Live at O’Leaver’s: Son, Ambulance, Deleted Scenes, more; Gloom Balloon, Christopher the Conquered tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:18 pm August 20, 2015
Deleted Scenes are among the artists newly featured at Live at O'Leaver's.

Deleted Scenes are among the artists newly featured at Live at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Live at O’Leaver’s released its next wave of recordings of bands performing live on the grand stage at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Check them out below or at the website. I know the tapes were rolling when Speedy Ortiz played Saturday and when Criteria headlined the site’s launch party. Will we be seeing / hearing those files soon? I can’t wait.

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Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Gloom Balloon and Christopher the Conquered. Gloom Balloon, as you may know, is the solo project from Patrick Tape Fleming of The Poison Control Center. Christopher the Conquered just got “boosted” by Ryan Adams (as reported in Billboard). If that wasn’t enough, M34N STR33T opens the show. $10, 8 p.m.

Also tonight Max Holmquist headlines at O’Leaver’s with Extravision and Justin Ready & The Echo Prairie. $5, 9:30 p.m.

If that wasn’t enough, Timecat plays at Lookout Lounge with Kitsch, Rational Anthem and The Ridgways. $7, 9:30 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Deleted Scenes, Talking Mountain; Mitch Gettman CD release show tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:33 pm May 2, 2014
Deleted Scenes at Slowdown Jr., May 1, 2014.

Deleted Scenes at Slowdown Jr., May 1, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The smoke billowing out vents on the outside of The Slowdown last night was a good indication that Talking Mountain had already taken the stage. Sure enough, upon walking into the club you’d think the place was on fire, except the smoke didn’t smell like smoke, it smelled like something strangely chemical-y.

Talking Mountain indeed likes its smoke machine. The nozzle belched out the manicured soot like a volcano throughout their set. They also like their lights and lasers. Their latest production involves a 3D laser projected on a scrim that hangs from the front of the stage like a mosquito net. In addition to a cascade of colorful laser-pointer style effects similar to what I remember seeing at a Kansas concert circa 1977 a second projector beamed very cool moving images onto the scrim — skulls, hands, other stuff. Top it off with high-density smoke and you’ve got a multi-media spectacle concocted by equipment that would fit in your trunk.

Here’s the thing — while the images were neat and all, Talking Mountain never sounded better. Performing as a duo, the electronic-fueled music is as gorgeous and dense as the visual effects and could easily stand on its own (and I could do without the stinky smoke (I don’t care if it’s FDA approved, it can’t be healthy breathing that stuff in such mass quantities)).

The only special effects Deleted Scenes brought with them was frontman Dan Scheuerman, who practically made out with former Hear Nebraska Managing Editor Michael Todd during the last song of their set.

While their new album is solid by itself, the music takes on new life performed live. Scheuerman’s vocals are rougher and more organic than on the rather smoothed-over, lush recordings. The band made those edges even sharper, dancing along the edge of every syncopated peak and valley. Favorite moment was the performance of my favorite track off the new record, “House of Dust,” a song that staggers atop a brutal guitar riff that chops like the finest lumberjack.

The other highlight, of course, was that closing number, “You Get to Say Whatever You Want,” when Scheuerman walked into the crowd and touched foreheads with a couple innocent bystanders, performing a mortifying rock ‘n’ roll mind meld. Ah, Michael, you’re a good sport. I don’t know what I would have done…

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Looking at the calendar, only one show stands out for the entire weekend — the Mitch Gettman CD release show tonight at The Waiting Room.

Gettman’s new album, Stop Living Like It’s the End of the World, is a real surprise. I’ll be brutally honest and tell you I haven’t liked anything Gettman’s done in the past — it all sounded too by-the-numbers and homogenized. Not this time.

After a pretty acoustic intro, the album launches with “Stay a Little Longer,” where Gettman channels bands like Toad the Wet Sprocket, Soul Asylum and Gin Blossoms, creating a style of indie/alt singer-songwriter acoustic rock that we all remember from the ’90s. “Best Years of My Life” follows suit. Janglepop? Yeah.

