New Erie Choir (ex-Sorry About Dresden); new Phoebe Bridgers video features Oberst (she’s coming to O’Leaver’s in April)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:16 pm December 21, 2017

Conor does a soft shoe in Phoebe Bridgers’ new video.

by Tim McMahan,

Catching up on some news, fans of Saddle Creek Records band Sorry About Dresden take note that Eric Roehrig’s follow-up band, Erie Choir, has a new album out.

Some background: After a pair of self-released EP’s and a few lineup changes, Sit-n-Spin Records released Slighter Awake in 2006; 11 years later the follow up, Old Rigs, was released on Potluck Records last month.

The album is a solid collection of folk-rock reminiscent of classic Big Star. The lyrics are a reflection of the trials and tribulations of band life. According to the one-sheet: “In 2016, Roehrig and drummer James Hepler’s long-time Sorry About Dresden bandmate Matt Oberst passed away. While all the songs on Old Rigs were written prior to his death, the album’s meditation on friendship and loss serve in some small way as a tribute to their friend.

Check it out at Bandcamp, where you can also buy your copy.

* * *

LA singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers released a new video for the single “Would You Rather,” a duet with Conor Oberst that appears on her latest album, Stranger in the Alps (2017, Dead Oceans). Conor shows up in the video dressed in cowboy gear and does a weird hoe-down dance that’s oddly inappropriate considering the songs’ somewhat dark lyrics. Fun!

Bridgers was just featured last week in a glowing LA Times profile and is headed out on a massive world tour in February that brings her to fabulous O’Leaver’s April 7.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Inside Conor’s bag; Last Giant (Ex-System and Station), Ocean Black, Bruiser Queen, Fea tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:30 pm October 18, 2017

Last Giant (ex-System and Station) plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

Have you been watching these “What’s in My Bag?” series by Amoeba Music in LA? It’s a deal where they interview current touring musicians who visit their record store, pick out a bunch of albums and talk about them. Past videos have featured White Lung, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, Lars Ulrich among others.

The Conor Oberst edition of What’s in My Bag? dropped the other day, wherein Conor talks about a handful of records and artists including Felice Bros, Tim Kasher, Rage Against the Machine, The Replacements and more. Good stuff, and whoever thought Conor could be so funny? Check it out:

Rock band Last Giant headlines tonight at The Waiting Room. Fans of the band System and Station, who toured through Omaha regularly back in the day, should take note that this is S&S’s frontman RFK Heise’s new band.

They’re touring their latest album, Memory of the World, which was engineered and co-produced by Larry Crane (Tape Op, Elliott Smith), mixed by Paul Malinowski (Shiner, The Life and Times) and mastered by Mike Nolte (Of Montreal).

Also on the bill are Omaha stoner rock masters Ocean Black and the big rock sound of Big Wheel. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Bruiser Queen plays way out at Growler USA. The St. Louis-based garage rock duo has been compared to Shannon and the Clams and Peach Kelli Pop, among others. Opening is Fea (ex-Girl in a Coma). An opening band is something of a departure for Growler USA. $6, 9 p.m.

And, Brothers Lounge has a show tonight with Machine Girl, CBN, DFM and the only name I recognize on the bill, Omaha’s own Conny Franko. 9 p.m. start time, no price included, but it’ll probably be $5.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Jocelyn on Undercover Boss Friday, Conor on the Late Late Show tonight; Those Manic Seas, Sam Adam Martin, BIB tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:24 pm May 10, 2017

Sam Martin at O’Leaver’s Jan. 29, 2016. He plays tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

On the heels of Josh Hoyer’s performances on tee-vee show The Voice, Omaha singer/songwriter Jocelyn will be featured this Friday night on CBS’s Undercover Boss. The show takes CEOs, disguises them and then films them as they try to blend in with the grunts who do the actual work at their companies. The results are usually “heartbreaking” but more likely disturbing, as the CEO comes to some ground-breaking realization about his business’s sweatshop conditions before hosing off and returning to the C Suite.

Friday’s show is a “special celebrity edition” of Undercover Boss featuring one-time Hootie & The Blowfish frontman now “country music superstar” (and Dan Patrick Show regular) Darius Rucker, who apparently goes in disguise as a talent agent in Austin. His disguise is pretty spot on, though I couldn’t identify Rucker in or out of costume.

