Sucettes120917
Sucettes at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017.

Welcome to Lazy-i, an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news.

The focus is on the indie music scene. Yes, there’s a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area, but Lazy-i also offers interviews, stories and reviews about national indie bands.

Most of the feature stories and columns in Lazy-i will have previously been published in The Reader, Omaha’s monthly alternative newspaper.



Shows (or the lack thereof) this weekend; new Stathi, Bug Heaven…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 8:20 am January 21, 2022

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looks like we’ve hit the wall again. There are still shows booked at all the usual places, but no indie, no touring acts, etc. If it’s going to be a dead weekend, it might as well be this weekend, with Omnivore (sic) raging at peak levels throughout Douglas County. It’s probably a good idea to stick around the homestead until this spike subsides.

The skinny: The Waiting Room has a comedy tour, Reverb has a C&W act, Slowdown postponed tonight’s show and Saturday has a live broadcast screening of Thom Yorke’s new band, The Smile, which will cost you $20 — seems a bit steep for a streamed event by a debuting act. Jeremy Mercy and his band are playing at the Down Under Saturday night at 9. And that’s about it.

A couple releases while I have your attention…

Former Omaha guy now NYC guy Stathi Patseas has a new gorgeous demo compilation called Dogs Bark Omaha that just dropped on Bandcamp. Check it out.

Nate Van Fleet dropped me an IM to let me know about a recording by local project Bug Heaven. The crew represented on the tracks: Drew Shuck, vocals, guitars, drums; Alex Brown on guitars; Drew Augustine, bass, vocals; Nate on auxiliary percussion; Kelly Langin on vocals; Megan Siebe on synthesizer & keyboards and Ian Aeillo (Omaha’s version of Daniel Lanois) on additional instrumentation. Ian also produced and mixed it. Check it out:

That is all for now. Have a good, safe weekend…

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Matt Whipkey, Jeremy Mercy tonight; Cable Network album release, Clarence Tilton Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 9:32 am January 14, 2022
Cable Network celebrates the release of their new album, Cable Network II, Saturday night at Slowdown, Jr.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, looks like Covid is kicking our ass again. That means mask mandates all around if you’re headed to a show this weekend. Actually, I can’t imagine attending a show without a mask, anyway.

In fact, tonight’s Matt Whipkey show at Reverb Lounge is a No Vax/No Entry affair, so bring your Covid membership card along with your masks. Matt will be introducing a new line-up for this gig with Korey Anderson on guitar, Vic Padios (The Brigadiers, Calico, The Gymnastics) on bass, Scott Gaeta on keys, and Scott “Zip” Zimmerman back behind the drum kit. Opening is Jeremy Mercy and the Rapture Orphans. $10, 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night at Slowdown Jr. is the album release show for Cable Network, a band is fronted by Slowdown soundguy Charlie Ames with Braden Larson, guitar; Ben Rickers, bass; Charlie Encell, vocals; Jordan Opeary, vocals, percussion and Pat Stutzman, drums. It’s going to be a crowded stage. The album, Cable Network II, is a follow-up to their debut EP that came out in December 2020. Also on the bill is Omaha alt country band Clarence Tilton; Jack McLaughlin opens the show at 8 p.m. $8.

Also tomorrow night (Saturday), Omaha tribute band Bennie and the Gents is hosting another in a series of David Bowie tribute nights. This one also is No Vax/No Entry and starts at 9 p.m. $10.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Ten Questions with Unwed Sailor’s Johnathon Ford (new EP out Jan. 21)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , — @ 3:01 pm January 11, 2022
Unwed Sailor has a new EP coming out Jan. 21 on Spartan Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Well, as you all know by now, tomorrow night’s Unwed Sailor show at Reverb Lounge has been cancelled due to one of the band members getting the Covid. Prior to that announcement, I had reached out to the band to see if they’d do the Ten Questions survey in support of the gig. And even though the gig is kaput, we figured why not do it anyway in support of the release of their upcoming EP, Live at CommVess, out Jan. 24 on Spartan Records.

