Live Review: Neva Dinova’s last hurrah; 2014: The Year in Music (favorite albums, shows)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:11 pm December 24, 2014
Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2014.

Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, Dec. 23, 2014.

by Tim McMahan,

Is there a more beloved local indie band than Neva Dinova? I have yet to meet anyone who has met Jake Bellows who didn’t want to be his friend. Well, last night hundreds of those friends were at The Slowdown to soak in all the goodness that was — and is — Neva Dinova one last time.

It was not a sell out, but it was crowded. Neva came on at around 11 — the full band with Roger Lewis on drums. The set started a bit rough, but what do you expect from a band that hasn’t played live in six years? One of the three guitars was out of tune, or at least that’s what I thought I heard from my usual “big room” vantage point off stage left. Whatever it was fixed itself by the next song, and as the set rolled on, the band sounded tighter and tighter.

Neva Dinova always was fun to watch but I don’t remember them sounding this massive back in the old days. The band takes advantage of all those guitars, creating a mountain that Bellows can stand atop either with his vocals or his white-knuckle guitar solos. For every quiet sleeper of a song there’s also a fun shuffle and a monstrous epic.  Last night’s set list did a good job of varying the different styles and dynamics.

Conor Oberst joined the band for a handful of songs.

Conor Oberst joined the band for a handful of songs.

The addition of special guests also kept the hour-plus-long set rolling. Drummer Bo Anderson took over the drum set midway through for a couple songs, returning for two more songs during the encore. The Good Life’s Ryan Fox dropped in for one song, while cellist April Faith-Slaker added texture to a couple numbers including a rich version of “Tryptophan.”

And then out of nowhere — looking like a hitch-hiker who just stepped off the road — came Conor Oberst to relive a few tracks off the Bright Eyes / Neva Dinova split, opening with Bright Eyes song “Spring Cleaning” before joining in on a couple Neva numbers.

But the evening’s highlight didn’t come until that four-song encore. The band ended the evening with heart-rending revivals of classics “Clouds” off 2008’s You May Already Be Dreaming, and “Dances Fantastic” from their 2002 self-titled debut. You couldn’t ask for anything more, except maybe another reunion of this band next Christmas. If that doesn’t happen (and it’s unlikely that it will) there was no better way to put a bow on top of this band’s career than what we heard last night.

* * *

Now it’s time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and soak in my annual Year in Review article. Consider it my present to you. It also appears in today’s issue of The Reader and is also online right here. The tone starts off rather bleak, but it picks up later on. This also includes my annual “favorites” list of 2014 recordings and live shows. Enjoy.

2014: The Year in Music

The one word that comes to mind when looking back at the past year in music: Survival.

Or, more accurately, the question: How will musicians survive? It finally started to dawn on people about halfway through the year that Spotify is really fucking things up.

I don’t know how independent musicians are going to make money in the future. Income from album sales appears to be drying up, for everyone. It’s even hurting the major labels. When platinum-selling mega-nerd Taylor Swift said she wasn’t going to allow her music on Spotify, non-musicians started paying attention, and the issues surrounding music streaming services briefly became the fodder for network morning shows, painting a defiant Swift as a voice of reason in an era when artists have seemingly been forced to give away their wares.

A few fellow superstars followed Swift boycotting Spotify, but in the end, the streaming service kept bumbling along. Spotify truly is the poison apple in the Garden of Eden. We all know Spotify’s instant access to millions of albums is nothing less than a salt-block of evil. We know using Spotify probably contributes to killing off indie labels naive enough to release their artists’ music to the service. We’ve all heard stories about the bands that got a 27 cent Spotify royalty check in the mail.

And yet, we can’t help ourselves. We keep reaching for our smart phones, putting in our earbuds and taking a bite out of that shiny green apple. Who’s killing the music industry? We are. You and I and anyone who uses Spotify, Pandora, Songza and other music streaming services, but god help us, we can’t stop ourselves.

Spotify isn’t going away, so young bands can wave goodbye to substantial income from record sales. Musicians will have to survive off performance income and T-shirt sales. Merch. I’ve been told that’s the way it always was supposed to be, that the pre-internet years of records sales (where, in reality, only a handful of artists made big money and the labels took home the lion’s share) were an aberration. That the new music model revolves around musicians giving away their music to grow an audience that will come to their shows when they hit the road.

