The current state of Matthew Sweet’s new album, Tomorrow Forever.
Matthew Sweet chimed in with a number of updates over the weekend about his forthcoming album Tomorrow Forever.
The record has been mastered at Abbey Road Studios in London and will be a two-disc 17-song vinyl outing. Sweet’s trying to decide if he should use colored or black vinyl, saying black vinyl is better sound quality.
In addition, Sweet said he just signed a deal for his new label, Honeycomb Hideout, through Sony/RED. Sweet’s label will release Tomorrow Forever sometime in late spring. It’s been a longtime coming.
Reports of Milk Run’s demise in its current location appear to be exaggerated.
I was told last weekend’s shows were the last at the Leavenworth location. Since then, there have been a couple shows at Milk Run, including one scheduled tonight at NEO, the art gallery space next to Milk Run in the same building.
Headlining is Toronto rock band Pkew Pkew Pkew (Royal Mountain Records). I’m listening to their self-titled debut, which very much reminds me of Andrew W.K., but a little less rough around the edges. Opening is Ill Noise, The New Rosenbergs and Gongfermour. $8, 8 p.m.
Here are a few newsy notes on a quiet Tuesday (no shows tonight that I can find)…
The New York Daily News did a longish review of Conor Oberst’s Carnegie Hall performance last week, declaring it the “first post-Trump rock concert.” Writer Gersh Kuntzman (imagine having that name in high school), said Conor only mentioned Trump a couple times during his set, “but the sadness that Trump’s election unleashed on Oberst was not far from the surface at any time.”
From the review: “He also added in a crowd-pleasing (but not Oberst-pleasing) speech about Donald Trump’s victory, describing how he went through all the stages of grief — ‘puking, s—ting, crying’ — on Election Night, only to admit that he was crying ‘because I’m a p—y, as you can tell from my songs.’” Come on, now. You can read the entire review here. Oddly, no mention of Simon Joyner, who opened the Carnegie Hall show…
* * *
Speaking of Conor, Mr. Oberst makes a guest appearance in the video for Maria Taylor’s new song “If Only,” from her album In The Next Life, out Dec. 9 on her own Flower Moon Records. The video also feature’s Maria’s hubby and children (I didn’t know she had a second baby). Check out out below.
* * *
Matthew Sweet sent out via his Kickstarter page an update this morning about his upcoming album, Tomorrow Forever. The record, which has been in the making for a couple years, appears to be nearing completing having been mixed and sequence. The email included the track listing not only for the record, but also for a 12-song extra tracks album called Tomorrow’s Daughter, which he appears to be releasing instead of a demos disc as a Kickstarter premium. We’re all waiting, Mr. Sweet.
TOMORROW’S DAUGHTER. 12 songs (in place of demos disc)
GIRL WITH CAT
NOW WAS THE FUTURE
* * *
Finally, on this so-called “Giving Tuesday,” consider a donation to Hear Nebraska, the only Nebraska non-profit whose vision is to make the state a globally recognized cultural destination. The organization has a lot of stuff brewing for 2017. Help them make it happen. Go to hearnebraska.org and click the donate button.
I’ve written a lengthy review of Saturday’s Maha Music Festival, but it won’t appear until the September issue of The Reader comes out in a couple weeks. Boo!
That said, here’s the CliffsNotes version: The weather was great, the park was wet, and the music for the most part was pretty good. Favorite bands of the day were (no surprise) Car Seat Headrest, Diet Cig (actually a huge surprise considering how poor their Slowdown set was a few months back) and Grimes. Diarrhea Planet also was a surprise, as I’ve never been a fan of their records.
All the locals I saw were good, but especially See Through Dresses. Matthew Sweet sounded shit-loads better than he did at 1200 Club a year or so ago (but how could he not considering how poor the sound was that night?). That said, he played too long. Someone should have told him he wasn’t the headliner.
Jay Farrar Trio was fine. Kind of boring, actually. Vince Staples did not resonate with me, but I don’t like that style of tuneless hyper-rap (but the crowd sure did). The Joy Formidable were technically on point playing forgettable songs.
