Stop Having Children on a lazy October weekend; Lincoln Calling 2015 recap (and 2016)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm October 12, 2015
Stop Having Children perform at the Almost Music Terrible Twos birthday bash Oct. 10, 2015.

Stop Having Children perform at the Almost Music Terrible Twos birthday bash Oct. 10, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

It was a lazy weekend for Lazy-i. Lazy in that I only saw one band perform, and it wasn’t in a club. Stop Having Children played a set at Almost Music’s “Terrible Twos” birthday event Saturday afternoon. The band was made up of Simon Joyner, David Kenneth Nance, Mike Marasco, and Dis Cretin (as he’s known in the rock world) playing some heavy shit. Whoda guessed Joyner could shred respectably alongside veteran shredder Nance?

I’m already regretting my lethargy in hitting shows last weekend, looking at the calendar. Nothing happening ’til the coming weekend, when it lights up again on Friday (and, there is a Bloodcow show Thursday, too), but more on that later…

* * *

A quick recap of Lincoln Calling 2015, which took place a couple weeks ago. LC frontman Jeremy Buckley said it was another successful year.

I’d say better than last year,” he said. “There were shows at capacity every night from Tuesday to Sunday and I think the bands were generally happy with payouts and bar owners were pretty happy with booze sales. Biggest night was Saturday, with Friday being a close second.”

So what about Lincoln Calling 2016?

One thing that ended up working out really well this year was asking friends and peers to help with curating some of the shows,” Buckley said. “At least 10 of the lineups were curated by other people, which I think added diversity that I wouldn’t have thought of, as well as showcasing 15 of Lincoln’s regularly performing comedians and continuing our local music-oriented film festival.”

Buckley said he hopes to get even more people involved with putting LC together next year. “My hope is to have people that know bands on the local level to help with that with more fervor, so I can spend time talking with booking agents and national touring bands so we can up the amount of touring talent we’re introducing to our scene and our bands.” Hear hear!

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Eagle Seagull, Little Brazil, So-So Sailors, See Through Dresses, High Up tonight; Almost Musicfest, Clarence Tilton, Mitch Gettman Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:52 pm October 9, 2015
Eagle*Seagull circa 2005. A version of the band plays tonight at O'Leaver's.

Eagle*Seagull circa 2005. A version of the band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Super-busy weekend.

And the biggest show of the weekend is at (surprise) O’Leaver’s tonight. It’s the return/reunion of Lincoln band Eagle Seagull. Many (most) of us thought we’d never see it happen, but Eli Mardock is pulling together some of the peeps that made up that band, including Ian Aeillo, Eric Nyffeler and Carrie Mardock, for a celebration of the band’s 10 year anniversary. Also on the bill are Little Brazil and So-So Sailors. Any one of these three bands could pack O’Leaver’s. All three, well, we might see a hold-out line at the club tonight. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, See Through Dresses headlines at The Waiting Room with Dan Mariska & the Boys Choir and Post Verse. $8, 9 p.m.

Over at The Brothers Lounge, red-hot band High Up plays with Lineman’s Rodeo. $5, 10 p.m.

And finally tonight downtown at House of Loom, //FITNESS #000009 is happening with DJ sets from Todd Fink, Kethro, Teetah and Fathr^. It’s free and starts at 9

Tomorrow (Saturday) Almost Music in Benson celebrates its 2-year anniversary with a mini music festival. Here’s the line-up:

4-4:45 — Vegetable Deluxe
4:45-5:30 — Jim Schroeder
5:30-6:15 — Jessica Errett
6:15-7  — Stop Having Children (Simon Joyner, David Kenneth Nance, Mike Marasco, and Dis Cretin)
7-7:45 — Pro-Magnum
7:45-8:15 — Kyleheinz Stockjessen

Almost Musicfest is not only free, but used records will be 15 percent off and new vinyl will be 10 percent off. Save!

Saturday night, Mitch Gettman hosts his CD release show at Slowdown Jr. Gettman’s last record, Stop Living Like It’s the End of the World, was one of the best local releases of 2014. Can he top it with Dichotomy? Opening is Custom Catacombs and Charlie Alley. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, alt-country band (whether they know it or not) Clarence Tilton headlines at Reverb Lounge. Their self-titled debut album is on rotation on my iPhone. But I have yet to see them live. This might be my chance. Opening is Tucker Hill Citizens Brigade. $7, 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s has a special “tap event” out in their beer garden on Saturday that will run into the evening, giving you plenty of time to get lubed up for the evening’s music, Des Moines’ The Vahnevants, Sean Pratt & The Sweats and indie rock dudes Uh Oh (I dig their new EP). $5, 9:30 p.m.

