Drop Day: Desaparecidos’ Payola, Digital Leather’s All Faded…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:59 pm June 23, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

You read all the reviews yesterday, buy the album today. Desaparecidos’ Payola drops via Epitaph and is available at all the usual locations and online at iTunes, Amazon and on Spotify, where I’m currently listening to it. Bombastic? Yes.

Desa’s album, as you already know, is a social and political comment. Conor Oberst raging against the machine as only he can. He does as good a job as I suppose anyone could simplifying some of the most challenging issues of our time in less than three minutes per topic. Any more than three minutes would be overkill, both for these topics and these melodies. Because, let’s face it, all the best punk songs are less than three minutes long, right? Anyone following the band has already heard the best tracks (since they were released as singles over the past few years). Taken as a whole, the record is a solid collection of fist-pumping anthems, whether you understand what the songs are about or not.

Digital Leather, All Faded (2015, FDH Records)

Digital Leather, All Faded (2015, FDH Records)

On the other hand, Digital Leather’s All Faded, out today via FDH Records, is purely personal, as all Digital Leather records are. Do we really want to hear what frontman Shawn Foree thinks about immigration reform, social media or problems in the Middle East? No, we don’t (and I’m sure there’s some of you who don’t want to know what Conor thinks about those issues, either).

My thoughts on the record and the story behind the making of the album are online here. Quite simply, this is the best Digital Leather record since Warm BrotherAll Faded is available as a download or CD from iTunes, Amazon and Spotify. The vinyl version doesn’t come out until this fall, but you can order it now from the label right here.

Sonically and lyrically, these two records couldn’t be more different, and yet they have one thing in common: You can understand every word of every lyric sung on both records.

It seems like a little thing — like a basic thing — but the majority of indie rock records these days sport vocals that are nothing more than indecipherable nuanced tone poems. To a lot of music fans, the words don’t matter, and that’s fine. They’re in it for the energy or the noise or the attitude, or in the case of “vibe” music or next-gen shoegaze, it’s all about the mood, the chord progressions, the drone. Fine.

But I’m at the point where if I can’t understand what the singer’s singing I blank out on the song. Maybe it’s a throwback attitude, or the fact that I grew up on songs that forced you to sing along. These days, there’s not much on Sirius XM (the only “radio” station I listen to that plays new music) that’s begs you to join in. Both of these records do. Go buy them.

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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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Digital Leather in Noisey (full album stream) and in The Reader; David Dondero, Electric Six tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:01 pm June 17, 2015
Digital Leather's Shawn Foree, left and Ben VanHoolandt.

Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree, left, and Ben VanHoolandt relax in The Nifty’s beer garden.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A rather lengthy feature/interview with Digital Leather came out a couple weeks ago in the June issue of The Reader. I’ve been sitting on it because the band’s new album, All Faded (FDH Records) won’t be released until next Tuesday, June 23. But since Noisey today began streaming the entire album I figured now is as good a time as any to point you to this rather controversial Reader article (It’s already receiving hate mail), online here.

The genesis of the story was an interview conducted in late May with Digital Leather frontman Shawn Foree, bassist Johnny Vredenburg and synth/keyboard player Ben VanHoolandt at classic midtown dive bar The Nifty. What ensued was two hours of interview, every second of it digitally recorded. The transcribed recording weighed in at just under 100 pages of single-spaced type, and reads like a twisted off-Broadway play. In fact, it dawned on me that it would be fun to recreate the interview verbatim on the Bluebarn stage, with the names changed to protect the innocent (of course).

Needless to say, I got to ask all the questions I’ve been dying to ask Foree and Co. since I began listening to Digital Leather shortly after Foree’s arrival in Omaha sometime around 2009, including why they don’t play songs off Warm Brother, the meaning behind their seminal anthem “Studs in Love,” and how Jay Reatard influenced Foree’s songwriting. The story also covers how the band first got together, the making of the new album, Foree’s pursuit of a Pitchfork review and future pursuits. It clocked in at just under 2,000 words and is a double-page spread in the current issue of The Reader. But, as I said, you can read it online here. Check it out, listen to the Noisey album stream, and buy a copy when the record hits shops next week. And get ready for DL’s performance at Dog Fest at O’Leaver’s June 27.