For those of you not in the know, Unwed Sailor is the long-running post-rock project by former Pedro the Lion member Johnathon Ford. The band plays mostly ambient instrumentals in the vein of classic indie acts like The Album Leaf and Tristeza. Very cool vibe.

Of the new album Ford told super-hip NYC blog Brooklynvegan: “It’s been a long time coming for Unwed Sailor to release a proper live recording and to document the process through film as well. Being able to create an intimate first hand look into the vibe and sound of the band playing music and hanging out together in a live studio experience has been a real treat.”

Check out “Blitz,” the first track from the new album:

You can preorder the EP from the band’s Bandcamp page, here. It’s a monumental drag that this show has been cancelled because it would have been a perfect fit for Reverb. Here’s hoping they can reschedule when this pandemic finally runs its course.

Anyway, here’s how Mr. Ford answered the Ten Questions survey:

What is your favorite album?

Johnathon Ford: Hard question! I don’t have an ultimate favorite, but I would say an album that shaped me as a music lover and a musician would be New Order – Substance.

What is your least favorite song?

Another hard question! There are so many. I’d have to say that “God Bless America” or “Jesus Loves Me” are high on the list.

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

Self expression. Creating music and playing it live.

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

Being forced to cancel shows and hearing loss.

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

Popcorn and coke in my mouth at the same time.

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

Seattle, WA and Portland, OR

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

San Diego, CA in 1996 with my band Roadside Monument. The only person at the show was the bartender and he ended up leaving during our set.

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?

Ah, the seemingly impossible dream of making a living off of music. The forever goal. Serving beer, making pizza, and collecting rent.

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 an archeologist. I’d hate to be a cop.

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

I haven’t heard many stories about Omaha, but I’ve experienced my own stories while playing there. A lot of great memories in Omaha. Too many to count. I can’t wait to come back.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Last chance to enter the 2021 Lazy-i Sampler giveaway…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 3:14 pm January 10, 2022
Lazy-i Best of 2021 Sampler CDs waiting to be mailed…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This is your last chance to enter to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation CD.

The sampler includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i, including songs by Cassandra Jenkins, Low, Brad Hoshaw, Turnstile, Azure Ray, Sufjan Stevens, Wet Leg, Matt Whipkey, Claud, Parquet Courts, Nation of Language, CHVRCHES/Robert Smith, Courtney Barnett, Spoon, Hand Habits, Indigo De Souza, Flyte, Life in Sweatpants and more.  The full track listing is here.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is tonight at midnight.

In the old, old days I used to get around 100 entries for the giveaway. These days, I only get a few (and I only make around 50 copies total). Let’s face it, most people don’t even own CD players anymore, preferring to listen to the sampler on Spotify (which you can do right here). So why keep doing it?

The simple answer is, “Why not?” I’ve been making these samplers since the mid-’90s, when they were recorded on cassettes, cutting over to compact discs in ’99. It’s hard to break a tradition. Plus, no one’s asked me to take them off the mailing list!

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cat Piss, Tyrone Storm tonight; new music from Sweetstreak, Loud Apartment, Hummin’ Bird…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:25 pm January 7, 2022
Cat Piss plays tonight at Reverb Lounge. This photo was stolen from their Facebook page. I hope it’s them.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One show this weekend, and actually it’s tonight.

Prog punk rock band Cat Piss is playing at The Sydney as part of BFF. Cat Piss is a three piece that features Casey Plusinscki on guitar/vocals, Sam Lipsett on bass/vocals and Nate Wolf (Pagan Athletes) on drums, piano and vocals (yes, that’s a piano run you hear on “Emergency Medical Savages.” I’m not sure how they pull that off live). The trio’s four-song EP, Zeppelin Four Pt. 2, released way back in October 2020, is a scorcher that reminds me of the old days (i.e., Omaha punk in the ‘90s). DJ Tyrone Storm a.k.a. the super-talented Roger Lewis, also is on tonight’s bill at The Sydney. $5, 10 p.m.

