Who is Speedy Ortiz and why are they playing at West Wing? Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:07 pm July 17, 2013
Screen capture from the Speedy Ortiz video for "Tiger Tank." The band is playing tonight at West WIng.

Screen capture from the Speedy Ortiz video for “Tiger Tank.” The band is playing tonight at West Wing.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Good ol’ Pitchfork. Some of the shit that they’ve pushed to the top of the list has, indeed, been shit. And though their reviews are hit and miss, music fans have no choice but to take Pitchfork seriously since it’s the default “house organ” of the indie music scene. In fact Pitchfork has become so successful, the folks behind the website recently launched a new film review website called The Dissolve, so now you can get that famous Pitchfork point of view about the movies opening this weekend (though The Dissolve will never have the impact on the film industry that Pitchfork has had on the indie music industry…).

Anyway… I say all this because I do keep an eye on Pitchfork if only to help guide my Spotify listening habits (though these days I almost exclusively rely on review aggregator Album of the Year for that need), and noticed they got it right when they lauded the new release from Massachusetts band Speedy Ortiz called Major Arcana (Carpark). The record already was at the top of my personal music-listening list before it was ordained with Pitchfork‘s “Best New Music” status, scoring a massive 8.4 rating

For me, Speedy Ortiz conjures comparisons to Guyville-era Liz Phair (but much heavier), Breeders, Pavement… It will end up on my “favorites of 2013” list.  If you haven’t heard their stuff, check out the YouTube vid at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, before the Pitchfork review came out, Speedy Ortiz booked its current tour, which consists mostly of small rooms and house shows, like the one going on tonight at West Wing here in Omaha. If you don’t know what West Wing is, well, look it up on The Google. The band now has a booking agent and are likely to play more “traditional” venues the next time they come through (though the band comes out of the Boston DIY basement scene which they love, and I’m told has played at West Wing before).

I’m still trying to figure out a game plan for going to tonight’s show. As I’ve said many times before, whenever I go to a house show everyone thinks I’m a cop, or someone’s dad come to spy on his son/daughter, and I can’t blame them as I’m usually old enough to be the father of most people in the room… No idea when this starts, who else is playing or how much it costs, but if you see someone who you think looks like a narc in the crowd, be sure to say hello.

If you don’t feel like going to a house show, Melvins are playing tonight at The Waiting Room. This is being billed as their “30th Anniversary Tour,” and features the core band of King Buzzo and Dale Crover. Honky (ex-Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus’ band) opens. $17, 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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2013 Predictions Pt. 2 — Headed underground, and the rebirth of regional; first quarter releases…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:32 pm January 2, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So with last year’s predictions in the books, it’s time to gaze into my mystical, magical crystal Marshall amp to unveil visions of the coming days, weeks and months, starting with the global premonitions for 2013:

Some could argue that indie music in Omaha peaked in the early 2000s but maintained a strong presence throughout the decade right up to the pre-20-teens. But it was only a matter of time before the erosion of the music industry began to take its toll both locally and on a national scale.

At a time when musicians depend on live performance income more than ever, next year larger clubs will begin to slope down the number of indie shows they book in favor of more commercial fare, such as cover bands and mainstream-style pop acts (Some say it’s already begun).

That isn’t going to stop indie bands from touring. Instead, it will force them to find other options, effectively driving indie music back underground. Just like in the early ‘90s, next year we’ll begin to see a revival of shows hosted at alternative venues, including hall shows, house shows and temporary one-off venues — anywhere local promoters can find a stage for bands to play.

The underground trajectory will touch all facets of indie music. For example, the dream of signing with a record label and “breaking big” has all but disappeared as labels have become little more than PR firms with musician clients. While there’s still value to being signed to a mid-level label (especially for touring), a new, unfortunate music distribution model will become more commonplace, one that involves bands giving away their music as free downloads in the hopes of generating income from vinyl and merch sales.

As a result of these gloomy financial prospects, the number of viable touring indie bands will dwindle as it becomes painfully obvious that it’s nearly impossible for even nationally known bands to make a living solely from their music. Day jobs will become the norm for bands who before survived solely on album and touring income.

With touring becoming less of a realistic possibility for bands, watch for a revitalization of local and regional music scenes. Instead of waiting for them to come to their hometowns, fans will begin to venture to their favorite bands’ hometowns to attend their local shows. Under this model, a music district such as Benson could become a true destination spot for music fans, but only if more venues open along Maple Street and an enterprising entrepreneur decides to build lodging (hotel, etc.) nearby.

In the end, 2013 will be a bleak survival test for nearly all indie bands unless something big happens that shakes up the music industry and makes listening to music “something special” all over again. Like punk, grunge, and hip-hop, a new major music style is due to emerge that will change everything. But don’t look for it next year…

Pretty grim stuff, but it ain’t all bad news. Tomorrow: Predictions Pt. 3: The Lightning Round.

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Some more perspective on yesterday’s comment about vinyl sales growing 16 percent in 2012: Third Man Records announced that the top-selling vinyl LP in 2012 was Jack White’s Blunderbuss, selling a grand total of 33,000 copies. By contrast in 2011 (2012 numbers aren’t out yet), Adele’s 21 album sold 5.8 million copies.

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Metacritic has a tentative schedule of first quarter new indie releases. Highlights include new Yo La Tengo Jan. 15, Tegan and Sarah Jan. 29, Johnny Marr Feb. 26 and Low March 19. And let’s not forget new Big Harp out Jan. 22 and Ladyfinger Feb. 5.

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Lazy-i Best of 2012

Lazy-i Best of 2012

Speaking of Ladyfinger, a track off their new disc is among the offerings on the Lazy-i Best of 2012 sampler CD. Other tracks include songs by Tame Impala, Cat Power, PUJOL, Millions of Boys, First Aid Kit, Twin Shadow, Desaparecidos, The Intelligence, Violens, Paul Banks, Ty Segall Band and lots more. The full track listing is here (scroll to the bottom). Enter the drawing to win a free copy by sending an email with your name and mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry! Deadline is Jan. 15.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.