Introducing Max Trax Records (Little Brazil, Junkyard Dan, Leafblower); NayeFest 2017 dance party/fund raiser tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm August 25, 2017

Max Trax Records is the new label helmed by Marty and Danny Maxwell.

by Tim McMahan,

Remember that new local record label I teased here on Wednesday?

Well, It’s called Max Trax Records, an independent label run by a bunch of dudes we’re all familiar with.

“As a tribute to their brother Frank, Marty and Danny Maxwell have decided to launch Max Trax Records,” says the press release. “Being that Danny is involved in each band, MTR will be the home for Little Brazil, Leafblower, Wrong Pets, Junkyard Dan and New Lungs. Each band has new material ready – or in progress – to release in the upcoming months. In the future, MTR will be looking to sign new artists to the label.”


The first release out of the Max Trax gate will be the debut cassette from Junkyard Dan on Sept. 1. “Dan” is none other than Danny Maxwell a.k.a. DMax himself. The band name is an homage to his favorite wrestler (and idol), the Junkyard Dog, and features Danny on guitar, bass and vocals, and Frankie Maxwell, Jr., on drums. It was engineered, mixed and mastered by Frank Maxwell at Max Trax studio in Sioux Falls, SD, in February 2016.

The two-song single — “Someday” b/w “Leverage” — is the first of what was going to be an album. “I then planned to self-release a cassette on Frank’s birthday (Sept. 1), so when we decided on a combined announcement of the Junkyard Dan single and the launch of Max Trax Records, it felt right,” Danny said.

The local music scene was shocked when Frank Maxwell unexpectedly passed away July 11, 2016, at the age of 49. Launching a record label in his memory is a fitting tribute to someone — and an entire family — that has is greatly impacted the Omaha music scene.

Want to listen to the new Junkyard Dan release? You’ll have to wait until Sept. 1, when it will be available for ordering at The limited cassette features hand-stamped navy-blue tapes and white O-cards, handwritten credits and free digital download cards.

And it rocks. I’ve heard the tracks and all I can say is, turn it up!

* * *

NayeFest2017 is tonight (Friday) at The Sydney.

The best way I can think of to describe Nayef Zgkurt: He’s the guy at the rock show or at the party or in the club or even walking down the street that is having a better time than you are.

I know Nayef as the person who is never afraid to dance, no matter the circumstances. He’ll get on the floor and let the music take over with no inhibitions. It’s something this rather bashful, awkward, insecure dude has always admired about him. Nayef really does “dance like nobody’s watching,” but in his case, he doesn’t give a shit if anyone is watching. (And why would he, when you look and dance like Nayef, right?).

Anyway, Nayef also was part of the Omaha music scene for years, at one time working at Saddle Creek Records before moving to NYC to take a record label job. Then (and the details around the event are still spotty) Nayef suffered a massive head injury that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay and brain damage. It was scary news, and to a certain extent, mysterious news that left a lot of folks worried.

Well, months after the incident, Nayef surfaced on Facebook letting his friends know that he is on the road to recovery at a rehab center somewhere in Riyadh. Folks were relieved and wanted to do something to help speed the healing.

And so, tonight is NayeFest2017 at The Sydney in Benson. DJs Brent Crampton, Roger Lewis and Keith Rodger will be spinning the best dance tracks starting at 9 p.m. And a host of guest bartenders will be slinging drinks. Cover is $5. The door, all bartender tips and a portion of bar sales for the night will be donated to Nayef for his medical bills and recovery.

Needless to say, this will be the dance event of the year. Come out and celebrate the man, the myth, the dancing legend known as Nayef. More info here.

* * *

Other than NayeFest, there ain’t a whole helluva lot happening this weekend. I mean, like, almost nothing.

If you have a show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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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.


#TBT March 23, 2007: Little Brazil release show for Tighten the Noose; The English Beat tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm March 23, 2017

Little Brazil circa 2007. The band hosted the album release show for sophomore album Tighten the Noose 10 years ago today.

by Tim McMahan,

Another highlight of ’07 along with the opening of The Slowdown and The Waiting Room was the release of Little Brazil’s sophomore album Tighten the Noose.

