Remembering Rilo Kiley 15 years later (#TBT from the Lazy-i vault); Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:46 pm August 4, 2016
Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Music blog UPROXX has a remembrance of sorts of Rilo Kiley on the band’s 15th anniversary. The writer goes through their catalog and has some nice comments about the sole Saddle Creek release in 2002, The Execution of All Things, which was something of a landmark for the label, its first real, non-Nebraska success. Rilo Kiley also would become the first band to to leave the label.

The details of their defection are interesting a decade later. This from Aug. 2, 2004, Lazy-i:

Rilo in the L.A. Times — Aug. 2, 2004

The LA Times published a story about Rilo Kiley yesterday with the headline “Leaving indie life behind — L.A.’s Rilo Kiley, with a new album on its own label and support from Warner Bros., believes its time has come.” Jenny Lewis lays out the logic behind jumping from Saddle Creek, saying essentially that they felt it was time for their big break, even if it costs them their creativity.

“I think we’re excited, but we’re a little nervous as well because we’ve been completely independent up until this point,” says Lewis, 28, in the LA Time article. “Once you start considering stockholders and the way these corporations are run, it isn’t necessarily in line with experimental music and continuing to do things in a totally organic way. But at the same time I feel like, you know, it’s been eight years for us, and if we’re not gonna do it now, then when? And I think we owe it to ourselves to continue to grow.”

Later, she explains that the band couldn’t get airplay on an indie label, which is absurd. “I think after making the record we started playing songs for our friends and we realized for the first time that [radio airplay] could possibly be an option, and I think that led to our decision in trying new things,” she said in the Times article. “With the shift that’s happening in music right now, where bands like Modest Mouse and Franz Ferdinand and all these rock bands are starting to get played on the radio again, it just seemed like the appropriate time.”

That’s kind of like saying that Creek bands are damned to only get airplay in college radio. She could have led the charge to help change that. Oh well, I’m sure there’s more to the story than this…— Aug. 2, 2004

There was.

Two years later I got a chance to ask Rilo Kiley drummer Jason Boesel about why the band strayed from Saddle Creek in this interview. Here’s an excerpt from the story from Sept. 22, 2004:

“We made this record with Saddle Creek and made it for Saddle Creek and figured it would come out on Saddle Creek,” (Boesel) said from his home in Los Angeles where the band is rehearsing for the upcoming tour. “Shortly after completing the record, we had some ideas and talked about them with Saddle Creek and discovered that we differed on a couple issues. Ultimately, we created our own record label to have total freedom over the record and the music.”

That, despite the fact that the CD was already in the can. Seems the disagreements between the band and Creek stemmed not from creative issues, but from what Boesel characterized as limitations inherent to indie record labels. Saddle Creek label manager Jason Kulbel said in last month’s issue of Alternative Press that one of the main differences was in how the two parties approached commercial radio. “Even if we had it, we are just not down with throwing hundreds of thousands of dollars at commercial radio so they will play our stuff,” Kulbel said in the AP article.

But Boesel said it was more than just the cost of doing business with commercial radio. “I don’t know if we’re throwing thousands down for commercial radio. That might be an exaggeration,” he said. “We didn’t want to put a ceiling on what we did.”…

“At some point, the hope is that this record would move to Warner Bros. proper,” Boesel said. “We wanted that to be a possibility. Even if it had been released by Saddle Creek that was a possibility, but it wasn’t something they (Saddle Creek) were comfortable with. They’re definitely crusaders with high morals and ethics, trying to do this thing for the greater good. For some, that’s the right approach. For us, it wasn’t. We’re trying to do something similar, but in a different way. We’re trying to enter into that world with full knowledge of the traps. We came in with a finished record and have not compromised it in the least.”

(Saddle Creek label executive Robb) Nansel said there were a number of reasons why Saddle Creek frowned upon a deal where Warner Bros. or any other major would simply take over the record. “They wanted us to sell ‘x’ number of records and then they would take it from us,” Nansel said. “The first few weeks are the most difficult time for any release.”

Boesel added, “It would be wrong to say we’re not taking a gamble choosing to go into this world. We’re taking a risk. These companies are set up to make money, while indies like Saddle Creek started out as a way to put out good music, which is a completely different thing.”--Lazy-i, Sept. 22, 2004

It is indeed. So did the gamble pay off? One assumes (maybe incorrectly) that Rilo Kiley made more money by moving to a major. Regardless, the band officially broke up in 2014. Jenny Lewis went onto a semi-successful solo career.

Actually, I don’t know how any musician or artist measures success these days. She had a number of quality solo releases; who knows how well they did from a money standpoint.

