The final SXSW recap (in The Reader); Saddle Creek consortium re-ups with ADA; Alex McManus does Hitchcock, Conchance insurance tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:56 pm March 20, 2014
Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

Conchance performs tonight at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The final word on this year’s South By Southwest conference/festival in this week’s issue of The Reader. It includes summaries of my favorite performances from Coachwhips, Protomartyr, Future Islands, Twinsmith, Eros and the Eschaton, Destruction Unit, Eagulls, Mark Kozelek and more. Check it out in the printed edition, which also includes a ton o’ pics by yours truly. You can also read it online at thereader.com right here.

The Reader‘s coverage also includes Chris Aponick’s take on SXSW’s sights, sounds and smells (Over the course of the week, I smelled dope smoke more often than cigarette smoke. Have they legalized it in Austin already?). Chris spent a lot of time at Beerland (as he always does), and also gives his perspective on Trust, Perfume Genius, Coachwhips, Charli XCX, Perfect Pussy, Burger Records and more. It’s online here.

Over the past few days I’ve been reading a lot of SXSW dissing, mostly by people who have never been there. Fine. I get that you don’t need to take a bite out of a shit sandwich to know it tastes bad (probably). And anyone who tells you SXSW is anything more than an industry boondoggle is feeding you some of the above. That said, if you go to SXSW simply to listen to music, you’d have to try pretty hard not to have fun.

As for performers/bands, well, my heart goes out to them. It’s expensive and it’s a hassle — there’s nothing like seeing a very tired-looking band hump gear through the 6th Street chaos. And then wonder if the cost/hassle was worth it. Most bands I’ve interviewed who have gone to SXSW told me nothing ever came of their performance. I think if you’re only playing once during the festival, you’ll be overlooked. The bands that make the biggest mark — that get noticed — play at least eight times during the week. Fans/journalists/industry gimps are bound to notice your name when it shows up over and over on the SXSW master schedule — and then wonder “Who the hell are these guys?” But if you’re in a brand new band, the chances of getting multiple showcases/sets during SXSW are slim and none.

Dan Scheuerman of Deleted Scenes posted an honest perspective at Hear Nebraska that’s worth your attention (read it here). His summary, “..only a statistically insignificant percentage of bands who play SXSW get discovered, and for the rest, it’s just a good excuse to hang out and enjoy a little bit of springtime before anyone else.” No doubt.

Now that should be the last word on SXSW 2014…

* * *

Super-indie consortium Independent Distribution Cooperative (IDC), which consists of Saddle Creek Records, Merge, Beggers, Domino and Secretly Canadian, resigned a physical distribution deal with Alternative Distribution Alliance (ADA), according to this Billboard.com article.

ADA is an arm of Warner Music Group. According to the article, “As part of the deal, ADA will continue to provide physical distribution services to major brick-and-mortar chain accounts for the consortium of labels and their distributed labels too. ADA will also sell select indie accounts on a non-exclusive basis, meaning that the labels can also sell directly to indie accounts too.

The rather convoluted article also mentions that IDC has negotiated for digital distribution, but isn’t clear what that means for the labels. The take-away for me is that these indies continue to work together to keep their product stocked in your local record stores. Wonder what they could accomplish if all five labels merged into one major label?

* * *

Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1927 film The Ring featuring live music by Alex McManus (The Bruces), Aaron Markley and Daniel Ocanto. Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. If you haven’t been to one of these, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Also tonight, Conchance and Rock Paper Dynamite perform at the Rock Enroll showcase at The Slowdown. The free event will provide information about how to get health insurance coverage as the March 31 deadline looms. Music starts at 9.

* * *

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

Saddle Creek to return to SXSW; SSION gets ‘High’; North Mississippi Allstars tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:27 am February 20, 2013

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 7.25.26 AMSaddle Creek Records is returning to South By Southwest this year, hosting a label showcase at The Parish (Underground) Wednesday, March 13.

Kicking off the showcase is Jake Bellows, who as a solo artist isn’t currently on Saddle Creek (yet?), though the Creek released the last album by his former band, Neva Dinova, 2008’s You May Already Be Dreaming. He’s followed by UUVVWWZ, Big Harp, PUJOL, Icky Blossoms and Harouki Zombi, the brainchild of Nina Barnes (of Montreal, the Apollinaire Rave Art Collective) and Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, O+S) whose EP Objet Petit A was produced by Fink’s husband, Todd Fink (The Faint, Digital Leather) and released on Polyvinyl Records. Will HZ also be joining the Saddle Creek stable in the near future?

