What does Knitting Factory booking Slowdown really mean? Buvette super show tonight (M’s benefit)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 1:34 pm January 21, 2016
The Slowdown's booking will now be partially handled by Knitting Factory Entertainment.

The Slowdown’s booking will now be handled in part by Knitting Factory Entertainment.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday Pollstar reported that Knitting Factory Entertainment has signed a deal to book The Slowdown. The article doesn’t say much more than that.

I asked Jason Kulbel, who runs The Slowdown, it if means KF will be routing acts through the venue, and if Jason or someone will be filling in the gaps with local promotions/shows. “You got it,” he said.

So, is he psyched or freaked out by the change?

“A little of both… I mean, it’s change right?,” he said. “In the long run I think it will be a great thing for us.” Kulbel went on to mention that former booker Joe Teplitsky no longer is employed by Slowdown, something Teplitsky announced on Facebook a couple weeks ago.

Knitting Factory appears to book eight other clubs in addition to Slowdown, judging by their website. It’s hard to say what kind of bands they book, though. If you go to the site and click the KF Presents dropdown you’ll see bookings for Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Beatles cover band 1964 The Tribute, comedian Lewis Black, Joanna Newsom, piano dude Ethan Bortnick and so on.

Having glanced at the Knitting Factory NYC calendars over the years, they’ve never focused on any single genre. I suspect their bookings at Slowdown will be all over the board, from pop to blues to R&B to rock and even some indie.

“I wouldn’t really tag them with any genre or type of band,” Kulbel said. “If anything, they take more of a ‘book the bands that people want to come out to see’ (approach). We, of course, have taken more of that approach over the years as well.”

Who knows how many actual dates KF will fill on the Slowdown calendar. What will continue is the usual assortment of local bands and events that Slowdown has historically booked to fill out their calendar. And yes, 1% Productions will have access to booking Slowdown just like any other local promoter or band.

“(Slowdown is) still available for outside promoters as before,” Kulbel said. “This is really just an uptick in in-house booking.” As for who gets first dibs on the rooms: “There’s not a preference per se. First one to finalize a date with booking agents, bands, etc., gets it. Same way our calendar has always worked.”

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Tonight La Buvette is hosting a very special show — a fundraiser for former staff at M’s Pub, which burned down last week. Performing is Orenda Fink, Ted Stevens, Sean Pratt & the Sweats, and Simply Jake. Show starts at 9 and suggested donation is $10. La Buvette is located at 511 So. 11th in the heart of the Old Market.

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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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New concert venue Milk Run, first show Nov. 7; Here We Go Magic still on tonight at The Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 2:19 pm November 2, 2015
Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

Future home of new all-ages music venue and art gallery Milk Run, right next door to Shucks Fish House on 1907 Leavenworth St.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The dynamic duo behind concert promotion company Perpetual Nerves — Chris Aponick and Sam Parker — are opening their own music venue and art gallery near downtown Omaha.

Milk Run is located at 1907 Leavenworth St., right next door to Shucks Fish House & Oyster Bar in the same turn-of-the-last-century building. The concert room will be rather cozy, about the same size as The Sweatshop Gallery; while the art gallery space is much more open. The two rooms are connected via a fenced-in patio in the back of the buildings, which also will act as the venue’s main entrance located right off a parking lot shared with Shucks.

Here’s what the duo had to say about the new music venue:

Why are you opening an all-ages club?

Chris Aponick: We wanted a spot that we could run with consistent standard, a space that put music in the forefront of its mission and one that would be an ideal spot for smaller scale bands. We wanted a room that makes a crowd of 30 to 50 people feel like an event instead of a bummer. It’s an incubator for bands that are on the way up or bands that are looking to reconnect with the immediacy found in house shows or DIY spots. We want bands to have a good experience playing in Omaha, so that they make Omaha a regular stop as their fanbase grows. We want a place that is approachable for everyone that wants to see a band. We don’t want the term “all ages” to mean just for those under 30. We also want to provide a reliable venue for others bringing bands to town.

How did you settle on the location?

Aponick: Shuck’s crab legs led me to the spot. I hit up their Monday happy hour with my friend (and now our neighbor Greg Sechser of Howlin’ Hounds coffee shop) and I peeked in at the two bays. I inquired about them the next day and they were perfect for what Sam & I had discussed for an ideal all-ages space.