That’s it for shows for the entire weekend. I think we’re in for a quiet January.

FYI, Unwed Sailor just cancelled next Wednesday’s show at Reverb Lounge. I’ll have a 10 Questions article with the band online here next week.

Let me leave you with some new music I just stumbled over (or was pushed into!).

Nate Van Fleet of See Through Dresses fame pointed out he produced yet another band that just released a new track. They’re called Sweetstreak. “They’re a newish young three-piece power pop/punk band from Omaha/Denver made up of Will Danze, guitar/vocals; Jacobbie Mengel, drums, and Jay Huber on bass,” said Nate, who tracked the single last fall at Divine Hammer. Look for an EP soon.

And then there’s this one I found posted on the Nebraska DIY Facebook group. The band, Hummin’ Bird, isn’t from Nebraska, and actually I don’t see any Nebraska ties at all. They’re from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and this is the first single, “Flat Earth for Dummies,” from their upcoming LP, Scrum Light, due out in mid-2022 on KC label Black Site Records (who released No Thanks most recent LP — OK, maybe that’s the Nebraska connection). The video was filmed at Mercury Lounge in Tulsa by Matt Taylor and is one of the better ones I’ve seen lately, and as the kids say, the song is sick.

Speaking of sick tunes, Brooklyn’s Loud Apartment just released their new LP, New Future, produced by Bill Laswell (Golden Palominos, Material, PiL), who also plays bass on the recording. Funky.

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Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation

Last chance to put your name in the hat to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2021 Comp CD.

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i, including songs by Low, Brad Hoshaw, Azure Ray, Sufjan Stevens, Wet Leg, Matt Whipkey, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Hand Habits, Indigo De Souza, Flyte and lots more.  The full track listing is here.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 10, at midnight.

Have a great weekend!

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Cursive postpones first weeks of tour, Diet Cig cancels Feb. show; new Anna Schulte…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm January 5, 2022
Diet Cig at The Slowdown, May 3, 2016. The band CANCELLED a February 2 gig at Reverb.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here we go again… though I don’t think it’s the same thing as 2020.

Bands are beginning to cancel gigs and tours as Omicron rapidly spreads through the world. Don’t matter if you’re vaxxed or boosted, you could still come down with this new strain of Covid-19, though being vaxxed/boosted seems to prevent serious cases.

Monday Cursive announced that it’s postponing the first few weeks of its January tour, and will now begin in Detroit Jan. 18. The decision is backed by co-touring act Thursday, who wrote on Facebook, “The reality is that these days decisions made concerning touring are not totally in our hands. Recommendations from our crew and the other artists on the bill (never-mind our families) have become a bigger part of the conversation as we try our best to navigate these current circumstances.”

They say they’re “trying their damndest to integrate the reschedules ASAP.” The cancellation doesn’t impact the Feb. 4 Cursive/Vitreous Humor/Criteria show at The Waiting Room.

Along those same lines, One Percent Productions announced that Diet Cig has cancelled a show for Feb. 2 at Reverb Lounge.

Genuinely so sad to announce that our winter tour dates are canceled due to covid never-endingly raging through our communities,” Diet Cig wrote on Facebook. “We’re not rescheduling these dates. To be honest, we’re so burnt out from the constant reschedule-cancel-reschedule-cancel cycle and are accepting this as a chance to take a breather, keep focusing on our new music, and prepare to put on the best show possible once it’s safe.