Who am I missing? Oh yeah, the headliner. I made it through three Passion Pit songs before heading out. They weren’t awful, they just weren’t that interesting. But as I say in the review, I’ve never stuck around for the full set of Maha’s closing band.
Anyway, read the whole review when it comes out long after you’ve forgotten this year’s festival. It’ll be like Groundhog Day for those of you who went (Yes, I miss the days when The Reader was a weekly…). In the meantime, here are some photos taken at Saturday’s show…
Diet Cig drew a surprisingly large crowd for playing so early in the day.
See Through Dresses are always solid.
Jay Farrar Trio were the first ones on the big Weitz Stage Saturday.
Diarrhea Planet and their four guitarists. Loud. Fun.
Warren Buffett sings an a capella version of “Feelings” during Maha. It was… touching. (Just kidding, don’t sue me, Warren).
Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival.
Matthew Sweet on the Javlin Stage.
Grimes and one of her crazy dancers.
Passion Pit peering through the smoky haze.
* * *
Tonight Kanine Records act Hockey Dad headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Muuy Biien and Fun Runner. $12, 8 p.m.
It’s been two years since Matthew Sweet launched a Kickstarter project to fund his next album, which generated more than $55k. Today Sweet reports that he’s finally wrapped up recording. “Last Friday morning I completed recording for the album. I now have final rough mixes done for all 38 songs I started,” he told Kickstarter backers.
Sweet said once he’s settled on a sequence, he’ll start final mixing, prioritizing by what goes on the album time-wise. “I’m guessing mixing will start in two or three weeks,” he said.
Sweet also reported that the album will be called Tomorrow Forever, but didn’t mention a release date. “I know It’s been painful to wait so long, but the wisdom of recording multiple batches in order to get the best stuff possible has paid off big time,” he said. “I really can’t see how it could have been as good as it is any other way.”
Perhaps we’ll get a taste of those 38 songs when he plays the Maha Music Festival in August.
* * *
Some #TBT goodness on a very sweaty Thursday, this previously unpublished photo of Cursive was taken June 3, 2000 (which just happens to have been my 35th birthday). The venue was, of course, Sokol Underground. It was quite a show…
* * *
Couple shows tonight…
Down at Slowdown Aussie alt band Atlas Genius headlines. The Jeffrey brothers started as an indie before signing to Warners in 2012 for their debut. Warners released their last album, Inanimate Objects, in 2015. Bear Hands and The Moth and the Flame open. $20, 8 p.m.
Also tonight, The Waiting Room hosts the New Generation Music Festival Showcase, featuring a slew of acts (Ragged Company and Low Long Signal among them) that will be playing the festival slated for Stinson Park August 5. The free show starts at 8 p.m.
Did you participate in Matthew Sweet’s Kickstarter campaign back in the summer of 2014? Wondering where the new album is that had an estimated delivery date of April 2015?
Well, Sweet chimed in with an update yesterday to campaign contributors saying that recording has been completed, mostly.
“All the songs I recorded with Ric in October are sung and essentially finished,” he wrote. “Over the next few days, I’ll be writing the very last songs of the project. That’s right, there will be a final batch!…Looks like the final tally will be around 33 songs. Everyone should know I am working, listening and scheming all the time to make this extra special.”
Sweet said later this month The Bangles’ Debbi Peterson will be coming to Omaha to record the very last batch of drums. Other guest musicians for the record have included Greg Leisz, and Val McCallum (who have worked with Lucinda Williams, Eric Clapton and Jackson Browne), Darian Sahanaja (Brian Wilson, Zombies, the Wondermints) and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys. There are a ton more.
“This last batch (of recordings) should be done by April, and detail and guest work for the first 24 songs will also continue til then,” Sweet said. “Then I will be mixing the album in earnest into May. From experience I would say it is very likely the record and rewards will be delivered sometime this summer.”
Gotta love Kickstarter.
* * *
New music is starting to take form for 2016.
Damien Jurado has a new album, Visions of Us on the Land, coming out March 18 on Secretly Canadian. Here’s the first single:
Matador announced that their recent signing, HÆLOS, will see their label debut, Full Circle, released March 18. Here’s the first single, “Oracle.” Very trippy.
