Ten Questions with Tears of Silver’s Ken Stringfellow and Grasshopper (@Hi-FI House Oct. 2); Lincoln Calling starts tonight…

Tears of Silver play at Hi-Fi House Monday, Oct. 2. Photo by Greg Dohler.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Tears of Silver is an indie supergroup that truly lives up to that designation. It consists of Posies’ founding member Ken Stringfellow, who’s also played in Big Star and R.E.M., along with three members of Mercury Rev — Sean “Grasshopper,” Jonathan Donahue (Flaming Lips) and Jesse Chandler (Midlake).

The band is touring America playing “unconventional venues,” which are announced 48 hours prior to each gig. Think of it as a “secret show” tour. Omaha’s hidden venue is at the not-so-secret Hi Fi House Monday, Oct. 2.

According to the Tears of Silver website (where you can acquire access) “The evening will be a chance to enjoy the modern classics from each artist’s long history as well as some new music they have created for the occasion (and certainly cover songs beloved to them repurposed and retooled for this tour). This is the first time Mercury Rev’s music has been performed in many parts of America for nearly a decade.”

Below, my Ten Questions with Ken Stringfellow and Sean “Grasshopper”:

1. What is your favorite album?

Ken Stringfellow: I’m too curious to really return to a reliable favorite. I’m always hoping to hear something unexpected and refreshing. Also, at any one moment I have something I’ve recently worked on that I’m proud of and I definitely give a few victory lap listens. This week, it’s the Supercalifragile album by Game Theory I produced. How can I summarize… Game Theory was a wonderful, brainy, exuberant band from the 80s… one of the classic ‘college radio’ bands. I was a fan then, and over the years befriended the band’s mastermind, Scott Miller. He had contacted me about rebooting the band after nearly 20 years, but unfortunately took his own life before this album could be completed. It was up to me to see it through; some songs were partially completed that I was able to finish up and mix; other songs were just fragments of ideas on various hard drives/phones and needed to be finished from the composition to the final mix… to this end I gathered some of his close friends and colleagues that he’d already hoped would have been involved in the album — Aimee Mann, Will Sheff, etc… and we delivered what I think is a stunning album, very true to Scott’s intentions as best as we could know them. It’s out now: https://gametheory1.bandcamp.com/

2. What is your least favorite song?

I woke up today thinking about “Holding Out for A Hero.” It makes zero sense. It’s so typical that this song was written by men, and humiliating that a woman had to sing these preposterous words, that bear no resemblance to anything that I can see in the reality of human relationships.

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

Time away from them! If it’s my long time band. I mean, it’s also lovely what a band and its music can mean to people over time. Being that we are celebrating the Posies’ 30th anniversary next year… it’s lovely to have a community that shares the appreciation for the years of work and the results of the music.

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

I don’t think I hate anything about being in a band, temporary (like this assembly for this tour)  or long term (like the Posies). The Posies has been, for example a motivating factor in making me work out issues with my bandmates. If we didn’t have a legacy to uphold, I might have ended these friendships. So, in the short term, I hated being stuck with someone with whom I was having a conflict, but ultimately, it made me work to resolve it rather than abandon the relationship.

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

I basically have beatlemania for fresh figs. I’m quite passionate about wine, too, and have a pretty decent cellar in Seattle, and another one in Paris, another in… etc.

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

Well, Seattle is always special, it’s ‘home’ in many ways, still. I have to say, tho, that there are places that have adopted me, too … I feel very ‘home’ when I play in Helsinki, or Barcelona… my shows in and around Barcelona are pretty amazing, in terms of the audience’s openness and love. And then all the stuff around it — the sunshine, the wonderful food and wine, the Mediterranean… and these relationships just keep growing with the years… the more good experiences I have with an audience, the better the *next* show is likely to be… it’s about building trust and good experiences.

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

Hmmm. Have to  be careful here! I had a pretty weird show in Hamburg, years ago, before I really perfected the art of managing being onstage alone. The club was scuzzy, the audience small, and I was insecure, and let that take over. I couldn’t really complete the show, I started to think nobody there cared etc…  it was awful. No fault of Hamburg, had plenty of great shows there since. It was just where I was at at that point in my life and in my learning curve about being a solo artist.

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?

I like to say I have been unemployed since 1989. I am loathe to think of what I do as a ‘job.’ It’s really more a continuing flow of miracles, and there’s always enough money to get what I need in life. I basically took a leap of faith at that moment in 1989, when I was 20, to not have a job per se. I starved, until I didn’t. What was important was that I retooled my focus on making my music and my communication the best it could be. It’s still how I think.

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

Well, I was very interested in natural sciences; I could have been a biologist, perhaps. I am quite squeamish about human blood and tendons so pretty sure orthopedic surgeon would be hell on earth.

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

Well, there’s that whole menage-a-trois thing that Warren Buffet had going, right? it’s pretty fascinating, and I’m sure there are many more tales that all locals know, but… I had to hand it to them for being so open about it. I know, I know, billionaire, so people will say yes to whatever, but … it *sounds* like there was much respect and openness to let that situation be what it was. You tell me!

From Grasshopper:

What is your favorite album?