* * *

Speaking of fabulous O’Leaver’s, the club is in the midst of a rather busy week with shows nearly every night, including tonight when Dave Dondero headlines. I’m not sure what Dave’s been up to lately because his website hasn’t been updated since 2013, but it’s still worth a visit just to check out the sweet photo of a Union Pacific train rolling through dusty bluffs outside of Salt Lake City. Also on tonight’s bill is roots/punk rocker Al Scorch (Orange Twin Records). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Detroit funk/garage/novelty band Electric Six (XL, Metropolis) headlines at The Waiting Room with White Reaper. $13, 9 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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Omaha Gives to Hear Nebraska; Digital Leather, Gloom Balloon, Orenda Fink tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:03 pm May 20, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2015-05-20 at 12.56.32 PMOn this, the high holy holiday of local fundraising — Omaha Gives Day — I’m not going to get all “guilt trippy” except to say that if you’re a musician or you run a business that involves music or you’re a music fan, you really should take a second and make a donation to Hear Nebraska.

I’m not saying this just because (full disclosure) I’m a Hear Nebraska Board Member; I’m saying it because there isn’t any other organization in this state that does what HN does for local music — from first-rate promotion of local shows to music journalism to the org’s emerging role as an important resource for putting on local shows. And now with the Good Living Tour, HN is getting bands heard in the outer reaches of the state.

As Hear Nebraska continues to grow, I see it becoming an even more crucial resource for local bands and musicians, which are at the heart of what HN is trying to accomplish.

You can be a part of it. Just go to this page on the Omaha Gives website and make a donation of any size. You’ll feel good all over.

* * *

There’s a boatload of shows happening tonight.

Top of my list (of course) is Digital Leather at The Brothers Lounge. The band has a new record, All Faded (FDH Rcords) coming out June 23 that is arguably the best thing they’ve ever done, and is destined to be in my top-10 “favorites” list of 2015. This morning CMJ premiered the first track off the album, “Cold Inside,” which you can hear below.

See them perform it live tonight. Also on the bill is Indianapolis self-proclaimed “swampydeathrock” band We Are Hex. No cover listed, but probably $5. 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Iowa invades The Sydney with Des Moines bands Christopher the Conquered and Gloom Balloon. Gloom Balloon is the debut solo project by Patrick Tape Fleming, founder of semi-legendary indie rock band The Poison Control Center. Also on the bill is Omaha’s Bazile Mills. $8, 9 p.m.

Finally, there’s a big, free Omaha Gives showcase happening at The Slowdown tonight. On the bill: Orenda Fink, Louder than a Bomb, Opera Omaha, McCarthy Trenching and Super Ghost. The fun starts at 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Digital Leather, Plack Blague, Esme Patterson, Simon Joyner tonight; Big Al continues; Derby Birds Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 24, 2015
A frightening still from Plack Blague's 2014 video for "Boyz Club." The Blague plays tonight at O'Leaver's with Digital Leather.

A frightening still from Plack Blague’s 2014 video for “Boyz Club.” The Blague plays tonight at O’Leaver’s with Digital Leather.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

They’re calling it “The Leather Invasion.” Tonight Digital Leather returns to fabulous O’Leaver’s. On the heels of this week’s album announcement (and a brief tour that brought them to Austin), you can probably expect these guys to be playing new material from the forthcoming FDH release All Faded, out June 23. DL is opening (or so it seems) for the infamous Plack Blague, who must be seen and heard to be believed. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Friday night Simon Joyner opens for Denver singer/songwriter Esme Patterson at the Reverb Lounge. Patterson, who also is a member of Denver band Paper Bird, is touring in support of her new album, Woman to Woman (Greater Than), of which The New York Times said: “Her voice is wiry and candid, backed by arrangements that roll along the folk-country borderline.”  Also on the bill is Sean Pratt and the Sweats. $10, 9 p.m.

And don’t forget that Big Al’s Free Music Festival continues tonight and tomorrow night at The Hideout, 320 So. 72nd St. Admission is a can of food (it’s a food drive) and it starts at 8 p.m. Details and Friday and Saturday’s schedule are here.

Saturday night it’s back to O’Leaver’s for Derby Birds with Roxi Copland. $5, 9:30 p.m.

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

* * *

If you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. The 20-minute program features music by Wagon Blasters, Soft Moon, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger and music and an interview with Super Ghost, along with my picks for the best shows this weekend. Check it out below:

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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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Lazy-i Podcast April 22, 2015: Super Ghost interview; Soft Moon, Wagon Blasters, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:23 pm April 22, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Check out a brand new episode of the Lazy-i Podcast! In this week’s episode:

-– Desaparecidos and Digital Leather in music news.
— An interview and music from new-ish emo-ish rock band Super Ghost.
— Live Reviews and music from Soft Moon, Wagon Blasters, Blue Bird and Ladyfinger.
— The list of the hottest shows happening this weekend in Omaha.

It’s 20 wasted minutes of your life you’ll never get back, but who cares, it’s free. Check it out.