What kind of shows will you be booking?

Aponick: Our shows will continue to be more of what has already been booked under the Perpetual Nerves banner, though we’re hoping to dabble in a little bit more variety. The goal is to get bands we and others like into town. We want to bring stuff to Omaha that would not play in town without our involvement. We’re still hoping to do shows with venues like O’Leaver’s Pub, Lookout Lounge, Slowdown and the Waiting Room Lounge when those rooms are good fits. We also want others to use our space, too. It’s available for shows that others put together.

How will you curate and operate the art gallery?

Sam Parker: We intend to have a monthly rotation of various artists in the gallery. Particularly trying to focus on musicians who are also artists in the visual arts aspect as well. Ideally, they would display their artwork, make a playlist of songs that influences their work and that list would be played during the showings. Gives the viewer a more in-depth feel to the artist.

Who’s involved other than Chris and Sam?

Aponick: Sara Bertuldo and Matthew Carroll of See Through Dresses are responsible for sound. The equipment, the ongoing management & hopefully upgrading of the system and running live sound will all be spearheaded by these two. Sara Bertuldo will be the main sound engineer for shows. Mike Zimmerman (DWNR, Chalant) will also be helping with projects both aural and visual. We hope to include others in what we hope is a collaborative space for shows, performance, art and more.

When is your first show and who are the bands performing?

Aponick: American Cream, David Nance, Robust Worlds, and Church of Gravitron — it’s a show organized by Church of Gravitron’s Justin O’Connor. It’s November 7 and it’s only $5. Even Lazy-i readers have $5.

How do you guys line up your bands? Who do you work with?

Aponick: People email booking@perpetualnerves.com or booking@perpetualnerves.com. (We) email some band or booking agents and pray for a positive reply. Some bands have been pointed in our direction by local friends, which is always appreciated. Booking Pile really jump-started things. Pile is everything.

How do you keep up with new bands that are awesome? You pretty much hit the nail on the head with all your PN shows.

Aponick: Mike Kronberger, who designed the PN logo, turned me on to Exploding In Sound Records. That’s been a big one. I love getting recommendations on things to check out. Others have just been from listening and making gut calls on stuff that ends up in the inbox. Some of it, like All Dogs, is just obvious on a first listen that they’re something special.

Is there a club that you’re trying to emulate or that will influence your club? i.e., “We’re trying to do what the Cog Factory did.” or “We really like how they do things at Jackpot down in KC”, etc.

Aponick: Mostly we just wanted to keep going with the positive momentum that was flowing at the Sweatshop Gallery between Craig Dee’s Eyeball Promotions shows and our shows there. We felt the best route was to give ourselves a home base that we curated and organized.

Why did you call it Milk Run? What’s the origin of that name?

Aponick: It’s called Milk Run, as a playful nod to the area’s gay history. A milk run was an innocuous excuse to get out of the house and go downtown in the ’80s and ’90s for gay men. We want people to be open and be themselves in our space. By embracing a part of the area that was once secretive, we’re saying that your identity is welcome here.

Are you concerned that the name could alienate some people and/or parents?

Aponick: If it’s alienating for any other reason than homophobia, I’d be surprised, but willing to discuss those feelings.

What’s your definition of success when it comes to the club? What are you trying to accomplish?

Aponick: Paying our rent and paying touring and local bands well. We want to make sure touring bands have the ability to leave Omaha with a good experience and a good payday. We want to make Omaha a spot worth stopping for more bands. And we want to add to the idea that Omaha is a vibrant, artistically progressive city.

Do you think you could fill a niche that all the other venues aren’t filling? What’s that niche?

Parker: Let’s leave that for the people to decide. Our goal is strong in bringing touring acts that people as well as ourselves, want to see. But, at the same time, highly focusing on the great local scene that’s constantly growing and forever evolving. Bigger show. Little show. Doesn’t matter, hit us up. Our venue is yours.

Keep track of the Milk Run concert and art show schedule at the venue’s Facebook page.

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Despite the tragic murder that took place Halloween night at Slowdown Jr., tonight’s Here We Go Magic show is still happening, according to Slowdown booker Joe Teplitsky.

