Oberst drop day; Chemicals tonight; Ex-Cult, Mitch Gettmann Saturday; Ten Questions with Of Montreal (Waiting Room Sunday)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:47 pm October 14, 2016
Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013. The band plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013. The band plays at The Waiting Room Sunday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s drop day for Conor Oberst’s solo album, Ruminations. In the old days, drop day meant when you could go out and buy a copy of the record. These days drop day means you can now listen to the new album on Spotify and the other streaming services.

Reviews of Oberst’s new album also have been dropping all week. The one everyone cares about — Pitchfork — went online Wednesday. Saddle Creek beat critic Ian Cohen gave the record a respectable 7.5 rating, saying it is “stunning for how utterly alone he sounds.

Rolling Stone gave the album 3.5 stars. AV Club, B+. NME: 4 out of 5. All Music: 3 stars. Drowned in Sound: 9 out of 10. The Album of the Year composite score is 69. As a whole, the reviews have been positive, pointing out that it’s a stripped-down, personal record, which it is. I do like the record, but it’s not likely to be something I’ll be reaching for very often. These are very sing-songy efforts, which I guess means they sound like the chords came first and he merely sang lyrics over them in the most comfortable, obvious way. You will not be surprised by the musical direction of any song.

But that said, some of these songs will resonate more over time, especially combined with his overall songbook.  He now has the acoustic solo album out of his system. What will he do next?

* * *

Let’s look at the weekend. The only major show is Sunday. We’ll get to that.

Tonight Chemicals opens for CJ Mills at Reverb Lounge. If you haven’t caught a Chemicals set, you’re missing out. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Blue Bird headlines at fabulous O’Leaver’s with St. Paul band Communist Daughter and Satellite Junction. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) California garage rock veterans Ex-Cult (Goner, In the Red, Lollipop Records) headlines at Milk Run. Joining them are No Thanks and one one other TBA superstar. $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, at O’Leaver’s, Lodgings headlines Saturday night with Sean Pratt and Brazen Throat. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also Saturday night, singer/songwriter Mitch Gettmann headlines at the Down Under Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth. Mike Saklar’s Sunless Trio also is on the bill, along with Disquieting Muses. No price listed, 9 p.m.

And Satchel Grande celebrates its 10 year anniversary at The Slowdown Saturday night. Rothsteen opens. $8, 9 p.m.

Then comes Sunday and this show at The Waiting Room:

Of Montreal plays at The Waiting Room Oct. 16.

Of Montreal plays at The Waiting Room Oct. 16.

Of Montreal has made Omaha a regular tour stop for well over a decade. If you’ve kept track of the band you know their early-days home-made theatrics have evolved into grandiose, eye-popping extravaganzas that can compete with Flaming Lips for over-the-top stage dominance. We’re talking lights, costumes, props and numerous stage extras (actors?) living out the songs in weird, wonderful ways. It’s a spectacular spectacle that David Bowie surely would have approved of.

The band returns supporting its latest album, Innocence Reaches (2016, Polyvinyl), that finds Kevin Barnes and Co. mining EDM territory but with quaint electronics and beats reminiscent of Pet Shop Boys. The thread that runs through it and all Of Montreal records is Barnes’ quirky melodies and trademark vocal croon that sounds like an alien computer singing lullabies to its robot children.

We caught up with Barnes and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Kevin Barnes: Lamentations by Moses Sumney

2. What is your least favorite song?
 


The National Anthem

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band? 



Being wild and free.

4. What do you hate about being in a band? 



Practicing

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)? 



Glass

6. In what city or town do you love to perform? 



Santa Fe

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)? 



Eureka, California, It was Cinco de Mayo many years ago at a sports bar, no one knew who we were and everyone seemed  intensely stupid and openly hostile. One person spent most of our show standing in front of our bass player and giving her the middle finger.


8. How do you pay your bills? 



With money

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 



I’d like to become a sports writer and cover boxing matches for a newspaper. I’d hate to be the judge at any kind of food eating competition.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?



I’ve heard that it smells of manure and that it’s rich in precious jewels.

Of Montreal performs with Teen Sunday, Oct. 16, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 9 p.m.; tickets are $20. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

That’s all I got for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Of Montreal, Digital Leather (on their way to Desa-Land), Xetas tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:36 pm October 26, 2015
Digital Leather at O'Leaver's, Sept. 19, 2015. The band returns to O'Leaver's tonight.

Digital Leather at O’Leaver’s, Sept. 19, 2015. The band returns to O’Leaver’s tonight.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Of Montreal returns to The Waiting Room tonight. If it seems like they were just here that’s because they were. They played the Waiting Room this past March. If you’re wondering what they’re going to play, here’s their set list from their Saturday night show at Wooly’s in Des Moines (which helps me not at all as I couldn’t tell you the name of one of their songs). Opening is Diane Coffee. 9 p.m., $18/$20.

Also tonight, Digital Leather does a warm-up set at fabulous O’Leaver’s before they hit the road on tour, eventually meeting up with Desaparecidos Nov. 11 for eight dates plus the sold out O’Leaver’s show Nov. 22. Could this tour be the big break DL’s been waiting for?

BTW, who else saw that photo in Facebook of Denver Dalley standing alongside none other than Bill Murray? Goddamn, what next? Denver sharing a PBR with Obama?

Anyway, DL I believe is headlining this show, which also features Austin band Xetas, whose new album The Redeemer came out on Gerard Cosloy’s 12XU Records. Opening the gig is Mike Schlesinger. $6, 9:30 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.

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Live Review: Digital Leather, White Mystery, Calm Fur; Of Montreal, Deerhoof tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:33 pm March 16, 2015
Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

Digital Leather at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What a weekend for sold out shows. Friday afternoon Icky Blossoms sold out its Slowdown Jr. gig — no surprise there. Then on Saturday afternoon, Criteria’s Reverb show that evening sold out. Again, not a surprise when you consider the capacity of the Reverb’s small performance space.

I ended up at Reverb Friday night for Digital Leather and White Mystery. First up was Jason Meyer’s latest creation, Calm Fur. First time I saw them a few months ago at Barley Street it was a gritty, noise-rock set — quite a contrast to Friday night’s set, which sounded more streamlined and pop-oriented. The band has tightened up everything, and the result is sublime. Meyer recently posted on Facebook that he’s no longer involved in his other project, Feel tight. Does that mean he’s dedicated his services to Fur?

There was a song about halfway through Digital Leather’s set that was a departure from their usual synth punk debauchery. The tune was, dare I say it, downright groovy, with a huge central hook. I tracked down one of the band members afterward, who told me the song was called “Gary…” off the band’s next album (I didn’t know they were working on a new record, but is DL frontman Shawn Foree ever not working on new music?).

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

White Mystery at Reverb Lounge, March 13, 2015.

DL rolled out a brand new song to start their set, something they said they wrote that afternoon — it was typical of their usual rough-hewn garage rock, bracing and hard. The rest of the set was selections from the last few records and were played with the usual DL panache. Keyboardist Todd Fink, who everyone thought would be a temporary piece of the DL puzzle, now fits in like just another one of the boys, adding backing vocals on a few songs. Is DL Fink’s main focus with The Faint apparently in limbo?

The set ended in classic fashion with a brutal version of “Studs in Love,” played by request from one of the band’s biggest fans (and it wasn’t me). Foree’s said before that he doesn’t like playing the song anymore. He was doing it for the fan. “Studs in Love” has become a staple of Digital Leather’s live set; I’ve heard at least three different arrangements of the song over the past couple years. Each time it gets a little more powerful.

White Mystery closed out the night. The brother-and-sister guitar-and-drum duo of Alex and Francis White roared through a set of monolithic garage-rockers. Who needs a bass player, anyway?

* * *

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the return of Of Montreal with opening band Deerhoof. From the review of the Nov. 3, 2013, Of Montreal show at The Slowdown:

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

What kind of pageantry are you in for this time? Here’s what the band played Friday night in Chicago, I recognize at least one favorite. Tickets are $20 and the show starts at 9.

* * *

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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What a drag it is getting cold; Desa to Coachella; Of Montreal 3/16…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:10 pm January 7, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I didn’t make it out to see The Good Life last night and it hurts my heart. It was a game-time decision, the wind-chill was in the negatives and I had to get up early this morning. In the old days (just a few years ago) I would have gone anyway, but it’s getting tougher to get out during the week, especially when I don’t know if there will be any air in my Tracker’s tires when I leave the club (They have this way of leaking out in sub-zero weather).

If you were at O’Leaver’s last night, let me know how it went. The band is reportedly in the studio today working on their new record.

* * *

What else…

Desparecidos is playing Coachella April 12. Impressive. Coachella is getting some blow-back this year because of the number of legacy bands playing the festival, including AC/DC, Steely Dan, not to mention the ’90s and ’00s bands (Built to Spill, Sloan, heck Desa’s been around for a decade). I’m not sure what all the whining is about. The majority of the lineup consists of modern-day acts (read the lineup at TIME).  You’re always going to have a few notable big names from back in the day that appeal to multiple generations. Congrats to Desa. Something tells me this Epitaph release could be a monster…

* * *

One Percent’s latest update went out this morning. The most notable nugget on their list of shows — Of Montreal March 16 at The Waiting Room. I think that might be smack-dab in the middle of SXSW, so it’s very likely I’ll miss them. Or maybe not. The press release says they’re playing SXSW March 19…

* * *

I got all your entries for the Comp CD giveaway. Thanks! I’ll be announcing the winners tomorrow.

* * *

Tonight at Reverb Lounge legacy performer Sarah Benck takes the stage with Kevin Sandbloom and CJ Mills. $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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Of Montreal, La Luz; Cold War Kids, Crystal Antlers, Toro Y Moi tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:17 pm November 4, 2013
Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Of Montreal at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

While last Saturday night’s Of Montreal concert was the usual spectacle that one expects from these colorful Athenians, it was only a medium-sized spectacle, especially compared to the last time they came through town and played at The Slowdown.

Your first thought might be that they pulled back because The Waiting Room has a smaller stage than The Slowdown’s cavernous maw, but you’d be wrong because I’ve been told the two stages are about the same size, and that TWR might actually be a tad larger. No, the real reason could have had something to do with the style of the band’s latest album, which is less of a party and more of a psychedelic head trip.

To help build that trippy buzz, Of Montreal’s eye-blazing projector-powered graphics got an extra punch of wow — pure acid-flashback dazzle combined with strange 8 mm-style film effects.

Theatrics did abound. Three “extras” made stage appearances in a variety of costumes, most resembling blobs or giant wadded up pieces of paper. When they weren’t stumbling around in bulky costumes, the extras slipped into place in white body stockings, unfolding umbrellas that reflected targeted projected graphics (see the eye-popping skull above).

And then there was the music. Of Montreal played their mega-hit “Wrath Pinned to the Mist and Other Games,” (a.k.a., the Outlook Steakhouse commercial jingle from a few years ago) in the middle of the set, surrounding it with new glammy material from Lousy with Sylvianbriar, their latest Polyvinyl release. If someone ever decides to make a David Bowie biopic, Kevin Barnes would be the shoe-in to play the Thin White Duke — his voice (at times) was a photo-realistic replica of Bowie’s, complete with the obvious, recognizable inflections we’ve come to know and love.

Beyond the Bowie comparisons, Barnes has a mammoth voice that keeps going and going, and is the clear centerpiece of the entire performance. Good thing, too, because while Of Montreal’s music often has a thumpin’ beat, it lacks a strong central melody. The reason “Wrath Pinned…” was a hit is because it’s one of the few songs they’ve written that invites you to sing along. The rest of Of Montreal’s melodies are two-dimensional gymnastics — dense, complex and sparkly — but forgettable. It’s the reason Of Montreal never broke through the way Arcade Fire has, though the two bands do very similar things (and one might argue, Of Montreal does it better).

But who cares when you see Barnes coming out after a costume change dressed as a 12-foot tall singing psychedelic ghost?

 

La Luz at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

La Luz at The Waiting Room, Nov. 2, 2013.

Opener La Luz was a fun exercise in genre rock, described to me by one listener as Middle Eastern-infused surf rock. To me they played traditional garage rock with a sinister undertone. Great stuff, in small doses.

* * *

The big shows keep rolling on tonight:

Cold War Kids play tonight at The Slowdown with Crystal Antlers, whose latest, Nothing Is Real, is brash and loud and worth getting to the club early for. $20 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, chillwave superstar Toro Y Moi headlines with Classixx, a DJ duo who have remixed everyone from Phoenix to Yacht to Holy Ghost to Ladyhawke. $17, 9 p.m.

Why does it have to be Monday?

* * *

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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Deer Tick, Pro-Magnum, Routine Escorts tonight; Of Montreal, La Luz tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 10:33 am November 1, 2013
A screen capture from Of Montreal's video for "Fugitive Air," the first single off their latest album.

A screen capture from Of Montreal’s video for “Fugitive Air,” the first single off their latest album.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Welcome to November.

And that’s all I have to say about that, other than get ready for a solid weekend of shows.

It starts tonight with Deer Tick at The Slowdown. I kind of lost track of Deer Tick after I interviewed them in 2009. The band has released three albums since then, including their latest, Negativity (2013, Partisan), which pulls them further from the folk rock category to whatever genre Wilco is known for. Opening is Nashville’s Robert Ellis (New West Records). $17, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Omaha’s monsters of punk Pro-Magnum play at The Sydney with red hot electro-dance newcomers Routine Escorts and the always entertaining Touch People. $5, 9 p.m.

BTW, it’s Benson First Friday again, so you may want to try Larkin’s Parkin’ right across from Jake’s if you can’t find a spot. It’s valet — fancy!

Saturday’s marquee event is Of Montreal at The Waiting Room.

You could say Of Montreal’s latest album, Lousy with Sylvianbriar, is more organic than what we’re used to. Frontman Kevin Barnes downshifted his songwriting to something less ornate (and confusing) and more sonically straightforward. In addition, he threw out the technology and recorded the whole thing on a 24-track tape machine, in fact most of it was recorded live with the band in a single room. The result sounds like a ‘70s glam album welded to an indie rock underframe. Barnes has always reached for Bowie stylistically, but usurped it with his trademark layered harmonies (reminiscent of ELO). Yeah, this is a ‘70s record, and I mean that in a good way.

But forget about the record, Saturday night’s show is about staging. The last time I saw Of Montreal a couple years ago at Slowdown it was, indeed, a spectacle, with iridescent metallic body suits, a simulated wrestling match, a giant blob, a pig person, a 12-foot-tall shimmering thing with four arms, all done with campy flair. I ‘spect we’ll get more of the same, though the new record — which seems more serious and backs away from dance beats — is better suited for a hippie pageant than a space odyssey. Regardless, an Of Montreal show is always worth the price of admission.

Opening is the strutting, sexy, spy-guitar-fueled garage stylings of Seattle’s La Luz (Burger, Hardly Art, Suicide Squeeze). $18 Adv/$20 DOS. Starts at 9.

Finally, country folk twangster Robbie Fulks is playing at The Waiting Room Sunday for an early 5 p.m. show. $17 Adv/$20 DOS.

If I forgot something, put it in the comments section.

Have a good weekend!

* * *

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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Notes: Destruction Unit, Polvo, Of Montreal, BELLS≥; what’s happening to the bees (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 1:39 pm August 8, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Nits and notes…

If you missed Destruction Unit when they blew through O’Leaver’s a few months ago, you’ll get another chance. The band is slated to play at Middle House (across the street from The Brothers) Sept. 4. The Arizona band made the “Live List” of the best live acts in the new issue of Rolling Stone, along with other garage acts like Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney. Check out their latest stream below:

* * *

Chapel Hill Post punkers Polvo have a new album coming out Oct. 1 on Merge called Siberia. I’d forgotten all about these guys.

* * *

Of Montreal is headed back to The Waiting Room Nov. 2. The band has a new album coming out on Polyvinyl Oct. 8 called lousy with sylvianbriar. Check out the first leaked track below:

* * *

What else…

BELLS≥, Solutions, Silence or Affirmations (self release, 2013)

BELLS≥, Solutions, Silence or Affirmations (self release, 2013)

Do you remember Jawbox? If you were a fan, you may want to check out BELLS≥ Solutions, Silence or Affirmations (self-released). Info: “Former Jawbox drummer Zach Barocas, guitarists Stephen Shodin (Blood City, Coup Fourre) and Chris Ernst, cellist Gordon Withers (Office of Future Plans, et al.) and producer/bassist J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels, Office of Future Plans) have created an album marked by its heft and grace. D.C. bass duo Argos contributed basses on “Promenade.” Tom Broucksou (Chumps, Gung) will handle bass duties live and moving forward.” The whole album is being streamed on their bandcamp page, here. It’s worth checking out.

* * *

Finally, in this week’s column, answers to what’s happening with the bees. I’m not talking about a band called “the bees,” I’m talking about the insect. Have you noticed that there aren’t any bees anymore? One of the area’s per-eminent exports on bees explains what’s happening and what we can do about it. It’s in this week’s issue of The Reader or read it online right here.

* * *

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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