New Conor Oberst album, gig March 9 at TWR; new Whipkey ACLU track; Pile goes boating…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:46 pm January 18, 2017

Conor Oberst (sunglasses on head) with The Felice Brothers and Jim Keltner during the recording of “Salutations” at Shangri-la Studios in Malibu, CA. Photo by Julia Brokaw.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Just when I said nothing was happening, along comes Conor Oberst this morning announcing that he’s releasing yet another album — a full-band studio version of the songs on last year’s Ruminations, plus seven new songs — that’s 17 songs and what I assume will be a double album called Salutations, out March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day!) on Nonesuch Records.

From the press release:

When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo – with just voice, piano, guitar and harmonica – he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. In the midst of putting together that band – upstate New York’s The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) – the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form, as his seventh solo album.

Meanwhile, Oberst simultaneously moved ahead with his plans to record with the band, heading to the famed Shangri-la Studios in Malibu to record Salutations – co-produced with Keltner and engineered by long-time musical compadre Andy LeMaster. Guest contributions come courtesy of Jim James, Blake Mills, Maria Taylor, M Ward, Gillian Welch, Gus Seyffert, Pearl Charles, Nathaniel Walcott and Jonathan Wilson.

Oberst, with The Felice Brothers as his backing band, will tour in celebration of Salutations beginning March 9 at The Waiting Room.

Tickets for the tour’s March dates go on sale Saturday, Jan. 21, at noon EST.

* * *

Matt Whipkey has a new song out called “Fred, You’re Dead,” that was inspired by Friday’s presidential inauguration. “America is entering a period of uncertainty; our leaders, at times, appearing at great odds with the founding principles of our Constitution,” Whipkey said. “This song was born from that uncertainty.” Proceeds from the song’s purchase will be donated to the ACLU.

* * *

And one piece of nautical show news… Boston band Pile is headed on the road in support of upcoming full-length A Hairshirt of Purpose (Exploding in Sound Records), out March 31. Among the tour’s announced dates is a performance on The River City Star May 7. Having gone on the river boat for last year’s Shannon and the Clams show, I can tell you this one should be a blast. Presumably more info soon…

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

New Faint track, tour dates w/Gang of Four (Omaha Oct. 31); new boat concert; Will Johnson (Centro-Matic, Monsters of Folk) living room concert tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:40 pm May 17, 2016
Will Johnson plays a living room concert tonight in Omaha.

Will Johnson plays a living room concert tonight in Omaha.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Faint released a new synth-dance-rock track this morning called “Young and Realistic” via YouTube (listen below). In a Stereogum article, Faint frontman Todd Fink said, “This might be a love song. Maybe it’s a respect song. Those are intertwined concepts I suppose. Without respect, love is a weaker bond.

One assumes a new album can’t be far behind. Even more noteworthy was the announcement that The Faint will be touring with Gang of Four throughout October, closing out the tour at Sokol Auditorium Oct. 31. Start working on that costume now.

* * *

In other Fink-related news, looks like the fine folks at Perpetual Nerves are riding the wave of success from Sunday’s concert on the River City Star, announcing yesterday that they’re doing it again July 16. The featured artist is High Up, with Benson Soul Society, so be prepared to dance.

Since July 16 is a Saturday, they pushed the boarding time back to 10:30, with the cruise lasting until 1:30 a.m. Whoa! Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. The last one sold out in a matter of hours, so be prepared with your credit card. More info here.

* * *

Somewhere in mid-town Omaha tonight, singer/songwriter Will Johnson will be playing a concert in someone’s living room.

While the address is not on the website where you can buy your $20 tickets, it’s located on the event’s Facebook invitation. It’s somewhere north of Dundee.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Will way back in 2004, where I learned that as much (or more than) music, he loves baseball.  From that article:

Driving around alone also allows him to indulge in one of his more eccentric past-times — visiting baseball parks. While in Omaha, he hopes to check out Rosenblatt Stadium and, if necessary, sneak inside. “I have a list of stadiums I’ve visited,” Johnson said. “I love them. I love the architecture — just the choices that were made in designing and building a stadium. And I love baseball. It’s a flawless, beautiful game. The challenge is sneaking in and getting out. I’ve had quite a few close calls, including Wrigley Field.”

He’ll be in for a big surprise if he tries to visit Rosenblatt today. Actually, Johnson has been through town a few times since that ’04 concert at The Ranch Bowl, where Teresa and I were among the few in the audience. Will swung by our table and had a drink with us afterward. I’m sure he’ll do the same with you if you go to tonight’s concert.

The $20 tickets must be purchased online here. No tickets will be sold at the door. Show starts at 8 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Shannon & the Clams on the river, Halfwit; Ten Questions with A Giant Dog (at Milk Run tonight)…

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

Shannon & The Clams performing aboard The River City Star, May 15, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m growing tired of this cold weather. I imagined how much more pleasant last night’s “Sailin’ and Wailin’ Boat Cruise on the River City Star” would have been had the temps been 20 degrees warmer. Instead, it was cold and windy and I’m happy I wore my insulated hoodie.

Weather issues aside, Perpetual Nerves has a hit on its hands if it decides to do more of these River City Star concerts, because last night’s was a blast. The cruise couldn’t have gone smoother. If you weren’t on board by 6:55 you were left standing on the shore. In fact, I know one party of people, only seconds late, who had to practically fight their way to the deck (heroically saved by booker Sam Parker).