The album’s official release date according to was Feb. 6, 2007. That website gave the recording a 3-1/2 star rating, but was less than complimentary in its review, saying, “…while these are perfectly admirable sonic references, they point up Tighten the Noose’s primary flaw: Hedges’ songs are solid, and he’s a perfectly decent singer and guitarist, but there’s a faintly anonymous quality to Tighten the Noose that keeps the album from sounding like more than the sum of (Landon) Hedges’ influences…

I remember when I first read that review thinking it was pretty lazy, especially considering the comparisons the writer threw out (Dream Syndicate? Apples in Stereo? Huh?). To me, Tighten the Noose would become Little Brazil’s “rock album,” comprised of the catchiest tracks they’ve recorded in their career. Tunes like “Last Night,” “Shades” and “Never Leave You” became staples of their set over the years and epitomized their sound. These are the tunes the band will be remembered for, along with the more epic, story-telling songs on the follow-up, 2009’s Son.

At this point in the band’s career, Little Brazil was still trying to pull itself away from Landon’s association with a couple of his former bands — Desaparecidos and The Good Life.

From Lazy-i March 21, 2007:

(Bass player Danny) Maxwell is skeptical that Hedges’ history has had an impact on drawing people to Little Brazil shows. “They don’t say, ‘Holy shit, it’s the guy from Desa.'”

Still, Maxwell said fans are aware of the band’s history and its connection to the Omaha music scene. “They ask us what Conor is doing right now,” Maxwell said. “I usually respond with, ‘I don’t know. We’re here with you tonight.'”

“There are fans out there that love that style of music and ask us what it’s like to be part of it,” (guitarist Greg) Edds explained. “I don’t mind when they’re being sincere. On the other hand, there are the ones who hand us gifts to bring back to Conor and Tim (Kasher).'”

“It’s annoying at this point in our careers,” Hedges said.

“But it’s getting to be less and less of a problem,” (drummer Oliver) Morgan added. “We’re starting to make our own mark.” — Lazy-i March 21, 2007

Read the whole story here.

According to my review in Lazy-i the next day, about 250 people showed up for the album release show at Sokol Underground March 23, 2007. The Photo Atlas was the opener. There was even a balloon drop halfway through Little Brazil’s first song, and Landon almost passed out from the heat/humidity.

From the 2007 review:

“Landon… is a pure crooner, an Omaha-style indie singer cut from the same bolt of cloth as Tim Kasher (a la The Good Life, not Cursive). Every time I see him with his just-woke-up hair and cheap wireframe glasses I think of Corey Haim as Lucas or a bespeckled Bobby Brady, age 13. His voice kinda/sorta matches his appearance — an unpretentious caterwaul that has no problem reaching for the high notes at the peak of a heart-wailing phrase. Little Brazil’s music isn’t exactly a bold, new direction in the world of indie rock. You got your cool guitar riffs, your lean bass lines, your thunderous drums (Oliver Morgan is always at his best every time I see him on stage — he has no second gear), coming together to form a verse-verse-verse song (why are there never any choruses these days?) that typically builds to a predictable — if satisfying — “big ending.” The differentiator — Landon’s Bobby-at-13 voice, that is both honest and simple and, well, good enough to cut through the din. It’s kind if quirky, but perfectly on pitch. And it follows a melody that rises and falls…” — Lazy-i, March 24, 2007

The next day the band drove to Denver to open for The Photo Atlas at their album release show…

Anyway, if you haven’t already, check out Tighten the Noose at Bandcamp. I listened to it again this morning on my way into work and it holds up exceptionally well. Wouldn’t it be a kick in the head if Landon and Co. got together for a 10-year anniversary performance of Tighten the Noose? Think about it, Maha…

* * *

One of those bands that never seems to forget Omaha when it tours, Dave Wakeling and The English Beat, return to The Waiting Room tonight. Local ska band The Bishops opens. 8 p.m., $25.

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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.


Live Review: Cultural Attraction, Sons of O’Leaver’s, Little Brazil sing ‘Happy Birthday’…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm June 13, 2016
Cultural Attraction at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Cultural Attraction at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

About halfway through the Sons of O’Leaver’s set Saturday night, frontman Kelly Maxwell pulled out something draped on a coat hanger, covered in what appeared to be white butcher’s paper, and presented it to man-of-the-hour, bass player Mike Tulis. I didn’t take notes, but Maxwell said something like, “We usually wear jackets when we play, but it’s just too hot up here.” (It was abysmally hot inside O’Leaver’s despite the AC blowing full blast).

