O’Leaversfest weekend (Meat Wave, Pro-Magnum, Cursive, No Thanks, TFOA, Oquoa); WHY? tonight; Lincoln Calling continues…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:34 pm September 20, 2019

Cursive at O’Leaver’s, Dec. 20, 2013. The band returns for O’Leaversfest Saturday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s the festival we’ve all been waiting for — O’Leaversfest! Three nights of headline-grabbing talent on O’Leaver’s pseudo-stage. Let’s run through all three days.

Day 1 – Tonight (Friday) – Chicago-based indie act Meat Wave headlines. The band has spent many a night opening for Cursive on that band’s recent tour. Opening tonight is our very own Pro-Magnum and Eric in Outerspace. There’s also a street/skate clothing pop-up store happening somewhere in the O’Leaver’s compound. $8. 10 p.m.

Day 2 – Saturday – The bosses will be in the house as Cursive headlines a show that, by the time you read this, is likely to be sold out (find out here). Every O’Leaver’s Cursive show is strangely unique, and no doubt this one will follow suit. Hot up-and-comers No Thanks open along with The Natural States. $10, 10 p.m.

Day 3 – Sunday – It’s a BBQ at The Club with an early 4 p.m. start time. Headlining is everyone’s favorite Omaha garage act Those Far Out Arrows. STATHI and Oquoa open (and is this a goodbye performance by a certain special drummer?). BBQ by Thunderbird Wines (no kidding). $7.

Now, let’s hope the weather cooperates!

Of course there’s another festival happening this weekend… in Lincoln.

The standout acts at tonight’s Lincoln Calling include See Through Dresses, Her Flyaway Manner, Bright Calm Blue, Universe Contest, Histrionic, The Mezcal Brothers and Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal. It’s a bounty of local talent.

The standouts Saturday at LC include Miwi La Lupa, Diplomats of Solid Sound, Meat Wave, Bogusman, Charly Bliss, Pleasures, Charlie Burton & Or What, The Millions, and Dereck Higgins.

Check out the full schedule and ticket info at lincolncalling.com.

A non-festival show of note is happening tonight at The Waiting Room where Cincinnati indie act WHY? headlines. Their latest, AOKOHIO, was released on Joyful Noise Recordings. Brooklyn’s Barrie opens at 8 p.m. $18.

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

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at 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.

Lazy-i

Lincoln Calling starts tonight (Soccer Mommy, Samia, Fanclub); another new Cursive single…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:39 pm September 19, 2019

Lincoln Calling starts tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s frickin’ year 16 for Lincoln Calling, can you believe it?

The annual festival officially kicked off yesterday, but the main spate of shows begins tonight. The festival boasts 80+ bands in eight venues over four days. You can see the entire schedule at lincolncalling.com. This year’s line-up is heavy on the hip-hop/pop/DJ culture, with only a smattering of indie rock compared to last year’s stellar line-up.

From an indie perspective, all the fun tonight is at The Bourbon Theater, where headliner Soccer Mommy plays at 11:30. Fronted by Nashville native Sophie Allison, the crew released its debut, Clean, last year, which placed it front and center among a cloud of indie singer-songwriters like Saddle Creek’s Hop Along, Stef Chura, Big Thief, etc.

Interestingly, today Allison released a new song and 7-inch single, “Lucy,” via Loma Vista Recordings. Check it below, and expect to hear it tonight at the Bourbon. After this gig, she’ll be out on tour opening dates for Vampire Weekend and Wilco. Not bad.

The Bourbon gig kicks off at 7 p.m. with Fanclub, a kickly little indie-pop trio from Austin. They’re followed by Boston singer/songwriter Squirrel Flower, who sounds like the second coming of Mitski on her 2018 album Contact Sports (2000 Pigs Records). That’s followed by Samia, a New York singer/songwriter who’s been compared to Phoebe Bridgers (though she sounds more upbeat, imho). Samia is signed to Grand Jury Music. It all leads up to Soccer Mommy at 11:30.

Of course there also are bands at Duffy’s, Zoo Bar, Bodega’s and 1867 Bar, but I’d be hanging at the Bourbon if I was headed to Lincoln tonight.

