Saddle Creek to reissue Good Life, Maria Taylor; Big Harp to Fat Possum?; Lazy-i Podcast Ep. 3; new Two Gallants; Doomtree tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:52 pm March 4, 2015
Check out the Good Life reissues...

Check out the Good Life reissues…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saddle Creek is dipping into its rather enormous back catalog again, this time to dish out reissues of early Good Life and Maria Taylor albums. From the press release:

We are excited to announce that The Good Life’s first three LPs and two accompanying albums of demos will be issued on vinyl April 7. Novena on a Nocturn is available for the first time ever on vinyl, Black Out is back in print for the first time in over a decade, and Album of the Year has been expanded to 2xLP in gatefold packaging. Also available is the never-before released Novena on a Nocturn demos and the never before released on vinyl Album of the Year demos, both Saddle Creek Online Store exclusives.

Then there’s the Maria Taylor stuff:

On April 18 (a.k.a. Record Store Day) Maria Taylor’s first two solo records will be available for the first time ever on vinyl — 11:11 on opaque light blue vinyl, and Lynn Teeter Flower on transparent gold vinyl.

In addition, Cursive’s The Ugly Organ (Deluxe Edition) [Remastered] vinyl is back in stock. To order any or all of the above, go to the Saddle Creek online store.

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Did Big Harp jump the Saddle Creek Records ship? This today in Spin: “After two very good albums with Omaha-based Saddle Creek, (Big Harp has) moved to Fat Possum to release their newest single ‘It’s A Shame.” Check out the track below.

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Speaking of Saddle Creek ex-patriots, Two Gallants shared a new video for the track “Incidental” from the band’s fifth studio album We Are Undone, out now on ATO Records. Two Gallants is playing at Reverb April 22.

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Episode 3 of the Lazy-i Podcast went online this morning. The weekly recap includes a brief interview with Matthew Sweet, new music by Icky Blossoms, Simon Joyner and Bloodcow, info on the No Coast Music Festival and live reviews and recordings from last weekend’s Shy Boys and J Fernandez performances at Almost Music. Plus: The best shows happening this coming weekend. Check it out here.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room Doomtree returns to Omaha for the first time since their Maha Music Festival performance last summer. The band is touring behind their latest full-length, All Hands, out now on Doomtree Records. Opening is Busdriver & Transit. $15, 9 p.m.

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

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CD Reviews YTD 2012 (in the column, and right here); The Wombats, Kite Pilot, Pony Wars tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 12:56 pm September 27, 2012

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I typically don’t run my Reader column in this here blog because it typically doesn’t focus on music (and this is a music blog after all). Sure, I add a line of hype about the column on Thursdays, but then I simply link to it. Well, this week I can’t find the column online at thereader.com. So because of that, and because the focus this week is on music, I’ve included it below. As always, you can also read it in print in The Reader.

Over the Edge: Of Sound Mind (and Opinion)
CD Reviews, YTD 2012

This week’s column is a return to my old indie music criticism schtick. Because I still listen to music — lots of it — and have more than 20 years’ experience writing about it, which I think gives my critical analysis a modicum of relevance.

Or maybe not.

The role of the music critic has become somewhat (mostly) marginalized. Anyone interested in modern music with the available income to purchase it also has access to Spotify or one of the other music streaming services that makes (most) new music available with the flick of a finger from their iPhone/Android/computer-powered listening device.

In other words, if you want to know if the latest buzz band is worth listening to you no longer have to risk your hard-earned ducats and make a blind purchase like in the old days. Now all you have to do is listen to it online. That means the critic’s role has been relegated to: 1) saving you time by pointing you toward an interesting path, or 2) validating your already made-up mind.

Reviews don’t even mean that much from a marketing perspective since artists don’t (and can’t) rely on income from album sales anymore. The ones who want to make a living making music depend on income generated at live performances. Still, if they’re going to get butts in seats, they have to get their music heard in the first place, and maybe that’s where the critics come in. My how the world has changed in just 10 years.

With all that in mind here are my impressions of some recent music, for what it’s worth…

Purity Ring, Shrines (4AD/Last Gang) — Chime-bot sounds from outer-space tone rockers is at its best when melody outdoes beat, but man it can get tiresome.

Thee Oh Sees, Putrifiers II (In the Red) — A crowing cock-a-doodle-doo of a garage punk band, no one does it better or with more style. Stands for Orange County if you’re wondering. So why can’t we get them to come to Omaha?

Digital Leather, Yes, Please, Thank You (Southpaw) — Another in a series of recordings (something like four LP/EP releases in the last couple years?) that sounds like Gary Numan post-wave synth rock bolted to a doped-up garage-punk band. One of Omaha’s finest. BTW, this is a cassette-only release. Yes, you read that right.

Peace of Shit, Business as Usual (Rainy Road) — Local perusers of thee garage aesthetic write songs as clever (or crass) as their name. Also on cassette (I see a luddite trend here).