BTW, this moment happened halfway through a song halfway through the set, while the band played on. Maxwell pulled the butcher paper from the hanger to reveal an impressive black sports jacket, heavy wool, probably around a 38 regular. Spray-painted on back in white: the number 50. The crowd went wild as Tulis held it high, later donning the jacket for the rest of the set.

Saturday night not only was a celebration of Tulis’ 50th birthday, but also 25 years of Tulis performing in bands, the first of which kicked off the evening. Cultural Attraction played a solid selection of songs from their two cassette releases from the early ’90s. Highlights included trippy acoustic-driven versions of such chestnuts as the politically charged “Anita Hill,” and personal favorite “Good Ol’ Days,” wherein the singer had to refer to a sheet of notebook paper. That was the only song, however, where notes were needed.

Cultural Attraction’s groovy, acoustic-guitar driven music was propelled by John Riley pounding away on a fine set of  congas. Yes, congas. But the real power of their music came from the voices and the harmonies, which were as strong as ever. CA drew the biggest crowd of the night, a testimony to a band that likely hasn’t played together in 20 years.

Sons of O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Sons of O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

They were followed by Sons of O’Leaver’s. The four-piece, that features Tulis on bass and Matt Rutledge on guitar, sounds sort of like a cross between early Spoon (Maxwell’s voice is a gravelly version of Britt Daniel’s) and The Replacements. Drummer Mike Loftis’ stick work was particularly impressive Saturday night.

Little Brazil at O'Leaver's, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil at O’Leaver’s, June 11, 2016.

Little Brazil closed out the evening with a short set that included a handful of songs off their upcoming record. Frontman Landon Hedges led the crowd in an impromptu version of “Happy Birthday” that included an interlude where Tulis thanked everyone for coming out. Good times indeed.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Cultural Attraction (Mike Tulis birthday), Little Brazil Saturday; Chris Cohen, Son Ambulance Sunday; Ten Questions with Nothing…

O'Leaver's for Mike Tulis' celebration of silver & gold...

O’Leaver’s for Mike Tulis’ celebration of silver & gold…

by Tim McMahan,

Busy weekend for shows. Very busy. But the big stuff doesn’t start until tomorrow.

First, a mention of the OEAA showcases going on in Benson this weekend. I admit to knowing almost none of the bands performing this year. The few stand-out bands I recognize include John Klemmensen, Mitch Gettman, Latin Threat and Ragged Company. The full schedule is online right here. Cost is $10 one night, $15 for both nights. This is the only OEAA event that I participate in; it’s always fun to walk around Benson and check out new bands.

Onto Saturday night…

The marquee show is, of course, the Silver & Gold Celebration for Mike Tulis at fabulous O’Leaver’s. For his 50th, Tulis is getting the band back together — in this case, Cultural Attraction. Read all about the band’s history right here. Opening is Little Brazil and The Sons of O’Leaver’s. This can’t-miss show starts at 9:30. See you there.

Also celebrating a birthday Saturday night is The Brothers Lounge — opened apparently in conjunction with Tulis’ birth (both are 50 years old). Playing the party are Minnesota band Jaw Knee Vee, Lincoln madman Plack Blague and surprise guests You’ll Love These Rockets. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday, Jerry’s Bar in Benson is hosting a festival all afternoon and evening. Among the performers are Matt Whipkey and Clarence Tilton. More info and the day’s schedule here.

Sunday it’s back to fabulous O’Leaver’s for their Sunday Social and one of the best line-ups of the weekend: Chris Cohen (Ex Deerhoof, Ariel Pink’s Huanted Graffiti), Son, Ambulance, Kansas City’s Shy Boys and Thick Paint. All for $8 plus FREE FOOD (no idea what kind of food, but it’s free). This starts early — 4 p.m.

* * *

Nothing plays Slowdown Jr. Sunday night.

Nothing plays Slowdown Jr. Sunday night.

Sunday night Nothing plays with Culture Abuse, Wrong and Bib at Slowdown Jr. Here’s Ten Questions with Nothing…

Ten Questions with Nothing

Philly band Nothing may be known as much for its frontman’s brutal history as its music. As the story goes, Domenic Palermo spent a couple years in the slammer after stabbing someone in a fight back in 2002 when he was a member of hardcore punk act Horror Show, according to NPR. As you would expect, the experience changed him and his musical direction. With Nothing, Palermo returned to his first love: shoegaze. The music on the band’s latest album, Tired of Tomorrow (2016, Relapse) sounds like a reinvention of (or at least heavily influenced by) bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive combined with early Smashing Pumpkins. The product is dense, bleak and oftentimes brooding.

We asked Nothing to take our 10 Questions survey. Palermo took the plunge:

1. What is your favorite album?

Nothing: Sun City Girls, You’re Never Alone with a Cigarette

2. What is your least favorite song?

Theme song to “Frasier”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Not having to be at home.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Having to be on the road.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?


6. In what city or town do you love top perform?


7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Chicago. I fell asleep standing up, while we were playing.

8. How do you pay your bills?

Relapse Records allowance money.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Writing questions for newspaper; prostitution

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

One about these two brothers. One’s a cop and one’s a bad ass. The bad ass brother gets in a fight and kills a man in a bar fight. The cop brother chases him down through the back roads all the way to Canada, but decides to let him go, because a man that turns his back on his family, just ain’t no good.

Nothing plays with Culture Abuse, Wrong and Bib Sunday, June 12, at Slowdown Jr., 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $13 Adv./$15 DOS. Showtime is 7 p.m. For more information, go to

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great (red hot) weekend…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Little Brazil, Clarence Tilton tonight; Record Store Day, Hi-Fi (Open) House Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:51 pm April 15, 2016
Record Store Day is Saturday, April 16.

Record Store Day is Saturday, April 16.

by Tim McMahan,

What’s the worst thing that can happen when the first really warm weekend of spring finally rolls through your town? You come down with a cold. I don’t know if this is an actual cold or just severe allergies or a reaction to the Kansas bonfires, but my head feels like an over-stuffed pillow this morning, and I have a Kleenix hanging out my right nose. This does not bode well as we approach another weekend of fine live indie music.

First on the list: Lookout Lounge has done it again. The midtown rock club tonight features everyone’s favorite emo punks Little Brazil. Word on the street is that the LB dudes are wrapping up a new album that will finally break through to a national audience. Find out what it sounds like tonight. Lil’ Brazil is the second band on stage. First out of the shoot is pop punk divas The Beat Seekers; last up is headliner, Kansas City’s The Architects. $8, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, in the heart of Benson, 2015 breakout C&W band Clarence Tilton headlines at The Barley Street Tavern. Also on the twang-filled bill are Rich & Germaine and Matt Cox. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight Delta Spirit dude Matthew Logan Vasquez plays at Reverb Lounge with Reverend Baron. $15, 9 p.m.

almostmusic1Tomorrow is, of course, RECORD STORE DAY! Everyone will be up and at ’em to get in line early at Homer’ for all the cool stuff. Homer’s details here.

But the real fun starts at noon at Almost Music at their new location at 3925 Farnam St. In addition to having plenty of RSD merch (Almost Music also opens at 10 a.m.) the store will feature in-store performances all day long. Here’s the sched:

12:00 – Nathaniel Hoier
1:00 – John Klemmensen and the Party
2:00 – Brad Hoshaw Music
3:00 – Bien Fang
4:00 – Hand Painted Police Car
5:00 – See Through Dresses
6:00 – Sucettes
7:00 – The Shrinks
8:00 – Ramon Speed

drastic copyDrastic Plastic also will be taking part in the RSD feeding frenzy. I’m told they have tons of RSD merch that also will be thrown to the masses at 10 a.m. tomorrow.

Even the Saddle Creek Shop will be open Saturday from noon to 4 selling all kinds of Creek merch including RSD releases by The Thermals and that Fink-powered combo Cho-Cho & Dasheen.

While your downtown near Slowdown, check out Urban Outfitters RSD in-store at 2 p.m. featuring performances by High Up & Dominique Morgan, as well as free beer!

That’s all great, but something REALLY special is happening Saturday — you’ll finally get a chance to see inside the uber-secret Hi-Fi House, the vinyl listening library located in the Blackstone District at 3724 Farnam St. (in the old Joseph’s College of Beauty building). According to their description in Facebook:

We operate as a musicology lab by day serving educators and health care providers who use music to enhance the lives of their students and patients. We transform into a private club at night to serve artists, industry, neighbors and friends who love music as much as we do.

More details about Hi-F- House I cannot tell you since I’ve never been there, but I intend to drop in Saturday afternoon, and so can you.

