Cursive Buys, Takes Over O’Leaver’s Pub; Night Moves, Renfields tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:29 pm December 5, 2012
O'Leaver's is under new management, and they're a bunch of martyrs.

O’Leaver’s is under new management, and they’re a bunch of martyrs.

by Tim McMahan,

Remember way back in October when I said two bits of red hot news fell into my lap? One bit was that Red Sky Festival was dead (ho-hum); the other I said you’d have to wait for. Well now the news can be told (though just about everyone who follows local music already knows it).

The guys in Cursive bought — and are now the proprietors of  — O’Leaver’s, Omaha’s garage rock ground zero and home to the functionally inebriated. Last Saturday night, the George Washington of O’Leaver’s — Chris Mello — handed over the keys to Tim Kasher, Matt Maginn and Ted Stevens, along with the fourth partner in the venture, Chris Machmuller, who I think is actually a permanent fixture of the club like the album-sleeve-covered walls and the smell.

The full story about the handover is in my column in this week’s issue of The Reader and includes an interview with Cursive bass player and paint fetcher Matt Maginn. Matt talks about why they bought the club and what they plan to do with it. It’s online here. Go read it now and we’ll discuss. Go on, we’re waiting….

Done? OK. The central news from a music perspective is that O’Leaver’s will continue to book bands at the same pace it did before — just enough to keep music fans coming but not too much as to alienate the smelly drunks who JUST WANT TO BE LEFT ALONE.

A few musicians have snickered at the news, worried that the new management will ruin their playpen and will no longer allow their bands to play there. Poppycock. That’s the last thing they’d ever do, though Maginn said Stevens might try to help book a wider variety of bands, which has been sorely needed. For the past year there’s been a revolving door of about six bands that play O’Leaver’s regularly. At the very least, Maginn said they’d like to extend an invitation to bands they meet on the road to come and play at the club the next time their tour crosses the Nebraska landscape.

I doubt anything will change at O’Leaver’s except perhaps the smell. Here are a few other things that didn’t make it into the column: The new crew plans on putting a functional tiki bar in the back room where the Foosball table and punching bag machine (soon to leave) are now located. It’ll be a place where people can hang out if they want to escape the music. I’ve seen the new bar — its uber cool.

I also forgot to mention that the volleyball facilities were part of the deal. It’s a well-kept secret that all three Cursive guys are former collegiate sand volleyball stars with the tan lines to prove it. I suspect we’ll be seeing all three in Speedos and sunblock come next summer.

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Fantastic show tonight at Slowdown Jr. — Domino Records artist Night Moves headlines a show with Lincoln band The Renfields and Omaha surf rock kids Adult Films. $7, 9 p.m.

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Tomorrow: The Reader AND The Lazy-i Top 20 (and Next 10) of 2012. Don’t miss it.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What’s going on at Team Love Records? Schnase’s back; Lonely Estates, Hoshaw tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:59 pm May 25, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

Team Love Records logoSo what’s going on at Team Love Records, the label started by Conor Oberst and Nate Krenkel whose roster has included Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, Craig Wedren, Dave Dondero and Berg Sans Nipple? When it was announced that Nik Freitas’ new album, Sunday Night Underwater, was going to be released on a different label (Freitas has been with Team Love since 2008’s Sun Down) eyebrows were raised in suspicion. Than word began going ’round that the new Tilly and the Wall CD also may be released on a different label. Tilly’s Wild Like Children is TL01 — the first release on Team Love back on June 29, 2004.

So had the ever-decaying music industry finally dragged yet another label down? Not at all, said Team Love label exec Matt Maginn.

“Due to the economy and a decline in sales in the industry Team Love has decided to significantly reduce its number of releases and new signings,” Maginn said. “The plan since late last summer has been to slow down and conserve cash in an effort to be able to do our usual proper promotion for whatever we release. So basically keep the promotion the same but just much fewer releases.  Our current roster gets priority and of course since they were our first release Tilly is at the top of that list.  With Freitas it was a matter of timing.  He was moving forward at a time when we were just pulling back the reins on expenses so it was best for him to stay on his schedule.”

Maginn said the label has released three records and a documentary in the last 10 months, including new albums by Berg Sans Nipple, Dave Dondero, and Refried Ice Cream.

“There was sort of this initial ‘The sky is falling’ reaction to our financial crunch last year,” Maginn said, “but the plan we have put in place seems to be working and we plan to continue releasing music and maybe even more documentaries, too.”

Maginn added that Team Love would love to release the new Tilly record once it is completed, “but as always, we only do one-record contracts so it is up to them to decide what is the best fit for their record,” he said.

Since I had Maginn’s attention, I asked what he thought about moving to a vinyl-only w/download format — i.e., no CDs. A few touring bands have told me that their fans only request vinyl on the road, and I must admit that I’m also a sucker for vinyl when it’s available.

“I like the digital and vinyl avenue, but it is a little tricky,” Maginn said. “We sell a ton of vinyl at shows but (as part of) total sales it only accounts for about 20 percent when you take in digital and physical CDs at stores, etc. Vinyl is the best but the problem for labels and bands is that there is very little profit in them.  You basically have to sell 80 percent of the product before you can break even. Vinyl costs five to eight times as much as CDs, depending on quality and packaging.”

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Maginn, btw, also plays bass in Cursive, as you’re all aware. And it just so happens that the biggest news so far of this year’s festival season is that Cursive drummer Clint Schnase will return to the band to perform for one night only — during the MAHA Music Festival Aug. 13. Schnase will talk about his return to Cursive here at Lazy-i Friday.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s a free show featuring Lonely Estates, Brad Hoshaw, Moscow Mule and Clock Ticks Late. A five-piece, Lonely Estates currently is recording an album with revered local producer A.J. Mogis. Worth checking out, especially at that price. 9 p.m.

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Tomorrow, an up-close-and-personal look at Love Drunk Studio.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.