If that weren’t enough local metal dude Big Al celebrates his birthday at the Barley Street with Dereck Higgins and Army of 2600, not to mention a performance by Big Al Band. 9 p.m., free.

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: J Fernandez, Shy Boys; No Coast Music Festival announced (vs. Maha?); Retox tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm March 2, 2015
Shy Boys at Almost Music, March 1, 2015.

Shy Boys at Almost Music, March 1, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

My only show this weekend wasn’t a show at all. It was a pre-show. Yesterday afternoon, J Fernandez and Shy Boys did an in-store at Almost Music in Benson prior to their gig last night at O’Leaver’s.

Set up in the Solid Jackson Bookstore area, each band played a half-hour set to a handful of people. I didn’t know about the in-store until yesterday morning via an IM on Facebook. Needless to say, it could have been better promoted, but it was a last-minute thing.

Both bands played low-key sets. Since I didn’t go to O’Leaver’s last night, I don’t know if these were typical, but I can say they were rather awesome. Fernandez style is a mix of garage and art rock, think early Talking Heads soaked in swirls of reverb guitar with a less-severe vocal that was warmer and more inviting than Byrne’s bark. They were jazzier more than they were arty.

Kansas City’s Shy Boys’s garage rock was sweet, sweet, sweet; with sweet, sad-eyed vocals atop great kick-back rhythms. Gorgeous stuff. Listen for snippets of both performances in this week’s podcast Wednesday (if I can get it done).

* * *

Speaking of Almost Music, the store took part in Saturday afternoon’s Bar Stool Record Swap at The Brother’s lounge along with four or five other vendors including Homer’s and Drastic Plastic. Music fans flipped through boxes of vinyl with one hand while drinking booze with the other — the perfect combination. I scored a sealed copy of Ritual Device’s Henge album on orange vinyl — something I thought I’d never see.

* * *

The River, 89.7 FM, and One Percent Productions this morning announced the No Coast Festival, June 2 at Westfare Amphitheater. The line-up includes major-label pop bands Cage The Elephant, Bleachers, Joywave, Saint Motel, In The Valley Below along with Saddle Creek band Icky Blossoms, and more.

Though a “festival,” No Coast can’t be compared to the other big local rock “festival” — the Maha Music Festival. No Coast is a full two months before Maha (which takes place Aug. 15) and targets a younger alt-radio audience vs. Maha’s college-age-plus indie crowd.

But when talking about these two festivals, there is a a subtle irony that can’t be ignored. Indie bands by their very nature appeal to a smaller audience. That’s the way it’s always been. Major label acts like Cage the Elephant, Bleachers (both on RCA) and Saint Motel (Elektra), which enjoy more radio support, draw a much larger audience. As a result, you’d naturally assume No Coast — with its more popular bands — would have the higher ticket price, but in fact No Coast’s $10 ticket (which is what you’d typically pay for a mid-level show at The Waiting Room) will likely be about a quarter of the price of Maha Festival tickets.

Factor in that non-profit public radio station The River may be underwriting a lot of the No Coast Festival’s costs (which they can “write off” as a promotional expense) and that No Coast could draw substantially more people than Maha (high volume brings down prices), and you begin to understand the $10 ticket versus a $40+ ticket.

No doubt if No Coast draws an exponentially larger crowd than Maha there will be those who argue the reason is either better bands or a lower ticket price or both. But one can’t ignore the sheeple factor. There is only one radio station in the Omaha/Council Bluffs market that plays modern music, albeit shitty modern music. A lot of people grudgingly listen to The River because it’s the only alternative to the oldies/freedom rock stations that litter the FM dial. Those River listeners can expect to hear a constant barrage of advertising for No Coast Festival between now and June 2. Strike that. Public radio stations aren’t allowed to air advertising, right? So if they’re not ads, I guess you’d have to call them, what, “targeted announcements”?

Poor Maha. A true non-profit organization, can it afford the level of radio advertising that No Coast undoubtedly will get? Add to that the fact that most of Maha’s bands historically don’t get airplay in the Omaha market and it’s an uphill climb. This is what happens when you don’t have a radio station that plays College Music Journal (CMJ)-style indie music in a market the size of Omaha.