Two Gallants, The Bloom and the Blight (ATO) — This original snarling guitar-and-drum purveyors of the punk sea shanty waited until they left Saddle Creek to make the best record of their careers. They’ve never been more focused, or ferocious.

Cat Power, Sun (Matador) — Chan Marshall puts aside afternoon-light fragment pop for something more upbeat, trippy, tuneful and almost happy, until you listen to the words.

Azure Ray, As Above So Below (Saddle Creek) — By combining the best of their respective solo projects, the Fink/Taylor duo have (finally) struck the perfect balance between strutting and soulful, sounding (finally) comfortable in their own skins.

TEEN, In Limbo (Carpark) — Maybe the best all-girl indie rock band going. Less self-assured than Best Coast, but better.

Ember Schrag, The Sewing Room (Single Girl Married Girl / Edible Onion) — Local singer/songwriter’s clear-as-a-bell coffee-shop folk ruminations, worth it if only for the perfect jewel of “Your Words.”

Dinosaur Jr., I Bet on Sky (Jagjaguwar) — Everything ‘80s is new again, at least to the young ears that weren’t around the first time. As good as anything they did back then, at times even better.

Bob Mould, Silver Age (Merge) — Everything ‘80s is new again, again. Bob put away his dancing shoes and rediscovered his electric guitar and hasn’t sounded this good since his Sugar days.

The xx, Coexist (Young Turks) — Among the hottest (or most heralded) of the droll vibe bands, no matter how much I try it bores the shit out of me.

McCarthy Trenching, Plays the Piano (Slumberparty) — Half ragtime instrumentals and half ragtime-influenced piano ballads, they say he’s Omaha’s Randy Newman but he’s really just a nice guy lost in better days. And I like his “Solace” better than Marvin’s.

The Intelligence, Everybodys Got It Easy But Me (In the Red) — The best under-the-radar indie rock collection that you’ll probably never find. By the numbers, but it still gets me every time.

PUJOL, United States of Being (Saddle Creek) — Proof that Saddle Creek still has a nose for finding new talent (even though Jack White found it first). All his earlier recordings have been leading up to this. Not anthemic, but epic nonetheless.

David Byrne and St. Vincent, Love This Giant (4AD) — Waters down the best parts of both, it’s not weird enough to be interesting and not straight-forward enough to be interesting.

Violens, True — Everything ‘80s is new again, the dream-pop edition. Lush.

Wild Nothing, Nocturne (Captured Tracks) — Everything ‘90s is new again, the (upbeat) shoe-gaze edition.

Twin Shadow, Confess (4AD) — A dizzying trip back to ’80s electro-pop with a sound that recalls everything from General Public to Fine Young Cannibals to New Order to Peter Gabriel. If you’re gonna steal a style, this is how to do it.

Divine Fits, A Thing Called Divine Fits (Merge) — Better than the last couple Spoon albums (or anything by Wolf Parade).

Various Artists, Just Tell Me That You Want Me: A Tribute to Fleetwood Mac (Hear Music) — Unnecessary tribute album’s only highlights are Billy Gibbons’ “Oh Well,” and Antony’s fey “Landslide,” though it’ll make you want to seek out the source material.

Over The Edge is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Published in The Omaha Reader, Sept. 27, 2012.

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Tonight at The Slowdown it’s Liverpool indie-rock trio The Wombats (Bright Antenna). Their sound has been described as “post-punk” but falls much closer to alt-pop or power-pop. Some say they’re destined for Arctic Monkey-level stardom. Who knows… maybe. This one was originally scheduled for the “junior room,” but was moved to the big stage thanks to pre-sales. Opening is Morning Parade and The Royal Concept. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, our old pals Kite Pilot is playing tonight at The Sydney with Betsy Wells and Black Jonny Quest. $5, 9 p.m.

Last but not least, Pony Wars (Craig Korth, Craig Meier, Mike Brannan, Eric Ebers) is headlining a show tonight at O’Leaver’s with I Was Totally Destroying It and Millions of Boys. $5, 9:30 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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Mynabirds, PUJOL drop day; Two Gallants signs to ATO…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:36 pm June 5, 2012
A screen capture from The Mynabirds' "Generals" video.

A screen capture from The Mynabirds' "Generals" video.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s another big day at Saddle Creek Records (Do you think maybe that’s how they answer their phones?). Two of the label’s expansion acts, The Mynabirds and PUJOL, drop full-length releases today.

Mynabirds’ Generals is getting a favorable launch, thanks to a big 7.5 rating at Pitchfork — one of the highest ratings a Saddle Creek act has received in recent memory (with the exception, of course, of the recent Bright Eyes Fever & Mirrors reissue). The review concludes with: “Burhenn bookends the record with the plea, ‘I’d give it all, for a legacy of love,’ signaling that she’s willing to sacrifice personal gain for the broader good, instead of setting the whole thing ablaze. Maybe it’s just her voice (and god, that voice), but I believe her.” Nice, very nice. This one has received a boatload of media attention, including stream hosting at Team Coco (Conan O’Brien’s website) and a video launch at IFC (which you can view here. The video features some of the Saddle Creek Records staff in Mad Men/Matrix-Agent Smith costuming, and Burhenn backed by yet another version of The Mynabirds — this time an all-female band). Is Laura Burhenn positioned to be the next Jenny Lewis? We’ll have to wait and see.

