Lincoln Calling final line-up announced; Kevin Morby tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:48 pm August 28, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Lincoln Calling

Last Friday the folks at Lincoln Calling (i.e., Hear Nebraska) announced the final line-up for this year’s event Sept. 28-30. “Closeness, Oquoa, Flowers Forever, Darren Keen, The Ambulanters will join headliners Charli XCX, Best Coast, Angel Olsen, along with Charles Bradley, Frankie Cosmos, Pup, (Sandy) Alex G, John Moreland and so many more of the country’s top emerging artists,” according to the press  release.

It is, indeed, a loaded ticket, with something special every night, Thursday (Frankie Cosmos, Navy Gang, Best Coast); Friday (Angel Olsen, Charles Bradley, UMM) and Saturday (Pile, Charlie XCX, Digital Leather). It’s going to make it hard for us Omahans to pick one night to drive down there. Day passes are $29 for Thursday and $34 for Friday and Saturday (per day). Three-day passes are $59 (plus $8 fees). Do the math.

Here’s the full line-up w/venues:

Bourbon Theater
Best Coast

Duffy’s Outdoor
Post Animal
Acid Dad
Matt Stansberry & the Romance
Salt Creek

Zoo Bar
Mount Moriah
Ian Sweet
McCarthy Trenching
The Artichoke Hearts

Bodega’s Alley
Malcolm London
M Shah
Maddog & the 20/20’s

The Bay
Frankie Cosmos
Navy Gangs
Thick Paint
Sean Pratt

Street Sects
Cult Play
Darren Keen
Low Long Signal
Verse and the Vices
Bomb Earth

Night Market
Jens Lehman
Karmen Delancey
Indigenous AK
Bach Mai
Orion Walsh

The Bourbon
Angel Olsen
Julie Byrne

Duffy’s Outdoor
Charles Bradley
El Ten Eleven
Josh Hoyer
Evan Bartels

Zoo Bar
Universe Contest
Gerardo Meza & Friends
Those Far Out Arrows
Kait Berreckman

Bodega’s Alley
Future Punx
I Forgot to Love My Father
Once A Pawn
Jacob James Wilton
Number One Hit Kids

The Bay
Cakes Da Killa
Jewels and Thalia
Ria Gold

1867 Bar
Arc Flash
Stiff Middle Finger
Screaming Plastic
Edem Soul Music

Night Market
Bazille Mills
Ashley Buck
Pleiades and the Bear
Wagon Blasters

The Bourbon
Charli XCX
Flint Eastwood
Plack Blague

Duffy’s Outdoor
(Sandy) Alex G
Digital Leather
David Nance
Flowers Forever

Zoo Bar
John Moreland
Brad Hoshaw
Andrea Von Kampen

Bodega’s Alley
Ghost Foot
Nation of Language
See Through Dresses
Ro Hempel Band

The Bay
The Bad Ideas
Uh Oh
Boner Killerz

1867 Bar
John Freidel

Night Market
The Ambulanters
Bokr Tov
Sleep Sinatra
The In-Betweens

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s Kevin Morby, who’s Ten Question survey you read here last week. Morby’s new album City Music (Dead Oceans, 2017) is very good indeed, especially if you’re a fan of Kurt Vile-style songwriting. Shannon Lay opens at 9 p.m. $12.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Review: Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever; Lincoln Calling adds more bands (Pile, El Ten Eleven, Palehound)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:55 pm July 6, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Matthew Sweet, Tomorrow Forever (2017, Honeycomb Hideout)

What goes into writing a “hit song,” a song people will sing along to or remember or select for a play list or mix tape? It’s something I’ll have to ask Matthew Sweet if I ever get a chance, but I have an idea how he’ll answer: “I don’t know. If I knew, I’d have written more hit songs.”

“Come Correct,” the 13th track on his new double album Tomorrow Forever (2017, Honeycomb Hideout) and the last song on Side 3 has all the makings of a hit song — the crack rhythm track, chop guitar, a simple melody, sing-along lyrics. It’s a great song that stood out the first time I listened to the record. You can imagine it playing on your favorite FM channel… 20 years ago, back when there was such things as a hit record.

It’s not the only good song on the album. Tomorrow Forever is a return to form for Sweet and maybe his most accessible collection since 100% Fun or that Japanese “thank you” record, 2003’s Kimi Ga Suki. Old time fans will want to know how it compares to Sweet’s magnum opus, 1991’s Girlfriend. It holds its own, though it’s not quite as accessible or an obvious classic (only time will tell).

