New Digital Leather ‘Headache Heaven’ drops on Bandcamp; Hop Along announces new record…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:55 pm January 23, 2018

Digital Leather, Headache Heaven (2018, self-release)

by Tim McMahan,

The marketing plan for your typical album release these days can be drawn out over weeks, months, even sometimes a full year before the album actually comes out. We’re talking pre-release rumors followed by track leaks via online publications like Noisy or Brooklyn Vegan or NPR or via YouTube.

It’s all coordinated between the artist, the record label and the artist’s publicist (and booking agent). Media and others get pre-release tidbits attached to one-sheets and promo photos all announcing the upcoming drop date. Sometimes there’s a “trailer” video that previews the albums, like a movie trailer.

Finally, with as much hoopla as possible, the album finally drops. Sometimes the release is celebrated with the launch of an entire tour; other times it might be something as simple as an album release show. Regardless, all of these efforts are designed to create the biggest buzz possible, to attract attention to the new material to generate sales, downloads, streams.

Then there’s the way Digital Leather does it.

Yesterday via Facebook Digital Leather announced the release of a new 21-track album, available via Bandcamp, called Headache Heaven. The release was something of a surprise, to me at least.

I asked Shawn Foree via Facebook for any details about the album, like who else appears on it with him. “It’s just me,” he replied. “I’ve been working on it for quite a while (It’s 75 minutes long). Not much more to say. There will be a tape version later; just digital now.

So there you have the summation of his entire marketing campaign for Headache Heaven, which I’m listening to now. In this internet age, what more do you need?

Like Shawn said, you can buy it online from his Bandcamp page, here. A cassette version is forthcoming. Check out some preview tracks below.

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Then there’s the other side of the music marketing coin.

Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog (2018, Saddle Creek)

Yesterday Saddle Creek Records (or someone) leaked a video of someone playing a floppy (at least that’s what I used to call them) of a track from the upcoming Hop Along album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, which comes out April 6. One assumes production of that floppy postcard alone cost more than Foree spent on his entire album.

Anyway, Bark Your Head Off… is a follow-up to the wildly successful 2015 release Painted Shut. The band also announced a national tour that kicks off May 1 (It’s a NOmaha affair, unfortunately).


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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Shawn Foree (Digital Leather) talks Pink Thunder; Tennis, Nathan Ma and the Psychic Readers tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:50 pm January 10, 2018

Tennis at The Waiting Room, Nov. 5, 2014. The band returns to tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

One of Hear Nebraska’s last forays into music journalism (for now, anyway) was a video interview with Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree about his just-released LP Pink Thunder. Read it here.

It’s a straight-up interview by HN’s Lauren Farris, and when I look back at what HN did in terms of music reporting, this was the kind of stuff I liked best. Because there simply isn’t anyone interviewing local bands anymore in a way that HN approached these interviews — in depth, professional, with the writer staying out of the copy and out of the frame.

It makes me miss what I used to do at The Reader back when it was a weekly and I was hustling an interview a week (plus a column). HN’s recent departure brings up the question of  music journalism’s relevance to the general local music audience. I personally think it’s important; that it still needs to be done. We just need to find a place to do it (in addition to in ol’ Lazy-i).

Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone started a music weekly with interviews, album reviews, live reviews, photos and a gig calendar?? I’d subscribe.

Anyway, I finally got my chance to interview Foree a couple years ago when Digital Leather released All Faded. He’s an interesting dude and one of the most talented musicians and songwriters in Nebraska. It’s appropriate that HN went out by interviewing him. Check it out and check out Pink Thunder, which you can order online here and, I believe, is available in its vinyl incarnation at Almost Music.

* * *

Two shows going on tonight…

At The Waiting Room it’s the return of Tennis, who just played here this past summer when they headlined Farnam Fest. New York electro-pop duo Overcoats (Arts & Crafts Records) opens at 8 p.m. $18.

