Mousetrap ‘Attica’ EP gets pre-release; new Lodgings video; David Nance nabs 7.7 Pitchfork…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:51 pm December 9, 2020
A sneak peek at the inside sleeve of the new Mousetrap Attica 12-inch.

It’s all about who you know.

I got my advanced copy of the new Mousetrap 4-song 12-inch 45 rpm EP, Attica, yesterday in all its blood-red vinyl glory. The story again — the four songs by this ’90s-era seminal Omaha indie punk band were recorded sometime in 1997 and have sat locked in a vault (or stashed in a cardboard box under bass player Craig Crawford’s bed) all these years only to be remaster by Bob Weston of Shellac in 2020 and released for this limited run of 500 copies. It is scorching, classic Mousetrap at its most angry and acidic. Check out the lead track below and pre-order the vinyl before the Dec. 16 release via the Mousetrap Bandcamp page.

. * * * .

The last time we saw indie band Lodgings they were opening for Criteria at The Waiting Room last Dec. 28 for the annual holiday show. Alas, with COVID, there won’t be any holiday shows this year.

Well earlier this week, the band released the first video from its 2019 Albini-engineered LP Water Works for the song “Emu,” directed by Amélie Raoul. Check it out below and go to their Bandcamp page to buy the album!

. * * * .

I’ve been meaning to mention this for awhile but it keeps slipping off my screen: Back at the end of November Pitchfork reviewed David Nance’s latest album, Staunch Honey (2020, Trouble in Mind), and gave it a very respectable 7.7 rating, saying “The Nebraska guitarist and songwriter strips his music to its raw, noisy core, revealing how his favorite records might have sounded when still being hammered out in rehearsal.”

It’s mostly a rave wherein critic Sam Sodomsky seems to revel in the idea of underproduction, pointing out numerous times the stripped down, recorded-from-scratch nature of this album. He concludes with: “While the songs on Staunch Honey feel like breakthroughs, it’s living proof that their real journey is just beginning.” Not sure what that’s supposed to mean…

At any rate, it’s great to see Pitchfork review Nance (or any Nebraska artist, for that matter). Twas a time when a Pitchfork review was a “big deal.” It’s hard to gauge a Pitchfork effect these days when no one is touring, but even when they were, the Pitchfork effect was very limited as far as its impact on the local show draw — I can’t count the number of times I went to see a band with an 8.0+ Pitchfork review at O’Leaver’s or The Waiting Room expecting an SRO crowd only to be met with 20 or so people.

That said, Pitchfork remains a go-to website for indie reviews (though there has to be something else out there)…

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Seminal Omaha post-punk band Mousetrap releases remastered ‘90s singles online, unreleased EP on the way…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:52 pm September 14, 2020
Pat Buchanan fronting Mousetrap circa 1994.

Last week seminal Omaha Golden Age post-punk band Mousetrap released all of its classic singles and an oddity or two via Bandcamp. Adding to that news is that all the tracks have been remastered by Chicago mastering engineer Bob Weston.

Listening to the remastered tracks is like hearing them again for the first time. No doubt if you went to their shows at The Capitol or Howard Street Tavern in the mid-‘90s you probably already own these tracks as 7-inches, which were readily available at The Antiquarium (in fact, proprietor Dave Sink released some of this music on his One Hour Records label).

You can read a brief retelling of the Mousetrap history in this piece I wrote back in 2013 upon the event of their reunion.

That said, there are a few tracks here I’ve never heard before, including “Assholes and Elbows,” a 1995 recording used on the soundtrack to Roger Corman’s Caged Heat 3000; “Scratched and Stabbed,” a ’94 track originally included on Linoma, a compilation released on -ism Records; and “Flame On,” a ’95 release included as part of a 4-band 7-inch compilation released by a French label.

The entire discography of singles is available to download for just $5.85 or you can pay $1 per track.

In addition, in 1997 Mousetrap recorded four tracks at Attica Studios in Chicago with Mike Hogan on drums that were never released. Crawford said he transferred those tracks from the masters to digital (along with masters for Cerebral Revolver and Lover). The Attica sessions were also remastered by Weston and will be released later this year as a 12-inch 45 rpm EP. No release date yet. I’ll let you know when I know. Until then, check out a couple of the singles below and go to bandcamp and downloadn them all.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

I’m back; new Patrick Buchanan music (Mousetrap); Ex-Girlfriends tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm March 28, 2018

Mousetrap frontman Patrick Buchanan’s new project is called Vicious Lovers.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well I’m back from the Florida coast, tanned, rested and ready to go.

