And the winners are…; Updates: Jake Bellows, Unread Records, Cowboy Indian Bear, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Willy Mason…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:52 pm January 16, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thanks to all of you who entered this year’s drawing for the annual Lazy-i “best of” compilation CD. When I announced this drawing, everyone was like, “just make your playlist available in Spotify,” but what fun would that be? And based on the response, someone obviously still likes listening to CDs.  With that, the winners are:

Evan Hayford, Berwyn, PA
Alexis Abel, Lincoln, NE
Tom Pacer, Omaha, NE

Your CDs will be dropped in the mail tomorrow, along with a commemorative Lazy-i vinyl sticker. Enjoy!

* * *

Jake holds a copy of the Help cassette.

Jake holds a copy of the Help cassette.

In other news… Jake Bellows has a new cassette tape out called Help.  That’s right, it’s a cassette, but you can also purchase the cassette’s “A-side” digitally (the digital A-side tracks are free with cassette purchase).

The tape contains one song from the upcoming album and nine assorted b-sides and demos that we found interesting,” Bellows said in his email. I bought my copy this morning and can’t wait to play it in my 1996 POS Geo Tracker. Buy your copy here:  http://www.majesticlitter.com/store/

* * *

Speaking of cassettes, one of Omaha’s favorite cassette tape record labels, Unread Records, has moved its world headquarters to Pittsburgh, PA, according to their latest update. Unread artists include Simon Joyner, Samual Locke Ward, Charlie McAlister, Will Simmons, Noah Sterba and a ton more.  Check out the catalog and buy a cassette, record or CD. Goodbye, Mr. Fischer.

* * *

Omaha’s adopted Lawrence band Cowboy Indian Bear has a new single out called “Does Anybody See You Out” available for free download at their website: cowboyindianbear.com. Check out the track below:

* * *

Okkervil River fans can download a new track by the band’s frontman, Will Sheff, called “Shock Corridor.” Says Sheff of the solo project:

“The album was intended to be something I was making for myself and I have no definite plans to release the whole thing. At the end of the process, I gave a couple copies of the album to some close friends I knew would get where I was coming from. After thinking about it a bit I decided I’d put a couple of the songs out there, but that I’d put them out for free since the album cost me almost nothing to make. So here’s one of them, track two on the album. The name of the project is Lovestreams.”

Get it at http://lovestreamsdreams.tumblr.com/

* * *

Remember Willy Mason? He was the second act signed to Team Love Records way back in 2004. Well, Willy’s still kicking and has a new EP out called Don’t Stop Now on British label Communion. Check out the video for the first song “I Got Gold” below:

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Mynabirds, Jake Bellows & Co., Under Water Dream Machine, Touch People, OEAAs…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm June 11, 2012
The Mynabirds at The Slowdown, June 8, 2012.

The Mynabirds at The Slowdown, June 8, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So maybe you were right giving me shit about my warnings of Mynabirds’ CD release show selling out. It didn’t, though there were at least 400 people there for Friday night’s show. OK, maybe I was hyping. So what. If you were there, you probably had a good time.

Laura Burhenn came out with her signature dead fox head gear, stood on her box and belted out about an hour’s worth of new and old material. I thought I’d hear at least a little political diatribe to coincide with her album’s perceived political themes (more on that later), but instead Burhenn stayed focused on the music, and wishing Slowdown a happy 5th birthday.

And I have to admit, her new record is beginning to grow on me, which is good since I apparently am the only one in America who wasn’t bowled over by it on first listen. The upbeat numbers (like “Body of Work”) are  fun, but it’s the slower, tonal pieces, such as “Mightier Than the Sword,” that are the real show stoppers.

Whereas most of the her backing band are competent-though-faceless musicians, Burhenn is blessed with an amazing drummer. I have no idea who she is, but her big, dynamic, throaty sound stands out above everything (but Burhenn’s vocals, of course).