So how much does it cost? Single day passes are $25. Three-day all-access passes are $50. VIP packages are $125. Full info at Lincolncalling.com.

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Today Cursive dropped yet another new single in YouTube, “Black Hole Town.” According to the page, the song will be released tomorrow on 15 Passenger Records. One assumes, digitally. This comes on the heels of the single “Barricades,” which was released Sept. 13. I’m not sure if these songs are part of a 7-inch release, maybe an EP or other upcoming record? Time will tell. Or I guess I can just ask them when they play O’Leaversfest Saturday night.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New Cursive single; new Saddle Creek hip-hop single, Album of the Month features Mynabirds; Kristin Hersh Electric Trio tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:50 pm September 12, 2019

Kristin Hersh Electric Trio plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some tidbits that have been hanging out in my in-box:

Cursive released a new single today, the song “Barricades.” This isn’t on their most recent album, Vitriola. Rather, it apparently is just a straight-up single released just in time for their late summer/fall tour (that brings them to O’Leaver’s a week from Saturday, Sept. 21 (O’Leaversfest)). Check it below.

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Saddle Creek not only announced the next single in their Document series, but the label is now launching an Album of the Month.

First, the single — it’s by Richmond, Virginia, artist McKinley Dixon, entitled “Anansi, Anansi” b/w “Wit These.” I think this is the first hip-hop release by Saddle Creek (that I can remember). Check out the track below and order the single here.

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Also new from Saddle Creek is the launch of an Album of the Month feature, which “will spotlight one album each month from the SC catalog, extend exclusive offers on these albums, and hopefully help you find a favorite album you just might not have discovered yet.”

The kick-off album is The Mynabirds’s 2012 LP Generals. Saddle Creek is offering an exclusive Generals bundle as well as sale prices on the standard vinyl, CD and digital formats.

To celebrate, the original touring band for the album is getting back together for a small tour that includes a night at Reverb Lounge Sept. 25.

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Rest in Peace Daniel Johnston, who passed away yesterday after suffering a fatal heart attack. He was 58. Way back in 2008 Johnston played with Reagan and the Ray Guns as his backing band at The Slowdown, a band included Reagan Roeder, Kyle Harvey, Mike Friedman and drummer Scott “Zip” Zimmerman. It was a rather unique performance that ended with the audience serenading an absent Johnston with a sing-along rendition of “Devil Town.” Here’s hoping he’s singing it up in Angel Town…

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Tonight at Slowdown Jr., Kristin Hersh Electric Trio headlines. Hersh’s latest album is 2018’s Possible Dust Clouds (Fire Records). Joining the band is opener Fred Abong (Throwing Muses, Belly). $18, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Help Janet Weiss (Sleater-Kinney); New Benny Leather; New Oquoa drops Sept. 22; Cursive makes PunkNews list…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:42 pm August 27, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here are a few news bits on a quiet Tuesday…

Janet Weiss, the former drummer to Sleater-Kinney as well as a handful of other notable bands, was in a car accident in Portland Aug. 10. The damage was two broken legs and a broken collarbone. Docs say she’ll be OK, but she’ll be in a wheelchair for three months while mending. Her sister, Julie, set up a gofundme page to help raise money to cover medical expenses and other costs while she’s on the mend. You can donate right here.

I know Weiss isn’t a local, but I’ve loved all the projects she’s been involved in, not the least of which includes Bright Eyes.

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A hot new track by a hot new act has been brought to my attention. The act is named Benny Leather and includes members from Omaha and Belgium. Your guess is as good as mine who that Omaha member is (actually, it probably isn’t, since I know but I ain’t telling). Look for the full album release Oct. 25, and then all will be revealed…

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Oquoa, Timesquares (2019, self-release)

Omaha indie band Oquoa will release its new album, Timesquares, Sept. 22. The album what produced by the band and engineered by Matt Carroll of See Through Dresses. The band will tour with Cursive throughout September. BTW, the album release show Sept. 22 will be at O’Leaver’s as part of O’Leaversfest Day 3 BBQ.

