Hand Habits signs to Saddle Creek, new album March 1; Remember Sports tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:47 pm January 8, 2019

A screen cap from Hand Habits’ video for title track, “Placeholder.”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saddle Creek Record’s LA connections locked up yet another new artist for the label’s roster.

Hand Habits is the LA-based project of singer/songwriter Meg Duffy, who is also known as the guitarist for Kevin Morby’s touring band as well as her work with Erin Birgy (Mega Bog) and The War on Drugs.

Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), came out on Woodsist Records in 2017.  The band is shifting to Saddle Creek for their sophomore LP, placeholder, due out March 1.

Sayeth the press release: “Instrumentally, placeholder can be situated alongside some of Meg’s folk-adjacent contemporaries like Angel Olsen or Big Thief, and the guitar work on this album proves that Meg continues to be one of the finest young musicians working today.”

BTW, if the name sounds familiar it could be because Saddle Creek release a single by Hand Habits (“yr heart” b/w “Carpenter’s Daughter”) in the fall of 2017 as part of their Document Series.

Pre-orders  for placeholder (including for a very cool limited-to-250 colored vinyl version) are being taken now at the Saddle Creek Store.

Needless to say, Hand Habits will be touring this spring, including an April 1 date at The Slowdown.

Check out the video for the title track below.

And here’s half of that Document single:

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Philly-based self-proclaimed “basement rock” band Remember Sports has been playing their style of jangle-indie rock since 2012. Their latest, Slow Buzz, came out last year on Father/Daughter Records. Check ’em out tonight at Reverb Lounge. Label-mates Nadine opens at 8 p.m. $10.

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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.


New Music: Those Far Out Arrows, The Faint; I stand corrected…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm October 30, 2018

The Faint have a new song out on Saddle Creek. Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“American Trap,” the second track from the upcoming Those Far Out Arrows album, Part Time Lizards, dropped yesterday.

Sayeth Arrows’ member Evan Keelan-White, via Anchr Magazine: “American Trap’ sends a clear message about what’s happening in our world today. There’s no hiding the content and the intentionality of the lyrics. We encourage everyone to avoid the American trap, which can manifest in unique ways from person to person. The ‘American dream’ has failed so many generations of Americans…lies, deceit, and broken promises.”

Part Time Lizards comes out via High Dive Records this Friday.

* * *

If you haven’t heard by now, The Faint is back with a new track released via Saddle Creek Records called “Chameleon Nights.” With three dates slated for the balance of the year, could we see a new album by the lads in early 2019? Time will tell.

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I stand corrected for a statement made in yesterday’s blog post. I said the new Young Jesus album received the highest rating of any Saddle Creek Release from Pitchfork (BTW, I tried to confirm this Sunday night). Well yesterday the label reminded me Twitter that Big Thief’s Capacity album from last year earned an 8.3, while Hop Along’s Get Disowned, a reissue from 2016, earned an 8.5.

Who remembers the old days when Saddle Creek releases had to beg for anything above a 6?

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


What are the Libera Awards? Congrats to Saddle Creek…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm June 19, 2018

The Libera Awards is June 21 in New York. Saddle Creek band Big Thief is up for two.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Most people who I’ve talked to that listen to indie music don’t give a squat about awards. Let’s face it, indie music has never really been represented at The Grammy’s or anywhere else. Whenever I hear the Grammy nominations and see that everything being honored is pop-oriented I simply nod my head, knowingly. The Grammy’s are a marketing tool; they were never an indication of what’s good.

That said, I do follow award shows. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just a geek that way. So imagine my surprise to discover there is an awards program for indie music called The Libera Awards, which have been around since 2012.

Presented by American Association of Independent Music (or A2IM), the Libera Awards “exist to celebrate the successes of the independent music community – the artists that create the music and the labels that invest their heart, soul and money while using our experience and relationships to promote and monetize the music, thus furthering the artists’ careers and rewarding our fans with the diverse music that they love.”

Terrible mission statement, but we get it.

This year’s awards take place somewhere in New York June 21 as part of “Indie Music Week.” Among the nominees for album of the year is Big Thief’s last album, Capacity, which was released by Saddle Creek last year. Capacity also is nominated for Best American Roots and Folk Album. Congrats to Saddle Creek Records and Big Thief for the nominations.