If you read my 2022 predictions, you know that I think this latest wave of Covid will quickly blow over and that we’re seeing the last of the worst of the pandemic. But I’m no scientist (just a soothsayer). I continue to hear stories from lunatics who believe the Covid vaccine is a government-run micro-chipping operation. Until those nuts get sick, dead or vaxxed, we’re going to be stuck with some form of Covid…

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On a more positive note…

See Through Dresses drummer Nate Van Fleet is also a producer. He just finished working on a new EP by Anna Schulte, titled Dream Car. Schulte is an Omaha native now living in France and New Orleans who you might remember from the Omaha band Pretty Healthy. Nate said she flew into town late last spring and recorded at Divine Hammer, a North Omaha recording studio that was run by him and Matt and Sara from STD. Check out the EP on Spotify:

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Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation

Hey, my copies of the Lazy-i Best of 2021 Comp CD should finally arrive tomorrow. That means you still have time to enter the drawing for a copy of your own.

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i, including songs by Low, Brad Hoshaw, Azure Ray, Sufjan Stevens, Wet Leg, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Hand Habits, Indigo De Souza, Flyte and lots more.  The full track listing is here.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 10, at midnight.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Music Visions for 2022: A look forward (and backward) at the Omaha and national indie music scenes…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 10:41 am January 2, 2022
A look into 2022…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Who could have predicted what we lived through over the past 12 months? Well, I guess I could. Before I give you a glimpse of what’s to come in ’22, let’s see how I did predicting ’21.

2021 Prediction: Vaccinating enough people so it feels safe to go to concerts again will take a lot longer than anyone expects. The Waiting Room, Reverb Lounge and The Slowdown will begin booking touring bands again beginning in July. O’Leaver’s will plug in the amps in early fall, alongside The Brothers Lounge.

Reality: That timeline was pretty straight-on, except for O’Leaver’s, which just started up again in December.

2021 Prediction: The Maha Music Festival will be back in late summer, though we’ll all still be wearing masks and social distancing (sort of). South By Southwest, which takes place in March, will remain a digital-only affair.

Reality: Pretty much a direct hit.

2021 Prediction: Save Our Stages legislation will pass, eventually.

Reality: The legislation did pass and many venues were helped, but for some, it was too little too late.

2021 Prediction: Despite federal SOS and CARES Act money finally flowing, venues will continue to go out of business, including a major Omaha player.

Reality: We lost The Brothers Lounge as well as Barley Street Tavern, though there’s no direct evidence that COVID did them in.

2021 Prediction: Under pressure from some very large artists, streaming services (and labels) will be forced to look at how they’re compensating talent.

Reality: Nothing’s changed, though Bandcamp now tosses a few extra bucks to performers by waiving fees on Bandcamp Fridays — the first Friday of every month.

2021 Prediction: After a year of ordering stuff online, shoppers will rush back to brick-and-mortars post pandemic, and record stores will be a big beneficiary.

Reality: There are now four record stores in the Old Market alone, more than before the advent of digital media.

2021 Prediction: Live-streamed rock shows will become a new revenue generator for bands and venues that learned how to properly produce and monetize the events.

Reality: A few bands have done it (Bob Mould, for example), but venues, not so much.

2021 Prediction: The floodgates will burst as artists rush to release recordings they’ve held until they could return to the road.

Reality: Is it me or were there more albums than ever released last year?

2021 Prediction: Bob Dylan won’t be missing that song catalog he just sold to Universal.

Reality: Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.

2021 Prediction: Bands and performers we’ll be talking about this time next year: Arcade Fire, Bright Eyes, The Faint, The Good Life, David Nance, Courtney Barnett, Little Brazil, Nick Cave, The National, Angel Olson, Modest Mouse, Phoebe Bridgers and U2.

Reality: Meh, though we did hear from Courtney, Nick and Angel; and Phoebe is as popular as ever.

2021 Prediction: I’ve given up on my annual “Conor Oberst on SNL” prediction, which almost guarantees this is the year it’ll happen.

Reality: Hey, maybe Conor doesn’t want to play SNL …?

Final count: I’m giving myself 8 out of 11. Best year ever? OK, moving on to 2022…

Prediction: COVID-19 will have its last ugly gasp this winter and then will quickly fade away (except from our memories). By late summer, music venues’ mask and vax mandates will be a thing of the past.

