McCarthy Trenching makes Christgau’s Dean’s List 2020…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:30 pm January 27, 2021

This is kind of a follow-up to the review Robert Christgau posted a few weeks ago (and I mentioned here). The grandmaster of music critics gave McCarthy Trenching’s latest album, Perfect Game, an A- grade in his January Consumer Guide.

Christgau’s year-end list used to be part of the Pass and Jop year-end music coverage at the Village Voice — something he wrote from 1975 to 2005. This morning Christgau published his “Dean’s List” of the “71 best albums of the last year (or so)” and Perfect Game came in at No. 24, between Ashley McBryde’s Never Will at No. 23 and 75 Dollar Bill Little Big Band’s Live at Tubby’s at No. 25. It should be noted that No. 1 was Hanging Tree Guitars, which I’ve never heard of. Run the Jewel’s RTJ4 came in at No. 2.

Making Christgau’s year-end list was always kind of a big deal and still is today. Check out the list online here and congrat’s, Mr. McCarthy.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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McCarthy Trenching gets A- from the dean of music critics; new Sunks track…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 3:34 pm January 13, 2021
McCarthy Trenching, Perfect Game (2020, self release)

Long-time Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau is still writing reviews, these days via a Substack newsletter account (you can subscribe here). The subscription includes his monthly “Consumer Guide” reviews, and the January edition includes a glowing review of McCarthy Trenching’s latest LP, Perfect Game.

Said Christgau:

Alerted by Phoebe Bridgers’s cover of this ‘band’’s ‘Christmas Song,’ I spent a fine little Spotify morning checking out all 57 of Dan McCarthy’s entries. These date back to 2007 with the band part mostly theoretical—guitar strummer McCarthy doubles on the piano that dominates here and has hooked up with a bassist who I presume inflected the horn arrangements that add welcome color to his latest and most impressive tunes—most of which, to be clear, truly are tunes. McCarthy sings clear, mild, droll, calculated, casual and writes clever and inventive without ever overwhelming his offhand affect—the many laugh lines are more chuckle lines. ‘Why Don’t I See You Anymore’ devotes single lines and whole stanzas to 16 reasons before ‘Phaethon’ modernizes Greek mythology. ‘Red Maple’ and ‘Russian Olive’ chronicle dead trees. ‘I Didn’t Come to Town to Get a Haircut’ is something his uncle used to say only by the time Dan finally gets around to it the town doesn’t even have a barber. And that’s only the half of it. A MINUS

Christgau has been writing reviews since the ’60s and is my all-time favorite music critic. It’s a joy to see him recognize a local boy.

BTW, he wasn’t so glowing with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, in which he said: “If articulated depression is what you crave, does she have lyrical and musical detail for you—philosophical solace or melodic relief, no (“I See You,” “Graceland Too”) **

The ** rating is an honorable mention on the Christgau scale.

Read the entire January Consumer Guide here.

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Omaha indie band The Sunks’ have a new album coming out next Tuesday. The band consists of frontman Sean Paul on guitar/vocals, Ben Volkman on lead guitar; Adam O’Connell on bass and Kevin Kelly on drums. Here’s the first single, “The Sunks Song.”

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

#TBT: When are you too old to rock? (Lazy-i: Feb. 5, 2009)…

Category: Column — Tags: , , — @ 1:42 pm February 14, 2019

And then there’s Keith…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Ten years later this message still applies. And while I’m no less enamored with music — old or new — I’ve slowed down when it comes to going to shows, both because of work-related reasons and the fact that there simply are fewer indie shows these days (though things are looking up).

One other side note: A local musician recently asked me to help promote an upcoming show in Lazy-i and asked if I knew other channels that might be appropriate. I mentioned a couple folks with strong social media presences and strong connections to the scene. It dawned on me afterward both people I mentioned were in their 60s, and I’m in my 50s. Where are all the young champions for local music and shows?

Column 208: Greasy Kid’s Stuff
Age and music.
Lazy-i, Feb. 5, 2009

I was feeling just fine about everything until Barack decided to join in with his “Let us set aside childish things” rant during the inauguration. What exactly was he saying? Who was he talking to?

After awhile, it does begin to pile up. The whole age thing never occurs to me unless someone else mentions it — directly or indirectly.

