#TBT: Jan. 29, 2009: Discovering Twitter and Mama, I’m Swollen; Jocelyn tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:03 pm January 31, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Reaching back into the archive on this Throwback Thursday, to a time when Twitter was just getting going. Who’da thunk back than that Twitter would become the main tool for the country’s Biggest Tool? And yet, here we are. This column was a sort of introduction to Twitter, and the first time I used the tool for doing live concert reviews. It was also the last time. There’s no point in “real time” reporting a live concert in Twitter. It’s about as interesting as seeing pictures from people’s vacation while they’re still on vacation. Actually, isn’t that what Facebook is based on?

The concert I was tweeting from was a preview show by Cursive of material that would appear on Mama, I’m Swollen, which was released March 10, 2009, and is still one of my favorite Cursive albums.

From Lazy-i, Jan. 29, 2009…

Column 207: In a Twitter
The end of conversation.

Back in the old days — a few short years ago — just blogging was enough. People had a way of electronically publishing their ideas — no matter how mundane — in a format that was accessible to the entire world via the Internet. Bored college students in Toledo could now share their insights with bored college students in Gdansk about such nail-biting topics as: what they had for dinner, why they’re pissed at their boyfriend/girlfriend, and what’s on TV.

Now along comes Twitter. Well, not just now. Twitter’s been around since 2006 (according to Wikipedia, which itself has been around since 2001), but it seems like no one started using it until last year. Oh sure, there were a couple Twitter pioneers (drones who will proudly boast that they’ve been Tweeting (the verb form) for years), but the technology — and the term itself — only just entered our vernacular in the past year or so (or mine, at least).

Brief tech discussion: Twitter is a browser-based “social networking” environment that limits its users to 140 characters per post. The limit is there, in part, to facilitate the use of cell phones as input devices, along with the web. It also forces people to strenuously self-edit themselves, to carefully hone their ideas to only the most critical few words. Each comment answers the universal question: What are you doing? The result: Briefer discussions about what’s for dinner, boyfriends/girlfriends, and what’s on TV.

Unlike blogs (but like Facebook, which is another slice of entropy altogether) people search Twitter for their friends, and then “follow” them. Twitter aggregates everyone you’re “following” into one inane conversation, each comment conveniently time-stamped, something like:

Husker_power: Hungry. Taco Johns tonight fur shure. about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry
Santinofan: Watching Top Chef. Ariane got screwed. Padme where are you? about 5 hours ago from web

And so on. Twitter appears to be a natural de-evolution of human interaction. Soon all discussions will be limited to Tarzan-like grunts, culminating in: “Poop. Pee. Eat. Poop. Screw. Eat. Simpsons. Poop.”

So why all this discussion about Twitter? About six months ago, I logged onto Twitter for the first time. You can “follow” my tweeting online at: twitter.com/tim_mcmahan. I quickly discovered that “micro-blogging” has its advantages. Take CD reviews, for instance. Instead of spending hours writing gripping, nuanced examinations of an album’s true meaning, I only have room for:

tim_mcmahan: Listening to the new Ladyfinger album. Brutal fun.

or

tim_mcmahan: Listening to new Springsteen. Nothing new here *yawn*.

Conversely, Twitter allows bands, record labels and assorted famous folk to keep in touch with their fans. I now know what The Willowz (thewillowz), Saddle Creek Records (saddlecreek) and Lance Armstrong (lancearmstrong) are having for lunch. For better or worse.

One perceived value of Twitter is the real-time nature of the medium. Instead of text messaging to one person, you’re text messaging to all of your “followers” at once. To test Twitters’ capabilities and limitations, I took my iPhone to Slowdown last Saturday night for the Cursive concert and annoyed everyone within a few feet of me by tapping in the following comments throughout the evening. Here’s the transcript/review:

tim_mcmahan: Full house. I’m buying Rolling Rocks two at a time. 10:34 PM Jan 24th from mobile web

tim_mcmahan: House music is Michael Jackson, or at least it sounds like Jacko. 10:37 PM

tim_mcmahan: Nice. Kasher’s voice sounds husky. 10:57 PM

tim_mcmahan: Classic Kasher rant. “Bark bark bark.” 11:11 PM

tim_mcmahan: Seems like they’re working trumpet into every song these days. For better or worse. 11:14 PM

