Desaparecidos signs to Epitaph; new Twinsmith single released in the wild…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:59 pm January 28, 2015

by Tim McMahan,

In what could be the worst-kept secret in the history of indie rock, it was officially announced yesterday that former Saddle Creek Records band Desaparecidos has signed with Epitaph Records for the release of the band’s first new album in 13 frickin’ years.

Rumors of the Epitaph signing go as far back as the band’s 2013 Maha Festival performance. Conor Oberst all but confirmed the deal (or more accurately, didn’t deny it) in this May 2014 interview in The Reader.

Epitaph’s official announcement adds nothing new to the story, not even a street date for the album, only that it’ll be released this year. One assumes that the release would be sometime around the start of the band’s brief April tour, that starts April 8 in Denver. We shall see.

Not being discussed is why the new Desa record isn’t coming out on Saddle Creek. I suppose the writing was on the wall when they self-released three singles over the past couple years. With Oberst now on Nonesuch and Bright Eyes seemingly on indefinite hiatus, it appears Oberst has all but cut ties with the record label he helped create.

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Twinsmith's new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Twinsmith’s new single premiered this morning at AV Club.

Speaking of Saddle Creek, its newest addition, Twinsmith, saw the debut of the first track off its sophomore album, Alligator Years, premiered this morning at AV Club (Don’t forget check out the comments at the end of that AV Club story). Twimsmith is touring with Cursive in February before they begin a headlining tour March 2 in Chicago (which leads to their appearances at SXSW in mid-March). The rekkid comes out May 5.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Live Review: Twin Peaks and Midtown Art Supply; Twinsmith, Darren Keen goodbye party tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:57 pm November 26, 2014
Twin Peaks at Midtown Art Supply, Nov. 25, 2014.

Twin Peaks at Midtown Art Supply, Nov. 25, 2014.

by Tim McMahan,

Midtown Art Supply doesn’t look like much from the street. In fact, it’s hard as hell to find. I drove past the storefront three times in the dark looking for it, trying to find some sort of indication that a show was going on. I should have just looked for the smokers, who huddled on the sidewalk outside the concrete building on Farnam Street, just a stone’s throw from what we used to refer to as the “loony bin.”

The interior is urban rustic bordering on squatters’ flat, or so it seemed. Playing hidden behind the crowd of about 100 was Twin Peaks crashing through a set of stripped down pop that was too well-written to be mistaken for garage. Since the band was playing at floor level, you could only see the tops of their shaggy heads in the near dark of the barren, cold art space.

A Lazy-i reader spotted me and pointed to a hole-walkway covered by a stapled-to-the-wall vinyl shower curtain that flapped in the cold darkness. “Go through there to get to the back stage and the bathroom,” he yelled.

We crossed into a blackness, a room with echoing high ceilings strewn with guitar cases and pieces of drum kit presumably from one of the opening bands, and walked to another hole in the wall where a half dozen people crowded to watch the band from behind. I leaned through and grabbed some photos of the mop-tops serenading a sea of bobbing heads while people pushed pass me to get to the bathroom.

Twin Peaks’ music is rowdy up-beat rock that borders on garage surf, but as I said before, there is a precision to it that puts it on another level. If you haven’t checked out Wild Onion, you should. Clearly the record has a lot of young fans, in fact judging by the number of eager, shining faces I got a feeling Twin Peaks’ might be drawing a younger crowd than the mob that was currently watching Desaparecidos over at TWR.

Standing toward the back drinking a beer out of a red cup, I suggested to the promoter that in the future he add a riser or something so the band could be seen above the crowd, and he told me there was an elevated stage hidden behind the large projector screen hanging behind the band, but for whatever reason it wasn’t being used for this show. He said with the stage in play, the room could comfortably hold a few hundred people, and has for past shows.

When the lights came up, I saw just how amazing — and monolithic — the space is. While the performance space isn’t much to look at, the interior of this building is cavernous and covered with eye-popping graffiti — huge spray-painted murals, which might explain the headache-inducing acrylic smell that hung over the back rooms. The building continues down into a basement where a skateboard ramp leaned against a wall. Down it went to another huge space broken up by support poles where I was told massive thousand-person raves had been held in years past. Another opening led to a blackened room filled with hundreds of doors leaning in stacks against each other. I was told there were more passages somewhere through the darkness that led who knows where. Anyway, an inspiring space which is now home to a talented local artist…

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Night two of holiday week takes place tonight. Saddle Creek Records band Twinsmith headlines a show at Slowdown Jr. Opening is Lincoln band Oketo and Stephen Nichols. With turkey day tomorrow, this could be a big show. $7, 9 p.m.

