Live Review: Jake’s Block Party (See Through Dresses, Oquoa, Twinsmith); Jim James, Basia Bulat, Youth Lagoon tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:02 pm September 10, 2013
And the crowd looked on, at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

And the crowd looked on, at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Jake’s Block Party in Benson has become an annual (or semi-annual?) must-attend event for anyone interested in local indie music. As in years past, the stage was set up right outside of Jake’s on Military Ave., leaving room for food vendors (Lot 2/Baxter’s, a food truck, fine brews by Jake’s).

This time  the party was teamed up with Benson First Friday, which may explain the rather light crowd for opening band Twinsmith. Though the audience was thin, interest was intense for a marquee act that has all the earmarks of a local breakthrough. Again, I was reminded of Vampire Weekend. Make your own comparisons. One of the most pop-friendly indie bands to emerge from the Omaha scene in recent memory.

Oquoa at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Oquoa at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Moreso than when I saw them a couple weeks ago at their O’Leaver’s debut (or maybe it was the outdoor stage) Oquoa sounded like Conduits with a male lead singer, which of course makes sense considering core members of Oquoa were in Conduits. Thick, dense waves of sound rolled through the old brick buildings, but instead of Jenna Morrison’s tonal coo cutting through the feedback we got Max Almquist’s brassy rock voice. I still don’t know what he’s singing about, but that will come when we get a lyric sheet (or a clean recording). If you were a Conduits fan, you need to check these guys out.

See Through Dresses at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses had a sound that bounced between Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Needless to say Sara Burtuldo’s interplay with with frontman Matt Carroll (Nate Van Fleet and Robert Little round out the four-piece) gives the band a Thurston Moore / Kim Gordon flair. When they throw in a New Order cover, well, things get out of hand (in a good way). As a whole, less punk and more post-punk than Sara’s other project.

Speaking of Sonic Youth, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship followed STD and played their usual cranked up post-punk set, louder than ever. By then, the block was packed. Alas, I didn’t stick around for headliner Universe Contest.

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Early in the evening, word leaked that Conor Oberst was going to mark the anniversary of Pageturners with a performance on the bar’s ad hoc stage. What to do, what to do? In the end, I sat tight at Jake’s figuring that I wouldn’t get there in time to get in and/or if I did the place would be crushed. Unlike Conor’s Krug Park “secret show” a year ago when video and reports leaked everywhere afterward, the only thing I’ve seen to prove that this actually happened was a dark, blurry photo posted on the Pageturners Facebook page.

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Two shows going on tonight. Top o’ bill is Jim James (of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) at Slowdown. Is Conor still in town? If he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined his old pal on stage for a couple songs. Opening is the amazing Basia Bulat, whose new album, Tall, Tall Shadows, comes out on Secret City Records Oct. 1. As of noon, tickets were still available for $27. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, spacey rockers Youth Lagoon a.k.a. Boise Idaho’s Trevor Powers, plays at The Waiting Room. His new album Wondrous Bughouse was released on Fat Possum this past March and is, indeed, a head trip in a Floydian sort of way. Opening is Austin low-fi trio Pure X. $14, 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Oquoa (vs. Conduits), Electric Chamber Music (vs. Gus & Call)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:00 pm August 26, 2013
Oquoa at O'Leaver's, Aug. 23, 2013.

Oquoa at O’Leaver’s, Aug. 23, 2013.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

A recap of Friday night’s festivities at O’Leaver’s:

Headliner Oquoa, making its world stage debut, had a similar vibe as Conduits (J.J. Idt’s and Roger Lewis’ former band), but was less droning and more tuneful in a Roxy Music or even Pink Floyd sort of way. The band sounds nothing like frontman Max Holmquist’s former folk rock project Great American Desert, though I can’t be certain of any lyrical similarities as (is the case with most live projects) I couldn’t make out the words.

Oquoa moves beyond typical shoegaze to an even denser style of indie rock. Idt’s guitar leads were the essential component — spare, soaring, lean, they breath subtle life into these slow(er) mantra songs. Very David Gilmore. The band’s sound as a whole has a similar dense, delay-heavy push as Conduits, but with more separation between the parts. While Conduits was all about creating atmosphere, Oquoa is about the songs.

If you missed them your next chance to catch them is at Jake’s Block party in a couple weeks, where they’ll be playing alongside Twinsmith and See Through Dresses.

Electric Chamber Music opened the evening with a long instrumental that glowed with vibes that reminded me of early Tristeza. It was about as far away from the cowboy shoegaze of frontman James Maakestad’s former band, Gus & Call. But that style was short-lived, as the band left the stage so that Maakestad could do a couple folkie numbers on his own. When the band rejoined him the sound had transformed back into the G&S rural folk rock that we’re all familiar with, even ending with a slide-guitar fueled southern-fried rocker that took me back to G&S fave “To the Other Side of Jordan,” powered by Daniel Ocanto’s out-of-this-world drumming.

