Did anyone notice that the line-up for this year’s Maha Music Festival had a slight change?
Downtown Boys, who describes themselves in Wiki as a “bi bilingual political dance sax punk party from Providence,” has joined the line-up, replacing Surfer Blood. Downtown Boys has released material on Don Giovanni Records; they signed to Sub Pop this past February.
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See Through Dresses yesterday dropped the first single off their upcoming sophomore album Horse Of The Other World, titled “Violet.” Very dreamy! Check it.
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I don’t know who this Robert Hinrichs is other than he lives in Lincoln and he’s trying to give James Murphy a run for his money. His video for “Can U DigIt,” dropped today. The track is off Hinrichs’ latest album on Interrobang (2017, Tremulant).
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Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s long awaited return of Denver band Dressy Bessy (Kindercord Records). Opening is Arc Flash, Uh Oh and Nathan Ma and The Rosettes (whew! that’s a big line-up). $7, 9 p.m.
I dropped the ball. The immensely talented Andrew Spellmon reached out earlier in the week and asked if I would contribute my thoughts to a story he was working on for Hear Nebraska. His one and only question:
What is Speed! Nebraska’s legacy/impact on the local/national scene?
I immediately responded to Andrew saying I’d be happy to comment. The deadline was Wednesday night. And things being what they are in my life these days, I completely forgot to send him anything. It didn’t slow ol’ Spellmon down, however, and yesterday Hear Nebraska published a very lengthy, detailed story called “Racing at 45 RPM: SPEED! Nebraska reaches 20 year milestone.” You can read it right here.
The feature includes “stories and memories” from the artist and collaborators who have taken part in the Speed! Nebraska history, including Jon Taylor (Domestica, Mercy Rule), Dan Jenkins (Ideal Cleaners), Lee Meyerpeter (Filter Kings), George Peek (Solid Jackson), Mike Tulis (co-creator of Speed! and member of The Monroes), as well as people like Dan Schlissel, who created competing label -ismist and now runs Stand Up! Records, and Trey and Lallaya Lalley, who ran the Capitol Bar & Grill and now run The Brothers Lounge.
Ten years ago, when Speed! Nebraska was celebrating its 10-year anniversary, I penned this story for The Reader that highlighted the label’s origins. At the time, Speed! was enjoying its high-water mark. Or as Jesse Render, the label’s “special project coordinator,” put it: “We’re like a family. You do whatever job needs to be done. This is kind of the Golden Age of Speed! Nebraska.”
So to answer Stellmon’s original question, I’d have to say Speed! Nebraska’s legacy is not only the 37 vinyl and CD releases that it put out over the course of 20 years, it’s also the people who made the music heard on that stellar catalog of rock ‘n’ roll. Most of them are still doing it, and doing it well. Certainly Speed! Nebraska record executive Gary Dean Davis is going strong, as is the rest of the executive team mentioned in that 2006 article.
In fact, you can see for yourself Saturday night at The Brothers Lounge when Gary’s band, Wagon Blasters, is joined by Mike Tulis’ band, Lupines, for a 20 year anniversary celebration that should be epic in its awesomeness.
What else is happening this weekend?
Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s another group is celebrating a 20th anniversary — Lincoln band Her Flyaway Manner. Watch as these fossils sling their guitars over their walkers and wheel chairs for a set that should go down in geriatric history. Joining them are Jump the Tiger and Wrong Pets (members of Little Brazil). $5, 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight, See Through Dresses headlines at Milk Run. Joining them are New York band Haybaby (Tiny Engines Records) and The Way Out. No price listed, show starts at 9 p.m.
And lest we forget, tonight is the annual OEAA nominee showcase in Benson featuring more than 40 bands playing at six venues. Your $10 wristband gets you in to all shows all night. More info here.
Tomorrow night (Saturday) is the aforementioned Speed! Nebraska 20th anniversary bash at The Brothers Lounge. Wagon Blasters vs. Lupines. $5, starts at 9 p.m.
Also Saturday night, The Felice brothers headline at The Waiting Room. They’re out supporting their latest, Life in the Dark (2016, Yep Rock). Shelby Earl opens. $15, 9 p.m.
Finally Sunday afternoon is the Benefit for Standing Rock at O’Leaver’s. The line-up includes Dark Diamond, DJ Machmuller, Noah Sterba and Pro Magnum. The benefit kicks off at 3:30 p.m. $5. Find out more about the benefit right here.
And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.