Also tonight, Pageturners’ Winter Concert Series continues with Nathan Ma and the Psychic Readers. This one is free and starts at 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Ten Questions with The New Pornographers; Stephen Sheehan tonight; Maha Festival, Digital Leather, Lupines Saturday; Blind Pilot Sunday…

The Maha Music Festival is tomorrow at Aksarben Village.

by Tim McMahan,

Before we get to the full weekend preview…

This is the eighth and final installment in a series of Ten Questions interviews with bands performing at the Maha Music Festival tomorrow at Aksarben Village. For the printed version of all interviews, pick up the August issue of The Reader.

New Pornographers are among the artist playing at this year’s Maha Music Festival.

The New Pornographers

They’ve been called an indie rock supergroup thanks to the richness of talent. The band’s 7-member roster includes three lead vocalists: Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Neko Case, whose solo career stands on its own, and the band’s founder, Carl (A.C.) Newman.

Since their debut in 1997 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the band has released seven studio albums starting with 2000’s Mass Romantic (Mint Records) before moving to indie powerhouse Matador Records for some of the most iconic releases of the 2000s, including 2003’s Electric Version and ’05’s Twin Cinema.

Their latest, Whiteout Conditions, released this past April by Concord Music Group, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Album charts.

1. What is your favorite album?

Carl Newman: Love, Forever Changes

2. What is your least favorite song?

I think it is still out there. I haven’t heard it yet. If I have to answer, probably something that is #1 at country radio right now.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I like all the people I have met. It is a good foot in the door for meeting people you admire. A great community.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being away from my family. Feeling like you need to please people, like your best isn’t good enough. That sort of thing.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

I like red wine. I often champion it.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

D.C. has always been an amazing place for us. A lot of love for all of our projects.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

I remember playing in a cafe in Chapel Hill in the ’90s. No one there, they were stacking the chairs on the tables as we played. I recall thinking, “Am I paying my dues right now?”

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, so far so good. I played in bands for about 10 years before that happened. Not a tough, hard-working 10 years but still… 10 years. In this era when no one buys music, that might change soon.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I would love to be a writer of some kind. Comedy, TV, film, novelist. Always had a lot of respect for the profession. I know, I am sort of a writer, in my way. So many things I would hate to be, it’s hard to choose.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Best place on earth. It rules, other places drool. Things like that.

The Maha Music Festival is Aug. 19 at Aksarben Village. The day-long concert runs from noon to midnight. Tickets are $55. For set times and more information, go to

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Here’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Lots o’ shows, and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate.

It starts tonight at Reverb Lounge with Stephen Sheehan and his band performing songs from Sheehan’s past projects, notably Digital Sex, The World and his solo outings. Here’s the background on this special event. I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of old, familiar faces tonight. Opening is Sun-Less Trio, who is celebrating an EP release of their own. $10, 9 p.m.

And then along comes the 2017 Maha Music Festival at Aksarben Village. The set times:

12:10: The Hottman Sisters
12:50: Downtown Boys
1:45: High Up and Omaha Girls Rock
2:55: Torres
3:50: Priests
4:45: The New Pornographers
5:55: Built to Spill
7:05: Belle & Sebastian
8:15: Sleight Bells
9:30: The Faint
11:00: Run the Jewels

Tickets today are $55. I’m not sure what the walk-up price will be (or if it’s different).

Downtown Boys is currently trending on the hipster meter, thanks to their hot new Cost of Living LP (Sub Pop) produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, which is enjoying a massive 79 rating on Album of the Year composite reviews. Torres also is getting a lot of attention thanks to an upcoming release. Add Priests and, of course, Run the Jewels, and this one of the more progressive Maha line-ups in the festival’s history. They’ve made it hard for me to sneak out and grab a nap tomorrow.

So where’s the after party?

In year’s past, one or two of the Maha acts played a second show somewhere after the festival. I don’t see it happening this year. So for me, the after party is at fabulous O’Leaver’s, where Digital Leather will be burning up the stage along with Sucettes. $5, 9 p.m.

If that doesn’t float your boat, you can’t miss with Lupines, Sun-Less Trio and Bled Notes at Brothers Lounge Saturday night. $5, 9 p.m.

And here’s a sneaky one: Dwight Twilley is playing at Growler USA in West O Saturday night. $15 Adv/$19 DOS, 9 p.m. How is that one not sold out yet?

