Are touring indie bands avoiding Omaha? Bright Eyes misses year-end lists…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 1:49 pm December 21, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

When it comes to rock shows, these indeed are the holiday/winter doldrums, especially this year. No holiday reunion shows. No big national indie shows to speak of, and very few for the foreseeable future. The only national indie shows I’m looking forward to are Har Mar Superstar Dec. 30; Craig Finn Feb. 3, Tennis Feb. 22, and Cursive March 3. That’s it. Yeah, I know Lemonheads are coming, but I’ve always thought they sucked.

A Lazy-i reader recently e-mailed asking if I thought there was an unnatural downturn in national shows coming through Omaha.  He pointed out that Cults, Magnetic Fields, Zola Jesus, M83 and Neon Indian are all coming through the area but routing past Omaha. I told him I didn’t know, but that I doubted it. We always experience a lull in touring indie shows during the winter months. A glance at touring indie shows I went to last year at this time: Cursive played Domestica last January, followed by Interpol, Best Coast/Wavves, Pete Yorn and Smith Westerns all last February. Not much else.

We get spoiled in the warmer months with fantastic national touring shows almost every weekend. So spoiled, in fact, that some of the best ones go virtually unattended. I went to a number of shows this past fall that had terrible attendance despite the quality of bands (Future Islands and Milegras come  to mind). I’ll say what I said back then: If you want to continue getting cutting-edge indie bands at our clubs, you need to go to the shows, and when possible, buy tickets in advance. As things warm up, hopefully we’ll begin to see more bands coming through. In the meantime, continue to support our local heroes, who continue to work throughout the winter months…

A few other news and notes on this boring Wednesday…

Bright Eyes, The People's Key (2011, Saddle Creek)

Bright Eyes, The People's Key (2011, Saddle Creek)

Pitchfork posted its annual list of the top-50 albums last week.The one band missing is also missing from a lot of other year-end lists: Bright Eyes. The People’s Key didn’t make the Pitchfork top 50.  Or the Rolling Stone top 50  or the SPIN top 50  or the Filter Top 20  or even the Paste top 50.

In fact, the only lists I’ve found that included The People’s Key are Magnet‘s top 20 (where it was No. 7),  American Songwriter‘s top 50 (No. 22),  BBC‘s top 25 (No. 25)  and Drowned in Sound‘s top 50 (No. 8). Disappointing? Probably, though I doubt Conor and Co. give a shit. Is the lack of inclusion a reflection of Bright Eyes’ waning popularity or was The People’s Key a misfire? The only thing that matters is how well the album sold and if Bright Eyes continues to draw crowds to concerts. So did The People’s Key make it on the Lazy-i Best of 2011 list? You’ll just have to wait and see.

By the way, you can find almost all of the year-end lists at the fantastic Album of the Year website.

* * *

Tomorrow: Predictions Pt. 1: Looking back at last year’s predictions. Yikes.

* * *

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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



  • I’ve wondered about the timing of Saddle Creek releases and how it plays into Awards or Best of lists. It seems they tend to release major albums earlier in the year, so by the time of year that people are thinking about awards or best albums, their releases are a distant memory. I’m sure having an album out earlier in the year helps while touring, but being on every best of list at the end of the year would help with overall sales. I’d be interested in what the guys at the Creek say about it.

    Comment by mike — December 22, 2011 @ 10:33 am

  • I don’t buy that “early-in-year releases are ignored” argument. When it comes to compiling a year-end list, a critic always goes over everything with a 2011 release date and then reconsiders all of them. You could argue that an early-year submission actually could be an advantage in that the album would have more “play” (but only if it’s good). Bon Iver, which is on a lot of year-end lists, came out in June, which means critics got it in April (I did, anyway). BE releases have almost always come out early in the year, and that hasn’t hampered their inclusion on year-end lists in the past.

    Comment by tim-mcmahan — December 22, 2011 @ 10:44 am

  • […] responded to me via email last week, but on Wednesday he wrote a blog about my inquiry. I thought I’d share for anybody else who keeps track of the indie bands visiting our […]

    Pingback by What’s Up With The Omaha Music Scene? « An Inland Voyage — December 22, 2011 @ 4:01 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment