Pitchfork’s 36 ‘Best Live Music Venues’ surviving COVID, includes Slowdown; Moderna’d (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 8:13 am April 7, 2021
The Slowdown is a survivor.

Everyone’s favorite indie music tastemakers, Pitchfork, published an article Monday where it interviewed operators of 36 independent music venues on surviving COVID-19. Among them was Jason Kulbel of Slowdown.

The article gives a (very) brief history of the bar, described as being best know for “Modernizing live music in Omaha.”

Before the pandemic, Kulbel had hoped 2020 would be one of the most successful years in Slowdown’s history,” says writer Andy Cush. “Today, they’re operating with a reduced staff and plan to resume limited-capacity shows with local bands in April.

Kulbel gives a rather bleak view of what lies ahead.

Said Kulbel in the article: “‘Reopening is going to be really hard, because everything that you had before is gone. The staff is gone, the shows are gone. We’re opening with all local stuff, which is fine, but it’s not going to bring people out, it’s not what people really want to see as a whole. So you’re going to be opening as a skeleton of yourself. It would almost be easier just to open a brand new place.’”

Would it really?

Kulbel goes on to cite Against Me! as one of his favorite shows, though it’s not his favorite band. Read the full Slowdown section here.

Other Midwest venues featured in the Pitchfork article include First Avenue, Wooly’s in Des Moines, and The Hideout in Chicago.

Check out the full article here.

. * * * .

Speaking of COVID-19, my column in this month’s issue of The Reader is about my experience getting Moderna’s and how the anti-vaxxers are going to really screw things up for the rest of us. Mark my words, we’re going to be wearing masks for a long time because of the conspiracy theorists and their reticence for getting shots.

The column is online here and, of course, in print wherever you find your copy of the The Reader.

* * *

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Contemplating other 2020 year-end lists (while listening to Gordon)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 11:05 am December 21, 2020
2020 critics’ picks…

It has been excessively quiet in Lazy-i land over the past week. I’ve spent this down time writing the annual Year in Review and 2021 Predictions articles for The Reader, which will be out in January. Seems like a long time to wait, considering every other publication already has posted/printed their year-end “best of” lists.

Pitchfork, the self-inflicted arbiter of hipster taste dipsticks, published its top-50 list last week. Pitchfork is more of an electronic/hip-hop review website these days based on these numbers, and no doubt that’s a reflection of indie’s ever-changing shift in direction. And yet, there’s still plenty of indie and pop to go around on this list — Taylor Swift at no. 29; Soccer Mommy at No. 26. And so on.

Who am I kidding. Pitchfork sneaks a few obscure albums on their list every year to appear to be hip, but in the end, it’s the same ol’ story. Topping the Pitchfork list was Fiona Apple, who is topping a lot of lists this year, followed by by Waxahatchee and gospel-tinged art rocker Moses Sumney on Jagjaguwar. Phoebe Bridgers, our pandemic It Girl, came in at No. 4.

Stereogum published its top-50 list three weeks ago. Fiona Apple, was again at the top, followed by Waxahatchee and Run the Jewels, with HAIM at No. 4 followed by Taylor Swift. Poor Phoebe was pushed all the way back to No. 28!

Consequence of Sound has become more rabid about its reviews these days. They try to be edgy, but they’re just as predictable. No. 1, Fiona Apple; No. 2 Run the Jewels; No. 3 Phoebe Bridgers. Waxahatchee drops to No. 6 on their list, right about the new Deftones album. Maybe they’re not that edgy after all. In fact, flipping through their list, it’s easily the most pop-centric of the bunch.

It’s here that we look at the aggregate site Album of the Year, which combines reviews from all the websites, assigns points for where an album falls on a list and then adds them up to come up with its rankings.

With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters was No. 1, with 444 points; Phoebe Bridges was a distant No. 2 with 364 points; followed by Run the Jewels RTJ4 at No. 3 with 304 points; Taylor Swift at No. 4 with 246 points and Duo Lipa at No. 5 with 223 points (I don’t get Duo Lipa having watched her on SNL and discarding her as a Katy Perry wannabe).

Missing from all these lists is the new Bright Eyes album, Down in the Weeks Where the World Once Was. It certainly got a lot of attention when it came out, but not nearly the push that Phoebe Bridgers got for her release on the same label.