So says Foo Fighter Dave Grohl, a guy who already made his millions during better days. Grohl, as quoted in online music site Stereogum:

You want people to fucking listen to your music? Give them your music. And then go play a show. They like hearing your music? They’ll go see a show. To me it’s that simple, and I think it used to work that way. When we were young and in really noisy, crappy punk rock bands there was no career opportunity and we loved doing it and people loved fucking watching it and the delivery was completely face to face and personal. That’s what got people really excited about shit. Nowadays there’s so much focus on technology that it doesn’t really matter.

I wonder what “noisy, crappy punk rock bands” Grohl is referring to. Have you heard the new Foo Fighters record?

Anyway, for those musicians who never tour, making music is turning into a hobby — something to do on weekends, a reason to hang with your bro’s. If they’re any good, these hobbyist bands might play local shows where they’ll make enough money to pay off the evening’s bar tab — if they get paid at all. There are those who will still reach for bigger things, who contemplate getting “signed” or even touring, but fewer and fewer will ever make that leap regardless of how talented they are.

Why? It just costs too much money. Sure, recording music and putting it online is now within everyone’s reach, but touring, well, that’s expensive and time consuming. There is a handful of Nebraska bands talented enough to attract a national audience, but they never will because they’ll never tour. They’ll put their music online and wait for the phone to ring. Call them lazy, but the fact is despite their dreams they still need to feed themselves and their families. They need to survive.

Holy shit, that sounds bleak. And every year that I write these “year in review” articles it just gets bleaker, yet we’re all still here, listening to music.

Two good things to consider from 2014:

First, the number of music venues in Omaha continues to increase (supporting that idea that performance income is the only real musicians’ income). Classy Benson bar/music venue Reverb Lounge opened this past fall and joined an already crowded Omaha music venue population that includes The Waiting Room, The Slowdown, O’Leaver’s, Barley Street Tavern, The Sydney, 402 Collective, The Sweatshop, PS Collective, and good ol’ Sokol. In all my years I can’t remember there being more places for musicians to perform.

Secondly, while music sales continue ever downward, reaching out of the grave is old-fashioned vinyl records. It’s strange when more people are excited about the format of their music than what the format contains. Vinyl is everything, at least to serious music fans, but it’s still only a sliver of total music sales.

Last week the Wall Street Journal reported LP sales surged 49 percent last year and that factories are struggling to keep pace, but in the end, vinyl sales represent only 2 percent of U.S. music sales (*sad trombone*). To the great unwashed masses feverishly downloading the latest Taylor Swift teen-wank fodder, the trend toward vinyl has gone unnoticed. They don’t even know what a record player looks like, let alone how to use one.

There is a third “good thing” to consider: The music itself. Here’s the list of my favorite albums of 2014. Notice I didn’t say “best albums”? These aren’t “the best” (whatever that means), they’re the ones I enjoyed the most, which means the new records by Beck, St. Vincent and U2 didn’t make the cut because, well, I didn’t like them.

benjiSun Kil Moon, Benji (Caldo Verde) — The best My favorite Mark Kozelek record, a collection of haunting personal elegies about living and dying (but mostly dying).

jagbagStephen Malkmus and the Jicks, Wig Out at Jagbags (Matador) — Continuing the smooth melodicism that Malkmus escaped to after leaving Pavement. Sublime.

spoonsoulSpoon, They Want My Soul (Loma Vista) — Laid-back indie rock from a veteran.

angelAngel Olsen, Burn Your Fire for No Witness (Jagjaguwar) — Alt-country meets indie rock, an exquisite combination.

doomabuseThe Faint, Doom Abuse (SQE Music) — Local boys return to form. Where have you been, lads?

strandStrand of Oaks, Heal (Dead Oceans) — Raw reflections of nostalgia in the rock age.

lupinesoverThe Lupines, Over the Moon (Speed! Nebraska) — From a Nebraska garage comes the wolfen.

alvvaysAlvvays, self-titled (Polyvinyl / Transgressive) — Chiming indie pop is a salvation.

The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian) — There’s nothing wrong with imitating Dylan and Dire Straits when it sounds like this.

singlesFuture Islands, Singles (4AD) — More than just fancy dance moves, fancy synth moves.

protomartyunderProtomartyr, Under Color of Official Right (Hardly Art) — Proto-punk with a bitter, bitter heart.

