Ten Questions with Unwed Sailor’s Johnathon Ford (new EP out Jan. 21)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 3:01 pm January 11, 2022
Unwed Sailor has a new EP coming out Jan. 21 on Spartan Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, as you all know by now, tomorrow night’s Unwed Sailor show at Reverb Lounge has been cancelled due to one of the band members getting the Covid. Prior to that announcement, I had reached out to the band to see if they’d do the Ten Questions survey in support of the gig. And even though the gig is kaput, we figured why not do it anyway in support of the release of their upcoming EP, Live at CommVess, out Jan. 24 on Spartan Records.

For those of you not in the know, Unwed Sailor is the long-running post-rock project by former Pedro the Lion member Johnathon Ford. The band plays mostly ambient instrumentals in the vein of classic indie acts like The Album Leaf and Tristeza. Very cool vibe.

Of the new album Ford told super-hip NYC blog Brooklynvegan: “It’s been a long time coming for Unwed Sailor to release a proper live recording and to document the process through film as well. Being able to create an intimate first hand look into the vibe and sound of the band playing music and hanging out together in a live studio experience has been a real treat.”

Check out “Blitz,” the first track from the new album:

You can preorder the EP from the band’s Bandcamp page, here. It’s a monumental drag that this show has been cancelled because it would have been a perfect fit for Reverb. Here’s hoping they can reschedule when this pandemic finally runs its course.

Anyway, here’s how Mr. Ford answered the Ten Questions survey:

What is your favorite album?

Johnathon Ford: Hard question! I don’t have an ultimate favorite, but I would say an album that shaped me as a music lover and a musician would be New Order – Substance.

What is your least favorite song?

Another hard question! There are so many. I’d have to say that “God Bless America” or “Jesus Loves Me” are high on the list.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Self expression. Creating music and playing it live.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being forced to cancel shows and hearing loss.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Popcorn and coke in my mouth at the same time.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

San Diego, CA in 1996 with my band Roadside Monument. The only person at the show was the bartender and he ended up leaving during our set.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Ah, the seemingly impossible dream of making a living off of music. The forever goal. Serving beer, making pizza, and collecting rent.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I would love to be an archeologist. I’d hate to be a cop.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I haven’t heard many stories about Omaha, but I’ve experienced my own stories while playing there. A lot of great memories in Omaha. Too many to count. I can’t wait to come back.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Tokyo Police Club (at The Slowdown Oct. 28)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm October 25, 2021
Tokyo Police Club circa now. The band plays at The Slowdown Thursday, Oct. 28, with And How.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Seems like only yesterday when in fact it was 13 or 14 years ago that Saddle Creek Records announced that it signed one of its first non-Omaha acts — Tokyo Police Club. Elephant Shell came out on Saddle Creek in April 2008 to much fanfare, but the record would prove to be a one-and-done for the label, as TPC would go onto Mom + Pop Music for the follow-up, 2010’s Champ.

And now a decade later, TPC is celebrating that record with a tour that comes through The Slowdown this Thursday, Oct. 28. TPC is issuing a vinyl version of the album in honor of the 10th anniversary. In addition, TPC frontman Dave Monks has a new album coming out Oct. 15 and guitarist / keyboardist Graham Wright dropped a solo album last month. 

That leaves drummer Greg Alsop to do our Ten Questions survey. We caught up with him and here’s what he had to say: 

What is your favorite album?

Greg Alsop: Siamese Dream – Smashing Pumpkins

What is your least favorite song?

“More than a Feeling” – Boston. It’s like 3 terrible songs strung together. 

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

The travel. 

What do you hate about being in a band?

The travel. 

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

5:1 CBD to THC. (Thankfully – legal where I live). 

In what city or town do you love to perform?

Omaha. No – for real. The Slowdown is one of the best venues in the country and we’re always so happy to be back there. It’s a club that actually goes out of its way to make touring bands feel welcomed and taken care of. Laundry? Check. Load-in ramps? Check. Love the Slowdown and can’t wait to be back.  

What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Austin TX, SXSW 2007. At that gig we learned what a “texas mickey” was and why one should never be on our rider…

Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to do this full-time for a while now, which we’re all still extremely grateful for. This will be our first tour since 2019 and we’re all pumped to have the opportunity to be doing this again. 