Unfortunately Saddle Creek wasn’t among the nominees for Label of the Year, a category that comes in both “big” and “small” sizes. Saddle Creek falls into the “big” category as they have more then six employees.

Anyway, check out all the Libera Award nominees in this Billboard Magazine story and read about the role A2IM plays with Saddle Creek Records in my Saddle Creek at 25 story in the current issue of The Reader.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Digital Leather ‘Headache Heaven’ drops on Bandcamp; Hop Along announces new record…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:55 pm January 23, 2018

Digital Leather, Headache Heaven (2018, self-release)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The marketing plan for your typical album release these days can be drawn out over weeks, months, even sometimes a full year before the album actually comes out. We’re talking pre-release rumors followed by track leaks via online publications like Noisy or Brooklyn Vegan or NPR or via YouTube.

It’s all coordinated between the artist, the record label and the artist’s publicist (and booking agent). Media and others get pre-release tidbits attached to one-sheets and promo photos all announcing the upcoming drop date. Sometimes there’s a “trailer” video that previews the albums, like a movie trailer.

Finally, with as much hoopla as possible, the album finally drops. Sometimes the release is celebrated with the launch of an entire tour; other times it might be something as simple as an album release show. Regardless, all of these efforts are designed to create the biggest buzz possible, to attract attention to the new material to generate sales, downloads, streams.

Then there’s the way Digital Leather does it.

Yesterday via Facebook Digital Leather announced the release of a new 21-track album, available via Bandcamp, called Headache Heaven. The release was something of a surprise, to me at least.

I asked Shawn Foree via Facebook for any details about the album, like who else appears on it with him. “It’s just me,” he replied. “I’ve been working on it for quite a while (It’s 75 minutes long). Not much more to say. There will be a tape version later; just digital now.

So there you have the summation of his entire marketing campaign for Headache Heaven, which I’m listening to now. In this internet age, what more do you need?

Like Shawn said, you can buy it online from his Bandcamp page, here. A cassette version is forthcoming. Check out some preview tracks below.

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Then there’s the other side of the music marketing coin.

Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog (2018, Saddle Creek)

Yesterday Saddle Creek Records (or someone) leaked a video of someone playing a floppy (at least that’s what I used to call them) of a track from the upcoming Hop Along album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, which comes out April 6. One assumes production of that floppy postcard alone cost more than Foree spent on his entire album.

Anyway, Bark Your Head Off… is a follow-up to the wildly successful 2015 release Painted Shut. The band also announced a national tour that kicks off May 1 (It’s a NOmaha affair, unfortunately).


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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Wilder Maker is Saddle Creek’s second ‘Document’; Lincoln Calling announces 2017 line-up today…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm May 4, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Wilder Maker, “New Streets” b/w “Only Child” (2017, Saddle Creek)

First of all, I’m a sucker for record clubs. I belonged to the Sub Pop Singles club for years; I joined Matador’s record club for a short while, and now Saddle Creek is doing its version of a record club with its Document series, and so far, they’re two for two.

Says Saddle Creek: “The Document Series is comprised of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of Saddle Creek’s roster, along with a specially curated zine highlighting the artist’s hometown / music scene.

Brooklyn five-piece Wilder Maker has been around since 2012. Led by Gabriel Birnbaum, this is solid, tuneful songwriting (as you’ll hear when you listen to the  track, below). Call it pop indie, it has more in common with ’70s FM rock than anything on Sirius XMU, where it’s bound to get some airplay.

They’re apparently pals with Sam Evian, who recorded the tracks at his Figure 8 studio, which might explain the Saddle Creek connection, as Evian released his last album on Saddle Creek last year.

As is probably the intent, after buying the preorder, I checked out Wilder Maker’s last release, 2015’s Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire, Vol. III on Bandcamp, a sleepy six-song EP which bears little resemblance to the Saddle Creek single but is interesting in its own (perhaps too) laid-back way.

In addition to being more upbeat than the EP, the single features Katie Von Schleicher on lead vocals rather than Birnmaum’s growl-y voice. And so, Saddle Creek can add another to their list of strong female-fronted releases that includes Hop Along and break-out act Big Thief.

I’m kind of liking this one-at-a time (actually two-at-a-time) approach to physical releases. Would I like a full-length by Wilder Maker? Sure, if all the tracks were this good. I’m not sure if singles make economic sense for the label or the band (these singles clubs have a way of evaporating over time) but for me, good things come in small packages, sometimes.

* * *

I have seen the initial line-up announcement for this year’s Lincoln Calling festival, which is slated for Sept. 28-30. You will be seeing it, too, sometime today, whenever Hear Nebraska decides to release it (probably any moment now). It is impressive. There are at least four Maha-quality headliners and a plethora of second-tier indie stars. Keep your eyes peeled to lincolncalling.com. Or just watch your social media feeds…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Big Thief (on Saddle Creek); Dolores Diaz returns; 80/35 (ho-hum); Beach Slang, Minus the Bear, Doyle of the Misfits tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:32 pm April 5, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This morning Saddle Creek announced it’ll be releasing the sophomore effort by Big Thief, Capacity, on June 9. Big Thief is one the more successful recent signings by the label, both critically and otherwise. I don’t know the sales numbers for the debut album, Masterpiece, but can tell you that the single “Paul” has more than 2 million spins on Spotify.

More good news: Big Thief will be returning to Omaha for a gig July 13, opening for Conor Oberst when he performs outside The Waiting Room on Military Ave., where Jake’s block parties are usually held. The last Big Thief show was at Lookout Lounge, opening for Yuck a year ago.

Check out the first video from the upcoming Big Thief album:

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Speaking of Oberst, his C&W cover band, Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club, is playing this Sunday night at The Slowdown. It’s a benefit for Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska and The Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Joining them is Icky Blossoms, High Up and a number of local speakers. The 7 p.m. show is $15, plus there will be a raffle for some sweet prizes. More info here.

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Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival posted its line-up yesterday and for me it was a bit of a blah. Headliners are Shins and MGMT. Have these acts risen to festival headliner status? I can’t imagine either selling out Sokol Auditorium.

There are a couple interesting support acts, however — A Giant Dog, Diarrhea Planet and ’70s-era Minneapolis new wave band The Suburbs, but other than that, a lot of head scratchers.

Meanwhile, the Maha Music Festival people have posted that tickets sales are stronger than years’ past, with VIP tix in short supply.

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There’s a big show tonight at The Slowdown. Omaha favorites Minus the Bear returns and they’re bringing Beach Slang with them along with Bayonne. $25, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Doyle from The Misfits is playing at Lookout Lounge. Also on the bill are Element a440, The Beat Seekers, Before I Burn & DeadEchoes. $14, 7 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Saddle Creek launches singles series w/Posse; NE-HI, Lucero tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:45 pm March 2, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve practically begged Saddle Creek to launch a singles series for years, and today the label announced that it’s finally going to do it.

The Document Series will comprise of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of Saddle Creek’s roster, along with a specially curated ‘zine highlighting the artist’s hometown / music scene, according to the label.

We see Document as a unique way to reference our past, while at the same time reaching out to bands that aren’t already part of the Saddle Creek family and allowing them to shine a light on the art and music of their own communities,” says the press release. “It’s our way to try to capture a band and their community in a specific place at a specific time, and share that with the world.”

The first installment of the Document Series is the two-song Kismet 7” from Seattle’s Posse, to be released March 10. Other artists slated for the series include Palehound, Hand Habits and Wilder Maker. You can preorder the Posse 7-inch for $7.99 today from the Saddle Creek website.

Whereas I love this idea, there’s one vital component missing — the ability to subscribe to the releases. I’d like to pay one price and have a year’s worth of the series’ releases delivered to my door. Come on, dudes, offer a subscription service. I guess I’m never satisfied…

Find out more about Posse via this episode of Band in Seattle:

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge its Chicago garage band NE-HI. You read their Ten Questions interview yesterday. Opening the show is Nathan Ma & The Rosettes and Wrong Pets, the new project by Reagan Roeder. $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, right around the corner at The Waiting Room, Lucero headlines with Esme Patterson. $25, 8 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Daughter; Zipline joins the Slowdown complex; Milk Run under new management…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:17 pm November 21, 2016
Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s the same ol’ question: How does a show headlined by a band like Daughter sell out Slowdown’s big room?

The band releases music on respected though somewhat small indie label 4AD. Needless to say, Daughter gets zero airplay locally. In fact, before I headed down to Slowdown Saturday night I double-checked to see if the show wasn’t slated for the small room. When I arrived at 9 p.m., a line stretched all the way past Film Streams. Where did all these people come from? Granted, Daughter is a remarkable indie band, but since when does that translate to sell-out crowds?