* * *

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: Digital Leather, White Mystery, Calm Fur; Of Montreal, Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:33 pm March 16, 2015
Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a weekend for sold out shows. Friday afternoon Icky Blossoms sold out its Slowdown Jr. gig — no surprise there. Then on Saturday afternoon, Criteria’s Reverb show that evening sold out. Again, not a surprise when you consider the capacity of the Reverb’s small performance space.

I ended up at Reverb Friday night for Digital Leather and White Mystery. First up was Jason Meyer’s latest creation, Calm Fur. First time I saw them a few months ago at Barley Street it was a gritty, noise-rock set — quite a contrast to Friday night’s set, which sounded more streamlined and pop-oriented. The band has tightened up everything, and the result is sublime. Meyer recently posted on Facebook that he’s no longer involved in his other project, Feel tight. Does that mean he’s dedicated his services to Fur?

There was a song about halfway through Digital Leather’s set that was a departure from their usual synth punk debauchery. The tune was, dare I say it, downright groovy, with a huge central hook. I tracked down one of the band members afterward, who told me the song was called “Gary…” off the band’s next album (I didn’t know they were working on a new record, but is DL frontman Shawn Foree ever not working on new music?).

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

DL rolled out a brand new song to start their set, something they said they wrote that afternoon — it was typical of their usual rough-hewn garage rock, bracing and hard. The rest of the set was selections from the last few records and were played with the usual DL panache. Keyboardist Todd Fink, who everyone thought would be a temporary piece of the DL puzzle, now fits in like just another one of the boys, adding backing vocals on a few songs. Is DL Fink’s main focus with The Faint apparently in limbo?

The set ended in classic fashion with a brutal version of “Studs in Love,” played by request from one of the band’s biggest fans (and it wasn’t me). Foree’s said before that he doesn’t like playing the song anymore. He was doing it for the fan. “Studs in Love” has become a staple of Digital Leather’s live set; I’ve heard at least three different arrangements of the song over the past couple years. Each time it gets a little more powerful.

White Mystery closed out the night. The brother-and-sister guitar-and-drum duo of Alex and Francis White roared through a set of monolithic garage-rockers. Who needs a bass player, anyway?

* * *

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Of Montreal with opening band Deerhoof. From the review of the Nov. 3, 2013, Of Montreal show at The Slowdown:

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

What kind of pageantry are you in for this time? Here’s what the band played Friday night in Chicago, I recognize at least one favorite. Tickets are $20 and the show 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Junkstock, Lincoln Calling weekend, Junior Prom tonight; The Hussy, Digital Leather, Manatees, Matt Whipkey Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:50 pm October 10, 2014
Digital Leather at The Waiting Room, 4/2/14.

Digital Leather at The Waiting Room back in April. They’re playing at The Sydney Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Weird weekend for music. Or maybe it just seems that way… Still, there’s a lot to choose from.

Junkstock is going on way out in West Yahoo Omaha. Lots of folksters playing, including good ol’ Brad Hoshaw. Get the details here. Runs today through Sunday.

Reverb is hosting an electro-dance party tonight with Elektra artist Junior Prom. JP is the New York electro-dance duo of Mark Solomich and Erik Ratensperger. Very poppy, very mainstream. I could see this one boiling over into the main bar (Jim, better just swing those doors open). Opening is local EDM duo Linear Symmetry. $10, 9 p.m.

Also tonight The Barley Street is hosting a Neil Young tribute. $5, 9 p.m.

And yes, Lincoln Calling continues all weekend. Details, sched at lincolncalling.com

Tomorrow night (Saturday) it’s an evening of “Punkwave” at The Sydney featuring some of your favorite punkwave artists including Digital Leather, The Hussy and Dumb Beach. And joining them, all the way from Memphis, is Manatees. $7. 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night Matt Whipkey and his band take their turn on the new Reverb stage. Joining them are The Brigadiers. $7, 9 p.m.

Down at Slowdown Jr. shimmering indie rockers King Washington headline. Joining them are Oketo , Lot Walks and Pretty Healthy. $6, 8:30 p.m.

That’s what I got. If I missed your gig, put it in the comments section. Have a good 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Scott Severin talks New York rock stars (in the column); The Hussy’s ‘Studs…’ gets an NSFW video;Simon Joyner, The Bruces, The Renderers tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:01 pm July 2, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, I touch base with Omaha singer/songwriter Scott Severin about Time Out New York’s list of New York City’s Top 10 All Time Greatest Rock Stars. Never one to mince words, Severin provides insight and Technicolor from the perspective of someone who lived there when it was all going down punk-wise. KISS and Richard Hell fans beware.

You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here. Many thanks to Scott for sharing his unique, relevant viewpoint.

* * *

Huffington Post premiered what it says is a NSFW (though I’m not sure why) video by The Hussy for their cover of Digital Leather’s “Studs in Love.”