Grasshopper: Miles Davis – Sketches of Spain

2. What is your least favorite song?

“The Farmer In The Dell”

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

The smell of gasoline exhaust in the morning.

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

The smell of gasoline exhaust in the evening.

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

Emeralds.

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

Poughkeepsie

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

In Las Vegas, Nevada, because I’ve never played a gig there.

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?

I’ve generally been able to support myself through music for 20 years. When times are good I’ve fed the ponies, during tough times, they have given back…

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 a jockey. I have the height, but I don’t think I could make the weight. I’d hate to be a proctologist.

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

Tom Waits – “A Christmas Card From A Hooker in Minneapolis.” The song’s protagonist mentions, in regard to Omaha:  “Everyone I used to know is either dead or in prison”

Tears of Silver are playing Monday, Oct. 2, at Hi-Fi House, 3724 Farnam St. To attend, go to https://tearsofsilveromaha.eventbrite.com. Show starts at 7 p.m. For more information, go to www.tearsofsilver.space.

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It’s night one of Lincoln Calling. Day passes are $29 for Thursday and $34 for Friday and Saturday (per day). Three-day passes are $59 (plus $8 fees). Here’s tonight’s line-up:

Bourbon Theater
Best Coast
Cayetana
Twinsmith

Duffy’s Outdoor
Palehound
Wand
Post Animal
Acid Dad
Matt Stansberry & the Romance
Salt Creek

Zoo Bar
Mount Moriah
Ian Sweet
McCarthy Trenching
The Artichoke Hearts

Bodega’s Alley
Malcolm London
R.O.E.
M Shah
HAKIM
Maddog & the 20/20’s
Stathi

The Bay
Frankie Cosmos
Navy Gangs
Thick Paint
Sean Pratt

1867
Street Sects
Cult Play
Crease
Darren Keen
Low Long Signal
Verse and the Vices
Bomb Earth

Night Market
Jens Lehman
Karmen Delancey
Indigenous AK
Bach Mai
Orion Walsh

Also tonight, The Melvins return to The Waiting Room. Spotlights opens. $20, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Kevin Morby (@Reverb 8/28); Brad Hoshaw live at Ted & Wally’s…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:04 pm August 24, 2017

Kevin Morby plays at Reverb Monday, Aug. 28. Photo by Adarsha Benjamin

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before you read the answers to his Ten Questions survey, let me try to explain singer/songwriter Kevin Morby’s connection to Omahan Simon Joyner. Morby may be best known as the bassist for indie band Woods (though he also formed a band called The Babies), which has recorded seven albums on Woodsist Records, which has released albums by Kurt Vile, The Oh Sees, Real Estate aaaand... Simon Joyner. In fact, Joyner performed at the label’s “Woodsist Festival” a couple years ago.

So it’s a shame that Joyner won’t be at Morby’s show Aug. 28 at Reverb (because Simon’s currently on tour with David Nance). The good news is you’ll be able to hear Morby perform songs off City Music, his new LP on Dead Oceans Records. The album is an urban counter-point to his 2016 rural collection Singing Saw. That record pulled from Dylan and Cohen for influences, while City Music was influenced by Lou Reed and Patti Smith (and has similarities to Kurt Vile’s output).

1. What is your favorite album?

Kevin Morby: Skeleton Blues by Simon Joyner.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Any song not by Simon Joyner.

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

Having played with and met Simon Joyner.

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

That I’m not as good as Simon Joyner.

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

Simon Joyner

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

Omaha, Nebraska, because maybe Simon will come.

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

Last night and everywhere that Simon Joyner was not in the audience.

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?

I am a full time musician to cover the bills, and devout Simon Joyner fan as hobby.

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

Simon Joyner guitar tech is attempt. Something I’d hate to do is be a cop.

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

That Simon Joyner lives there.

Kevin Morby plays with Shannon Lay Aug. 28 at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $12, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com 

* * *

Last night Brad Hoshaw played an acoustic set as part of the Mode Shift Membership Kickoff outside of Ted and Wally’s in Benson (you can still sign-up for Mode Shift here). It was good weather, a good crowd and a good time.

Moments into his set, I thought of capturing Brad’s performance via Facebook Live (with Brad’s nod), which you can view below. It dawned on me that if an artist were to tap into the right Facebook channel, FB Live sessions could be an effective way to get their new music heard in a format unique from their recordings. Maybe after hearing a couple new songs from Brad’s just completed Four New Songs EP listeners will wander on over to bradhoshawmusic.com and buy the CD. The following live acoustic version couldn’t be more different than the well-produced studio recording (that features a full band, strings, piano, etc.).

It’s also cool to see fans tap into the feed during the broadcast, from around town and around the country. There was close to 100 views during the live session; the session now has about 300 views… Check it out below.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with The New Pornographers; Stephen Sheehan tonight; Maha Festival, Digital Leather, Lupines Saturday; Blind Pilot Sunday…

The Maha Music Festival is tomorrow at Aksarben Village.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the full weekend preview…

This is the eighth and final installment in a series of Ten Questions interviews with bands performing at the Maha Music Festival tomorrow at Aksarben Village. For the printed version of all interviews, pick up the August issue of The Reader.