The North London 4-piece, fronted by Hepburn-esque lead singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, plays hypnotic, chiming shoe-gaze rock that recalls a broad range of post-punk acts from My Bloody Valentine to The xx. Tonra’s clear, ringing voice can turn ferocious on a dime, sort of like a modern-day Sinead, singing dark songs drenched in loss and loneliness. Take a song like 2012’s “Smother,” that starts with, “I’m wasted, losing Time / I’m a foolish, fragile spine,” and ends with “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother / Never to come out.” How much bleaker can they get?

That lyrical bleakness is tempered by a dark power and broad dynamics — some songs start off with just Tonra and a keyboard, and quickly rise to a Mogwai-esque rock symphony. Drummer Remi Aguilella was amazing, pounded the kit with mallets, while guitarist Igor Haefeli rattled the rafters. Their performance was powered by a first-rate light show — a combination of spots and strobes and dense colors — gorgeous stuff.

While I listened I thought about all the ’90s British shoegaze acts I never saw perform live, and wondered if this was what they were like, and thought about how how fortunate I was to be able to see this band at the height of their powers.

* * *

A couple quick notes…

Last week Zipline Brewing announced that it is opening a new location in the old Saddle Creek Shop space next to The Slowdown and Film Streams. It’s not just the Creek shop, it’s also the old Saddle Creek warehouse space, so it’s actually pretty huge.

Saddle Creek used to be officed in the same space, but recently moved their offices back upstairs to a co-working space shared by Hear Nebraska and the folks from Maha Music Festival. All their warehouse stuff was moved off site to a different warehouse.

So now you’ll be able to buy booze at Slowdown, Tap Room, and Zipline. It’s like No Do is trying to compete with Benson, but with newer buildings. We’re beginning to see the vision for that part of town become reality, albeit almost 10 years after the Slowdown complex was built. Better late than never.

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Milk Run

Did anyone else get a barrage of notices in their Facebook inbox this past weekend notifying them of people “rating” Milk Run? The fact that the tiny club is under new management might have something to do with it.

Milk Run made the announcement via Facebook yesterday. There are three new managers, while See Through Dresses’ Sara Bertuldo will continue to help book it along with Myer Stevens. Milk Run co-creator, Sam Parker, “will be stepping back from direct operations to pursue exciting new projects in the coming year,” according to the post. Parker also works at Hi-Fi House, which has hosted a steady slew of shows and events the past few weeks.

Hear Nebraska has a little more about the management changes here. If you haven’t been to a show at Milk Run, do yourself the favor. They’ve got a big one coming up this Friday night when Sad13 (Sadie from Speedy Ortiz) headlines with Mannequin Pussy and Vagabon. I’m actually surprised the show hasn’t sold out yet, considering the club’s limited capacity.

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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.


TBT: Feb. 16, 2005: Saddle Creek Records’ under-the-radar hidden gem…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:19 pm February 18, 2016
Son Ambulance circa 2005.

Son, Ambulance on a freezing midtown Omaha porch, circa 2005.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Crazy busy at the office this week. which is why I’ve been lax in doing updates. That, and the fact that nothing much is happening…

So this being Throwback Thursday, let’s take a stroll into the Lazy-i Wayback Machine to 11 years ago (almost to the day) to this interview with Son, Ambulance. As described in the lead paragraph, these were the sunny days of Saddle Creek Records when they could do no wrong, and lost in the hoopla was Son, Ambulance, who a year earlier had released what many consider to be their masterpiece, Key.

Son, Ambulance: Black Sheep Squadron

From Lazy-i, Feb. 16, 2005

Last year was a banner year for Saddle Creek Records. The label enjoyed its most prolific period, with major releases by The Faint, The Good Life and two chart-topping singles by Bright Eyes that would be a prelude to the band’s two full-length releases, the first-ever Saddle Creek CDs to crack Billboard‘s top 20.

Meanwhile, amidst all the excitement and national notoriety, Saddle Creek quietly released what was arguably one of the label’s best albums of ’04, Son, Ambulance’s Key, with little or no fanfare. There was no CD release show, no major U.S. tour, certainly no stories in Rolling Stone or the New York Times.

