Live Review: Relax, It’s Science; Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts, David Nance tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm November 15, 2016
Relax, It's Science at The Barley Street Tavern, Nov. 12, 2016.

Relax, It’s Science at The Barley Street Tavern, Nov. 12, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saturday night was the first time I’ve been to a show in nearly a month. I have no explanation for my absence other than: 1) I’d seen the bands before; 2) I had to be at work early the following morning, or 3) I’m getting old. I’ll buy reasons 1 and 2 and never reason 3.

Somehow I dragged my tired old bones to The Barley Street Tavern Saturday night so see Jeremy Stanosheck’s band Relax, It’s Science, a band that, yes, I’ve seen before, and I’m hear to report they were as good as last time. Two basses and a drummer could be a confining combination, but Jeremy and Co. found a way to make it work on their sometimes droning two-chord prog songs. Some might find their lack of variation within compositions monotonous, but its hard to not be drawn in (especially when you’re standing eight feet from the stage).

It was when the band reached beyond their formula that things really got interesting, specifically on their final song, a composition titled “9-11, What a Bummer.” Here the trio played with more dynamics and variations — dipped and soared — climaxing with a rush, like a falling building. Jeremy tells me “9-11…” is an older song (in fact it appears on their debut EP); to me, it still points in a promising direction.

I intend to make up for missing all those shows the last few weeks by killing myself this week with shows. Or at least going out tonight.

As I wrote yesterday, tonight Jeffrey Lewis and Los Bolts graces the Reverb stage. If you’re into smart, topical, story-telling-style urban folk, look no further. Jeffrey made some waves a few weeks ago with a video asking people to vote for Hillary. It’ll be interesting to see what he has to sing about the outcome of the election. He said in the interview he’ll be trying out some new material, and his recent album, Manhattan (2015, Rough Trade), is pretty awesome. And David Nance opens. What more do you want for $8? Starts at 9.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Appleseed Cast, Miwi La Lupa, Clarence Tilton tonight; Relax, It’s Science, Man Vs Animals Saturday; CALYX Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:56 pm November 11, 2016
Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016. The band plays tonight at Barley Street Tavern.

Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 10, 2016. The band plays tonight at Barley Street Tavern.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Still reeling from Trump? Who isn’t. Well, maybe some music will help blunt that funk. Can you even imagine what kind of music Trump likes?

Here’s what’s happening this weekend…

Lawrence’s The Appleseed Cast has played Omaha so many times over the past 20 years it’s practically a “local band.” Chris Crisci, Taylor Hollenbeck and Nate Wilder have had the emo tag thrown on them from back in the day. They’re actually a pretty heavy band in the Built to Spill vein. They haven’t released a record since 2013’s Illumination Ritual (Graveface Records), so who knows what they’ll be playing tonight when they open for Caspian at The Waiting Room. $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, you’ve seen him playing next to Conor Oberst on Kimmel, see Miwi La Lupa doing his own thing tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Miwi just released a new album called Beginner’s Guide (Tigershrimp Records). Headlining is Carl Miller & The Thrillers. Opening is McCarthy Trenching. Three bands, $7, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, Omaha’s best alt-country/Americana indie band, Clarence Tilton, headlines at The Barley Street Tavern with The Pink Flamingos and Mace Hathoway. $5, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night Relax, It’s Science is out supporting their new release, a 3-song ep called Paranoia, at Barley Street Tavern. We’re talking a two-bass three-piece centered around veteran drummer Jeremy Stanosheck. Must be seen and heard to be believed. Stronghold and Altura also are on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, KC low-fi/garage marvels Man Vs. Animals (Shit Shack Records) headlines at Milk Run with Gongfermour and Sweatpantsdaze. $7, 9:30 p.m.

And down at Slowdown Jr. (you remember that place?) Eklectica, SIRES, and Ridgelines play. $7, 9 p.m.

Finally Sunday night back at Milk Run, Pittsburgh power-punk band CALYX headlines. Jettison and Benjamin Charles Freeman also are on the bill. $5, 9 p.m.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments. Have a great weekend and keep ya head up.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ladyfinger, Clarence Tilton, Gymshorts tonight; Amanda Deboer, Relax It’s Science, Big Al Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:46 pm August 26, 2016
Ladyfinger at O'Leaver's Aug. 1, 2015. The band plays O'Leaver's again tonight...

Ladyfinger at O’Leaver’s Aug. 1, 2015. The band plays O’Leaver’s again tonight…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The answer to yesterday’s #TBT photo was Death Cab for Cutie at Sokol Underground in May 2000. Lots of people got it right. More #TBT trivia coming soon…

There are quite a few local shows this weekend. Here’s the highlights:

A birthday celebration tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s (for Francis) features a performance by the one and only Ladyfinger. How long has it been since we’ve seen these guys on stage? (Uh, judging from the above photo, about a year?). Not sure exactly at what time tonight Ladyfinger will be playing, but it’ll be after 9:30. $5 gets you in.

Over at Reverb Lounge Omaha’s top southern-friend C&W band Clarence Tilton headlines. Bucka Ruse opens. Put on your cowboy hat and mosey on down. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Brooklyn garage-punk band Gymshorts (Burger Records) plays at Milk Run with The Ridgways. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile over at the Down Under Lounge (with the Sidedoor Stage), Lincoln band Commander Kilroy plays with Faded. No idea if there’s a cover. Show starts at 9.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Omaha Under the Radar founder Amanda Deboer has an in-store at Almost Music in the Blackstone District. Joining Amanda is Kyle Jessen, Ridgelines and Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes). $5, 7 p.m.

Also tomorrow night O’Leaver’s welcomes Relax, It’s Science along with the Big Al Band (headliner) and Army of 2600. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Saturday is also Dundee Day, which means bands will be playing on a stage set up on Underwood sometime after 4 p.m. I have no idea what the line-up is, though it rarely features indie bands. Man, do I miss Dario Day, which used to be held in conjunction with Dundee Day, and featured cool bands and great beer. Come on, Dario, bring it back…

That’s it for the weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great one…

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Relax, It’s Science, The Kiez (Eli Mardock); Blue Thunder, a Tribute to Galaxie 500; Sam Martin tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:36 pm May 11, 2016
Relax, It's Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016. The band celebrates its debut album release Friday at Reverb Lounge.

Relax, It’s Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016. The band celebrates its debut album release Friday at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Three Bandcamp releases to bring to your attention today.

First, Relax, It’s Science will be celebrating the release of their debut EP this Friday at Reverb Lounge, but you can check out the tracks now, right here. The 5-song EP was recorded by Bryce Hotz at Archetype Recordings and mastered by the master himself, Doug Van Sloun.

The instrumental-only trio consists of Pat Mcilvain and Craig Hoffman, each playing electric bass, surrounding veteran drummer Jeremy Stanosheck, who you may remember from Coast of Nebraska and Kite Pilot. As you’d expect from a trio with two bass players, it’s heavy shit, but there’s melodies under all that fuzz.

The Kiez is a new project that features Lincoln’s Eli Mardock, former frontman of Eagle Seagull and a success in his own rite as a solo artist. As the story goes, Eli met Hamburg, Germany-based drummer/producer Lucas Kochbeck via email from a mutual friend. After exchanging songs, Eli flew to Kochbeck’s Hamburg studio for three weeks of recording that resulted in 17 songs.

They call their project The Kiez (pronounced Keetz), the name of the local Red Light District, as well as a slang term in German that means “The ‘hood.” They describe their sound as Hamburg garage pop, though it sounds as American as anything (and it’s sung in English, in Mardock’s usual pleading voice). Only two songs here. Where’s the rest of it?

Finally, here’s a Bandcamp project with no local roots. Blue Thunder, a Tribute to Galaxie 500 is exactly what it sounds like, a collection of Galaxie 500 covers from bands who love their music. Among them Thrushes, Cantalouper, The John Candy and 13 other acts you’ve never heard of.

I typically frown upon tribute projects, be they live or otherwise, but I point this one out because I’ve always been a fan of Galaxie 500 and this non-profit project is simply a celebration of that band’s music. Maybe it’ll generate new interest in Dean, Naomi and Damon’s genius.