On the other hand, “Pressure from the Public” feels like modernized ’70s rock a la Matthew Sweet. At times Gettman has a vocal affectation that recalls British psych-rock balladeer Donovan. That lilt is especially pronounced on the slower chamber-pop numbers like “She Wants to Break Your Heart” and “In the Shower.” The strings on “Ant Farm” are pure FM Gold. In fact the whole record lies beneath a layer of stereophonic nostalgia that, while dated, is never less than listenable (and well done).

As a whole, on this new record Gettman does little more than turn already well-toiled soil, but he does it with an exquisite plow. Worth checking out.

Opening Gettman’s CD release show is Müshmouth & Anne Frankenstein. $8, 9 p.m.

And… that’s it for shows. Remember, tonight is Benson First Friday, so you might be hard-pressed to find parking in Omaha’s hottest booze district.

Did I miss anything? Put it in the comments section. Have a good 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Deleted Scenes, Talking Mountain, See Through Dresses, Twinsmith today and tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: — @ 12:59 pm May 1, 2014
Deleted Scenes plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight.

Deleted Scenes plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Slowdown is calling Deleted Scenes, which plays their Jr. room tonight, a “DC band.” I guess they are, though as it’s been reported countless times (including in my column), frontman Dan Scheuerman now resides with his wife and child right here in Omaha. Does that make Deleted Scenes an Omaha band? In my book it does, but I’m always stretching for the home team.

Last month the band released its latest album, Lithium Burn, on Park the Van Records. Proof of the Nebraska curse, the record got a tepid 6.5 rating from Pitchfork, which concluded its review with this:

“While Lithium Burn is an easy album to empathize with, you wish it’d do more to make you root for the band; the more important difference between this and The Meadowlands is how Deleted Scenes can’t manage enough moments where their station of being overlooked becomes an injustice to the listener rather than an understandable reflection of a solid, unfashionable indie rock band that just never really caught a break.”

That’s a long sentence.

My take isn’t so severe. I think the record’s rhythms — specifically drummer Ricardo Lagomasino’s work on heavier tracks like “Caught in the Brights,” alone are worth the price of admission, and I can’t wait to see him in action tonight.

There’s an unhinged weirdness to songs like “Stutter,” a rise-and-drop calliope of sounds and snarls, one assumes Scheuerman was in full clown costume when he sang his part in the studio. The art rock style continues on opening anthem “Haircuts Uniform,” whose rhythms trip along all stutter-step like a drunk running from the cops.

In a series of back and forths, I mentioned to Scheuerman that at times DS reminded me of latter-day XTC, which he said he’d heard before.

What I didn’t tell him was at other times, like on more serene tracks like “Let’s Not Try to Fix Everything” and “Tell Me a Secret” and “House of Dust,” DS reminded me of Alan Parsons Project thanks to  Scheuerman’s dreamy vocals. I’m not sure how he’d take that comment, though it was meant as a compliment.

Those extremes in comparisons are appropriate for a record that enjoys extreme swings in styles, from arty gymnastics to pure pop. This is an album that demands your attention, and by that I mean you must pay attention when you’re listening because if you don’t, the music has a way of sliding into the background of whatever you’re doing. I’ve been casually listening to Lithium Burn for a month and I’m still not quite sure what the songs are about, but I like it.

The details: Deleted Scenes plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight with Talking Mountain and Millions of Boys. $8, 9 p.m.

Get down to the Slowdown complex early, specifically to Urban Outfitters (where I buy all my sweaters) for the store’s First Thursday concert event, co-sponsored by Hear Nebraska. The event boasts free beer, free pizza and best of all, free music from See Through Dresses and Twinsmith. The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. and is free.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The final SXSW recap (in The Reader); Saddle Creek consortium re-ups with ADA; Alex McManus does Hitchcock, Conchance insurance tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:56 pm March 20, 2014
Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The final word on this year’s South By Southwest conference/festival in this week’s issue of The Reader. It includes summaries of my favorite performances from Coachwhips, Protomartyr, Future Islands, Twinsmith, Eros and the Eschaton, Destruction Unit, Eagulls, Mark Kozelek and more. Check it out in the printed edition, which also includes a ton o’ pics by yours truly. You can also read it online at thereader.com right here.

