Icky Blossoms at Earth Day in Elmwood Park, April 21, 2012.
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
By now you’ve heard the news about this year’s MAHA Music Festival. Four bands were announced last night, with more to come.
The bands: Garbage, Desaparecidos, Josh Rouse and Icky Blossoms.
Garbage is quite a catch. Other than a handful of U.S. dates this month and into early May, the band will tour primarily in Europe throughout the summer, sneaking in the MAHA appearance Aug. 11 just prior to heading to Japan. In other words, as of now Garbage is skipping the entire summer U.S. festival season, giving MAHA something of an exclusive.
If you’re too young to remember Garbage, the band scored a couple hits in the mid-’90s with “Stupid Girl” and “Only Happy When It Rains,” which still get airplay on the better radio stations throughout the country. Their last album was ’05’s Bleed Like Me. Now they’re back with a new album, Not Your Kind of People, which comes out May 14 on STUNVOLUME, their own label. The first single, “Blood for Poppies,” leaked about a month ago, continues the band’s brash alt rock sound. Check it out below:
Garbage, “Blood for Poppies”:
Desaparecidos is the mysterious band referenced in my last blog entry (As Desaparepussies). The guys played at Conor Oberst’s Concert for Equality in Benson in 2010, so this isn’t exactly a bolt-out-of-the-blue reunion. Regardless, as of now, MAHA is the only scheduled date for the band, and that alone makes it special. I’m highly doubtful this will be the only Desa show. There’s never been a better time for Oberst and Co. to reform as we enter a rather important political cycle. Are there any other significant political bands out there these days?
Josh Rouse is a singer/songwriter born in Paxton, NE, who now lives in Tennessee. He’s sort of a poor man’s Freedy Johnston, but certainly has his followers, especially in Europe.
Then there’s Icky Blossoms, who is being billed as “headlining the local stage,” which I guess means they play last on the small stage prior to the big stage headliners. I practically begged MAHA to book Icky Blossoms last year and (of course) they ignored me. I can’t say’s I blame them. MAHA is paying more attention to the band now that they’re signed to Saddle Creek. Funny how that happens.
MAHA has at least two more main stage bands to announce May 6. If you’re scratching your head wondering where the “new bands” are (Because let’s face it, all three bands announced yesterday had their heydays at least a decade ago), I have a suspicion the next announcement will fill that void. We’ll all just have to wait and see. As it stands, it’s not a bad start. Red Sky would have been lucky to get either Garbage or Desa (or Icky Blossoms). Instead, Red Sky confirmed that it’s cutting back its festival from 6 to 4 days this year. There are rumors that Red Sky’s local and smaller-band day stages in the parking lot also may be nixed this year as the “festival” continues to devolve into a country-music/hair metal concert series that competes with, what, county fairs?
More MAHA info at their website.
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Speaking of Icky Blossoms, I caught their set at Earth Day Saturday afternoon in Elmwood Park. The band gets better every time I see them play. Imagine what they’ll sound like when they become road-hardened? Sarah Bohling continues to become more confident handling the vocals. Someone pointed out that she has a “tonal” voice — a mid-range mumble that cuts through the chaos, a grounding contrast to the pulsing rhythm section and grinding, squealing guitars. The added jet fuel of bassist Saber Blazek and drummer Clark Baechle now ratchet everything past 11. Prepare for liftoff, MAHA. The band has evolved to a perfect unit, though recent news that The Faint are reforming brings up obvious questions about how Baechle can be active in both bands. He’s the best drummer in the area, and is irreplaceable in both projects.
Bohling’s vocals are especially prime on Icky’s new single, “Babes” b/w “Chicas,” released Saturday as part of national Record Store Day. Between the two sides, I’ll take “Chicas” every time. There’s just something about the Spanish-language version that makes the song more lurid. The production by David Sitek throbs like a sweaty after-hours dance floor in Miami by way of Los Angeles (where it was recorded). Based on just this single, Icky Blossoms could be Saddle Creek’s biggest new signing since Tokyo Police Club. It comes down to how the label promotes the album, and, of course, touring, which is the biggest question mark about the band. Derek Pressnall, Nik Fackler and Baechle all are involved in two bands (Pressnall has Tilly and the Wall, Facker has InDreama and Baechle, The Faint). Not to mention Pressnall’s family obligations (he and wife wife Jamie (formerly of Tilly and the Wall) just had their second child) and Fackler’s film making career, which could reignite at any moment. Something tells me they’ll figure it all out.
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My only other Record Store Day purchases were copies of The Mynabirds’ “Generals” single and the new PUJOL single “Reverse Vampire.” The PUJOL song is better than anything off their Creek debut EP; I’m looking forward to their upcoming full length. I also picked up a copy of the Bright Eyes/Super Furry Animals 7-inch remixed by Danger Mouse that was offered at the Saddle Creek Shop. To my knowledge, this single was never released, and is quite a find.
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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s Interscope pop band Imagine Dragons with local boys Skypiper. $12, 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.