My only disappointment was with her set structure — it was as if Burhenn figured out the set list about five minutes before the show. Or maybe I’m just hypercritical about these things, but a good set list is like a great DJ set — it rises and falls, each song blending naturally into the other like perfect transitions in a seamless story taking you for a ride that culminates in a big finish. It’s about dynamics. Burhenn instead merely plays the songs, one after another with little interest in transition. Even the set ender and prerequisite leave-the-stage-followed-by-the-encore moment was more awkward than usual.

Jake Bellows & Co. at The Slowdown, June 8, 2012.

Jake Bellows & Co. at The Slowdown, June 8, 2012.

I caught the last half of Jake Bellows and his unnamed band (I call them “Jake Bellows and the Dying Embers”… think about it). Where Jake solo is interesting, it also can be boring. With a band backing him, Jake’s songs are given new life, new dynamics, new muscle. I understand that this particular collaboration of musicians may never play together again, which is a pity. That shouldn’t stop Bellows from surrounding himself with players for future shows.

Under Water Dream Machine at The Sydney, as part of the OEAA Summer Showcase, June 9, 2012.

Under Water Dream Machine at The Sydney, as part of the OEAA Summer Showcase, June 9, 2012.

Saturday night was Day 2 of the Omaha Arts and Entertainment Awards Summer Showcase in Benson, and yes it was fun but scheduling issues also made for disappointments. The first act I saw was 20 minutes late to start. The second act was more than a half-hour late. That meant missing a band that I otherwise would have caught. But I guess those things are to be expected when you’re juggling five venues and around 30 bands.

Touch People at The Barley Street, OEA Summer Showcase, June 9, 2012.

Touch People at The Barley Street, OEA Summer Showcase, June 9, 2012.

Highlights of the evening were Under Water Dream Machine at The Sydney and, of course, Touch People at The Barley Street Tavern. UWDM was backed by two musicians, giving his songs the backing meat they need to work on stage. Bret Vovk has a perfect stage voice on songs that feel like upbeat Simon and Garfunkel pop folk. Keep an eye on him. Touch People a.k.a. Darren Keen’s frenetic electronic music is both throbbing and jittery, chaotic and groovy, with the added attraction of Keen’s unique brand of humor. It’s impossible to not be entertained.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Sons of O’Leaver’s; unnamed Bellows/Fox/Brodin/Fink/Koontz band debuts Wednesday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:43 pm June 4, 2012
The Sons of O'Leaver's, June 2, 2012.

The Sons of O'Leaver's, June 2, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get started, thanks to everyone who imparted birthday wishes upon me over the weekend, whether in person or via Facebook. The ability to get and receive birthday greetings from legions of people you haven’t seen or talked to, sometimes in years, is an unforeseen benefit to Facebook that we never saw when we joined the online service. The cynics will say it’s just more proof of the ongoing de-personalization caused by the internet — but I say it’s just the opposite.

I got a few “happy birthdays” Saturday night when I dropped in at Omaha’s home of booze debauchery, O’Leaver’s, to catch a set by The Sons of O’Leaver’s and Ideal Cleaners. As is their style, the quartet of Tulis, Maxwell, Loftus and Rutledge (a more fearsome law firm name I cannot imagine) were dressed to the nines for this special event, which also happened to be someone else’s birthday party, judging by the cupcakes stacked on the table along the far wall.

This being their first show in about a year and a half, the band took the occasion to roll out some new material as well as a shift in style. Whatever inherent twang they used to have has been drastically diminished. Maxwell still has that slightly muted, raspy croon on music that now sounds influenced by early Spoon and Blue Sky Blue-era Wilco. Rutledge glowed on lead guitar. He can get lost in the mix in some of his other bands. Not so here, revealing some of the best lead solos from him (or anyone in town), just gorgeous stuff that accents every song. As a whole, this was one of the most satisfying sets of music I’ve seen so far this year. So what’s the future hold for the Sons of…? One hopes we’ll be seeing a Sons of The Brothers or Sons of The Slowdown gig in the near future, along with recording of that new material…?