And yeah, I’m aware there are a couple other big concerts going on Saturday night. But neither Lady Gaga nor the guy from Hootie in the Blowfish are exactly in my wheelhouse, though I’d be interested to see how Jocelyn does opening for Hootie at Stir Cove.

Finally, Sunday night Portland’s Blind Pilot (ATO Records) plays a sold-out show at The Slowdown. They’ve been touring through Omaha for years, growing every step of the way. Gregory Alan Isakov opens. 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. If you see me at Sheehan, Maha or Digital Leather, say hi with a Rolling Rock. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


New Digital Leather; NOMaha Alert: Arcade Fire; park concert tonight; A Giant Dog, HIDE, Leggy, David Nance on (docked) boat Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:42 pm June 30, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Digital Leather, Pink Thunder (2017, self-release)

Out of the blue, Digital Leather today dropped a new LP titled Pink Thunder in Bandcamp. It’s a strong return to form from a band that I thought had hung it up last year. Since then, they’ve played a handful of shows when the gig money was right. Still, when the pre-announcement came out about Pink Thunder I had no idea DL mastermind Shawn Foree was working on new material.

The LP is stripped down, very electronic but with nice guitar touches. I assume it’s a one-man show, with Foree on all the parts but I don’t know for sure as I haven’t received a one-sheet (I found out just like you, on Twitter). Listening through the tracks a few times this morning, it reminded me of Blow Machine, though it’s not as racy lyrically. My favorite track so far is an instrumental called “One to One” — a real digital grinder.

Foree mentioned this would be coming out as an LP in the fall. Don’t wait to download the digital tracks right now, though…

* * *

Just got a press release from Nasty Little Man:

“Arcade Fire has released a third track from its forthcoming fifth album, Everything Now, due out July 28 on CD, cassette, digital download and heavyweight black vinyl LP through an exclusive 360-degree partnership with global media and e-commerce platform Everything Now in synergy with the Sony corporation.”

Included was their North American tour dates, of which there are many. Their closest pass to Omaha, however:

10/25/17 – Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
10/27/17- Kansas City, MO – Silverstein Eye Centers Arena
10/29/17 – St. Paul, MN – Xcel Energy Center

Anyone surprised? Their tour starts Aug. 6 in Chicago at Lollapalooza. Meanwhile, I swivel my chair and look out my window and see a 25,000 seat baseball stadium that will sit vacant until next June…

* * *

Onto the weekends…

Kansas at Memorial Park, July 3, 2010.

Kansas at Memorial Park, July 3, 2010. Tonight it’s Kool & the Gang. Blurg.

Tonight is the dreaded Memorial Park Concert. Imagine if we had gotten last night’s hail storm tonight? Devastation. Well, Kool and the Gang will be handing out the devastation tonight. The city really blew it with this booking, as they just played down by the river last year. Someday someone with some knowledge of music will help the city book this concert (Who am I kidding? No one goes to this for the music)…

Cover bands and such start at 6. K&tG probably won’t be on stage until 8:30 or 9. Fireworks usually around 10 or 10: 30, which is worth the hassle, I suppose. If you go, park at UNO and stay the hell off my lawn.

Other than that, there ain’t shit happening tonight, though Lincoln singer/songwriter Scott Severin is taking the plunge and playing a free gig at the new, and rather controversial Hotel RL on south 72nd Street. This place has been lambasted in social media for booking bands and not paying them. No doubt Scott negotiated something sweeter. Starts at 7.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is the big Shipwrecked! fest.

What’s Shipwrecked? It’s a concert on the River City Star river boat, but instead of rolling up and down the Missouri, the boat will be docked all night. We’re talking two floors (or two decks) of music with bars on each deck, with fireworks (courtesy of TD Ameritrade Park’s home run derby).

The line-up is impressive:

A Giant Dog (Austin, TX) — One of Merge Records’ hottest new bands returns to Omaha.
HIDE (Chicago, IL) — Gritty, big-beat punk from Chicago, on Joyful Noise Records.
Leggy (Cincinnati, OH) — Self-proclaimed “bubble-gum punk” on Manic Static Records.
Plack Blague (Lincoln, NE) — Starcity electro-geek leather fetish noise band.
David Nance Band (Omaha, NE) — Low-fi garage punk dynamo about to blow up.
Cult Play (Omaha, NE) – Dark, electronic dance rock.
Winstons (Brooklyn, NY) — No-frills garage soul.