And I’m told that show will be a “going away party” for one of the band members who is moving to Seattle…

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Speaking of Cursive…

Punknews.org published their list of the top 100 albums of 2000-2009, and making the cut was Cursive’s The Ugly Organ. Released by Saddle Creek Records in 2003, the album came in at No. 14. “I can’t think of an album aside from The Ugly Organ that actually gets self reflexive and explores the effect that emo songs have on the people they’re written about, let alone their effect on the person writing them,” said PunkNews. “It’s that self-reflection, which runs through the entire album, that makes The Ugly Organ a standout in Cursive’s already strong catalogue.”

In case you were wondering, The Lawrence Arms’ Oh! Calcutta was No. 1.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Cursive at Winchester Bar & Grill; awakebutstillinbed, Pity Party tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm May 29, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

O’Leaver’s has become (over the course of, what, a decade?) one of the best places to see live music in Omaha. It’s a stop for national touring indie bands and a welcome stage for the best local original live acts in Omaha. It’s “The Club,” a comfortable place to hang, a great place to drink.

But there’s a problem with O’Leaver’s when it comes to live music. On nights when the band is really packing them in, you’re probably not going to be able to see a damn thing. Because O’Leaver’s doesn’t have a real stage. Bands play on a cleared off space in the back of the room. So when there’s a crowd standing in front of the band, the only thing you’re likely to see is the back of a lot of unwashed heads of hair.

There are a few strategic places in the club that offer a glimpse of the band, if you’ve staked out your spot while they were humping in their gear between sets. If not, you better be standing right on top of the band. That’s the way it’s always been at O’Leaver’s, and because of the physical limitations of the room, that’s the way it’ll always be — there’s no way to build an elevated stage — the ceiling’s too low.

When we first walked into a sold-out and packed Winchester Bar & Grill Saturday night, the venue was reminiscent of O’Leaver’s in a number of ways. It’s a comfortable hole-in-the-wall hang-out that’s probably looked the way it does for a few decades. Like O’Leaver’s, there’s volleyball courts, this time located outside the back of the bar, which opens into an inviting patio with picnic benches and a small bar of its own, no doubt a smoker’s paradise. Unlike O’Leaver’s (for now) Winchester has a kitchen which makes a mighty fine cheeseburger.

But the thing that’s most similar to O’Leaver’s was the sight-line problems. Having been there for lunch when only a few folks were noshing sandwiches sitting in the booths, I thought Winchester had a leg up on O’Leaver’s because it has a fixed stage back in the corner. But as I quickly realized Saturday night, that stage wasn’t elevated enough. The band could be heard but, alas, could not be seen.

When Cursive was on stage I wasn’t even sure the entire band was up there. I could hear Megan Siebe’s cello but couldn’t see it. Where was drummer Pat Oakes? There were moments when frontman Tim Kasher’s head appeared between the spaces of bodies, and bassist Matt Maginn and guitarist Ted Stevens were playing so far off to the sides at times they could be seen, too. But see the whole band at once? Not Saturday night, not unless you got there early and were standing right in front of them.

It’s a problem easy to remedy — just raise the stage a foot, or two. Unlike O’Leaver’s, there’s plenty of head space. No doubt it’s not a problem on karaoke nights or when there’s a cover band playing, but if they ever have another sold-out show like Saturday hight, they’re in trouble.

The venue’s PA/sound system was serviceable. The room’s acoustics are what they are — i.e., this is no Waiting Room/Reverb set-up, but it was all they needed Saturday night. Of note — I could hear the cello throughout the set. I remember back in the old Gretta days when she might as well have been playing a cardboard cello for as much as it could be heard over the rest of the band.

Kasher sounded right at home, because he was at home — he’s an owner of Winchester as part of a consortium of partners that include Stevens and Maginn and host of Omaha rock glitterati. He looked relaxed and having fun, or maybe it was due to the fact it was the last night of a long tour.

The band opened with “Sierra” and played through a set of old favorites (“The Radiator Hums,” “Dorothy at Forty” “From the Hips” among the highlights) as well as songs off Vitriola, their latest release, including rousing versions of “It’s Gonna Hurt” and “Free to Be or Not to Be You and Me.” The crowd hooted and hollered after every song.

It was a sort of break-in performance for Winchester at least from a big show perspective, and despite the challenges of actually seeing the band, was a good time. As great as the music was, the best part for me was hanging out on the patio and catching up with old friends over beers (one drawback — no Rolling Rock. How is that even possible?).

