Live Review: Young Jesus, Thick Paint, Ian Sweet, Jason Steady…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:49 pm October 29, 2018

Young Jesus at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 28, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On the surface, Saddle Creek Records’ addition of Young Jesus to its roster would appear to be a real thinking-outside-the-box moment for a label that’s prided itself on releasing some of the best singer/songwriter indie rock over the past 20 years.

Young Jesus’ new album, The Whole Thing Is Just There, has the auspicious honor of including the longest track ever released by a Saddle Creek band, “Gulf,” a tune that clocks in at just over 20 minutes. On first blush the entire record seems experimental bordering on art project. That said, The Whole Thing… also has the honor of being the highest-rated Saddle Creek release reviewed by Pitchfork, coming in at a staggering 8.1 rating. In Pitchfork terms, that’s genius level.

The Whole Thing… is about as far away from being a pop album as anything Saddle Creek has released since Beep Beep back in the ’00s. And on first listen, it can be a challenge, but I have to admit the record goes down better after seeing these guys live last night at O’Leaver’s. Following what sounded like an improvised jazz-rock instrumental, they launched into “Green,” the opening track off their Saddle Creek rerelease S/T, which, yes, sounds like an indie rock song.

The rest of the set included songs off the new album, including standout track “Deterritory” and set closer, “Gulf,” whose center section consisted of a free jazz improvisational noise collage that bent back into the opening chords and took all of its 20-plus minutes.

After the set. the house music was tracks off the Cap’n Jazz anthology Analphabetapolothology (Jade Tree, 1998) that someone aptly pointed out was appropriate considering the similarity between the bands’ sounds. While possible free-form at its core, there’s obvious structure to Young Jesus’ songs, a method to the madness that made me rethink the album (which I listened to again on the drive home). I don’t know if it will be a big seller for Saddle Creek, but it adds credibility to their vision of releasing music not necessarily for commercial sake, but because they love it.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 28, 2018.

I caught the last half of Thick Paint’s opening set and it was the usual amazing, intricate, tuneful rock that they’ve become known for. A different player on bass (usual bassist Sarah Bohling is on the road with David Nance, I believe) didn’t throw off their game a bit. Call it indie prog. The mystery continues as to who is going to put out this band’s next album.

Ian Sweet at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 28, 2018.

Last night’s show, which was originally scheduled to start at 6, didn’t get rolling until after 7 because the bands were late getting to town. As a result, headliner Ian Sweet didn’t go on until after 10. Playing as a three-piece, the set was harder and more abrasive than what I was expecting having heard her new album — i.e., it rocked, at least for the four songs I caught before I headed home.

Hey O’Leaver’s, I love these early Sunday shows. Keep them coming!

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Jason Steady and the Soft Ponies at Burrito Envy, Oct. 26, 2018.

I think I might be the only person I know that likes the food at Burrito Envy. I had three tacos, chips and salsa and a couple fine margaritas there Friday night before I caught a set by Jason Steady and the Soft Ponies.

All the way back to the Talking Mountain days, Steady’s style has been funny, friendly, good-time jangle rock with a slightly disconcerting message just below the surface, a message that’s hard to decipher when he and his ponies — a guy on a stripped-down drum kit and a backing vocalist/percussionist — are making you bounce in your seat to their sunny, good-time music, that included a couple country-esque indie pop ditties. Fun.

Steady is a natural showman, punctuating his set with between-song banter that makes you think he’d be the perfect host for a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse-style children’s program on Nick or PBS Kids. All he needs is some puppets, and anyone who knows Steady knows that’s well within his reach. Nothing would make my Saturday mornings better…

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Simon Joyner no longer leading Bemis project; Halloween weekend blues; Jason Steady, Kara Eastman tonight; Ian Sweet, Young Jesus, Thick Paint Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm October 26, 2018

Thick Paint at Slowdown Jr., March 30, 2018. The open for Ian Sweet and Young Jesus Sunday at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looks like Simon Joyner no longer is leading the Bemis’s new Sound Art and Experimental Music Residency Program mentioned here a couple days ago.

From the Bemis Center Facebook page:

Simon Joyner will not be leading the program. We will soon be opening a national job posting to find the best candidate to lead this program. Additional decisions about the program will be made after a reevaluation of the needs is complete. These changes and decisions take time.