Music starts at 7 p.m. Runs ’til midnight (but since it’s docked, leave / come whenever you wanna). Tickets are $15, sorry kids, 21+ only. I’m told plenty of parking near the landing. Should be a blast.

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 — 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.


Live Review: Tim Kasher, Allison Weiss; Xetas, Digital Leather, FIFI NoNo tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm May 15, 2017

Tim Kasher and his glo-in-the-dark band at The Waiting Room May 12, 2017. Of note is the ghost of Dylan Ryan on drums…

by Tim McMahan,

I don’t have much of a review of last Friday night’s Tim Kasher show at The Waiting Room, as five songs into the set I started feeling sick, which stuck with me the rest of the weekend. What I did see of Tim and his crew was the usual awesomeness we’ve come to expect with everything Kasher is associated with. I got to hear in a couple new songs from No Resolution, which seamlessly slipped in with the rest of his oeuvre, and which the crowd, which I’d guestimate at around 150, loved.

Allison Weiss at The Waiting Room, May 12, 2017.

I did get to see Allison Weiss’ entire set. Despite being your typical solo-with-guitar performance, Weiss managed to grapple the crowd’s attention to her sweet, sad, personal folk songs about relationships gone wrong. Weiss had no issues with letting her emotional baggage hang out, and while that could have been a real drag, she punctuated her songs and her set with wry humor and witty observations and a relaxed manner that said everything’s going to be all right. Among the highlights was a fetching cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend” that turned the techno ballad into a personal statement. Watch out for this one.

* * *

That’s not all I saw this weekend. I was surprised to find two punk acts performing at Brothers Lounge Saturday night. One was a dude doing a solo performance with electric guitar that kind of reminded me of a young version of David Byrne. The other was a keyboard/synth duo that played pounding new wave. I don’t know who either of these acts were, but I dug it while I sat in the corner catching up with an old high school pal.

Speaking of The Brothers, the club has a huge show tonight. Austin punk band Xetas is on the bill. They’ve got a new album out on 12XU Records called The Tower that is absolutely relentless. Check it out via Bandcamp below.

Joining Xetas is the return of Digital Leather. These guys don’t play out much anymore, it’s got to be something special to get them plugged in. Don’t miss this chance. Also on the bill is FIFI NoNo, who is celebrating the release of a new 4-song cassette called Songs for the Anxious. Heavy, brutal hardcore noise. You get all three bands for a mere $5. Starts at 9 tonight…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.



Maha rising; Conor Oberst gets Pitchforked (6.6); Digital Leather returns; Chuck Prophet tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm March 14, 2017

Screen capture from the video for “Digital Lust” by Glow in the Dark.

by Tim McMahan,

Lots of little stories today….

The fine folks at the Maha Music Festival will start selling tickets Friday for this year’s fest, which takes place Aug. 19 at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village. Tix are GA $55 and VIP $185, though the actual line-up won’t be known until March 30.

Will it be worth the price of admission? IMHO, the answer is yes. From what I’m hearing about the line-up, this one could very well sell out, despite the fact that it’s the same day as Lady Gaga at CenturyLink Center. That little fact has Maha sweating, but let’s face it, we’re talking about two very separate, very different audiences…

* * *

Pitchfork today reviewed the new Conor Oberst album, Salutations, and despite Ian Cohen spending most of the review lambasting the record as a sort of easy-path sell-out of Ruminations, still gave the record a 6.6 rating.

Says Cohen: “Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs (of Ruminations) with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shuffle—a decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it.” Cohen goes on to say Salutations effectively turns Ruminations into a collection of demos. Maybe so, though that stunt worked just fine for PJ Harvey.

Read the review here. I’m still waiting for that Tim Kasher review, Pitchfork.

* * *

If you haven’t already guessed, I won’t be going to SXSW this year. The festival in Austin gets rolling tomorrow, though there’s showcases going on today. Those of you stuck in Omaha will at least be treated to a couple Digital Leather shows in the coming days.