The Hi-Fi House Open House starts at noon and “goes until the last record is played.” The day features live, in-house performances by Chemicals (yet another Dereck Higgins’ project), Ricki and Victoria (Pleiades and the Bear) and Mitch Gettmann starting around p.m.. Ticket into the door is a receipt from your purchase on RSD (any record purchased qualifies).

One last RSD-related event — Recycled Sounds records store, formerly located in Lincoln, is now open in Omaha at 322 No. 76th St. The store will have live performances starting at 5, concluding with a live set from Virgin Mary Pistol Grip at 8 p.m. According to their poster Recycled will also have some RSD merch (store opens at 10 a.m.) as well as 15% off used vinyl.

Saturday night, classic psychobilly band The Rev. Horton Heat plays at The Waiting Room with Nashville Pussy, Unknown Hinson and Lucky Tubb. $25, 8 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show (or your Record Store Day event) leave it in the comments section. Have a great *aschew!* weekend….

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Little Brazil preps hard-rocking ‘Send the Wolves’; Ty Segall, See Through Dresses tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:49 pm March 10, 2016
Ty Segall at Sokol Underground, Feb. 10, 2013. Segall returns to The Waiting Room Saturday night.

Ty Segall at Sokol Underground, Feb. 10, 2013. Segall and his band plays The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

Sounds like the time Landon Hedges has spent playing in Desparecidos over the past few years has had an impact on his own band, Little Brazil. At least judging from two tracks Hedges recently let me preview from the band’s forthcoming album, Send the Wolves.

Both songs — “Making a Mess” and “You” — sport that classic Little Brazil guitar-fueled bombast we’ve all come to expect after years of releases dating back to 2004’s self-titled EP. The “Desa difference” can be heard in the sheer power of the songs and the choices made with melodies. These songs sound unlike anything else Little Brazil has recorded, and are among their best.

Another difference in their sound could be due to the band’s new line-up. While Hedges and Danny Maxwell remain at the core of Little Brazil, veteran Matt Bowen (The Faint, Commander Venus, Lullaby for the Working Class, Race for Titles, The Third Men, to name a few) has taken over on drums while one of the city’s most talented guitarists, Mike Friedman (The Lupines, Simon Joyner) now handles leads.

Hedges says you’ll have to wait until this fall to get your copy of Send the Wolves. Little Brazil is working with old compadre Mike Jaworski, who is managing the band and helping shop the album to labels and booking agents. Jaworski released three previews Little Brazil albums on his own Mt. Fuji Records imprint.

* * *

Get ready for the weird tonight at The Waiting Room when Ty Segall returns with his band the Muggers. Segall has been tearing up the TV lately with a number of appearances where he goes shit-crazy, usually wearing a creepy baby mask — a tie-in to his latest album, Emotional Mugger (Drag City, 2016). Expect the usual over-the-top garage rock mayhem. Feels and Oquoa open the show 9 p.m. show. $17.

* * *

Also tonight, See Through Dresses warm up for their trip to this year’s South By Southwest Festival (it’s next week!) with a set tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening the show tonight is Lincoln band Better Friend and Omaha trio The Sunks. $5, 9 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Little Brazil tonight @ O’Leaver’s (and the patio is open); Dirty Dishes, Uh Oh Saturday; The Pines, Clarence Tilton Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 2:13 pm February 19, 2016
Little Brazil at Reverb Lounge, May 1, 2015.

Little Brazil at Reverb Lounge, May 1, 2015. The band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan,

You know spring is on the way when O’Leaver’s opens the massive beer garden out back. Thus is the case this weekend, when O’Leaver’s hosts a couple red hot shows.

Tonight it’s the return of Little Brazil. I’m told by LB frontman Landon Hedges that the band will be rolling out all new tunes for tonight’s set, including a couple they’ve never played live before. The band is sandwiched in a bill that includes opener Lonely Estates and headliner, Chicago’s Cloudstomper. $5, 9:30 p.m.

It’s back to O’Leaver’s tomorrow night (Saturday) for LA duo Dirty Dishes, whose debut, Guilty, was released on Exploding in Sound records last year. The band says its influences include My Bloody Valentine, Radiohead, Sonic Youth, Chavez, Bjork and Autolux. Omaha acts Misers and Briner open the show. 9:30, $5.

Saturday also has Uh Oh opening for SideOneDummy punkers Meat Wave at Reverb Lounge. $10 Adv./$12 DOS. 9 p.m.