The River City Star is a small two-story river boat that launches from Freedom Park near the Gallup campus. The festive bottom deck was where the free keg and cash bar were located. Those standing in line were serenaded by the finest party music (from Prince to  Tom Tom Club) via a DJ. With drink in hand it was up to the top deck where Nathan Ma and The Rosettes were already performing as the boat drifted away from the dock. I recognized among the band mates Sarah Bohling of Icky Blossoms adding vocals. Their music was a mix of garage and indie, including a cover of The La’s “There She Goes” that got the loudest applause.

They were followed at 8 p.m. sharp by Shannon and the Clams, an Oakland-based four piece that played early ’60s-style garage rock with doo-wap and surf elements. It felt very much like a very hip sock hop played on a drifting dance floor, all the while floating past either Deliverance-style river-bottoms foliage or urban industrial decay. For every bit of picturesque wildlife (geese, flying fish) there was a reminder that you were adrift on a river of dark brown sewage.  Floating up and down the Missouri River, we were met time and time again by a large white half-submerged floating upright refrigerator. Was there someone inside it, traveling to the Gulf of Mexico? We’ll never know.

The sound, by the way, was amazing. No doubt the river people, who were either fishing or dumping garbage along the shore, could easily hear the bands, and wondered who those lucky bastards having the time of their lives?

The obvious question on everyone’s minds: Why doesn’t Perpetual Nerves book these cruises all the time, or at least once a month during the warm months? Especially considering it sold out the same day it was announced (within hours of the announcement).

Halfwit at O'Leaver's, May 13, 2016.

Halfwit at O’Leaver’s, May 13, 2016.

Friday night I caught Halfwit at O’Leaver’s. The Lincoln band fronted by Dan Jenkins of Ideal Cleaners and including bass-playing madman Saber Blazek crushed the crowd with heavy rock that bordered on proggy metal. The guitar interplay between Jenkins and guitarist Kevin Waltemath was next level amazing. Unfortunately the usually high-flying Blazek was seated for the performance, a victim of some sort of foot injury judging by the massive isolation boot he was wearing. I tried to imagine him at full thrash. Probably would have take out a wall or two. I’m told the performance was recorded for a possible future Live at O’Leaver’s set. Keep your fingers crossed.

Well Aimed Arrows at O'Leaver's May 13, 2016.

Well Aimed Arrows at O’Leaver’s May 13, 2016.

Last up was Well Aimed Arrows playing their usual brand of stripped down, minimalistic post New Wave music that combines almost atonal vocals with intricate rhythms. People who “get them” love them, and those who don’t are left scratching their heads. Their loss. If you grew up with very early REM or Wire — of if you’re old enough to remember groundbreaking ’90s Omaha band The Protoculture — seek them out immediately.

* * *

A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

A Giant Dog plays at Milk Run tonight.

Tonight at Milk Run Austin indie band A Giant Dogs perform. Just this second, I received back a Ten Questions response from the band. Here it is:

1. What is your favorite album? 

A Giant Dog: Sparks,  Angst In My Pants. This is one of our favorite albums and we have been doing a cover of “Angst In My Pants” at our shows recently. Sparks had a big influence on us when recording the new record, PILE, and this album is on repeat while driving on tour.

2. What is your least favorite song?

It’s a never ending list. Nothing in particular comes to mind.

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

We started our band as a way to have fun, make music and hangout with other bands in Austin and around the country. We’ve also been close friends since high school and played in different bands together. So it’s great being able to play music and travel with your long time buds. Aside from that aspect, we’re generally unsettled with how repetitive, boring and predictable rock music can be. One of the best things about being in a band is considering the bleakness out there and then finding ways to make a song more creative, interesting and against the grain. I’m not sure how well we do that, but it’s something we enjoy trying to do.

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

The music biz is tough right now and that is a constant frustration we and other bands have to work around. Music has always been tough, but I think it’s okay to say there is a lot less money now than in the early 2000’s pre-Napster. There is a bad gap between good music and getting it to people who will appreciate it. I hope streaming can get its shit together, and this is a problem they need to solve. I know that journalism and film are in the same boat.

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

Mostly weed and more legal substances these days to keep our voices in tact and be able to keep up with the fast pace lifestyle we live. It’s been most interesting buying weed across the U.S. in the last two years. It’s funny buying it in Colorado and then sneaking it through Utah like you’re still at your parents house and sneaking in past curfew.

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

Minneapolis, Chicago, New York and any town with a passionate promoter who knows how to put together a cool show. The funny thing about live music is that any town can be killer for shows. You just need one guy or gal who loves putting on shows and knows what bands are good.

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

Pittsburgh. We showed up to a DIY space that was had the right elements for a good show – big empty house with a good turnout and decent bands booked. But the place was run by kids in pajamas eating ramen. There was a thunderstorm that day and they were afraid of the thunder thinking the show should be canceled. We bought them a six pack and passed on the show.

8. How do you pay your bills?

We work part time or remote jobs in addition to making music. Andrew (guitar/vocals) is a door guy, Graham (bass) makes pizza, Danny (drums is a waiter, Sabrina (singer) works at a Ramen place and has an Airbnb and Andy (guitar) is a software consultant. Multiple incomes is the main way we get by and it’s well worth the time and effort to be able to tour and keep making records.

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

Sabrina was talking about becoming an acupuncturist the other day. Eastern medicine in general is interesting and it seems that could be a rewarding job.

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

Nothing yet. Friends have said the Milk Run is cool and a good place to play. Let’s see what stories come from the show tonight.

A Giant Dog performs with Kitten Forever, No Thanks and Worried Mothers tonight at Milk Run, 1907 Leavenworth St. Tickets are $8, show starts at 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i