During a recent interview with Kasher, Tim said he’d love to see Winchester evolve into another viable tour stop for original live music, just like O’Leaver’s. I’d love to see that happen, too. The club’s size (capacity has to be around 300?) makes it a great alternative to O’leaver’s when Craig D. has an opportunity to book a band with a larger following. They just need to jack up that stage a couple feet higher…

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Awakebutstillinbed (ABSIB) is singer/guitarist Shannon Taylor and her band playing indie rock that glides between emo and folk but, in the end, is emo. She can scream with the best of them. Reminds me of the ’00s. From San Jose. On Tiny Engines Records. Opening act Pity Party is Oakland emo. Living Conditions is Omaha screamo. All three play tonight at Reverb Lounge. $10, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Faint, Choir Boy at The Waiting Room; T.S.O.L. tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:42 pm May 28, 2019

The Faint at The Waiting Room, May 24, 2019.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

We got to The Waiting Room at around 9:15 Friday night, halfway through Choir Boy’s set. The person sitting next to me said it doesn’t sound like that voice should be coming out of the lead guy’s body. I said he sounds like Rick Astley. And their music also sounded like it came from the same decade that produced Astley — the era of Simply Red and Spandau Ballet and Simple Minds and Paul Young. MTV music. Choir Boy sounded like the soundtrack to a John Hughes film, but not necessarily one of his better ones.

I was reminded how much I heard this stuff in the early ’80s when I’d just graduated from high school and was going to places like The Depot and The Warehouse in Council Bluffs/Carter Lake, places where people listened and danced to this style of music, met people, went home with people. It was a time long, long before the internet and texting, when you actually had to walk up to someone and talk to them and ask them to dance. I wasn’t very good at that. But I had fun anyway, partially because of music like this.

I’m surprised an act like Choir Boy, a Team Love band playing ’80s-style New Romantic synth-pop, has a following among today’s youngsters. Or maybe they don’t. After all, The Faint’s biggest hits came out about 20 years ago, and Friday night’s audience reflected this — an older crowd for sure.

Todd and the boys came on just after 10 and ripped right into their set with their usual fervor.

I was reminded of another Faint concert at The Waiting Room about a decade ago in what was one of the venue’s “break in” concerts. Back then The Waiting Room was sort of two rooms — a stage room (where the stage is now) separated by pseudo walls that created a sort of separate room where the bar is located. The partial enclosures made the stage room louder, or so it seemed. That show was a sell out, and I spent it standing on a ledge that ran along the load-in ramp that lifted me above the throng. I watched the humanity down below bounce like butter on a hot skillet and felt every deep-bass throb in my bones.

And while Friday’s performance was as good as that one 10 years ago, the energy wasn’t as intense as those early Faint shows. We watched from behind the crowd along that soundboard wall that backs into the bar area. One super-tall guy, he must have been seven feet tall, stood in the center of the crowd and threw his arms in the air like an alien life form. He was the most animated of the mob that indeed bounced when they recognized a hit (“Worked Up So Sexual,” “Your Retro Career Melted,” etc.).

The set list for shows leading up to this one included maybe one song from the new album. But the band played at least three off the new one Friday night, including leading off their encore with “Child Asleep” — for my money, one of the best songs they’ve ever written. In fact, Egowerk sits right up there with The Faint’s best and the new songs blended in well with the rest of the set.

You have to ask yourself if they even need to produce new music with their rep as one of indie’s best full-tilt party bands. Egowerk isn’t what brought the crowd Friday night. And yet, how satisfying would it be for the band to just keep on playing the same songs over and over? Egowerk adds some new life into an already lively body of work. It’s not an evolution, but it continues their journey in the same dance-punk direction.

Anyway, the moment that everyone waits for always happens during the encore — “Glass Danse” — when the whole crowd erupts, and Friday night was no exception. The floor became a trampoline, just like in the good ol’ days. I have no doubt that a large portion of Friday night’s crowd came back for Saturday night’s encore.

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Because this is running long (and because I don’t haven’t finished writing it yet) I’ll publish the Cursive (and Winchester) review tomorrow.