It was one of the biggest crowds I’ve seen at O’Leaver’s in a long time. A real crush mob inside and outside, a testimonial to the intense interest in both these projects.

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Talk about your slow weeks for music, other than Tie These Hands/Eli Mardock at Slowdown Jr. Wednesday, there is virtually nothing going on. It’s a good week to get out of town (which is exactly what I’m going to do)…

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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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Oquoa debut, Dumb Beach, Worried Mothers, Whipkey tonight; Burhenn, Fink, McCarthy Saturday; Ted Stevens and tacos Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm August 23, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Happy Friday. Here’s what’s happening tonight and tomorrow night.

oquoaTonight at O’Leaver’s it’s the world premiere of rock band Oquoa (Pronounced o’ ko’ uh; the word apparently is Urdu for R*O*C*K). The new trio consists of former Conduits members Roger Lewis and J.J. Idt, and frontman Max Holmquist (Great American Desert). There’s nothing quite like seeing a band’s stage debut. Also on the bill is Electric Chamber Music (James Maakestad, Aaron Markley, Dan McCarthy, and Daniel Ocanto). This could be a big one. 10 p.m. $5.

There’s also a punk rock show happening at the Sweatshop Gallery in Benson tonight featuring Dumb Beach, Worried Mothers and Austin trio Salted. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, Matt Whipkey is re-celebrating the release of his latest album, Penny Park, as he’s making the double-vinyl album available on CD. Matt opens for Witness Tree. Also on the bill is Moses Prey and The Decatures. $7, 9 p.m.

Saturday afternoon the Saddle Creek Shop in the Slowdown complex is hosting another in the “Songs @ Shop” series featuring all-acoustic performances by Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds), Orenda Fink (Azure Ray), Dan McCarthy (McCarthy Trenching) James Maakestad (Gus & Call) and Zack Lagrue. All will be playing songs of the ’60s, as the event is part of Omaha Public Library’s America’s Music summer program. The fun starts at 3 p.m. and is free. More info here.

Saturday night Thunder Power plays at The Barley Street with Holy White Hounds and Mint Wad Willy. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at The Brothers Lounge, No I’m the Pilot opens for Jaw Knee Vee (“LoFi Rawkabilly Punk Blues Trash Boogie Woogie Stomp from St. Paul”). $5, 10 p.m.

And finally Saturday night, The Bishops play at O’Leaver’s with Faded and The Bricks. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Sunday afternoon O’Leaver’s is hosting its “Sunday Social Club,” this time featuring Ted Stevens Unknown Project and the garage-punk duo of Killer Blow. $5 gets you in plus access to the taco bar! Tacos start at 4 p.m., music starts at 5 p.m.

Did I miss something? Put it in the comments section. Have a good weekend!

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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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Eros and the Eschaton’s rural shoegaze; oquoa (o’ko’uh) (ex-Conduits) launches Aug. 23; La Luz, Killer Blow tonight..

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:11 pm July 23, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Eros and the Eschaton, Home Address for Civil War (Bar/None)

Eros and the Eschaton, Home Address for Civil War (Bar/None)

A head’s up on this new Eros and the Eschaton album, Home Address for Civil War. This new record sounds nothing like the last one from It’s True, the band that E&E member Adam Hawkins used to front. Now with wife Katey Perdoni (a.k.a. Sleeveless) the new record takes Hawkins’ and Perdoni’s melodies and drapes them in dense layers of Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain fuzz. We’re talking deeply atmospheric, intensely trippy grinding rock that’s not afraid of brash, creative guitar noise. The record comes out Aug. 13 on Bar/None, while the band visits Slowdown Jr. Sept. 22. You’ve been warned… and invited.

I don’t know what “Eros and the Eschaton” means, by the way. Wiki says Eschaton means “end of times,” which sounds very appropriate for their brand of rock. Actually, I’m not sure how to even pronounce Eschaton.

Pronunciations could also be a problem for oquoa. That’s the name of the new project by former Conduits members Roger Lewis and J.J. Idt, and frontman Max Holmquist (ex-Great American Desert). The band has been whispered about for months, with word leaking out that their new recording will be stellar. And now they’ve just announced their first public gig, Aug. 23 at O’Leaver’s with Electric Chamber Music.

The show’s Facebook listing says “oquoa (o’ko’uh)”. Maybe the pronunciation is actually part of the band’s name… So what’s it mean? Look it up in The Google and you’ll get back… nothing. How very mysterious.

BTW, I think it may be safe to say that Conduits has sailed into the sunset, though the band never made it official.

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Sweatshop Gallery in Benson is hosting Seattle garage rockers La Luz (Burger Records, Suicide Squeeze) tonight, with local guys Adult Films and the amazing duo called Killer Blow. Great show at the “nice price” of just $5. 9 p.m. All ages!

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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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