Out of the blue while I was in Florida I received an email from Patrick Buchanan, the frontman of Omaha golden age punk band Mousetrap. Now living in Los Angeles, Buchanan has been working on a new musical project called Vicious Lovers, and dropped the first tracks via Bandcamp.

I recorded literally everything myself,” Buchanan said. “I wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, did the production/mix. Nobody else besides me touched this project in any way, from start to finish, which is the first time that’s ever happened for me.”

The tracks have a snakey, strutting swing that sort of reminds me of Buchanan’s last non-Moustrap outing, 2004’s After Dark — i.e., this is something completely different than the rough punk you remember from Mousetrap. Check out the tracks below and download them from his Bandcamp page (and on Spotify, Amazon & iTunes). Now if only Buchanan could get a crew together to perform these songs live (and then come back to Omaha).

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaveri’s it’s Brooklyn-based female fronted punkers Ex-Girlfriends. They just got back from playing SXSW where they’re supporting the release of a 4-song cassette called You’re Next, out now on Little Dickman Records. Check it. Opening is Houma and Hussies. $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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

Live Review: Gordon, Art Bazaar; The Funs, Dumb Beach tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:48 pm September 28, 2015

Gordon at The Sydney, Sept. 25, 2015.

Gordon at The Sydney, Sept. 25, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Nice turnout for the Sidney Buchanan art show at The Little Gallery Friday night. You can check out the show anytime this week before 5 p.m., just swing by the gallery. It’s located right across the street from The Sydney in Benson. Sidney’s work is amazing, and affordable. Maybe too affordable.

I spent Friday night hanging out with Sidney’s son, Patrick, who you may remember from the classic ’90s punk band Mousetrap. Patrick lives in Miami these days. We talked about music, what’s been going on in Omaha over the past few years and how Benson and the rest of the city’s changed.

As the art show came to a close at 9, I mentioned that I was headed to The Sydney later that night to see Gordon, a band I thought he’d like, and to my surprise, Patrick said he’d meet there at midnight. After I left the art show I began to feel anxious about Gordon. Did I oversell the band? Just that sort of thing has happened to me in the past — I talk too highly of a band or compare them to another band and inevitably, the person I’m talking to sees them and they either 1) suck, or 2) sound nothing like what I compared them to.

I got to The Sydney just before midnight, as A Ferocious Jungle Cat was still doing their set. Patrick had already arrived. It’s safe to say The Sydney has the worst PA I’ve heard since, well,  I saw bands play at the old Down Under last November. The Sydney’s PA is on par with what you’d find at a typical house show. Overblown, flat, noisy. Pretty awful, and much worse than I remembered the last time I saw a band play there. My anxiety grew.

Arm Wrestling during Art Bazaar at The Sydney, Sept. 25, 2015.

Arm Wrestling during Art Bazaar at The Sydney, Sept. 25, 2015.

Friday night’s event at The Sydney was a fundraiser for Benson First Friday, which recently attained a 501(c)3 non-profit status. A pair of super-tall drag queens strolled around in wigs and high heels, having performed earlier in the evening.  After Jungle Cat finished a table was set up for the Finals of the evening-long arm wrestling content. Fun. After that, the hosts announced a number of raffle ticket winners of lovely gift baskets.

And then Gordon came on. I’ve seen the four-piece a few times, most recently playing outside behind The Sweatshop Gallery as part of Sweatfest this past summer. Despite the PA, Gordon did not disappoint, though their set did start off rather tenuous, sounding different than I remembered them, with two guitars playing laid-back indie stuff.

Things really got rolling when frontman Aaron Parker put down his guitar and walked off the front of the Sydney’s small platform stage with microphone in hand and did his best Ian Curtis impression on songs that sounded clearly influenced by Joy Division. Buchanan asked me if I thought Gordon knew who they were, and I said I didn’t know, but that the music’s resemblance couldn’t have been a coincidence.  But then again, another of their songs reminded me of a Mousetrap tune, a band that likely played its first show before Parker was born.

Leaning over, yelling into the mic while patrons strolled past to and from the bathroom, Parker pushed as hard as he could, making the most out of that crappy PA, looking up and following people with a bug-eyed stare as they walked back to their tables while has band continued to shred from the stage. I glanced over at Buchanan and could tell he liked what he heard. These guys were making Nebraska proud, having no clue that they were performing in front of one of the city’s Golden Age legends.

