Contemplating summer days (Stir, Decemberists, etc.); New Jake Bellows videos; Orenda Fink tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:49 pm February 11, 2015
Orenda Fink plays tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson.

Orenda Fink plays tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The news lull continues, which explains why updates have been spotty lately. When I don’t have something to write about, I’m not going to post an update, and lately there hasn’t been much to write about regarding local indie music. At least nothing definitive.

From a national indie perspective, one of the bigger announcements was the continuation of The Replacements reunion tour, with shows now slated for Denver April 19 and Chicago April 29 and 30. Why not Maha in August? You never know, though I don’t see it happening. I suspect we’ll be getting a Maha headliner announcement in the very near future.

I was a tad bit disappointed that Replacements won’t be in Austin for South by Southwest this year, mainly because I will, once again, be attending the annual confab / endurance test. Expect the usual coverage at thereader.com and (of course) right here.

And there very likely also will be a podcast from Austin, but more about podcasting later (I still have to figure out how to do it).

In other outdoor festival news, Stir Cove announced a slew of lackluster summer dates including Barenaked Ladies, Violent Femmes, Colin Hay of Men at Work, the godawful Hozier and novelty star Weird Al. Looks like my string of avoiding Stir Concert Cover shows will continue in 2015.

One outdoor concert I will be attending (in addition to Maha) is The Decemberists at Sumtur Amphitheater May 29.  Where the f*** is Sumtur? Way out in Papillion out by Walnut Creek Lake. Where’s that? It’s 20-some miles south of Dodge on 108th St. No opener named, yet. Decemberists have been touring with Alvvays, and two days before the Omaha date Decemberists are playing at Red Rocks with Courtney Barnett. Barnett alone is worth the 8-hour drive to Denver.

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Hey, here’s some news: Mouser just posted three new videos by Jake Bellows. You can see them all here or check out the YouTube embed below (which connects to the full playlist). Good ol’ Jake.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge in Benson it’s Orenda Fink live and in concert. She is, in my opinion, the kind of artist perfectly suited for this very intimate venue. Expect a special performance. Opening is Thayer Sarrano & Mike Schlesinger. $8, 9 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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).

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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.

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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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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SXSW: An audience of technological lemmings? Early head’s up; Blasted Canyons tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:41 pm March 22, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The most disturbing trend at this year’s South by Southwest Festival — musicians performing to an audience of down-turned heads, thanks to the advent of the smart phone.

Sure, they’ve been around for years, but they’ve never been so prevalent. In Austin last week, everyone had an iPhone and everyone spent most of the time at shows I attended staring down at them rather than up at the stage. As a result, musicians and bands, who could play as many as 10 shows over the course of three days, couldn’t help but notice that no one was paying attention.

The problem was magnified at SXSW because so many people in the audience were media or bloggers. So the typical SXSW show paradigm consisted of the band taking the stage, the audience taking a photo with their smart phone, then spending the next few minutes uploading the image to their Twitter feed and/or Facebook wall. And then, after about three songs, going back to their phones to see if anyone commented on their tweets/Facebook status update. Pathetic?

This is the topic of my column this week in The Reader, which you can read right here (and in the printed version on newsstands now) Read it, then come back and leave a comment….

* * *

This is an early head’s up for an event taking place next Friday — March 30 — at House of Loom.  Loom owner/operator/genius Brent Crampton asked me to take part in his Friday Afternoon Club. I said yes. Details here. More details next week. Mark your calendar. I have a very strong suspicion  no one will be there, so expect a chill launch to your weekend…

* * *

Tonight at O’Leaver’s it’s SF band Blasted Canyons with Pint of No Return. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, LA electronic outfit Mansions on the Moon plays at The Waiting Room with Touch People (a.k.a. Darren Keen) & DJ Hypoxik. $12, 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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SXSW Day 2: Jesus and Mary Chain, Neon Trees, Cults, Glen Hansard, Purity Ring, Titus Andronicus, more…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:35 pm March 16, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Same routine as yesterday: Go here to thereader.com and read my Day 2 recap of SXSW featuring reviews of performances by Neon Trees, Glen Hansard, and Gardens & Villas, and the amazing Jesus and Mary Chain, then take a look at my photo diary, below.  And if you really want to know about the pain that is SXSW, read my column in this week’s issue of The Reader, online here.

