New Big Nope (Nate Van Fleet); Saddle Creek on Apple’s COVID fund; Creek’s ‘Month of the Album’ offer…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:33 pm April 13, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Happy Monday. How about a slice of pop candy to brighten up your home offices (or whatever)…

Last week See Through Dresses’ drummer Nate Van Fleet released another two-song EP from his band Big Nope. Recorded by Nate and STD bandmate Mathew Carroll last fall, listen for the Benson shout-out in A-side “Kid I” and enjoy the party slacker vibe of flip-side “Throwaways.” Both tracks are here. So when are we going to see Big Nope on stage? Hey, when are we going to see anyone again on stage?

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Last week Pitchfork published an article about Apple Music’s $50 million COVID-19 fund and what it means for indie labels. Apple’s program offers interest-free loans against future royalties to indie labels and distributors that earn more than $10,000 through Apple Music per quarter and have a deal with Apple.

While it seems like a generous officer, the details can get rather complicated as to who qualifies. And let’s face it, this isn’t a grant, it’s a loan, so while Apple may be waiving interest on that $50 mil, we’re talking about a company with $207 billion in free cash on hand.

Among those quoted in the Pitchfork article is Saddle Creek label exec Robb Nansel, who said he doesn’t plan on taking advantage of Apple’s generosity.

I’m interested to see what the terms are. It’s not like they’re just giving you free money.” Nansel is quoted as saying in the article. “They have a lot of cash and if they can help some people out that can be cash-strapped, it seems like it could be a good thing.”

That said, the last thing struggling labels need right now is to get further in debt.

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Speaking of Saddle Creek Records, the label has declared April the “Month of the Album” and is offering a 15 percent discount on its entire catalog with the offer code: SUPPORT. It makes it as good a time as any to finally pick up a copy of that Beep Beep album you’ve always wanted… Find out more.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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#TBT: Forget 2009, here’s a look at 1999; Big Nope debuts tonight at OutrSpaces…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:13 pm December 12, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Everyone’s looking back on the ’10s decade as we close it out, and I will as well, but on this #TBT I thought it would be fun to look back at how we closed out the ’90s. And thus I give you…

1999: The Year in Music

Who remembers these guys?

Originally published in Lazy-i and The Reader, Jan. 6, 2000 — We can only hope that the current state of popular music in no way reflects what’s to come in the so-called “new millennium.” The 1900s were ushered out of our collective psyches under the rattle and hum of the worst possible soundtrack for the end of anything, let alone the ’90s.

If this year is remembered from a popular music standpoint, it will be for the rise of perhaps the two most vacant and uninteresting musical trends in recent memory: boy groups and Goon Rock.

It was impossible to ignore the rise of “boy groups,” such as Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, ‘N Sync (and the female equivalent — this year’s Debbie Gibson/Tiffany known as Britney Spears). Back in the heyday of New Kids on the Block, children (mostly young women) “ooohed” and “aaaahed” over those five post-pubescent, lip-synching wunderkids whose faces adorned such rough-hewed music publications as Tiger Beat and 16. Adults certainly didn’t take Menudo or the New Kids seriously. They smiled at the popularity of say, Vanilla Ice, and laughed warmly during the annual Christmas parties when little Jason or Caitlin would be dragged out to the living room in their footie pajamas to imitate the dance steps of their favorite Saturday morning cartoon boy groups. Soon, New Kids quietly disappeared into the “where are they now” category.

Things certainly have changed. Look at the year in review issue of Rolling Stone, regarded as one of the premium rock music journals of our day, and you’ll see large, full-page photos of Backstreet Boys lauded as one of the best groups of ’99. Throughout the year respected music publications have featured chin-rubbing analyses of the lyrical content of the latest ‘N Sync opus, along with embarrassing, sacrilegious comparisons of acts like 98 Degrees and Britney to the great musical artists of the ’50s. MTV, once (and very briefly) a bellwether for important pop musical trends, quickly found itself with its pants down, fondly stroking off the ‘N Sync boys during “serious interviews” in the TRL studios. It is painful to watch a once-respected rock journalist like Kurt Loder seriously interview five dancing puppets who haven’t written a single note of music, who in a time well-past would have been laughed off as the limp-syncing aerobic instructors that they are. A breathless following — not only of children but also mini-van-driving adults — has given boy groups credibility that before would have been reserved only for serious musicians.

Put simply, those sexy, soon-to-flameout boy groups ruled in ’99, but they weren’t alone.