Prediction: With TikTok creating the next generation of pop stars (Tai Verdes ring a bell?), and The Mountain Goats “No Children” going viral, more indie acts will take advantage of the platform. God help us all.

Prediction: The Maha Music Festival will be back and at full capacity at Stinson Park. But it won’t be alone. Another Nebraska-based, indie-flavored, day-long music festival will be announced in ’22 that will be in direct competition.

Prediction: With two small music venues closing in ’21, watch as a new small live music venue opens to help fill the void.

Prediction: Helping fill those small-venue stages will be an army of next-generation indie bands created during the pandemic, many consisting of children of the aught-era indie bands that made Omaha famous.

Prediction: Unfortunately, when it comes to popular national indie acts, we’ll continue to be “NOmaha” for national tours.

Prediction: Look for another big-time indie music name to be taken down by a #metoo-style scandal.

Prediction: Coming off one of its most successful years (The Spirit of the Beehive, Indigo De Souza, Hand Habits) and after opening offices in Los Angeles and New York City, Saddle Creek Records will make a major announcement that will impact the label’s Omaha legacy.

Prediction: Bands and performers we’ll be talking about this time next year: David Nance, Little Brazil, Modest Mouse, Christian Lee Hutson, DIIV, Spoon, Desaparecidos, Yo La Tengo, Jenny Lewis and (once again) Phoebe Bridgers.

Prediction: No Filter 2021 will be the last Rolling Stones tour.

Prediction: A certain music journalist will finally seriously begin compiling information for an oral history of the Omaha/Nebraska music scene. When / if it ever gets published is anyone’s guess.

Prediction: After years of being shut out, a Saddle Creek Records act will finally perform on SNL. It’s about time.

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

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Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation

Relive the year gone by with the  Lazy-i Best of 2021 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those included: Low, Brad Hoshaw, Azure Ray, Sufjan Stevens, Wet Leg, Parquet Courts, Courtney Barnett, Hand Habits, Indigo De Souza, Flyte and lots more.  The full track listing is here.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 10, at midnight.

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Mitch Gettman, Stathi tonight; Las Cruxes, Cat Piss, Ojai, Fox tomorrow; Smutthole Burpers Friday (NYE)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:56 pm December 29, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge, Sept. 27, 2019. The band hosts a cassette release show at Pageturners Thursday night (12/30).

We might as well get an early start on the weekend.

Tonight, singer-songwriter Mitch Gettman is headlining a gig at Slowdown Jr. The show is a celebration of his debut full-length album, We Are the Mad Ones, released in December 2011. Your $12 ticket will get you a copy of the CD. Joining Mitch tonight is NYC-based Omaha expatriate STATHI, who’s last album was the tasty Post-Truth EP. Show starts at 8 p.m.

Tomorrow night (Thursday) Spanish-language punk band Las Cruxes is hosting a cassette-release show at Pageturners. The band is earning a rep as one of the best new acts out of Omaha. How little ol’ Pageturners will contain them is a mystery. Joining them are fellow rockers Cat Piss and Nowhere. No price listed (this one may be free!), show starts at 8:30.

Also Thursday night, kicky Omaha indie act Ojai headlines at Reverb Lounge. The trio is fronted by singer/songwriter Michael Hulstein. I’m just now listening to their 2020 album View from the Chandelier and liking what I’m hearing. Also on the bill is FOX, and Mitch Gettman (probably playing the same set he’s playing tonight!). $7, 8 p.m.

Then comes New Year’s Eve — a night dedicated to amateurs, cover bands and those looking for drunken love. There is one show of interest — Smutthole Burpers, a Butthole Surfers cover band, is playing at fabulous O’Leaver’s. The band features members of The Natural States, Bokr Tov and Boner Killerz, according to the Facebook invite. There will also be karaoke and free headache-inducing champagne at midnight. Hey man, the whole thing is free, and starts at 9 p.m.

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Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation CD

And for those of you wondering where your copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation CD is, don’t fret. I didn’t forget you. It turns out that even little ol’ me is being impacted by supply chain issues. I won’t get my discs until sometime after the New Year, which means you won’t get yours until after that.