Ideal Cleaners continues to provide the usual pummeling that only the Lincoln trio can provide. The Bad Religion/Fugazi comparisons still seem to fit but are blurred by how Dan Jenkins and the boys put their own stamp on their abrasive, muscular sound.

* * *

It’s a quiet week for shows, though there is one highlight worth mentioning. Ben Brodin from Mal Madrigal and Our Fox, wrote to say that this coming Wednesday a new Jake Bellows band will be performing at O’Leavers with Simon Joyner.

“The band doesn’t have a name yet, so we’ve been unsure about how to announce this show, but it is a special one in that it will be the first time we’ve performed these songs in public,” Brodin said. The band consists of Bellows, Todd Fink, Ryan Fox, Heath Koontz and Brodin, who said the music they’ll be playing was actually recorded last winter/spring.

“Also, since we live in different cities, this will be the only show in the foreseeable future,” Brodin said. “We’d be stoked for people to hear it while everyone is in town. Swing down if you haven’t got anything going on Wednesday.” Bellows apparently did an interview with Hear Nebraska that outlines what the band is and how it took shape, but the story isn’t online yet. Keep an eye on their website.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Some final words on Dave Sink; The Lemonheads, Lonely Estates tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:43 pm January 26, 2012
Dave Sink

Dave Sink in better days...

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This week’s issue of The Reader features a cover story that compiles remembrances of Dave Sink from the musicians and friends who knew him best. And while portions of the article have appeared on other websites over the past day or so, none collect more comments from the people who made a mark during the era in which Sink was most influential. The contributors: Brian Byrd, Simon Joyner, Craig Crawford, Pat Buchanan, Bernie McGinn, Conor Oberst, Robb Nansel, Gary Dean Davis, Tim Moss, Matt Whipkey, Jake Bellows, Patrick Kinney, Adam J. Fogarty, Gus Rodino and Brad Smith. You can read the article online right here, or find a printed copy around town.

The issue also includes my remembrance of Dave, which I’ve posted below:

Remembering Dave

It began in November 1992. I was a few years out of college at UNO, already working full time at Union Pacific, but still writing about underground music, something that I’d begun doing as the editor of the college paper and as a freelance writer for The Metropolitan and The Note, a Lawrence, Kansas, regional music paper that had expanded its coverage to Omaha and Lincoln.

One of my first assignments for The Note was writing a piece on Dave Sink, his record store in the basement of The Antiquarium, and his record label, One-Hour Records. By the time of our interview, One-Hour already had released singles by Culture Fire (Release), Frontier Trust (Highway Miles) and Mousetrap (“Supercool” b/w “Fubar”), as well as Simon Joyner’s landmark full-length cassette, Umbilical Chords. One-Hour was a big deal both to the editors down in Lawrence and to me.

The audience for indie and punk music in Omaha was microscopic. At this point in its history, Omaha’s live music scene was dominated by top-40 cover bands that played a circuit of local meat-market bars along 72nd St. College music was heard mostly in college towns — something that Omaha certainly wasn’t. But Dave didn’t care. He had no aspirations of getting rich off One-Hour.

From that article:

“It’s fun empowering people,” said the 43-year-old entrepreneur who used to prefer classic rock to punk. “These are good people with good ideas and lots of energy. I knew these guys as really cool people long before I knew them as musicians.”

The advantage to being on One-Hour? “Possibly nothing,” Sink said. “We’re in an infant stage. But this is how Sub Pop got started and a lot of other quality punk labels. Any band we press is going to get 200 promotional copies of their single shipped to radio stations and ‘zines across the U.S. and Europe. The bottom line is we’re a medium for a band to reach a broader audience.”

Sink said Omaha had never had as many good original bands as it does now, whether the city knows it or not. “Unfortunately, most of the time they’re playing shows for each other. Omaha has a very talented music scene that is woefully underappreciated.”