One Percent also announced this morning the Gentlemen of the Road Stopover, a 2-day festival in Waverly, Iowa, June 19 and 20 headlined by the dreadful Mumford and Sons but that also includes Jenny Lewis, My Morning Jacket, Flaming Lips and Jeff the Brotherhood among others. Still, Waverly is about 260 miles (more than 4 hours) from Omaha…

One other 1% show — Built to Spill returns to The Slowdown May 23. (I thought this one was going to be the big 10 a.m. announcement).

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr., it’s a punk featuring San Diego hardcore act Retox (Epitaph Records). The four-piece was founded by Justin Pearson and Gabe Serbian,whose tour of duties include stints in The Locust, Head Wound City, and Holy Molar. Joining them is Atlanta noise rock band Whores and Lincoln black noise band Vickers. $10, 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Simon Joyner and The Ghosts (new lineup), Delta Spirit tonight; Mitch Gettman, Magnolias, Almost Music festival Saturday; Sideshow Sunday…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 12:16 pm October 17, 2014
Brad Smith of Almost Music enjoys a Coke sometime in the late '60s. His record store celebrates its one-year anniversary Saturday with an all-day music festival.

Brad Smith of Almost Music enjoys a Coke sometime in the late ’60s. His record store celebrates its one-year anniversary Saturday with an all-day music festival.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s already the weekend, believe it or not. Let’s get to the shows, shall we?

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Simon Joyner unveils a new line-up for his band, The Ghosts.  Jim Schroeder of UUVVWWZ has taken over lead guitar, Mike Friedman has shifted to organ and pedal steel. Meanwhile, Alec Erickson of Subtropics is handling bass. Rounding out the band is Megan Siebe on viola and organ, and Kevin Donahue on drums. Whew!

Simon says the band will be playing songs from his new record, Grass, Branch, and Bone, which comes out on Brooklyn label Woodsist Records (Kurt Vile, Real Estate, Eat Skull) in January or February. Also on the bill is Lincoln folk-rock band Kill County. This one is $7 and starts at 9 p.m., and it’s a Hear Nebraska presentation.

Meanwhile, Delta Spirit headlines tonight at The Waiting Room. Their new album, Into the Wide (Dualtone Records), subtly shifts the band’s sound away from Americana to something that blends indie with mainstream anthem rock. Big sound, big breaks, big choruses, the band is reaching for a bigger audience and will likely find it with this one. Opening is NYC band SACCO and SF band Waters. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, the obtusely named Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) plays at Slowdown Jr. with Free Throw and Super Ghost. $10, 9 p.m.

And The Doneofits headline at The Barley Street with Baberaham Lincolns, DL Diedrich and thoughts. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is another Cornhusker game night, which usually limits music options. Not this time.

Mitch Gettman is celebrating the release of his new EP, Nothing Stays the Same, at Reverb. Opening is Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies along with Edem. $5, 9 p.m.

Over at The Brothers Lounge Minneapolis legends The Magnolias crowd into the pool table room. They’ve been playing the hard shit for almost 30 years. Opening is Bullet Proof Hearts. No price listed for this one, but it’s probably less than $10 (and closer to $5), 9 p.m.

O’Leaver’s is hosting Des Moines band Holy White Hounds along with local dudes Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday (during the day) Almost Music and Solid Jackson Books celebrates its one-year anniversary. My, how time flies when you’re selling quality vinyl and books! To mark the occasion, the Benson shop at 6569 Maple is hosting live music from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The line-up:

Twin – 11:00-11:30
Nathaniel Hoier – 11:45-12:15
Sean Pratt and the Sweats – 12:30-1:00
Brendan Hagberg – 1:15-1:45
Matthew Theim – 2:00-2:30
MS/MM – 2:45-3:15
Rachel Tomlinson Dick – 3:30-4:00
Lvrk Late- 4:15-4:45
Marcey Yates – 5:00-5:30
Telepathy Problems- 5:45-6:15
Sucettes – 6:30-7:00

Expect food, albums, books, prizes and lots of fun.

The weekend doesn’t stop there. I usually don’t write about Lincoln shows, but this one is special. Legendary Lincoln band Sideshow reforms for a gig Sunday night at Duffy’s. We’re talking the trio of Pawl Tisdale (now of Domestica), Rich Higgins (now of Nanahara) and Bernie McGinn (now of California). Both Domestica and Nanahara are opening. $5, 8 p.m.

Also Sunday, Millions of Boys headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Outer Spaces and Relax, It’s Science. $5 now, $7 DOS. 9 p.m.

* * *

In this week’s column, television, sex, parenting and Viagra (but not necessarily in that order). You can read it in this weeks issue of The Reader or online right here.