That gives anyone wanting to enter the drawing for a free copy even more time to enter! The collection includes songs by Hand Habits, Mdou Moctar, Nation of Language, Turnstile, Claud, Low, Sufjan Stevens, Parquet Courts, Brad Hoshaw, Spoon, Azure Ray and more.  The full track listing is here.

To get your name in the hat, merely send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Jan. 10.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Live Review: The Sunks, TFOA; 3 local indie ‘supergroups’ (Breakers, Dead Letters, BareBear) tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:28 pm December 27, 2021
The Sunks at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2021.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last night’s album release show for The Sunks at Reverb was kind of packed. With Omicron running rampant, for the first time I actually felt a little squeamish about attending a show. At its peak there was probably around 60 folks in Reverb, with only a very few wearing a mask — I among them. I didn’t have it on when I went inside, but when I saw the mob, I slapped it on (I always carry a mask with me these days). Did it make a difference? Talk to me in a week.

I also had my earplugs, and I’m happy I did. Those Far Out Arrows don’t hold back, and neither did the guy behind the soundboard. For the uninitiated, the four-piece plays Nuggets-style psych rock in the grand tradition of bands like Them, The Yardbirds, Animals, early Stones, you get the picture, the kind of band you’d expect to see at Gonerfest. Their modern edge comes from the twin vocal attack of guitarists/brothers Ben and Evan Keelan-White, and the rock-hard rhythm section of playing-with-his-back-to-the-audience bassist Derek LeVasseur and drummer Brian Richardson. 

Those Far Out Arrows as seen from behind the soundboard at Reverb, Dec. 26, 2021.

The Arrows played a number of songs off their most recent album, Fill Yer Cup, (including personal favorite, “Snake in My Basement,” which is bound to become a world-wide smash hit once it’s discovered by some Netflix series music supervisor and used as the soundtrack for a road movie’s killing spree sequence). They also played a new one, which sounded like the old ones. They’re nothing if not consistent in their approach. 

The Sunks’ latest album, Wedding Season, came out last January during the height of COVID-19 and thus, never got the album release show it deserved. Since then, frontman Sean Paul has recorded an unreleased solo album (and I’ve clandestinely heard one of the tracks, which was among the best things I heard last year). The Sunks doesn’t sound like that solo stuff. Sean Paul (at times) reminds me of Susto’s Justin Osborne, who reminds me of Jackson Browne, though The Sunk’s music leans in more toward indie than Browne’s or Osborne’s Laurel Canyon-esque approach. 

It’s a laid-back album, whose highlights include the very Susto-esque “Cta” and anthemic “The Sunks Song.” At nearly an hour, it could have been pared down, but in this age of digital-only releases, bands put it all out there. The album is worth checking out, but I’m also excited about that aforementioned solo album.

Played live, the arrangements were more majestic, grander. Sean Paul (Why do I feel compelled to write his full name in all references?) is a solid frontman, was in fine voice and backed by a tight band. That said, I only made it through five songs. It wasn’t because I had to work the next day — the show began at 6 p.m. and The Sunks went on at around 8:15 — it was because I was so freaked out about Covid and the crowd. I guess I’ve seen too many mentions of people getting Omicron in my Facebook feed… 

That said, it probably won’t stop me from going to Breakers tonight at Reverb. The band, according to the 1% website, consists of guitarist Chris Yambor (Sing Eunuchs tapes back in the day, The Reports with Patrick Buchanan (of Mousetrap fame)), bassist Robert Little (Son Ambulance, The Stay Awake), and drummer Matt Focht (Head of Femur, The Faders, Bright Eyes). The site doesn’t mention who’s handling vocals, though I’m guessing it’s Focht (and I’m probably wrong). Joining them are Dead Letters (a trio consisting of two former members of Well-Aimed Arrows — drummer/vocalist Koly Walter and bassist Brian Byrd — along with guitarist/vocalist Mark Johnson from Places We Slept) and BareBear (who, last time I saw them in 2019, featured Rob Walters, Nik Fackler, Matt Focht, and Jacob “Cubby” Phillips). 8 p.m., $10. It’s the closest thing to a holiday show you’re going to get! Wear a mask…