tim_mcmahan: Some of this new stuff sounds like The Good Life. The convergence keeps getting closer. 11:31 PM

tim_mcmahan: Halfway through the set. Ted Stevens finally switches from the 12-string to his LP. 11:34 PM

tim_mcmahan: Kasher says he’s got a sore throat and is drinking hot tea. He sounds fine. 11:41 PM

tim_mcmahan: “What Have I Done.” Kasher’s back to the self-referential lyrics. Songs about writing songs. 11:44 PM

tim_mcmahan: His most soulful song since Domestica. 11:46 PM

tim_mcmahan: Cornbread on drums changes the entire complexion of Cursive. They swing now, moreso than the old frontal assault of Schnase. 11:54 PM

tim_mcmahan: Off stage now. Encore’s next. This is a longer set than Union Hall. 11:55 PM

tim_mcmahan: Back. With “Art is Hard.” Crowd loves it. Kasher’s right. Mostly kids huddled along the stage. 11:59 PM

tim_mcmahan: Never get tired of hearing “The Martyr.” 12:04 AM

tim_mcmahan: Okay, now his voice is giving out. 12:06 AM

tim_mcmahan: Struggling through “Sierra.” The last song of the night. 12:11 AM

tim_mcmahan: Kasher takes over the drum kit. 12:13 AM

tim_mcmahan: That’s it. Kasher won’t be talking for a week. 12:14 AM

Just like being there? Not really. Looking over the comments the following morning, I wondered if they needed to be augmented with explanations, but realized that anyone who knows me and what I write about understands the shorthand. They know who Kasher and Cursive is. They know the song titles and the terminology. And if they don’t, they can always find out. On Myspace or Facebook. On YouTube. On Wikipedia. Or on Twitter, which is effectively shoe-horning the world into a conversation that’s only 140 characters wide. For better or worse.

* * *

Tonight, BMG Recording artist Jocelyn releases the first single from her upcoming album, a song titled “Speak Up,” at Slowdown Jr. I’ve heard it and it’s pop-candy fun. Aly Peeler opens the show at 7 p.m. $10.

* * *

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Almost Music almost gone; Typesetter, Broncho, El Ten Eleven tonight; Omaha Bugs Saturday; Cursive, Campdogzz Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:38 pm November 16, 2018

Rusty Lord at Almost Music during Record Store Day, April 21, 2018. The shop will be closing its doors in January.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you haven’t already got the news let me be the last to tell you that yesterday Brad Smith announced on Facebook that Almost Music will be closing its doors forever in January.

Seems like only yesterday (instead of nearly three years ago (April 2016)) that Almost Music moved to the Blackstone District from its original Benson location (65th & Maple), which opened in October 2013.

I don’t know what more I can add to what’s already been said by the broken-hearted wretches responding to the news on Facebook, other than what I told Brad:

Almost Music for me was a connection back to the old Antiquarium days, to the ’90s Omaha music scene and old friends like the long-departed Dave Sink.

Almost Music had that same Antiquarium vibe. It was a neighborhood store that welcomed anyone, but beyond that for music fans, Brad and his staff just made it easy to buy stuff. The difference between Almost Music and other record stores was the way the stock was curated, so the good stuff bubbled to the surface and was easy to find. I get exhausted just thinking about having to dig through stacks of dirty, dusty vinyl at Kanesville or the endless used bins at Homer’s looking for hidden treasure. Brad put the treasure right out front, clean and in perfect alpha order.

I’m speaking in past-tense. Almost Music is still open and will be through the holidays. I suggest you drop by with your wallet or credit card and take advantage of it before it’s gone for good, along with the remaining fond memories you had of Omaha’s past.

* * *

Back to the weekend…

Chicago indie band Typesetter headlines tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are fellow Windy City act Kali Masi and Omaha’s Centerpiece. $12, 10 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at Reverb Lounge Tulsa indie band Broncho headlines. The band’s latest album, Bad Behavior, was release last month by Park The Van Records. Sydney Australia band Valen opens at 9 p.m. $15

While you’re in Benson, tonight is the OEAA Nominee Showcase. Your $10 gets you into three venues — B-Side, Barley Street Tavern and Burke’s (all the “B” bars!) to check out bands nominated for this year’s awards. More info here.