New Pornographers are among the artist playing at this year’s Maha Music Festival.

The New Pornographers

They’ve been called an indie rock supergroup thanks to the richness of talent. The band’s 7-member roster includes three lead vocalists: Dan Bejar of Destroyer, Neko Case, whose solo career stands on its own, and the band’s founder, Carl (A.C.) Newman.

Since their debut in 1997 in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, the band has released seven studio albums starting with 2000’s Mass Romantic (Mint Records) before moving to indie powerhouse Matador Records for some of the most iconic releases of the 2000s, including 2003’s Electric Version and ’05’s Twin Cinema.

Their latest, Whiteout Conditions, released this past April by Concord Music Group, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Alternative Album charts.

1. What is your favorite album?

Carl Newman: Love, Forever Changes

2. What is your least favorite song?

I think it is still out there. I haven’t heard it yet. If I have to answer, probably something that is #1 at country radio right now.

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

I like all the people I have met. It is a good foot in the door for meeting people you admire. A great community.

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

Being away from my family. Feeling like you need to please people, like your best isn’t good enough. That sort of thing.

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

I like red wine. I often champion it.

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

D.C. has always been an amazing place for us. A lot of love for all of our projects.

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

I remember playing in a cafe in Chapel Hill in the ’90s. No one there, they were stacking the chairs on the tables as we played. I recall thinking, “Am I paying my dues right now?”

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, so far so good. I played in bands for about 10 years before that happened. Not a tough, hard-working 10 years but still… 10 years. In this era when no one buys music, that might change soon.

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 a writer of some kind. Comedy, TV, film, novelist. Always had a lot of respect for the profession. I know, I am sort of a writer, in my way. So many things I would hate to be, it’s hard to choose.

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

Best place on earth. It rules, other places drool. Things like that.

The Maha Music Festival is Aug. 19 at Aksarben Village. The day-long concert runs from noon to midnight. Tickets are $55. For set times and more information, go to mahamusicfestival.com.

* * *

Here’s the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Lots o’ shows, and it looks like the weather is going to cooperate.

It starts tonight at Reverb Lounge with Stephen Sheehan and his band performing songs from Sheehan’s past projects, notably Digital Sex, The World and his solo outings. Here’s the background on this special event. I have a feeling I’m going to see a lot of old, familiar faces tonight. Opening is Sun-Less Trio, who is celebrating an EP release of their own. $10, 9 p.m.

And then along comes the 2017 Maha Music Festival at Aksarben Village. The set times:

12:10: The Hottman Sisters
12:50: Downtown Boys
1:45: High Up and Omaha Girls Rock
2:55: Torres
3:50: Priests
4:45: The New Pornographers
5:55: Built to Spill
7:05: Belle & Sebastian
8:15: Sleight Bells
9:30: The Faint
11:00: Run the Jewels

Tickets today are $55. I’m not sure what the walk-up price will be (or if it’s different).

Downtown Boys is currently trending on the hipster meter, thanks to their hot new Cost of Living LP (Sub Pop) produced by Fugazi’s Guy Picciotto, which is enjoying a massive 79 rating on Album of the Year composite reviews. Torres also is getting a lot of attention thanks to an upcoming release. Add Priests and, of course, Run the Jewels, and this one of the more progressive Maha line-ups in the festival’s history. They’ve made it hard for me to sneak out and grab a nap tomorrow.

So where’s the after party?

In year’s past, one or two of the Maha acts played a second show somewhere after the festival. I don’t see it happening this year. So for me, the after party is at fabulous O’Leaver’s, where Digital Leather will be burning up the stage along with Sucettes. $5, 9 p.m.

If that doesn’t float your boat, you can’t miss with Lupines, Sun-Less Trio and Bled Notes at Brothers Lounge Saturday night. $5, 9 p.m.

And here’s a sneaky one: Dwight Twilley is playing at Growler USA in West O Saturday night. $15 Adv/$19 DOS, 9 p.m. How is that one not sold out yet?

And yeah, I’m aware there are a couple other big concerts going on Saturday night. But neither Lady Gaga nor the guy from Hootie in the Blowfish are exactly in my wheelhouse, though I’d be interested to see how Jocelyn does opening for Hootie at Stir Cove.

Finally, Sunday night Portland’s Blind Pilot (ATO Records) plays a sold-out show at The Slowdown. They’ve been touring through Omaha for years, growing every step of the way. Gregory Alan Isakov opens. 8 p.m.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. If you see me at Sheehan, Maha or Digital Leather, say hi with a Rolling Rock. Have a great weekend.

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Brother Ali (at The Waiting Room May 2)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:35 pm April 26, 2017

Brother Ali plays at The Waiting Room May 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve been doing these Ten Questions surveys for a year. Few responses have been as well-thought-out as Brother Ali’s, and no one can beat his worst-gig story….

Ten Questions with Brother Ali

When it comes to performing, Brother Ali practically has a second home in Omaha. The Minneapolis native who is part of the world-famous Rhymesayers collective has been touring through Omaha for almost 15 years, bringing his unique brand of social justice-themed hip-hop to an always-eager fan base.

