Tait at Polecat; Brian Wilson biopic; Omaha makes NPR (again); The Life & Times, Little Brazil, John Klemmensen/Party, Derby Birds tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:51 pm June 8, 2015
Brian Tait with spray can in hand during Friday night's opening at The Polecat Little Gallery in Benson.

Brian Tait with spray can in hand during Friday night’s opening at The Polecat Little Gallery in Benson.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The weekend was spent recovering from the week — the birthday show and the opening of the Polecat Little Gallery Friday night. If you missed the gallery opening, you can still check out the show, which features local artist/musician/entrepreneur Brian Tait of Midtown Art Supply. Tait spent Friday evening creating a two-story-tall portrait of State Senator Ernie Chambers on a discarded Spearmint Rhino billboard hung from the outside wall of the gallery. While painting with with spray cans, Tait also performed with turntable, electric guitar, microphone and mixer. It was a surreal experience to say the least. It was fun. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.

Anyway, after multiple nights out we decided to take it easy on Saturday night and catch a movie, Love & Mercy, the Brian Wilson biopic showing at the AMC 24 way out west. It was a solid movie, this from a guy who isn’t the biggest Beach Boys fan in the world. Paul Dano will be mentioned when Oscar time comes rolling ’round, and possibly Paul Giamatti, who plays another in a series of slime balls. John Cusack in the role of Wilson in the ’80s seemed to be channeling Daniel Johnston rather than Wilson.

The best moments of the film were Dano playing Wilson during the making of Pet Sounds in the studio — in control, creative, working with a bunch of unheralded studio musicians as they made what arguably is one of the best albums ever released. I could have watched those sequences all night. The film is definitely worth the drive out west to catch while you can.

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Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio strikes again with a strong story on the current state of the Omaha music scene that features Conchance, Laura Burhenn and Simon Joyner, who had the best line in the story: “The train stopped here for a minute and moved on…” Indeed it has. We hear why Conchance and Simon still live in Omaha; missing from the story is why Laura moved to Los Angeles over a year ago… I have to believe our brutal winters had something to do with it. The story aired on NPR. Listen below:

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There’s lots going on for a Monday night…

Kansas City indie act The Life & Times headlines at Reverb Lounge. It’s been awhile since these guys came through town. Opening is Little Brazil and nanaHara. $10, 9 p.m.

On the other side of the One Percent Complex (at least that’s what I’m calling it) Canadian indie band Mother Mother (Last Gang Records) headlines at The Waiting Room. Opening is the always entertaining John Klemmensen & the Party.  $15, 9 p.m.

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Finally, Pageturners in Dundee is hosting The Derby Birds and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns for a free gig that starts at 9 p.m. It’s part of Pageturners’ summer concert series — which boasts an impressive line-up. The rest of PTL’s summer schedule looks like this:

June 15 – The Felice Brothers
June 17 – Matt Amandus Jazz trio
June 22 – Rig 1
June 29 – The Burkum Boys

July 1 – Mitch Gettman & Pleiades and the Bear
July 6 – Cubby Philips / Michael Frederickson Quartert
July 7 – Carl Miller and the Trillers
July 8 – Sam Martin
July 13 – The Sun-less Trio
July 15 – Sean Pratt & David Kenneth Nance
July 20 – Super Ghost and Tie These Hands
July 22 – Kill County
July 27 – The Burkum Boys
July 29 – The Sunks and Mark Johnson

Aug. 3 – One Eye White
Aug. 4 – Carl Miller and the Trillers
Aug. 5 – Agronomo and the Ascenders
Aug. 10 – Oquoa
Aug. 12 – Simon Joyner and Danny Pound
Aug 17 – Omaha Guitar Trio
Aug. 19 – Luke Polipnick
Aug. 24 – Linemans Rodeo
Aug. 31 – The Burkum Boys

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Notwist, St. Vincent and NPR First Listen; Caravels tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:03 pm February 18, 2014
The Notwist doing the oldest cliche in the books as far as band photos go. Get off the tracks, you knuckleheads.

The Notwist doing the oldest cliche in the books as far as band photos go. Get off the tracks, you knuckleheads.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

First they debuted the new Beck album Morning Phase then yesterday NPR debuted new albums by The Notwist (Close to the Glass) and St. Vincent.

Is NPR becoming the official diving board for “leaking” new releases? It appears so, and why not? Earlier in the year, there was speculation that MTV.com was going to try to own the launching pad, but that never panned out. NPR seems like the logical choice for big-name artists like Beck and St. Vincent, while Pitchfork or a website like Paste would be a natural for indie bands.