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

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


Record Store Day recap; Ralph Remmert Benefit (Orenda Fink, Simon Joyner, Dan McCarthy) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:43 pm April 21, 2014
The Lupines playing at Almost Music's  Record Store Day show April 19, 2014.

The Lupines play at Almost Music’s Record Store Day show April 19, 2014.

by Tim McMahan,

Well, I didn’t have much of a Record Store Day. In fact, I only bought two recordings — one record and one CD — and neither was an RSD offerings. That’s what happens when you get started late.

While I tip my hat to Homer’s for catering to the early morning line waiters with free food and entertainment, there’s no way I was going to wait in line for hours to be allowed to feed at the vinyl trough. I salute the hard-core vinyl collector. I wish I could be one, but I just don’t have the cash or the patience. As such, there was no way I was going to be able to snag a copy of that Devo Live at Max’s KC album that I so coveted. I looked on eBay later that night and found them starting at around $60 (or at least that was the latest bid).

Instead, I rode my bike to Almost Music at around 1 to catch The Lupines performing outside on the sidewalk. The shop only had three RSD products left in stock (including a PUJOL single). Judging by the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd intensely digging through the bins, I don’t think anyone cared. Almost Music proprietor Brad Smith went online later that day to say it was the best day the store has had since it opened.

The set-up for the live music was quaint, with people standing around the sidewalk, a few seated up front and by the grill. The small PA sounded surprisingly good belting out Lupines raw, hook-filled garage rock. It was fun watching cars drive by on Maple Street jolted awake by the noise and then staring at the small crowd of around 40.

If their neighbors don’t mind, maybe Almost Music could host live bands on the sidewalk more often, maybe even once a month in the summer. It’s a good way to get people to come in and check out their always rotating stock of used vinyl.

I didn’t get down to Homer’s until well past 5 p.m. The place was still packed and there was still plenty of RSD vinyl in stock — bins-ful — but nothing left that I was looking for. Instead, Homer’s clerk Chris Aponick pushed a copy of Courtney Barnett’s new CD The Double EP: A Sea to Split Pea into my hand and said I wasn’t leaving without it. I also found a very clean copy of The Doors’ Strange Days album in the used bin, which I assumed was a reissue. No one knew for sure. It’s probably my favorite Doors album (which isn’t saying much), and I didn’t have it so, what the heck?

Chris was right about the Barnett CD. This young Aussie is sort of a cross between Liz Phair and Foxygen, an intrepid slacker/stoner 20-something loaded with clever lines, something tells me she’s about to explode. Get in on it before everyone else does. You won’t regret it.

While downtown, I ran into Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt who was pleased with how the day went down, but said he still had a lot of RSD stock to sell. He said among the hottest releases this year was a glow-in-the-dark 30th Anniversary reissue of Ray Parker Jr.’s Ghostbusters theme (which is now starting at $50 on eBay).

As with anything popular, there’s been a bunch of online articles critical of what RSD has become, saying it’s hurt small labels, that it’s become a scavenger hunt for professional eBay vendors who will turn around and sell whatever they waited in line for to the highest online bidder. Maybe so. I don’t buy the small label whining about how the majors are pushing them out of line with the limited number of vinyl manufacturers, pushing back their release dates. Too bad. Do a better job managing your business. The person who’s buying vinyl from Warners or Sony is a potential customer for your artist’s vinyl. You’ve chosen the vinyl model for your business. Make it work.

As for those greedy eBay bastards, yeah, they’re no different than ticket scalpers, but there’s nothing you can do about them, other than what the record shops have already done — limit sales quantities to individuals and make sure their own clerks aren’t in on the hustle. This kind of problem comes with anything that is collectable and in scarce number. If you’re a collector, you’re used to it. For the rest of us lazy a-holes, there’s eBay.

I personally love RSD. It’s a holiday that celebrates art and commerce and (for the most part) the little guy record shop who’s just trying to get by. I know that having it more than once a year (and on Black Friday) might water down the “specialness” of the event, but I could see this working on a monthly or at least quarterly basis. It’s a lot of work for everyone involved, but the payback is worth it.

* * *

There’s a special benefit show going on tonight at The Waiting Room that demands your attention.

I don’t know who Ralph Remmert is but I do know he has a lot of talented friends. They’re coming to his aid as he continues his fight against cystic fibrosis — a fight that includes an upcoming double-lung transplant. To help cover costs not covered by health insurance, Ralph’s friends are hosting tonight’s concert at TWR.