According to Album to the Year, BE’s album did have some year-end lists appearances: No. 5 on The Sunday Times list, No. 9 on NBHAP, No. 10 on DIY; No. 12 on The Forty-Five; No. 21 on Double J; No. 40 on Slant Magazine and No. 45 on Uncut. Its year-end Album of the Year aggregate ranking was No. 267. Well.

BTW, the Gordon album I’m listening to is the three-song live set recorded at O’Leaver’s way back in 2014. I don’t know whatever happened to Gordon, but I can give you this holiday tip if you’re looking for something to listen to while wrapping gifts: Check out Live at O’Leaver’s. Within a few minutes of perusing the site you’ll be falling down the rabbit hole back to a simpler time when we all listened to live music surrounded by convicted felons and other assorted drunken miscreants. I miss O’Leaver’s. I might have to swing by at lunchtime and get a cheeseburger…

* * *

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

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

Maha rising; Conor Oberst gets Pitchforked (6.6); Digital Leather returns; Chuck Prophet tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:05 pm March 14, 2017

Screen capture from the video for “Digital Lust” by Glow in the Dark.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Lots of little stories today….

The fine folks at the Maha Music Festival will start selling tickets Friday for this year’s fest, which takes place Aug. 19 at Stinson Park/Aksarben Village. Tix are GA $55 and VIP $185, though the actual line-up won’t be known until March 30.

Will it be worth the price of admission? IMHO, the answer is yes. From what I’m hearing about the line-up, this one could very well sell out, despite the fact that it’s the same day as Lady Gaga at CenturyLink Center. That little fact has Maha sweating, but let’s face it, we’re talking about two very separate, very different audiences…

* * *

Pitchfork today reviewed the new Conor Oberst album, Salutations, and despite Ian Cohen spending most of the review lambasting the record as a sort of easy-path sell-out of Ruminations, still gave the record a 6.6 rating.

Says Cohen: “Oberst re-recorded all 10 songs (of Ruminations) with a full band and a host of guests, added seven new ones and hit shuffle—a decision that drags Salutations down and bring its predecessor along with it.” Cohen goes on to say Salutations effectively turns Ruminations into a collection of demos. Maybe so, though that stunt worked just fine for PJ Harvey.

Read the review here. I’m still waiting for that Tim Kasher review, Pitchfork.

* * *

If you haven’t already guessed, I won’t be going to SXSW this year. The festival in Austin gets rolling tomorrow, though there’s showcases going on today. Those of you stuck in Omaha will at least be treated to a couple Digital Leather shows in the coming days.

Here I thought the band had broken up, but now I’m told DL will come out of hibernation if the prices is right (Why not?). This morning the band announced a free show at Blackstone Meatball on St. Patrick’s Day with opener Chalant.

This is presumably a warm-up for their opening slot for Corey and the Angels March 18 outside at Maloney’s Irish Pub on 72nd St. — maybe the strangest show of the year. Joining Corey Feldman and Digital Leather will be Thick Paint and Glow in the Dark (new project featuring Aaron Gum). It’s a $30 ticket, but who can put a price on memories that could last a lifetime?

* * *

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s the rock ‘n’ roll stylings of Chuck Prophet and his band The Mission Express. You read about Chuck here yesterday. This 8 p.m. show is $20.

* * *

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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

The Good Life in Pitchfork (4.4 rating); Fat Wreck Chords invasion (Lagwagon, Strung Out) tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:54 pm August 19, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Pitchfork review for The Good Life’s new album, Everybody’s Coming Down went online today. The album scored a lowly rating of 4.4. The review compares the record mostly against past Kasher material rather than considering it on its own merits. That, of course, is the writer’s prerogative, and the obvious past-time for any critic who has been following Kasher’s work throughout his career.

Needless to say, he didn’t like the record, as he concludes:

But whether it’s Cursive or Good Life or Tim Kasher, it’s all sitcom at this point, his version of “Mulaney” or “Mr. Robinson”—a barely fictionalized, deadened version of his own life starring him. Or, ‘Shit Tim Says”.

I had to Google “Mulaney” and “Mr. Robinson” to figure out what he was talking about. I guess someone watches those teevee shows after all. Consider that when you read the review, here.

The record has been scoring better reviews from other sites as a whole. Consequences of Sound gave the record a “B,” concluding: “In a word, it’s a human album. Kasher doesn’t pretend to make sense of all the things he sings about. But in the act of trying not to ignore life’s absurd anomalies, to make as much sense as any one person can, he finds solace.” Read that review here.