Meanwhile, tonight down at Slowdown Jr. indie experimental instrumental duo El Ten Eleven headlines. Their latest, Banker’s Hill, was released this year by Top Shelf Records. Indiana band Thunder Dreamer opens at 9 p.m. $14.

Saturday The Omaha Bug Symposium is happening at OutrSpaces, 1258 So. 13th St. Says the press release: “It’s a mixture of science, art and music that we’ve been doing for the past five years. This year’s musical guest is Wrong Pets.” Starts at 8 p.m. Tix are $10.

Also Saturday night DMX (The Dereck Higgins Experience) headlines at O’Leaver’s with Dead on Dust and Bound. 10 p.m., $5.

Finally Sunday is the big 15 Passenger Records showcase at The Waiting Room featuring Cursive and Campdogzz. It’s been awhile since Cursive, who’s out touring their new album Vitriola, has graced an Omaha stage, and never with this new line-up (that includes the return of Clint Schnase on drums). Chicago’s Campdogzz saw the release of their latest album, In Rounds, this year on 15 Passenger, which, as we all know, is a label run by the guys in Cursive. Fellow Chicago act Meat Wave opens the show at 8 p.m., $15.

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

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Cursive Lite unplugged (via Stereogum); Jeremy Messersmith, Mynabirds tonight; Well Aimed Arrows Saturday; Shy Boys Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm November 9, 2018

Jeremy Messersmith at Swan Dive at SXSW 2014. Messersmith plays tonight at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hey, it’s snowing out…

A new three-song “unplugged” performance by a stripped-down version of Cursive (Tim Kasher, Megan Siebe, Patrick Newberry and featuring Pat Oakes on drums) dropped at Stereogum Wednesday. It was recorded as a Facebook Live performance, which explains the 3-minute countdown clock at the beginning of the video (Just skip over it). Watch it here.

You get two songs from Vitriola — “Remorse” and “Ouroboros” — and “The Recluse” from The Ugly Organ. It’s interesting to hear these songs interpreted acoustically. FYI, Cursive plays The Waiting Room Nov. 18 with Meatwave and 15 Passenger labelmate Campdogzz

Onto the weekend…

An old favorite, Minneapolis singer/songwriter Jeremy Messersmith rolls back through town tonight at Reverb Lounge. I’ve been a fan of Messersmith since his 2008 album The Silver City (read a Lazy-i interview with Jeremy from 2010). His latest, Late Stage Capitalism, was released on Glassnote. Locals Garst opens at 9 p.m. $16.

There’s a fundraiser tonight for OutrSpaces, 1258 S 13th Street. “OutrSpaces provides shared workspace for performing artists to rehearse, perform, develop their careers, & engage surrounding communities in an accessible and inclusive environment,” according to their mission statement. The fundraiser includes performances by The Mynabirds, DJ Brent Crampton and Tbd. Dance Collective, among others. Tickets are $50 or $15, depending on your financial position. Program starts at 7 p.m. More info here.

Also tonight, Tragic Jack plays at The Harney Street Tavern. Matt Whipkey opens at 9 p.m. This one’s free.

The rest of my weekend will be spent at fabulous O’Leaver’s.

Saturday night at O’Leaver’s sees the return of Well Aimed Arrows (ex-Protoculture). Stephen Bartolomei and Stathi open at 10 p.m. $5.

I would be remiss in not mentioning The Urge show Saturday night at The Waiting Room. I’ve never been a fan, but I know they’ve got lots of them in Omaha. Local ska band The Bishops opens at 9 p.m. $25.

Then Sunday night back at O’Leaver’s it’s the return of Kansas City’s Shy Boys (High Dive Records). Ojai and Candy Boys (John Klemmensen’s latest project) open at 6 p.m. (remember, Sundays are early at O’Leaver’s). $10.

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

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Scary Cursive video; Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, Wagon Blasters, Dross tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm October 31, 2018

A screen cap from Cursive’s “Life Savings” video, featuring a killer Tim Kasher.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Not only do I not go to horror movies, I don’t watch them when they’re on TV. I just don’t like knife-kill flicks, gore and blood, violence-porn, etc. I get that people dig that stuff, it’s just not my thing.