The Reader‘s coverage also includes Chris Aponick’s take on SXSW’s sights, sounds and smells (Over the course of the week, I smelled dope smoke more often than cigarette smoke. Have they legalized it in Austin already?). Chris spent a lot of time at Beerland (as he always does), and also gives his perspective on Trust, Perfume Genius, Coachwhips, Charli XCX, Perfect Pussy, Burger Records and more. It’s online here.

Over the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of SXSW dissing, mostly by people who have never been there. Fine. I get that you don’t need to take a bite out of a shit sandwich to know it tastes bad (probably). And anyone who tells you SXSW is anything more than an industry boondoggle is feeding you some of the above. That said, if you go to SXSW simply to listen to music, you’d have to try pretty hard not to have fun.

As for performers/bands, well, my heart goes out to them. It’s expensive and it’s a hassle — there’s nothing like seeing a very tired-looking band hump gear through the 6th Street chaos. And then wonder if the cost/hassle was worth it. Most bands I’ve interviewed who have gone to SXSW told me nothing ever came of their performance. I think if you’re only playing once during the festival, you’ll be overlooked. The bands that make the biggest mark — that get noticed — play at least eight times during the week. Fans/journalists/industry gimps are bound to notice your name when it shows up over and over on the SXSW master schedule — and then wonder “Who the hell are these guys?” But if you’re in a brand new band, the chances of getting multiple showcases/sets during SXSW are slim and none.

Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes posted an honest perspective at Hear Nebraska that’s worth your attention (read it here). His summary, “..only a statistically insignificant percentage of bands who play SXSW get discovered, and for the rest, it’s just a good excuse to hang out and enjoy a little bit of springtime before anyone else.” No doubt.

Now that should be the last word on SXSW 2014…

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Super-indie consortium Independent Distribution Cooperative (IDC), which consists of Saddle Creek Records, Merge, Beggers, Domino and Secretly Canadian, resigned a physical distribution deal with Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), according to this Billboard.com article.

ADA is an arm of Warner Music Group. According to the article, “As part of the deal, ADA will continue to provide physical distribution services to major brick-and-mortar chain accounts for the consortium of labels and their distributed labels too. ADA will also sell select indie accounts on a non-exclusive basis, meaning that the labels can also sell directly to indie accounts too.

The rather convoluted article also mentions that IDC has negotiated for digital distribution, but isn’t clear what that means for the labels. The take-away for me is that these indies continue to work together to keep their product stocked in your local record stores. Wonder what they could accomplish if all five labels merged into one major label?

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Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1927 film The Ring featuring live music by Alex McManus (The Bruces), Aaron Markley and Daniel Ocanto. Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. If you haven’t been to one of these, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Also tonight, Conchance and Rock Paper Dynamite perform at the Rock Enroll showcase at The Slowdown. The free event will provide information about how to get health insurance coverage as the March 31 deadline looms. Music 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Mynabirds in the works; Deleted Scenes’ video stars Screech; The Kickback, Animal Eyes tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:51 pm March 4, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Saddle Creek Records Update hit the net this morning. Most notable (to me, anyway) was news that The Mynabirds are working on a followup to 2012’s Generals. Is the fact that the label is trumpeting this news an indication that the finished product will be released by Saddle Creek? Time will tell.

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I wrote about Deleted Scenes in my column this week (online Thursday), and noticed that the band released a video from its upcoming album, Lithium Burn, that features Saved by the Bell actor Dustin Diamond a.k.a. Screech. The new album drops April 15 on Park the Van Records, and it’s pretty awesome. Interesting fact: Deleted Scenes’ frontman Dan Scheuerman lives right here in Omaha. More about that in the column…

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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s the return of Chicago band The Kickback with Portland’s Animal Eyes (read about them here at Hear Nebraska). $5, 9:30 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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