Maha Music Festival schedule announced; Dereck Higgins, Todd Grant tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:31 pm July 19, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The folks at the Maha Music Festival today announced the schedule for its Aug. 17-18 Festival at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village.

The Friday night gig — a first for Maha, which will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary — is the softer (and cheaper — $35 GA) of the two nights, and starts at 6 p.m.

6 p.m. – Clarence Tilton
6:30 – State Disco
7:20 – Hurray for the Riff Raff
8:15 – Benjamin Booker
9:10 – ZZ Ward
10:30 – TV on the Radio

The Saturday schedule is stacked, and starts at 12:30 p.m. and costs $70 for GA tix.

12:30 p.m. – The Dilla Kids
1:15 – David Nance Band
2 – U.S. Girls
3 – Mesonjixx + Omaha Girls Rock
4:15 – Hop Along
5:30 – Ravyn Lenae
6:30 – Tune-Yards
7:45 – The Kills
9 – Father John Misty
10:30 – Weezer

You can buy a two-day festival pass for $95 and save $10. Prices go up by about $10 per ticket DOS. If you buy your pass by midnight Friday you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free VIP upgrade (we’re talking free pizza and air conditioned potties — what more could you ask for?).

* * *

Dereck Higgins’ monthly residency continues tonight at The Down Under Lounge. Higgins will be playing songs from his just-released album The World Is Burning. Joining him is singer/songwriter Todd Grant, formerly of the band Compost.

For some background on Grant, here’s a 2005 interview/feature/column about the man behind the 1994 album Strangled Soul. Needless to say, a lot has happened to Grant since that column was published.

The show starts at 9:30 p.m., and is free.

* * *

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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Dereck Higgins’ ‘The World is Burning’ tracks stretch back to Digital Sex days…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 9, 2018

Dereck Higgins’ The World Is Burning includes tracks that date back to his Digital Sex days.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins has played in dozens of bands over the past 30+ years, but most notably was a member of seminal ’80s band Digital Sex. Higgins is still in at least a half dozen bands, including Son, Ambulance, Skuddar and RAF, not to mention his  solo work.

Last week a new collection of songs and recordings written and performed by Higgins that date back to his Digital Sex days was released by Randy LeMasters, a Pittsburgh-based music entrepreneur who released the last Digital Sex compilation Essence and Rarities back in ’94 as well as a 2012 collection of rarities by The Millions called Poison Fish.

“Randy is a super fan of my music, starting with his discovery of Digital Sex,” Higgins said. “When he traveled to Omaha in 2000 to meet me and see DS play we visited at my house. I played some of the stuff I recorded at home for my own sanity and enjoyment. He begged me to have copies.”

Over the years Higgins sent LeMasters CDs of recordings, which he said were never intended for public consumption. “A few years ago Randy approached me with the idea of releasing some of his favorites of the hundreds of songs I had sent him,” Higgins said. “I was reluctant at first but agreed.”

Titled The World Is Burning, the CD is limited to 300, of which about 100 already have been sold via Higgins’ website, which is the only place you can buy them locally. “Put simply, if you actually like the music of Digital Sex you will like this,” Higgins said. “Some music is as old as 1984, (with the) most recent likely from the ’90s. I wrote the original music and played all of the instruments on the home recordings, the same recordings from which Digital Sex sprang from — drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and vocals.”

Higgins said the title track reflects our current national state of affairs. “…Things have only gotten worse since I wrote the song,” he said. “It’s a totally topical song about the state of the world.”

You’ll get a chance to hear Higgins perform songs off the new album live at The Down Under Lounge July 19 as part of his residency at the club. The night also will include a performance by Todd Grant of the band Compost whose solo album, 1994’s Strangled Soul, is one of my faves.