I’ve seen the clip (since yanked from YouTube) of Jocelyn nailing the audition. So what happens next? You’ll just have to wait until Friday, May 12, 7 p.m. CT on CBS to find out. Here’s hoping something comes of this much-needed exposure. Jocelyn is a talented singer who has been performing on Omaha stages (primarily at the Sidedoor Lounge stage) for a few years and deserves a break.

* *

Speaking of television, Conor Oberst is slated to perform tonight on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Maybe he’ll do a surprise duet with fellow guest Betty White. Better yet, maybe he’ll do a sequel to “When the President Talks to God”…

* *

Nashville indie-pop band Those Manic Seas, whose new album Telegenic came out last month, plays at Brothers Lounge tonight with Sam Adam Martin and Razors. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, Chicago punk band FUFS plays at Milk Run tonight with the mighty BIB, No Thanks and Roach. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Back from Florida; Oberst hates playing in Omaha; Portugal. The Man. Tonight.

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:39 pm March 21, 2017

Wilder Sons at Fenway South Stadium, Fort Myers, FL, March 19, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

I just got back in town from sunny Florida. What did I miss? Sounds like a bunch of you had a big ol’ time at the Corey Feldman Show.

I contemplated going to that one myself (had I not been in Florida) simply to see the return of Digital Leather, but even then, the $30 ticket price was too rich for my blood. Not so, it seems, for the hundreds who showed up last Saturday at Maloney’s on 72nd St., and while I’ve heard Feldman was a shit show, no one’s said boo about Digital Leather. Come on, people…

Sanibel Island Florida is exactly as it sounds — a sleepy beach community located south of Fort Myers populated mostly by rich retirees looking for a place to die. We picked it for that very reason — to get some beach time without the Spring Break idiocy, and that’s exactly what we got. Though we also enjoyed some spring baseball courtesy of the Minneapolis Twins and Boston Red Sox.

The above photo was taken outside of JetBlue Fenway South stadium and goes to prove that indie bands exist even in remote locations like South Florida. Wilder Sons played a mainstream version of indie pop reminiscent of Vampire Weekend and our very own Twinsmith. Hear for yourself. Unfortunately, spring MLB baseball is the wrong place for indie-style music, as the band played mostly to people walking by in garish Red Sox gear eating polish dogs and drinking aluminum bottles filled with Bud Light. At least the Twins won.


Last week Interview Magazine ran an interview with Conor Oberst where he confirmed what many said he mumbled during his last show at The Waiting Room — that he hates playing in Omaha.

From the interview:

INTERVIEW: I know you’re spending more time in your hometown Omaha these days. Do you like to play there?

OBERST: No. I hate playing in Omaha. Worst crowds, all your friends and family are there. It’s a fucking disaster. I hate it. My least favorite place to play is Omaha.

INTERVIEW: You grew up playing there. I would have thought you were inoculated to that.

OBERST: No, it’s the worst. They’re over me … they’re not listening. They’re just there because they sort of feel like they have to be there. It’s fun to get drunk and hang out, and whatever—it’s just a different thing. It’s like if I were to play at a backyard barbecue or something. Sounds great in theory, but it turns out your friends don’t really want to listen to you.

Some might take the above as a negative thing. I find it bracingly refreshing. He’s not saying he hates Omaha, he’s saying he hates playing here, and he’s right: Oberst shows aren’t like any other national traveling indie show — they’re more like family reunions or wedding receptions. A huge portion of the crowd grew up with Conor and has seen him perform dozens of times. Such a crowd is easily distracted.

Though I will say in Omaha’s defense, the last time he played here also was the 10 year anniversary of the venue he was playing at, and most of the crowd had been partying at Reverb Lounge for hours leading up to the concert — i.e., they were lit.

There have been respectful Oberst/Bright Eyes crowds in the past… I remember one at Sokol Underground where everyone sat on the floor in silence during the performance, as if watching a cult leader. I don’t think that’s the kind of audience Conor’s hoping for…

* * *

Former indie act Portugal. The Man plays tonight at The Slowdown. Last time I saw them was back in 2009 at The Waiting Room wherein I said they belonged on a major label, and now they are, and as a result, they’ve lost their proggy edge somewhat. Well, what did you expect? HDBeenDope opens this 8 p.m. show. Tickets are $27.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha rising; Conor Oberst gets Pitchforked (6.6); Digital Leather returns; Chuck Prophet tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm March 14, 2017

Screen capture from the video for “Digital Lust” by Glow in the Dark.

by Tim McMahan,

Lots of little stories today….