Inca Abraham at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Inca Abraham at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Neon Trees at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Neon Trees at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Glen Hansard at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Glen Hansard at Antone's, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Cults at 1100 Warehouse, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Cults at 1100 Warehouse, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Gardens & Villa at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Gardens & Villa at Mohawk Patio, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Purity Ring at Central Presbyterian Church, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Purity Ring at Central Presbyterian Church, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at The Belmont, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

Titus Andronicus at The Belmont, SXSW, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Belmont, March 15, 2012.

Tomorrow: Day 3. See you then…

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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SXSW Day 1 in pictures: The Wedding Present, Zola Jesus, Fiona Apple, Sharon Van Etten, Freedy Johnston, more…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 11:41 am March 15, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

So here’s the deal, my 2,500 word summery of my first day at South By Southwest is online right now, right here at thereader.com. Nine bands, includes reviews of Sharon Van Etten, Fiona Apple, Zola Jesus, The Ettes, Blood Orange and more. Read it NOW, then come back and look at the following photo gallery from yesterday’s gigs.

The Ettes at The Ginger Man, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Ettes at The Ginger Man, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange (center left, hat) talks to Alexa Chung of 24 Hour Catwalk fame, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Dev Hynes of Blood Orange (center left, hat) talks to Alexa Chung of 24 Hour Catwalk fame, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Violin Monster on 6th St. is among the "colorful" sights. SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Violin Monster on 6th St. is among the "colorful" sights. SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Puffy Aureolas at Beerland, SXSW, March 12, 2012.

Puffy Aureolas at Beerland, SXSW, March 12, 2012.

The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

The Wedding Present at Red Eyed Fly, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Fiona Apple at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Fiona Apple at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Sharon Van Etten at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Sharon Van Etten at Stubb's, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Zola Jesus at Elysium, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Freedy Johnston at Hilton Garden Inn, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Freedy Johnston at Hilton Garden Inn, SXSW, March 14, 2012.

Check back tomorrow for Day 2!!! My back is killing me….

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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.

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Column No. 300: A look back at Year 6; Brad Hoshaw, Rah Rah tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 1:54 pm December 9, 2010

Column No. 300

A look back at year 6.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Goddamn. Just look at that number. 3 0 0. Not all were as perfect as a bowling score, but still… that’s a lot of friggin’ words. And I haven’t run out yet.

It’s hard to believe that six years ago Column No. 1, an interview with then hot propriety Willy Mason, was published, Dec. 2, 2004. Golden-boy entrepreneur John Heaston and the work-hardened galley hands at The Reader have been kind enough to keep this page open to me all these long years, with hopefully many more to come. Don’t believe all that putrefied tripe about the “death of print.” Newspapers will be around long after that shiny iPad you’re getting for Christmas has been recycled a dozen times over by the good folks at PBR.

So, as I crank out yet another recap and update some of the “better” columns of the past year, I thank you, precious reader, for coming along for the ride, always willing to crack your window whenever the gas accidentally escapes. At the same time, I kneel before you, hat in hand, eyes turned downward, and beg you to send your column ideas via dancing electron to tim@lazy-i.com. Your thoughts make my thoughts grow, and are the fertilizer that keeps this mighty tree sturdy as we enter year seven — just in time for Second Grade.

Column 255: The Letting Go, Jan. 20, 2010 — We said goodbye to a pure garage-punk genius named Jay Reatard, who at age 29 was way too young to die. Jay’s impact on our modern world is still being felt by all of us who value flash-brave creativity, and without a doubt, his spark always will be felt long after we let him go. We’re still letting go of The 49’r, whose bitter demise remains fresh in our minds. When this column was published, the hopeful were organizing the “Save the 49’r” Facebook page, but I think we all knew better. You can’t stop graft. The lights went out in October. The wrecking ball awaits. Fuck you, CVS, you overblown toilet-paper store. I’ll never step foot in your fluorescent nightmare. And yes, Mr. Gray, voters will remember.