We’re still waiting for that PUJOL Pitchfork review. Called United States of Being, this release has been on heavy rotation at K-TIM (That’s what I call my iPhone)(Yeah, I know, that’s pretty sad). Consequence of Sound gave it a 4-star review, calling it “the appropriate soundtrack to both an existential meltdown and a rowdy, beer-heavy night out-or maybe both at the same time. It’s in this precarious balance that PUJOL has hit a stride that shows no intention of slowing down.” Hear-hear! In fact, you can “hear” it streamed right here at Rolling Stone.

Saddle Creek has one more big release slated for this summer — the full-length debut by Icky Blossoms — set for July 17.

In other Saddle Creek Records-related news, one of the label’s first “expansion acts” — Two Gallants — has apparently flown the coop. The band announced today that it has signed a deal with ATO Records, who will release their fourth LP, The Bloom and the Blight, Sept. 4.

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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.

Lazy-i

SXSW Day 3: Bob Mould, Grimes, Icky Blossoms, Eleanor Friedberger, The Men, Crooked Fingers, Imperial Teen, Two Gallants…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Just like yesterday, click here to read my recap of Day 3 at SXSW at thereader.com. FYI, the festival is closing out today, even though I closed it out yesterday (three days is enough). So go read, then come back and check out my photos from Day 3. I’ll be posting all three day’s worth of write-ups here at Lazy-i on Monday.

Two Gallants at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Two Gallants at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Grimes at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Grimes at the 9th & Trinity parking garage, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

The Men at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

The Men at Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Icky Blossoms at Lambert's BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Icky Blossoms at Lambert's BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Big Harp at Lambert's BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Big Harp at Lambert's BBQ, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Eleanor Friedberger at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Eleanor Friedberger at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Crooked Fingers at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Crooked Fingers at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Imperial Teen at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Imperial Teen at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Bob Mould at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Bob Mould at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Bob Mould at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

Bob Mould at Frank, SXSW, March 16, 2012.

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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.

Lazy-i

Conor-fest “deluxe” for $299?; Bieber hip-hops over Omaha; Two busy Gallants…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The review of Friday night’s Lincoln Invasion fest will be online in tomorrow’s column (w/pics), so check back. My only other “music experience” last weekend involved a West Omaha bar where a cover band rumbled though a selection of ’80s hair metal songs while grossly overweight people sat on broken picnic tables outside in a grassy knoll surrounded by chain-link fence smoking cigarettes and watching as cops arrested a young perp on a DUI bust. Slumming? Maybe…

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A couple follow-ups on last week’s blogs: I’m told the Concert for Equality Deluxe tickets, which went on sale Saturday morning, sold out in less than an hour (despite problems with the One Percent Productions website). Deluxe ticket holders get access to The Waiting Room for an after-concert concert that will include the Lullaby for the Working Class reunion and some other surprises which I’ve been told would be “well worth my $50 per ticket.” We shall see. BTW, some jackhole is selling a pair of deluxe tix on ebay here for a buy-now price of $299 a pair (another individual ticket has been bid up to $81 with 7 days left on the auction). The $20 general admission tickets, which get you into the outdoor concert, are still available, but I’m told that they’re going fast.

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When I ran into Justin Beiber at Westroads the weekend before last (blogged here), I had no idea that I was witnessing the genesis to an urban music masterpiece. Bieber has since immortalized his trip to the mall in a toss-off hip-hop recording called “Omaha Mall,” which has been a trending topic on Twitter for the past couple of days. You can hear this thought-provoking musical journey, with such “fresh” lines as “I’ve been to LA, New York I’ve done it all / But none of it compares to the Omaha mall”  here on YouTube. Thanks to reader @collinmatz for the head’s up.

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Saddle Creek Records announced last Friday that it’s releasing the debut solo album by Two Gallants’ Adam Haworth Stephens, We Live on Cliffs, Sept. 28. Produced by Grammy Award Winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (Radiohead, The White Stripes, The Shins), the album features guest musicians including Patrick Hallahan and Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), Justin Meldal-Johnsen (Nine Inch Nails), Joey Waronker (Atoms for Peace), Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers / Jaguar Love), Mike Daly (ex-Whiskeytown), Petra Haden (Decemberists), Andy Cabic (Vetiver) and current band members Jen Grady, Matt Montgomery and Omar Cuellar. Stephens is playing at The Bourbon in Lincoln Aug. 11 with Blitzen Trapper.

Meanwhile, the other half of Two Gallants, Tyson Vogel, has his solo project, called Devotionals, coming out today on Alive! Records. Vogel puts away his drum set, picks up a guitar and plays with violinist Anton Patzner, who’s worked with Bright Eyes.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

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.

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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.

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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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