Here I thought the band had broken up, but now I’m told DL will come out of hibernation if the prices is right (Why not?). This morning the band announced a free show at Blackstone Meatball on St. Patrick’s Day with opener Chalant.

This is presumably a warm-up for their opening slot for Corey and the Angels March 18 outside at Maloney’s Irish Pub on 72nd St. — maybe the strangest show of the year. Joining Corey Feldman and Digital Leather will be Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark (new project featuring Aaron Gum). It’s a $30 ticket, but who can put a price on memories that could last a lifetime?

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Chuck Prophet and his band The Mission Express. You read about Chuck here yesterday. This 8 p.m. show is $20.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


New Digital Leather music (sort of); Car Seat Headrest, Mystery Lights tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm November 2, 2016
Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

File this under “Get it while you can”… Ian Aeillo (under the moniker Flight School) just posted his interpretation of seven classic Digital Leather songs, of course without the band’s permission. We’re talking soothing, Autumnal renditions of brutal synth-punk songs like “Studs in Love,” “Styrofoam” and my all-time favorite Digital Leather song, “Modern Castles.” Aeillo played all the instruments (mostly synths). Check it out while you can, below…

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Maha 2016 performer Car Seat Headrest returns to Omaha tonight, this time at The Waiting Room. Based on the set list from Monday night’s show in Boulder (online here) expect to hear a lot of songs off their latest, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador), an album that is on my short list of favorites this year. Opening is Seattle trio Naked Giants (Miscreant Records). $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, New York City band The Mystery Lights (Wick/Daptone) headlines at Reverb Lounge with Sean Pratt & The Sweats & David Nance. $8, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Digital Leather’s ‘Whack Jam’ to be released on cassette; TBT: How to go it alone (from 2006); Foxing, ADJY tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:46 pm March 3, 2016
Foxing plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Foxing plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan,

Last year Digital Leather released a digital-only collection called Whack Jam. Now a cassette version of the album is for sale via Bobby Hussy’s Kind Turkey Records. It’s all the same great tunes direct from Shawn Foree’s attic studio but now you can enjoy it with added benefit of tape hiss!

The cassette costs $5 and is available for pre-order at the Kind Turkey bandcamp page, here, where you can also hear Whack Jam streamed in its entirety. Get yourselves one before they’re all gone!

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This being Throwback Thursday, enjoy this column printed one decade ago in Lazy-i and The Reader about how to go to movies, restaurants and rock shows alone without feeling like a loser. Bonus: It includes some sweet 49’r memories…

Column 66: Being Alone Together
The art of flying solo.
Lazy-i, March 1, 2006

I was trying to put my finger on why I don’t like going to shows at The 49’r and finally figured it out last weekend.

I swung by at around 11 p.m. Saturday night to catch Past Punchy and the Present — the band I wrote about here last week — but they started early and I was too late and I only caught the last couple songs of their set (which I dug, by the way. Seek out this band whenever it pops its head out of its rabbit hole). A few minutes after they finished their set, I turned around and left. Total time at the Niner (after paying $5 cover and $5 for beer (with tip)) — 15 minutes. No, there’s nothing wrong with The Niner per se — in fact, I’m quite fond of the bar. The staff is first-rate, their PA has never sounded better, the vibe is laidback and fun. No, it’s something else, something ridiculous.

Look, I knew when I started listening to indie music 20 years ago that going to shows was going to be a problem. The genre is underground by its very nature. Friends who I grew up with listening to Zeppelin and Floyd aren’t interested in seeing bands they’ve never heard on the radio. And though my girlfriend likes indie music (almost) as much as I do, she’s physically incapable of staying awake past 11 o’clock (especially on school nights), effectively taking her out of the equation since most indie rock shows don’t start until 10. Add it all together and it meant that I had to get used to going to shows alone. It wasn’t easy.