* * *

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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Nate Krenkel on piracy, streaming (from 2015); Dereck Higgins, Chemicals tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 3:50 pm January 11, 2018

Chemicals performing at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016. The band plays tonight at The Down Under.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I guess consider this video a Throwback Thursday since it went online way back in 2015. I just discovered it this morning when I was trying to remember whether Nate Krenkel was the guy who ran Team Love Records — he is. He’s also the guy, along with Gabe Gonzalez, who runs NAG Management. They’ve represented Conor Oberst’s projects since back in the day. NAG also works with Mega Bog, who opens for Destroyer at The Waiting Room Feb. 4.

Anyway, doing my Googling, I fell into this video from Copyright Alliance of Krenkel talking about piracy, streaming and record labels from way back in 2015. I mean, if I’ve never seen it before, it’s new to me, right? Nate points to a grim future in a streaming-only world. Take a look:

* * *

Tonight musician extraodinaire Dereck Higgins launches his new monthly showcase at The Down Under Lounge. Aptly titled “An Evening with Dereck Higgins,” it features Higgins’ various musical projects as well as local and regional acts, visual artists, etc. Tonight Higgins welcomes his red-hot progressive jazz project Chemicals, while Hugo’s Art Galleries will display the works of Derek Shockey.

This one’s free and starts at 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.

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New Dereck Higgins soundtrack; Sheer Mag, BIB tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:57 pm September 19, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Omaha music legend Dereck Higgins plays in at least a half-dozen bands (my favorite among them being the prog-jazz outfit Chemicals), so how does he have time to also put out solo material?

Yesterday, Higgins released his latest, the soundtrack to filmmaker Jim Fields’ yet-to-be-released movie, Life After Ex, the follow-up to his previous film, 2013’s Flyover Country, which Higgins also created a soundtrack for.

Jim had some specific ideas for each film and although I wrote and submitted a fair amount of new material for Life After Ex, Jim ended up using several older pieces from my catalog,” Higgins said. “On Flyover, it is all electronic. This time around there is a nice mix of my electronic tracks and me playing all of the instruments.”

Higgins said the songs were written for the film this past spring. “I have yet to see the final cut with my music and am looking forward to the premier Oct. 11 at Ak Sar Ben Cinema,” he said.

Check out the new tracks and order your copy at Higgins’ Bandcamp page.

* * *

Sheer Mag plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

I’ve been listening to this new Sheer Mag album, Need to Feel Your Love (2017, Wilsuns RC), for a couple months (man, I need to do more album reviews). It kind of reminds me of an old band from 2005 called The Ark combined with Butch Walker along with modern garage rock but fronted by a firecracker of a lead singer in Tina Halladay, whose pouty growl is unforgettable. The music is indie, but on a certain level, their sound is commercial, and very appealing. I was surprised when Rolling Stone did a big feature on them in July. As such, I wouldn’t be surprised if their gig tonight at Reverb sells out. Especially considering BIB is opening, along with Laffing Gas. $12, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Under the Radar Festival kicks off; Milk Run double header (Conny Franko, The Bricks) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm July 6, 2016
A frame from the Studio Fackler film "One Day, One Month, One Year," which premiers Saturday night at Kaneko as part of the Under the Radar Festival.

A frame from the Studio Fackler film “One Day, One Month, One Year,” featuring members of the .tbd dance collective. The film premiers Saturday, July 23 at Kaneko.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The third annual Under the Radar Festival kicks off tonight at Project Project, 1818 Vinton St. I don’t know what Project Project is, nor do I know much about this festival, which runs through Saturday at venues around downtown. But I guess that’s why they call it “under the radar.”

The event describes itself as an annual “experimental performance” festival. “We emphasize non-commercial and independently created work, and work that represents under-represented ideas and identities,” says the website. Performers come from all over the country to take part. The common denominator is “avant garde,” which is a rarity (and a tough sell) in Omaha.

One of the highlights is a show being held at The Slowdown Saturday night that features the .tbd dance collective.

Another festival highlight is Thursday night at House of Loom where a handful of electronic musicians will perform, capped off by Dereck Higgins, the local legend who should add “hardest working man in the biz” to his unofficial title. Higgins is in at least four bands the last time I counted (including the sublime Chemicals).

And Friday night Milk Run holds the UTR court with a show featuring Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes).