Buchanan gave the ultimate compliment after the set: “I’d definitely see them again.” No band can ask for anything more.

Your next chance to see Gordon is this Sunday when they open for Cheap Girls at Slowdown Jr.  along with Eric in Outspace and The Lupines. Do not miss it.

* * *

Speaking of things not to miss, there’s a no-miss show at The Brothers Lounge this very night. Chicago punk bands The Funs headline. Formed in 2009, the duo released their first LP, S/T, in 2013, and have opened West Coast dates for The Breeders. Opening is Nathan Ma & The Rosettes and Dumb Beach. $5, 10 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Mousetrap, RAF; Oberst LP out today (Pitchfork gives it a 6.5); Morrissey tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:01 pm May 19, 2014

RAF at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

RAF at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Rough crowd at the Punk Rock Reunion show Saturday night at The Waiting Room. An example of just how rough:

While standing at the bar waiting to buy my usual Rolling Rock, a big fat biker-looking dude about my age tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Thanks a lot for cutting in line.” I looked over at him and his two big fat biker buddies and said, “Sorry, didn’t see you guys standing there,” at which point he gave me a “What the fuck?” look, and then said, “Don’t worry man. What’s your name?” I said it was Tim, and he said (while shaking my hand), “My name’s Jack, as in Jack Miyoff — haw haw haw.” His fat pals rolled at that one.  I just rolled my eyes and moved along, feeling like Luke Skywalker during the Cantina scene of Star Wars, hoping Obi Wan would show up and cut the fat biker’s arm off.

Strange crowd. Lots of bumping and jostling. Lots of angry old people. Lots of drunks. But I guess it’s what you’d expect from a punk rock reunion. The only thing worse than angry young punks is bitter old ones. But at least they have good taste in music.

As evidence, I give you RAF. The band put out a few cassettes back in the ’80s, including one that spent a lot of time in the tape deck of my Ford Fiesta. The band consisted of guitarist Paul Moerke, drummer Tim Cox, bass player Dereck Higgins and frontman Matt Miller, who formed the band. For Saturday night’s reunion gig, Kelly Callier, formerly of Jimmy Skaffa, took over the frontman role and did a yeoman’s job pushing the crowd to match the energy on stage. The break-neck performance was matched by a break-neck mosh pit, just like the old days.

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, May 17, 2014.

Mousetrap followed. Their set felt more realized and steady than the last time they played at The Waiting Room about a year ago. There’s always been something disturbing about the band’s music. When they were just kids, you chocked-up the music’s pain and violence to energy and youth. Now that they’re older, the songs take on a more sinister quality. Or maybe it seems more dangerous because it seems real, like these guys could actually do whatever it is frontman Patrick Buchanan is singing about. Scary.

In case you’re wondering, local hero Matt Bowen pulled it off behind the drum kit, supplying the necessary bombast to keep the action rolling.

Cordial Spew provided a hardcore ending to what turned out to be a hardcore night. They played a set that was much more together and professional than the band I saw play at Our Lady of Guadalupe Social Hall in the ’80s. The show back then was a brutal mess, while Saturday’s show was simply brutal, and a reminder (along with the night’s earlier sets) that some things do get better with age, just ask Mr. Miyoff.

* * *

Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014)

Conor Oberst, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014)

Breaking with the usual Tuesday release-day schedule, today is the official drop day for Conor Oberst’s new solo album, Upside Down Mountain (Nonesuch, 2014), and the reviews are coming in fast and furious. They are arguably the best reviews he’s had for one of his LPs in years.

Not the least of which is the all-important Pitchfork review, which gave the album a slightly better than mediocre 6.5 rating. The review’s conclusion: “It’s gorgeous to the point of near gaudiness, a ‘return to form’ after a strange decade evolving from wildly prolific, heartbreak soundtracking, Winona Ryder-dating enfant terrible into a domesticated Americana bard no longer interested in why to be young is to be sad. Hopefully, Oberst will find a way to make ‘older and wiser’ just as revelatory.

Rolling Stone was more laudatory with its 4-Star review. None other than David Fricke weighed in with: “But like Neil Young’s Harvest and Jackson Browne’s Late for the Sky, this is dreaming stalked by despair, then charged with rebound. ‘There are hundreds of ways,’ Oberst sings in that song, ‘to get through the day. . . . Now you just find one.’ Here’s a good place to start.”