So when I saw that Cursive’s brand new video for “Life Savings,” a track off the just-released Vitriola album, was a take off on gorror flicks I dreaded having to watch it. But then I saw a screen cap of frontman Tim Kasher getting hatcheted (oops, spoiler alert) and thought “OK, I can handle this.” I mean, who hasn’t wanted to take a hatchet to Kasher at some point, right? Not to mention that mega-star Jake Bellows also has a star-turn as a victim. It’s gross fun! Check it out below, and get a copy of this fine, fine album.

* * *

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Denver’s Bud Bronson and the Good Timers headline a special Halloween program. The band is on the road touring their new album, Between The Outfield And Outer Space, which came out a couple weeks ago.

This will be our second LP, our fourth time in Omaha, and the last show of our album-release tour,” said Good Timer Brian Beer.  “As it is Halloween, we will also be wearing costumes.” That doesn’t mean you have to, of course, but you know… Also on the bill are the always amazing Wagon Blasters. Dross, featuring members of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Mint Wad Wall, opens at 9 p.m. $10.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cursive, Nance get the Pitchfork treatment, and an unscientific look at Spotify counts…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm October 16, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cursive albums always get the full critical once-over, but this new one, Vitriola, is really getting the treatment. In addition to being such a great album, critics remember the band and have the back-knowledge to make comparisons. And they are.

Cursive, Vitriola (2018, 15 Passenger)

Pop Matters called Vitriolaamong Cursive’s most ambitious work.” But of the 10 or so reviews for the record currently out there, this was the most negative. Check it: “When Kasher and his bandmates really have something to say, this scream can be a revelation; when they don’t, it sounds stilted, silly, like it’s issuing from a mouth that has nothing to scream for but still screams anyway.” Ouch. They gave the record the lowest rating of the 10 reviews so far, scoring a 5 out of 10.

On the other hand, there’s DIY, which called Vitriolaa fiercely political record, but one that seldom feels trite; married to the aggressive tone of a band back to make a point, it’s a razor-sharp lament of America in 2018.” Whoa! Their rating: Four out of five stars. Solid.

But maybe the only review that matters these days is Pitchfork. Just getting a Pitchfork review has become something of a triumph for bands (though Stereogum is quickly unseating Pitchfork as the internet indie-music taste-maker of choice). Pitchfork reviews can be somewhat obtuse, unless you luck into a review by long-time Pitchfork critic Ian Cohen. which Cursive did.

Cohen drones on and on but concludes with, “On Vitriola, Cursive songs again supply the satisfaction of blaring your horn at a shitty driver or hanging up on a robocall—fighting against an encroaching sense of cosmic impotence with contained acts of victimless aggression.” He gave the record a 6.8 — somewhat middle-of-the-road in Pitchfork terms. Anything less than a 7 can get ignored (at least by me).

One way to check how well a record is doing is by looking at the number of plays tracks are getting in Spotify. Hardly scientific, I know, but I don’t have access to sales numbers, so…

As of 6 a.m. this morning, Vitriola track “It’s Gonna Hurt” had 55,107 plays in Spotify, while “Under the Rainbow” had 85,247 spins. Contrast that with “The Recluse” off Domestica, which had 3.7 million spins. This tells me Vitriola has gained some traction.

BTW, streamingroyaltycalculator.com says 85,247 spins equates to $340.99 in royalties. Wonder if that’s true?

David Nance Band, Peaced and Slightly Pulverized (2018, Trouble in Mind)

I only found three reviews for the new David Nance Group record Peaced and Slightly Pulverized, but one of them was from Pitchfork, and was particularly meandering. The pull quote: “The album was recorded by guitarist/keyboardist Jim Schroeder in his basement, but Nance’s newly anointed four-piece rips and wails through these seven tracks like they’re headlining the Fillmore.” Nice. Even nicer was the rating: 7.7.

Spotify spins for Peaced are, not surprisingly, much less than Vitriola. Opening track “Poison” had 5,774 spins this morning; “In her Kingdom” had 2,329.