If Lincoln Calling and the second year of the Good Living Tour (which kicks off this Thursday in the mighty town of Ord, Nebraska) weren’t enough, Hear Nebraska yesterday announced a mega-fundraiser Sept. 24 in Lincoln. They’re calling it Beer Nebraska — five bands and five breweries. And what bands: Cursive, Criteria, Universe Contest, Better Friend and a reunion of Lincoln band Columbia Vs Challenger. The concert takes place all afternoon in the parking lot of Zipline Brewery in Lincoln at 2100 Magnum Cir #1. Tickets are $30 and include entrance fee and three samples per brewery.
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Tiny Engines, the imprint that releases music by Omaha’s own See Through Dresses, announced that the band is hitting the road on its summer tour starting July 26 at Lincoln’s Vega when they open for Soul Asylum. Afterward it’s off to Hastings for a stop on the Good Living Tour and then a couple dates with Little Brazil in Kansas. After that, STD will be driving along the East Coast, eventually winding up back in Omaha Aug. 20 for a performance at Maha Music Festival.
The band continues to support their 2015 Tiny Engines debut, End of Days, but has begun recording the follow-up, which is slated for release next spring.
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Speaking of the East Coast, Brooklyn band (with Omaha connections) Navy Gangs plays tonight at Milk Run. Hear Nebraska has an interview with the band right here. Opening is Staffers, Vegetable Deluxe and Lush Bruise Crew. $7, 9 p.m.
Sounds like the time Landon Hedges has spent playing in Desparecidos over the past few years has had an impact on his own band, Little Brazil. At least judging from two tracks Hedges recently let me preview from the band’s forthcoming album, Send the Wolves.
Both songs — “Making a Mess” and “You” — sport that classic Little Brazil guitar-fueled bombast we’ve all come to expect after years of releases dating back to 2004’s self-titled EP. The “Desa difference” can be heard in the sheer power of the songs and the choices made with melodies. These songs sound unlike anything else Little Brazil has recorded, and are among their best.
Another difference in their sound could be due to the band’s new line-up. While Hedges and Danny Maxwell remain at the core of Little Brazil, veteran Matt Bowen (The Faint, Commander Venus, Lullaby for the Working Class, Race for Titles, The Third Men, to name a few) has taken over on drums while one of the city’s most talented guitarists, Mike Friedman (The Lupines, Simon Joyner) now handles leads.
Hedges says you’ll have to wait until this fall to get your copy of Send the Wolves. Little Brazil is working with old compadre Mike Jaworski, who is managing the band and helping shop the album to labels and booking agents. Jaworski released three previews Little Brazil albums on his own Mt. Fuji Records imprint.
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Get ready for the weird tonight at The Waiting Room when Ty Segall returns with his band the Muggers. Segall has been tearing up the TV lately with a number of appearances where he goes shit-crazy, usually wearing a creepy baby mask — a tie-in to his latest album, Emotional Mugger (Drag City, 2016). Expect the usual over-the-top garage rock mayhem. Feels and Oquoa open the show 9 p.m. show. $17.
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Also tonight, See Through Dresses warm up for their trip to this year’s South By Southwest Festival (it’s next week!) with a set tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Opening the show tonight is Lincoln band Better Friend and Omaha trio The Sunks. $5, 9 p.m.
Tonight’s main event takes place at O’Leaver’s with traveling band Summer Cannibals. The Portland four-piece plays an infectious style of indie rock which sounds influenced by acts like Sleater-Kinney or Girl in a Coma. The band’s sophomore album, Show Us Your Mind, was released earlier this year on New Moss Records and is pretty cool. Check out a track below. Also on the bill is one of my favorite local acts, Miniature Horse, and headliner Low Long Signal. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight, Minneapolis indie band On an On headlines at Reverb Lounge. But among the openers is Eliot Sumner, the daughter of Sting and actress Trudie Styler. Listening to her in the video below, her voice sounds lower than her father’s voice. Multi-instrumentalist Dosh also is on the bill. $12, 9 p.m.
Local legend Dereck Higgins and Carol Rogers are doing a set tonight over at Carver Bank, 2416 Lake St. The performance is at 8 p.m. and is free.
And Tara Vaughan headlines at Slowdown Jr. tonight with The Derby Birds and The Hottman Sisters. $7, 9 p.m.
Tomorrow night (Saturday) See Through Dresses returns to O’Leaver’s. They’ve been on the road with the likes of Cymbals Eat Guitars and The Good Life. The band recently announced it has another EP coming out this fall on Tiny Engines. Maybe we’ll get a sneak peek? Opening the show is Sidewalkers. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Also tomorrow night, Relax, It’s Science headlines at Slowdown Jr. with Lineman’s Rodeo and Laika the Space Bitch. It starts at 9 and is FREE.