Or these guys…

Rising from the ghettos of suburban Los Angeles and the posh, baggy-Gap-adorned mini-malls across the U.S. rose the dumbest of dumbed-down heavy-metal rawk. Call it “Goon Rock” for a lack of a better term. The playas: Limp Bizkit, Kid Rock, the Kottonmouth Kings (note the bizarre use of the letter K in all these band names?) Insane Clown Posse and Eminem. The music: poorly played and conceptualized white-boy rap, where the constituents brag about being playas and “keeping it real” with such mundane lyrics as “I did it for the nookie/And you can take this cookie/And stick it up your Yeah.” Limp Bizkit is the fully realized commercialization of white-boy pseudo-urban music taken to new levels of oafishness. And the kids loved it.

It wasn’t all shit in ’99. There were a number of highlights, few of which were heard on your radio. Among the best CDs of the year:

1. Those Bastard Souls — Debt & Departure
2. Nine Inch Nails — The Fragile
3. Guster — Lost and Gone Forever
4. Burning Airlines — Mission Control
5. The Faint — Blank Wave Arcade
6. Pet Shop Boys — Nightlife
7. Pavement — Terror Twilight
8. Shannon Wright — Flight Safety
9. Built to Spill — Keep It Like a Secret
10. Reset — My Still Life
11. Folk Implosion — One Part Lullaby
12. Beck — Midnight Vultures

In addition to Reset and The Faint, other notable releases by local bands included Simon Joyner’s The Lousy Dance, (given a four-out-of-five rating in the latest issue of Alternative Press); Bright Eyes’ Every Day and Every Night EP (which, along with The Faint, continues to climb the CMJ charts), and Ravine’s soundtrack to the movie Killing Diva.

Saddle Creek Records’ bands continue to be the shining hope for relevance of the Omaha music scene. If 2000 sees any breakthroughs locally, it’ll come from Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes), who will release a full-length CD this year that will push him to the next level of national exposure and acceptance. But before we get into predictions for 2000, let’s take a look at how I did last year. In my ’98 year-in-review column in The Reader, I predicted: the death of swing (hit!), a loud-then-soft reaction to a new Nine Inch Nails CD (hit again!), the rise of Oi! music (miss!), the continued rise in Internet music promotion (no duh!), another major Omaha signing a la Mulberry Lane (miss!), the opening of a new Omaha showcase lounge and the closing of a beloved one (The Music Box, although its yet to actually open its doors; the closing of the Stork Club, though I thought The Cog Factory would be the victim). Four for six, not too bad…

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God, I don’t miss the ’90s.

Meanwhile, back in 2019…

Tonight at OutrSpaces, 1258 So. 13th St., it’s the stage debut of Big Nope, the new project by See Through Dresses drummer (and now Criteria tour drummer) Nate Van Fleet. Nate’s taking the frontman position this time handling guitars and vocals, with Liv Baxter also on guitar, Aaron Lee on bass and Zachary Roland on drums.

The band has a two-song single on Bandcamp: “Never Going Outside” b/w “Grass is Greener,” recorded at Little Machine by Van Fleet and Matthew Carroll (also of See Through Dresses), mixed by studio wizard Ben Brodin at Hand Branch.

Bach Mai opens the show at 8 p.m. $10 suggested donation supports the artists.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The second coming of Criteria: New album on 15 Passenger, Cursive tour, ping-pong…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:42 pm December 5, 2019

Criteria 2019. Photo by Django Greenblatt-Seay.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You already knew that Criteria was hitting the road with Cursive in January, and if you read this blog, you also already had a good idea that the band’s new album, Years, was coming out at some point on 15 Passenger. It’s been rumored for over a year. The fact that the recording is actually seeing the light of day is nothing short of a miracle.

Criteria announced the album and tour via Brooklyn Vegan yesterday before unleashing it on social media. Included in the BV story was both a track off the new album and an amusing/disturbing video of Criteria frontman Stephen Pedersen playing ping-pong with a diminutive Tim Kasher of Cursive. Hi-jinx indeed ensue.

Anyway, the new record is available for pre-order from 15Passenger.com. It comes out Jan. 17. The new tune, “Agitate Resuscitate,” is a real scorcher, and the first question that came to mind upon listening to it was how in the heck Pedersen is going to be able to sing it — along with all the other high-flying Criteria songs from yesteryear — night after night for two weeks without turning his vocal chords to bloody ribbons.

As the website says, this is the first new album by Criteria in nearly 15 years. In that time, the band has pulled itself together at least once or twice a year for a one-off show, after which Pedersen could retire back to his professional life and conceivable talk in a hoarse whisper at work the following Monday morning. Instead, he’ll have to get right back behind that microphone the next night. I don’t know how he did it 15 years ago let alone how he’ll do it for two weeks in January (The sched: six days in a row, break, four days in a row, break, four days in a row). No doubt he’s been in training for the past few months. He’ll pull it off…

Folks who follow Little Brazil on Facebook already know that Austin Elsberry has taken over behind the drum kit, replacing Nate Van Fleet. That’s good timing considering Van Fleet will be holding down the drum chores for Criteria on the upcoming tour in place of drummer Mike Sweeney. Those are rather massive shoes to fill, Mr. Van Fleet, but I can’t think of anyone better to try.