Lewis’ new project, Nice as Fuck, is something of a step backwards compared to her solo work. The first single, “Door,” is fun and clever but as lightweight a pop song as you’ll ever hear. And then it’s regurgitated six more times to fill out the collection (the band’s “theme song” is also included on the album). A nice little distraction for Lewis until she gets around to her next solo outing…

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room is that Deerhoof show I mentioned yesterday. $15, 9 p.m. You really should go. Philly dark-punk band Blank Spell opens along with local hero Thick Paint.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Jenny Lewis Rabbit Fur Tour gets tons of press; M’s Pub fundraiser, blét tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:08 pm February 3, 2016
Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With the 10-year anniversary of the release of Jenny Lewis’ solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, there has been a ton of stories written about the making of that record. Or at least a half dozen. Lewis is conducting a brief tour on which she’s playing the album in its entirety with help from M. Ward and the Watson Twins, who appeared on the original album.

All the stories mention Saddle Creek Records in the heyday. Ah yes, those indeed were the days.

This piece in today’s Village Voice is among the most comprehensive. From the story:

“Looking back, she admits that the making of the album took place during what felt like such an innocent time. (‘I think I had just gotten my cell phone,’ she half-jokes.) The idea of branching out and going solo never occurred to her until her friend (and former Saddle Creek labelmate) Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk fame) approached her about putting out an album on the new label he was launching, Team Love. ‘My first reaction was, “Are you crazy? I’m in a rock band!” but he persuaded me. I made it and had zero expectations.'”

Then there’s this piece in Noisey. where the interviewer says: “Omaha’s music community, at that time and even now, was so influential. Saddle Creek and everything that they were doing was pivotal for so many bands.”

Lewis responds: I’ve been really fortunate along the way to just have these guides and I’ve always been really afraid but when I get on stage I’m not afraid anymore, just getting there is terrifying. Conor, Ben Gibbard, Blake Sennett, and Ryan Adams… all of these guides, have just kind of pushed me out there, pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. Each era is defined by a guide in a way.

The LA Times piece had Lewis uttering these words: “Glenn Frey is my David Bowie.”

Then there’s the piece in New York Magazine, which includes this gem (which isn’t a quote from Lewis): “I was a junior in high school the year that Rilo Kiley was like squatting in Omaha, and so many girls would get flustered seeing her out in the wild. She was always surrounded by the hot Saddle Creek guys.”

The hot Saddle Creek guys.

My first interview with Jenny Lewis was back in 2002 when Saddle Creek was releasing Rilo Kiley’s Execution of All Things, where she recapped her first Saddle Creek connection:

“We met Tim Kasher (Cursive, The Good Life) at a show in San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall,” Lewis said. “We were headed to Iowa for a gig and he invited us to join their caravan as they traveled cross-country.”

The Saddle Creek sound wasn’t a mystery to Lewis. “We had bought a copy of Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors a year before, so we were already fans of the music,” Lewis said. “We decided to record our next CD at Presto! and work with Saddle Creek because of the creative freedom we knew they’d offer.”

Ah, those were the days. Despite her nostalgia for Omaha, the 10-year Rabbit Fur tour doesn’t include an Omaha tour stop.

* * *

The Waiting Room is hosting a benefit tonight for M’s Pub employees (the iconic Old Market restaurant burned down last month) featuring performances by Kait Berreckman, Brad Hoshaw, Michael Campbell, Matt Whipkey, The Matt Cox Band and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. Admission is $10 and all proceeds will go to the employees from M’s Pub and The Market House. Show starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, O’Leaver’s is hosting blét, Iowa indie band Dagmar and Goedes. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Lazy-i

BFF observations and a suggestion; Jenny Lewis (SOLD OUT), The Lupines tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:56 pm August 4, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Benson First Friday seems to be catching on — I saw lots of people strolling around Benson, packing the bars and enjoying the cultural village over in the Marcus Motors parking lot (and the food trucks parked behind it).

However, there’s one somewhat important thing missing from BFF (other than an outside music stage): Art.

BFF is supposed to be a showcase for local artists, but actually finding the art along Maple Street is like a scavenger hunt. In fact, I overheard one older lady (probably in her late 60s) comment to her group of elderly friends: “Where’s the art?” in classic Where’s the beef? fashion.

Shops displaying art as part of BFF need to set up sidewalk signs that point people inside, because no one is reading those impossible-to-read art maps that were available in some of the venues. Without those sidewalk signs, oldsters and folks from outside the Benson area are going to walk right past the shops hosting art displays.