Column 258: Long Live the Hole, Feb. 10, 2010 — In the dead of winter, all-ages basement punk club The Hole was forced to move out of its hole beneath the Convicted skate shop across the street to the above-ground relic that used to house jaunty Omaha gay bar The Diamond on south 16th. It looked like a new beginning for a venue that some thought could serve kids the same way the Cog Factory did in the ’90s. But the location was too good to be true, and in September The Hole was dug up once again, forced to move to another basement, this time beneath Friendly’s Family Bookstore in Benson, where it now resides. Probably. A glance at the club’s Myspace and Facebook pages shows no listings for upcoming shows, and the sign above the club’s alley entrance is gone.

Column 262 & 263: Austin Bound, March 10, 2010 — Why should local bands play at South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin? Little Brazil, It’s True, Digital Leather, The Mynabirds, Thunder Power, Eagle Seagull and UUVVWWZ all gave their best reasons, which boiled down to: 1) exposure, and 2) fish tacos. Despite playing to crowds that ranged from a few to a few hundred, none of them got their “big break,” but they did get king-sized hangovers and lots of memories. I haven’t decided if I’m going back this year…

Column 266: No Excuses, April 14, 2010 It was an opportunity to point an accusatory finger directly at you, the local indie music community, and warn you that there were no excuses this time. None. The MAHA Music Festival line-up — Spoon, The Faint, Superchunk — and an ultra-cheap $33 ticket made sure of that. If Omaha really wanted a true indie rock festival — the beginning of a Midwestern Lolla or Coachella or Bonnaroo — it had to turn up at Lewis & Clark Landing this year. And you did, thousands of you for what is now being rumored as the last Faint performance ever (though I’ll believe it only when Todd tells me so). Now comes word that an already crowded local music festival season is about to get more crowded next year. Will MAHA be able to get you to come out again in 2011? Two words: Arcade Fire. Dare to dream.

Column 267: Identity Crisis, April 21, 2010 — This bitter live review of Digital Leather’s performance at Harrah’s Casino was a chance to whine like a pussy at how the band on stage only vaguely resembled the one heard on their amazing albums (Blow MachineSorcerer, Warm Brother). In hindsight, well, I had nothing to whine about. Digital Leather live is a filthy, punk factory that bleeds anger on its own level, whether or not I can hear the friggin’ keyboards. If I want nuanced subtlety, I can always stay home and listen to the records (something we’ll all get a chance to do when Digital Leather releases its latest work of art in 2011).

Column 271: Comfort Zone, May 19, 2010 — Stephen Pedersen, Omaha’s version of Buckaroo Banzai (high-fallutin’ Kutak-Rock lawyer by day / Saddle Creek rock star by night) explained why he and the rest of the aging yuppies in Criteria are content only playing the occasional reunion show. In fact, the band hasn’t played again since that Waiting Room gig in May. Instead, the esteemed counselor has his eyes set on a different sort of reunion — this time with his old pals from seminal Nebraska indie band Slowdown Virginia, who are prepping to take the stage Dec. 23 at the club that (sort of) bears its name — 16 years after their first show. I’m sure they’ll all look and sound exactly the same.

Column 277: A Modest Proposal, June 30, 2010 David Fitzgerald from Athens, GA’s Flagpole magazine did me a solid by writing a review of the debut album from It’s True. Alas, his kind words weren’t enough to keep the band alive, as the same evening the column hit the streets, It’s True announced from stage its demise. So we said goodbye to one of Omaha’s most promising acts… didn’t we? Don’t be so sure.

* * *

There are a couple of shows worth checking out tonight at the usual hot spots.

At The Waiting Room, Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies return to the stage with a bunch of new material. Opening is relatively new Americana/Folk Rock act The Big Deep. $7, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at Slowdown Jr., it’s Regina, Saskatchewan indie band Rah Rah, who was named named “Best Alternative New Artist” and “Best New Canadiana Artist” in iTunes Best of 2009 list. They’re opening for local faves Honey & Darling, along with Canby. $7, 9 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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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