It also appears, via Facebook, that producer Ben Brodin never was permanently involved in the project, but merely assisted early in offering some ideas about the space.

Joyner being named to the position last week sparked concern targeted at The Bemis Center. As Kevin Coffey reported yesterday in the GO Section of Omaha World-Herald, the Bemis organization fielded a number of e-mails, text messages and posts on social media. “The responses that we received were either supporting Simon or asking the Bemis to reconsider him as someone that would manage this new program, which we’re obviously thrilled to be launching next year,” said Bemis Executive Director Chris Cook in the OWH article.

Concerns about Joyner stemmed from his use of the N-word in a song he wrote that targeted racists and racism in America, released in 2017. Reporting on the controversy appeared in The Reader last November as well as in Lazy-i, which included a Q&A with Joyner about the topic.

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BTW, tonight’s Bemis benefit concert featuring Azure Ray / Destroyer (solo) is sold out.

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It’s the unofficial Halloween weekend at the clubs, which means krazy kostumes and very few live shows. Boo! (pun intended).

There’s a fundraiser tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s for Kara Eastman. DJ Tyrone Storm (a.k.a. Roger Lewis), Dirt House, Sean Pratt and Stephen Bartolomei are all slated to perform. The show runs 8 to 11 p.m. and suggested donation is $10.

And here’s a walk on the wild side: Jason Steady and the Soft Ponies are playing a free gig at Burrito Envy in Benson tonight. Bradley Unit also is on the bill that starts at 9 p.m.

And there’s a real hum-dinger of a show going on at O’Leaver’s Sunday in the early evening featuring Ian Sweet, Young Jesus and Thick Paint. Sweet’s new album Crush Crusher came out today on Hardly Art. Young Jesus, the latest addition to the Saddle Creek Records roster, released their new LP, The Whole Thing Is There, last week. And Thick Paint is one of Omaha’s hottest properties. All three bands for just $7. Starts at 6 p.m. Get your tickets online here.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New stuff from Jason Steady, David Nance; Lupines, Noah Sterba, Rusty Lord, Dog Party tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:38 pm July 11, 2018

Dog Party at O’Leaver’s, July 30, 2017. The band returns to O’Leaver’s tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This past Monday Jason Steady (once of the band Talking Mountain, among others) dropped me a line about a new track he’s recorded — a cover of Gram Parsons’ “One Hundred Years From Now,” which, I must say, is sublime. It marks a new direction for Steady, a sound which I described as “psych-country,” but which Jason calls “outer space cosmic death nature sounds.”

Check it out below and/or download/buy it along with Steady’s cover of George Jones’ “Things Have Gone to Pieces” (and a demo  of the Parsons cover) at his Bandcamp page.

Speaking of new music, David Nance posted that his next record, titled Peace and Slightly Pulverized, will be released Oct. 5 by Trouble In Mind Records. The Chicago label’s roster includes Dick Diver, Paperhead and Ultimate Painting, among others. The seven-song vinyl features Nance backed by his band — Kevin Donahue, Jim Schroeder and Tom May. Nance blew a hole in the wall with last year’s Negative Boogie (Ba Da Bing Records). I can’t wait to hear this one…

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Two shows of note tonight…

Pageturners Lounge continues its summer concert series tonight with a triple-bill: Lupines, Noah Sterba and Rusty Lord. Is this the show that the real-life Rusty Lord finally makes an appearance? Find out. This one’s free and starts at 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Sacramento’s Dog Party — the garage rock duo of sisters Gwennie and Lucy Giles — returns to fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Mad Dog and the 20/20s and Muscle Cousins. $7, 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Caroline Rose, Cardioid; Jason Steady, Bad Bad Men Friday; Nik Freitas, Okkervil River Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:47 pm June 8, 2018

Caroline Rose at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The whole time I was watching Caroline Rose last night at Reverb Lounge I’m thinking, “Man, she looks just like Buddy from the ‘70s TV show Family.” I mentioned this to someone after the show who had no idea who I was talking about, hadn’t heard of Buddy or the show. When I said the star’s name was Kristy McNichol, the guy asked, “Wasn’t she one of Charlie’s Angels?” Right decade, wrong show.

It doesn’t matter I guess as long as you catch the ‘70s reference, because Caroline Rose’s music sounds like something from that era. Not “Rock 100 FM ‘70s Classic Rock,” but sort of bubble-gum rock with some punk/new wave overhang sung in a voice that’s as cute as it is fetching in a Courtney Barnett sort of way.