Funny how, despite the success of Saddle Creek Records, little has changed.

After that story ran, I continued to drop into Dave’s store. He would pick out an armful of albums and singles for me to buy, and that’s how I discovered a lot of the bands that I would end up writing about in The Note (and later, in The Reader). He was always willing to give me the inside scoop on something that was going on musicwise. And much to my surprise, he read a lot of my stories, and was always willing to tell me when he thought I got it right, or got it wrong. A former editor at the old Benson Sun Newspaper, Dave’s perspective on my writing went beyond his music knowledge. As a result, he was always in the back of my mind whenever I wrote anything about music (and still is). I guess I didn’t want to disappoint Dave. Actually, no one did.

Toward the latter days of his involvement in the record store, Dave became more and more disillusioned with modern music. I’d go down there ask him what was good and he’d start off by saying, “Nothing, it’s all shit,” but eventually would find a few things for me to buy. He was more into jazz by then, and (of course) baseball, which we’d talk about at great length, along with his perspective on art and literature and film.

Funny thing, it didn’t matter that Dave was 20 or 30 years older than the kids buying the records. They all respected and sought out his opinion, and Dave was always happy to give it. My favorite Dave line when he didn’t like something: “It’s not my cup of tea.” It was that simple.

As the years went on, Dave quit showing up at the store, and then eventually it changed hands and moved out of the basement. Meanwhile, Saddle Creek Records bloomed, Omaha became nationally recognized as the new indie music “ground zero,” and I slowly lost touch with Dave.

And then along came Facebook. And there was Dave again. Over the last couple years we reconnected online, but mostly about baseball. Dave, a long-time Royals rooter, hated the fact that I’m a Yankees fan, a team he said was ruining baseball. I would argue that, in a market like Omaha, being a Yankees fan was downright punk – people hated you for it, that it was a lonely existence not unlike being a punk fan in the ‘90s. He never bought that argument.

I tried and I tried to get Dave to do that all-encompassing interview about the glory days of One-Hour and The Antiquarium. I told him how much he influenced everything that Omaha’s music scene had become, that I wanted to tell his story and put him on the cover of The Reader. Of course he would have none of it. He would kindly turn down the requests, saying he didn’t do anything, that he was only a record store owner and that the focus should be on the bands, not him.

Despite that, I think he knew how important he was to everything that’s happened here. He certainly was important to me.

* * *

If I had to venture a guess, I’d bet that Dave wasn’t a Lemonheads fan.

Not coincidentally, neither am I. But that shouldn’t stop you from going to see The Lemonheads tonight at The Waiting Room, where the band will be performing It’s a Shame About Ray in its entirety. I’m told that Evan Dando was a bit fussy the last time he came to Omaha. What will he do this time? Opening is Meredith Sheldon. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, power pop in the form of Lonely Estates and the Beat Seekers at The Sydney. 9 p.m., $5.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Well Aimed Arrows release Adult Entertainment (finally); Jake Bellows new track/record update; Malkmus to return to Slowdown…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:45 pm January 11, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well Aimed Arrows, Adult Entertainment (2012, self released)

Well Aimed Arrows, Adult Entertainment (2012, self released)

Clayton Petersen of post-rock band Well Aimed Arrows dropped me a line this week to let me know that the band’s debut recording, Adult Entertainment, is finally available, at least digitally. “The first track is free to wet your appetite or the whole album (8 songs) is only five bucks,” Petersen said. You can access the recording from their bandcamp page.

Recorded by Steve Micek at The Robot Factory and mastered by the venerable Doug Van Sloun, I reviewed the album way back in July, figuring that it would never get “released.” Back then I described it as “Intelligent punk with big-shoulder swing, dissonant male/female harmonies, jangling ringing electric guitars, sing-along choruses and a straight-four beat. Best lyrics of any band going, period.” I stand by those words. Check it out.