While that old standby All Music gave it 3.5 stars (here), saying “Everybody’s Coming Down is ultimately engaging if meandering, and at its heart — whatever the style — is memorable, energized songwriting.

And Exclaim gave the album an impressive 8 out of 10 (here), saying, “Everybody’s Coming Down feels both focused and purposeful, something not all albums can lay claim to after a band’s nearly decade-long absence.

My take: It rocks. Check it out for yourself.

* * *

The Fat Wreck Chords tour rolls into town tonight at The Slowdown (in the big room). On the bill: Lagwagon, Strung Out, Swingin’ Utters, The Flatliners, toyGuitar and Bad Cop/Bad Cop. That’s a ton of punk for $25. Show starts at 7.

* * *

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

Desaparecidos in Pitchfork (7.6 rating), others weigh in; Rig 1, High Up, Delta Spirit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:05 pm June 22, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tomorrow is another big music release day with new records from Digital Leather and Desaparecidos scheduled to drop.

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

Desaparecidos, Payola (2015, Epitaph)

In anticipation of the Desa release, Pitchfork reviewed their new album, Payola, today giving it a righteous 7.6 rating that tops the massively long, strange, wandering write-up by chief critic Ian Cohen. I think Cohen liked it, though the only out-and-out compliment was: “But Payola advocates chaining yourself to an ATM, taking a baseball bat to a limousine, and shouting every word at the nearest authority figure. And this makes Conor Oberst a writer of awesome punk rock lyrics,” which I’m not entirely sure was written with a straight face.

Cohen tracks through the album with cryptic nods for each track. His most accurate observation: “...a topical record that’s been cobbled together over the span of five years is going to sound dated in a 24-hour news cycle. It’s not just the references to Occupy or the NSA’s Fairview surveillance system or flashmobs, though those tend to jut out like 2012 RT’s on your timeline.” So true.

While he was busy trying to decipher the meaning of every song he forgot to notice that the record out-and-out rocks. For my money, it’s better than Read Music/Speak Spanish, though the new record’s message isn’t as forward-looking as much as reflective. Cohen’s most damning comment was a left-handed compliment: “It would appear that Payola is where Oberst’s been storing the splenetic rage that fueled his most compelling work and has mostly gone missing since I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning.” Oh snap!

Read the whole thing here.

Overall, the album is getting raves.

Consequences of Sound gave Payola a B+, saying: “Few bands can return after a 13-year absence and sound vital and fresh, transforming an old-school approach into a process that sounds original. That’s precisely what Desaparecidos have done, making Payola a welcome comeback surprise.”

The Guardian gave the record 3 out of 5 stars and called it “middling” in the headline, concluding “They’re not exactly pushing things forward, but for anyone who wants to take a trip back to when MTV2’s Gonzo was a must-watch, Payola will pave the way.”

Drowned in Sound gave it an 8 out of 10, saying: “There aren’t many bands that would detail a song with the fantasies of a teenage gun obsessive, relate to a radicalised youth or launch a scathing attack on the Fairview Surveillance Programme. That Desaparecidos accomplish these things in the form of such frequently brilliant, perceptive tunes is laudable.”

DIY gave the record 4 out of 5 stars and said “Even Oberst’s accepting shout of “We’re doomed!” towards the end of ‘The Left Is Right’ is less doom-and-gloom and more hopeful. This is an album designed to move people, and ‘Payola’ manages to do so in so very many ways.”

And finally, the old standard All Music gave the record 4 out of 5 stars, concluding: “Politically charged punk rock can be an exhausting and overtly self-righteous affair in the wrong hands, but Oberst and company temper their outrage with unadulterated melodic might, resulting in that rare protest album that rewards both the condemners and the condemned.

Metacritic currently has it in the green at 74. Impressive.

* * *

Speaking of Desaparecidos, Desa keyboardist Ian McElroy’s other project, Rig 1, performs tonight at Pageturners. Opening is High Up, a band that features Christine and Orenda Fink, Greg Elsasser, Josh Soto, Eric Ohlsson and Jason Biggers. The band is “endorsed by the Gifford park Neighborhood Association,” according to their Facebook page. Can’t beat that. 9 p.m. and Free.

Also tonight, Delta Spirit and Friends plays at The Waiting Room. “Friends” could include members of Deer Tick, Dr. Dog and The Walkmen, who have been confirmed for the tour, according to the listing on the One Percent Productions website. $20, 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.