The lack of limelight was nothing new for Son, Ambulance, which has been Saddle Creek’s most under-the-radar band since their label debut, 2001’s Oh Holy Fools — a split-release with an emerging Bright Eyes.

Son, Ambulance frontman Joe Knapp was mum when asked about his black sheep status at the label. On an unseasonably warm January evening, he’s surrounded by his band — a rag-tag group of un-tucked slackers — on the porch of the Creighton-area house where they practice. Like a band of brothers, everyone speaks at once, each throwing in his two cents or finishing the other’s sentence. The discussion centered around their last tour and a drunken gig in Las Vegas on the 21st birthday of keyboard player Daniel Knapp, Joe’s brother.

“That was a wild night,” Joe says, smiling. “We drove to California to get to the ocean and watch the sun rise.”

“I just decided to get behind the wheel and drive,” said bassist Jesse McKelvey. “By the time everyone woke up, we were there.”

The birthday boy nodded in appreciation. “I had fallen asleep, obliterated. My ears popped as we drove through the mountains.” As the sun rose over the Pacific, they all fell asleep on the beach. It would be one of their last carefree moments on that tour. Days later, the broken-down ’87 Chevy conversion van that Joe had bought for $750 from an alcoholic gambler in Pacific Junction would begin to die piece by piece, beginning with the transmission in Oregon, forcing them to drive to Seattle in second gear. Afterward, the engine blew a seal and began “vomiting oil” before its last gasp somewhere along an Idaho interstate. They were saved by tour mates, Boston band Victory at Sea. At the very least, the experience made for a good story.

Rounded out by guitarist Dylan Strimple and drummer Corey Broman (who fortunately wasn’t along for the West Coast disaster) Son, Ambulance performs some of the most unrelenting and uncompromising music ever to come out of Omaha. How do they make it work? “It’s like going for a jog,” Joe says. “You just run and run and never stop.”

Key is a departure from Son, Ambulance’s restrained, folky debut full-length — 2001’s Euphemystic — thanks to the relentless urgency of its music. Knapp’s psychedelic ballads pound ever forward on Broman’s double-tap backbeats, Daniel Knapp’s ringing music-box keyboards and Joe’s breathy, pleading vocals that desperately try to convince us that everything will make sense if we just pay attention. Songs like the 7-minute “Sex in C Minor” and arch, dreamy “Chlorophyll” ruthlessly pedal forward, climbing steadily up a long hill with no peak in sight.

All that tension is balanced by laidback piano ballads like the Procol Harum-sounding “Case of You/Wrinkle, Wrinkle,” the mournful “If I Should Fall Asleep” with its Scottish highland violin intro, and the honky-tonkin’ rocker, “Taxi Cab Driver,” complete with a scorching blues guitar lick that would make Keith Richards blush.

The CD is launched by the dense, echoing opener, “Paper Snowflakes,” a track that captures all of the band’s best elements and rolls them into one tune that channels ’70s FM rock radio in all its brazen majesty. Despite the critics’ constant comparisons to Bright Eyes, Key and Son, Ambulance sound like nothing else on Saddle Creek’s varied roster.

Days after our porch discussion, Joe Knapp was more forthcoming when we talked privately via phone from his parents’ home in Ponca Hills, where he was spending time with his son, Neal, who inspired some of the music on the new album. Knapp doesn’t so much see Son, Ambulance as the label’s black sheep as much as the last remaining under-the-radar act that continues to struggle for attention while the rest of the Creek bands bask in a glow of appreciation.

“Saddle Creek is kind of like a big family, and in some ways we’re more of a distant cousin,” he said. “At least it feels that way. They appreciate our work and the music, but don’t give us a lot of help, really, other than, you know, great distribution and some help promoting the album. They’re getting used to Bright Eyes going gold. Why waste their time with us?”

But he quickly added that “that’s all business stuff.”

“That’s not what we’re in it for. We’re in it to make quality music and to express my soul to people. Our fans appreciate us, and that makes me realize that I’m touching people and being understood for what I do. In a sense, we belong on Saddle Creek because we’re a true underground kind of band.”