What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I think there’s a real opportunity to go city to city solving unsolved mysteries. However, everything would have to get wrapped up pretty neatly by “van call” the next morning…

What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Nothing comes to mind, but if there’s some inscrutable case out there please let us know and we’ll get our best sleuths on the job. 

o 0 o 0 o

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Tokyo Police club plays with And How Thursday, Oct. 28, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Tickets are $20, showtime is 8 p.m. This is a No Vax / No Entry show, so bring proof of vaccination and a photo ID to get in the club. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Bad Bad Hats (with And How at Reverb 9/22)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 7:17 am September 21, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Bad Bad Hats play at Reverb Lounge Wednesday, Sept. 22.

This is the first Ten Questions interview since before the pandemic! Green shoots? Maybe.

Minnesota band Bad Bad Hats are no strangers to Omaha, having opened for The Mynabirds at Slowdown back in 2015 (alongside the lost-but-not-forgotten High Up). They’re back in support of their new album, Walkman, which dropped last Friday on Don Giovanni Records.

The power-pop trio has a soft spot for jangly, cool ‘90s indie rock. In fact, my first run through the album I was reminded of Exile-era Liz Phair, though front woman Kerry Alexander’s lyrics of love gone wrong (and right) aren’t nearly as dark and acerbic as Liz’s bedroom diaries. Playing alongside bandmates bass player Chris Hoge and drummer Connor Davison, Bad Bad Hats headlines at Reverb Lounge Sept. 22.

We caught up with Kerry and gave her the Ten Questions treatment. Here’s what she had to say:

  1. What is your favorite album?

Kerry Alexander: Wow, tough question from the start! How to choose, how to choose. Obviously different albums have been my #1 at different points in my life. But one I always come back to is Fortress Round My Heart by Ida Maria. 

  1. What is your least favorite song?

I, in general, don’t believe in “guilty pleasures” in music, or that certain genres aren’t good, etc. I feel like if music is making you feel an emotion then it’s working as intended. That said, I don’t love “Boogie Shoes.” 

  1. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

There are many things to love, but I like that it’s allowed me to travel so much. I love experiencing new places, trying new food, seeing friends who live far away. I also love the synergy of playing music with other people. When you’ve practiced and you’re on your game and you anticipate each other’s moves. It’s a very special bond. 

  1. What do you hate about being in a band?

Rock venue bathrooms. 

  1. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

My lack of illegal substance use is well-documented (see our song “Nothing Gets Me High”). So I guess I’ll say, I like emotional substance. Deep conversations. Sincere feelings. Haha! That’s pretty corny, but I’m sticking with it.

  1. In what city or town do you love to perform?

This question is always so hard to answer because we love playing in so many different cities and venues. We love Chicago, we love Madison, we love Portland, we love Charlotte, we obviously always love the hometown gig. And I know this is an Omaha publication, so not to pander, but we do have so many great Omaha show memories. It’s always a good crowd, Reverb Lounge is an amazing venue, and it doesn’t hurt that we can get some Coneflower ice cream before we leave town…!

  1. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Well we try to block those shows from our memory, but we’ve probably played the worst shows in the Twin Cities. Because that’s where we got our start! And we needed some time to get good at our instruments and our flow and our stage presence. And we’re grateful that folks stuck with us while we figured it out. Being a musician is a constant learning experience for me. But that’s what I like about it!

  1. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

We are professional musicians, yes. And that feels good to say! Because it took us about 6 to 7 years of being a band before we could say that. Chris, our bass player, accidentally became a full-time musician when his part-time job told him he couldn’t come back after a tour. Haha! So sometimes you just have to make it work. 

  1. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I would love to work in music supervision. That sounds fun! Maybe? I don’t actually know what that job entails. But I like the idea of it. Is there anything better than a perfectly soundtracked movie or TV moment? I would be in trouble in any job where I have to drive a giant vehicle. Keep me away from that.

  1. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I don’t know if anyone’s told me a story about Omaha. I went there the first time with no preconceived notions. I only know my own Omaha story. Which is: Show up to the venue. Load in and soundcheck. Go get some delicious ramen. Grab a beer at the beautiful Reverb Lounge bar. Play a great show. Talk to a bunch of friendly people at the merch table. Go to sleep. Wake up the next day and have Archetype coffee and Coneflower for breakfast. And what a wonderful story it is!