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

Pitchfork rates The Faint/Doom Abuse 6.1, others weigh in; Lupines Saturday…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:49 pm April 11, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 12.39.36 PMWell, the Pitchfork review of The Faint’s new album, Doom Abuse, just came out. Those arbiters of all things hipster gave the record a mediocre 6.1. To his credit, critic Ian Cohen spent a lot of time in his review trying to dissect the album’s lyrics, which is good and all, except no one listens to Faint records expecting some sort of lyrical revelation. They listen for the beat, the color, the energy. I mean, how many times have you contemplated the meaning behind “Going to the Hospital” or “Erection”?

The review’s closing line: “Doom Abuse isn’t so much an argument for the Faint’s continued relevancy as it is for the potency of their real-time nostalgia.” Huh? I’ve read that three times and I’m still not sure what it means. Read the whole review here.

A few other big hitters have weighed in on Doom Abuse:

Consequences of Sound gave the record a B-, saying, “The hiatus did them good, and in the Lorazepam paranoid dreams of The Faint’s world, that’s a glimmer of needed hope.Read it here.

Popmatters gave the record a 6: “Does it measure up to their greatest moments or delve into new terrain? Not at all. But if the Faint’s goal was to have fun and make a good Faint-sounding record, then mission accomplished.More here.

NME also gave the record a 6: “A good seven years out of date, ‘Doom Abuse’ is pure synth-pop mania, frequently teetering between unadulterated Trent Reznor pop brilliance (‘Unseen Hand’, ‘Lesson From The Darkness’) and impressions of Skrillex driving a monster truck through a Savages gig in a video arcade (‘Animal Needs’, ‘Dress Code’). Does it abuse you? Oh yeah…More here.

AV Club on the other hand, gave Doom Abuse a B+: “Whether agitated or brooding, Doom Abuse is a pointed reminder that The Faint is most comfortable when things are slightly askew.Review here.

And ol’ reliable All Music gave Doom Abuse 3.5 stars: “Equal parts whimsical and despondent, it’s Disintegration-era Cure wearing an Imagine Dragons hoodie that’s trying to have an LCD Soundsystem, ‘All My Friends’ moment, and while the Faint don’t quite pull it off, they’re all the better for trying.

Disintegration-era Cure? Uh, no. Read more here.

If you missed it, I weighed in on the record in the 1st Quarter reviews roundup, saying the record “not only is good, it’s Blank Wave Arcade good. As a whole, the record is more immediate than any previous Faint record, and by that I’m talking about their no-nonsense, straight-forward approach to each track. I read that unlike previous studio marathons, the band got in and got out quickly on this one — no fucking around, no over-thinking — and it shows. The arrangements at times can be acidic and brash, but the album still has classic Faint dance moments (“Evil Voices,” “Loss of Head”) that will get the crowd jumping every time. Welcome back, boys.”

I give a B+ and 4 stars (out of 5) and think history will be kind to it.

* * *

It’s a lousy weekend for shows — there’s a lot of cover and tribute bands playing around town tonight and very little original music.

With that in mind, we skip to Saturday and The Barley Street Tavern where the mighty Lupines are headlining a show with a couple bands I’ve never heard of: St. Joseph Missouri band Scruffy & the Janitors (This Tall Records) and Danny Sabra. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, William Elliott Whitmore (Anti Records) plays at The Waiting Room with Austin Lucas. $12, 9 p.m.

That’s it. 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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Who is Speedy Ortiz and why are they playing at West Wing? Melvins tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:07 pm July 17, 2013

Screen capture from the Speedy Ortiz video for "Tiger Tank." The band is playing tonight at West WIng.

Screen capture from the Speedy Ortiz video for “Tiger Tank.” The band is playing tonight at West Wing.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Good ol’ Pitchfork. Some of the shit that they’ve pushed to the top of the list has, indeed, been shit. And though their reviews are hit and miss, music fans have no choice but to take Pitchfork seriously since it’s the default “house organ” of the indie music scene. In fact Pitchfork has become so successful, the folks behind the website recently launched a new film review website called The Dissolve, so now you can get that famous Pitchfork point of view about the movies opening this weekend (though The Dissolve will never have the impact on the film industry that Pitchfork has had on the indie music industry…).