Ali’s new album, All the Beauty in this Whole Life (out May 5 on Rhymesayers) is said to capture “an American Muslim rapper digging deep on themes of compassion and virtue.” He wrote much of it during last year’s presidential campaign, before the election. I can only imagine how he feels 100 days into a Trump presidency.

I caught up with Brother Ali and asked him to take the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Brother Ali: There are hundreds of albums I could mention, but I listen to A Love Supreme by John Coltrane almost every day. No matter what space or state my heart is in, no matter who I’m with, that album improves everything. It heals when things are bad and illuminates when things are beautiful.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Okay this isn’t a bad song by any means, but “Royals” by Lorde is still stuck in my head from 3 years ago and I never sought it out. I watched the video once and popular culture kinda took it from there. Didn’t feel like I had a choice in the matter.

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

Traveling and pursuing dreams alongside other people gives you a real window into each other’s hearts. I feel like I really know the people I’ve toured with in an intimate way. Hours and months of conversation, and witnessing each other is really beautiful.

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

Hours and months stuck with other people!!!

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

I love a really specific scent called Oud. It comes from a tree in southeast Asia, it’s very rare and expensive, but it smells like heaven to burn in a room or wearing the oil on my body. I’m legally blind, so smell has incredible impact on my state.

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

Okay, this is gonna sound like I’m pandering because I’m talking about your town, but I’ve always had a dear relationship with Omaha. It was the first city outside of my home in Minneapolis to overwhelm me with love on stage. I’ve worked with the same independent promoter for almost 15 years. There are people in the crowd I’ve grown up with.

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

I was asked to do a benefit concert out of state for a friend of mine and the promoter was a homie who’d never thrown a big show before. Instead of a hotel, she figured I could “crash” at one of their friend’s houses. The friend we were raising money for didn’t show up. She wasn’t in the business of promoting concerts, so the fans didn’t get the message, and the show was almost empty. I found out afterward that she’d made the decision to print expensive commemorative posters for the show — a LOT of them, and as a result we hadn’t raised one dollar for the friend we were benefiting. Everyone was too drunk to drive me back to the crash pad and this small town didn’t have cabs or Uber. I ended up spending the night outside the locked airport waiting for them to open the next morning so I could catch my flight home.

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?

I’ve been supporting a family of 4 (including a wife in private grad school) since 2002. I’ve been focused on music since I was 7 years old, and had honestly pursued it since grade school. I’m fortunate enough to have a small, but respectable following across the country and around the world. I put an album out every few years and spend the next year touring and selling merch. I usually spend the next year doing colleges, festivals and spot dates while making the next album. I’m also able to pursue my cultural and spiritual interests traveling the world on my time off.

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

I’ve always been a teacher and preacher. If music wasn’t so prevalent, I’d do those full time.

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

I know Malcolm X lived there. My favorite story is one of my own. In 2009 we played a show where there was one fan who was clearly waiting to be the last one to talk to me. I have a habit of standing in the crowd for hours talking to everyone. He kept drinking while waiting and got hammered by the time we got to speak. Even though he stumbled through it, I was happy to see him. He’d been to every show in Omaha for several years. When we were done talking he left, about 5 minutes later we hear a loud crash outside. We run out to find our drunken fan had gotten in his car, tried to drive home and smashed into the trailer attached to my tour van. Wrinkled it up like a soda can. A cop came and I couldn’t believe it, but they let him drive home. When I came back to town a year later, I told the story from stage and asked if he was there that night. It got quiet in the room and someone yelled “he’s in jail!”. Not sure whether or not it’s true, but it was hilarious. I hope the guy is well.

Brother Ali plays with Sa-Roc, Last Word and Sol Messiah Tuesday, May 2, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $15 Adv./$18 DOS. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

* * *

Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Local Natives (Saturday @ Slowdown SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:45 pm April 6, 2017

Local Natives plays The Slowdown April 8. The show is SOLD OUT.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

When California band Local Natives played a sold out show at The Waiting Room in 2010, the buzz in the crowd that evening was that we were seeing the next Arcade Fire. In the end, they turned out to be something entirely different. The band would return to an even bigger Omaha stage when they played the 2014 edition of the Maha Music Festival. And now they’re playing a sold out Slowdown this Saturday, April 8. That’s an impressive trajectory, though seven years into their career, Arcade Fire was playing stadiums.

Still, Local Natives has nothing to complain about. Their latest album, Sunlit Youth (2016, Loma Vista), anchored by singles like the infectious “Past Lives,” carries their indie-rock sound forward in the same rhythmic, dance-inspired direction as their 2010 debut.

We caught up with the band and gave them the Ten Questions treatment. Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kelcey Ayer provided the answers:

What is your favorite album?

Local Natives’s  Kelcey Ayer: One of my all-time favorite albums (can’t pick just one, that’s crazy) is Portishead’s Third.  I had always loved more somber, melancholy music, but I never had connected to a record that was so fully immersed in that sentiment before.  It was unapologetically and intensely sad.  And the tones of the instruments seemed laboriously fucked with in a way that sounded the perfect amount of “off.”  I felt like it gave me permission to be the kind of artist I wanted to be, like it was ok to go so deep into a feeling.