* * *

Speaking of new releases, Jake Bellows tweeted yesterday that he’s just placed a new track online called “Blackest Heart (acoustic).” You can buy the song for $1.29 at jakebellows.com, where Jake also provides an update on the new record he’s making with Ben Brodin, Ryan Fox, Todd Fink and Heath Koontz. “We are currently in the mixing phase of this record and expect to have it mostly finished by spring at the latest!” No doubt a tour will follow.

* * *

And finally, the first interesting concert announcement of 2012: Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks are returning to Slowdown Feb. 17. $15 tix go on sale Saturday. More info at the show page on the Slowdown website.

* * *

Tomorrow: Future Tense: 2012 Music Predictions, Pt. 2 (the Lightning Round) — the conclusion of my annual predictions columns, and boy, this one’s a doozy.

* * *

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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Lupines; Speed! Nebraska 15 tonight; Lonely Estates, Digital Leather Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:20 pm November 11, 2011
The Lupines at O'Leaver's, Nov. 10, 2011.

The Lupines at O'Leaver's, Nov. 10, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First up last night was the screening of The Adventures of Prince Achmed to what looked like a more-than-half-filled crowd at Film Streams. Jake Bellows, Ryan Fox and Ben Brodin set up shop in the first row of the facility’s big auditorium, where amps glowed just under the screen. I’m happy that I remembered to bring earplugs. It was loud. Not painfully loud, but loud for such an enclosed space.

It also was trippy. Very trippy. The images by themselves were a psychedelic head-trip without Bellows & Co’s innovative “score,” which glided between somber ambient tone shifts, electro-dance mantras, space-folk feedback and chord-driven mountain rock. I wouldn’t say the styles seamlessly matched the screen, but most of the time I found myself lost in Achmed’s weird Eastern netherworld filled with wizards and monsters and proud people doing magical things.

BTW, next up in the Silents in Concert series Dec. 1 is the 1966 surf classic The Endless Summer, featuring music by Matteah Baim, whose ’09 album, Laughing Boy (Dicristina Records), got a 7.2 at Pitchfork.

* * *

Next, it was off to beautiful O’Leaver’s for the debut of The Lupines. While writing this before work this morning, I listened to Brimstone Howl’s Big Deal album, trying to ascertain the “differentiators” between that band and this, John Ziegler’s new project. There were obvious similarities, not the least of which was Ziegler’s big-shouldered vocals delivered with its familiar dead-pan snarl on garage rock songs that dwell on the downside of love.

If you like Brimstone, you’ll like Lupines. The real difference (to me) was Mike Friedman’s guitar. Friedman has always been a secret weapon in any band he’s played in — one of Omaha’s best unheralded guitarists. The “unheralded” status may be at risk now that he’s in this band, especially once people hear his freak-out solos and their interplay with Ziegler’s own frenetic guitar style. Holding it together was Iron Mike Tulis’ rock-steady bass lines and  Javid Dabestani’s forward-leaning drums.

If anything, The Lupines seem less campy and more punk than Brimstone ever was, and at the same time (ironically) more serious and more refined. For a debut performance, they were tight as tics and sounded ready to enter a studio, but I guess that’s what you’d expect from this band of rock veterans.

Openers, Detroit rockers Gardens, were a by-the-numbers garage band with brief forays into psych rock and a gift for between-song gab. “We just drove from Denver,” said the drummer. “There was nothing to see. Not even any trees. Just cow concentration camps. This next one’s a big kiss for Omaha.” Unfortunately I didn’t see any of the dozen or so people on hand puckering up.

* * *

Busy, busy weekend.

On top of the list tonight is, of course, the Speed! Nebraska 15th Anniversary rock show at The Brothers Lounge, which you read about yesterday. On the bill: Ideal Cleaners, The Wagon Blasters, Domestica, Techlepathy and The Filter Kings. Show starts at 9 and will run you $5. This one should be a hoot.