Finally Sunday The Pines headlines at Reverb Lounge. Their new album Above the Prairie, was released a couple weeks ago on Red House Records. Local favorites Clarence Tilton opens. Tix are $10 Adv./$12 DOS. Show starts at 9.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

* * *

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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Little Brazil Hears Omaha; Download Nebraska (and its older sibling); Lincoln Calling line-up; Beach Slang, See Through Dresses tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:12 pm August 27, 2015
Little Brazil playing in the Old Market during the Hear Omaha finale for 2015.

Little Brazil playing in the Old Market today (Aug. 27) during Hear Omaha’s finale performance for 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

Sorry for no updates the past two days. Reader deadlines. Look for a looong feature on Desaparecidos and a review of the new Mynabirds album in the September issue of The Reader. I’ll let you know when the stories are online.

* * *

Little Brazil blew a hole in the ozone layer above the O! Chamber Courtyard in the Old Market today during the last of this season’s Hear Omaha lunchtime concerts. I’m told their performance was the loudest of the series, and can attest that Mike Friedman’s ringing guitar licks could be heard as I walked out of the Union Pacific HQ building at 14th and Dodge, about a half-mile away. Good crowd, great music, great series. Hopefully it’ll be back for 2016.

* * *

Some catch-up:

By now you’ve seen the new online partnership between Hear Nebraska and The Omaha Public Library called Download Nebraska, right? You haven’t? Well, here’s the link and the skinny: The website hosts full albums from Nebraska artists, curated by the Hear Nebraska staff. You can stream them from the website for free, or download the tracks if you have an OPL Library Card (and who doesn’t?).

Among the artists available on the website are Eli Mardock, Both, Digital Leather, Little Brazil, Matt Whipkey, Millions of Boys, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Pleasure Adapter, Yuppies and on and on.

Hear Nebraska major domo Andrew Norman says more albums will become available on the site in the future, and that all bands with music at got paid — a rarity in the streaming era.

Here’s an another “Did You Know?”: There’s been a website online for years and years called The Band Broke Up that also offers downloads of albums from Nebraska bands for free. We’re talking old-school Omaha and Lincoln acts like Rent Money Big, 13 Nightmares, Thunderstandable, Mister Baby, The Monroes, Opium Taylor, Fullblown, Marianas, The Bombardment Society, the list goes on and on. Check it out, too. These two sites should cross-link or (better yet) merge!

* * *

The 12th Annual Lincoln Calling Festival has been announced for Sept. 29-Oct. 3 to be held at nine venues in Lincoln. The bands confirmed so far:

A Ferocious Jungle Cat
All Young Girls Are Machine Guns
American Pinup
Andy Butler
Bandit Sound
Better Friend
The Bottle Tops
Bud Heavy & the High Lifes
Buffalo Rodeo
Communist Daughter
Desir Decir
DJ Relic
Dylan Bloom Band
Ebony Tusks
Emily Bass
Gerardo Meza Band
Ghost Foot
The Government
Head of Femur
Homegrown Film Festival Volume 8
The Inner Party
Jack Hotel
Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal
Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery
Little Brazil
Matt Cox Band
McCarthy Trenching
The Mezcal Brothers
The Midland Band
Mike Semrad
Motion Trap
The Palmer Squares
Psalm One
Pure Brown
Red Elvises
The Renfields
Rock Paper Dynamite
See Through Dresses
Shark Week
Thirst Things First
Tijuana Gigolos
Universe Contest
What the Fuss

Lincoln Calling organizer Jeremy Buckley said there’s even more band announcements to come. The full schedule should be finalized in a couple weeks.

Lincoln Calling has the distinction of being the largest Nebraska music festival involving the most bands, all of which are paid for participating, which makes it somewhat amazing.

* * *

Tonight at O’Leaver’s Philly band Beach Slang headlines. The band opened 40+ shows for Cursive last year. Opening tonight’s show is the always amazing See Through Dresses and Eric in Outerspace. $5, 9:30 p.m.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: John Klemmensen and the Party, Little Brazil; Hop Along in Pitchfork (7.9 rating); Lady Lamb tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:38 pm May 4, 2015
John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015.

John Klemmensen and the Party at Reverb, May 1, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

What is the musical future of John Klemmensen? Who knows. It’s impossible to base anything on an album release party. Case in point: How many times have you seen bands pull off well-attended album release shows only to fall back to wherever they were before, never building on the momentum they’ve gained leading up to the show? It’s laughably commonplace.