2. What is your least favorite song?

I worked at a pizza chain called California Pizza Kitchen in southern California, and they only played top 40, which is not totally terrible, unless you’re forced to listen to it for many many hours a week.  Whenever I’m out and about and a song comes on from that time, it always brings me back to the mid 2000s and I start immediately trying to remember an order, throw up a little in my mouth, and then realize I’m being weird in a grocery store and stop it.  There is tie for the most egregious offender of those days, and it’s between Blondie’s cover of “The Tide Is High” and KT Tunstall’s “Black Horse and The Cherry Tree.”  I don’t think any song is inherently bad, it takes a lot of effort to make anything, but circumstantially for me, I really, really hate those songs.  I just hate them so much.

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

Creating something that you couldn’t create yourself, whether it’s making a song or playing that song live in a room, having people to rely on to bring a vision to reality is my favorite part of being in a band.  Second-place is touring around the world, which if you’re lucky you get to do, and fortunately we are.  I’m very grateful for that.

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

Having to compromise on a vision you believe in for the greater good.  We’re always coming up with ideas for songs, or music videos, or ways to promote the band, and nine times out of 10 they get shot down by the group, which makes it hard to stay motivated.  But that’s the way it goes in a group of creative people.

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

I love beer.  The US has been a great place for beer over the last 10 years, so to be a beer fan is very exciting right now.  There are breweries, brew-pubs, bottle shops; all sorts of beer outlets popping up everywhere right now, so it’s pretty easy to find a good beer anywhere you go these days.  I was at a bar in the middle of nowhere Kansas and they still had Lagunitas IPA on tap, it was great!

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

Los Angeles is home and will always be our favorite place to play.  We’ve spent the most time there and played almost every club when we were coming up, and it will always be the first city to have embraced us.  Austin is a close second, SXSW was a big help for us.

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

Those files are sealed because we wanna play there again and have a better show.  All I’ll say is it was somewhere in England.

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?

This is our only job, yes.  I remember back in 2009 arguing with Taylor in Santa Barbara about upping our per-diems from $5 a day to $10, but he’s a financial stickler and was right to deny me.  We just didn’t have the money.  I would buy Subway foot-long subs and eat one half for lunch and the other for dinner.  We barely scraped by.  So when we did a publishing deal at the end of 2009 and got our first bit of money, I bought a Chipotle burrito and ate the whole thing!  Since then it’s been a thrilling roller coaster ride of getting fat and skinny now that I can afford to.

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

I’d love to act in something, or make a movie.  I’ve always been really into film and love getting taken away from reality and into a new world.  I feel like I’m a dreamer, and watching movies is like being in a dream while you’re awake.  When it’s really hitting you hard it feels like a drug.  As far as a profession I’d hate, I guess anywhere I’d have to be quiet.  I’m a loud guy.

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

I never heard of Omaha until I fell in love with my first favorite band: 311.  Super random for sure, but your first music loves always are, and I’ll always have a soft spot for them.  I felt like I was in the twilight zone the other day when Dark Days was pitted against a new 311 single for a radio station voting contest in Kansas City.  My brain almost broke to read Local Natives and 311 in the same sentence.  I wholeheartedly believe in voting, but in that case, I chose not to.

Local Natives plays with Little Scream Saturday, April 8, at The Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. This show is SOLD OUT. Showtime is 9 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Ten Questions with Dinosaur Jr. (at The Waiting Room March 18); Jabid, Big Slur tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 7:41 am March 16, 2017

Dinosaur Jr., form left, J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph. The band plays The Waiting Room Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What is the soundtrack to your youth? For some very hip folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, that soundtrack would have to include Dinosaur Jr. The band has been at it in one form or another since 1984, releasing their debut — a mish-mash of punk, heavy-metal and C&W — under the name Dinosaur in 1985.

Back then it was J Mascis on guitar, Lou Barlow on bass and Murph on drums. Just like the rest us, that line-up would go through some changes over the years, but would circle back to its original line-up in 2006 and pretty much stay that way right up to the band’s latest, Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not (2016, Jagjaguwar). In between, the band released seminal albums like 1987’s You’re Living All Over Me, 1991’s Green Mind, 1993’s Where You Been and 2007’s Beyond, keeping that soundtrack going for the next generation (and the generation after that).

We caught up with Dinosaur Jr. drummer Murph and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey.

1. What is your favorite album?

Murph: Jimi Hendrix’s Axis Bold as Love

2. What is your least favorite song?

Wham’s, “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”

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

Performing live on stage is the best thing about being in a band.

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

Constant compromise, hardest thing about being in a band.

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

Coffee

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

New York

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

Worst  gig was in Pawtucket RI, sketchy vibe, and horrible sound.

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?

I haven’t always been able to support myself through my music and it has taken a long time. I’ve supplemented my income with drum lessons and odd jobs.

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

Profession I’d like to try is teacher or therapist, and worst profession would be being a cop.

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

Omaha Nebraska, “where’s the Beef”!  My mother always used to order Omaha steaks at Christmas time.