Last week a friend who works at The City Weekly pointed out that Mike Fratt “went after me” in his column. Really? By name? No, he never used your name, my friend said. He merely referenced “Omaha’s own aging indie-hipster blogger street weekly writer…” I was flattered that Mike would think anyone would even know who he was talking about (and without that knowledge, a reader would think Fratt was being self-deprecating instead of just snarky — he is, after all, considerably older than I am).

A week before that, I was at a local watering hole listening to a band when one of the city’s better musicians said, not off-handedly, “Why would a 20-year-old want to know what a 40-year-old guy thinks about new music?” He was making a point about himself, of course; about how he thinks no one cares what his favorite music was from 2008 (but we do). I’m sure the fact that I’m in my 40s and still write about indie music never crossed his mind. Did it?

And then there was the time I was speaking in front of a class alongside a former mover-and-shaker in local music retail. I asked him what he thought of Saddle Creek Records. He said he only listens to blues these days. “I outgrew that stuff a long time ago.”

It comes down to the notion that rock music — specifically new rock music — should only be enjoyed by young people. That people beyond their 20s (some say beyond their teens) should have moved on from listening to rock or any music for that matter.

I remember as a teen-ager listening to albums with my headphones on, wondering how much I’d miss it when I got older because, well, “old people” don’t listen to music. Certainly my dad didn’t.

That same backward thinking applies to rock shows — when are you too old to go see a band (other than a dinosaur act at the Qwest Center)? Is it when your friends quit going to shows? Or when you have kids and reprioritize your life so that music no longer plays a role? I can’t speak to the issue of getting married and having a family. I can say that a lot of people I know put music away when their children arrived, and use their family life as an excuse for not going out any more (or doing anything creative, for that matter). And that’s fine. Chances are even if they didn’t have kids they would have quit going to shows anyway. Rare is the person who can continue to “get into” new music after they reach their 30s. That’s just the way it is.

I made that point on my blog, and one reader took offense. He said he used to go to shows at The Cog Factory and Kilgore’s before moving to Chicago and getting involved in the music business himself. He ended up in California “…and then, I had kids. Now you can chalk it up as an ‘excuse’ to ‘quit’ the pursuit of music-passion (or other cultural endeavors), but I actually blame it as much on not only a re-prioritizing of priorities as I do finances,” he said in an email. “When you’ve got a young mouth (or in my case two young mouths) to feed, given the choice between buying groceries or going out to a club to see a band play and then proceed to spend $25 on drinks….well, the choice should be pretty clear.”

I guess it’s like those commercials say: “Having a baby changes everything.” I don’t doubt that. Still, this guy said he continues to subscribe to Magnet and The Big Takeover, and makes notes about bands that might interest him. That alone makes him a rarity. Because most people I know who have kids go home after work and sit in front of the TV for five hours and then go to sleep. Every night. They feel entitled. They’ve worked hard all day, they want to come home and “unwind.” These are people in their late 20s and 30s (and 40s). And before they know it, they’re in their 50s and 60s and then they’re dead. But, dammit, they accomplished something. They raised those kids. And that’s more than I can say for myself.

Would I still be going to shows if I had kids? Well, not 80 to 100 shows a year, but yeah, I’d like to think that I’d definitely make it out at least a couple times a month. But we’ll never know.

Age isn’t so much a state of mind as it is surrendering to a state of mind. I don’t think my personal writing guru, former Village Voice columnist and now Rolling Stone critic Robert Christgau, who’ll turn 67 in April, thought for a second about what was appropriate for someone his age to listen to when he was reviewing the latest albums by Glasvegas (which he gave in A) or Jay Reatard (which he gave an A-). Is he worried that a 20-year-old might scoff at his opinion? I don’t think it crossed his mind. It certainly doesn’t cross mine when I’m writing about the new Animal Collective or Ladyfinger CDs or watching Stolen Kisses or Perry H. Matthews.

Nor should it. Rock was never meant to be only a young man’s game. Just ask this aging indie-hipster blogger street weekly writer. — Lazy-i Feb. 5, 2009, this also was published in The City Weekly at around the same time.

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By the way, Robert Christgau has a new book out called Is It Still Good to Ya?: Fifty Years of Rock Criticism, 1967-2017, which is definitely worth your time, not to mention his XGau Sez entries, which are somewhat awesome. He’s not slowing down at all.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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