Who else is headed to SXSW? Well, I know Satchel Grande has been accepted. So had The Mynabirds, though Laura Burhenn’s participation in the Postal Service reunion nixed those plans.

Alas, I won’t be at SXSW this year. Money’s tight, folks. SXSW is a very expensive vacation and what can I tell you, things are tough all over. I won’t miss the back aches, the sore feet and constant search for vacant porta-potties, but I will miss the music and curry-ketchup hotdogs. Never fear because I know The Reader‘s Chris Aponick will be on the case, keeping an eye on all things indie.

* * *

If you’ve ever wondered what (among other things) inspired Icky Blossoms’ saucy, sexy, subversive approach to the stage and scene, look no further than Kansas City’s SSION (pronounced “shun”). The pop culture icons headed by Cody Critcheloe have been around since the late ’90s. I saw them open for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Sokol Auditorium way back in March 2004 dressed in chicken suits. They were the best part of the show.

Anyway, yesterday SSION released the video from the band’s latest album, Bent, called “High,” and as per usual, it’s a freak-out (with a crazy dance beat). Check it out below, and let’s try to get these folks back to Omaha (preferably teamed with the Icky’s).

* * *

Blues rock act North Mississippi Allstars play tonight at The Waiting Room with NYC rockers The London Souls. $20 and an early 8 p.m. show. Get it in while you can, folks, because that blizzard is about to bear down on us.

* * *

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.

 

Lazy-i

Saddle Creek to release 7-inches; Rolling Stone archive goes online; Andrew Jackson Jihad tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:39 pm March 21, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saddle Creek Records announced this morning that it’ll have four vinyl releases for Record Store Day, April 21, 2012, including three 7-inch singles.

Of the 12-inch variety, there’s Cursive’s Burst and Bloom EP, back on vinyl for the first time in years, pressed on RSD-exclusive yellow, white and black marbled vinyl limited to 1,500 copies. Very cool.

Ah, but what I’m excited about are the singles, which they’re calling “7-inch previews” since all preceed full-length releases by the bands:

Icky Blossoms

Icky Blossoms — “Babes” b/w “Chicas,” a Spanish version of the A-side, pressed on colored vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies.

Mynabirds — “Generals” b/w non-album track “Fallen Doves.” The 7″ features silk screened sleeves hand spray painted and numbered by frontwoman Laura Burhenn herself. Covers are available in five different paint colors, and limited to 1,000 copies on black vinyl.

PUJOL — “REVERSE VAMPIRE” b/w demo version of “PSYCHIC PAIN.” The record is pressed on colored vinyl and limited to 1,000 copies.

As an added bonus, each release comes with an mp3 download code, so you can listen to them on your “portable electronic device.” I love 7-inch singles, and wish-wish-wish Saddle Creek would develop a singles club like Matador has now and Sub Pop used to have…

* * *

Believe it or not, I subscribe to Rolling Stone and have for years, though I don’t know why when these days they devote too much space to TV and teen film stars (Hey, how else am I supposed to keep up on the Twilight saga?). Anyway, yesterday RS emailed me that they’ve digitized every back issue, dating back to the iconic Nov. 9, 1967, debut with John Lennon on the cover. They call it Rolling Stone All Access, and the service is free if you’re a subscriber. We’re talking full scans of full pages of each issue, including the advertising, which can be as entertaining as the articles and reviews.  The archive even appears to be somewhat indexed , though I haven’t had a chance to really kick the tires on their search engine. However, when I searched for Cursive, up popped the April 3, 2003, issue, with the 4-star review of The Ugly Organ. For those interested in rock music history, All Access alone is worth the subscription price.

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr. a huge five-band bill featuring punk folkies Andrew Jackson Jihad, along with Cheap Girls, Laura Stevenson and the Cans, The Sidekicks and Roar! $15, 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Off to Austin (SXSW) and how we’ll cover it; Cursive’s I Am Gemini sales numbers; New Lungs, Millions of Boys tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:24 pm March 13, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

SXSW logo

Tomorrow I’m off to Austin to cover a few days of SXSW for The Reader… and for Lazy-i.com. Here’s how the coverage will work: The daily “updates” will be posted at thereader.com (I’ll post a link to it here daily). However, my photos from the previous day’s adventures will appear right here the following morning (if I’m not being held in custody). The final wrap-up will, of course, appear in the printed edition of The Reader (and online there and here).