Dinosaur Jr. plays with Easy Action Saturday, March 18 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $22 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com

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Get your pre-St. Patrick’s Day partying in before us idiots take over.

Tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s it’s Jabid (Javid’s project), False Brother and Stephen Nichols. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at experimental art/noise space Project Project, 1818 Vinton St., Big Slur (Dan Scheuerman’s project) opens for Amulets along with Teetah and Erinome. Let’s face it, I’ve never heard any of these acts, but Dan says it’ll be good. $6, 7 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Ten Questions with NE-HI (tomorrow night at Reverb Lounge)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:41 pm March 1, 2017

NE-HI plays at Reverb Lounge March 2.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Jangle-buzz garage rock band NE-HI is the product the Chicago house show scene, emerging from a Logan Square DIY space called Animal Kingdom in 2013. The four-piece, fronted by guitarist/vocalist Mikey Wells, slowly crawled onto bigger stages on the strength of its live shows and the band’s self-titled 2014 debut.

The next thing you know, NE-HI was touring with Black Lips, Car Seat Headrest and Chicago bros Twin Peaks, including a swing through Omaha last June for a set that reminded me of Stone Roses circa 1990. Most of the tracks on the band’s follow-up, Offers (2017, Grand Jury), were recorded live in studio to capture their trademark house-show energy.

We caught up with frontman Mickey Wells and gave him the Ten Questions treatment:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mickey Wells: My favorite album right now is the first Ramones album. I hadn’t listened to it in a long time and i forgot how cool and funny the lyrics are.

2. What is your least favorite song?

My least favorite song of all time is “The Long and Winding Road” by the Beatles. It’s both long and winding and is sentimental crap.

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

I really enjoy playing the shows and going to different towns and meeting new people and making friends. It’s a cool way to see the country.

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

Smelling bad on tour.

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

Either coffee or the weed honey I put in my coffee. The lines are blurred!

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

I like Atlanta a lot. Good food, nice people and it’s usually a fun crowd.

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

In NYC our first time we played there we drove a super long time and then played in a coat closet and the sound person kept telling us to turn down the whole time. That was a bummer.

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?

Kind of half and half. We make some money playing music but we also all have jobs at home when we’re not touring.

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

Maybe some sort of writer or painter. But a successful one haha.

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

I’ve heard about the legend of infamous Omaha omega swamp monster. It supposedly roams the night in search of touring musicians and rats to eat!

NE-HI plays with Nathan Ma & the Rosettes and Wrong Pets Thursday, March 2, at Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave. Tickets are $10; showtime is 9 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Mike Doughty (at The Waiting Room Feb. 15)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:48 pm February 14, 2017

Mike Doughty plays The Waiting Room Feb. 15.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Mike Doughty’s music is deceptively simple but is, in fact, a sophisticated take on modern pop that reaches beyond simple rock and folk genre designations to something smarter, broader and ultimately, genuine.

A brief history: Doughty was the frontman to ’90s alternative band Soul Coughing, a bratty NYC four-piece that combined post-grunge, funk and indie into infectious rock centered around Doughty’s deep, brassy voice and whip-smart lyrics. Contemporaries included acts like Cake, Morphine, Eels and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. After releasing three successful albums on Warners, the band split up in 2000.

Doughty struck out on his own. The story goes that he sold more than 20,000 copies of his self-released EP Skittish out of the trunk of his car. It was none other than Dave Matthews that rediscovered Doughty in 2004 and rereleased his early solo EPs on his own ATO Records. Fourteen years and as many albums later, Doughty released the sublime The Heart Watches While the Brain Burns last year via PledgeMusic.

While his music recalls acts like Mountain Goats, Matt Pond PA, Rogue Wave and Spoon, Doughty’s style is more varied, inventive but no less catchy. We caught up with Doughty and asked him to answer our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he said:

1. What is your favorite album?

Mike Doughty: What a question! I think the album that changed my life that I’ve been listening to most often of late has been Tom Waits’ Rain Dogs.

2. What is your least favorite song?

“Over the River and Through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go.” I mean, to hell with that song.

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

Surprises — when the other musicians on stage do something fascinating and new during the show.

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

When you go back to the hotel and there’s no Law and Order of any variety on any channel.

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

Cheese.

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

Omaha!

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

I had a terrible show in Amherst, Ohio, in a yoga studio. I don’t know why I was playing a yoga studio. But there were drunks that couldn’t stop babbling in the middle of this very intimate quiet show, and the yoga queen who ran the joint was a total control hippie.

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. I started being able to not have a job in about 1994.

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

I’d like to write long-form fiction one day. I worked in a McDonald’s when I was 16 and it was incredibly dehumanizing.

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

I don’t know if I have stories. My best memory is walking from a hotel room to the tour bus on a cold, clear night, and seeing the Woodmen building looming majestically in the distance.