The line-up is star-studded and includes Orenda Fink, Dan McCarthy, Simon Joyner, Phil Schaffart, Greg Elsasser and Matt Whipkey. They’re calling it an “intimate songwriters’ circle.”

You can read more about Ralph here, check out his website here and read event details here. $15, 8 p.m. Go!

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


RIP MoJoPo; Almost Music launches series; Cults, Mood Rings tonight; Alexander Payne’s view of Nebraska (in the column)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:04 pm November 21, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

Word went out this morning via The Reader that long-time Reader contributor MoJoPo, a.k.a. Michael Joseph Pryor, has passed away. As long as I can remember MoJo wrote The Reader‘s Planet Power astrology column. He also was a musician and colorful addition to any crowd. I never met him and knew him only through second-hand discussion when, at a show, the person next to me would say, “Look, Mojo’s here” and point to a guy with a Dumbledore-style beard who looked like a wizard circa the 1860s wild west. Needless to say, he was a friend to a lot of musicians and people in psychedelic circles, and will be a lost patch of color in the fabric of the Omaha music scene…

* * *

Omaha musician Luke Polipnick dropped a line to say that he and Almost Music record store proprietor Brad Smith are starting a new music series in the Solid Jackson Bookstore space he shares with his store at 6569 Maple Street in the heart of Benson.

The Almost Music Concert Series kicks off Dec. 7 with a show featuring the legendary Dereck Higgins, Luke Polipnick Esoteric Trio and Rake Kash (Lonnie Methe). “This new concert series will showcase and foster the growth of regional musical experimentation and exploration,” Polipnick said in a press release. Tickets will be $5, and shows will start at 7 p.m.

* * *

Despite the miserable turn in the weather, the weekend (music-wise) begins tonight at The Slowdown where Cults takes the main stage. The NYC indie band caught fire with their 2011 self-titled debut. They’re back with Static, their 2013 follow-up on Columbia Records. Opening is fellow NYC band SACCO and Atlanta band Mood Rings (Mexican Summer Records). $17, 9 p.m.

* * *

In this week’s column, a look at Alexander Payne’s new film, Nebraska, and how we’ll be combating its stereotypes for years to come. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lazy-i Interview: Brad Smith talks about Benson’s Almost Music; Lincoln Calling Day 3, Rig 1 tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:52 pm October 17, 2013

In this week’s column, an interview with Brad Smith of Benson record store Almost Music. Brad talks about his days spent working at The Antiquarium, time spent in a veal-fattening pen at H-P, and his new life selling vintage vinyl. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader, or online right here, or, heck, you can read it below:

Benson’s Almost Music Serves Vinyl, along with Coffee and Conversation

by Tim McMahan,

The story of Almost Music, the vintage record store that just opened at 6569 Maple St. in Benson, is the story of a guy who escaped a life caged in a cubicle to pursue a dream he’s held for 20 years.

Brad Smith got into the record business way back in 1993 at age 20 when he joined the staff of the legendary Antiquarium Record Store in the Old Market. Tucked away in the basement of a massive bookstore on Harney Street, The Antiquarium was the touchstone of the Omaha music scene throughout its heyday in the mid-‘90s.

Smith joined a staff that included Chris Deden, singer/songwriter Simon Joyner and The Antiquarium’s legendary frontman, Dave Sink.

“Dave was the mouthpiece, the spokesperson,” Smith said. “That’s what he liked to do — drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and BS with people. Chris and I actually worked really hard because we had to make up for the fact that Dave didn’t.”

While Smith, Deden and Joyner broke their backs keeping the shelves stocked, Sink stood behind the counter and shared what he knew about the music business (and baseball) with young bands, young record labels and, yes, young music journalists. Sink and the store played a central role in creating a scene that spawned Saddle Creek Records and bands such as Bright Eyes and Cursive.

Technology eventually drove Smith out of The Antiquarium in 2000. He and Deden had set up a website called Starsailor Records and began selling rare albums on a new online marketplace called eBay. Smith said Sink viewed the Internet as a passing fad.

“Dave’s quote was, ‘This is the new CB radio. It’s hot right now, but you’re wasting your time.’ The whole idea of cyberspace was a hard concept for someone Dave’s age to grasp.”

As you might guess, a career selling records isn’t exactly lucrative. Smith said his years at the Antiquarium brought in just enough to pay the rent. “I was single and so were Chris and Dave,” he said. “It was enough to make a meager living for a single person. I would have made a better living if I hadn’t spent so much on my own record collection.”