Also tonight being held at clubs throughout Benson is the OEA Nominee Showcase. The $10 entry fee gets you into The Waiting Room, Burke’s Pub, Benson Grind, The Barley Street Tavern and PS Collective all night. For the full run-down of bands, go to http://oea-awards.com/

Also going on tonight in Benson (but not affiliated with the OEA event) is the Down with the Ship CD EP release show at The Sydney with Arrah and the Ferns (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Bazooka Shootout. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight (but not in Benson) is Ragged Company’s CD release show at The Side Door Lounge. 9 p.m. and absolutely free.

And jeeze… did I almost forget Depressed Buttons are performing down at House of Loom tonight? Brent Crampton opens. $5, 10 p.m.

On Saturday night the decisions become even tougher.

At The Waiting Room, Lonely Estates has its CD release show for their new self-released album The Invertebrate. Lonely Estates is former members of Malpias (minus Greg Loftus) and includes David and Luke Backhaus, Phil Reno, Scott Evans and fronted by Braden Rapp, The album was recorded by AJ Mogis at ARC Studios. I’ve been listening to it off and on for the past couple of weeks and would say its sound is huddled under the same indie rock umbrella as Criteria and Little Brazil. Big, soaring anthems with big, soaring vocals and guitar solos and lots of harmonies. Worth checking out. Opening the show is Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies, New Lungs and Blue Bird. Quite a lineup. $8, 9 p.m.

But…

Over at O’Leaver’s Saturday night it’s the return of Digital Leather — and I’ve never seen a bad O’Leaver’s Digital Leather show. Add to that Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and you’ve got another solid rock bill. $5, 9 p.m.

Can I go to both shows? No, I can’t.

Also going on Saturday night, Lincoln instrumental rock trio Machete Archive plays at The Sandbox with Fetal Pig, Super Invader, Class M Planets and 13th Year. $8, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Barley Street Tavern Saturday night, Jake Bellows breaks away from his work at ARC studio to perform along with The Betties and one more band. $5, 9 p.m.

The weekend ends Sunday night at The Slowdown when City and Colour takes the stage with Hacienda and David Romano. Tickets are $22/$25 DOS (and I hear they’re going fast). Show starts at 9.

* * *

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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

After Film Streams gig, Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and Co. head to the studio…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:50 pm November 9, 2011

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Adventures of Achmed

The following is a public service announcement, as earlier presentations in the Silents in Concert series have sold out, and I have a feeling this one will as well:

Tomorrow night at 7 p.m. Film Streams will be screening The Adventures of Prince Achmed. The 1926 German silent is regarded as the first animated feature-length film and is comprised of papercut silhouettes filmed in stop motion.

The film’s original score was composed by German composer Wolfgang Zeller in direct collaboration with the animation. However, for tomorrow night’s screening, a new original score will be performed live by Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova), Ben Brodin (Before the Toast and Tea, Mal Madrigal) and Ryan Fox (1989 Chicago Cubs, Our Fox, The Good Life).

“We’ll have three electric guitars and rotate on a couple keyboards and trigger a few programmed beats and other odds and ends,” said Fox, who along with Bellows, just arrived in Omaha this week. He and Bellows have worked together in the past as a duo called Breakfast, whose influences have included Brian Eno’s ambient work, Stars of the Lid, Yo La Tengo’s The Sounds of the Sounds of Science, Spacemen 3, The Velvet Underground, Jackie-O Motherfucker and Cluster. Look for those influences during tomorrow night’s performance.

But that’s not the only thing the trio will be doing while Fox and Bellows are in town. “On Saturday, the three of us are going into the studio (ARC) to begin recording 15 or 16 or 17 or 25 tracks to make the first full-length album of Jake’s songs since Neva Dinova’s last album in 2008,” Fox said. If the new music is anything like the two new songs available from Bellows’ website, we’re all in for a treat.

As for tomorrow night’s screening, tickets can be purchased from the Film Streams website: $8 for Film Steams members, $10 for students, and $12 for the general public. Get them while you can.

* * *

Tomorrow’s column: Speed! Nebraska at 15.