Mike Doughty performs with Wheatus Wednesday, Feb. 15, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $17. Showtime is 8 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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One update on yesterday’s item regarding the move of Milk Run from its Leavenworth location. I mentioned that last weekend’s shows were the venue’s last. Apparently that’s not the case. Lucas Wright of Black Heart Booking pointed out that he still has a show booked at Milk Run this Thursday featuring an acoustic set from Off With Their Heads plus Rackatees, Dummy Head Torpedo and Jeff Miller. I’d hate for people not to go to this show because they read yesterday’s item.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: Dereck Higgins Experience, Wagon Blasters, Big Al Band; Ten Questions with Dawes; Bandcamp results…

Category: Blog,Interviews,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:42 pm February 6, 2017

Dereck Higgins Experience at O’Leaver’s, Feb. 4, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Dereck Higgins, one of Omaha’s most prolific musicians, unveiled yet another new project Saturday night at fabulous O’Leaver’s. This new four-piece combo, called The Dereck Higgins Experience (or DHX, as he referred to it from stage), continued in a similar jazz fusion direction heard on Higgins’ recent solo album, Flyover Country. In fact, the combo created a live version of  at least one song from the movie soundtrack.

On bass and synths and acting the role of Emcee, Higgins was joined by James Cuato Ballarin on synths/wind instruments, Aaron Gum on synths, and stellar guitarist Jacob Cubby Phillips. All but Gum also are in progressive jazz band Chemicals, a more experimental, free-form combo than DHX, whose set felt split between smoother fusion numbers a la Spyro Gyra, and funky, digital-fueled jazz concepts. Less intricate and less challenging than Chemicals, DHX’s music likely is more accessible to a larger audience.

I’m told this offshoot of Chemicals isn’t a replacement for that band, who according to Higgins has a scheduled gig at the Harney Street Tavern Friday night, while DHX will play the following evening at The Down Under.

Next up was Wagon Blasters who were in particularly fine form, maybe because it was Guitarist William Thornton’s birthday. Gary Dean Davis yelled through a rowdy set of trademark tractor-punk rock songs, doing his darndest to break through O’Leaver’s floor and onto the birthday/karaoke party going on in the basement.

As a lark, I tried streaming Wagon Blasters’ set via Facebook Live through the faux window sills off stage left. You can still view a recording of the performance in Facebook (or below). Scroll to the 23:38 mark in the video to see Gary’s epic punk-rock stage fall!

Finally, Big Al Band closed out the night with his flying V and Holly Pop on the drum kit. Favorite moment of the set — the final song wherein Al swapped out the V for a bass for a go at song called “Jolly Roger.” Nice.

As mentioned, O’Leaver’s now has a basement party room. I snuck (sneaked?) down there Saturday night and was pleasantly surprised at the set-up, which includes a full bar and karaoke stage, all of which is available for rental at a bargain price. Let’s see, sand volleyball, live music, tiki bar, two outdoor beer gardens and now a karaoke party room? What more can O’Leaver’s squeeze into their entertainment complex?

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As you see below, I’m continuing the Ten Questions series both here and in The Reader. I recently got some push back from a publicist, asking if I would be able to do an actual interview with the band he represents rather than the survey. Fact is, I simply don’t have time to interview and write band features for every interesting act coming through town (and considering the pay for these features ($0.00), can’t afford it.). The Ten Questions format allows me to hype a touring indie band’s upcoming show in a way that’s not too time taxing. Let me know what you think of these surveys…

 

Dawes, photo by Matt Jacoby.

LA folk-rock band Dawes epitomizes a style of music I grew up listening to — tequila sunrise ’70s soft rock. You know what I’m talking about — those laid-back groovy bands they used to play on the FM (and AM) stations and still do if you have a classic rock channel in your town (and who doesn’t?).

But somewhere/somehow over the past few years it’s become accepted for snotty, tone-deaf hipsters and hipster wannabes to denigrate (via Facebook) music infused with a peaceful, easy feeling. And that’s a shame, because the new folk rock that they often laud — from the likes of Wilco, Ben Kweller, Jenny Lewis and even our very own Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band — owe much of their sound to those FM giants.

Certainly Dawes does. That classic ’70s El-Lay studio sound is evident on their latest album, We’re All Gonna Die (2016, HUB Records), which, at times, reminds me of One of These Nights-era Eagles (there, I said it). On songs like the title track, the slow burnin’ “Roll with the Punches,” the wah-wah funk of “When the Tequila Runs Out,” heck, just about every track, Dawes frontman Taylor Goldsmith unapologetically puts a modern spin on AOR gold, sounding like the second coming of Don Henley or Glenn Frey, complete with warm-cushion vocal harmonies. And that’s about as cool as it gets.

We caught up with Taylor Goldsmith and asked him to take our Ten Questions survey. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Taylor Goldsmith: Always changing but I often go back to Warren Zevon self-titled.

2. What is your least favorite song?

Even though she’s one of my heroes and maybe the greatest songwriter that ever lived, there’s a song called “Not To Blame” by Joni Mitchell that I really hate.

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

The shows. The songs get to change shape every night and we get to pull out old ones we haven’t played in years sometimes.

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

Being gone from home so much of the year. While I love touring, it’s hard to keep a semblance of a normal life in order by being gone over half the year sometimes.

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

Coffee. I always want more coffee. About to make some.