The fine folks at the Maha Music Festival will start selling tickets Friday for this year’s fest, which takes place Aug. 19 at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village. Tix are GA $55 and VIP $185, though the actual line-up won’t be known until March 30.

Will it be worth the price of admission? IMHO, the answer is yes. From what I’m hearing about the line-up, this one could very well sell out, despite the fact that it’s the same day as Lady Gaga at CenturyLink Center. That little fact has Maha sweating, but let’s face it, we’re talking about two very separate, very different audiences…

* * *

Pitchfork today reviewed the new Conor Oberst album, Salutations, and despite Ian Cohen spending most of the review lambasting the record as a sort of easy-path sell-out of Ruminations, still gave the record a 6.6 rating.

Says Cohen: “Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs (of Ruminations) with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shuffle—a decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it.” Cohen goes on to say Salutations effectively turns Ruminations into a collection of demos. Maybe so, though that stunt worked just fine for PJ Harvey.

Read the review here. I’m still waiting for that Tim Kasher review, Pitchfork.

* * *

If you haven’t already guessed, I won’t be going to SXSW this year. The festival in Austin gets rolling tomorrow, though there’s showcases going on today. Those of you stuck in Omaha will at least be treated to a couple Digital Leather shows in the coming days.

Here I thought the band had broken up, but now I’m told DL will come out of hibernation if the prices is right (Why not?). This morning the band announced a free show at Blackstone Meatball on St. Patrick’s Day with opener Chalant.

This is presumably a warm-up for their opening slot for Corey and the Angels March 18 outside at Maloney’s Irish Pub on 72nd St. — maybe the strangest show of the year. Joining Corey Feldman and Digital Leather will be Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark (new project featuring Aaron Gum). It’s a $30 ticket, but who can put a price on memories that could last a lifetime?

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Chuck Prophet and his band The Mission Express. You read about Chuck here yesterday. This 8 p.m. show is $20.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Conor Oberst; Closeness, High Up tonight; Sam Locke Ward, Simon Joyner, Growlers Saturday; Cold War Kids Sunday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm March 10, 2017

Conor Oberst at The Waiting Room, March 9, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

Conor Oberst was the main event of last night’s Waiting Room 10th Anniversary bash.

Oberst, with his wacky wild man, just-rolled-out-of-bed hairdo, took the stage at 9:30 and kicked through about 75 minutes of folk rock backed by The Felice Brothers. The set consisted mostly of songs off his new album Salutations, which to me, sounds like a soft-rock combination of Blood on the Tracks-era Dylan and Leonard Cohen. Conor’s lyrics have never been sharper, though his melodies have lost their edge, especially when laid beside older material like “Poison Oak” and “Cape Canaveral.”

That said, Salutations takes the stripped-down material from Ruminations and thoughtfully beefs it up to create his best album since his 2008 eponymous release. Last night’s set was heavily weighted with the new stuff — this definitely will not be a greatest hits tour.

From my vantage point, Oberst approached the performance with workmanlike precision, fueled by a well-oiled Felice machine. It left me wistfully dreaming about Bright Eyes shows gone by, where Oberst was a lit fuse ready to either explode or fizzle out on stage. Kevin Coffey of the Omaha World-Herald reported (second hand) that he did blow up on stage. I guess I missed it.

In fact, I was expecting (hoping for) some political diatribe between songs, but no. Maybe Conor let off on the anti-Trump rhetoric because it was the Waiting Room’s birthday, which he referenced numerous times throughout the night.

Oberst closed with a three-song encore that included a angst-fueled solo piano tune I didn’t recognize that was among the best songs of the night, and a scorching version of “Napalm” with the brothers Felice from the new album, a real Live Rust moment.

It was one of the most packed nights I can remember at The Waiting Room, a real crush mob, with more than a few lit patrons, one assumes from enjoying the pre-party over at Reverb before the show (which, sadly, I missed).

* * *

After the past few weekends with little to do, this weekend is chock full o’ shows.

It starts off tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s where Closeness celebrates the release of their new EP, Personality Therapy, out today on Graveface. This is sort of a warm-up show as the duo of Orenda and Todd Fink get ready head to Austin for SXSW. Joining them tonight is the mighty High Up (Orenda’s pulling double duty!) and the provocatively named new act BareBear.  $10, 7 p.m.