Bad Bad Hats play with And How on Wednesday, Sept. 22, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $15, showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Nap Eyes (at The Waiting Room March 15)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:22 pm March 12, 2020

Nap Eyes plays at The Waiting Room Sunday, March 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Halifax, Nova Scotia, four-piece Nap Eyes, fronted by singer/songwriter Nigel Chapman, has been playing its brand of laid-back indie since 2011. Their PR folks compare them to Silver Jews and Daniel Johnston, “but the new sheen and maturity also now brings to mind the wide-angle appeal of The Jayhawks and the addictive brightness of Green Day’s Kerplunk!

The Jayhawks I can see, Green Day not so much (and that’s a good thing). While their earlier releases were looser and more free-form (think Pavement meets Wilco), their latest, Snapshot of a Beginner, is a more-tightly produced collection of indie rockers. The band went to The National’s upstate New York Long Pond Studio and worked with producers Jonathan Low (Big Red Machine, The National) and James Elkington (Steve Gunn, Joan Shelley). The end result sports some of that National grandiosity, with a touch of new frontier drama brought back down to earth by Chapman’s nasal croon.

I caught up with the band and gave them the ol’ Ten Questions treatment. Here’s what they had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Nap Eyes: Curtis Mayfield – Curtis

2. What is your least favorite song?

“A Man Needs A Maid”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Eating at restaurants.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Eating at bad restaurants.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Legal: silk. Illegal: lsd.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Boise, ID

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Nanaimo, BC, because a guy grabbed the mic and started rapping (though perhaps this was also the best gig simultaneously because of this fact?)

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

None of us have other jobs right now which is probably extremely short sighted. We just eat beans and rice and live monkish lifestyles.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Love to attempt: Ben and Jerry’s quality control. Hate to do: bathroom attendant at an all you can eat buffet.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Heard the water tastes like wine.

Nap Eyes plays with Destroyer Sunday, March 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Showtime is 8 p.m., tickets are $22. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with PUP (March 4 at The Waiting Room)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:30 pm March 2, 2020

PUP plays at The Waiting Room March 4. Photo by Vanessa Heins.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There is a long-form version of this story at thereader.com wherein I talk about the Over the Edge column and how I’m shifting its direction to become more interview-based. You can read that version right here.

Ten Questions with PUP

Toronto-based punk band PUP — the name an acronym created by frontman Stefan Babcock’s mother, who said playing in a rock band was a “Pathetic Use of Potential” — has been around since 2010, when they were called Topanga. They changed their name to PUP in 2013 with the release of their self-titled debut on Royal Mountain Records. They switched up to respected punk insignia Side One Dummy for their 2016 follow-up, The Dream Is Over. Much touring followed.

The four-piece quickly created a following for their explosive live performances and melodic (dare I say pop) punk equal parts scratchy confessional and fist-pump anthem that’s a call to arms for your typical suburban Canadian (and/or American) underdog. They’ve never been more powerful than on their latest, 2019’s Morbid Stuff (Rise Records), a collection of shout-along emo-punk nuggets.

With a gig slated for The Waiting Room March 4, I caught up with PUP guitarist Steve Sladkowski and gave him the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Steve Sladkowski: It’s hard to pick one, but currently I’m enjoying just about anything that’s being released on the Sahel Sounds label based in Portland, Oregon, especially the album No. 1 by Etran de L’Aïr.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

I’ve been able to see the world and make friends in a way that seemed completely impossible prior to my life in PUP.  To be able to do that with three of my closest and best friends on the planet still feels a bit like a surreal dream.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

As someone who is in their early 30s, it can get a bit tiresome to answer people’s (sometimes unintentionally) condescending questions about what I have devoted my life to; but otherwise, it’s tough to be away from our partners, loved ones and friends while we’re on the road. Like any job, there are tough days, but it’s something that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Coffee first with bourbon a very, very close second.

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

It’s always fun to play at home in Toronto, but I love to explore new places, so really anywhere they’ll have us is a nice place to play.

7. In what city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Probably when I was in a jazz band in my early 20s, playing stuff like “Someday My Prince Will Come” to utterly disinterested audiences at weird suburban Southern Ontario wedding halls.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

We are!  It took… a long time, probably the entire course of two albums’ worth of writing, recording, rehearsing and touring ad nauseam. This is basically the case for every person I know who is able to eke out a living while playing music in a streaming world.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’ve been very singularly minded toward music for basically the past 20 years, However, I’ve always found urban planning and public transportation fascinating.  We’ve been lucky to see a lot of cities and ride a lot of public transit, and it’s something I find myself reading more and more about both online and in books. I would absolutely hate to be a banker or any other profession that revels in bald-faced capitalism.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I heard the guitar player in PUP was suffering from the worst food poisoning of his life while onstage in Omaha in 2015.  He’s probably looking forward to having a nicer time exploring the city in 2020 when they visit!