There are three activities (not including those defined in the bible as “sins”) that just seem strange doing by yourself: Attending movies, eating at fine restaurants, and going to rock shows. Call it the “Loser Syndrome,” most people have deep-seated insecurities about being seen at social events without companionship. No one wants to be thought of as being friendless. But chances are, if you love indie music, indie films or adventurous dining, you’re gonna have to get over it or suffer a future of cheesy cover bands, knife-kill horror flicks and flavorless chain-restaurant dining.

Let’s start with the movies. You want to see “Transamerica” or “The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada” or Film Streams’ indie movie of the week at The Joslyn. Your friends want to see “Date Movie” or “Saw VII” or whatever piece of shit Julia Roberts is starring in this week. It’s a dilemma; because you’re never going to talk them into seeing “your movie.” You either go alone or wait for it to come out on NetFlix. You’re better off just showing up at the theater about five minutes after the start time and taking a seat in the back. If you’ve never gone to the movies by yourself, it’s pretty weird the first time. But once the film starts, you quickly realize that it doesn’t matter if you’re with someone or not — you’re inside the film’s world now. And when the lights come up afterward, you’ll wonder why you ever cared about going alone in the first place.

Movies are easy. Dining alone, well, that’s another story. The Food Channel is creating a culture of “foodies” who want something more than the usual prefabricated pound o’ flesh served at the neighborhood Chili’s or Appleby’s or The Outback (where, for whatever reason, everything must be smothered in cheese). Good luck, however, getting your crew to eat at, say, an Indian restaurant or — god forbid — Thai. Everyone remembers the “Table for One” scene from Steve Martin’s “The Lonely Guy” where, once seated alone, the restaurant falls silent and a spotlight blares on Martin as a team of waiters clears the other three settings off the four-topper. His solution: Pretend to be a food critic on assignment. My solution: Forget about dinner and go to your restaurant-of-choice at lunchtime, when you’ll be surrounded by a sea of one-toppers. An added bonus: Entrées will cost about a third less.

OK, so what about rock shows.

Is there a comfortable way to go see a band by yourself without feeling like a dork? The task is daunting, but it can be done. Sokol Underground is so dark that once you get in and get your beer no one will see you. Most people at O’Leaver’s are so drunk that they can’t see anything at all. And just like at the movies, no one notices anything after the band starts. There’s really nothing to be afraid of.

It’s between sets that can be weird. At Sokol you can hang out in the back; at O’Leaver’s, just turn your attention to whatever game’s on the television sets. But the Niner, well, there’s simply no place to hide. Just like the guy at the party who doesn’t know anyone, no matter what you do you’re gonna feel like a freak as you stand in everyone’s way waiting for the next band to start.

That leaves you with two options: You can do what I did and just turn around and leave like a wuss, or you can just stand there and wait uncomfortably until the next band starts.

Actually, there’s a third choice. You could — god forbid — actually talk to someone — preferably someone else who looks as uncomfortable as you. Suddenly, you know someone else at the show. And then another, and another. And before you know it, you’re a full-fledged scenester!

On second thought, maybe you should just go home.

— Lazy-i and The Omaha Reader, March 1, 2006

* * *

Speaking of going to shows alone, I’ll be flying solo when Foxing plays at Slowdown Jr. tonight. The St. Louis post-emo band who records for Triple Crown Records (home of Weatherbox) dropped a new album last October called Dealer. Very earnest-sounding stuff. Opening is recent Triple Crown roster addition ADJY, who has a 4-song EP coming out called Prelude (.3333) that is anthemic to the core. This special 7:30 show also includes Lymbyc Systym and Tancred. $13.

Seems like there have been a lot of emo bands coming through towns or in the news lately. Then yesterday Rolling Stone publishes the “40 greatest emo records of all time” (Cursive’s Domestica came in at No. 25). It all begs the question: Is emo making a comeback?

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Take Cover 5’s line-up has some interesting combinations (High Up takes on Digital Leather?)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2016
The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O'Leaver's.

The 5th Annual Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska is Saturday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

Gotta wonder how fabulous O’Leaver’s is going to handle the crowds Saturday night for Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover Pt. 5. I mean, if all the bands performing were to show up at once the club would be at capacity. Where are the fans gonna sit?