And then there were the rock shows. It was another great year for live music. Here are my favorite rock memories of 2014:

The Front Bottoms, The Waiting Room, Jan. 12 — Their sound was reminiscent of some of my favorite humor-inflected bands of the ‘90s and ’00s — Atom and his Package, Fountains of Wayne, Too Much Joy, Mountain Goats, Dismemberment Plan, The Hold Steady, The Decemberists — bands that write smart, funny, self-referential lyrics that anyone can relate to.

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, The Waiting Room, Feb. 16 — It was like a mini Pavement reunion for an over-the-top rendition of “Unfair” off Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain that featured special guest Bob Nastanovich contributing his classic yelling. The rest of the show was almost as special.

Neutral Milk Hotel, Sokol Auditorium, March 29 — Fans I spoke to never expected to see this band play again, let alone play in Omaha. And here they were, playing their best songs spot-on with every nuance from the original recording.

St. Vincent, Sokol Auditorium, April 1 — It looked and felt forced and uncomfortable, purposely rigid and thoroughly counter to the loose-and-rough spontaneity of rock. Instead, it was more of an attempt at art rock, but without the limitlessness of a Laurie Anderson.

Warpaint, The Waiting Room, April 2 — Their sound was equal parts ethereal mood music and beat-driven dance fodder, with sweet vocals by all four musicians — and when all four harmonized, well, bliss.

Deleted Scenes, Slowdown Jr., May 1 — The highlight was that closing number, “You Get to Say Whatever You Want,” when Dan Scheuerman walked into the crowd and touched foreheads with a couple innocent bystanders, performing a mortifying rock ‘n’ roll mind meld.

Morrissey, Rococo Theater, May 20 — Needless to say, there were a lot of pissed-off people walking out of The Rococo after Morrissey refused an encore. While I would have liked to hear a couple more songs, the decision to play is squarely on his shoulders, and if he wasn’t feeling it, that’s the way it goes.

Conor Oberst, Sokol Auditorium, June 4 — Fueling the energy was Dawes, a masterful four-piece that gave every song heft and soul. The band sounded so much like early Jackson Browne you would have sworn that was David Lindley playing those guitar solos and Craig Doerge tapping out the glowing keyboard fills.

The Faint, Sokol Auditorium, June 12 — From the floor, it’s all about the dancing, or more accurately, hopping since no one’s really dancing. They’re bouncing or “humping” to the electro-throb. Those in the middle of the mob became part of the collective body grooving where the Sokol’s oak floor had (apparently) been replaced with a trampoline.

Matthew Sweet / Tommy Keene, O’Leaver’s, July 30 — It was nothing less than a dream come true for Matthew Sweet fans. There he was, literally steps in front of them, surrounded by a top-notch band playing all of his “greatest hits” one after the other in fine voice. As Sweet said, it was like playing a gig in someone’s living room.

Maha Music Festival, Stinson Park, Aug. 17 —  It was a good, though rather exhausting, day thanks to humid weather and a loaded line-up that made it hard to sneak away to re-energize.

Future Islands, The Waiting Room, Aug. 28 — You did not hear Samuel T. at his best. His vocals were ragged from the very start, often breaking down to choked whispers.

Sebadoh, Reverb Lounge, Sept. 28 — Barlow’s getting shaggy in his old age, with a big head of hair and a massive beard. His voice was as good as ever (when I could hear it). Loewenstein also was in fine form (especial on his personal anthem, “My Drugs”), despite suffering from a tooth ache. Ouch.

Iceage, Slowdown Jr., Oct. 27 — The performance seemed like a captured moment in time, and I felt lucky to be there. Iceage is a band burning brightly. But like all bright flames, how long will it last?

Twin Peaks, Midtown Art Supply, Nov. 25 — Twin Peaks’ music is rowdy up-beat rock that borders on garage surf, but there is a precision to it that puts it on another level.

Ritual Device / Cellophane Ceiling, The Waiting Room, Dec. 26 — Two of the most anticipated reunions ever, straight out of Nebraska’s first Golden Age of indie rock.

First published in The Reader, Dec. 23, 2014. Copyright © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

* * *

Have a Merry Christmas. See you Friday at The Waiting Room…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


One night only: Neva Dinova tonight at The Slowdown w/Twinsmith…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:53 pm December 23, 2014

by Tim McMahan,

I’m simply reiterating what I posted yesterday: tonight is the Neva Dinova reunion show at The Slowdown. If you’re a fan of the band (or even if you’ve never heard of them) you should go there for this one-and-done show that may never be repeated.