Full festival details, ticket info and schedules are available at http://www.undertheradaromaha.com/.

* * *

Speaking of Milk Run, tonight the tiny club on Leavenworth is hosting two shows simultaneously. Minneapolis punk act Fucking headlines with Conny Franko (a.k.a. Conchance of M34n Str33t fame), Flak and CBN over in the tiny side, while The Bricks headlines in the art gallery side with Kate Berreckman Sam Vicari and Lincoln’s Scott Severin. The shows are $5 each and start at 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Chemicals (and Hi-Fi House), Record Store Day recap; Rick Moranis tonight…

My Record Store Day 2016 haul...

My Record Store Day 2016 haul…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, another Record Store Day has come and gone and we’re all a little lighter in the wallet for it.

I purchased the majority of my booty down at Homer’s, which by early afternoon was still basking in the afterglow of the mob scene that it withstood earlier that day. Did I buy everything I wanted from the 2016 RSD collection? No, no. But I got what I needed. BTW, that Feelies recording is particularly sublime.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

One of the Hi-Fi House sound systems.

I hit Drastic Plastic next, then after my trip downtown I checked out the mysterious Hi-Fi House that was celebrating RSD with an open house of its own. Located at the old Joseph’s College of Beauty building at 3724 Farnam St., the facility is first class all the way — a huge open, carpeted space with comfortable furniture arranged in circles throughout, centered around stereo equipment set-ups, like what I was told was an $80,000 system (shown above).

Part of the Hi-Fi House's extensive vinyl library.

Part of the Hi-Fi House’s extensive vinyl library.

Behind the big room are a couple smaller ones. Inside the first is the Hi-Fi House’s album collection, or what I was told was merely a portion of the collection (which is spread out in locations around the country). A glance at the titles indicated that the music touches all genres. Some of it looked unplayed and was still sealed. There also were some interesting music-related items lying around, like a Patti Smith edition of a Pono Music Player — something I’ve never seen in real life.

Tucked further back in the building was the remnants of the Bomb Shelter Radio studio, which had been housed at Milk Run. One assumes the broadcasts will continue at Hi-Fi House. But I can’t tell you for sure as I still can’t get anyone from the organization to do an on-the-record interview. Hi-Fi House might be open but it’s still hush-hush, for now.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

Chemicals at Hi-Fi House, April 16, 2016.

There was 20 or 30 people on hand at Hi-Fi House when Chemicals began its set. Of all the bands I’ve seen Dereck Higgins perform in since Digital Sex broke up, Chemicals was the most impressive. I don’t know much about jazz — or improvisational jazz for that matter — but I can still recognize great music played with fire and funk, and Chemicals was all of that. Higgins said during the set that the band was still in its development phase, but you couldn’t tell by Saturday’s performance.

The band includes guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips and keyboardist Jake Reisdorff. Horns were provided by trumpeter Blake DeForest and the always amazing James Cuato on saxophone (and keyboards). But keeping it all together was gritty drummer John Evans crashing the beats with style and finesse, and of course Higgins himself at the center, one of Omaha’s greatest bassists holding it all together.

At first I wasn’t expecting much thanks to the long, unstructured noise collage that kicked things off, and then Evans cut through the clutter with a defined beat and Higgins dropped his bass line and we were on our way. This is modern, progressive rock jazz in the same vein as Kamasi Washington, progressive but tuneful and exciting, and well played. I’m sure there was a lot of improvisation going on, but there was no mistaking each song’s foundation and arrangement — this wasn’t random noodling. Can a recording be far behind? (Hey Hi-Fi House, why not put it out on vinyl?).

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

Hand Painted Police Car at Almost Music, April 16, 2016.

After Chemicals I strolled down to Almost Music and caught Hand Painted Police Car rip the paint off the walls while a crowd thumbed through the bins.