The Notwist, on the other hand, is a ’90s oddity that’s probably only known by a handful of freaks like me (Who remembers 1998’s Shrink?). The fact that NPR is streaming their latest is pretty cool. Also streaming right now via NPR, the new Neneh Cherry album Blank Project.

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Desaparecidos confirmed yesterday on their Twitter feed that they have indeed pulled out of Soundwaves Festival in Australia.

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Henderson, Nevada, emo/math band Caravels (Top Shelf Records) headlines tonight at Slowdown Jr. Labelmates Special Explosion opens along with local act Rex Manning. $10, 9 p.m.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Big Harp talks about music biz struggles on NPR’s Weekend Edition; no shows ’til Friday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:54 pm January 14, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Big Harp, Chain Letters (Saddle Creek, 2013)

Big Harp, Chain Letters (Saddle Creek, 2013)

Clay Masters, who covers the Midwest for NPR, filed a story for Weekend Edition Sunday that features Saddle Creek band Big Harp, and uses the duo as an example of how indie bands face an uphill battle in the post-apocalyptic music industry. Listen to it here. The story also talks about the added pressure on Chris Senseney and Stef Drootin-Senseney who are trying to make a living from music while raising a family — an endeavor that means bringing the kids along on the road.

Of note in the story is the fact that Big Harp’s Saddle Creek debut, White Hat, sold fewer than 2,000 copies. In the old days (’round the turn of the century) that would have been considered a ginormous flop, but today, when no one’s buying music anymore, 2,000 ain’t half-bad, and probably better than a lot of 2012 indie releases. Still, do the math and that’s not a lot of cash. There’s tour income, but it’s not like the old days, Stef says in the report, when they could crash on someone’s floor while on the road. Not with the kids along.

Saddle Creek Grand Poobah Robb Nansel kinda/sorta acknowledges that poor sales are starting to hurt, but that Big Harp’s low numbers don’t concern him, that the label is helped by back-catalog sales and that the reason it exists primarily is to promote “art that we feel is important” and supporting friendships. Gone are the days of pressing 10,000 CDs and spending gobs on print advertising. Lower budgets mean doing more with less.

Clay implied in the piece that unless Big Harp’s new record sells better than the last one that it will be difficult for Saddle Creek to “stay with them.” But it’s hard to imagine Saddle Creek ever turning its back on any of their previous artists. Have they ever refused to release an alumnus’ record before?

Clay also implied that commercial pressures could be the reason for Big Harp’s shift to a heavier sound. Their debut is almost serene compared to Chain Letters, which comes out a week from Tuesday. To me, the new record doesn’t sound heavier as much as more cluttered than the debut. If there’s a criticism to be leveled it’s that added elements can get in the way, something that wasn’t a problem on the debut.

Or maybe I just prefer the kinder, gentler (and simpler) Big Harp. Their best features have always  been Chris’ insane guitar playing, his unique, croaking baritone, and Stef’s clean, simple accompaniment. I can’t imagine (as someone suggested to me over the weekend) that they actively changed their sound to attract a Black Keys audience. I hope they haven’t. To me it’s not so much a question of Big Harp actively reaching out to a larger audience as much as that audience finding Big Harp’s music, which by itself is irresistible.

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Ain’t no shows tonight. In fact, there ain’t no shows until Friday. At least none that I know of. We are indeed in the depths of the winter lulls show-wise, and maybe that’s a good thing considering that everyone seems to be sick these days. While I didn’t have the flu, my allergies knocked me to my knees this past weekend, which is why I stayed away from the clubs.

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Speaking of weekend shows, I said last Friday that Sun Settings’ show at House of Loom that night was their swan song (based on their Facebook page). Then yesterday I got an invitation via Facebook to a Sun Settings show Feb. 8 at O’Leaver’s. I’m told the band will change its name by then. We shall see.

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Lazy-i Best of 2012

Lazy-i Best of 2012

It’s coming down to the final days to enter enter to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2012 compilation CD. The collection includes songs by The Intelligence, Simon Joyner, Ladyfinger, Twin Shadow, Ember Schrag, Tame Impala, Paul Banks, Cat Power and a ton more.  The full track listing is here (scroll to the bottom). To enter the drawing send an email with your name and mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.comHurry! Deadline is tomorrow, Jan. 15.

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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.

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