That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.
Indie label Tiny Engines announced today that it signed Omaha band See Through Dresses. The Carolinas-based label has been around since 2008 , according to their website. Their roster includes Beach Slang, which recently toured with Cursive, Adult Mom, Everyone Everywhere and a shitload of bands I’ve never heard of (but who are probably awesome).
Look for a new See Through Dresses EP this fall on Tiny Engines. The band just finished touring with Cursive and are headed out on a rather massive European tour starting right after they open for Matt Pond PA at Reverb this Thursday night. No doubt Sara Bertuldo, Matt Carroll and the rest of the band will be fluent in German when they return in June.
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Speaking of touring, Desaparecidos just added a few more dates to their summer tour, according to Brooklyn Vegan. The band will play support shows with Gaslight Anthem and Brand New, and will be hosting their CD release shows for Payola (out June 23 on Epitaph Records) in NYC at Shea Stadium and Rough Trade.
Meanwhile, the various members of Desa are busy trying to ride the wave of publicity with their own projects.
Rig 1 a.k.a. Ian McElroy, just announced a handful of East Coast and Midwest tour dates in support of his last record, 2014’s North of Maple (Team Love Records).
One of Denver Dalley’s other projects, Broken Bats, yesterday premiered a track off their upcoming EP called “Leather” (listen to the track here). In addition to Denver, Broken Bats consists of former Pink Spiders frontman Matt “Friction” Bell, Future Unlimited drummer Gabe Pigg, and Tony Smith from Bowling Green rockers Sleeper Agent. The full EP apparently drops digitally today. The band is playing at Mercury Lounge in NYC May 14 with Fidlar and Metz.
I mentioned Matt Baum’s latest project, Montee Men, recently released a new tune on Bandcamp. And, of course, Landon Hedges’ project Little Brazil is in the process of writing and recording a new album.
Then there’s Conor Oberst, who’s got solo dates throughout the month of June, including a sold out show at The Waiting Room June 18.
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Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s the return of San Francisco band Vetiver (Sub Pop, Easy Sound). Opening is EDJ (Eric D. Johnson of Fruit Bats). $15, 9 p.m.
Simon Joyner, Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist, 2015)
“You Got Under My Skin,” the first track off Simon Joyner’s upcoming album, Grass, Branch & Bone, is being streamed via Stereogum today (right here). The album comes out on Woodsist Records on St. Patrick’s Day. Pre-order your copy here. You won’t regret it.
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Dereck Higgins, Myths…Realities (DHV, 2015)
Dereck Higgins’ follow-up to last year’s Murphy LP is titled Myths…Realities and is being co-produced with KiNETiK Records (Greece). The collection is archival material, most of it never released. Preorder your copy of this limited-run release here.
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See Through Dresses, self-titled (This Charming Man, 2015)
Preorders are being taken here for the European release of See Through Dresses’ self-titled LP on German label This Charming Man Records. The record drops in late March.
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In non-local music news, The Mountain Goats today announced they’ve got a new album coming out April 7 on Merge called Beat the Champ, which is about professional wrestling. “I wrote these songs to re-immerse myself in the blood and fire of the visions that spoke to me as a child, and to see what more there might be in them now that I’m grown,” said head goat John Darnielle. Check out the first track from the album, below.
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Rock NYC has written a love letter to Matt Whipkey in the form of a glowing review of his upcoming album, Underwater, calling Matt “Omaha’s best export since Conor Oberst.” Read the review here and check out Matt’s latest video, below.
Nebraska’s hardest working musician / DJ, Darren Keen, was honored with a remix of his track “Higher” by Teklife’s DJ Earl. The details are at Fact Magazine.
Who exactly is DJ Earl?
“The music I am making now is heavily influenced by a Chicago style of dance music called Footwork,” Darren said. “The biggest, most famous crew is called Teklife. The two biggest DJ / producers they have are DJ Rashad and DJ Earl. DJ Rashad died this year. So DJ Earl is literally the biggest name in the genre of music I’m doing now. He’s gonna be hella famous in a year.”
Darren described “Footwork” as fast, triplet-based dance music. “Vice (the news website) described my sound as ‘B-boy footwork being played out of a 3rd world boom box.’ Sounds accurate.”
Desaparecidos let the cat out of the bag via social media when they posted a photo of an upcoming Epitaph comp cassette that features the band along with a handful of label mates. As stated, it was apparently made for last weekend’s FYF Fest. The track, “Anonymous,” was released as a single by Desa last year.