* * *

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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: McCarthy Trenching; MAHA showcase lineups announced; Big Harp signs to Saddle Creek (probably)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:48 am May 30, 2011

by TIm McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I swung by The Barley Street Tavern last night for Orenda Fink/McCarthy Trenching, and it was (as expected) a packed house, which means there were more than 50 people in the bar’s “music room,” where folk stood along the wall in the back and women sat on their boyfriends’ laps. Another 20 or so people were pushed into the main bar area, content with watching the performance on the security monitor-style camera above the bar.

Yeah, it was crowded, but had you wanted to see the show, you could have. I caught the last few songs by Whispertown’s Morgan Nagler, one of which was accompanied by Fink and another two accompanied by Omaha ex-pat Jake Bellows. Nagler had an innocent, some might say childlike, flair to her simple acoustic ballads. Bellows took over right after her set and played five or six solo acoustic tunes, sounding better than ever. He remains one of Omaha’s best lonely-heart crooners, like an Elvis lost on a desert island.

Dan McCarthy came on at around 11, taking advantage of the Barley’s house piano, which he said was made in 1917 and last tuned in 1918. Despite that, the rustic keyboard sounded perfect for his style of Randy Newman-meets-Chuck Brodsky-meets Tom Waits folk balladry, which included a few Scott Joplin rags. A couple members of hot new band Gus & Call joined him in the middle of the set (playing stand-up bass and that piano) when McCarthy picked up an acoustic guitar. He eventually made his way back to the piano and was still at it when I left at midnight, too tired to wait for Orenda (unless, of course, she played before Whispertown, which I do not know). The crowd had a hipster wedding reception feel to it, consisting of members of the Saddle Creek Records family and their friends and colleagues, all out to “welcome back” Orenda and Todd Fink to Omaha.

* * *

The folks at the MAHA Music Festival took a decidedly smart turn in how they picked the bands for their local stage this year — three of the five bands were chosen by folks involved with hearnebraska.org (including myself as an HN board member, though only one of the three bands chosen were on my list). As a requirement for accepting the local-stage gig, each band was tasked with curating one pre-festival showcase, where they would play along with two or three other bands of their choosing. Last Friday MAHA announced the line-up for these showcase events.

Strongest of the three is the showcase curated by So-So Sailors at Slowdown July 28. Playing along with SSS will be power-punk band Millions of Boys, the more traditional indie stylings of Fortnight, and one of the area’s best punk/garage/new wave rock bands, Digital Leather, who (one could argue) should have been in consideration for one of those three MAHA local stage spots.

The other Omaha showcase will be held June 22 at The Waiting Room, curated by Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. Joining them will be New Lungs, a new trio featuring Danny Maxwell of Little Brazil on guitar and vocals, drummer Corey Broman and bassist Craig Fort. Think Polvo meets Dinosaur Jr. meets Mission of Burma meets classic ’90s Linoma punk. Also on the bill are noise rockers Ketchup and Mustard Gas.

And finally, there’s the Lincoln showcase curated by The Machete Archive to be held at Duffy’s Tavern July 1. Joining Machete will be Her Flyaway Manner, Irkutsk and Powerful Science. Brendan McGinn’s HFN has been around for years playing brutal, Fugazi-inspired punk. I can’t say as I know a thing about the other two bands.

All three showcases are all-ages events and absolutely free, so you best mark them down on your calendar.

There’s still one more MAHA local stage spot up for grabs, which will be determined by a public-vote talent competition as part of the OEA Summer Showcase July 8-9 in Benson.

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One final bit of news: Judging by their Facebook fan page, it looks like Big Harp, the husband-and-wife duo of Chris Senseney (Baby Walrus) and Stefanie Drootin-Senseney (The Good Life, Consafos) are the latest “signing” by Saddle Creek Records. They’re still not listed on the Creek site, but I’m sure that’ll come any day now. It’s good to see Creek continuing to sign new talent in this era of music industry decline…

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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