For those who live out of town (or in a cave), details about the crime are reported here by the Omaha World-Herald. The shooters reportedly are still at large.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The Reader’s 2015 Top Music Venues / Top Bands stories (in link form)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm October 13, 2015
The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

The interior of The Slowdown, photo taken waaay back in 2007 when the club opened.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Let’s assume you haven’t picked up a copy of the printed version of The Reader, which is (obviously) the most convenient way to read all the content included in the Reader‘s 2015 Music Issue.

Trying to read all the Music Issue information online can be a bit frustrating. It would have been nice for The Reader to place all the info into one “package” that flows from one piece to the next.

Fear not, that package is right here.

This morning my feature on The Waiting Room and The Slowdown went online at The Reader‘s website. It joins Wayne Brekke’s piece on the Harney Street Tavern and BJ Huchtemann’s picks of favorite venues including the 21st Saloon, and my feature on O’Leaver’s, which went online last week. Here’s the index:

The Reader‘s Music Issue — The Venues:

While were at it, here are the Reader‘s Best Bands lists:

Of course, you can always just grab your copy of The Reader at your local bar, coffee house or bookstore.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Back from NYC (and a night with Hedwig); The Slowdown in The Washington Post…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:42 pm September 8, 2014
The set for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco on Broadway. Getting a shot during the performance was impossible as vultures were circling, warning people that photos were not allowed...

The set for Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Belasco on Broadway. Getting a shot during the performance was impossible as vultures were circling, warning people that photos were not allowed. I still managed to sneak this one.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I have nothing of a music-related nature to report from Manhattan, as I spent the long weekend going to the US Open, The Yankees and seeing the revival of Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Broadway, which I guess could count.

(Hedwig, btw, was pretty awesome. Former Omahan and Creighton Prep grad Andrew Rannells starred. Rannells made his name in the original version of Book of Mormon on Broadway (in which he won a Grammy) and is sometimes featured as the character Elijah on the HBO series Girls. He took over the lead from Neil Patrick Harris a few weeks ago. We had amazing second-row aisle seats and I came this close to being the subject of the lap dance during the infamous “Sugar Daddy” number.)

* * *

Sounds like I missed one heckuva an Afghan Whigs show while I was gone. I guess you can’t have everything.

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Interesting piece in today’s The Washington Post about The Slowdown and urban renewal. Read it here. The story relies heavily on the work of Michael Seman of Shiny Around the Edges, who wrote an academic paper about the same subject published in 2010 (which you can read here).

The Post doesn’t add much new to the discussion, other than centering the story on local band Lot Walks, who I’ve never heard of prior to the booking mentioned in the story. Needless to say, the Post article should bring some attention to this rather new band. Wonder how they got picked to be the centerpiece?

The story seems to imply that The Slowdown complex saved the NoDo area from decay, and mentions almost as an aside the $131 million ballpark that now overshadows everything down there, and, one could argue, was the real reason, along with the CenturyLink Arena (which isn’t mentioned in the article at all) for the majority of the development in that area, specifically all the freakin’ hotels.

From the article:

In 2006, the city partnered with the Chamber of Commerce to draft a full-scale redevelopment plan: “North Downtown should evolve into Omaha’s newest and most exciting neighborhood…”

The anchor, all parties agreed, should be the greatest music venue in Nebraska. The young and hip would ideally flock there, dine at nearby restaurants and rent loft spaces in old factories.

What the writer left out (or didn’t know) was that The Slowdown’s eventual location was the second choice. The original choice was just a few blocks from Sgt. Peffer’s, at 1528 N. Saddle Creek Rd., but that Robb Nansel and Jason Kulbel were driven away by the Metcalfe Park Neighborhood Association and a couple local businesses who didn’t want the noise and traffic and congestion. You can read about that bit of forgotten history (including thumbnails of the original blueprints) here. That area is now a blight of rental storage units, run-down car washes and hole-in-the-wall auto garages, while NoDo has become the subject of national articles in The Washington Post. In the end, everyone got what they wanted.

Speaking of The Slowdown, it’s been a looooong time since I’ve seen a show down there. My next stop might be PUJOL Sept. 14 or the amazing Jessica Lea Mayfield Sept. 15.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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The CWS, Slowdown and the ‘myth’ of no parking; that goddamn Morrissey; Matthew Sweet news…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:00 pm June 11, 2014

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Screen Shot 2014-06-11 at 12.58.43 PM

Since when did they start calling it ‘The College World Series of Omaha”?