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Tonight, Alternative Tentacles/Enigma recording artist T.S.O.L. plays at Lookout Lounge. They headline a night of punk that includes R.A.F., Hand Painted Police Car and The Scabby Ghouls. $15, 8 p.m. Wear your Docs.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Faint weekend (w/Closeness and Choir Boy); Cursive Saturday (Sold Out); Sebadoh, Flower Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:27 am May 24, 2019

The Faint at the 2017 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 19, 2017. The band is playing at The Waiting Room tonight and tomorrow night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Holy smokes, it’s an indie rock weekend!

It starts tonight at The Waiting Room where The Faint begin a two-night tour of duty. The band is on the road supporting Egowerk, the new release and a return to Saddle Creek Records.

Expect a mostly retrospective set, if the set list from the May 18 show in Seattle is any indication, where they played only one song off the new album? That can’t be right, can it? I guess we’ll find out tonight and tomorrow night.

I’m assuming Closeness will open the show for what will likely be the last time they play in Omaha for a long while due to Todd and Orenda Fink moving out west a few months ago. DAIS Recording artist Choir Boy has the center slot. What I’ve heard off their last album Passive with Desire, sounds like laid-back, synth-driven Bryan Ferry.

Saturday night’s Faint show, also at The Waiting Room, has the same line-up. Tickets are still available for both shows for $25. Start time is 8 p.m.

Also happening tonight, Chase the Ghost plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with La Te Da and Jeremy Mercy. No price shown, but probably $5 and it probably starts at 10 p.m.

That brings us to Saturday and Cursive at Winchester Bar & Grill. You read my interview with Tim Kasher yesterday (and if you didn’t, go do it now). Here’s the set list from their May 20 show in Richmond. Seems like I remember hearing capacity at Winchester is north of 200. The venue is about twice the size of O’Leaver’s, but it’s still pretty small for a gig like this. Especially with openers mewithoutYou and The Appleseed Cast. This is the last gig on this tour, so expect fireworks.

Believe it or not, $22 tickets are still available. THIS ONE”S sold out. Don’t sleep on this one. Start time is 8 p.m.

O’Leaver’s will be limping along Saturday night with Wichita power-pop band Kill Vargas, Seymour and Garst. $5, 8 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night Sebadoh returns to Reverb Lounge. Who remembers when the band played the room’s grand opening? It was a comedy of errors that the band suffered through with good humor. In addition to a battery of sound issues, frontman Lou Barlow was suffering a painful toothache. Still, it was a pretty good set.

Opening is NYC punk band Flower (Simple Machines Records). Their bio: “Flower is a post-punk noise/pop band from NYC formed in 1986 featuring later members of Versus, French, and Cell. Flower was a staple of the NYC underground scene carved out by Sonic Youth, Live Skull, Swans, etc, utilizing the noise element of the aforementioned artists to deepen the textures of more classically oriented pop/rock songs. They continue to perform and record today.

$25, 8 p.m. Tickets are still available.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you at the clubs.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Lazy-i Interview: Cursive’s Tim Kasher talks Winchester, Vitriola, 15 Passenger and (most importantly) volleyball…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:28 pm May 23, 2019

Cursive, from left, are Ted Stevens, Patrick Newbery, Matt Maginn, Tim Kasher, Clint Schnase and Megan Siebe. Photo by Tony Bonacci.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When Cursive takes the stage at Winchester Bar, the ramshackle home of volleyball and karaoke recently purchased by a consortium that includes members of the band, you’ll see some old and new faces.

The band’s core — frontman Tim Kasher, guitarist Ted Stevens and bass player Matt Maginn — will be joined by new permanent members keyboardist Patrick Newbery and cellist Megan Siebe. Drummer Pat Oakes will be sitting in for returning member, drummer Clint Schnase.

It’s a big group that creates a big sound on the band’s new album, Vitriola, recorded at ARC Studios with wizard knob turner Mike Mogis. To my ears, it’s a return to the classic bash-rock style Cursive became known for beginning in the late ’90s on its many Saddle Creek Records releases. 

My simplistic (and there’s no one more simplistic than I) take on the record’s theme 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. 

During a phone interview that took place a few weeks ago, Kasher talks about the new album, the band’s new record label, 15 Passenger (which they own and operate), working again with Schnase and buying yet another volleyball bar to run alongside The Club called O’Leaver’s.