Needless to say, things changed when Smith had his first daughter, Matilda, in 2001. Now with a child to support, he felt he needed a more substantial career, one that actually supplied health insurance. Smith had earned a degree in Business Administration from UNO while working at The Antiquarium, which helped him land an insurance job and eventually a credit analyst position at Hewlett-Packard in 2007. By then he’d met his current girlfriend, Sarah Gleason, who had two kids of her own, Nora and Jack. Together, the couple had Dorothy, who just turned 3 and a half.

Even with a “regular job,” Smith said there was no real security at H-P. Shortly after he joined the company, the bottom fell out of the economy and the layoffs began. “We went from four floors of employees to two,” Smith said. “We had waves of layoffs every nine months. I survived four of them.”

His number finally came up in April of this year. By then, he already had the idea of opening Almost Music. “I knew a record store could be successful if I did it right,” Smith said. “Even before I got laid off, Sarah said, ‘You have to do it.’ She knew I hated sitting in a cubical all day. Once I got laid off, there was no excuse not to.”

Smith already had begun accumulating inventory when the storefront became available. Located a few blocks west of the heart of Benson, Almost Music shares the space with Solid Jackson Books, a satellite location of Jackson Street Booksellers. The bookstore’s name is an homage to ‘90s rock band Solid Jackson, which released a record on a label run by Deden and Joyner.

“I really wanted to do something like The Antiquarium, where it’s not just a retail shop, it’s a place to hang out and have discussions and have a cup of coffee,” Smith said. “That wasn’t feasible without the bookstore.”

Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6, Almost Music sells an eclectic mix of vinyl — everything from high-end collectables (a Sun Ra album from 1968 is priced at $350) to clean, cheap copies of albums by bands like The Go Go’s and Fleetwood Mac.

“I try to make it a well-curated selection,” Smith said. “The Antiquarium did the same thing. We had our cheap section and kept the good stuff separate. Ninety-eight percent of our albums is really clean and in nice shape. You don’t have to check the condition.”

On a trip to Almost Music last weekend I picked up a rare copy of a Smiths 12-inch single (“Barbarism Begins at Home” b/w “Shakespeare’s Sister”) and Richard Thompson’s Hand of Kindness LP, while Teresa snagged Claudine Longet’s debut album and Queen’s The Game, both for $2.

It’s only been open three weeks but the shop is already doing well. Smith said the store isn’t the couple’s only source of income. Sarah also has a part-time job, and they both intend to take advantage of insurance available through the Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Obamacare).

Still, was opening the store scary?

“Oh yeah,” Smith said. “I kept looking for a job I couldn’t say ‘no’ to. It never happened because my heart was never in it. My heart was in this.”

Almost Music and Solid Jackson Bookstore celebrate their official Grand Opening this Saturday, Oct. 19, from 7 to 10 p.m. . Festivities include live performances by Simon Joyner and Noah Sterba of The Yuppies. Come on down, have a cup of coffee and listen to some good music.

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

First published in The Reader, Oct. 17, 2103. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

* * *

The bar-hopping begins tonight at Lincoln Calling as the festival will be in full multi-venue mode with acts performing at six venues throughout the Star City.

Here’s tonight’s Lincoln Calling sched:

Bourbon Theatre
Early show
Gallows Majesty
Haggard Mess
6 p.m., $5 for 21+, $7 for 18-20

Late show
Desert Noises
Rock Paper Dynamite
The Kickback
9 p.m., $8 for 21+, $10 for 18-20

Duffy’s Tavern
The Whipkey Three
Tie These Hands
8 p.m., $5 for 21+, $7 for 18-20

Zoo Bar
The Renfields
John Klemmensen and the Party
Christopher the Conquered
Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies
Jack Hotel
The Bottletops
5 p.m., $5, 21+

Yia Yia’s Pizza
Burning Down the Villager
10 p.m., no cover, 21+

Mix Bar and Arcade
Bass Invaders w/
Trill Ferrell
9 p.m., no cover, 21+

Fat Toad
Nick the Quick
9 p.m., no cover, 21

For more info go to

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Also tonight, Rig 1 headlines at The Waiting Room. The hip-hop project is led by Ian McElroy of Desaparecidos fame. Backing him as part of Rig 1 is Clark Baechle (The Faint) and Dustin Bushon (FVTHR^). For a taste, check out “Walking Zombie” from the North of Maple release. Openers are Nuit and Touch People. $7, 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.