The premise every year for Take Cover is the same: A local band covers another local band and also plays a song of their own. This year’s line-up, which was announced Tuesday, has a number of interesting match-ups:

— High Up is covering Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.” The song has been covered by others (most notably The Hussy on last year’s DL/Hussy split), but High Up will undoubtedly bring something unique to their rendition.

— CJ Mills is covering High Up’s “Two Weeks,” my personal favorite High Up song and one that will demand an insane level of energy for Mills to pull off.

— Well Aimed Arrows is covering Millions of Boys’ “Girl’s Name.” Like a sonic Reese’s peanut butter cup, two of my favorites together in one tasty treat. How will WAA strip this one down to its bare essentials?

— Mint Wad Willy is covering Digital Leather’s “Young Doctors in Love.” Can a band who has more in common with Wilco pull off this post-punk-style gem from a few years back? Digital Leather appears to be the favorite for covers this year, and deservedly so. It’s a shame they’re not covering someone themselves…

— Eric in Outerspace is covering Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship’s “Wrecking Ball Girl.” This one seems like an obvious combination stylistically, though EiO could make the tune sound even grittier.

There’s more, lot’s more. Check out the lineup at Hear Nebraska. Again, the show is Saturday night at O’Leaver’s. Admission is a $10 donation at the door. The fun starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Have a High Up / Digital Leather New Year’s; Over the Edge Year in Review…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:08 pm December 31, 2015

HighUp112815by Tim McMahan,

Like all other holidays, New Year’s Eve is a night of DJs and cover bands. Let’s face it, if you’re still going out to the clubs on NYE you’re probably doing it to find some companionship (or to cement an existing companion, if you know what I mean).

I say this, and then there’s fabulous O’Leaver’s. If you go to O’Leaver’s for NYE you’ve grown past the hoopla, you’ve found your companion-zone years ago, you’re looking for a place to simply hang with friends and enjoy some exceptionally good live music. Tonight is no exception.

O’Leaver’s has two of Omaha’s best ringing in the New Year, along with one of the city’s best DJs. First there’s High Up. The band that made the biggest splash in 2015 takes a victory lap. I see big things in ’16 for the Fink sisters and their merry band of soul rockers. Then there’s Digital Leather, a band that’s been on the verge of something bigger since frontman Shawn Foree rolled into town back in 2009. Foree and the boys should be in rare form tonight, rare form. Holding it together is DJ Tyrone Storm a.k.a. Roger Lewis who is part of the team that made Benson Soul Society a huge hit. All of that and complimentary champagne at midnight? What more could you want for a mere $10. Music starts at 8.

As for the rest of the clubs, well, like I said, it’s mostly cover bands and DJs. Party at your own discretion. I’ll be ringing in the New Year with my wife coaxing my dogs out from beneath the couch as the world around them explodes in fireworks. Why Omaha allows fireworks in the city is anyone’s guess. City officials must have felt there was no way to enforce a law banning fireworks, so might as well let someone (i.e., campaign contributors) make some money off the holiday. Meanwhile, people are getting their hands and eyes blown to bits, my dogs are shaking in fear and I (and a lot of other dog owners) are staying home to make sure our furry friends are OK. Thanks, Omaha, for another backfired political decision.

Speaking of backfiring politics, check out my Over the Edge Year in Review where I look in the rear-view mirror and contemplate: What’s it say about us that when asked to look back on 2015 the only things that come to mind are solemn, terrifying, critical and trivial media-driven events? You can read it in the January issue of The Reader, which hits the news stands next week, or online at right here right now.

By the way, if you’re looking for my music predictions for 2016, they’ll be online next week.

Lazy-i Best of 2015!

Lazy-i Best of 2015!

Speaking of Years in Review, check out the track list for (and enter to win a copy of) the Lazy-i Best of 2015 comp CD. All my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Among those represented: Algiers, Sam Martin, Sufjan Stevens, Clarence Tilton, Beck, The Chemical Brothers, Freedy Johnston, The Mynabirds, and the two bands mentioned earlier — Digital Leather and High Up — plus lots more. The full track listing is here. Enter your name in a drawing to win a copy. To enter, either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. You also can enter by sending me a direct message in Facebook or Twitter. Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 4!

Happy New Year, y’all…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.