The set was dominated by songs off her current album, Loner (2018, New West) that are fun, sarcastic and witty with dark overtones peeping through the edges. It’s an infectious album, and she performed the tunes with the goofy energy that they deserve, backed by keyboardist/guitarist and a tight rhythm section who looked like they were having as much fun as the audience.

Rose’s between-song patter was almost as entertaining as her music, cracking wise and telling stories and introducing each number by saying, “This is my favorite song. No, this really is my favorite song.” I guess they all were. And to tell the truth, each song was its own little high point (though I especially loved hearing “Bikini” and “Money” and “Jeannie Becomes a Mom”).

Cardioid at Reverb Lounge, June 7, 2018.

Opener, Portland band Cardioid, was a surprise. They started out sounding like your typical indie band in an Angel Olson sort of way, with a lead singer whose voice I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I was thinking Rosanne Cash, but another person pointed to Roy Orbison, which was much more on target. As the set progressed their style became almost proggy with unique, unorthodox arrangements, chord changes and great harmonies, you never knew where they were going next. Sublime.

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Let’s get to the weekend…

O’Leaver’s is hosting its a two-day Mid by Midwest mini festival that combines comedy and music. Tonight’s music, which starts at 10 p.m., features a rare performance by Jason Steady (Talking Mountain, Wolf Dealer). Joining him is Dorsia. Your $10 ticket gets you in for the two hours of comedy leading up to music, starting at 8 p.m.

On day 2 of Mid by Midwest (Saturday) Nik Freitas headlines the music with Miwi La Lupa kicking off the jams at 10 p.m. As I mentioned yesterday, Freitas’ new album, Day & Dark, is stunningly good. Like the prior night, your $10 cover gets you into the two-hour comedy show that leads up to the music. More info here.

Let’s back up… Also happening Friday night is a rock show at Brothers Lounge featuring The Ramparts, Narco States and Bad Bad Men (Wolf/Siebken/Hug). $5, 9 p.m.

And Scott Severin (who’s celebrating a birthday today) opens for Jack Hotel tonight at The Harney Street Tavern. 9  p.m. and free.

And lest I forget, City Councilman Pete Festersen and a band that includes guitarists Vic Padios and Mark Weber plays a show tonight at the Benson B-Side (next to the Benson Theater). The show is $5 and starts at 8. Come see how a politician plays the drums.

Saturday night Okkervil River returns to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room. Here’s a band that’s played just about every performance space in the city, from The Junction to O’Leaver’s to Slowdown. This was the last time I interviewed Will Sheff way back in 2005 when Black Sheep Boy was released, wherein he had this golden quote: “The fact is, it’s hard to spend seven months a year on the road making less money than a 7-11 clerk and still have a satisfying life.” That doesn’t seem to have stopped him.

The band has a new record out called In the Rainbow Rain (2018, ATO). Sheff’s voice still has that same pretty, sad lilt heard on all their music. Star Rover opens at 8 p.m. $18 DOS.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

New stuff from Jake Bellows, Jason Steady and Ben Eisenberger; High Up’s You Are Here review…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm April 30, 2018

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Catching up on some email…

The first video from the Friends and Family Volume 1 comp, out May 11 on Maria Taylor’s Flower Moon Records, dropped last week. It’s for a Jake Bellows track called “Tattoo,” and is actually a short film (more than 9 minutes long) directed by Martin Kenna. Very well shot, but missing from the frame is Jake Bellows himself (and we all know Jake can light up any room… or video).

Check it below:

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A new EP by Jason Steady & the Soft Ponies also dropped last week, called This Is Where I Am.  It’s described by Mr. Steady as “Songs about adventure, girls, smoking pot, waking up in the sun, and vegetarianism, but not necessarily in that order.”

The band, which includes Knife de la Garza and Aaron Lee, is heading out on a 14-city tour in May, which doesn’t include Omaha. What are you afraid of, Jason? Come on!

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And then there’s a new cassette by Ben Eisenberger called Three Islands. Ben also plays guitar in Hussies, Screaming Plastic and FiFI NoNo. The acoustic folk on this pretty 7-song LP is quite a departure from those projects.

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Q1 2018 record reviews continue. Read them all here at The Reader website.