And Saddle Creek act The Thermals announced their new album, We Disappear, comes out March 25. Here’s the first single, “Hey You”:
Hear Nebraska yesterday announced its first (annual?) Good Living Tour, which brings Omaha and Lincoln bands to small-town Nebraska throughout the summer.
The concert series features “27 of Nebraska’s top, all-original bands playing free, all-ages concerts across nine Greater Nebraska communities. An associated storytelling project will include Hear Nebraska’s production of a total of over 27 music/arts-related feature stories and videos highlighting the elements that make the communities great to live, work and play, especially for young people,” according to the HN press release.
Here’s the sched (for your summer vacation planning needs):
July 17 – Imperial
July 18 – Ogallala
July 19 – Scottsbluff/Gering
July 20 – Valentine
July 21 – North Platte
July 22 – Kearney
July 23 – West Point
July 24 – Nebraska City
July 25 – Grand Island
Hear Nebraska isn’t releasing the names of the bands involved in the series yet, but as a Hear Nebraska Board Member (full disclosure!) I can tell you the line-up is indeed impressive. HN will start announcing the bands April 27.
I think the biggest challenge to pulling large audiences to these shows will be underscoring the quality of the bands, many (most) of which are completely unknown in places like North Platte and Ogallala, where no doubt national mega-pop/American Idol acts, C&W and Freedom Rock is their daily music diet (You could argue that’s the same basic diet to most Omaha and Lincoln residents, as well as the rest of ‘merica). So, it’s a challenge, but no one said it was going to be easy.
Good Living Tour strikes at the core mission of Hear Nebraska, which is to “cultivate Nebraska’s vibrant, fertile music and arts community by providing resources and a voice for bands, artists and members of Nebraska’s creative class and the people and businesses that support them.” Find out more about Hear Nebraska at hearnebraska.org.
* * *
Omahan Matthew Sweet said he’s recorded “at least an album’s worth of demos” for his upcoming album (with the working title of Tomorrow Forever), which he said probably won’t be completed until this fall, according to a Kickstarter update he posted yesterday.
“At this point, anything new I write will go straight to recording stage, as obviously I am running late,” Sweet said. “I am expecting to record one more batch of fifteen songs, at which point I can start putting together an order and getting a feel for what the album is. Most likely we will do this final recording in late May or Early June. We will do a few dates in July but otherwise I now hope to finish singing and overdubbing by Sept realistically.”
Sweet original said in his Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $55,000, that the album would be completed in early spring 2015. “I know it is quite typical for Kickstarter projects to run late,” he said. “When you run a campaign, you have to pick a date to shoot for, and I’d really hoped to make it. But it has to be better that I make the best album I can and take a little longer than to rush something out.”
* * *
Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s Oquoa continues its month-long residency. Joining them are Thinking Machines and Sam Martin, whose latest album, A Notion in An Ocean (Make Believe Recordings) is one of my favorite local releases so far this year. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Tonight also is the kick-off of the Big Al Free Music Festival at The Hideout Lounge, 320 So. 72nd St. In addition to performing, bands will have free recordings available for swapping. The fest (which runs through Saturday) is also a food drive. Bring a can of food with you — donations will go to the Food Bank for the Heartland.
Here’s tonight’s sched:
8:00 – 8:30 Adam Peterson
8:35 – 9:05 Pflames
9:15 – 9:45 ARMY of 2600
10:00 – 10:30 The Sun-Less Trio
10:40 – 11:10 Low Long Signal
11:20 Digga DJ +1 with Big AL
* * *
And if you haven’t already, check out this week’s Lazy-i Podcast. The 20-minute program features music by Wagon Blasters, Soft Moon, Blue Bird, Ladyfinger and music and an interview with Super Ghost, along with my picks for the best shows this weekend. Check it out below:
The weekly Lazy-i Podcast went online at thereader.com this morning. This episode features an interview with Simon Joyner about what inspired the stories he tells in the songs on his new record, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015), which came out yesterday. We also talk about the nature of his voice and how he uses it, both on this recording and in the past. Simon celebrates the album release Saturday at Slowdown Jr.