* * *

Speaking of walking past venues, 1912, the new bar/restaurant located right across the street from The Waiting Room was not open Friday night (or their reported silent opening date July 31). I’m told the reason they were closed had to do with the city’s usual bungling of permits. Needless to say, the delay cost 1912 a chunk of money, as a steady parade of people walked up to its front door only to get turned away by a deadbolt. Will 1912 finally open its doors tonight?

* * *

There’s a couple hot shows happening this evening.

Down at The Slowdown it’s the return of Jenny Lewis. Lewis is out supporting her new album, The Voyager (Warners Bros, 2014), which Pitchfork gave a big fat 7.2. Opening is Nashville’s The Apache Relay. This one is SOLD OUT. Starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, The Lupines return to fabulous O’Leaver’s with Milwaukee’s Fatty Acids and Worried Mothers. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Orenda Fink, The Hold Steady tonight; new Faint vid, Jenny Lewis, RAA, Strand of Oaks…

Screenwriter of Jurassic Park III, Alexander Payne, is among those who will be on hand for tonight's Chuck Hassebrook fundraiser. Hey Al, just playin' with ya...

Screenwriter of Jurassic Park III, Alexander Payne, is among those who will be on hand for tonight’s Chuck Hassebrook fundraiser. Hey Al, just playin’ with ya, Mr. Oscar…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s a couple shows happening tonight scheduled in such a way that you should be able to hit up both of them.

Show No. 1 is Orenda Fink at The Slowdown. The gig is a campaign fund-raiser for Chuck Hassebrook, who’s running for Nebraska governor against Pete Ricketts.

The lowest entry price-point for this show was $50, but organizers repriced general admission tickets to a mere $15. Also on hand will be screenwriter of Jurassic Park III (and director of a few movies, including About Schmidt and The Descendents) Alexander Payne.

Opening for Orenda are The WordSmiths (?) and McCarthy Trenching. Look, it’s a good opportunity to do what you can to keep Ricketts out of office while getting some quality music to boot. You can give more than $15 if you wanna. Donations range right on up to $2,500, Mr. Moneybags.

Get your tickets here. The program runs from 5:30 to 8:30 tonight.

That means you’ll have plenty of time to get across town to The Waiting Room, where The Hold Steady will be playing tonight. I can take or leave ol’ Craig Finn and Co., but have to admit it’ll be a treat to see them on TWR stage, and surprisingly, this one has yet to sell out. Opening is the Josh Berwanger Band (He’s the dude from Lawrence band The Anniversary and The Only Children). This is nice-priced at $18. Show starts at 9.

* * *

Check out the new video by The Faint for “Scapegoat” off SQE release Doom Abuse. What dungeon basement was this shot at?

* * *

Also released yesterday, the title track off Jenny Lewis’ upcoming album The Voyager. Check it below. Lewis is booked to play the Slowdown Aug. 4, by the way…

* * *

While I’m cleaning out the ice-box, here’s the latest track from Saddle Creek band Rural Alberta Advantage. Their new one, Mended with Gold, comes out Sept. 30 on the Creek.

* * *

This is connected to nothing local, I just wanted to pass along that I’ve been digging the new album by Strand of Oaks, HEAL (Dead Ocean). I’ve been looking for the vinyl in Omaha, and of course, no one has it. This one is on my shortlist for the first half of 2014. For you Spotify-ers out there:

* * *

In this week’s column, what happens when a top music PR flack (Catherine Herrick of Beggars Group) turns her back on the business and hits the road with her band? You can read it in the current issue of The Reader or online right here.

* * *

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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Omaha Girls Rock! goes camping and gets IRS-legit; Maria Taylor goes momma; Jenny Lewis goes solo and NE Pop Fest follows through…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:51 pm July 24, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Following up on a column from earlier this year, Omaha Girls Rock! announced yesterday that its second annual Rock Camp for Girls will take place the week of July 30. “OGR will provide 50 girls ages 8-18 with a chance to unleash their inner rock stars and to learn songwriting, guitar, bass, keyboards, drums, and vocals,” sayeth the OGR press release.

The week-long day camp, hosted by the College of St. Mary, includes five days of instrument instruction, band practice, guest performances, and “enrichment workshops.”

The girls are supported by trained, on-site female volunteers, including local and national teachers, social workers, professionals, and musicians. Campers learn instruments, form bands, and write their own original songs. The week culminates in a performance at the Slowdown, Omaha’s premier rock club, at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 4. After camp, girls will receive a CD including a recording of their original songs mixed and mastered by a professional sound engineer.