In addition to my coverage, The Reader also will have daily posts by Reader Music Editor Chris Aponick and Hear Nebraska owner/operator Andy Norman — all exclusive. That’s what you get when you provide the badges. Not included in the deal, however, is Twitter/Facebook. So for updates and comments from SXSW throughout the day — including photos — follow me at twitter.com/tim_mcmahan — Fun!

This year’s Omaha presence at SXSW is… respectable. Saddle Creek will have a showcase Friday night with Mynabirds, Big Harp and Icky Blossoms. Other Creek acts in Austin include PUJOL and Two Gallants. In addition, Depressed Buttons has a gig on Saturday, but that’s about it for official SXSW performances. Sounds like a couple other local peeps will be performing, but they’ll be playing unofficial shows not part of an actual SXSW showcase — not it matters as most people can’t tell the difference between an official and unofficial event.

* * *

Sales numbers for Cursive’s I Am Gemini are in, and they’re a bit surprising. According to Mike Fratt, general manager at Homer’s, first week sales of I Am Gemini were 4,300 physical units, 1,250 digital for a total of 5,550. Fratt was surprised at the low percentage of digital sales. Wonder if it has anything to do with the album’s fantastic combined vinyl/CD packaging?

Fratt said 2nd week sales were off all charts (on neither top 200, nor Heatseekers chart), and off digital, which would mean fewer than 360 physical and fewer than 1,000 digital.

One more stat of note: I Am Gemini was the first Saddle Creek release that wasn’t made available on Spotify the week it was released, and last I looked it still wasn’t.

* * *

Before I head out of town, I’m contemplating attending tonight’s big show at The Waiting Room — New Lungs will be unveiling some new material when they headline a show with Millions of Boys, Swamp Walk and Places We Slept. Quite a lineup, and the price is right: FREE. Show starts at 9 p.m.

* * *

Finally, I keep running into people telling me they sure do miss my column not realizing that I still write a column, but that it’s exclusively published in The Reader and not here. With that in mind, I’m going to post links to my weekly column right here in Lazy-i, though I won’t be posting the actual text.

And I’m starting today with a link to last week’s column, which is particularly timely since it talks about the Equal Employment Ordinance being voted on today by the Omaha City Council. Read that column right here.

See you in Austin.

* * *

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

Saddle Creek’s (and Omaha’s) SXSW presence takes shape; So much for Kansrocksas; Tennis tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:59 pm February 22, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Saddle Creek SXSW game plan is beginning to take form. We now know that The Mynabirds and Big Harp are both going to Austin this year. Glancing at their Saddle Creek tour calendar, Creek’s newest recruits, Icky Blossoms, is slated to play at Austin’s Waterloo Records March 15 as part of a showcase. And PUJOL was invited to SXSW a long time ago.

On the other hand, we know that Cursive won’t be there. Neither will Bright Eyes after last year’s appearance. Still, Creek’s presence is pretty strong, and who knows who else will join the party. The label has yet to announce if it will be hosting an actual showcase (though I assume it will).

Another familiar face, former Omahan Jake Bellows, tweeted that he’s headed to SXSW. And local band Blue Bird continues to be in the running for a SXSW spot as part of this promotion. Beyond that, I can’t see anyone else from Omaha making the trip this year… so far.

* * *

Looks like Kansrocksas has gone belly up, for now. Organizers are saying (here) that they’re taking a year off while the Kansas Speedway undergoes a construction project, and that they’ll be back better than ever in 2013. I’ll believe it when I see it. Rumor has it that their “successful inaugural” year lost north of a million dollars.

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr., it’s the return of Tennis. The band first came played the Slowdown Jr. stage in August 2010 (review here). That was the couple’s third show ever. They returned in February 2011 (interview here). And now they’re back again supporting a new album, Young & Old, produced by Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. They’ve lightened their retro jukebox sound for something more streamlined and indie. The result (at times) is reminiscent of The Sundays (or at least Aliana Moore is beginning to sound like Harriet Wheeler). Betsy Wells opens. 9 p.m. $10.

* * *

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