PUP plays with Screaming Females and The Drew Thomson Foundation March 4 at The Waiting Room. Tickets are $20 Adv./$23 DOS. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

See Through Dresses, Joy Division tribute, Seven Questions with Black Mountain (Slowdown tonight)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 10:49 am November 27, 2019

Black Mountain plays tonight at Slowdown Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I don’t remember there being so many shows on the night before Thanksgiving. With (most) of us off work on turkey day, it makes sense (although who wants to be hungover at the family gathering? Everybody?).

Three shows are on my radar tonight:

Over at the Reverb Lounge, See Through Dresses returns with what I have to believe will be a set that includes a lot of new songs. Locals Hail Varsity opens at 9 p.m. $10.

Meanwhile, just around the corner at The Waiting Room, there’s a slew of tribute acts hitting the stage. Headlining is Control, a Joy Division tribute that features among its players guitarist Mike Saklar and bass player Randy Cotton. In fact, that duo will also be part of Stigmata Martyr, a Bauhaus tribute that comes on right before Control. The evening kicks off at 9 p.m. with 138, a Misfits tribute. $10.

Finally, down at Slowdown Jr. indie metal band Black Mountain headlines. Their new album, Destroyer, was released on Jagjaguwar, a label that’s been releasing their stuff since their self-titled debut back in 2005 — an album that’s still a regular on the ol’ stereo.

At the top of the mountain is Stephen McBean, who’s rock history goes back beyond his previous band, the more laid back Jerk with a Bomb, which merely hinted at the harder stuff to come. On Destroyer, McBean and Co. give us a modern take on Black Sabbath combined with something that’s a lot more funky. Check out “Boogie Lover” to hear what I’m talking about.

I tried getting McBean to do a 10 Questions survey but he wasn’t having it. Instead, here’s seven questions (sort of):

What is your favorite album?

Black Mountain’s Stephen McBean: Rudimentary Peni, Death Church

What is your least favorite song?

Thankfully, I can’t remember.

What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Playing music with humans & machines.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Oysters.

In what city or town do you love to perform?

The one I’m currently performing in.

What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I like the Philadelphia Flyers.

What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Camp Dump strike.

Opening for Black Mountain tonight is Ryler Walker. This is a Slowdown front room show; tickets are $20; showtime is 8 p.m.

Look for an update tomorrow.

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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.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with The Beths (at The Slowdown July 15)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 6:34 am July 11, 2019

The Beths play at The Slowdown July 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Beths’ bandleader/singer/songwriter Elizabeth Stokes is an indie-rock firecracker who, along with her bandmates, creates hook-filled self-deprecating gems reminiscent of acts like ’90s heartbreakers That Dog., current-day dream wonders Alvvays, and fellow down-under-er Courtney Barnett (though Courtney’s from Australia while Stokes and Co. are from the land of hobbits, New Zealand).

Unlike Barnett, The Beths are still flying under the radar, which makes this upcoming Slowdown Jr. show a chance to see them before they become the inevitable festival-circuit darlings. Their new album, Future Me Hates Me (2019, Carpark Records) is, in a word, sublime — one of my favorite albums so far this year.

We caught up with Stokes and gave her the Ten Questions survey, of which she only answered nine, because, well, if you can’t say something nice…

What is your favorite album? 

This is unfair, just one? My favourite one for a long, long time was The Postal Service Give Up. I was 14 when it became my favourite record, I think that’s the age at which music just gets absorbed straight into your bloodstream and becomes a part of you. I love it with my whole heart.

What is your least favorite song?

What do you enjoy most about being in a band? 

I enjoy physically playing music with other people, connecting and locking in together. It feels different every time and it’s sometimes the easiest thing in the world and sometimes really difficult.

What do you hate about being in a band? 

Hate is a strong word. I’m not crazy about the ‘in the van’ element of touring (I know I’m not alone in this). I get a bit carsick and I can kind of feel my brain and body atrophying after spending hours and hours every day sitting in a vehicle. Holding out for teleportation here.

What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)? 