Also tonight is the going-away party for local legend Darren Keen at House of Loom. Keen is high-tailing it to Brooklyn in the coming days, and we’re all going to miss him dearly (just wait and see). Tonight’s performance will feature Darren covering Daft Punk live. According to the invite: “He’s rebuilt & restructured some the songs from the ground up. Along with Mark Hinrichs on a trap drum set, Keen has sampled the source material and built up a wall of electronics that really nail the things that are special & amazing about the music of Daft Punk.” Show starts at 9, and the price: “$5 until we fill up / $8 after.” More info here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Saddle Creek signs Philly band Hop Along, Twinsmith; Halloween w/ Noah’s Ark, See Through Dresses; Orenda Fink Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:15 pm October 31, 2014
Hop Along joins the Saddle Creek Records stable...

Hop Along joins the Saddle Creek Records stable…

by Tim McMahan,

I was out of touch all day yesterday at meetings and stuff, but I did see the message from Saddle Creek that went out announcing the label signed Philly band Hop Along. I’m listening to the band now on Spotify (or at least I think I am). And I like what I’m hearing. Very indie-sounding. Almost post punk. Breathy female vocals. Kind of reminds me of Helium, Mary Timony’s old band, though it’s more upbeat. Not a hint of mandolin or pedal steel or anything that could be mistaken for alt-folk or alt-country. Like I said, me likee.

Let’s be honest, that alt-country/alt-folk label is more of a Nebraska thing than a Saddle Creek thing. Icky Blossoms, PUJOL, Twinsmith have nothing to do with alt country. Sure, Rural Alberta Advantage gets lumped in with the alt-country-folk thing but even they are far from country. (And I don’t want this to come off as me hating on alt-folk/alt-country/Americana, we just have a lot of it around here and most of it is pretty boring).

Data from Creek: “Hop Along will enter the studio this week to begin work on their Saddle Creek debut, which will be produced by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., etc) and released in the Spring of 2015.”

The band’s last album, 2012’s Get Disowned, was released in the U.S. on Hot Green Records (It was apparently the label’s fourth release?) and overseas via East London label Big Scary Monsters Records, who counts among their roster Cursive.

More trivia: The band’s singer, Frances Quinlan joined Weezer on stage in Philadelphia at The Trocadero last weekend to sing “Go Away” with Rivers Cuomo and company.

It’s a pretty exciting signing for Saddle Creek and the first non-Omaha band that they’ve signed in years that I’m looking forward to hearing live. Hopefully they’ll come to Omaha some day.

Also announced yesterday was probably the local scene’s worst kept secret: That Twinsmith has been signed by Saddle Creek. Everyone knew this was a done deal for awhile.

Sayeth Creek: “This fall the band hit the studio with Brandon Darner and Luke Pettipoole of The Envy Corps to record their sophomore effort and first full-length on Saddle Creek. You’ll be able to hear the results in Spring of 2015.” Will rock stardom ensue? Time will tell…

Check out some Hop Along below:

I talk to people all the time who hate St. Patrick’s Day. They call it “amateur night” and so on, and that’s fine. I love St. Patrick’s Day, but what did you expect? Just look at my name.

Well the kind of venom people spew for St. Patty’s is what I feel for the adult-version of Halloween. I get how folks like to dress up and put on make-up, but costumes just ain’t my bag, and if you have to wear one to see the show, well, I guess I’m staying home.

But you shouldn’t. Especially considering who’s playing tonight.

Reverb’s got a first-clash bash happening tonight headlined by Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship with See Through Dresses and the always entertaining Darren Keen. I’m hearing STDs are doing an all-cover set. No idea if this is a costume-optional gig (but it probably is). Who knows, I might drop in dressed as Painfully Awkward Robb Lowe. $8, 9 p.m.

Tonight’s gig at The Brothers, on the other hand, is a straight-up costume bash. On the bill is Omaha’s newest stoner rock sensations Nightbird along with Blowing Chunks and Lincoln’s Ron Wax (Ron Albertson ex-Mercy Rule, ex-Liars). $5, 9 p.m.

And of course the masquerade will be happening at fabulous O’Leaver’s tonight, hosted by Members of the Press, who go on at 11. $5.

