Live Review: Skypiper, Cowboy Indian Bear; Ideal Cleaners breaks up (last November); Bloc Party, Songwriter Death Battle tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 28, 2013
Skypiper at The Waiting Room, May 25, 2013.

Skypiper at The Waiting Room, May 25, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I might have put my finger on who Skypiper reminds me of. I had to dig around in my feeble brain through most of their set at Saturday night’s EP release show at The Waiting Room, but (I think) I finally figured it out: Frontman Graham Burkum’ s voice bears a striking resemblance to David Baerwald’s.

Who is David Baerwald? Well, once upon a time in 1986 there was pop band called David and David. They had an album called Boomtown that was a huge hit. I loved that record, which today is all but forgotten despite the plethora of pop anthems it provided. David and David was a songwriter’s band; I don’t know if they even performed live. Skypiper also borders on being a songwriter’s pop band, though its songs aren’t as lyrically sophisticated (or as darkly personal) as Baerwald’s. That lack of lyrical intimacy might be what separates Skypiper from folks like Dan Wilson or Jeremy Messersmith, who have a similar embraceable pop style.

Saturday night’s show felt like a homecoming event, with the band creating its own stenciled stage backdrop complete with hand-made decorations. I didn’t realize Skypiper was simply going to give away their new EP. Sure enough, the Burkum Bros. told the crowd to take as many copies as they wanted from the back merch table. How are you ever going to become rich rock stars that way?

Opening band Cowboy Indian Bear put on their usual tight set. Their music seems to be constantly evolving, stretching to keep up with indie le style actuel, and while there’s plenty of sonic resonance to their sound, I’m beginning to lose the songs amidst their colorful noise. I walked away remembering the cacaphony, but not knowing what they were trying to say. Simpler is (almost) always better, which means you don’t need three people on stage pounding on a drum.

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Satchel Grande at River's Edge Park, May 27, 2013.

Satchel Grande at River’s Edge Park, May 27, 2013.

In other weekend coverage, look for a review of River’s Edge Park in my column in this week’s issue of The Reader. Needless to say, the park is going to be a gamechanger in terms of live outdoor facilities. I only caught Satchel Grande (the usual feel-good dance stuff) and Josh Hoyer’s new band, the Shadowboxers, which sounded like the reincarnation of James Brown. Get on the good foot, Josh.

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News from Lincoln: Ideal Cleaners broke up… last November. In an email that arrived in my old AOL account, Dan Jenkins announced that the Cleaners’ Nov. 24, 2012, show at The Waiting Room was the band’s finale. “We sure had a good time in that band and played together for 9 1/2 years or something like that,” he said.

On the plus side, Jenkins announced that his new band, Halfwit, will be debuting June 7 at The Sydney. Fellow band members include former members of Mother Pile, Life of a Scarecrow and Machete Archive.

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Two shows of note tonight:

Down at Slowdown, it’s the Bloc Party (yes, that Bloc Party) with Vancouver band Bear Mountain (Last Gang Records). $25, 9 p.m. Tickets are still available.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room tonight, it’s John Klemmensen’s “Songwriter Death Battle,” an intriguing concept wherein 30+ local songwriters take a turn playing one song on stage using Mr. K’s acoustic guitar. Among the battlers: Dane Sybrant, Greg Loftis, Jon Jerry, Kendra Senrick, Sam Houser, Edward Spencer, Koby Good, Sarah Benck Tardy, Bret Vovk, Andrew Janousek, Scott Severin, Tara Vaughan, Jessica Errett, Jeremy Mercy, Nick Carl, Vern Fergesen, Reagan Roeder, Justin Neal, Justin Lamoureux, Stephanie Krysl, Doug Kabourek, Matt Cox, Rebecca Lowry, Matt McLarney, Eliza Doo, Brad Hoshaw, Matt Whipkey, Landon Hedges, Sara Bertuldo, Michael Wunder, and John Klemmensen. That’s a lot of entertainment for $5. Show starts at 9.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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And the winners are…; Updates: Jake Bellows, Unread Records, Cowboy Indian Bear, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Willy Mason…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:52 pm January 16, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thanks to all of you who entered this year’s drawing for the annual Lazy-i “best of” compilation CD. When I announced this drawing, everyone was like, “just make your playlist available in Spotify,” but what fun would that be? And based on the response, someone obviously still likes listening to CDs.  With that, the winners are:

Evan Hayford, Berwyn, PA
Alexis Abel, Lincoln, NE
Tom Pacer, Omaha, NE

Your CDs will be dropped in the mail tomorrow, along with a commemorative Lazy-i vinyl sticker. Enjoy!