Conor gave a non-denial affirmation when asked about the band’s relationship with Epitaph in our recent interview, published in June in The Reader:
The Reader: What’s happening with Desaparecidos? I heard a new LP has been recorded and is coming out on Epitaph. With the demands of supporting your new solo album and tour, is that project now on hold?
Conor Oberst: We’ve been working towards a new full length. We hope to put it out next year at some point. It has been a blast playing with them again. I have to promote my new record and that takes time, but we are going to continue working on the Desa stuff as well.
Tomorrow’s Future Islands show at The Waiting Room is now sold out. See you there.
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Tonight’s Hear Nebraska Live at Turner Park concert featuring Snake Island and Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship has been cancelled… again. Tonight’s show was a reschedule from a date a few weeks ago that also got rained out. HN’s Andy Norman is seeing if he can get yet another date for this bill.
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See Through Dresses announced via Facebook they’ve been signed by the Germans at This Charming Man Records. “We’re looking forward to working with them and they are releasing our full-length in Europe. Expect us over the pond next year!”
Just for fun, I plugged the TCM’s announcement into Google Translate, which switched it up from German to English, in the usual clumsy fashion:
I am very pleased, See Through Dresses from Omaha, Nebraska to be able to welcome in the ranks of TCM. Hannes, his character drummer of Lost Girls and touring riders of Tim Kasher, contacted me a few months ago and sent me euphoric the current LP of four. Kaspers Tim raved well during his last tour in Germany neatly from the See Through Dresses -plate (as for me later turned out, the guitarist and singer of See Through Dresses to Kasher’s “adult movie” album has appeared and participated in the complete tour ) and Hannes thought it was a nice idea if this quite excellent album would also appear in Europe. After the first run I was already hooked, excited after repeated listening.
I felt immediately added to the year 1995 – a Best Of the nineties Indies Sebadoh about Sonic Youth (eg “Pink Noise”) and My Bloody Valentine … The sound is of course no new nuclear physics, ignites at me but mega hard – super hooks, sugar-sweet melodies, sadness and pathos something … these are the ingredients for the perfect Emo WetDreaM. And alongside the influences of the old world but you will also find traces of current bands, for example, Shout Out Louds – the singing of “Get Sick Again”, Pains At Being Pure At Heart – “Glass” and the male / female vocals in General.
The self-titled and self-recorded debut album was released in an edition of 550 LPs out in the States and in the spring of 2015 with This Charming Man re-released. The band is touring Europe to match the album release in spring / summer 2015 For booking requests but please contact Hannes or write me a mail fix.
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Speaking of See Through Dresses, they headline a show tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Minneapolis band Kitten Forever and Lincoln punk masters Once A Pawn. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight, Part V in John Klemmensen’s ongoing Songwriter Death Battle series takes place at The Waiting Room. John hands his acoustic guitar off to a string of local singer/songwriters for one tune apiece. The action begins at 9. $7.
What a birthday bash for Sara Bertuldo. Something like 150 people (guess-timate) were there to celebrate Sara’s successful journey around the sun and to hear one of the strongest local line-ups in a long time.
See Through Dresses at The Waiting Room, July 19, 2014.
Sara kicked it off with her band, See Through Dresses. All this talk about a shoegaze revival with bands like Slowdive once again touring. Forget all that and check out this band, which combines the best droning shoe-gaze elements with the tunefulness of Dinosaur Jr. and Pixies. Bertuldo has grown not only in age but in voice, sharing the vocal chores with Matt Carroll, who’s no push-over himself. Post mammoth June tour, they were razor sharp.
As reported, Little Brazil swapped out half its personnel, and the difference was indeed noticeable. Matt Bowen brings a throatier style to the kit, somehow managing to work his way through Oliver Morgan’s intricate lines while adding his own unique voice to the proceedings. Mike Friedman’s lead guitar lines were altogether different not only from what Greg Edds used to contribute to the band, but from what Friedman does as a member of The Lupines. His Lupes’ style is sheer shredding, whereas his ornate touch on LB tunes recalls Layla-era Clapton (Yeah, I said it, I compared him to God). You had to pay attention, though, as Friedman is more musician than showman — playing (at times) with his back toward the audience.