Also tonight, dark wave leather-fetish dance sensation Plack Blague headlines at Reverb Lounge with Cult Play and Solid Goldberg. $6, 9 p.m.

Satchel Grande and Carson City Heat also take The Waiting Room stage tonight. 9 p.m., $8.

Saturday night Almost Music is hosting Sam Locke Ward with Simon Joyner and the return of L. Eugene (Methe) Group. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at O’Leaver’s, Sean Pratt headlines with Landon Hedges (of Little Brazil, Desaparecidos, Wrong Pets and Fine, Fine Automobiles). $5, 9:30 p.m.  This show has been CANCELLED.

Also Saturday night, The Growlers return to The Waiting Room. $15, 9 p.m.

El Ten Eleven returns to The Slowdown Saturday night with Mylets and Fontenelle. $12, 8 p.m.

Then Sunday night Long Beach indie rockers Cold War Kids headline at Sokol Auditorium. Middle Kids open the 8 p.m. show. $26.

Also Sunday night, Vancouver art rock band Bad Pop headlines at Reverb Lounge. Relax, It’s Science and Low Long Signal open. $7, 8 p.m.

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

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Tim Kasher music video (and free vinyl contest); new Conor Oberst music video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:52 pm February 21, 2017

A screen capture from Tim Kasher’s new music video for “An Answer for Everything.”

by Tim McMahan,

Someone recently asked me if I saw any value in music videos as promotional tools. My initial response was no, that I prefer to hear preview tracks or receive full promotional releases, that video can be expensive and can degrade the audio quality. Most videos are poorly conceived and do nothing to further the material. Most times I launch a video and then click to something else and listen to it in background.

Still, most artists continue to create videos if only to have a presence in YouTube, which is (strangely) one of the most common ways for people to listen to music online. It’s not that I don’t like music videos, on the contrary I grew up watching them on MTV. A well-made music video can alter how we perceive a song, for better or worse. Acts from the ’80s like Robert Palmer, a-ha and Duran Duran are unfortunately more known for their videos than their music. And it’s hard for me to not think about Robert Plant’s video for “Big Log” whenever I hear the song.


A couple familiar faces today released music videos. Tim Kasher released the second video from his upcoming solo album No Resolution, called “An Answer for Everything.” The album comes out March 3, but if you preorder it from the 15 Passenger website you could win vinyl for life from the label. Who doesn’t want that?

Then there’s Conor Oberst’s new video for the  full band version of “Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out” from his upcoming album Salutations. You can pre-order that one from the Nonesuch website. The record comes out on St. Patrick’s Day.

By the way, if you hadn’t notices (as I didn’t) that March 9 Conor Oberst show at The Waiting Room with Felice Brothers is SOLD OUT.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


‘Bad Guitarist’ David Nance in HN: TBT: Feb. 2, 2007 — Them House Show Blues and old Commander Venus reunion rumors…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:44 pm February 2, 2017
Slowdown Virginia at Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2010.

In the #TBT Lazy-i Archive: Slowdown Virginia at Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2010.

by Tim McMahan,

No shows again tonight and not much else happening, though I want to point you to a feature that just went online at Hear Nebraska — a mammoth profile of David Nance by Andrew Stellmon that’s worth your time, with a classic line:  “After once seeing The Ghosts, Conor Oberst told (Simon) Joyner that Nance was ‘the best bad guitarist’ he had ever seen.'” Joyner goes on to explain the quote, but I don’t want give away any spoilers, go read it yourself and get to know Nance, who is bubbling up in a national sort of way.

This week’s #TBT dip into the Lazy-i archives is a mixed bag, but I figured it might be fun just to see what we were all up to in a kinder, gentler time before our government was taken over by a monarchy, and so on… take a look.

Them house party blues, Ed Grey, Oxford Collapse tonight; Slowdown Virginia reunion?Lazy-i, Feb. 2, 2007

One of the biggest shows of the weekend is, in fact, a house party being held tonight at “Frank’s Hotel” across the street from The Brother’s Lounge and starring Capgun Coup, Coyote Bones, The Family Radio and Flowers Forever.