Then it was off cross-town to the new Recycled Sounds, sort of hidden on 76th St. across from Buffalo Wild Wings but tucked in behind a strip mall. It’s easy to miss, but you won’t want to miss it. Recycled moved from its old location in Lincoln and will become a regular stop for used vinyl (along with Almost Music). The releases are very well organized — by band by alpha — and there’s a ton of it. It’s where I found that Lloyd Cole 12-inch 4-song 45.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge a handful of Omaha performers are getting together to celebrate the genius of Rick Moranis. Among them are Kait Berreckman, Michael Campbell, Castor, Vago, Doug Kabourek (who is the living embodiment of ’80s-era Rick Moranis) and Stephanie Krysl. Expect classic SCTV skits in the bar and the best of the best from past Canada Day events on The Reverb stage. $7, 8 p.m. Tell them Louis Tully a.k.a. The Keymaster sent you…

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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More Live at O’Leaver’s (Cursive, Big Harp, Dumb Beach, more); new Mitch Gettman; HBD Dereck Higgins; Blitzen Trapper, Cancer Bats tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:56 pm July 7, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

How Live at O'Leaver's looks on your iPhone.

How Live at O’Leaver’s looks on your iPhone.

The next batch of 30 sessions has been released at the Live at O’Leaver’s website. We’re talking live performances recorded at the bar located at the direct center of the universe.

So far I’ve listened to the Cursive tracks (sublime), Big Harp (cool, different, surprising) and Swamp Walk (Stoner rock extraordinaire — where did these guys come from?). The Swamp Walk recordings are a prime example of why this effort is so important. I probably wouldn’t have heard these guys without this website (What can I say, the band’s name isn’t exactly enticing).

I’m trying to talk mastermind Ian Aeillo into creating some sort of Live at O’Leaver’s Radio button that would randomly play tracks from the entire archive — now there’s an internet radio channel I could get behind. Quick tip for you iPhone users: Go to liveatoleavers.com and create a home screen button so the site is always just a tap away.

Here’s the list of new artist sessions available at the site:

Cursive
Frontier Ruckus
Kickback
Planes Mistaken for Stars
Roman Polanski’s Baby
Brad Hoshaw
See Through Dresses
She Keeps Bees
Last Good Tooth
Dirty Talker
Dumb Beach
Goon Saloon
All Eyes West
Empty Moon
Manic Pixie Dream Girls
Bob Log III
Kill County
Coaxed
Boneheart Flanagan
Dan Mariska
Big Harp
Uh Oh
Worried Mothers
Hotlines
J Fernandez
Anna McClellan
Universe Contest
Swamp Walk
New Lungs
Small Houses

* * *

Singer/songwriter Mitch Gettmann has some new tracks online. You can check them out below. Apparently Mitch ain’t moving to Chicago after all. And he’s got a Kickstarter campaign on deck ready to launch next week. More info soon.

* * *

Dereck Higgins turns 60 today. If you’re involved in Nebraska’s music scene you already know who he is, what he’s done and what he’s still doing. He’s a local legend. If you don’t know, read this profile that barely scrapes the surface of his art and music.

At my 50th birthday rock show/benefit for Hear Nebraska (where Dereck performed as part of Son, Ambulance) he gave me copies of two of his releases on vinyl — a remastered reissue of Nice and a colored-vinyl copy of Flyover. Both albums are now part of my warm-up and stretch routine prior to a long run. Order yours here.

I remember thinking at my birthday party that I would be lucky to be half as vital a part of the local music as Dereck is when I turn 60. We should all be so lucky.

Happy Birthday, Dereck.

* * *

Portland folk rock band Blitzen Trapper (Sub Pop) takes the stage tonight at The Waiting Room. We Are the Willows opens. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s the hard stuff from Cancer Bats (Metal Blade Records). Opening is Megaton and Varmint. $10, 8 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Dereck Higgins and the life of an artist (in the column); pro panel (Mogis, Fink, Whipkey, Olson), songwriting comp winners tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:27 pm May 11, 2015
Dereck Higgins

Dereck Higgins

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins has been the topic of a number of cover stories and feature articles over the past year, all of them lauding his musical and artistic achievements. Good stuff, but I noticed none of the stories talked about the struggles Higgins deals with as a working artist and musician whose sole income comes from his music and art.