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

We love playing at home for our friends and family and also love playing places like Nashville or NYC for the amazing venues and sold out shows, but there is also something special about coming into cities we’ve never been to or rarely play and having those more intimate experiences. It’s fun to still be building audiences in cities. It feels like we’re going into the past and future of the band from night to night depending where we are.

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

An LA show in 2012. I had really lost my voice. I got a steroid shot and it made it a lot worse. By the time we got onstage I could barely whisper. But we couldn’t cancel because everyone was there already and I didn’t want to let the band down. It was rough.

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?

Yeah, music pays the bills. We quit our jobs and moved out of our homes the day before our first tour for North Hills. It meant we couldn’t afford places for a while, but we’ve never had jobs since.

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

It’d be fun to be a novelist. I really idolize those guys. My brain just doesn’t work that way though. I’d hate to do just about anything that meant I couldn’t go outside during the day.

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

Well our good buddy Conor Oberst lives there so any stories we know are somehow indirectly connected to him and the community he’s introduced us to. After spending some serious time there (more time than we typically can in a city during tour) we’ve really fallen in love with Omaha and have been looking forward to this show for a while.

An Evening with Dawes is Tuesday, February 7, at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $23 Adv./$25 DOS. Showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to onepercentproductions.com.

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Bandcamp says it sold nearly a million dollars worth of music on Friday: “With several hours remaining, we estimate that fans will have bought just over $1,000,000 worth of music today, which is 550% more than a normal Friday (already our biggest sales day of the week). All of our share of that (12%) goes directly to the ACLU. The other 88% (less transaction fees) goes directly to the labels and artists…

A lot of those labels and artists also donated their share to ACLU or other charities. If you bought something, good for you. We’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of efforts over the next four years as the current administration continues to do all it can to dismantle the nation’s arts, take away women’s rights and bar immigrants from our borders. Do what you can; it makes a difference.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with American Wrestlers (at Slowdown Thursday); Jim James tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:32 pm November 30, 2016
American Wrestler plays Friday night at The Slowdown.

American Wrestlers plays at The Slowdown Thursday, Dec. 1.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

American Wrestlers is the brainchild of St. Louis-by-way-of Scotland songwriter Gary McClure, who broke through the surface with a homemade low-fi debut that wowed critics and fans. On his follow-up, the just released Goodbye Terrible Youth (2016, Fat Possum), McClure left the bedroom and entered the studio with three of his mates for a collection of crisp indie rock songs destined to be the soundtrack to this generations’ next-summer shenanigans.

“I’m always surprised by how each record brings me closer to writing simpler, heavier, catchier songs like those bands who gave me my musical epiphany: Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins, Hole and that first Foo Fighters record,” McClure said. “I first learned how to write by copying them and got lost for a decade in intricacy and experimentation. Now, it feels like I’m heading back.”

I asked McClure to take the Ten Questions challenge. Here’s his responses:

1. What is your favorite album?

Gary McClure: The Red House Painters record with the rollercoaster on the cover. Mark Kozelek has written better songs than those that are present here, but the unquantifiable essences and circumstances that combined for this album still somehow manage to always break my heart

2. What is your least favorite song?

That’s such an insanely huge question that I have no idea where to begin. I can really do without listening to 99% of popular music

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

Writing, recording and playing live are the only good bits. Everything else you can think of related to being in a band is a pathetic waste of empty time.

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

Pretty much everything else

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

Caffeine is the greatest for sure.

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

Chicago has always been good to me. My old band Working for a Nuclear Free City had the best show of their USA Tour there. Bridgette and I met there. I bought my favorite guitar there. It looks beautiful from afar and it’s and wonderful place to walk day or night. Good people, good food.

I’ve likely cursed it now and our next Chicago show will be some humiliating disaster. I was a Bears fan when I was a kid after watching the late night football with my dad. They really need to get that dark-ages, regressive, small handed prick’s name off that tower.

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

I don’t remember. It would have been with my old band The Nukes, and it was probably bad because we were high.

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?

It’s currently half and half. I work whatever minimal mental effort jobs I can get in between tours. Tell me where to stack the boxes, give me the money and leave me the fuck alone so I can keep thinking about art and death.

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

I’d hate to be the guy handing out sixes and sevens in music publications. I couldn’t imagine a more useless waste of time

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

Being an ignorant prick, all I know about Nebraska is from that Bruce Dern flick. Made it look more depressing than Missouri, though i find that hard to believe. Seriously though, Omaha looks like a cool city responsible for great and interesting art and music. Very much looking forward to checking it out.

American Wrestlers play with Varsity and Eric in Outerspace Thursday, Dec. 1, at The Slowdown, 729 No. 14th St.. Showtime is 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 Adv./$10 DOS. For more information, go to theslowdown.com.

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One of the biggest indie shows of the year takes place tonight at The Slowdown. It’s Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk fame. Somehow this one just sort of sneaked up on all of us. James is on the road supporting his just released album, Eternally Even (2016, Capitol/ATO). Based on this Milwaukee Journal Sentinel review of a show a couple days ago, don’t expect to hear any MMJ songs tonight; instead, you’ll get a very hot take on the new album, with some in-your-face political overtones. Accordion-heavy Louisville shoe-gaze trio Twin Limb opens. 8 p.m. $32.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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