It’s a big show: Opening is Twinsmith, The Both and Outlaw Con Bandana. With most of us having tomorrow off, you have no excuse for not attending. Plus, it’s only $10. Starts early, 8 p.m. And this is the last big show until after Christmas.

I’ll be back tomorrow with the annual Year in Review entry (which also appears in this week’s issue of The Reader), which includes my list of favorite albums from 2014 and favorite shows. See you then…

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Jake Bellows talks about the return of Neva Dinova (Tuesday night at Slowdown); Live Review: Son, Ambulance…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:49 pm December 22, 2014
Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

Neva Dinova circa a long time ago (but not that long). The band reunites Tuesday night at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan,

Somewhere in the past few years, Christmas week became thee time for local rock band reunions. I’m not sure when this began. The concert poster on the wall in my office is for a show dated Dec. 26, 1993, featuring Ritual Device, Mercy Rule, Secret Skin, Frontier Trust, Clayface and End Crowns All (holy shit, six bands), all of which were very much active and not “reuniting” in 1993.

This week, we’re all going to see and hear Ritual Device reunite on The Waiting Room stage, exactly 21 years to the day of that amazing concert at the Capitol Bar and Grill.

But before that, tomorrow night (Tuesday) we’ll all be at a reunion of Neva Dinova at The Slowdown, which isn’t really a reunion, because I’m not sure Neva Dinova ever officially broke up. They’re still listed as “active” on the Saddle Creek website. And Neva Dinova frontman Jake Bellows confirmed the band never did really call it quits.

“Our last show was in December 2008,” said Jake just before band practice last Wednesday evening. “We never issued a press release about breaking up. Everyone had other important things going on. They were trying to sort out careers that would provide enough money to raise babies. We just couldn’t afford to be in a band anymore.”

That date on that show poster — 1993 — also was the year Neva Dinova first started playing together, but the line-up that’s performing Tuesday night first came together in 1999 at a now infamous gig at Grandmother’s Restaurant on 84th and L streets. You can read about that show (which included guest drumming by Conor Oberst, and Todd and Clark Baechle) in this 2001 Lazy-i interview with the band, written shortly after their self-titled, self-released album came out.

That line-up is back: Bellows, bassist/vocalist Heath Koontz, guitarist Tim Haes and guitarist Mike Kratky. Drummer Bo Anderson (who was tending bar at Grandmothers that fateful night in 1999) also will play Tuesday night on a handful of songs, along with most recent drummer Roger Lewis (The Good Life, Oquoa). Both Anderson and Lewis are credited on the 2004 Neva Dinova/Bright Eyes split, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels (originally released on Crank! but reissued years later by Saddle Creek).

“We’ve been looking for an excuse to play together again for a long time just for fun,” Bellows said. “Since everyone’s going to be in town, it seemed to make the most sense. We needed to make time to practice because we knew we were gonna need it.”

Bellows said Haes has the most rust of any of the band members… literally. “The strings on his guitar were literally rusty,” Bellows said. “I think he does all his playing in the rain.”

Bellows said for this gig the band has been thinking of itself as a Neva Dinova cover band. “The nature of this show is unusual,” he said. “Before, we just played what we wanted to play. In this case, the whole point is to get back together, and we felt like we should play songs people want to hear that we haven’t played or didn’t want to play before.”

That meant coming up with the quintessential Neva Dinova play list. “We’ve got 20 songs on the list, maybe 25,” Bellows said. “We’re kind of deciding what we think sounds cool.”

I threw out “Tryptophan” and “Supercomputer” as two possibilities; Bellows verbally nodded his head. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if they make the cut.

Those who might wonder if this is the beginning of something bigger, Bellows assured me the show is a one-time thing. He’s called Echo Park in central Los Angeles home for four years. “LA is fine,” he said. “I miss everyone back home and come back five or six times a year.”

As for his solo career, Bellows said he has a bunch of new songs that will either be on a Jake Bellows record or recorded under a different band name. “Naming a band after yourself is weird,” he said.

Tomorrow night’s show is rather big in scale. Playing with Neva Dinova is the latest addition to the Saddle Creek Records roster, Twinsmith, along with local faves Outlaw Con Bandana and hip-hop act The Both. This 8 p.m. show is happening on Slowdown’s big stage. Get your $10 tickets here.

Son, Ambulance at O'Leaver's Dec. 20, 2014.

Son, Ambulance at O’Leaver’s Dec. 20, 2014.