He talks about those challenges and the decisions he made to get where he is in this month’s Over the Edge column, which you can read online right here at thereader.com.

* * *

As mentioned last week, tonight I’ll be moderating a panel of local professionals involved in the music biz, all of whom you’re probably very familiar with: Mike Mogis, Orenda Fink, Matt Whipkey and CJ Olson. They’ll be providing insights about the music industry from each of their unique perspectives. Mogis from the studio; Olson as an A&R dude; Matt and Orenda as singer/songwriters.

In fact, the audience (which can include you, as this is free and open to the public) is singer/songwriters who took part in the Omaha Performing Arts songwriting contest held in conjunction with their presentation of the Broadway musical Once down at the Orpheum starting tomorrow night. Think of this as a mini-seminar with some of the area’s most successful talent as your teachers.

The panel starts at 6:30 at The Waiting Room and is free. It’s followed by performances from the winners of the OPA songwriting contest. Come on out and see me sweat under The Waiting Room lights.

* * *

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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New Joyner track streamed; new LPs coming from Higgins, See Through Dresses, Mountain Goats; Whipkey love…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:56 pm January 21, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots of release news today…

Simon Joyner, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015)

Simon Joyner, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015)

“You Got Under My Skin,” the first track off Simon Joyner’s upcoming album, Grass, Branch & Bone, is being streamed via Stereogum today (right here). The album comes out on Woodsist Records on St. Patrick’s Day. Pre-order your copy here. You won’t regret it.

* * *

Dereck Higgins, Myths...Realities (DHV, 2015)

Dereck Higgins, Myths…Realities (DHV, 2015)

Dereck Higgins’ follow-up to last year’s Murphy LP is titled Myths…Realities and is being co-produced with KiNETiK Records (Greece). The collection is archival material, most of it never released. Preorder your copy of this limited-run release here.

* * *

See Through Dresses, self-titled (This Charming Man, 2015)

See Through Dresses, self-titled (This Charming Man, 2015)

Preorders are being taken here for the European release of See Through Dresses’ self-titled LP on German label This Charming Man Records. The record drops in late March.

* * *

In non-local music news, The Mountain Goats today announced they’ve got a new album coming out April 7 on Merge called Beat the Champ, which is about professional wrestling. “I wrote these songs to re-immerse myself in the blood and fire of the visions that spoke to me as a child, and to see what more there might be in them now that I’m grown,” said head goat John Darnielle. Check out the first track from the album, below.

* * *

Rock NYC has written a love letter to Matt Whipkey in the form of a glowing review of his upcoming album, Underwater, calling Matt “Omaha’s best export since Conor Oberst.” Read the review here and check out Matt’s latest video, below.

* * *

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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Cursive streams remastered Ugly Organ; Higgins’ Murphy; The Gotobeds, New Lungs tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:12 pm November 18, 2014

uglyorganby Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Cursive is streaming its upcoming remastered, deluxe edition of the reissue of 2003’s The Ugly Organ here at AV Club. The 2xCD or 2xLP 180-gram vinyl hits store shelves Nov. 24, just in time for that down-home family Thanksgiving Day gathering. The release includes eight additional tracks written during the Ugly Organ sessions previously released as B-sides, in comps or as part of the ’02 split with Eastern Youth 8 Teeth to Eat You. The band hits the road in February and March supporting the release, including a March 21 gig at The Waiting Room (looks like they’re avoiding SXSW).

Speaking of new releases, Dereck Higgins’s latest vinyl project, Murphy, is now in stock at Almost Music, Drastic Plastic and Hopstop. Or you can buy it directly from Dereck right here. The limited edition release is $20.  Check out some tracks below:


* * *

There’s a fantastic show happening tonight: Pittsburgh garage-punk band The Gotobeds plays at The Down Under Lounge, 3802 Leavenworth, with the amazing New Lungs (DMax from Little Brazil) and Little Ripple. Only $5, starts at 9.

* * *

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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