New Unexplained Death track; Jake Bellows sighting; Stef Chura, French Vanilla, David Nance tonight at Reverb…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:38 pm August 7, 2019

Stef Chura at O’Leaver’s, May 30, 2018. She plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Whipkey’s new punk-flavored project Unexplained Death is about to enter the political arena. Whipkey has crafted an album’s worth of angry  rock songs that reflect Nebraska in the age of Trump.

His latest entry is a not-so-veiled attack on Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse titled “Benny and The Sass,” which debuted a lyric video on YouTube yesterday. Who will be the first Washington intern to show it to the senator. And when will Whipkey and the rest of U-Death finally grace a stage near you?

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The Scott McCaughey tour that rolled through an Omaha living room last month rolled into LA’s Bootleg Theater this past weekend with half of R.E.M. (Peter Buck and Mike Mills) in the supporting band. Also on board was Morgan Nagler, Jake Bellows and the rest of Whispertown. Check out the coverage, which includes a shout out and a couple sweet pics of Jake and Morgan. We miss you, Jake…!

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Speaking of living room shows, there’s another one coming up Aug. 28 with Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan. Upon purchasing your limited $25 tickets here, the location of the event will be revealed. No doubt, it will once again be a living room tucked away somewhere in Dundee.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s the return of Stef Chura and her band. Chura played a sparsely attended set at O’Leaver’s last year (I was there). Her new album, Midnight (2019, Saddle Creek), produced by Car Seat Headrest’s Will Toledo, has garnered plenty of national attention, which could make tonight’s show a bit more crowded.

Toledo and Chura have something in common: Both have voices that are… challenging. Toledo’s voice swings between wobbly half-asleep tone-waddle and full-throat yell-singing. So does Chura’s, at times a scratchy granny (reminiscent of ’70s hippy yodeler Melanie (“Brand New Key”)) at others, angry nasal lady. I find it strangely precocious.

Toledo gets a ton of credit for this new record’s sound, and in a lot of ways, it’s justified. Compared to her Saddle Creek debut, 2017’s Messes, the guitars on Midnight are crunchier, the bass lines are fuzzier and more out front, and the songs are filled with clean drop-outs that wake up the tracks with karate chop precision.

Lyrically, Chura’s outsider / lost relationship musings can walk home in the dark hand-in-hand with Toledo’s lonely guy odes.

Like last night’s Outer Spaces show, this one is a four-band bill (WTF? Don’t you guys know some of us have to go to work tomorrow morning?). Joining Chura is LA art punkers French Vanilla (Danger Collective Records), New Haven rocker Stefan Christensen and our very own David Nance Group. 8 p.m., $12.

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

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RSD 2019; New releases (Unexplained Death, Leafblower); NIght Beats, DROSS, Sun-Less Trio tonight at Slowdown…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:35 pm April 15, 2019

The Sun-Less Trio at Reverb Aug. 18, 2017. The band plays tonight at Slowdown, Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

What’d you get on Record Store Day? This is the first year I didn’t go shopping on RSD. It’s not as if there was nothing I wanted (Anyone score that Devo box set? It’s going for $140 today on eBay). I assumed the decline of Omaha record stores (Three closed just this past year, including icons Drastic Plastic and Almost Music) that the interest in RSD was waning, but sure enough, images began showing up on Facebook hours before Homer’s opened Saturday of huge lines outside scrolling around the block, a testament to ongoing interest in this twice-a-year promotion (Black Friday is sort of RSD Pt. 2).

I find that while I listen to more music now than ever before, I listen to vinyl less and less (mainly because I mostly listen to new music). One of my last vinyl purchases was the Red House Painters box set, an old RSD offering — I found an unopened copy on Discogs. Very likely I’ll be buying that Devo box set, too… from Discogs… eventually.

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Speaking of new music, a couple new local releases caught my attention.

First, Matt Whipkey has a new side project called Unexplained Death that’s his take on punk. The first two songs, “Four More Years” b/w “Think For Yourself” (a cover of the Beatles classic) went online a week or so ago. It’s just part of what will likely be an Unexplained Death LP that’ll be released sometime in the near future.

Of course we’re all waiting for Unexplained Death’s first stage appearance.

The other release is a two-song stoner-rock release by Leafblower — “Yes Men” b/w “Still Lazy After All These Beers.” The tunes are available on Spotify now, and will be released as a 7″ later this year by Max Trax Records. Heavy, heavy shit.

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Very cool rock show is happening tonight at Slowdown Jr. — Seattle rock psych-rock band Night Beats (Heavenly Records) headlines with DROSS (members of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship) and Sun-Less Trio. 8 p.m. start time, $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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Unexplained Death (a.k.a. Matt Whipkey and band) takes on the Ricketts family…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 2:32 pm February 13, 2019

A screen cap from the new Unexplained Death video for “Wall Street Pete (Daddy’s Money).”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Matt Whipkey has been working on a secret project for a number of months. He’s known for a style of music that falls somewhere in the folk rock / Americana / alt country / singer-songwriter genres. The new project, going by the name Unexplained Death, is Whipkey’s take on punk as only he can.

His first angry solvo has been hurled at Pete Ricketts and the Ricketts family in general. Called “Wall Street Pete (Daddy’s Money)” it throws the Ricketts spaghetti agaisnt the wall. See what pieces stick below.

I asked Whipkey, “Why punk, why now?”

“Look at the world; it’s a flaming shit storm. In all directions, fireballs of shit flying,” Whipkey said. “A lot of musicians are speaking out against the current state of affairs and that is great, but a lot of these songs are borderline lullabies.”

Whipkey’s abrupt change in musical style also is the result of too often being hung with the “Americana, singer/songwriter” genre tag. “I’ve carried it for a long time,” he said.

So is what he’s doing punk? Probably not in the truest sense. This song and others off the upcoming collection fall closer to Replacements-style indie rock.

“When I was learning to play guitar, these were the kind of jams I first figured out,” he said. “Fast and loud is definitely part of my nature. In no way am I claiming to be a punk purist. I still like melody too much. But the energy it carries has always been a part of my identity.”

The Unexplained Death songs were mostly recorded in Whipkey’s unfinished basement. “I did the drums for some songs at Scott Gaeta’s (studio),” Whipkey said. “I mixed all the songs and even played everything (sans drums).”

He’s looking for a record label to put it out, but, “I have little hope because the music industry is also part of that flaming shit storm.”

We’re all still waiting for the first Unexplained Death rock show; do you hear that Lookout Lounge and The Brothers?

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

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