Well, the College World Series kicks off Friday with an opening concert extravaganza by Young the Giant, marking the last time many of us will be stepping foot in downtown Omaha until the series wraps up June 25. The tents already are starting to dot the NoDo landscape like big white blisters atop the usually empty parking lots.

For Slowdown, this is the harvest season, the time of year when they can’t count their money fast enough. In support of the CWS, Slowdown turns into a pseudo sports bar, featuring the finest local cover bands (Secret Weapon) and this year, a special performance by Criteria right in the heart of the action.

Thinking about going to Criteria but are afraid there will be nowhere to park? Slowdown’s Jason Kulbel says that lack of street parking during CWS is a “myth” and that parking is, in fact, plentiful. We shall see.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been down to Slowdown. Checking out their calendar, they’ve got a lot of heavy shows coming up. There’s that Criteria show June 21, The Felice Brothers June 28, Ceremony July 13, Jolie Holland Aug. 8, Kopecky Family Band Sept. 5, Mike Watt’s latest project Sept. 25 and New Pornographers/Pains of Being Pure at Heart Nov. 11.

That New Pornographers show was one of slew of gigs One Percent just announced, including J Mascis Oct. 8 (TWR); Ty Segall Sept. 25 (TWR); and most controversial at all, CHVRCHES Sept. 24 at Sokol Aud. It’s controversial in that CHVRCHES is the same night as The War on Drugs at The Waiting Room. The decision as to which show you choose to attend that night will define you. I’m trying to figure out a way to see both…

* * *

If you haven’t already heard, Morrissey cancelled the remaining dates of his current North American Tour, citing health reasons. Specifically, Morrissey said opening act Kristeen Young doused him with some sort of respiratory plague that he can’t seen to shake. Details on his unofficial website, True to You, where Moz also lists shows from the past tours he and his band consider to be “their best-ever.” For whatever reason, the Lincoln Rococo show wasn’t on the list…

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Omahan Matthew Sweet (that’s right, he lives here now) announced today that he’s working on his first studio album in three years and will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund the project sometime this month.

He also said among the material he’ll be playing on the tour that brings him to O’Leaver’s July 30 (sorry, already sold out) are “his 90s releases, with such hits as ‘Girlfriend,’ ‘Sick of Myself,’ ‘I’ve Been Waiting’ and ‘Devil With the Green Eyes’ through his most recent release, Modern Art.

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Tomorrow: The Faint.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

 

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Mynabirds CD release and Slowdown celebrates five years tonight; OEAA showcase tonight and tomorrow; Jewel Beast Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:11 pm June 8, 2012
Robb Nansel, left, and Jason Kulbel stand in front of Slowdown waaay back in June 2007.

Robb Nansel, left, and Jason Kulbel stand in front of Slowdown waaay back in June 2007.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The weekend’s hottest ticket is The Mynabirds CD release show tonight at The Slowdown. Joining Laura Burhenn and Co. are Jake Bellows and Honeybee & Hers. And it’s also Slowdown’s fifth birthday. Has it really been five years since Jason and Robb opened the doors to this esteemed club? I guess it has been.

It’s fun to reread this article and see how far the bar has come since opening day. But in all honesty, not much has changed. The club is still primarily a music-themed bar (Though its Science Cafe and Pub Quiz nights have become popular). It beat the rest of Omaha to the punch as a smoke-free facility (Can you even remember what it was like to smoke in a bar?). Dan Brennan and Val Nelson are still there (Well, Dan’s there when he isn’t on the road doing sound for Cursive or another big-name national act). There are still no TVs in the bar (Except, of course, for College World Series weeks and other major sporting events, such as Husker Saturdays). And it’s still all-ages (As long as you have a note from your parents). Slowdown is recognized as one of the best live music venues in the Midwest, hosting some of the best touring indie bands in the country. We’re lucky to have it here in Omaha.

Slowdown’s birthday celebration continues tomorrow night in Slowdown Jr. (i.e., the front room) with Howard, Lightning Bug and Family Picnic. Cover is $5 both nights, and both shows have the usual 9 p.m. start time. Drop down and help the Slowdown crew blow out the candles.

The Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (OEAA) Summer Showcase (oddly named, as summer doesn’t start for a couple more weeks) also is happening tonight and tomorrow. Showcases are being held throughout Benson at The Sydney, The Waiting Room, The Barley Street Tavern and the DP Muller Photography Studio, 6066 Maple St. (one of Saddle Creek Records’ former HQ locations). Tomorrow night PS Collective also is participating. The full band schedule is here. A one-day pass gets you into all the clubs for $10; a two-day pass is $15. As in years past, attendees will be able to vote for their favorite band, and the band with the most votes gets to open the local stage at this year’s Maha Music Festival. Always a good time.

Celebrating nothing but the ability to continue to pour alcohol down people’s throats is O’Leaver’s, who tonight is hosting Snake Island with Across Tundras and Dim Light. Snake Island has been showing off their boss new band T-shirts on Facebook. I might have to swing down there to buy one. $5, 9:30 p.m. This show has been CANCELLED.

Saturday night, Millions of Boys is playing at Studio Gallery, 50th and Dodge, with Jewel Beast, a new band comprised of members from InDreama, Human Pudding, New Lungs, Kathleen Turner Overdrive, and Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship. Also on the bill is Ian Douglas Terry. 9 p.m., $5, 21+, BYOB, more info here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Calling all bands who love The Replacements, The Slowdown wants you; Baby Tears, Br’er tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:43 pm November 15, 2011
The Replacements 8 x 10 Glossy

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The fine folks at The Slowdown are looking for bands that dig The Replacements as much as they do to perform after a screening of Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements, which is happening at Slowdown Nov. 30.

The evening will start with a screening of the film followed by a brief Q&A with its director, Gorman Bechard. After that, a number of local bands will take The Slowdown’s small stage to perform their favorite Replacements tunes.

The only things missing from this grand scheme, however, are the actual bands.

You got a band? Do they love The Replacements? Then The Slowdown wants you. If interested in performing Nov. 30, send a quick email to info@theslowdown.com with your band’s name and the two or three Replacements tunes that you want to play. The folks at The Slowdown will sort out the rest. What will you get for playing beyond the dying admiration of everyone in the audience? I’ll leave that for you to negotiate with the club (though, in true Replacements fashion, it’ll probably involve free booze).

Bonus points for the band that plays “Die Within Your Reach.”

* * *

One of America’s 50 best new bands (according to this article in The Boston Phoenix), Omaha’s own Baby Tears, is playing tonight at the Side Door Lounge, 3530 Leavenworth. Headlining is Pennsylvania band Br’er; also on the bill are The West Valley, Brothers Family Temple and Daniel Dorner. Show starts at 8, and is free. Looks like Baby Tears may play first, so get there early.

Here’s a taste of Br’er in the form of “Heavenly”:

 

And in honor of the Leavenworth Neighborhood Association, here’s “Homeless Corpse” from Baby Tears. Enjoy:

 

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Live Review: Two Nicks; One Gallant’s Devotionals; Blitzen Trapper tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — @ 2:19 pm June 7, 2010

Well, Nick Carl’s new band, The Meadowlarks, was not on hand last Saturday night at The Barley St. Tavern, due I’m told to scheduling and transportation-related issues. No matter. Carl did the show alone, and like the last time I saw him, laid down a good set of simple acoustic love (or lack of love) songs sung in his easy-going coffee-shop folk fashion. I dug it, and so did the 15 or so people in the room. Singer/songwriter Nick Jaina and his band closed out the evening with a rowdy set of crash-bash folk rock featuring stand-up bass and trumpet along with the usual instruments. Jaina sort of reminded me of Elvis Perkins, though his music swings closer to folk than Perkins’ dusty Americana.

* * *

Tyson Vogel, one-half of Saddle Creek Records band Two Gallants, announced that his solo debut, Devotionals, is being released July 13 by Alive Records. “Devotionals music is based around Tyson’s guitar compositions, with Anton Patzner (Judgment Day, Bright Eyes) invigorating the musical space with his violin mastery, and they are joined by various guests and collaborators,” says the press release. “The result is a unique combination of simplicity and raw emotion that will delight new and old fans of Two Gallants, a kind of street music with nods to Rachmaninov and John Fahey. The recording is entirely analog.” Really? Wonder if it comes in cassette and/or 8-track tape format. BTW, Two Gallants’ last full length for Saddle Creek came out in 2007.

* * *

Tonight at The Slowdown, it’s red hot indie band Blitzen Trapper with The Moondoggies. $12, 9 p.m. It’s also Slowdown’s third birthday (remember this article?). Stop on down and buy the staff a round. They deserve it.

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