Director Shane O’Neill said in the HuffPost article, “It’s hard for me to get excited about something unless there’s at least a trace element of something funny, and hearing Bobby whine that he likes hairy asses still makes me giggle. I wanted the video to reflect the song’s spirit of hyper-masculinity crossed with absurdity. And I wanted to make a pun on the word ‘stud.’

Check it out at here at HuffPost.

* * *

There’s a special night of music happening this evening at Almost Music in Benson. New Zealand legends The Renderers are topping a stellar bill that includes The Bruces (this is the farewell show for Alex McManus as he and his family head north) and Simon Joyner and The Ghosts, who will be playing material from the band’s upcoming album.

And if that wasn’t enough, Brad at Almost Music is offering 20 percent off all used vinyl tonight. $5 minimum donation, 7 p.m. start time.

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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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Shawn Foree’s new TIT; Tawny Peaks, Pinegrove tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:29 pm June 25, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One big long yawn this week musicwise.

In the news, Shawn Foree of Digital Leather is teaming up once again with Bobby Hussy of The Hussy to form a new project called TIT. The duo’s debut 12-inch is coming soon on Volar and FDH Records. Here’s hoping it’s not a flop (Get it?). You can follow TIT’s latest news on their Facebook page.

Like I said, this isn’t Foree’s and Hussy’s first team effort. They just released a split 12-inch (as DL / The Hussy) on Southpaw that is must-hear for any discerning synth-pop fan. The DL side is downright… romantic, a kind of/sort of collection of twisted love songs that shines a light on Foree the Balladeer. This is the most serene DL recording I’ve heard (I haven’t heard them all), and it still rocks. I wonder if Foree will ever perform this material live?

The Hussy side is a riot, and includes a cover of Digital Leather song “Studs in Love” that’s playful compared to DL’s original, quirky version (that appears on Blow Machine) and the gritty, brutal, desperate recent live DL performances of the song that could have been used in the soundtrack to an uncut version of Al Pacino’s “Cruising.” When Foree sings it these days, you believe him.

* * *

The Sydney tonight is hosting New Jersey indie band Tawny Peaks along with Jersey roots/garage rockers Pinegrove. MushMouth and The Boy and His Wolves also are on the bill $5, 9 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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The Faint weekend (tonight w/Solid Goldberg, Saturday w/Digital Leather); McCarthy Trenching, Derby Birds…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:38 pm June 13, 2014
The Faint's most recent unofficial band photo...

The Faint’s most recent unofficial band photo… They play tonight at Sokol Auditorium and Saturday night at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The three “F’s” are perfectly aligning tonight: Friday the 13th. Full Moon, and… The Faint at Sokol Auditorium. Be afraid, be very afraid.

I still don’t know why The Faint booked a second show for Saturday night at The Waiting Room. Conventional wisdom is that you book a second show when/if the first show sells out. But tonight’s show at Sokol ain’t sold out (though a few people I’ve talked to seem to think it is).

Tonight’s show features the legendary Solid Goldberg a.k.a. Dave Goldberg as the 8 p.m. opener. Goldberg, who you might remember from The Carsinogents (or Full Blown before that), is a consummate showman and one helluva talent. Do Not Be Late.

Playing both tonight and tomorrow night is Athens band Reptar (Vagrant Records). I’m not huge into Reptar, but they no doubt have their fans.

I am huge into Digital Leather, who plays the 8 p.m. opening slot tomorrow night (Saturday) at The Waiting Room. Expect to hear songs from their sublime new split LP they made with The Hussy. This likely means that Faint frontman Todd Fink will be pulling double-duty Saturday as he also plays keyboards in DL. The Faint at The Waiting Room is something not to miss (though I’ll probably miss it as I’m a cheap-ass bastard and couldn’t get on the list for the show).

Based on their setlist from their June 8 Roxy show in West Hollywood, expect a good blend of classic Faint songs along with new material from new album Doom Abuse. Todd said the band has a cool new LED-panel-driven light show that is sure to dazzle. You may just want to go ahead and buy your tickets now in case it, you know sells out.

There’s not much else indie-music-wise happening this weekend.

Tomorrow night (Saturday), McCarthy Trenching returns to the stage at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining him are Lars and Mal. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tomorrow night (Saturday) The Derby Birds open for Edge of Arbor at The Barley Street Tavern along with Township & Range and Ojai. $5, 9 p.m.

And, of course, there’s that whole College World Series thing that will be tying up downtown Omaha for the next couple weeks. If you’re stuck down there and don’t have tickets to a game, you can always hang out at the many booze tents scattered throughout NoDo (including The Slowdown’s).

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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