I’ve been told spins aren’t what the labels look at as much as the number of people who have added an album to their Spotify Library. Though not equivalent to a sale, it indicates that listeners are playing the album more than once (and as such, is more important than, say, getting a track added to some tastemaker’s Spotify playlist, though that doesn’t hurt, either).

Adrianne Lenker, abysskiss (2018, Saddle Creek)

One more example: Saddle Creek Record’s latest release, the solo outing by Big Thief’s Adrianne Lenker called abysskiss, got the highest Pitchfork rating of all three, with a mighty 8.0. It still wasn’t high enough to earn the record the coveted “Best New Music” status.

Abysskiss‘ Spotify numbers also are the highest of all three, with tracks “symbol” pulling in 260,000 plays and “cradle” with 266,000.

In the end it’s all just navel-gazing in an era where record sales are becoming secondary to streaming numbers and the only real income left is from touring.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Cursive’s ‘Vitriola’ drops tomorrow (and what people are saying about it)…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm October 4, 2018

Cursive’s next album, Vitriola, comes out tomorrow on 15 Passenger.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Early press for the new Cursive album, Vitriola, appears to be rather strong. The record drops tomorrow on the band’s label, 15 Passenger.

Having listened to the album a few times I can add to the choir that this record is reminiscent of early Cursive. The songs certainly sound more cohesive and structured than, say, what we got with I Am Gemini, which is a complicated way of saying they have great guitar riffs, hooks and massive, percussive rhythms that consistently head in one direction, versus Gemini‘s proggy where-is-this-going approach.

OK, let’s just get it out there — Gemini is my least favorite Cursive record. It’s difficult to get through. And I’m a sucker for big riffs and repeat choruses — i.e., straight-forward indie rock songs, like on this record. There’s a familiarity to this music that is oddly comforting.

Both Noisey and Stereogum posted interviews with Cursive leader Tim Kasher that try to dissect the record’s meaning — true navel-gazing exercises that could be valuable to a Cursive superfan.

My simplistic (and there’s no one more simplistic than I) take is that Kasher’s getting older and these songs reflect his anxiety about aging and/or the struggle and futility of life (versus say, songs about his struggles with relationships (Domestica) or religion (Happy Hollow)). There’s also a  political theme that runs through a few songs that’s hard to miss, though I wouldn’t consider this a protest album. The Noisey article makes it sound like there’s a glimmer of hope underlying the collection. Maybe, but I don’t hear it. To me, it’s a collection of true bummers connected by massive riffs. But what else is new?

All I can think of is how well these songs will sound live. For example, can Kasher get the crowd to scream along to the “Ouroboros” chorus: “I am a parasite / I am a shill / I am that lowly snake / Chasing its tail.” By god, I think he can. Which is good, because I have a feeling Tim and the crew are going to be touring this one for a long time.

If you haven’t already, pre-order it here.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New Azure Ray EP (on Flower Moon Records); new Cursive track; Black Belt Eagle Scout, Guerilla Toss tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm September 26, 2018

Azure Ray are back with a new EP on Flower Moon Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Azure Ray, the ground-breaking duo of Orenda Fink and Maria Taylor, are back with a new EP.

Titled Waves, the album comes out Oct. 26 on Taylor’s Flower Moon label. The first new album by the duo in six years, it will be the first recording since 2002’s November EP not released on Saddle Creek Records. Earlier this year Flower Moon re-released Azure Ray’s self-titled debut and follow-up, Burn and Shiver.

This EP was about revisiting what Azure Ray has meant to us – and felt like to the listener – over the last 18 years,” says the Waves press release. “So for the last few months we’ve been demoing songs back and forth over email and Facetime between Omaha and Los Angeles, until this August when we packed up a car and drove out to a house in Joshua Tree to record. These songs are both a yearning and nostalgia for the Azure Ray of the past, and new perspectives on how and why we make music – with 18 years of love, life, and loss in between.”

The first track, “Palindrome,” dropped today. Check it out below and preorder the double A-side limited edition flexi 7-inch here.

No word of a tour yet, but Azure Ray is slated to play an Oct. 26 fund-raiser at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts with Destroyer (solo).