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Tonight at Milk Run, it’s Mild High Club, the project from LA’s Alexander Brettin, who you may remember from his work in Ariel Pink, R Stevie Moore and Silk Rhodes. His debut LP was released on Circle Star (an imprint of Stones Throw Records). Opening is Ojai and the always intriguing Sam Martin, who has a new album of his own. $8, 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Closeness, Thick Paint, BAMF, Relax It’s Science; 10 Questions with The Besnard Lakes…

Closeness at O'Leaver's April 30, 2016.

Closeness at O’Leaver’s April 30, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Closeness is a new project by Orenda and Todd Fink. We all know who they are, and if you don’t, how’s life been in that cave the past 20 years? A better question: Why have they waited so long before collaborating on music? Maybe they’ve always been collaborating and we just didn’t know it. Regardless, now we get to hear the product of these two musical masterminds, and it’s been worth the wait.

Their kit is an assembly of synths, keyboards and other sound robots placed on tables surrounded by lights, cables and other gizmos. Their equipment looked like an operating theater where the couple was about to perform surgery, but with Orenda donning an electric guitar over her scrubs.

They performed face-to-face, though from my vantage point, Todd mainly looked down or over or into his microphone. Orenda, her microphone echoing with delay, provided most of the vocals, with Todd adding his distorted, vocoder-like harmonies deep or high or robotic. Musically, Closeness goes way beyond what you’d expect. Sure, there were the familiar hypnotic beats, of which Todd always has been a master, but it was the melodies and the counter melodies and the layers upon layers of textured sound that set it apart.

Most songs were thick, mid-tempo grooves reminiscent of Orenda’s O+S material, but there were moments of lilting Caribbean-style tempos and traditional electro-rock you’d expect from The Faint. Their short set was only five songs long. Among my faves was a mid-set corker that featured the couple harmonizing on a slow melody that recalled Low’s Sparhawk and Parker.

No surprise that the crazy-packed crowd loved it and wanted more, but there wasn’t any. So has any of this music been recorded, and who will have the honor of releasing it? Or maybe they’ll release it themselves and then hit the road. Ah, what a life.

Thick Paint at O'Leaver's, April 30, 2016.

Thick Paint at O’Leaver’s, April 30, 2016.

Garnering just as much enthusiasm from the crush mob was Thick Paint, the one-man show featuring Reptar’s Graham Patrick Ulicny. With just a small synth, his voice and his guitar he enraptured the audience with his beautiful songs that, at times, reminded me of early Cat Stevens played to a beat box. Really gorgeous stuff.

I realize I’m going backward through my Saturday night, which actually ended at O’Leaver’s. It began at The Lookout Lounge and the Big Al Music Festival (BAMF) First, a word about The Lookout. No other club in town has managed to capture the glorious, run-down ambiance of ’90s-era Omaha rock venues quite like this place. It was like walking into the past, right down to the smell.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Wagon Blasters at Lookout Lounge April 30, 2016.

Like the old Knickerbockers or Capitol Bar, the venue is split in two, with a bar in one room and a decent sized music room adjacent with an impressive elevated stage. Imagine the old Sokol Underground shrunk down to half its size and you get the gist. The walls and ceiling tiles were painted black, and air vents over the stage were appropriately covered in fuzzy grime, no doubt a reminder of decades of cigarette smoke, now long gone. Lookout isn’t fancy, but the best rock clubs rarely are.

Big Al, who has been doing his free festival for nine years. kept things on schedule. I walked in at 8:45 and Wagon Blasters were just getting started — right on time. Gary Dean Davis and  crew looked right at home bouncing on the Lookout stage, belting out their usual high-quality tractor punk. Someone in the crowd of around 30 yelled out “Fishin’ Hole”! Hey, you can’t blame anyone for mistaking these folks for that classic ’90s punk band.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Mike Saklar took the stage next playing solo electric renditions of songs from his former band, Ravine. Ravine (who you can read about here) was Saklar’s post-Ritual Device band that played very heavy-bordering-on-metal rock music way back in the ’90s. Deconstructed as solo material, the songs sounded more tuneful than I remember them, though Saklar is no less a master on guitar. What are the odds that he could resurrect a few of these songs with a full band?

Relax, It's Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Relax, It’s Science at Lookout Lounge, April 30, 2016.