Saturday night’s Son, Ambulance gig at O’Leaver’s wasn’t a reunion, though it felt like one (maybe because Dereck Higgins was back on bass). The band had a new sway in its step, a pronounced swing that it lacked in its prior, more stoic form in year’s past. Their set included old and new, but all of it sounded new to me. I credit a more relaxed Joe Knapp, the band’s mastermind, songwriter and frontman. In the old days, Joe always looked nervous — or at the very least tense — on stage, as if he was expecting something to go wrong at any moment.

Saturday night Joe looked and sounded like a guy having a good time playing his music with a large group of friends, despite the technical glitches that hampered the first three songs (including a keyboard that refused to play).

Son, Ambulance's Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Son, Ambulance’s Joe Knapp, left, and James Cuato.

Knapp always has reminded me of Elvis Costello at his most playful, but even more so now. Maybe his confidence comes by way of a solid band built on the bedrock rhythm section of Higgins and drummer David Ozinga. A bongo player also was crammed into one corner, though you couldn’t hear him. Dylan Strimple handled electric guitar, but the most arresting moments were between James Cuato on sax and flute and cellist April Faith-Slaker. Their layered interplay added a whole new dimension to the band.

BTW, if you’re counting, that’s six people crammed onto O’Leaver’s tiny “stage” area, and I’m told that wasn’t even the entire band — a few were missing, including Joe’s brother Daniel.

Everything came together for funky set closer “Copper Lady” with a back beat that bordered on blues rock. So hot was this number that the band brought it back for a crowd-demanded pseudo encore.

Rather than a reunion, Saturday night sounded like a rebirth for Son, Ambulance. The band has a new energy. I’m told they’ve got at least six new songs recorded and ready to go (including a version of that aforementioned “Copper Lady”). When and where those tracks eventually show up is anyone’s guess. Saddle Creek, who put out past Son, Ambulance records, hasn’t mentioned the band in regards to future releases, though I believe they’d be wise to welcome them back to the active roster.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Jake Bellows video; Vic Padios tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:46 pm June 19, 2014
The cosmos, brought to you by Jake Bellows.

The cosmos, brought to you by Jake Bellows.

by Tim McMahan,

A short one today.

Jake Bellows last week released the following new video for the title track of his most recent album, New Ocean (Saddle Creek, 2013), that looks like a low-fi version of Cosmos combined with hallucinogenics. Enjoy:

* * *

Tonight at The Barley Street Vic Padios (The Brigadiers) and Low Long Signal open for Thayne Coleman (of Wichita band The Travel Guide). $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Loessfest is a lost opportunity; Jake Bellows, McCarthy Trenching, Dereck Higgins tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:00 pm April 30, 2014
Jake Bellows performs tonight at Slowdown Jr.

Jake Bellows performs tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan,

Kevin Coffey yesterday got the scoop on this year’s “Loessfest” at River’s Edge Park. Maybe they should rename it Lostfest because the way they’re using that amazing park is a real loss (Get it?) for folks who live on either side of the river.

This year’s “big” concert — Three Dog Night, The Guess Who and Loverboy May 25. Wow. I thought Omaha’s Memorial Park concert featuring Blues Traveller and Smashmouth couldn’t be beat for all-out craptacular-ness, but once again Council Bluffs and its gambling money trumps us all.

No, I’m not surprised by the lackluster line-up. Well, maybe just a little. When River’s Edge Park launched last year I thought the venue might be a game-changer, especially after they announced that it would host the Playing with Fire Concert Series featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings. Even though Jones and Co. ended up cancelling due to medical reasons, there was hope that someone calling the shots might be a little more, let’s say ‘progressive’ then what we’ve come to expect from organizers of large free park concerts (i.e., Memorial Park). Instead, here we are with three dinosaur acts that would fit right in playing Stir’s county fair concert series…

It’s a shame because River’s Edge Park would have been the perfect location for a massive, quality outdoor concert series akin to the Maha Festival. I guess it’s a Loess cause…

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s the return of Omaha ex-pat Jake Bellows. Jake’s been on the road supporting his 2013 Saddle Creek release New Ocean. Joining him is the incomparable McCarthy Trenching. $8, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, local legend Dereck Higgins performs at MarQ Manner’s Library Pub Wednesday night songwriters’ series. Joining him is Dave Mainelli. 8 p.m. and FREE.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bellows out with Margot; Solid Goldberg, Polanski’s Baby, Joyner’s Ghosts at Film Streams tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:06 pm March 27, 2014
Solid Goldberg from May 2011. He's playing tonight at The Brother's Lounge.