House parties continue to be a staple of indie music, they’re the most convenient outlet for bands and their underage fans to get together without the added cost of a hall rental. It also turns the tables on the whole age issue. Just like those under 21 can’t get into bars, those over 21 can become somewhat suspect at house shows. Those over 30 become oddities. And those over 40 who don’t know anyone there become the elephant in the room: “Look, someone’s dad is here.” “Sir, please, take my chair, I’m fine standing up.” “How’s it going… cop.” Or, simply, “Who’s the freak in the corner?” I joke, of course.

But I have to admit I remember a time when I was in high school and went to house parties (ones where the centers of attention were a keg and a Hal Holbrook party hat (Editor’s Note: That’s slang for beer bong.). Whenever you saw an old guy there (say, in his mid-20s) you thought, “Jeeze, I hope I don’t end up like that old guy.” Music transcends age issues (especially indie music), but that doesn’t make it any less uncomfortable for those of us with graying temples. It is, as I’ve said before, my problem and no one else’s. I know I wouldn’t be the subject of ridicule (at least not in earshot), but still…

Look, if you’re wise and mature enough to not have my hang-ups, don’t miss this show. Coyote Bones is one of those bands that obviously has “it,” and will get signed by a savvy indie label in the very near future. The Family Radio is Nik Fackler’s posse and features arguably the best bass player in Omaha in Dereck Higgins (a guy who has no qualms about his age, nor should he). Capgun Coup epitomize the Archers of Loaf/Pavement slacker esthetic with an extra scoop of Omaha tuneful(less)ness thrown in for good measure. And Flowers Forever will be celebrating their debut.

So what will I be doing this weekend (in 2007)?

There are two other good shows tonight. Sokol Underground gets back into the indie swing of things with Sub Pop recording artist Oxford Collapse, Thunderbirds Are Now! and Latitude, Longitude. 9 p.m., $8.

Meanwhile, down at O’Leaver’s it’s a folk explosion with Iowa City’s Ed Gray. Ed’s worked with John Crawford (Head of Femur, Grey Ghost), violinist Tiffany Kowalski (Lullaby for the Working Class, Mayday, Shelley Short), and producer Alex McManus (The Bruces, Bright Eyes) as well as a ton of other Omaha musicians creatively linked to Simon Joyner. Also on the bill, the rocking Miracles of God, Petit Mal and The Front. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, in an interview with Conor Oberst posted on, the boy wonder talks about a possible Slowdown Virginia or Commander Venus reunion in honor of the grand opening of the Slowdown entertainment facility this summer.

Says the article: The opening could feature a performance by erstwhile indie rockers Slowdown Virginia. And Oberst said that while nothing’s been discussed yet, he thinks reuniting his former band, Commander Venus – which disbanded in 1997 after just two years – would make the night even more interesting.

“It would be very funny if that happened,” he said. “I wouldn’t imagine there’s much of a demand for that reunion, but it’s possible. We’re all still around, but I doubt [guitarist] Robb [Nansel] would ever get onstage again.” But Oberst says that reuniting with his other former outfit, Desaparecidos, is “certainly a possibility. I could see that happening at some point down the line.” (Read the whole interview, (still online) here.)

Conor’s talked about a Desa reunion since before Wide Awake came out, and others close to the project all the way back in March 2005 told me that new Desa music had been recorded and only awaited Oberst to add the vocals — which apparently never happened. As welcome as a reunion would be, I’m not holding my breath on this one. A Commander Venus reunion would be fun, but a Slowdown Virginia reunion would be stellar, and appropriate. Why the original Slowdown CD — Dead Space — hasn’t been reissued by Creek (or someone else) is a mystery to me, since it stands up today (I just listened to “Whipping Stick” again this morning). —Lazy-i, Feb. 2, 2007

* * *

Well, that Commander Venus reunion never happened and likely never will. But the Desaparecidos reunion did happen, and we all know how that ended. And Slowdown Virginia reunited three years later in 2010 to a sold out Slowdown crowd (Here’s the review).

Frank’s Hotel (I think) is West Wing these days, but the under-21 set also has Milk Run for shows, and now we’ve got an under-age ordinance thing that allows minors into music venues with parental permission slips, which wasn’t around 10 years ago.