High Up, You Are Here (2018, Team Love)

High Up, You Are Here (Team Love) — This Omaha act has been working up to a full-length debut for a couple years, and a number of these songs have been released as different recordings on their debut EP last year. Most notable is “Two Weeks,” which gets a different arrangement that brings the horns up front and feels louder and more confident. Unlike their past EP (and live performances) the band keeps the energy pumping even on the ballad-heavy numbers like the cover of Bright Eyes’ “Make a Plan to Love Me” and the gospel-organ fueled “Blue Moon” that sounds like an FM radio single. “Domino,” another stand-out, is  a punchy sequel to “Two Weeks.” When will a bigger audience discover these guys?

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The return of Talking Mountain: Jason Steady re-releases Old Gold / Ancient Jamz; Dirt House tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:30 pm January 22, 2018
Talking Mountain at The Waiting Room, 7/22/11.

Talking Mountain at The Waiting Room, 7/22/11.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Who remembers Talking Mountain, the fun-loving combo from the mid- to late-2000s? My fondest memories of the band are:

1) They loved loved loved using smoke machines and lasers, so much so that one time they played at The Waiting Room and there was so much smoke billowing out the front door I thought the place was on fire.

Jason Steady (I think) in Talking Mountain.

2) They used to perform wearing super-cool muppet-like masks that had to be hot as hell. I always wanted one of those masks.

And, of course, 3) I loved their friggin’ music. I mean, who doesn’t want to hear a song about a snowman that loves to work out?

I bring this up because the mastermind behind Talking Mountain — Jason Steady — just released the 2007 album Old Gold / Ancient Jamz for its 10 year anniversary. The record is being released under the Jason Steady moniker (rather than Talking Mountain), and is available on CD and cassette.

It’s a collection of the best demos and bedroom recordings Steady did between 2004 and 2007, both alone and with friends. It originally came in 2008 on defunct label Slumber Party Records. Why is Steady re-releasing it now? Is this some sort of get-rich-quick scheme?

“Haha! There shall be no getting rich,” Steady said. “You know, it’s 10 years old and I kind of feel like the follow-up album (Nature of Magic) was a misstep, sonically speaking. I’ve got a new band now, which we’re just calling ‘Jason Steady’ to keep things simple, so I figure we’d re-release this one while we work on the follow-up, which will be a proper spiritual successor. It’s honestly the album I’m probably most proud of, and it’s literally bedroom demos. Go figure.”

Steady spent two weeks last May and almost all of November on the road with Chris Twist (former Omahan, currently in the Lemons and Nobunny), “remembering how fun it is to just play songs without the added hassle of lasers, lights, fog, projections, backing tracks, etc.”

His new band includes Ryan “Knife” De La Garza (who is more known for his comedy these days) on drums and Darren Keen (The Show Is the Rainbow) on bass. The official release show is this Saturday at the Replay Lounge in Lawrence, Kansas, with The Dull Drums (Tulsa, OK) and Arc Flash. (Hey, Jason, when’s the Omaha release show?).

Jason Steady, Old Gold / Ancient Jamz (2017, self-release)

The products are real hand-made efforts. The CD has a full-color print, minimally packaged with a hand-folded xeroxed insert slipped into a 3.5 mil poly sleeve. “The lettering on the cassette is custom-cut vinyl lettering that was hand applied,” Steady said. “The inserts were hand drawn, then printed, hand cut/folded, and assembled. Each one of these was touched by a human (me) a lot. I’m sorry if there’s a hair in yours.”

Order your copy and peruse the Jason Steady collection at https://www.etsy.com/shop/ifeelrealistic

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The Pageturners Lounge Winter Concert Series continues tonight with Dirt House (Annie, Amy, Miwi & Roger) and Ryan Menchaca & The Invisible Horses. It’s free and starts at 9 p.m. Can’t think of a better place to be on a snowy Monday night…

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Clarence Tilton, BFF (Jason Steady) tonight; Big Al Music Fest Saturday; Numero Group Pop Up Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:23 pm October 6, 2017

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016. The band is playing the Big Al Free Music Festival at O’Leaver’s Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the weekend rundown, notice anything different about the Lazy-i homepage? Come on, LOOK.  I want to thank Digital Leather for holding that position on the homepage for six years. I’m sure at some point we’ll rotate a more recent photo of Shawn and the guys the next time I go to a DL show (which can’t be too soon).