November starts tomorrow. Celebrate with Orenda Fink as she headlines at The Slowdown. Joining her are New York band Matteah Baim And The LCs (Kobalt / Dream Drive) and our very own Anna McClellan. $8, 9 p.m.

Also Saturday night, 24 Hour Cardlock headlines at O’Leaver’s with The Pink Flamingos and Dirty River Ramblers (yee-haw!). $5, 9:30 p.m.

And Edge of Arbor (Jessica Errett’s band) is celebrating a CD release at Reverb Saturday night. Joining them are The Derby Birds and Tara Vaughan Band. $7, 9 p.m.

Have a happy Halloween…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


Twinsmith 7-inch to be released on Saddle Creek; new Maria Taylor in WSJ; Pro-Magnum in HN; Kasher in Paste…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm October 9, 2013


by Tim McMahan,

Omaha indie band Twinsmith is seeing its first 7-inch released on none other than Saddle Creek Records Nov. 19. The tracks are “Honestly” b/w “1’30” and “Big Deal.”

“Honestly” premiered today on Minneapolis’ Radio K (right here). “Recorded and produced by Matt Carroll and J.J. Idt at Omaha’s Little Machine Studio, ‘Honestly’ – with its fuzzed-out guitars reminiscent of Blue Album-era Weezer – shows off the evolution of a band still in its infancy.” Congrats Twinsmith, and welcome to the big time.

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Maria Taylor’s next track off upcoming Saddle Creek LP Something About Knowing, titled “Tunnel Vision” premiered today on that great, gray bible of all things financial, The Wall Street Journal (here). The new album hits the streets Oct. 29.

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In other release news, Omaha proto-punkers (not sure what that means, but it sounds important) Pro-Magnum premiered two new songs on available from their Bandcamp page (below).

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An addendum to yesterday’s Tim Kasher reviews round-up: Paste Magazine yesterday gave Adult Film a rousing 8.7 rating, concluding: “If this is a new avenue of self-loathing for Kasher, it’s a welcome change of form from the perhaps more angular output of his screaming past. His gifts for wrangling emotive detours from unlikely sonic realms is his best talent, but he couldn’t do that without his crafty capacity for language, too. Stripped of the angry adornments of his yesteryears, we now may take him at his word.”  Read the full review here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Jake’s Block Party (See Through Dresses, Oquoa, Twinsmith); Jim James, Basia Bulat, Youth Lagoon tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:02 pm September 10, 2013
And the crowd looked on, at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

And the crowd looked on, at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

by Tim McMahan,

Jake’s Block Party in Benson has become an annual (or semi-annual?) must-attend event for anyone interested in local indie music. As in years past, the stage was set up right outside of Jake’s on Military Ave., leaving room for food vendors (Lot 2/Baxter’s, a food truck, fine brews by Jake’s).

This time  the party was teamed up with Benson First Friday, which may explain the rather light crowd for opening band Twinsmith. Though the audience was thin, interest was intense for a marquee act that has all the earmarks of a local breakthrough. Again, I was reminded of Vampire Weekend. Make your own comparisons. One of the most pop-friendly indie bands to emerge from the Omaha scene in recent memory.

Oquoa at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Oquoa at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

Moreso than when I saw them a couple weeks ago at their O’Leaver’s debut (or maybe it was the outdoor stage) Oquoa sounded like Conduits with a male lead singer, which of course makes sense considering core members of Oquoa were in Conduits. Thick, dense waves of sound rolled through the old brick buildings, but instead of Jenna Morrison’s tonal coo cutting through the feedback we got Max Almquist’s brassy rock voice. I still don’t know what he’s singing about, but that will come when we get a lyric sheet (or a clean recording). If you were a Conduits fan, you need to check these guys out.

See Through Dresses at Jake's Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses at Jake’s Block Party, Sept. 6, 2013.

See Through Dresses had a sound that bounced between Dinosaur Jr. and Sonic Youth. Needless to say Sara Burtuldo’s interplay with with frontman Matt Carroll (Nate Van Fleet and Robert Little round out the four-piece) gives the band a Thurston Moore / Kim Gordon flair. When they throw in a New Order cover, well, things get out of hand (in a good way). As a whole, less punk and more post-punk than Sara’s other project.

Speaking of Sonic Youth, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship followed STD and played their usual cranked up post-punk set, louder than ever. By then, the block was packed. Alas, I didn’t stick around for headliner Universe Contest.