All Music gave the record 4 Stars. Stephen Thomas Erlewine’s review concluded with: “Oberst remains an eccentric — he’s not one for obvious hooks, or even insistent melodies — but of all his albums, Upside Down Mountain feels open-hearted, measured, and bright, the kind of record that opens up a new chapter in a career and possibly wins over new listeners.

The Guardian also gave the record 4 stars, concluding “…melodies emerge strongly from these simple musical settings and there’s little to distract from his lyrics, which explore solitude and regret – those hoary old staples of US road music – in rich and inventive ways.”

Drowned in Sound gave the record 8 out of 10, saying “...the new album is bathed in a Laurel Canyon glow, but it’s by no means a throwback. It comes on with a rootsy, sure-footed poise far removed from the dense electronics of Bright Eyes’ 2011 release The People’s Key, though the bigger difference here is the nature of the lyrics found within.

Consequence of Sound gave the album a grade of B, concluding with “...Oberst at least has his first good album in years, and the songwriter’s narrative has a ways to go before we can judge whether he fulfilled all those expectations put on him 20 years ago when he was still a child.”

To counter all the raves, Pretty Much Amazing gave the record a grade of C-, stating: “…the very distance between the album’s mellow, casually lovely sonic maturity and Oberst’s thematic arrested development results in an eerie, unintended detachment.

As for what Lazy-i thinks, I’ve only had the album for a couple days so I’ve yet to come to a conclusion other than to say it’s the most overly produced Oberst album I’ve ever heard, and that it seems to be an obvious reach for a larger audience.

* * *

Tonight I’m off to Lincoln for the Morrissey concert at Rococo Theater. We have general admission balcony seats, which means we may or may not be able to actually see the performance. This one’s been sold out for a long time.

* * *

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

Mousetrap, featuring Matt Bowen; Matt Pond PA, Guided By Voices tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:21 pm May 14, 2014

Matt Pond PA plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

Matt Pond PA plays tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, the election results are in and it looks like Nebraska lost again.

In other news…

Mousetrap bassist Craig Crawford tells me that due to a scheduling conflict drummer Colby Starck is unable to make the trip to Omaha for the Punk Rock Reunion show Saturday night at The Waiting Room. Filling in is none other than Matt Bowen. Recognizable as one of your favorite bartenders at The Waiting Room, Bowen’s legend is long and includes stints in The Faint, Commander Venus, Lullaby for the Working Class, Race for Titles, not to mention Magic Kiss (the precursor to Tilly and the Wall (It’s a long story)) and most recently The Third Men. Bowen is rehearsing with Crawford and Mousetrap frontman Patrick Buchanan as we speak.

By the way, it’s been confirmed that Fischer no longer is on the bill for Saturday night’s show. The line-up as of now is Bullet Proof Hearts, Mousetrap, Cordial Spew, RAF, The Broke Loose and Drop a Grand. Tix are $10 adv/$12 DOS.

* * *

Good ol’ Matt Pond PA returns to Omaha, this time to The Waiting Room tonight. Joining him is The Lighthouse and The Whaler. $12, 8:30 p.m. start time.

Also, tonight’s Record Club at the Shop @ Saddle Creek features Guided By Voices’ seminal 1992 release Propeller. Record Club is a chance for folks to get together and listen to an album in its entirety, then discuss it afterward. Fun! The needle drops at 7 p.m. More info here.

Also tonight, Zach Short plays at Slowdown Jr. with Blue Bird and Matt Whipkey. $7, 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Photos from Maha Music Festival; Live Review: Mousetrap, Ron Wax…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:58 pm August 19, 2013

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, Aug. 16, 2013.

Mousetrap at The Waiting Room, Aug. 16, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Coverage/review of Saturday’s Maha Music Festival will appear in my column in the upcoming issue of The Reader. For the record, it was a heckuva show. Check out the action photos below the Mousetrap review.

Mousetrap was a blast Friday night at The Waiting Room. As was the case last time they played here, the band sounds tighter than back in its ’90s hey-day. No doubt there are some obvious differences that come with 20-odd years of life experiences.