Tell me about Winchester? Why did you buy it? What are your plans? What do you feel about playing there?

Kasher: Winchester is a bar that went up for sale a handful of years ago and the fellas that are in this group business that we have saw it as an opportunity. And Chris Machmuller (of Ladyfinger fame, who also runs O’Leaver’s) also has been wanting a kitchen for some time, and that has a restaurant as part of it. O’Leaver’s is also going to be utilizing its kitchen soon. But those are the reasons, I mean, the volleyball, essentially.  They know how that works, so they thought they’d go for it. I like the spot myself. I guess we all liked it, you know?

It is bigger. It’s got a stage, it’s got good cheeseburgers and you’re cornering the market on volleyball. You guys are becoming the volleyball kings.

Yeah, it’s funny, we have definitely become the volleyball people. And it’s really not that far out of the way. It’s just kind of relative to what we understand and which direction we go in Omaha.

So, you’re in Chicago, right?

No. I’m in L.A.

So, you’re in L.A. and they call you and say ‘Hey, we’re thinking about buying Winchester. What do you think?’ Because it couldn’t have been your idea, right?

No. It was not. The whole process really took a while. I guess it is over a year ago now, and we just kind of talked about it and considered it. But I only offer as much input as is necessary, only if there is any major red flags, but I don’t think that has ever come up for me. I’m just kind of happy to let them do what they do.

Alright, so tell me about the album. Everyone says it is this angry album, but I think it’s just delightful. I like ‘Remorse,’ which is my favorite Cursive song since ‘From the Hips.’ 

Thanks. That’s actually a song that Patrick Newbery brought in. This is the first time that we more completely wrote with Patrick. He worked on I am Gemini but it was a little bit after the fact. He kind of came in and rounded the edges and put organs and different things on. But this time he wrote from the start and I encouraged him to bring songs in, too, and that was one of the things he had lying around. So I put some melody and vocals on it and it’s a nice piece.

Yeah I assume you’re playing that live?

No. We actually haven’t been.

What?

Perhaps we should.

Why not?

I don’t know, I guess for us it felt like more of the appropriate somber deep cut for the album. 

You’ve really analyzed this record more than any of the others I think. It’s amazing the stuff you’ve said about it in interviews. Does that much thought go into it? I mean it seems no darker than the other records. 

Sometimes it just has to do with what the press says, you know? Prior to being released I kind of scratched my head and I’m not sure what to think of it and I wonder what others think of it. Others kind of enlightened me to what their impression is and what their perception of it is, so then I just kind of start going along. So apparently this one came off as a lot darker and heavier than what, though, I’m not sure. Because I agree with you, every Cursive record is pretty heavy, I guess. Happy Hollow was probably in a little bit of a different direction, but…

It sounds like you’re getting older to me, that’s all. You know. In the same way I’m getting older, too. You’re getting more pissed at stuff.

Yes, that’s true.

So, tell me how it’s going in terms of putting this out yourselves versus Saddle Creek Records? I talked to (Saddle Creek label chief) Robb Nansel and he said ‘I think they just wanted to do it themselves. I’m not sure why they want to do it themselves, because it’s such a pain in the neck, etc.’ Has it been difficult doing the label for you guys? Is it more work than you thought is was going to be? 

No, I don’t really think there’s been much of a problem. Also Saddle Creek has a lot of bands. They have a lot more moving pieces as a result of that. We are very boutique, as you can tell. It might be a better question for Matt and Ted, but it’s been actually pretty enjoyable and we do have a distributor and stuff, too. It’s not like every role has been thrown in our laps.

Part of the joy of life is doing things yourself and running your own business. The bars are kind of like that as well. It’s a challenge, and I think everybody kind of likes the challenge.

Is it more financially satisfying?

You know, probably not. But that wasn’t part of it. Those were the conversations we had with Robb before we ever made the decision.

Money really wasn’t the driver?

No, we were always clear about that. Money is not a factor at all because we actually know that money won’t be a factor. There’s not some big slice that we’re getting, you know? It’s a modest business.

So it’s about controlling the product then?

Yeah, yeah. And feeling good about that and representing ourselves.