On the other hand, what are these artists supposed to do next? The simple answer is hit the road. Go on a self-booked tour that gets them to as many nearby cities and towns as possible; a tour that presumably was arranged months in advance of the album release show. But that rarely happens because, well, these artists have to survive. They have to feed themselves and their family. They have to pay their rent. Which means the following Monday it’s back to whatever day-job they suffer through to pay the bills.

Booking a tour on your own is difficult. Going out on tour — especially with a band the size of The Party — is expensive. It’s a massive money-loser for everyone involved, an expensive vacation that doesn’t include good meals and hotels. Because of these reasons, local bands talk about touring, but rarely do.

And time passes. Eventually the band plays another local show, and another. And slowly, in their spare time, they begin to write more songs and, before you know it, a Kickstarter campaign pops up and they begin gearing up for the next album release show. It’s an endless cycle. The only way to break out of it is for a miracle to happen, such as someone important (such as a record label) discovering your album who is willing to do what it takes to get you to the next level — rerelease, distribution, publicity, booking agent, financial backing necessary to hit the road. It’s like winning the lottery, and it never happens.

That doesn’t stop people from dreaming. Part of that dream has happened for Klemmensen. Someone put up the money to press 500 copies of Party All Night, his new album. What that person is able to do next to get the record heard only Klemmensen knows, but to that person I say: You have made a good bet based on how the audience responded to his music Friday night — full-on sing-alongs and fist pumps. It helps that Klemmensen has been performing this music for months, but there also is that tangible quality — memorable, yell-worthy lyrics.

I think Klemmensen could break through as a pop act. His music is suited for it. It’s certainly not indie, and when it comes to making a living playing music, that’s probably a good thing these days. But it all depends on what he does next. If he never gets a chance to go on the road, if he goes back to life-as-usual, the only thing that’ll come out of Friday night’s show is a sweet memory.

Little Brazil at Reverb Lounge, May 1, 2015.

Little Brazil at Reverb Lounge, May 1, 2015.

Opener Little Brazil put on the best show they’ve played in a long time. The set was all (or almost all) new material, and it was all somewhat awesome. I’m told they’ve recorded some demoes of these songs; can a full-length can’t be far off? Well, frontman Landon Hedges has his hands full over the coming months with the release of the new album by his other band, Desaparecidos, and the ongoing support tour.

Dan McCarthy at Brad's Corner during Benson First Friday, May 1, 2015.

Dan McCarthy at Brad’s Corner during Benson First Friday, May 1, 2015.

One other act I caught Friday — Dan McCarthy doing a solo acoustic set on Brad’s Corner. McCarthy is always entertaining. If Brad Hoshaw had been ambitious he would have dragged a full-sized upright piano out to the corner. Next time. Benson First Friday is getting crazier and crazier. This time Military Ave. was blocked off for some sort of art fair craft show thing…

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When did record labels start releasing albums on Mondays? Today Saddle Creek released the new Hop Along and Twinsmith records. Isn’t Tuesday release day (which is eventually shifting to Fridays at some point)?

No matter. If you haven’t heard the new Hop Along album, titled Painted Shut, you need to. As I’ve said before, it’s the best non-Omaha-based Saddle Creek release in years. And apparently Pitchfork agrees. The indie “tastemakers” gave the album a respectable 7.9 rating in this review, where they call out Saddle Creek:

Painted Shut is being released on Saddle Creek, a label built on the kind of romantic, middle-American indie that made Hop Along possible in the first place—music more indebted to the 1970s than the 1980s, more to the earnest mythologizing of folk than the grandstanding of rock, more to the fantasias of Edward Gorey and e.e. cummings than to the flash of the city; music for rickety houses in college towns and the lonelyhearts who collect in their corners like dust and give each other stick-and-pokes. I’d say it all seems old-fashioned but it has been this way for about 25 years and seems part of a longer continuum all the time, so who knows.

Uh, 25 years?

Now, Pitchfork, where’s that Twinsmith review? Not to be outdone, reviewed Alligator Years and gave it four stars (out of five, here), launching the review with the statement: “Omaha’s Twinsmith are the next Vampire Weekend.” Oh boy…

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Just got word that the big concert announcement I mentioned online here last week is coming Wednesday morning. Huge. Watch Lazy-i or (I guess) the local media for the announcement. It’ll  be hard to miss.