The new Cursive album, Vitriola, is somewhat epic, maybe the best thing they’ve done since The Ugly Organ. If you don’t believe me, check out the third track dropped from the album, “It’s Gonna Hurt.” And pre-order the mutha from 15 Passenger. The album comes out Oct. 5.

Tonight one of Saddle Creek Records’ latest roster additions, Black Belt Eagle Scout, plays at Reverb Lounge. Creek just re-released the band’s debut album, Mother of My Children. They’re opening for headliner Guerilla Toss, a red-hot Boston band that’s been kicking around since 2010, releasing albums on DFA Records, including LP Twisted Crystal, which came out earlier this month. Expect a crowd. $10, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cursive expands, new LP Vitriola Oct. 5 on 15 Passenger; Campdogzz In Rounds reviewed; Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:58 pm August 8, 2018

Cursive’s next album, Vitriola, comes out Oct. 5 on 15 Passenger.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The last line of the press release announcing Cursive’s first new album in six years reads:

Cursive is: Tim Kasher (vocals/guitar), Ted Stevens (guitar/vocals), Matt Maginn (bass), Clint Schnase (drums), and Patrick Newbery (keys), with Megan Siebe on cello.

The two surprises here are Schnase and Siebe. Schnase, as all old-time Cursive fans know, is the band’s original drummer and an absolute beast on a kit. It’s good to have him back. But apparently he’ll only be heard on the record, as Ladyfinger drummer (and exceptional print maker) Pat Oakes will be the band’s touring drummer when they hit the road for a month starting Oct. 18. That tour ends with a show at The Waiting Room Nov. 18 with label mates Campdogzz.

(I wonder if Cursive could be the “secret” of the just-announced “secret show” at O’Leaver’s Aug. 19?)

Megan Siebe is a fixture of the Omaha music scene having performed with a number of acts including Simon Joyner’s Ghosts, Anniversaire and live with Cursive (Seems to me someone suggested back in 2013 that Siebe would be a great addition on their next album…)

Enough about personnel. The new album, Vitriola, was recorded at ARC with studio wizard Mike Mogis and drops Oct. 5. According to the press release:

(The album) finds the band struggling with existentialism veering towards nihilism and despair; the ways in which society, much like a writer, creates and destroys; and an oncoming dystopia that feels eerily near at hand.

Holy shit that sounds depressing. But no Cursive (or Good Life) album is ever a joyous walk through the daisies.

Check out the first single, “Life Savings,” below and pre-order at the 15 Passenger website.

While we’re talking about 15 Passenger, some thoughts on the new Campdogzz record, In Rounds. The 15P debut dropped last Friday..

The has a creamy, twangy sound mixed with throaty-beat indie rock; it can be quiet, it can be hard, and falls in the same mood-circle as Angel Olson or Big Thief or Mitski. Let’s face it, women-fronted acts are making the most interesting music in indie rock these days, they’re dominating the genre.

Campdogzz and frontwoman Jess Price can add their names to that rather long list. Price, a Tulsa native, has a weary, prairie-worn voice that sounds like a mix between Stevie Nicks, Bonnie Raitt and a bourbon hangover. There is a desolate nature to this collection of songs that reflect a strange longing and loneliness, with arrangements that in a heartbeat can veer from bending-in-the-wind lullaby to storm-bracing rock — quiet, ferocious, quiet.

Highlights include the torrid, pumping “On My Own,” crunchy rocker “Southern,” which sounds like classic Stevie Nicks, and smoldering hammer-beat track “Souvenir” with the lines “Did you want to get me gone / Did you want to get me / Well that train is going by.” Yikes.

Price’s lyrics are simpler and somewhat more obtuse than, say, Adrianne Lenker’s lyrics (of Big Thief), which are more intimate, personal, straight forward — you always know what Lenker’s singing about, whereas Price, not so much. On the other hand Campdogzz’s music is consistently more compelling and hook-filled than Big Thief’s static confessions (Exceptions, such as “Paul” and “Shark Smile,” are the exception rather than the rule). Regardless, the bands have more similarities than differences.