And though I’m 10 years older, I’m still not intimidated about going to shows at Milk Run where I’m clearly old enough to be most of the crowd’s grand-pappy. That’s one of the reasons I like indie rock — most of us who listen to it are outsiders (and misfits) and there’s always room for another misfit at an indie rock show, no matter how old he is…

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live (and EP) Review: Bazile Mills; Nate Krenkel, Gonzalez form NAG Management…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:51 pm January 24, 2017

Bazile Mills at Reverb Lounge, Jan. 21, 2017.

by Tim McMahan,

A few days ago I received an unexpected package in the mail: Where We Are, the debut EP by Bazile Mills — a finely produced 4-song 12-inch on black vinyl. I’ve mentioned before — send me vinyl and I will listen. And thus I have, and did again when they played their EP release show Saturday night at Reverb Lounge.

Bazile Mills is a big conglomeration of people on record and on stage. The record had a couple extra people on board who weren’t there Saturday night. Missing were vocalist Laura Long and viola player Avery Thomas. Both make central contributions on the record, so I was surprised at their absence, but as the New Yorker used to say, “musicians (and night-club proprietors) live complicated lives,” and things can get in the way on the night of your EP release show. Regardless, the stage was still crowded with three guitarists, bass and drummer and the occasional special guest.

Let’s talk about the record first. Two songs were recorded at the legendary ARC Studios by producer Ben Brodin (side A) and two were recorded at the legendary Hidden Tracks Studio by producer Jeremy Garrett. You can’t tell the diff in recording locales (which is a good thing, though I’m not sure what that says about either studio).

Opening track “Personal Concierge,” the only song voiced by Long, starts with a wispy violin/mandolin intro before shifting into 10,000 Maniacs gear. Track two, “Spirals Out,” sung by leader Dave Mainelli, tries for latter-day R.E.M., while  “We Are the Misfits (Just Like You)” leans closer to Decemberists territory. The closer/title track (and personal favorite) pulls it all together along with a fine trumpet line and laid-back, easy-going vocals by Sam Vetter, who really should sing more.

In fact, Vetter was a highlight Saturday night (along with drummer Robb Clemans) as the band rolled through the new songs along with a few from an early digital release. The room was packed, and it indeed felt like a party, with Mainelli calling out a number of friends in the crowd. If I were to venture a guess I’d say Bazile Mills is a labor of love more than a career move by these musicians, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, considering the current state of the music industry, it’s becoming the only way to go.

* * *

Some music industry news that just dropped into my email box…

Conor Oberst’s longtime managers Nate Krenkel and Gabriel Gonzalez have formed NAG Management, according to The new company will also represent Bright Eyes, Desaparacidos and the Mystic Valley Band.  Krenkel’s been involved with Oberst since that legendary Sony publishing rights deal way back in 2003.

Krenkel also runs Team Love Records with Autumn Seguin, who will be joining NAG, according to Billboard.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Conor Oberst album, gig March 9 at TWR; new Whipkey ACLU track; Pile goes boating…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:46 pm January 18, 2017

Conor Oberst (sunglasses on head) with The Felice Brothers and Jim Keltner during the recording of “Salutations” at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, CA. Photo by Julia Brokaw.

by Tim McMahan,

Just when I said nothing was happening, along comes Conor Oberst this morning announcing that he’s releasing yet another album — a full-band studio version of the songs on last year’s Ruminations, plus seven new songs — that’s 17 songs and what I assume will be a double album called Salutations, out March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!) on Nonesuch Records.

From the press release:

When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo – with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica – he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band – upstate New York’s The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) – the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, as his seventh solo album.

Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations – co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott and Jonathan Wilson.

Oberst, with The Felice Brothers as his backing band, will tour in celebration of Salutations beginning March 9 at The Waiting Room.

Tickets for the tour’s March dates go on sale Saturday, Jan. 21, at noon EST.

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Matt Whipkey has a new song out called “Fred, You’re Dead,” that was inspired by Friday’s presidential inauguration. “America is entering a period of uncertainty; our leaders, at times, appearing at great odds with the founding principles of our Constitution,” Whipkey said. “This song was born from that uncertainty.” Proceeds from the song’s purchase will be donated to the ACLU.

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And one piece of nautical show news… Boston band Pile is headed on the road in support of upcoming full-length A Hairshirt of Purpose (Exploding in Sound Records), out March 31. Among the tour’s announced dates is a performance on The River City Star May 7. Having gone on the river boat for last year’s Shannon and the Clams show, I can tell you this one should be a blast. Presumably more info soon…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.