You’ll be able to see both Little Brazil and Criteria when the bands play at The Waiting Room Dec. 28 with Lodgings. Talk about your down home holiday extravaganzas…

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Big Nope (Nate Van Fleet’s new joint); Who is Blondo?; new Unexplained Death; Supermoon (Jake Bellows + Whispertown) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:41 pm October 7, 2019

Big Nope is a new project from See Through Dresses drummer Nate Van Fleet.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Work kept me from the clubs this weekend, but I hope y’all had a grand time without me. Why do I miss all the fun?

A couple new bands cropped up via social media in the past few days.

Big Nope is a new project by See Through Dresses drummer Nate Van Fleet. Nate’s taking the frontman position this time handling guitars and vocals, with Liv Baxter also on guitar, Aaron Lee on bass and Zachary Roland on drums.

The band has a two-song single on Bandcamp: “Never Going Outside” b/w “Grass is Greener,” recorded at Little Machine by Van Fleet and Matthew Carroll (also of See Through Dresses), mixed by studio wizard Ben Brodin at Hand Branch.

The tune is upbeat indie pop that kind of reminds me of Thin Lizzy, I guess because of Van Fleet’s vocal phrasing on the A-side more than anything (and the arrangement). The B-side is more traditional indie. Pretty cool! Can’t wait to see them live.

I just saw Van Fleet play drums in Las Cruxes. See Through Dresses is also gearing up, and now this. What else can he pull out of his hat? Check out the single at their bandcamp page:

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Another new one is Blondo, a project by Lincoln’s Alex Malnack. This is straight-up emo-pop a la The Get Up Kids or Saves the Day, very pop-punk. On the debut 6-song EP, Heritage, Malnack plays everything but the drums, which are handled by Salt Creek’s Nate Skinner. Malnack is currently filling out his roster to play these tracks live.

This one came to my attention via Alex’s pop, Brent Malnack, the proprietor of Mars Bar and Grill, the West Omaha brew pub / performance space formerly known as Growler USA. Brent went out on his own (Growler was a chain) because he said the Growler folks weren’t down with his continued music focus for the club.

That being the case, Malnack is eagerly looking for bands to play Mars. Hit him up at the bar’s Facebook page. Tap into that unexplored West Omaha music market.

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Unexplained Death is back, this time taking aim at Mitch McConnell. Check it below via Spotify. We’re all still waiting for Whipkey and Co. to make their stage debut…

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Tonight at The Trap Room (located just north of The Slowdown), Supermoon is playing a free show. Supermoon is Omaha ex-pat / legend Jake Bellows (Neva Dinova) and members of Whispertown. 8 p.m. and free!

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Phoebe Bridgers and Jackson Browne cover McCarthy Trenching; new Taylor Janzen features Nate Van Fleet, Mike Mogis…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:31 pm November 29, 2018

Phoebe Bridgers covers McCarthy Trenchings’ “Christmas Song” with some help from Jackson Browne.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Red hot indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers today dropped her version of McCarthy Trenching’s “Christmas Song,” with ’70s superstar Jackson Browne singing background vocals. The song was first released on McCarthy Trenching’s Calamity Drenching album released on Team Love back in 2008.

Said Bridgers in Pitchfork: “The first time I heard this song it hit me like a ton of bricks. A lot of McCarthy Trenching songs do that. It’s not that often that I hear a Christmas song that doesn’t make me want to quit music.”

She went on to say that Jackson Browne heard her perform the cover at an LA show “and he came up to me after the show to tell me how much he loved the song.” A couple days later Jackson Browne bought a copy of Calamity Drenching on Bandcamp for $50. I’d love to hear Browne’s take on “Roasting Song.”

I have to think Bridgers first heard the song when her pal Conor Oberst, who she’s both recorded and toured with, played it for her. Total speculation. Maybe Conor and Dan can talk Phoebe into moving to Omaha…

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In other news involving up-and-coming singer-songwriters with an Omaha connection, Nylon Magazine yesterday dropped a new song by Canadian Taylor Janzen called “New Mercies,” which features Omaha’s Nate Van Fleet (See Through Dresses, Little Brazil) on drums. The track was produced and mixed by world-renowned producer and poll worker (he was working my polling site during the mid-terms) Mike Mogis of ARC Studios.

The track is Janzen’s first release with a full band. No word in the Nylon piece if this track is part of an album, but I wouldn’t be surprised. BTW, the song is gorgeous.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i