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Jake holds a copy of the Help cassette.

Jake holds a copy of the Help cassette.

In other news… Jake Bellows has a new cassette tape out called Help.  That’s right, it’s a cassette, but you can also purchase the cassette’s “A-side” digitally (the digital A-side tracks are free with cassette purchase).

The tape contains one song from the upcoming album and nine assorted b-sides and demos that we found interesting,” Bellows said in his email. I bought my copy this morning and can’t wait to play it in my 1996 POS Geo Tracker. Buy your copy here:  http://www.majesticlitter.com/store/

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Speaking of cassettes, one of Omaha’s favorite cassette tape record labels, Unread Records, has moved its world headquarters to Pittsburgh, PA, according to their latest update. Unread artists include Simon Joyner, Samual Locke Ward, Charlie McAlister, Will Simmons, Noah Sterba and a ton more.  Check out the catalog and buy a cassette, record or CD. Goodbye, Mr. Fischer.

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Omaha’s adopted Lawrence band Cowboy Indian Bear has a new single out called “Does Anybody See You Out” available for free download at their website: cowboyindianbear.com. Check out the track below:

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Okkervil River fans can download a new track by the band’s frontman, Will Sheff, called “Shock Corridor.” Says Sheff of the solo project:

“The album was intended to be something I was making for myself and I have no definite plans to release the whole thing. At the end of the process, I gave a couple copies of the album to some close friends I knew would get where I was coming from. After thinking about it a bit I decided I’d put a couple of the songs out there, but that I’d put them out for free since the album cost me almost nothing to make. So here’s one of them, track two on the album. The name of the project is Lovestreams.”

Get it at http://lovestreamsdreams.tumblr.com/

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Remember Willy Mason? He was the second act signed to Team Love Records way back in 2004. Well, Willy’s still kicking and has a new EP out called Don’t Stop Now on British label Communion. Check out the video for the first song “I Got Gold” below:

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Cowboy Indian Bear; Built to Spill, Clawfoot/Ember Schrag goodbye tonight, She & Him tomorrow…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:46 pm August 27, 2010

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I knew when I arrived at The Barley Street Tavern last night at around 10:30 that I wasn’t going to be able to hang in there long enough for Little Black Stereo’s last hurrah. The first opener, Kyle Harvey, had only just completed his set and Cowboy Indian Bear was still setting up with Landing on the Moon still to come, and some of us had to work the next morning…

Hailing from Lawrence, Kansas, Cowboy Indian Bear have played in Omaha regularly over the past couple of years, usually down at Slowdown, though they’ve done the full circuit (TWR, O’Leaver’s, etc.). You say you like four-part harmony? How about solid bass lines? What about brawny, thick-beat drums augmented by electronic beats? CIB has it all, along with gorgeous melodies that lean toward the sweeter side of indie pop — think Spoon or upbeat DCFC or Broken Social Scene. Their strength really lies in their vocals — all four members can sing well, including a new female band member whose voice falls somewhere in the Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays) wheelhouse. Their sound is cleanly, crisply captured on their new album, Each Other All the Time, which came out earlier this year and is worth seeking out if you’re looking for a cool, laid-back summer album.

After CIB came Landing on the Moon, but not until around 11:30. I made it through four songs, including what’s become their set highlight, “California,” before I gave up the ghost for the evening. Alas, I missed LBS one last time, though you can catch them tonight for what really is their final show, at The Zoo Bar in Lincoln with Cowboy Indian Bear and High Art (Darren Keen and Co.).

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Reminder: You’ve only got a couple days left if you want to help finance the Seafarer film project via Kickstarter. The locally produced project will feature music from local bands (most likely including Honeybee and Capgun Coup). The project goal is $3,500, and pledges currently stand at $3,065. A pledge of $15 or more will get you some nice goodies along with the knowledge that you helped make the project a reality. Check it out.