If you’re not familiar with Sweet’s sound, it’s sort of a power-pop amalgam of The Byrds with Big Star with Teenage Fanclub with The Posies with Sweet’s unique high-end, nasal voice. You could say there’s a ’90s flair to the music. His style hasn’t changed much since Girlfriend, but then again, why should it?

The only thing holding this album back is the lyrics, which too often are overtly obtuse or speculative — they’re too spacey and ungrounded, as if trying to be psychedelic. On the other hand, almost every song on Girlfriend was memorable thanks to lyrics that something anyone could identify with — love songs loaded with pain and/or redemption. “Come Correct” of this new one scores because the lyrics are obvious and real: “Don’t dance don’t dance / Get your head out of the sand / I don’t want to be in anybody’s band.”

The same holds true for tracks like “You Knew Me,” “Carol” and “Country Girl.”  But not so much for all those time travel/inter-dimensional songs, like opening track “Trick,” or “Entangled” and “Hello,” which have a ephemeral, hippy-ish quality wherein afterward you wonder what Sweet was trying to say (if you remember the lyrics at all).

In some of his past albums (and live performances) Sweet’s guitar noodling veered dangerously close to jam territory. Not so here, where the clear, simple arrangements keep the songs focused, as if Sweet was trying to write as many hit songs as possible. There’s more than a few on Tomorrow Forever, which is more than you’ll hear on most albums reviewed in Pitchfork. Rating: Yes

I only hope Sweet uses the same restraint when he plays The Waiting Room this weekend. The last couple times I saw him perform he and his band were more focused on rocking than trying to capture the subtleties of his best songs.

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As if Lincoln Calling wasn’t big enough, this morning they announced another wave of 67 bands for the festival that runs Sept. 28-30 in Lincoln (duh), including Pile, El Ten Eleven, Mount Moriah, Umm, See Through Dresses and Digital Leather. They’re also now selling day passes that run from $29 to $34. 3-day festival passes are $59. Find out more at

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Wilder Maker is Saddle Creek’s second ‘Document’; Lincoln Calling announces 2017 line-up today…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm May 4, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

Wilder Maker, “New Streets” b/w “Only Child” (2017, Saddle Creek)

First of all, I’m a sucker for record clubs. I belonged to the Sub Pop Singles club for years; I joined Matador’s record club for a short while, and now Saddle Creek is doing its version of a record club with its Document series, and so far, they’re two for two.

Says Saddle Creek: “The Document Series is comprised of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of Saddle Creek’s roster, along with a specially curated zine highlighting the artist’s hometown / music scene.

Brooklyn five-piece Wilder Maker has been around since 2012. Led by Gabriel Birnbaum, this is solid, tuneful songwriting (as you’ll hear when you listen to the  track, below). Call it pop indie, it has more in common with ’70s FM rock than anything on Sirius XMU, where it’s bound to get some airplay.

They’re apparently pals with Sam Evian, who recorded the tracks at his Figure 8 studio, which might explain the Saddle Creek connection, as Evian released his last album on Saddle Creek last year.

As is probably the intent, after buying the preorder, I checked out Wilder Maker’s last release, 2015’s Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire, Vol. III on Bandcamp, a sleepy six-song EP which bears little resemblance to the Saddle Creek single but is interesting in its own (perhaps too) laid-back way.

In addition to being more upbeat than the EP, the single features Katie Von Schleicher on lead vocals rather than Birnmaum’s growl-y voice. And so, Saddle Creek can add another to their list of strong female-fronted releases that includes Hop Along and break-out act Big Thief.

I’m kind of liking this one-at-a time (actually two-at-a-time) approach to physical releases. Would I like a full-length by Wilder Maker? Sure, if all the tracks were this good. I’m not sure if singles make economic sense for the label or the band (these singles clubs have a way of evaporating over time) but for me, good things come in small packages, sometimes.

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I have seen the initial line-up announcement for this year’s Lincoln Calling festival, which is slated for Sept. 28-30. You will be seeing it, too, sometime today, whenever Hear Nebraska decides to release it (probably any moment now). It is impressive. There are at least four Maha-quality headliners and a plethora of second-tier indie stars. Keep your eyes peeled to Or just watch your social media feeds…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.