Chocolate. I wish it was something more original or interesting but that would be a lie. It is chocolate. It is easier to not eat chocolate in America because it tastes… strange? But in Europe and at home I purchase and consume chocolate almost every day, please someone help me; it’s not right.

In what city or town do you love to perform? 

This is so hard, so many amazing places I’d have to offend by not saying them. OK, I’m going to pick at random… Glasgow and Edinburgh (I know that’s two, but I don’t want to further divide them). Our shows there are just wild.

What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)? 

Auckland, New Zealand, a few years back. It was an opening party for the NZ Film Festival. We were playing as quiet as we could but were still way too loud for this party. People came down after watching this three-hour-long heavy film, and we just cranked into a 45-minute set. We were playing super self-consciously and people were trying to talk about this movie. This old guy yelled at us to stop, I thought maybe he was from the venue. Turns out he was just a super-rich patron of the festival who decided he’d had enough, so we finished the set and then I just cried in the equipment closet. I learned to never play apologetically and I know now we could play the same show and handle it a lot better.

Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills? 

Kind of. We have been touring basically non-stop for a year, and the touring kind of pays for itself now. And we’re just starting to earn a bit of money, I think by the time we get home in September we’ll have earned enough to hold us down for the period we’ll be back home writing and making the next record. When we’re home, Jon does studio work and live sound, Tristan is a freelance drummer. Ben and I are instrument teachers but might just fill the gap with whatever odd jobs we can find. NZ has some great funding bodies that have been very supportive and without whom we wouldn’t have been able to afford to tour at all. The NZ Music Commission helps with international touring, NZ On Air helps with recording and music videos.

What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do? 

I wish I was brave enough to have ever tried stand-up comedy. Or maybe writing would be something I wish I was good at. I think customer service or sales I’d find pretty rough. I grew up working in cafes and even in that job customers could make me cry pretty easily.

What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska? 

Nothing bad I promise! First thing that comes to mind is a line in ‘Rabbit Fur Coat’ by Jenny Lewis.

The Beths play with Girl Friday on Monday, July 15 at The Slowdown, . Tickets are $15. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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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.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Scott McCaughey (sold out living room show w/Peter Buck 7/11)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm July 9, 2019

Scott McCaughey plays a living room show in Omaha July 11.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s little doubt that Scott McCaughey would have sold out his July 11 living room show even if his ol’ pal Peter Buck of R.E.M. wasn’t joining him on the tour. McCaughey has played with some of indie music’s greatest acts, including Minus 5 and Young Fresh Fellows, as well as a variety of Peter Buck side projects including The Baseball Project, Filthy Friends and Tired Pony.

Like all Undertow Living Room Shows, this one takes place at someone’s home, whose address is only made known after a ticket has been purchased at the Undertow website. The only clue to the location is the zip code: 68132. So somewhere in Omaha July 11 a group of around 40 people will be listening to songs performed by a couple rock legends.

We caught up with McCaughey and gave him the 10 Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Scott McCaughey: THE BEATLES. a/k/a “The White Album”.  I declared it the The Greatest Album In The World back when I was a teenager, and I’m sticking with it.  Strangely, it might not even be the best Beatles album.  But there’s so much of it!  Others: Neil Young – Tonight’s The Night; Big Star – 3rd; The Sonics – Here Are The Sonics, etc.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“I’ve Never Been To Me” – Charlene.  It haunts me to this day.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Hanging out with my friends.  Discovering new ways to make each song brilliant on a night to night basis.  Making rules for van behavior, then breaking them.

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

It’s like being married, but without the sex.  In most cases.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

A frothy smooth pint of Guinness, maybe at The Long Hall or Mulligan’s in Dublin.  I haven’t had one in years though!

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Chicago rules.  Madrid, Spain, is however THE BEST.  The Laurelthirst Public House in Portland, Oregon, has magic.

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Oh, my.  Seattle (another one of my top cities to play).  It was at the end of three months of a grueling U.S. Young Fresh Fellows tour and we were in tatters and I took cold medicine and copious alcohols and took it out on my bandmates and audience — in hindsight, anyway.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Yes, somehow.  I quit “regular” work (record store, natch) in 1987 and have been muddling about since then.  There have been some quite lucrative years and many leaner ones.  The secret is don’t expect too much, and be thankful for what you get!