Solid Goldberg from May 2011. He’s playing tonight at The Brother’s Lounge.

by Tim McMahan,

Former Nebraska resident now Cali-dude Jake Bellows snagged a sweet opening slot on the Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s tour, which comes to Omaha and The Slowdown May 11. Margot’s solid fan base will get more ears behind Jake’s latest album, New Ocean, released on Saddle Creek late last year.

* * *

It was pointed out to me yesterday that The Faint’s new record already is available on vinyl. Pick up a copy at Homer’s.

* * *

There’s a lot going on tonight…

Over at The Brothers Lounge Omaha legend Solid Goldberg a.k.a. Dave Goldberg headlines a show with KC band Burial Teens, who call their genre of music “Head-Wave.” It’s some heavy shit. Opening is the always entertaining Killer Blow. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight down the street at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Nashville band Roman Polanski’s Baby, which sound guy Ian says are “so f***ing good.” Don’t make me wash your mouth out with soap, Ian. Also on the bill is Manic Pixie Dream Girls and Megajoos. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Blue Bird headlines a show at The Barley Street Tavern with Buffalo Rodeo (Bowling Green, KY) and Township & Range. $5, 9 p.m.

And finally, Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1927 film The Lodger featuring live music by The Ghost Collective, headed by Simon Joyner.

Says Simon: “The band is made up of Mike Friedman, Megan Siebe, Kevin Donahue, myself, and my friend Michael Krassner who produced and played on all my records from Yesterday Tomorrow and In Between to Out Into the Snow. He flew in from Phoenix just for this.”

Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. Should be special.

* * *

Speaking of Film Streams, I give it a shout out in this week’s column, which talks about how television and living rooms are winning out over motion pictures and theaters. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online at right here.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Jake Bellows gets kudos from Paste, Interview magazines…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm August 12, 2013
Bellows photo from Interview Magazine

Bellows photo from Interview Magazine

by Tim McMahan,

My weekend report: The only live music I heard was a band playing Johnny Cash covers at the Cass County Fair in Weeping Water Friday night. Not bad at all…

* * *

Of the recent spate of new local-themed releases, Jake Bellows’ Saddle Creek debut, New Ocean, is getting the most notice, and the most press.

Jake was featured in Interview magazine last week. Read it here.

And now comes this massive 8.1 rating and review in Paste Magazine, which concluded with this accolade:

“It’s clear after a listen to the first song that Bellows’ brief sidestep into blue-collar anonymity was not where he belonged. In fact, New Ocean sounds like a surging rebirth to one of underground rock’s most overlooked songwriters. Welcome back.”

Welcome back indeed. It’s high time the national music taste-makers discover what the rest of us have known all along…

* * *

Lot’s o’ stuff happening.

This is Maha Music Festival week. As such, I’ll be posting a rather extensive interview with Bob Mould Wednesday or Thursday. Not associated with Maha is the Mousetrap reunion show Friday night at The Waiting Room. This week’s column is an interview with that seminal Omaha band, which will be online probably Thursday.

The show calendar is looking pretty thin up ’til Friday. Talking Mountain has a free show at Slowdown Wednesday. And I might have to check out a flick tomorrow night. More about that tomorrow…

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Jake Bellows drops today; new Desa single; John Klemmensen/Party, Phoenix/Icky Blossoms, Steely Dan tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm August 6, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

Jake Bellows, New Ocean (Saddle Creek, 2013)

Jake Bellows, New Ocean (Saddle Creek, 2013)

The new Jake Bellows album, New Ocean, is out today on Saddle Creek. It is, in my opinion, the best thing Jake has ever released, including his work in Neva Dinova.

Order your copy from the Saddle Creek store here or drop by their storefront next to Slowdown, where they have a supply of the CD  — they don’t have the vinyl yet, apparently. I’ll always tell you to pay the extra two bucks and get the vinyl, which comes with an mp3 download code. Why? Because vinyl is sweet.

Speaking of new releases, last week I ordered my copy of the new Desaparecidos single, “Te Amo Camila Vallejo” b/w “The Underground Man.” Both songs are streaming from the order page, right here. It’s just $5 and comes with download code, too.

Wonder if the boys will be compiling all these singles into a one big record album?