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Great Monday night show tonight: Lady Lamb, whose new album After was just released in March on Mom & Pop Music (Courtney Barnett’s new label) are playing at Slowdown Jr. with Rathborne and Jordan Smith. $12, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Matthew Sweet, So-So Sailors, Little Brazil, Juan Wauters; Delicate Steve tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:38 pm March 30, 2015
So-So Sailors at 1200 Club as part of the Hear Nebraska Fundraiser March 28, 2015.

So-So Sailors at 1200 Club as part of the Hear Nebraska Fundraiser March 28, 2015.

by Tim McMahan,

A recap of a busy weekend of shows…

It was noted by a fellow audience member at The Waiting Room Friday night that Little Brazil might be the band I’ve seen play live more than any other band. They’ve been doing it since the early ’00s, and over the years their line-up has subtly changed, specifically on drums and guitar (Frontman Landon Hedges and bass player Danny Maxwell always have been the centerpiece). This current line-up, with Matt Bowen on drums and Mike Friedman on lead guitar, is the heaviest, the loudest, thanks in a big part to Bowen’s muscular, heavy-sticked drumming (Maybe we should start calling him Matt Bonham?).

Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, March 27, 2015.

Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, March 27, 2015.

I recorded the first half of their set for the upcoming podcast, and realized afterward that I recorded the wrong half. In addition to having a better mix later in the set, I missed a couple new standout songs presumably from an upcoming album. One featured a swirling two-guitar interlude that was pure Thin Lizzy, the other (the closing number) was an epic masterwork. Little Brazil is back and better than ever.

Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop, March 27, 2015.

Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop, March 27, 2015.

Saturday night started early with the Juan Wauters in-store at the Saddle Creek Record Shop in the Slowdown complex. The little store was mostly filled as Wauters took the stage behind an electric keyboard and performed a handful of sweet, loopy pop songs that were light-hearted and playful. He switched over to guitar for the last few numbers (again, I recorded the wrong half of the set). Curious to hear how Wauters did opening for Tweedy last night.

So-So Sailors' Chris Machmuller at 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

So-So Sailors’ Chris Machmuller at 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Afterward, it was over to the 1200 Club at the Holland Performing Arts Center for the Matthew Sweet Hear Nebraska Benefit. There was some concern going in that ticket sales were light, but the club-inside-a-music-hall was well-populated. Most of the tables were filled when So-So Sailors came on at 8 p.m. for an insanely good set of witty, intelligent, urbane songs about love and life from the heart of Nebraska . Frontman Chris Machmuller is the city’s best frontman, keeping the audience mesmerized both while he sang in front of his rather large band and with his between-song patter (He’s a regular comedian, that guy).

We can speculate why the Sailors have been inactive the past few years. Life can get in the way of music, and everyone in that band is busy with jobs and family. Still, for purely selfish reasons, I covet a copy of the recording that Mach said (from stage) is basically in the can, and has been for a couple years. Maybe they’re thinking “What’s the point?” — there’s no money in releasing music anymore. Maybe they think they’ve moved past that sort of thing. Let’s hope not.

Matthew Sweet center stage at the 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Matthew Sweet center stage at the 1200 Club March 28, 2015.

Finally, Matthew Sweet and his band (consisting of Paul Chastain and Ric Menck of Velvet Crush, and guitar-slinger Dennis Taylor) took the stage and ripped through a set very similar to what we got when they played O’Leaver’s and Vega last year. Chock full o’ the “hits.”

From my vantage point in the very center of the room the sound mix was, well, pretty bad. The bass drum was over driven, swallowing up Chastain’s bass rig — couldn’t hear a note he was playing. Sweet’s voice, however, managed to cut through the thump, as did the lead guitar’s high-flying solos. Someone afterward told me “the 1200 Club isn’t suited for this kind of heavy music,” which is like saying that any room with good acoustics shouldn’t host rock shows. Balderdash. All they needed to do was pull back on the kick drum.

Fact is 1200 Club is a pretty luscious space. Whether it’s better suited for quieter bands like So-So Sailors (which sounded exquisite) I cannot say, though I’d love to see more indie rock shows in that space, and would be willing to fork out top dollar to do so. Great room, great service, great night of music.

Look for music clips from the above performances in this week’s podcast, which will likely hit the web on Wednesday.

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Tonight at The Reverb Lounge its the return of Delicate Steve (Luaka Bop, Barsuk). $10, 9 p.m. No opener listed.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.