Then came Relax, It’s Science, the latest project from drummer Jeremy Stanosheck (ex-Kite Pilot, among others). The trio consisted of Stanosheck and two bass players cranking out huge, anthemic, proggy instrumentals with intricate, powerful rhythms. Each bass took turns providing a semblance of a melody countered by the other’s pounding rhythm lines. It was appropriate that the only spot highlighted on Lookout’s stage was where Stanosheck had his drum kit, because he was center of the attention putting on a clinic with his throaty stick work. It’s time Stanosheck got the respect he deserves.

Hat’s off to Big Al for such a strong line-up. This was the first time I’ve attended one of his festivals, and I was impressed by how it was run. On a table in the back of the room was a large pile of canned and packaged foods destined for the food bank. As Gary Dean Davis said at the end of this set, “Keep feeding the world, Big Al.” Here’s to Year 10.

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Tonight Canada’s Besnard Lakes returns to Omaha, this time at Reverb Lounge. You really should go to this one. Look, it’s a 9 p.m. show but with only one opener (Sub Pop and Burger Records band Jaill, which could be a headliner by themselves).

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

The Besnard Lakes play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

Ten Questions with The Besnark Lakes.

The Besnard Lakes’ music is so massive, so mammoth, it’s the sound you hear while teetering on the edge of a cliff with the gorge spread out in front of you, the river below a mere silver sliver among the rocks.  The Montreal-based six-piece is centered on the husband-wife core of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, who released their first studio album, Volume 1, in 2003 (but which was rereleased by their label, Jagjagwar, in 2007).

While the band is undoubtedly indie — Lasek’s and Goreas’ harmonies are reminiscent of Low — their gorgeously dense music has touch points in ’70s arena rock recalling bands like Yes and Boston, acts that knew how to make their anthems sound majestic. And most of Besnard Lakes’ new album, A Coliseum Complex Museum (2016, Jagjaguwar) is, indeed, majestic — a swirling miasma of beautiful multi-tracked sounds cut to the core by Robbie MacArthur’s sparkling guitar solos. It’s a sound so large one can only wonder how it’ll fit inside tiny Reverb Lounge Monday night.

We asked The Besnard Lakes to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what Olga had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

The Besnard Lakes’ Olga Goreas: Side two of The Beatles’ Abbey Road.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Anything that doesn’t come from a sincere heart.

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

Playing bass. I love that thing so much!

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

I really can’t complain about any aspect of being in a band. It’s pretty much the best job in the world. I don’t know, long rides in the van can get tedious I suppose.  I’ve got restless legs too, but I don’t think I can blame it on being in a band! Just gotta get up and stretch once in a while.

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

I do enjoy a well-made double espresso.  Caffeine is the one drug I could never give up.

6. What city or town do you love performing at?

Chicago has been a special city for us.  The audience is always super appreciative, and the city too is quite lovely.  The old architecture melds with the new really well.  I almost get a Canadian vibe from it too, more than any other American city except maybe Minneapolis. Also love playing Glasgow, London and just the UK in general.  Audiences seem to understand us best in the UK.

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

That honor belongs to Victoria, BC.  It had actually started quite well – we took a ferry from Tsawassen to Victoria and two of our bandmates at the time ran into the drummer from Def Leppard, who happened to be playing the same night in the big arena.  We actually went to see them and then went to play our show.  I don’t know if it was something weird in the air but it was a very strange crowd and we tried to be loud enough to be heard over the rowdies.  Jace was trying to sing a song and just got fed up and told someone in the audience who was basically yelling the whole time to shut the fuck up.  This person replies “get over yourself” to which another person in the audience gets into some altercation and the night basically ended with bar fights and the cops being called. The end!

8. How do you pay your bills?

Online baby!

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

I went to university and studied Psychology.  I’d like to be a researcher or a clinical psychologist.  The mind is a fascinating creature to me.

I wouldn’t be able to work at a collection agency or anything that involves taking money from people who don’t have it.

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

We played once in Omaha many years ago. There was a college football game and nobody came to our show.  It’s totally fine, that sort of thing happens here for hockey so I get it. I also remember going to a laundromat and seeing bullet holes in the window. I started calling Omaha “Omaharsh” after that.

The Besnard Lakes plays with Jaill Monday, May 2, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Showtime is 9 p.m. Admission is $12. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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