Anyway, soggy weekend ahead, at least part of it. Don’t let the rain keep you inside. Here’s what’s happening…

Omaha’s premiere alt-country band, Clarence Tilton, is playing a set out at Growler USA, way out on 162nd and Maple. St. If you haven’t been out there, now’s your chance. It’s free and the place has something like 100 beers on tap. No opener. Starts at 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, tonight O’Leaver’s has a bill of unknown acts (unknown by me, anyway) that include House Vacations, Condor & Jaybird and Harakiri. Where is Craig D. finding these bands? Check out HV’s track below. $5, 9:30 p.m.

And, in case you forgot, it’s the first Friday of October, which means it’s Benson First Friday.

We’ve got a special art show tonight at The Little Gallery, located across the street from The Sydney in the east bay of the Masonic Lodge building. You may know him from Talking Mountain or Wolf Dealer or his latest musical project, Number One Hit Kids, or you also may know him as an exciting graphic artist on his way to blowing up the Omaha art scene. The renaissance man I speak of is none other than Jason Steady. And tonight, The Little Gallery presents: Jason Steady: Objects.

Swing by between 6 and 9 p.m. and enjoy some chips and salsa while you peruse the art, along with some strange coke+red wine concoction (and probably beer). See you there.

That brings us to Saturday night and the 10th Annual Big Al’s Free Music Festival at O’Leaver’s. Yes, it’s free, but you’re encouraged to bring a can of food for the food drive. This year, Al’s added a “comedy stage.” Local funnymen will do standup between music sets, which are listed below:

5:00 – 5:25 The Shineys
5:45 – 6:10 Jales Hupke
6:30 – 6:55 ARMY of 2600
7:15 – 7:40 Bathtub Maria
8:00 – 8:25 Sam Martin
8:45 – 9:10 Relax, It’s Science
9:30 – 9:55 Dereck Higgins Experience
10:15 – 10:40 Mike Saklar Trio
11:00 – 11:25 Wagon Blasters
11:45 – 12:10 Big AL band

Also Saturday night, Nebraska legend Charlie Burton continues his return tour, this time playing with his band, Or What, at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, Hi-Fi House is hosing an open-to-the-public event Sunday afternoon featuring record label Numero Group. According to Wiki, Numero Group is “an archival record label that creates compilations of previously released music, reissues original albums, and creates album reconstructions from a variety of musical genres.”

Hang out and hear stories from label co-founders Rob Sevier and Ken Shipley, and hear selections from the works from the one-of-a-kind Numero catalog. They’ll also be selling tons of Numero Group merch from their pop-up shop. Noon to 6 p.m. Hi-Fi House is located at, 3724 Farnam St.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Streaming and repeated listening (in the column); new Wolf Dealer; Landlady is Man Man offshoot; Dawes tonight…

Category: Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:41 pm February 7, 2017

Is Spotify changing the way we listen to albums?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Finally, my answer to that burning Facebook question: “List 10 albums that have made a lasting impression on you as a teenager, but don’t think too long about it.”

My answer is in this month’s Over the Edge column in the current issue of The Reader, on newsstands now or online right here. Not only do I provide my list, but I talk about why few people under the age of 30 are able to make their own list, and how Spotify is changing the way I listen to records. Read it online here.

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Punk rockers Wolf Dealer made a video for their latest song, “Too Old to Die Young,” featuring skateboards and pizza. It was filmed on a stupid smartphone, says frontman Jason Steady.

Wolf Dealer are playing this Saturday, Feb. 11, at Milk Run with Karen Meat from Des Moines, IA, “who are the best band in the world,” Steady says. “Bradley, their Omnichord player and co-songwriter, used to live in Omaha and was in the best line-up of Talking Mountain in the golden years when we released that vinyl album, but failed miserably.” More on that show later.

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O’Leaver’s sent out their upcoming schedule, and among the shows currently flying under a lot of people’s radars is Friday night’s gig featuring the band Landlady. Turns out Landlady is a project by Adam Schatz a.k.a. Brown Sugar of the band Man Man. Now I’ve got to change my Friday plans…

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Tonight is the big Dawes show at The Waiting Room, which is being promoted as “An Evening with Dawes,” which I guess is an easy way of saying there are no opening acts. If you haven’t already, read my Ten Questions with Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith before you go to the show. Tickets are $25, starts at 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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