In other OGR news, the organization recently was designated as a 501(c)(3) charitable organizations by the IRS. That means your donations to OGR can be deducted from your taxes. So what are you waiting for? To donate, go to omahagirlsrock.com.

* * *

While I’m catching up on my in-box , here’s a heart-warming little story from Alabama’s ai.com where Maria Taylor talks about what it’s like being a mom after having her first baby in May. So how is she going to tour that upcoming Azure Ray album with a baby in tow? “Luckily, my mom has offered to be tour nanny,” Taylor said in the article. “We’ll have a separate car for me, my mom and the baby, and we’ll see how he is touring. We’ll just take it as it comes, and figure it out.”

We already knew about the new Azure Ray album coming out on Saddle Creek Sept. 4, but Taylor also talked about a new duo she’s formed with producer Andy LeMaster of Now It’s Overhead. “I think the record is going to be pretty eclectic in its sound, with a pop sensibility and guy-girl harmonies,” Taylor said in the article. “We have about nine songs, and the hardest part is finishing the lyrics. We’re used to writing by ourselves.”

No word on who’s releasing the debut of this unnamed Taylor/LeMaster project, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Saddle Creek had been mentioned in the discussion…

* * *

In “where are they now” news, SPIN reports that Jenny Lewis is working on a B-side collection of Rilo Kiley tracks as well as a follow-up to her Acid Tongue solo album. She’s also been composing the score and serving as music supervisor for a new movie called Very Good Girls.

I’ve gotten my heart broken, and fallen in love, and moved out my shitty rent-controlled apartment, and lost my father, and tried to rebuild my relationship with my mother,” she said in the article. “All of these things have definitely popped up in my songs and I want to write something that’s real that people can feel.”

Check out the fan-made video for new song “Head Under Water,” performed with he old partners in crime, The Watson Twins.

* * *

Finally, the Nebraska Pop Festival, which took place in Benson a couple weeks ago, presented a check July 17 for $1,630 to Arts For All Executive Director Judy Mallory, according to a press release. Last year NE Pop Fest raised $711 for the AFA. Kudos to festival promoter Chris Beiermann for following through.

* * *

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: Jenny & Johnny, Love as Laughter; Kyle Harvey, Bear Country tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 3:27 pm September 14, 2010
Jenny and Johnny at The Waiting Room, Sept. 11, 2010.

Jenny and Johnny at The Waiting Room, Sept. 11, 2010.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve got some interesting good news, but it’ll have to wait until tomorrow’s column. For now, here’s a belated review of last Saturday night’s show at The Waiting Room.

Opener, Sub Pop band Love as Laughter, was a trio of Brooklyn guys who spent the first 15 minutes of their set playing the same flat, mid-tempo song over and over (well, at least it sounded like it). But about four songs in, they shifted gears to more conventional indie rock (one song even had an uptempo, boogie vibe). Overall, the songs were consistently too long, but at least it became a little less boring by the end. A couple little girls (little girls made up most of the sold-out audience) even danced a grind to the last couple songs.

Now more than 10 years after the first Rilo Kiley EP was released, Jenny Lewis continues to be one of the cutest indie rock performers on stage. She’s got a sweet voice and a killer smile, and that combination can take you far in this business. It’s apparently taken her to the “tour bus” level, or at least I assume that giant bus parked right outside TWR was hers. I thought those monsters were reserved for arena/casino-sized artists, but apparently Warner Bros. has high hopes for this new album. And while the songs on I’m Having Fun Now (the Jenny and Johnny WB debut) are kinda catchy, none of them hold a candle to the songs on either of her first two solo albums. But what do I know about music marketing?

So who got the better deal out of this merger? Hands down it was Johnathan Rice, whose singer/songwriter fare I’ve always found to be somewhat droll. With Lewis and this band behind him, he ratchets up the rock to new levels (for him, anyway); while Lewis comes away relatively unscathed, but no better off than where she started.

The band’s secret weapons are their lead guitarist (who looked like he was 17 years old), and drummer Jason Boesel, who Lewis fans remember from Rilo Kiley. As a whole, it was worth it so see Lewis in a smaller setting (rather than the Slowdown’s big stage or Scottish Rite). If she ever starts earning that tour bus, you won’t get another chance to see her in such an intimate setting again.

* * *

Tonight at The Barley St., Kyle Harvey shows off his fine art skills, along with his musical skills. Joining him will be Nicole Le Clerc, Lincoln Dickinson, and Michael Trenhaile. 9 p.m. (no idea on the price).

Also tonight at The Sydney, Bear Country plays a show with Sam Martin (Capgun Coup) and Toronto band Wooden Sky. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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