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It’s fitting that as summer winds down there are two marquee outdoor shows happening this weekend. The highlight is tonight at Slowdown’s parking lot, the site of what’s being called the “Omaha Block Party,” featuring Built To Spill, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and The Mynabirds. If it’s anything like last year’s outdoor bash at Slowdown (that featured Azure Ray and Cursive, among others) it will have a sort of festival vibe. The best part, of course, is that it’s free, but you’ve got to go to this website and print out an RSVP ticket. Door opens at 7, and the show starts at 8:30. No idea where you’re supposed to park other than on the streets around Slowdown.

Then tomorrow night, She & Him are playing at The Anchor Inn with The Chapin Sisters. I have no idea if the Inn is still suffering from flooding. Regardless, there will be a stage set up somewhere on the grounds. If you haven’t been out there for a show, you’re in for a treat. $20, 9 p.m.

That’s not all that’s happening this weekend.

Tonight is the last show of the summer at Lincoln’s Clawfoot House.  Ember Schrag, who runs Clawfoot with Brian Day, said they are turning over the venue to a young artist/musician couple who will be moving in and taking over as of Sept. 1, with a grand reopening Sept. 30 with Pillars and Tongues from Chicago and FATHR^.

“I had a blast starting Clawfoot House,” Schrag said. “We hosted 89 events at our apartment in a year and a half. And tons of artists from all over came through and performed in our living room and kitchen and porch. But Bryan and I are both ready to have more time to devote to our own projects.”

Those projects include a two-and-a-half month U.S. tour that starts next week, but that really kicks off at tonight’s show, which is a “casual fundraiser to help with a few tour expenses.” It’s at Clawfoot House, 1042 F St., and includes a spaghetti dinner, indoor garage sale, tarot card readings, four bands and a video/sound performance. It’s a $6 cover, $3 for the dinner. The event starts at 6 and music starts at 9 with Ron Wax (featuring Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule), Ed Gray (Iowa City), Ember Schrag and her band, and Tiny Tiny Tongues.

Meanwhile, tonight back here in Omaha, The Ground Tyrants are headlining a show at the Barley Street Tavern with All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. $5, 9 p.m.

Saturday has Lincoln band Wastoid playing at The Brothers Lounge with opener Ron Wax (featuring Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule) and The Lepers. $5, 10 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Ketchup and Mustard Gas are at O’Leaver’s with Birthday Suits. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Simon Joyner is playing a house show at 4208 Mayberry Street with Ed Gray, The Prairies and Ember Schrag. Show starts at 9 and suggested donation is $5 to $10.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


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The Mynabirds in Pitchfork (8.0); Cowboy Indian Bear tonight…

An addendum to The Mynabirds feature I posted this morning (read it here, or actually if you’re reading this in the blog, just scroll down): Pitchfork came out with the review of their new album, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood, and gave it an unheard of 8.0 rating — unheard of, that is, for a Saddle Creek Records release. Among the review’s bon mots (which is here):

“The charm of the record isn’t a matter of reinventing familiar sounds so much as working within them with comfort and grace. Nothing sounds overworked. If anything, Burhenn and Swift present the songs in an understated manner, confident in the quality of the material and the strength of her voice.”

Adding to Pitchfork‘s applause, I will say that WWLITFWGITF (how’s that for shorthand?) is the best album Saddle Creek has released since Mama, I’m Swollen, and that The Mynabirds is the first signing since Rilo Kiley with the critical and commercial appeal of the label’s original Big Three (BE/Faint/Cursive). Now it’s just a question of how they market the album — which is a huge riddle in this era of industry decline. Because the fact is, there may not be anything Creek could do to make this record sell well. As an example, I give you Georgie James, a band that (as Burhenn says in the interview) did everything expected of a successful indie rock band, including an appearance on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and in the end, that record still only sold just north of 4,000 copies.  It’s not just about quality and touring anymore. It’s about getting one of your songs licensed for a television commercial or prominently used in a critically acclaimed motion picture or television show. It’s about having a video that somehow “goes viral,” or getting mentioned on an A-list celebrity’s twitter feed. It’s about luck. And despite what anyone says, you can only make so much luck on your own.

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Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Lawrence indie rockers Cowboy Indian Bear with Honey & Darling and Ghosty. CIB brings the rock, and is definitely worth checking out, especially for a mere $5. Show starts at 9.

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