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Is musician a profession?  I guess so!  Hard to imagine doing anything else at this point.  It’s my life.  But I’m not going to denigrate anybody else’s job – that’s a luxury to think that way.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I haven’t spent any time there, which is weird.  I mean, I KNOW Conor Oberst! (He’s amazing.) I once met a son of Robert Altman and he sent me a VHS of his documentary called Omaha — that was beautiful and funny and interesting.  But I kind of forgot most of it now.  No working VHS player.

Scott McCaughey plays a sold out living room show July 11. For more information, go to http://undertowshows.com.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ten Questions with Ratboys (at O’Leaver’s Friday night)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:05 pm June 12, 2019

Ratboys plays at O’Leaver’s Friday, June 14.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Ratboys’ publicist described the duo as a “‘post-country’ meets indie rock group from Chicago.” After listening (many times) to their last full-length, GN (2017, Topshelf), and the follow-up EP, GL (2018, Topshelf) — the titles stand for Good Night and Good Luck — I can’t find much “post-country” about them. But then again, I’ve never considered Wilco, who frontwoman Julia Steiner references as among her influences, to be countrified, post or otherwise.

Instead, Ratboys reminds me ’90s college acts like Belly, Throwing Muses, That Dog, The Breeders and upbeat stuff from Azure Ray and Hop Along. That said, you get plenty of pedal steel on standout EP song “You’ve Changed,” though I prefer the rattle-rock of the EP’s title track and closer, “After School.” Steiner’s warm, soft coo makes it all work no matter what genre label you hang on her music.

Guitarist David Sagan is listed as the duo’s other half, though the band performs live as a four-piece, which we’re likely to see Friday night at O’Leaver’s. We caught up with Steiner and gave her the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Julia Steiner: A Ghost is Born by Wilco.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring.

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Playing music with my friends all the time!

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Trying to tell people what our music sounds like.

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Bread

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

Boston, MA

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Fort Collins, CO, in 2015, we hadn’t slept and we were all really grouchy

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

Not yet, all of us have a variety of side jobs to supplement our income from the band. Dave and I deliver groceries, Sean is a freelance journalist, etc.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

My dream job would be some sort of radio sports analyst. I wouldn’t like to work construction.

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

Not many to be honest! I have a couple friends who grew up in Omaha, but they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about any craziness.

Ratboys plays with Uh Oh and Bed Rest Friday, June 14, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 10 pm., tickets are $10. For more information go to liveatoleaver’s.com.

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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.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Diane Coffee (at Slowdown Jr., June 2)…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:00 pm May 30, 2019

Diane Coffee plays at Slowdown Jr. Sunday, June 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Diane Coffee is Shaun Fleming. As an actor, he’s voiced a slew of animated characters including Jim & Tom Possible in Kim Possible and Leonard Amadeus in Teacher’s Pet. As a musician, he’s played drums in Foxygen. But as Diane Coffee he’s released three albums of retro electro-pop, singing in a voice that would make George Michael or Boy George proud.

On his latest release, Internet Arms (2019, Polyvinyl), Coffee croons about love in a tech age, desperately pushing emotion into a digital space that’s often too cold and isolated to allow for anything as bold as a human touch. He surrounds his smooth vox with lush synths and electronic beats that sound alien and futuristic in an ’80s sort of way. Standout track “Stuck in Your Saturday Night” sounds like it could have been sandwiched in heavy rotation on VH1 between Huey Lewis and Cory Hart.

We caught up with Diane / Shaun and asked him to take the 10 Questions Survey. Here’s what he said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Shaun Fleming/Diane Coffee: Not sure I can pick an all time favorite. My first favorite album, and one I just recently fell in love with all over again, was the self-titled Third Eye Blind record!

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Touring

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Touring

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Throatcoat Tea

6. In what city or town do you love to perform?

That’s hard, don’t know if I have a favorite. Any show can end up being an incredibly memorable experience if the energy is right. I do love playing in LA because it allows me to see my childhood friends and family

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

At a festival in Dayton, Ohio, we had a front-of-house engineer show up late to our set completely wasted and unprepared. Forgot most of his gear at home. It was one of the most unprofessional things I’ve ever experienced. That said, the audience was so unbelievably supportive and energized, it turned into one of my most favorite shows I have ever played.

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

For the most part. I will usually drive for Lyft or work odd jobs to supplement my income if need be.

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

Marine Biologist; Politician

10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

I heard it’s the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich!

Diane Coffee plays with Disq Sunday, June 2, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 Adv/$15 DOS. For more information, go to theslowdown.com

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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