The Faint, Digital Leather in Lincoln, COMVB Pt. 2 tonight; sinus action (in the column); a trip to the Vault: July 31, 2003…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:56 pm August 1, 2013

by Tim McMahan,

Let’s see, The Faint are playing in Lincoln tonight, Conor’s got a show in Omaha and Tim Kasher just announced a new album and tour.

What year is it, anyway? 2013 or 2003? Is it going to be like this in 2023?

Back to reality. The Faint are doing a one-off show at The Bourbon Theater in Lincoln tonight and last I heard tickets were still available for a mere $20. The scuttlebutt is that the band has been in the studio recording some new material. Will they play any of it tonight? Opening is Digital Leather (which means Todd Fink will be pulling double duty) and the always entertaining Touch People (Darren Keen of TSITR fame). If you’re in Lincoln and you’ve never been to a Faint concert, you owe it to yourself to experience the sights, the sounds, the smells.. Starts at 9.

Tonight also is Night 2 of Conor Oberst and the Tennessee Valley Authority (I keed… Mystic Valley Band) at The Slowdown. Kevin Coffey has a review of last night’s show right here so you can get an idea what you’re in for, that is if you have tickets. Like I said yesterday, it’s been sold out forever. Show starts at 9 with two openers.

As for Kasher, his latest news (new album/tour) made the digital pages of Brooklyn Vegan this morning (right here). And who, exactly, is this Laura Stevenson who will be joining him for part of the tour?

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The Waiting Room just released its August calendar and it may be the lightest month for out-of-town bands in memory. I see only two shows “of interest” for the entire month: Appleseed Cast Aug. 7 and Mousetrap Aug. 16. The rest of the dates are filled with well-worn locals (lots o’ Benson bands) and bar promotions. One Percent has been known to add last-minute shows to TWR calendar, so that could change.

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In this week’s column, a look at my sinuses and a you-are-there report on… the neti pot. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Finally, an interesting piece this morning in Dangerous Minds (here) where they reprint an infamous letter to Nike complaining about the use of the Beatles’ song “Revolution” in a Jordan shoe commercial. The text of the letter is, indeed, spicy. Like DM said, music in ads these days is just another revenue stream for artists and a way to get their music broadly heard without a resource like radio (which never was a resource for indie artists in the first place). That wasn’t the case in the ’80s…

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Oh what the hell: From the Lazy-i Vault, July 31, 2003:

Live Review: The Good Life / Minus the Bear – July 31, 2003

I showed up just in time to miss Luigi Waites. The 200 or so on hand (I’m guessing here) were still buzzing about his set. Someone told me they’d never heard applause like that at Sokol Underground — a nice tribute to one of Omaha’s legends.

Now I know why Minus the Bear has the rep for being a “math rock” band, but I guess I never really noticed it listening to their CD. Now it’s painfully obvious why having seen them perform live. Don’t get me wrong, I like “mathy” music, and these guys certainly have all the requirements for that label — intricate time signatures, dollops of syncopated rhythms, multiple time changes within songs, and so on. The crème de la crème is the band’s guitarist — a dead ringer for a young Nick Nolte, he plays using the “touch” method, where he fingers his chords with his left hand and pokes the strings with his right, a la Eddie Van Halen (but not nearly as fast or flamboyant). His guitar mimics what you’ve heard on later King Crimson albums — repeated almost piano-like tonal circles that add as much rhythm-wise as musicwise. Unfortunately, really good math demands strong melodies to remain interesting. About four songs into their set, their music began to blur and get a bit tiresome. The last two songs were easily their best — one shifted from a down-low ambient thing to a rock mantra, the other was more typical of their style, and happens to be the best song on their new CD. The finest moments came when they gave their keyboardist room to stretch out, adding texture and ambiance to the usual stuttered proceedings.

The Good Life at Sokol Underground, July 30, 2003. Photos by Leann Jensen.

The Good Life at Sokol Underground, July 30, 2003. Photos by Leann Jensen.

Then came The Good Life. Clearly a bit rusty from not having played live for four months, they impressed with their new material. Kasher is beginning to remind me of Lloyd Cole, both physically and musically. I’ve come to the conclusion after hearing the new stuff that I really don’t like Black Out that much. The Black Out songs performed were such a stark contrast to the poppy new material, there’s no question that the band is going in a different direction with the next disc. It’s downright bouncier than anything they’ve done before, and to complement it, they even rearranged some of their older material.

The lack of drum machine was an interesting change. On the first song, drummer Roger Lewis played bongos while multi-instumentalist Ryan Fox sat behind the trap set. Sometimes the new arrangements sans machine didn’t work. For example, the electronic drum static on “A Dim Entrance” was replaced with what was essentially Kasher rhythmically scratching on his guitar. The transition to the song’s main melody was harsh and disjointed and they dropped the song’s pretty piano line. But other times, you couldn’t tell you were missing anything without the electronic drums.

A highlight was a cover of The Faint’s “Worked Up So Sexual” that was interesting in its downcast interpretation. I don’t know if it worked or not, but it was certainly unique. When the band wasn’t bouncing with the new stuff, they played mostly downstyle, quiet, slow numbers that highlighted the new sexy spy guitar parts that were quite pretty. But the person standing next to me in the audience got so downcast with all the low-tempo stuff that dominated the middle of the set that he left!

Anyway… I know I’m being rather obtuse describing their new material. The opener did remind me of early Lloyd Cole, with Kasher singing lyrics that described the first day he met a new girlfriend to the last day he saw her. One song sounded exactly like a Neva Dinova number thanks to the morose spy guitar line, while another toward the end of the set felt like a latter-day Elvis Costello song. Kasher’s new stories have more detail and clever lines and seems less self-defacing than earlier Good Life stuff (again, Black Out) that seems more like a cry for help.

If what I heard last night is any indication, their next CD will easily be my favorite, a good rebound from the moribund songs on Black Out, yet even more poppy than what we got on Novena on a Nocturn. In other words: I smell hits! As always, everything they do is a stark contrast to Kasher’s other band. Whereas I thought Black Out seemed headed toward Cursive territory, these new songs couldn’t be further away on the spectrum. This is Kasher at his tuneful best.– July 31, 2003

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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.

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