It all came together on the third song of LB’s set, a new tune unlike anything I’ve heard them try before, a hook-laden rocker that separates itself from LB’s standard indie fare thanks to a unique vocal melody and amazing harmony guitars between Landon Hedges and Friedman that recalled the best of Thin Lizzy. This one has “hit” written all over it (too bad there ain’t no such thing as a hit these days). Hedges, btw, was in top vocal form, and bassist Danny Maxwell’s bass continued to be the bedrock it’s all built upon. Where can these guys take this next?
Ladyfinger rounding out the July 19 show at The Waiting Room.
Finally, Ladyfinger framed the evening with its usual bombast. It was a greatest hits set, with no new material (that I recognized, anyway). Here’s yet another band of local legends that has me scratching my head, wondering where they’re headed next.
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Nightbird at The Sydney, July 18, 2014.
Friday night I slipped into The Sydney to catch Nightbird’s debut performance, and it was pretty much as I expected — a set of sludgy, mid-tempo long-form rock songs inspired by your favorite stoner bands. Gerald Lee Meyerpeter howled over his guitar’s feedback as drummer Scott Zimmerman and bassist Jeff Harder provided the foundation. We used to call this “drug music” when I was a kid, and though I don’t do drugs, I can imagine (or maybe I can’t) what it would be like to trip out to this stuff in a smoke-filled bedroom surrounded by black-light posters and halter-tops. Nightbird is all about style rather than songs — if you’re into their kind of dirty sludge, a heavy heaven awaits. PS: Rumor has it they may be adding another guitar, someone from Omaha rock’s not-so-distant past…
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Big show tonight at fabulous O’Leavers — the return of Planes Mistaken for Stars. These guys have been coming through since the late ’90s playing an angular style of post-hardcore punk. Not to be missed. Opening is New Lungs (Little Brazil’s Danny Maxwell in the lead position) and Chicago post-hardcore band All Eyes West. $5, 9 p.m.
Billboard is reporting that first week sales of Conor Oberst’s Upside Down Mountain came in at roughly 11,000 units, enough to put him on top of the Folk charts.
“Conor Oberst starts at No. 6 on Top Rock Albums and scores his first No. 1 on Folk Albums with “Upside Down Mountain” (11,000),” says the Billboard article. “It’s Oberst’s first title credited to his name alone (as opposed to his moniker Bright Eyes, or Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band) since his eponymous album in 2008, which debuted and peaked at No. 3 on Top Rock Albums. “Mountain” is Oberst’s first major-label set, released on Nonesuch/Warner Bros. He crowned Top Rock Albums in 2007 with Bright Eyes’ “Cassadaga,” which also earned him his highest rank on the Billboard 200 (No. 4).“
According to SoundScan data, the Upside Down Mountain came in at No. 19 in overall sales with 10,674 units sold last week. FYI, Coldplay’s Ghost Stories was No. 1 selling 382,665 units. Mike Fratt, general manager at Homer’s Records, said Oberst would have finished higher on the sales charts had his vinyl been available — apparently it wasn’t and isn’t.
“There was a production issue, so vinyl is still not at retail,” Fratt said. “Just checked WEA b2b and (the record is) still not in stock. So, that hurt sales. Maybe as much as 4,000 to 5,000 units.” That would have been enough to push the record to No. 15.
Fratt’s estimate of vinyl sales seemed way high to me — 5,000 units would have represented about a third of the record’s total sales had it been available. But Fratt says his estimate is right on.
“Vinyl for an artist like Conor could be as high as 40 percent of first week sales,” he said. “There have been a a handful of indie releases in the last year where the vinyl share has exceeded the CD or digital component. These have been releases that have sold less than 10k total for the first week. Vinyl now represents approx 30 percent of an indie store’s sales now.”
Fratt added that in Omaha alone, Upside Down Mountain sold 140 units, according to Soundscan.
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Onto the weekend. Two good local shows tonight.
At fabulous O’Leaver’s, See Through Dresses kicks off its 2014 Summer Tour in support of the self-titled debut LP released last fall. Opening is personal faves Gordon along with Worn Out, which I think is the band formerly known as Adtrita fronted by the man known as Steve Micek formerly of the band The Stay Awake (I’m making a massive assumption about Worn Out based solely on the fact that the link on the show’s Facebook invite for Worn Out goes to the Adtrita bandcamp page)(And you know what happens when you assume?) $5, 9:30 p.m.
Also tonight, Simon Joyner opens for Portland’s Marisa Anderson (Mississippi Records). Also on the bill is Mike Schlesinger. $8, 9 p.m.
Unless I’m misreading the data, that’s it for this weekend. Let me know if I’m missing something. And a Denny Lewis used to say, ‘Good living to ya.’