Their sound, while as bracing as ever, at times was cast in more subdued tones. The trio played a couple dark-throb numbers that ebbed and flowed like a tide coming in at midnight carrying a body floating face-down in the bay. Black and grisly and a bit creepy. But then again, there always has been something disturbing about frontman Patrick Buchanan. On stage he comes off like a punk version of a Brett Easton Ellis psychopath. Don’t look directly into his eyes.

Bassist Craig Crawford acts as sort of a buffer/cipher that keeps Buchanan from spinning out of control, though you know if things ever got heavy Craig would say, “Sorry, pal, you’re on your own.”

You can tell they’ve only just begun with drummer Colby Starck. A seasoned veteran, he still needs push it a couple notches to match former drummer Mike Mazolla’s ferocity. That’ll come with time.

My only gripe about Friday night was the set’s length — little more than 20 minutes with a three-song encore (that included a cover of Dead Boys’ “All This and More”). Buchanan promised more new material when Mousetrap returns, probably sometime during the holidays. There’s nothing quite like Christmas with Mousetrap…

Ron Wax was up before Mousetrap and judging by the comments made outside the venue you’d have thought it was the end world. I’ve known Ron Albertson for years both as the drummer of Mercy Rule and as a fine artist (I proudly have three Ron screenprints-on-canvas hanging on my walls). I caught the last two brutal songs of their set. It was loud, raucous, noisy, ham-fisted caterwaul rock, more than a little bit weird. Gritty and unbridled, but what did you expect? My reply to the guy who said he was going to gut-punch me if I called it genius: It ain’t genius, and it ain’t supposed to be.

* * *

Now onto some pictures from the Maha Music Festival this past Saturday…

The Thermals at the Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013.

The Thermals sort of got the crowd going. Theirs is a one-note punk style, but people love it. Those who expected moshing forgot where they were.

* * *

Criteria at The Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013.

Criteria sounded louder (and better) on Maha’s “second stage” than the Thermals did on the main stage. Might have something to do with dynamics…?

* * *

Bob Mould at The Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013.

Bob Mould for me and a lot of people was the cornerstone of this year’s festival. Lots of Sugar and new stuff and even “I Apologize.” What more do you want?

* * *

Digital Leather at the Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013

For the uninitiated, Digital Leather brought a modern garage aesthetic, along with lots of cool noise. 

* * *

Flaming Lips at The Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013.

Our lord and savior Wayne Coyne doing his thing atop a mountain of chrome embryos, fetus doll in hand. Great lights, droll music.

More on Maha Wednesday, I promise.

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

Lazy-i

Mousetrap tonight, Maha tomorrow, and everything in between…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:47 pm August 16, 2013


by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The top priorities on your music-watching list this weekend should be Mousetrap tonight at The Waiting Room and the Maha Music Festival tomorrow at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village.

You read about Mousetrap yesterday. Opening tonight’s show is Ron Wax (Ron Albertson of Mercy Rule) and Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. $8, 9 p.m. See you there.

Also going on tonight…

Gypsy punks Gogol Bordello plays at The Slowdown with Omaha’s own gypsy punk, Solid Goldberg. This one’s SOLD OUT. Starts at 8.

Team Love hip-hop artist Rig 1 (a.k.a. Desaparecidos’ Ian McElroy) is doing his thing at Benson’s Sweatshop Gallery tonight at 10. Opening is the debut of Routine Escorts, featuring Jon Tvrdik (ex-Back When). $5.

.

Tomorrow, of course, is the Maha Music Festival. Save $10 by purchasing your $45 ticket today at mahamusicfestival.com. The DOS price is $55 (kids under 10 are in fer free).

Here’s the Maha schedule:

Noon   Gates Open
12:05  Centris Stage     Purveyors of the Conscious Sound
12:40  Weitz Stage        Millions of Boys
1:20  Centris Stage        HERS w/ Omaha Girls Rock!
1:55  Weitz Stage           Sons of Fathers
2:45  Centris Stage       Rock Paper Dynamite
3:20  Weitz Stage         Thao and the Get Down Stay Down
4:25  Centris Stage       The Millions
5:00  Weitz Stage        The Thermals
6:05  Centris Stage     Criteria
6:45  Weitz Stage        Bob Mould
7:55  Centris Stage     Digital Leather
8:55  Weitz Stage        Matt & Kim
10:15  Weitz Stage     The Flaming Lips
Midnight  Show Over

More details at mahamusicfestival.com. Weather looks grand. This should be a good one.