A few big time shows tonight worth mentioning:

Phoenix is playing tonight at the Music Hall. Opening is our very own Icky Blossoms. Quite a coup for the Icky’s. Tix are $50 after fees. I’m kind of surprised that this is being held at the Music Hall. Is Phoenix really that big? I guess so.

On the other hand, Steely Dan is playing tonight at The Orpheum. This one may be sold out (you can no longer buy tickets from I’m kind of surprised that this one wasn’t held in a larger venue.

Finally, John Klemmensen and the Party is playing tonight at The Barley Street with Matt Cox Band and Township & Range, a new project featuring Travis Sing (The Whipkey Three, ex-Black Squirrels). $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Speaking of Goldberg; SPIN streams Bellows’ latest; Gordon, Major³ tonight; new Micek project; Mystic Valley at Pageturners…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:56 pm July 30, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

As I mentioned yesterday, local legend Dave Goldberg (Full Blown, Carsinogents) is now playing keyboards in Simon Joyner’s band. And while that should be news enough for anyone, it should be pointed out that Dave’s primary project, Solid Goldberg, recently released a four-song EP via Bandcamp, which you really need to check out below. You can even download the EP at a “name your price” price. Do it. And keep an eye out for the next Solid Goldberg live performance, which always promises to be a life-changing experience.

* * *

And speaking of online music, SPIN magazine yesterday posted a link to a stream of Jake Bellow’s entire new album, New Ocean, slated for release on Saddle Creek next Tuesday, Aug. 6. The story’s headline kicker calls Jake “The Omaha lifer…” even though last I heard Jake was living somewhere on the West Coast. I guess he’ll always be an Omahan in his heart of hearts…

* * *

O’Leaver’s is having a particularly busy week this week. Yesterday was that Pleasure Adapter tour kickoff show which featured their “latest” new bassist Darren Keen, who also took the stage as Touch People. Now tonight O’Leaver’s hosts local faves Gordon with Austin Texas garage rockers Major Major Major and Video Ranger. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And then Friday night O’Leaver’s will see the debut of a new band fronted by Steve Micek (ex-The Stay Awake) called Adtrita. I’m not exactly sure what the name means but I think it’s Latin for “extra special.” And even though they haven’t played out, the band already has a track up on a Bandcamp (below). Kind of reminds me of Bottomless Pit/Silkworm and is downright poppy compared to Micek’s previous band. Friday can’t come too soon…

* * *

Last but not least, two members of Conor Oberst’s Mystic Valley band, Jason Boesel and Taylor Hollingsworth, are playing a free gig tonight at Conor’s Pageturner Lounge in Dundee. The free show starts at 9:30 and should be an absolute crush mob.

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lloyd Cole is Rolling Stone’s favorite…in Germany; Jake Bellows for free; Mugen Hoso, Maha showcase tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:03 pm July 9, 2013

German Rolling Stone

By Tim McMahan,

With everything else that’s been released so far this year, it’s strangely satisfying that the German edition of Rolling Stone magazine ranked Lloyd Cole’s new album, Standards, as the best album for the first half of 2013. I’m not sure the record has even landed on record store shelves in the U.S., though you can buy it (as I did) directly from Lloyd Cole’s website. I’m contemplating writing a full review of the record, which is Cole’s best since 2003’s Music in a Foreign Language (which, for my money, was only eclipsed by Rattlesnake).

It’s interesting to see how other albums ranked in the German pages. The new Vampire Weekend was No. 2, followed by Iron & Wine, Daft Punk and Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds (which gets my vote for best of the first half of ’13). See the full German Rolling Stone list right here.  And check out my reviews roundup for the first two quarters here and here (Lloyd Cole will be included in the third quarter round-up).

* * *

Jake Bellows “I Know You” was the “free song of the day” at Pure Volume last week. You can still listen and download the groovy track right here, or simply check it out below. Jake’s Saddle Creek debut, New Ocean, comes out Aug. 6.

* * *

Two shows of note tonight:

Big Al of The Big Al band wrote to say that Japanese punk rockers Mugen Hoso is playing tonight at The Barley Street Tavern with Lincoln punkers Crap Detectors and, of course, The Big Al Band. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight is the Maha Music Festival Showcase at The Waiting Room featuring Funk Trek, Midtown Marauders and winner of the Maha battle of the bands, Purveyors of the Conscious Sound, who will be opening this year’s Maha Fest. This free show starts at 9.

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.