Fey, Rascal Martinez and UPSET
June 29: Tim Zach & Whiskey Bent, The Belles and Bernardus
July 6: High Up, Sebastian Lane Band and Losing My Charm
July 13: Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Evan Bartels & The Stoney Lonesomes and The Lupines
July 20: David Nance, Salt Creek and Alli and I
July 27: FREAKABOUT, The Way Out and From The Arc
Aug. 3: The Midnight Devils, The Wildwoods and High Plains Remedy

Beer Nebraska

Finally, there’s Beer Nebraska, a fundraiser for Rabble Mill — the umbrella org that houses Hear Nebraska. This one pairs local music and local beer and is being held at The Slowdown Aug. 4. And those bands are Satchel Grande, Icky Blossoms, Conny Franko, FREAKABOUT and Mesonjixx.

This one ain’t free:

Beers outside 5pm-9pm, Music in the Main Room 7pm-midnight
$25 Advance/$30 Day of Show with Beer Tasting
$15 Advance/$20 Day of Show without

So, yeah, Hear Nebraska is definitely kicking ass and taking names…

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Pet Shop is hosting a show tonight with Uh, Death Cow, The Natural States and headliner Minneapolis band Dirty Junk. $5, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Little Brazil: Don’t Call It a Comeback; new album, new line-up, new record label; Modest Mouse tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:44 pm May 9, 2018

Members of Little Brazil talked about the new record over slices at Virtuoso Pizza in Benson. From left are Shawn Cox, Landon Hedges and Danny Maxwell. Drummer Nate Van Fleet was missing in action.

by Tim McMahan,

The May issue of The Reader is on the racks and with it, my Over the Edge column which this time features an interview with Little Brazil. The band has a new record, Send the Wolves, that drops June 1 on new label Max Trax Records. Conor Oberst contributes to one of the tracks. The album release show also is June 1. I suggest pre-ordering some tasty blue vinyl from this here website. Look, it’s all covered in the article, which is on news stands now, online right here or, heck, just read it below.

Don’t Call It a Comeback
Little Brazil returns with a new album, line-up and record label.

Little Brazil is back with a new album that, in my humble opinion, is their best ever.

I write the above without any explanation assuming you and everyone else knows who Little Brazil was, is and will be. Because if you live in Omaha, listen to indie rock and know even a scintilla about the local music scene it’s virtually impossible to not know about the band and its history over the past 14 years.

With frontman Landon Hedges and bassist Danny Maxwell at its core, Little Brazil was always in the conversation as the “next big thing” during the mid-2000s when Saddle Creek Records bands were international commodities and Omaha was being heralded as the “New Seattle” by the likes of the New York Times, Rolling Stone and every publication that followed college music.

The band hit the ground running in 2004 with its debut LP, You and Me, released by former Omahan Mike Jaworski’s Mt. Fuji Records. It was followed by Tighten the Noose in ’07, also on Mt. Fuji, and Son in 2009 on Kansas City’s Anodyne Records. The line-up for those last two featured drummer Oliver Morgan and guitarist Greg Edds. In addition to becoming a staple on Omaha stages, Little Brazil toured the country both as an opening act and headliner.

What kept people coming back was Little Brazil’s sound — part indie, part emo, part punk and unmistakably Nebraskan. Or as I wrote in my first feature on the band way back in 2004: “What gives Little Brazil a leg up on the plethora of indie competition is Hedges’ love for basic melodies, great guitar lines and his strange, childish warble.” No one sings quite like Landon Hedges, his high croon/wail cuts through the deafening wall of guitar, bass and drums like a 10 million lumen beacon through the densest fog.

Little Brazil was always on the edge of breaking through to the next level, but after a year of touring Son, the band hit a wall in 2010 in the form of another band — Desaparecidos. Hedges held a central role in Conor Oberst’s punk-rock side project that re-emerged from a long hiatus with the Concert for Equality. But Desa wasn’t the only reason for Little Brazil’s slowdown.

“I moved to San Diego in 2010 to be with my wife,” Hedges said over slices of pizza and beer at Virtuoso Pizzeria in downtown Benson alongside Maxwell and new guitarist Shawn Cox. “I got married and DMax got married the same year. There was a member switch and, yeah, Desa got back together.”

At the time, Little Brazil was in the middle of writing its next record with new drummer Matt Bowen and new guitarist Mike Friedman, but when Conor calls, you pick up the phone. Desaparecidos recorded and toured off and on for the next five years. “Little Brazil went from doing five shows a year to two and then one,” Maxwell said.

Then in 2015 after Oberst suffered a number of health-related issues, Desaparecidos came to an end. The following January Little Brazil entered ARC Studios with producer Ben Brodin and laid down the tracks for what became Send the Wolves, the new album that comes out June 1 on Max Trax Records (more on that in a minute).

The end of the last Desaparecidos tour is the subject of the first single off the album, “Making a Mess,” that features Oberst once again singing alongside Hedges. “We were sitting in the studio and I texted Conor, ‘You’re missing out on the dubious honor of singing on a Little Brazil song.’ He knew exactly what song I was talking about because Brodin had told him.”