* * *

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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Interview: Mousetrap’s back, but don’t call it a reunion; new Criteria video; John Klemmensen needs a kickstart…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:39 pm August 15, 2013

Mousetrap circa 2013, from left, Colby Starck, Patrick Buchanan and Craig Crawford.

Mousetrap circa 2013, from left, Colby Starck, Patrick Buchanan and Craig Crawford.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In this week’s column, Mousetrap’s back. You can read it in the current issue of The Reader, online here, or what the heck, read it below:

Over the Edge: Mousetrap’s Back, but Don’t Call It a Reunion

For regular readers of this column, a quick synopsis of who/what is punk rock band Mousetrap:

To use the word “seminal” to describe their impact on the Omaha music scene would be an understatement. Almost every significant Omaha band I’ve interviewed — whether they play punk, hard rock or even singer-songwriter stuff — has name-checked Mousetrap as an influence. That includes all of Saddle Creek Records’ most successful acts.

At the band’s core are bassist Craig Crawford and frontman/guitarist Patrick Buchanan. Their hey-day was in the ‘90s, when they released a couple 7-inch singles followed by their debut full-length Cerebral Revolver in 1993; the follow-up, Lover, in ’94, and their final album, The Dead Air Sound System, in ’95.

How to describe their music? It’s loud, but not macho or “tough-guy” or anything like today’s corporate metal goon-rock bands. Instead, the music is bitter and angry. Its anger is channeled more toward themselves than whatever situation Buchanan and Crawford are howling about. Actually, it’s more pain than anger — not a broken-hearted pain, but an exposed nerve physical throbbing abscessed tooth sort of agony — bright red and pulsing.

Mousetrap’s abrasive, acidic rock is not for everybody, in fact, it’s not for most people. After years of touring — a rarity for local bands in the early ‘90s — Mousetrap eventually faded away by the end of the decade.

And then seemingly out of the blue — the band played a pair of reunion shows at The Waiting Room in 2009 and 2010. And now their back again, but this time it’s different. Mousetrap intends to become an active band, or as bassist Crawford put it, “We’re a functioning band that plans to put out a new album by December.”

Crawford talked via Skype last Saturday in the band’s Chicago practice space. Also on the video-chat were frontman Buchanan, looking as sinister as ever with his mane of black, tousled hair, and new drummer Colby Starck.

Starck, a former Lincolnite who you may remember from such ‘90s bands as Pablo’s Triangle and Roosevelt Franklin, has lived in Chicago for about 12 years, where he made acquaintances with Crawford. He says Mousetrap’s first 7-inch “Wired” b/w “Train,” released on the late Dave Sink’s One-Hour Records, continues to be his favorite single.

“I’ve been a fan for a long time, and Mousetrap has always had trouble with drummers,” Starck said. “Whenever I saw them, I always said, ‘That should be me up there.’” And now it is.

Buchanan wanted to make sure I mention that former drummer, Mike Mazzola, who played with Mousetrap at the reunion shows, is a great drummer and a good friend and that the switch to Starck was a scheduling thing.

“It totally made more sense to have Colby come in because he can invest more time in the band,” Buchanan said. “We want to make this a living, breathing, fully operational band and that requires more time and commitment.”

Becoming a “real band” had been the plan back in 2010, but it obviously never happened. Shortly after the holiday reunion show, Buchanan, who works in advertising, got a job offer in Miami. “It’s the nature of the ad business, if you want to get yourself a raise, you have to move to where the job is,” he said. But it didn’t take long for Buchanan to realize that Miami is “kind of a shithole.” When he got another job offer back in Detroit, he took it. And as soon as he got back, he called Crawford and got the ball rolling again.

By the way, Buchanan said despite the city recently declaring bankruptcy, Detroit isn’t a bad place to live. “I actually love it,” he said, “and I love that the media is so harsh on it. It’ll keep all the hipster douche bags away.”

Back to our story. Detroit is an easy drive to Chicago, which allows the band to get together over the weekends. Word of this reunion leaked back in March. Since then, the band not only has been getting Starck up to speed on the band’s back catalog, but writing new material, including one new song that will be performed at Friday night’s show at The Waiting Room, and Saturday night’s show at The Chesterfield in Sioux City.

Buchanan said Mousetrap’s new material is “pretty dark.”

“It’s driven by the type of vibe that you hear when you listen to Iggy Pop’s The Idiot album, which is the greatest nighttime album ever made,” he said. “Let me explain it in less specific terms: Mousetrap of 1993 was a sawed-off shotgun. Mousetrap of 2013 is more like a sniper rifle. The stuff we’re doing isn’t less violent or abrasive, just extra concentrated.”