Maybe too underground. With a European tour slated for this spring, the band is struggling to merely acquire better equipment so that they can sound as good live as they do on disc. On top of that, Knapp says it’s time that they find a manager to take care of their day-to-day business. “Conor (Oberst) has a manager to turn down offers,” Knapp says. “In our case, we need someone to find things for us and raise interest in us.”

Should that happen, and should Key ever find a larger audience, Knapp says he could see Son, Ambulance go from being a part-time gig to a full-time job. Today he splits his time between the band, taking classes at UNO and working at Liberty Elementary School. “I could see it being a bigger part of my life,” he said. “I feel like it’s not ready to die yet, you know? I could see us doing this years from now, just quietly doing our thing.”

* * *

Well, they have been quietly doing their thing. Maybe too quietly, as the band hasn’t played live in quite a while. There was talk of a new album, but its status is unknown (to me, anyway). Son, Ambulance remains one of my favorite bands released on Saddle Creek Records, held like s secret among its fans. Here’s hoping some day a larger audience discovers the gold buried right under their noses.

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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.


Jenny Lewis Rabbit Fur Tour gets tons of press; M’s Pub fundraiser, blét tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:08 pm February 3, 2016
Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

Jenny Lewis with Rilo Kiley circa 2002.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

With the 10-year anniversary of the release of Jenny Lewis’ solo debut, Rabbit Fur Coat, there has been a ton of stories written about the making of that record. Or at least a half dozen. Lewis is conducting a brief tour on which she’s playing the album in its entirety with help from M. Ward and the Watson Twins, who appeared on the original album.

All the stories mention Saddle Creek Records in the heyday. Ah yes, those indeed were the days.

This piece in today’s Village Voice is among the most comprehensive. From the story:

“Looking back, she admits that the making of the album took place during what felt like such an innocent time. (‘I think I had just gotten my cell phone,’ she half-jokes.) The idea of branching out and going solo never occurred to her until her friend (and former Saddle Creek labelmate) Conor Oberst (of Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk fame) approached her about putting out an album on the new label he was launching, Team Love. ‘My first reaction was, “Are you crazy? I’m in a rock band!” but he persuaded me. I made it and had zero expectations.'”

Then there’s this piece in Noisey. where the interviewer says: “Omaha’s music community, at that time and even now, was so influential. Saddle Creek and everything that they were doing was pivotal for so many bands.”

Lewis responds: I’ve been really fortunate along the way to just have these guides and I’ve always been really afraid but when I get on stage I’m not afraid anymore, just getting there is terrifying. Conor, Ben Gibbard, Blake Sennett, and Ryan Adams… all of these guides, have just kind of pushed me out there, pushed me beyond what I thought I was capable of doing. Each era is defined by a guide in a way.

The LA Times piece had Lewis uttering these words: “Glenn Frey is my David Bowie.”

Then there’s the piece in New York Magazine, which includes this gem (which isn’t a quote from Lewis): “I was a junior in high school the year that Rilo Kiley was like squatting in Omaha, and so many girls would get flustered seeing her out in the wild. She was always surrounded by the hot Saddle Creek guys.”

The hot Saddle Creek guys.

My first interview with Jenny Lewis was back in 2002 when Saddle Creek was releasing Rilo Kiley’s Execution of All Things, where she recapped her first Saddle Creek connection:

“We met Tim Kasher (Cursive, The Good Life) at a show in San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall,” Lewis said. “We were headed to Iowa for a gig and he invited us to join their caravan as they traveled cross-country.”

The Saddle Creek sound wasn’t a mystery to Lewis. “We had bought a copy of Bright Eyes’ Fevers and Mirrors a year before, so we were already fans of the music,” Lewis said. “We decided to record our next CD at Presto! and work with Saddle Creek because of the creative freedom we knew they’d offer.”

Ah, those were the days. Despite her nostalgia for Omaha, the 10-year Rabbit Fur tour doesn’t include an Omaha tour stop.

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The Waiting Room is hosting a benefit tonight for M’s Pub employees (the iconic Old Market restaurant burned down last month) featuring performances by Kait Berreckman, Brad Hoshaw, Michael Campbell, Matt Whipkey, The Matt Cox Band and All Young Girls Are Machine Guns. Admission is $10 and all proceeds will go to the employees from M’s Pub and The Market House. Show starts at 8 p.m.

Also tonight, O’Leaver’s is hosting blét, Iowa indie band Dagmar and Goedes. $5, 9:30 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.