Also in this week’s podcast, a recitation of the live reviews posted Monday backed by audio clips recorded at the performances (Little Brazil, Juan Wauters, Matthew Sweet and So-So Sailors). And the line-up for this weekend’s best shows. Listen below:
I’ve been fiddling with the format of these podcasts, trying to make them shorter, and turned around this week and produced the longest one yet at around 23 minutes. Couldn’t be avoided. No doubt next week’s will be lengthy as well as I’m contemplating doing the 1st Quarter 2015 CD Reviews roundup in podcast form. Yikes.
* * *
I was going to lead with this but it already has spread via social media. Work on Conor Oberst’s so-called “secret project” has finally leaked, and what I thought would never happen happens tonight at O’Leaver’s — a reunion of Commander Venus. We all know the hold-out was never Oberst, but Saddle Creek Records exec Robb Nansel. Well, looks like Nansel’s on board (finally). Why they’re unveiling this at O’Leaver’s is a mystery, as the place will be at capacity by 6 p.m. for a show that won’t get rolling until at least 11 (let’s hope those storms don’t roll in early tonight). More info here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
* * *
Tonight at The Reverb Lounge its the return of Delicate Steve (Luaka Bop, Barsuk). $10, 9 p.m. No opener listed.
Who needs to go to SXSW when Omaha has the line-up of shows it has this weekend? Suck it, Austin.
It all starts tonight with a rock ‘n’ roll nuclear war at the 1 Percent Complex (i.e., the buildings that house The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge). Little Brazil headlines at The Waiting Room. Expect new material along with old favorites. LB is one of Omaha’s most overlooked bands. If you haven’t experienced their onslaught, do it tonight. Opening is Lightning Bug and Low Long Signal. $7, 9 p.m.
Meanwhile, Omaha’s grisliest, grungiest stoner-rock band Nightbird will be trying to fry Reverb’s delicate sound system. They’ll get some help with opener Pro-Magnum. This is destined to be loud as f***, so bring your earmuffs. $7, 9 p.m.
One Percent should offer a single $12 ticket that gets you into both shows, and then open up their secret back passage that connects both rooms. Come on, guys!
Saturday night it’s all about Matthew Sweet, who’s playing a special rock show down at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center. Opening is So-So Sailors, who haven’t played anywhere in ages (and it’s about time). Your $45 ticket benefits Hear Nebraska – that alone should be enough to get you down there. If you really love Matthew Sweet, get a VIP ticket for $100, which lets you hang out with the ’90s indie rock idol. Show starts at 8. Get your tickets here. See you there.
Before Sweet Saturday night check out a special in-store performance by Juan Wauters at the Saddle Creek Record Shop. Wauters, who is opening for Tweedy on Sunday, used to be in a pretty awesome indie band called The Beets. The in-store begins at 6 p.m. and is absolutely free.
Finally Sunday is that aforementioned Tweedy concert at Sokol Auditorium. Tweedy is, of course, Jeff Tweedy of Wilco and his son Spencer on drums. It’s the closest thing you’re going to get to a Wilco concert in Omaha this year. Opening is Juan Wauters. $28, 8 p.m.
That Q&A I did with Matthew Sweet for The Reader went online this morning. Sweet talks about moving back to Nebraska, why he did a Kickstarter campaign for his upcoming album, playing at O’Leaver’s and the legacy that is Girlfriend. You can read the Q&A online right here.
Sweet is playing at the 1200 Club in the Holland Performing Arts Center March 28. It’s a cool place to see a show. Even has a bar, with drinks and everything, nice tables. Definitely a good evening out. Tickets are $45 (all general admission, just grab a table) and $100 for VIP that let’s you meet Sweet and give him a big ol’ bear hug and get a selfie with him. Get tix here.
Proceeds from the Sweet concert go to Hear Nebraska, so you’re getting a great night out while helping out a worthy cause. DO IT.
* * *
Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Lincoln band Oketo. The band is closing out a spring midwest tour, so they should be honed and ready to rock. Opening the show is Chicago band The Boxers and CB’s Pancho & The Contraband. $6, 9 p.m.