The Chicago act, which started as a duo with Price and Mike Russell and is now a five-piece, has been kicking around since before 2014. The fact that 15 Passenger lucked into them says a lot about the future of a label that’s built on a bedrock of Kasher-infused quality. How could it go wrong? * * *

They’re practically The Waiting Room’s house band — The Melvins — return to the bar tonight. WE Are the Asteroid opens at 8 p.m. $20.

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Thermals quit; Cursive rumblings; Flower Moon comp; Anna McClellan review; Erika Wennerstrom (Heartless Bastards) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:42 pm April 10, 2018

The Thermals at Slowdown Jr., May 6, 2016. The band announced its break-up yesterday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Thermals yesterday announced that they’re breaking up. I first read about it here at Brooklyn Vegan though it was announced via their Facebook page. The reason given: “we feel our band has reached far beyond our initial expectations and goals, and are stepping away from it while we still cherish it.”

It got me wondering why bands make these sorts of announcements; especially if they’re not contractually obligated to do anything like record another album or tour. The Thermals are on Saddle Creek Records, which historically has worked with bands on an album-by-album basis — i.e., I’m not aware of any three-record deals with Saddle Creek (then again, I’m not privy to their contracts).

I guess with some bands there would be concern over owning the name. What if Hutch Harris decided to record a solo album and call it a Thermals album? Is that really possible, would he do such a thing? I can’t imagine it. It would be like Tim Kasher releasing a solo record and calling it a Cursive album. No way. I can see that being an issue with arena acts maybe, but not indie bands at this level.

So why announce that you’re breaking up? Just go off and do your thing, be it a solo album or some other project, and if/when the mood strikes and the timing’s right, get together with your comrades and do shows or write another record.

Bright Eyes, which is really a loose-knit collection surrounding Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott, never really announced a break-up. The Faint went for years between records. Cursive has been known to “go on hiatus” while members do other things like The Good Life or Mayday.

I’m rambling now. The Thermals are gone, but I wouldn’t count them out. Or heck, maybe they’ll never play together again…

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Speaking of Cursive, the band has been named among those performing at Fest 17 in Gainesville, Florida Oct. 26-28. I’ve heard Cursive has been busy recording a new album slated for release on their new label, 15 Passenger Records. With this fest date now in the books, can a full tour announcement be far off?

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High Up, Orenda Fink, Jake Bellows and Maria Taylor are among the artists on the upcoming 2-LP comp album Friends and Family Volume 1 , out May 11 on Taylor’s Flower Moon Records.

These are all musicians I greatly respect and have been fans of for years – but what makes the compilation unique is that they are also part of a collaborative community of friends and family members who have been working together and supporting one another for years. I wanted this compilation, and Flower Moon Records, to be a vehicle to continue to support, promote, and celebrate their work.” The quote is unattributed, but I assume it’s Maria Taylor saying that.

There’s a lot of other familiar names on the 16-track list, including Whispertown, Nik Freitas, Umm and Taylor Hollingsworth. Full track listing and preorder info here.

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Q1 2018 CD reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (2018, Father/Daughter)

Anna McClellan, Yes and No (Father/Daughter) — More than any other female indie singer-songwriter doing piano-driven confessionals, my heart hurts when I hear her slightly off-kilter voice warble through a set of yearning love notes. McClellan unashamedly holds nothing back when she belts out her stories unpolished and beautiful. She’s a broken-hearted nerd who deserves to win, just like the rest of us.

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Tonight The Waiting Room hosts Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards fame. her new album rocks. Jessica Errett opens at 8 p.m. $17.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Cursive to return in 2018; Mogwai tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm November 30, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a nice Q&A with Tim Kasher at Surviving the Golden Age. Tim talks about the early days of Cursive, the differences between guitarists Stephen Pedersen and Ted Stevens, and that Cursive will be “somewhat active in 2018.Read it here.

While we’re on the subject of Cursive, Noisey asked Kasher to list/rank his favorite Cursive albums. Tim and I agree on No. 1 (though we disagree on where Domestica ended up). Check it out here.

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Tonight’s that Mogwai show at The Waiting Room I wrote about yesterday. It’s an early show with an 8 p.m. start time, with one opener – “dark synth” Texas artist Xander Harris. If you’re going, bring ear plugs. The last time I saw Mogwai they were incredibly loud. Don’t say I didn’t warn you… $26.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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