Both Crawford and Buchanan said there’s a void for their style of aggressive music. “The formula (in pop music) in the last year has been bands saying, ‘Hey, Ho.’” Crawford said. “I don’t see a lot of bands with balls.”

“You see a lot of dudes with beards strumming acoustic guitars wearing vests and suspenders, old-timely clothes like a frontier pioneer guy,” Buchanan added. “I feel like what we’re doing is pretty fresh right now because it’s not what’s happening. There’s a lot of dance-y electronic music and softer indie-rock stuff, but there’s not a lot of loud, aggressive rock music that’s not metal. There has always been an anti-social streak to us in a musical sense; we’ve always been dark and confrontational, that’s the music we want to make.”

And if no one likes it?

“It doesn’t really matter if not a single person buys our next album,” Buchanan said. “We make music the way we want to make it. We’ve always been musically very selfish. We’re going to do whatever we want to do. If you like it, that’s awesome. If not, there’s the door, get the fuck out.”

Mousetrap plays Friday, Aug. 16, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple Street, with Ron Wax and Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. Tickets are $8, the show starts at 9 p.m.. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

* * *

And yet another Mousetrap interview right here at hearnebraska.com.

And here’s Mousetrap doing “Superkool” at The Waiting Room in 2010, via the YouTube.

Friday night’s show at TWR should be epic.

* * *

In case you’re wondering what the boys in Criteria have been up to, check out their just-released Love Drunk video for yet-to-be-released song “This Reign Is Ours.” Heavy riffage. Lots of exciting woodworking. You get the idea. BTW, Criteria will be playing the local stage at Saturday’s Maha Music Festival. Get your tix right here and get ready to rock.

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Finally, Omaha’s No. 1 broken-hearted troubadour, John Klemmensen, is getting ready to hit the road on a tour that takes him to the West Coast. The only thing he needs is gas money. And that’s where you come in.

Check out John Klemmensen’s Kickstarter Campaign, where he’s trying to raise a measly $500. Prizes include a candle-lit bubble bath drawn by John himself as he serenades you with one of his slow, sad, sexy ballads…. j/k.

“j/k” stands for Just Kidding. Though John might want to consider adding it to the list. It’s got to be worth $50…

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Omaha Gives is today (as if you didn’t know): Hear Nebraska, Maha, Omaha Girls Rock; Unread Records now on Bandcamp; Mousetrap returns 8/16; Gordon tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:46 pm May 22, 2013

Unread Records homepage

Unread Records homepage

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

If you’re on Facebook and you live in Omaha than you’re already tired of being inundated with people asking you to give money today as part of the Omaha Gives event. I will not pile on, other than to point you to what I said last week during Lincoln’s version of this same fund drive, i.e, give some cash to Hear Nebraska (by clicking here), and here’s why. Other charities to consider: Omaha Girls Rock, the Maha Music Festival (which you may not know is a non-profit) and FilmStreams. The rest is up to you. Do your duty. Give. And then do what I plan to do: Turn off Facebook for the rest of the day. Here are the give links:

* * *

Max Larson, drummer of rock group The Dad (formerly know as Dads), emailed a head’s up about the band’s 7-inch release show (and tour kick off) this Friday night at Sweatshop Gallery in Benson.

We will be playing with Fletch (aka Mike Schlesinger of the late Gus & Call), Pro-Magnum (hippie-hating members of Digital Leather & The Fucking Party) and Sister-Kisser (female-fronted anger),” said Larson. “The record is $5, admission is $5, and I believe that all-you-can-drink keg beer will be available for $5 (This might have been a cruel joke, though).” This should be massive fun.

Larson also added this very useful PS: “P.S. I’m not sure if you’re a follower of Unread Records, but a week or two ago Chris put a large handful of his releases up for stream on Bandcamp. It is my understanding that, until now, a number of these recordings have suffered from limited digital representation. Most of these bands/singers are from Omaha (including Simon Joyner of course), so if you want to listen you should. The link is http://unreadrecords.bandcamp.com/

“Chris” is Chris Fischer, who I spoke with way back in 2000 for an article in the Omaha Weekly. I was going to post a link to that story (which still exists on Lazy-i), but you’d have to scroll around to find it and I figured what the heck, I’ll just post it below. Unread Records started out as a tape label and still is, though they also sell other media, including vinyl, as evidenced by The Dad 7-inch that Unread is releasing. According to the Unread Records website, the label’s world headquarters is now located in Pittsburgh. Check out the Bandcamp page for some very rare recordings, go to Unread to order / buy some awesome stuff, and keep up with the label on their Facebook page.