Anyway… I say all this because I do keep an eye on Pitchfork if only to help guide my Spotify listening habits (though these days I almost exclusively rely on review aggregator Album of the Year for that need), and noticed they got it right when they lauded the new release from Massachusetts band Speedy Ortiz called Major Arcana (Carpark). The record already was at the top of my personal music-listening list before it was ordained with Pitchfork‘s “Best New Music” status, scoring a massive 8.4 rating

For me, Speedy Ortiz conjures comparisons to Guyville-era Liz Phair (but much heavier), Breeders, Pavement… It will end up on my “favorites of 2013” list.  If you haven’t heard their stuff, check out the YouTube vid at the bottom of this post.

Anyway, before the Pitchfork review came out, Speedy Ortiz booked its current tour, which consists mostly of small rooms and house shows, like the one going on tonight at West Wing here in Omaha. If you don’t know what West Wing is, well, look it up on The Google. The band now has a booking agent and are likely to play more “traditional” venues the next time they come through (though the band comes out of the Boston DIY basement scene which they love, and I’m told has played at West Wing before).

I’m still trying to figure out a game plan for going to tonight’s show. As I’ve said many times before, whenever I go to a house show everyone thinks I’m a cop, or someone’s dad come to spy on his son/daughter, and I can’t blame them as I’m usually old enough to be the father of most people in the room… No idea when this starts, who else is playing or how much it costs, but if you see someone who you think looks like a narc in the crowd, be sure to say hello.

If you don’t feel like going to a house show, Melvins are playing tonight at The Waiting Room. This is being billed as their “30th Anniversary Tour,” and features the core band of King Buzzo and Dale Crover. Honky (ex-Butthole Surfer Jeff Pinkus’ band) opens. $17, 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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Pitchfork Top-50; STNNNG are back; HN T-shirts; Conor Oberst (SOLD OUT), Ladyfinger tonight; Kite Pilot, Musico Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:44 pm December 21, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With all these lists coming out, here’s one more: Pitchfork today announced its Top 50 of 2012. The list is relevant (I guess) because Pitchfork continues to be the more revered music criticism website in the country for indie music, whether you like it or not. No. 1 went to Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city (Interscope) of which I’ve heard nary a track, more damning evidence of just how out of touch I am with today’s music. No. 2 was Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange, which I have listened to a few times, though it didn’t make my list (which you’ll have to wait until next week to read). No. 3 was Fiona Apple’s The Idler Wheel…, which I reconsidered (and relistened to) after the very public death of her dog, and must say it was better the second time around.

I was surprised at the number of artists on the list who were making follow-ups to breakthroughs, such as Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors and Beach House. We continue to regurgitate ourselves. As a whole, it’s not a bad list, but it’s hard to argue against the fact that this was another (in a series) off year(s) in music…

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The STNNNG are back with a new album, Empire Inward, slated for February. Check out the first track, “Brain-Dumb,” below. They just got back from playing the UK’s All Tomorrows Parties (curated by Shellac). Something tells me we’ll be seeing them on an Omaha stage soon…

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The Hear Nebraska T

The Hear Nebraska T

Hear Nebraska is hocking new T-shirts for 2012/13. Do yourself a flavor and order one right here. Your $25 not only gets you a colorful fashion statement but also helps support Nebraska music’s No. 1 mouthpiece. And HN major domo Andy Norman says if you get your order in today, you should get it delivered by Christmas. Good luck.

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The other day Desaparecidos announced that it’s headed to Europe in February as part of a tour that will focus mainly on the Eastern Seaboard of these United States of America, ending with a couple dates at Webster Hall in NYC (one of which already sold out). How long will this Desa stretch continue, or is this going to do it? We’ll just have to wait and see…

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Speaking of Conor Oberst, his concert at Joslyn’s Witherspoon Hall is officially sold out. Opening band Whispertown hits the stage at 8 p.m. followed by the boy wonder himself playing a collection of tunes that will likely stretch back to the early Bright Eyes years.

Don’t have tix? Well, you’re not completely out of luck. There’ still plenty of tickets available to tonight’s Ladyfinger show at  Slowdown Jr. with Everyday/Everynight and Maps for Travelers (Back When, who had been scheduled to perform, have cancelled due to illness). $8, 9 p.m.

That brings us to Saturday, when Kite Pilot is slated to play at fabulous (and recently repainted) O’Leaver’s with Gordon (acoustic set) and Video Ranger. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Finally, the most bizarre event of the weekend is the Musico reunion show The Barley Street with Cat Island. Musico was a three-piece power-pop band from around the turn of the century that included among its members Darren Keen of The Show Is the Rainbow and Touch People fame, Brad Underwood and Mark Hinrichs. Expect crazy. $5, 9 p.m.

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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i