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Early in the evening, word leaked that Conor Oberst was going to mark the anniversary of Pageturners with a performance on the bar’s ad hoc stage. What to do, what to do? In the end, I sat tight at Jake’s figuring that I wouldn’t get there in time to get in and/or if I did the place would be crushed. Unlike Conor’s Krug Park “secret show” a year ago when video and reports leaked everywhere afterward, the only thing I’ve seen to prove that this actually happened was a dark, blurry photo posted on the Pageturners Facebook page.

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Two shows going on tonight. Top o’ bill is Jim James (of My Morning Jacket and Monsters of Folk) at Slowdown. Is Conor still in town? If he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if he joined his old pal on stage for a couple songs. Opening is the amazing Basia Bulat, whose new album, Tall, Tall Shadows, comes out on Secret City Records Oct. 1. As of noon, tickets were still available for $27. Show starts at 9.

Also tonight, spacey rockers Youth Lagoon a.k.a. Boise Idaho’s Trevor Powers, plays at The Waiting Room. His new album Wondrous Bughouse was released on Fat Possum this past March and is, indeed, a head trip in a Floydian sort of way. Opening is Austin low-fi trio Pure X. $14, 9 p.m.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Twinsmith, Gordon, Josh Rouse tonight; Speed! Nebraska showcase, Snake Island Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm July 12, 2013
A still from the Twinsmith video for "The Thrill."

A still from the Twinsmith video for “The Thrill.”

by Tim McMahan,

Well, it looks like another O’Leaver’s weekend, with the “little bar that could” putting on two of the hottest local indie shows Friday and Saturday.

Tonight it’s the Twinsmith CD release show for the band’s self-released debut. Consisting of former members of Betsy Wells and drummer Oliver Morgan (formerly of Little Brazil), Twinsmith has a modern indie-pop style that combines touches of Band of Horses, Beach House and Vampire Weekend. Check out the Lovedrunk video for “The Thrill” below. Opening is the always entertaining Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, and hot next-wave band Gordon (get there early). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Also tonight, 2012 Maha Music Festival alum Josh Rouse plays at The Waiting Room. Matt Whipkey opens. $20, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, down at The Barley Street, John Klemmensen plays with a handful of locals including John Larsen, Andrew Jay and Morse Code (from Plattsmouth). $5, 9 p.m.

Finally, tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s a $2 show featuring Detroit band Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Local newcomer Phantom Scout opens. $2, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night, it’s back to O’Leaver’s for the annual Speed! Nebraska Records showcase. In year’s past this was accompanied by a soapbox derby, but I guess so many racers are still on the DL that they’re skipping it this year. No matter, the party continues with The Killigans, Sons of O’Leaver’s Domestica and The Filter Kings. Good times. $5, 9 p.m.

The other big local show Saturday night is at The Waiting Room where Snake Island is hosting its tour kick-off and album release show for their Make Believe Recordings debut, Evil Music. Their month-long tour will take them to Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and more. Opening is Lincoln’s Universe Contest, Plack Blague and Eric in Outerspace. $8, 9 p.m. Check out the new Snake Island video for “Evil Music.”

Meanwhile, The Sweatshop Gallery (right next to the Barley Street) is hosting Milwaukee’s Rio Turbo, described as “TRASHY Dance PARTY, Frontman of CATACOMBZZ.” Opening is local legend Solid Goldberg and Jailbate. $5, 9 p.m.

It’s back to Sweatshop Sunday night for what could be the strangest show of the weekend headlined by San Francisco’s Bad News. According the invite: “The cross-geographical pair, Sarah Bernat and Alex Lukas weld industrial hymns out of gritted synth tones, mutilated samples and darkly protracted guitars. Working within limitations, the two have an affinity for hardware, dead-panned vox and loaded, unpredictable live performances. Bad News has proved their penchant for unsavory frequencies, achieved with artful brutality and control of their uniquely industrial sound.” Opening is the death metal guitar of Fathr^ (Dapose from The Faint), Violator X, Ruby Block and Progress. $5, 9 p.m.

Last but not least, this weekend marks the grand opening of The Berry and Rye, a new craft cocktail bar brought to you by Loom-inaries Brent Crampton and Ethan Bondelid, in the former Myth space at 1105 Howard St. We’re talking fancy frickin’ awesome drinks. To be part of it, you need to make a reservation at 402.613.1331.

Did I forget anything? Add it to the comments section. Have a hot weekend…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.