Now, into the Wayback Machine, from The Omaha Weekly, Sept. 14, 2000:

The roster of fall releases by Omaha’s Unread Records is crowded with a number of … wait-a-minute, you’ve never heard of Unread Records? That’s probably because the label is part of the underground world of cassette-tape-only record labels, a music scene so obscure that it makes an indie label like Saddle Creek Records look like DreamWorks in comparison.Operated by Chris Fischer out of his house/performance space known as Gunboat, Unread Records has produced cassette and vinyl releases from some of the underground’s most famous unknowns, including a tape by South Carolina’s “king of banjo” Charlie McAlister, as well as a 7-inch single by Shrimper and Catsup Plate recording artist Will Simmons.

Fischer says there are “zillions” of tape only labels. Some more-famous artists who have put out tape-only releases include Sebadoh’s Lou Barlow, folk-music favorites The Mountain Goats, and even undisputed funk-groove indie rocker Beck, Fischer said.

“I started my label three years ago to put out tapes for me and my friends,” said Fischer, who recently moved to Omaha from Lancaster, Penn. “I don’t have any artists signed to anything, and I don’t ever want to put out a thousand units of anything.”

That shouldn’t be a problem for the 20-year-old entrepreneur. Most his 27 releases include hand-made cassette shells or screen-printed jackets. Though promotion is usually through word of mouth or the Internet, Fischer has placed ads in fanzines and sent flyers to a handful of record labels that pass them onto their customers. His most popular release thus far is the McAlister cassette Turn of the Century Photograph of, which moved more than 300 units.

Fischer said the label will branch out to CDs this fall, with a release by Fizzle Like a Flood (Omaha singer/songwriter Doug Kabourek, who also performs as The Laces). Also look for a split 7-inch vinyl release by Park and A Boy Named Thor, a split-label CD with Twee Kitten Records, a Jarbaby one-sided LP, as well as cassettes by Church of Gravitron, Park, Caleb Fraid and others.

Just as obscure as Unread Records is Gunboat, Fischer’s performance space located in the basement of the house he rents at 301 So. 38th Ave. Past Gunboat performers include most of the Saddle Creek Records’ stable of artists, who have made house shows a staple on their recent tour schedules.

“House shows are a different kind of scene, a more personal performance that allows the fans to hang out with the people who play,” Fischer said. “There’s no stage, it’s kind of one-on-one.”

Gunboat shows attract a mostly under-21 crowd made up of house show regulars or people who have heard about the shows either by visiting the Saddle Creek Records website (www.saddle-creek.com) or by spotting a flier at The Antiquarium or Drastic Plastic. Fischer says his largest show drew about 70 people.

One recent night at Gunboat included performances by Bright Eyes, Philadelphia’s Jen Turrell (Rabbit in Red), and Pennsylvania band Chauchat. Last week, Fischer hosted Jarbaby from Normal, Ill.

Among the bands slated for Gunboat’s upcoming Sept. 20 show are The Good Life (a new project by Cursive’s Tim Kasher), Boston’s Kolya, Omaha emo-rockers Secret Behind Sunday and Lincoln’s Her Flyaway Manner (slated to release a CD on Caulfield Records) Fischer says the cover is usually two or three dollars, all of which goes to the touring band to help cover their expenses.

* * *

Ah, those were the days…

Speaking of blasts from the pasts, I just got word that Mousetrap has been booked to play a return engagement at The Waiting Room Aug. 16 for what I’m told is being billed as a “Pre-Maha Party” (the Maha Music Festival is the following day). No idea who else will be playing this gig, but I’m told we should expect to hear some new Mousetrap material along with old favorites. Mark it down on your calendar.

* * *

Finally, Maha Music Festival and The Slowdown are hosting an Omaha Gives Showcase tonight. Among the acts are current favorite, Gordon. Also on the program are A Wasted Effort, Rock Paper Dynamite and The Seen. It’s a free show, but you’ll be hit up to give money (and you should, you cheap-ass). Gordon I believe plays second, so get there early.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i