Why hasn’t Cursive issued a Greatest Hits album? Or a live album, you know? Conor’s done a live record, The Faint did Capsule (a retrospective). When are you guys going to do your Greatest Hits collection?

We never talk about it. It’s not a terrible idea.

Well, it brings up the question if whether they’re even relevant in an era of streaming?

True. I mean really, it’s just almost like making a play list. I think we’ve already done that. We still have an interest in documenting what we do live, and that’s still a conversation we throw around. We still haven’t pulled the trigger on that. But that would probably be our version of a “best of” record.

Like… Cursive Live at Oleaver’s, maybe?

Absolutely.

So where does the band live these days?

Actually everybody is here in Omaha. Except for me.

What’s it like having Clint Schnase back in the band?

It’s a blast.

How did that come about?

It was just great timing. Everything clicked together really well. As 15 Passenger, Matt, Ted and I saw it as a means to slowly re-release our catalog under the same umbrella. But as we would have those conversations it was always just kind of fun to play around and say, ‘Jeez, we could really do what we want, we don’t have to set any perimeters.’ And the obvious conclusion to that would be, ‘I guess if there’s anything we were to release, it would probably be a new Cursive record.’ So we asked ourselves, ‘Are we doing another Cursive record?‘ Because we sincerely never know. Every record we do, we never really talk about another one.

So doing 15 Passenger kind of helped stimulate us, made us curious and gave us something to work toward. It would be kind of cool to release another Cursive record on our own label. So that idea was very slowly marinating between us, and then out of the blue Clint reached out and (said), ‘If you guys ever want to do a record again, I’d love to.’ And so hearing that we were like ‘Actually, we’ve been talking about doing another record, so if you wanted to then that’s perfect.’ Once he reached out to us, we were just like ‘Oh my gosh, we’ve got to do it.’

I assumed he kind of pulled away for personal or possibly family stuff and now he must have some time to do this.

I probably shouldn’t speak on his behalf, but I think that’s quite fair to say that he wanted to kind of settle down more and start a family. And I think for him his daughter is like a young lady now, so I think he felt that he could dedicate a little more time. But I don’t think he would ever like to do the heavy tour circuit again like we used to do. (Pat Oakes is the band’s tour drummer and will be playing the Winchester show). Even when we were young and we were doing that, it really wasn’t his bag. And Clint was always very vocal about that.

He’s just a crazy drummer. I mean he’s one of my favorites, so muscular and aggressive. 

For me it really shines through. I’ve loved the other drummers we’ve played with, they’re just amazing. But the actual Cursive drummer is Clint. That’s the sound of what we are and what we do, you know?

How’s Megan enjoying being part of the band? She’s kind of been touring with you for years before this anyway, right?

Yeah, Megan and I have become really close touring partners. She does solo tours as well now and it’s great. We get along great. We’re great friends and I think she’s enjoying herself.

So tell me about what’s next. What are you guys working on after this tour is done?

Well, I kind of had to ask myself that. I wasn’t really sure. I always want to keep moving forward, writing stuff. So after some consideration of what it is I do in this life, I just started writing songs again. So I started working on another solo record that I’ll hopefully put out next year. I’ll see how it goes.  And then, of course, I’ll always have scripts. I’m having a string of good luck right now, so I’m hoping to give that a shot this summer.

So another movie possibly (Kasher wrote and directed 2017 feature film No Resolution)?

Yeah. But I don’t want to jinx it. I’ve had those things fall through so many times in my life, but I’m trying to stay on track to shoot it this summer.

What about the label? There’s rumors about another band joining the label.

Yeah, we have two things and maybe a third thing. I don’t think it’s stuff I can talk about yet, because it’s another thing that, if it falls through, that’s like… And then there’s a secret announcement that we are going to do for one of them, too, and who knows?

So, anything else? Anything else going on that you want to mention?

We’re excited about doing Winchester. Excited for people come out and see it. I imagine a lot of people probably haven’t yet.

Cursive plays with mewithoutYou and The Appleseed Cast Saturday, May 25, at Winchester Bar & Grill, 7002 Q Tickets are $22, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to winchesteromaha.com.

Lazy-i

#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.

 

Lazy-i

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.

Lazy-i