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

Lazy-i Best of 2021 Compilation CD; Pagan Athletes, Bad Bad Men tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 10:27 am December 22, 2021
Lazy-i Best of 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On reflection, it has been a strange year in music. Certainly that was the case from a local music perspective, especially if you compare the output of new local music in 2021 to what was released in 2020, during the heart of the pandemic.

Last year 10 of the 21 tracks included in Lazy-i Best Of 2020 comp were from Nebraska artists — a record of sorts. This year, only two artists on the annual Best Of compilation have Nebraska connections (three if you include Azure Ray). My theory is that most local artists released albums in 2020 and waited until ’21 to try to push them via live performances — why work on new material if you haven’t tried to sell the old stuff? Maybe that was the case, I certainly hope it was.

The artists included in the 2021 Best Of Lazy-i Compilation are an eclectic mix of old timers and brand new talent. Of the 21 artists, only 12 previously have played in Nebraska (and only three played here last year), while a couple are headed our way (Parquet Courts, Azure Ray). The comp is usually comprised of acts I’ve interviewed or reviewed over the past year, but because so few local bands released material last year and so few acts came through town, this is more of a collection of my favorite tracks from 2021.

Here’s the track list:

Hand Habits – “More Than Love” from the album Fun House (Saddle Creek)
Claud — “Soft Spot” from Super Monster (Saddest Factory)
Indigo De Souza — “Pretty Pictures” from Any Shape You Take (Saddle Creek)
Low — “Days Like Theses” from HEY WHAT (Sub Pop)
Sufjan Stevens, Angelo DeAugustine — “Back to Oz” from A Beginner’s Mind (Asthmatic Kitty)
Wet Leg — “Chaise Lounge” single (Domino)
Life in Sweatpants — “Good 2 Yourself” from Good 2 Yourself (Long Time Friend Discount)
Flyte — “Everyone’s a Winner” from This Is Really Going to Hurt (Island)
Cassandra Jenkins — “Michelangelo” from An Overview on Phenomenal Nature (Ba Da Bing)
The Coral — “Vacancy” from Coral Island (Run On)
Parquet Courts— “Walking at a Downtown Pace” from Sympathy for Life (Rough Trade)
Brad Hoshaw — “My Dying Day” from Living on a Sliver (self-release)
Mdou Moctar — “Ya Habibti” from Afrique Victime (Matador)
Courtney Barnett — “Sunfair Sundown” from Things Take Time, Take Time (Milk!)
Nation of Language — “Across That Fine Line” from A Way Forward (Play It Again Sam)
Spoon — “The Hardest Cut” single (Matador)
Turnstile — “BLACKOUT” from GLOW ON (Roadrunner)
PawPaw Rod — “Lemonhaze” from A PawPaw Rod EP (Godmode)
Matt Whipkey — “Mayday” from Hard (Unusual)
CHVRCHES, Robert Smith — “How Not to Drown” single (Glassnote Entertainment)
Azure Ray — “Bad Dream” from Remedy (Flower Moon)

Want a copy of the CD? Enter to win one in the annual drawing! To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is Monday, Jan. 3, at midnight.

The playlist also is available in Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i Best of” in Spotify then select Playlists, and you’ll find it along with a few from past years, too.

BTW, that’s Greta on the cover, the newest member of the McMahan family.

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge it’s Pagan Athletes (chaotic keyboards/drums from the Wolf Factory) with Bad Bad Men (classic line-up of Wolf/Siebken/Hug) and Nowhere (Thor’s (Retox) new band featuring Camille (No Thanks) and Gabe (Natural States)). $10, 9 p.m. What a way to bring in the holiday…

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i