Oberst walked over to the studio (He lives next door) and laid down his vocals. “It was the last song we wrote for the album, it was very special and it was nice that he sang on it,” Hedges said. The two-and-a-half-minute song carries the same energy as a Desparecidos song, with opening lines: “It feels like you’re making a mess / It seems that you’re walking away from something / That you don’t want to say or admit to.”

It’s not the only song on the album reminiscent of Desaparecidos’ style and energy, but instead of politics, Hedges writes about his life, from meeting his wife (“Wait for You”) to growing up in Benson (the infectious “Motorbike”) to his friendship with Maxwell. “This record is as honest as I’ve been on an album,” Hedges says, “and it makes me nervous to have the lyrics printed on the sleeve.”

The lyric sheet is a first for Little Brazil. Another first is releasing the album on vinyl. The label, Max Trax Records ( was the idea of Marty and Frank Maxwell, Danny Maxwell’s brothers. When Frank passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2016, Marty and Danny launched the label as a tribute to their brother. Today, Max Trax is home to five bands including Little Brazil, with more on the way.

With the new record and new label also comes new personnel for Little Brazil. The aforementioned Shawn Cox has replaced Mike Friedman on lead guitar, while See Through Dresses’ drummer Nate Van Fleet has taken over behind the kit for Matt Bowen. The new line-up already is working on the followup to Send the Wolves, with plans to enter the studio soon.

Hedges and Maxwell will tell you they never had any allusions of making a living just playing music, and now in their mid-30s, they still don’t. “The motivation is just writing and creating new music with the guys,” Hedges said. “I’ll play music ’til the day I die.”

Little Brazil plays with Pro-Magnum and Eric in Outerspace June 1 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at

First published May 2018 in The Reader. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Lest we forget that tonight Modest Mouse plays at the Ralston Arena. The band’s last album was Strangers to Ourselves in 2015, which also happens to be the last time they came through Omaha, as headliners to that year’s Maha Music Festival. NYC band Mass Gothic opens. The band’s self-titled debut album came out on Sub Pop in 2016. Tickets are $39.50 to $55. 8 p.m. start time.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Mailbag: Speedy loves Mogis; new Nik Freitas; new SAVAK video; Brad Hoshaw, Charlie Parr tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:38 pm May 8, 2018

Brad Hoshaw at The Shark Club, March 19, 2016. Hoshaw plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Tuesday is becoming mail-bag catch-up day…

Speedy Ortiz’s third album, Twerp Verse, came out last week on Carpark Records. As part of the media blitz, Speedy’s Sadie Dupuis did an interview with The 405 where she declares her undying love for ARC’s Mike Mogis, who mixed the new album.

From the interview:

You worked with Mike Mogis on this album, how did he come into it?

Dupuis: Yes! We’ve been in touch with Mogis for years about doing a record. We became friends, probably three years ago, and I obviously am such a big fan of his. Maybe that’s not an obvious thing, but my holy trinity when I was in 9th and 10th grade were Bright Eyes, Cursive and Rilo Kiley, and I would order by mail Saddle Creek records. He was the first producer that I remember knowing the name of, so it was really very cool that we found out he was a fan of Speedy, and had invited us to come see his studio, and now every time we go through Omaha we stay with him.

So we’d been wanting to do this record for a few years and the timing didn’t really work out for him to record it, but we were able to carve out some time for him to mix it. It’s the longest time I’ve ever spent in Omaha, normally I’m there for one or two nights, and we were there for close to three weeks. He’s obviously a thorough producer, but working with him as a mix engineer was so much more involved than any mixing process we’ve gone through; he really pays attention to the tiniest thing. For me, someone who’s an aspiring producer, it was really educational to see what kind of things he picks up on. Lyrics really matter to him in a way that I don’t think they always do to producers, especially when they’re strictly focused on the mixing. He’s automating every word so that everything’s audible, and just thinking very hard about the tone choices we made and how he can improve upon them. He has such an amazing assortment of gear that he’s collected over his however-many years of producing stuff, so that was really fun, to see what cool toys he’d be putting my guitars through on this particular track or day. So, yeah, only amazing things to say about Mogis, I really hope that we get to do a record from start to finish with him, maybe next time around. And what a childhood dream accomplished it was to do anything with him.

There’s more at The 405.

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Mystic Valley Band member Nik Freitas dropped his first single, “What A Mess,” from his upcoming solo album Dark & Day out June 29. Among the guests on the record is Azure Ray’s Maria Taylor.

Freitas is also slated to play at fabulous O’Leaver’s June 8 with Miwi Laupa.

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Former Omahan Mike Jaworski’s latest project SAVAK dropped a new video from their sophomore album Cut-Ups (out now on Ernest Jenning Record Co.) called “Christo’s Peers (Soon We’ll Be Floating).” The band is headed to Europe next week for a handful of dates.


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As you may or may not know, Brad Hoshaw is moving away to the West Coast. I’m not sure of the dates or reasons, just that he’s leaving. Which makes tonight’s opening gig at Reverb Lounge for Charlie Parr all that more important. Get yourself some Hoshaw while you can. $10, 8 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.