Live Review: Warpaint, Digital Leather; Q1 reviews roundup (in the column); Har Mar Superstar, Talking Mountain, Ted Stevens cinema tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:02 pm April 3, 2014
Warpaint at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2014.

Warpaint at The Waiting Room, April 2, 2014.

by Tim McMahan, 

Funny how people perceive concerts differently. I’ve had a couple folks tell me they didn’t like/were bored at last night’s Warpaint show at The Waiting Room. Conversely, for me, it was the best show I’ve seen this year.

It all comes down to personal preferences, I suppose. Some people don’t like female vocals; some hate anything that isn’t brutally heavy / angry / garage-oriented. I could see how those folks (specifically people who came out to see opener Digital Leather) might be bored. Even so, they can’t deny the other-worldly talent shown by the four women of Warpaint — the drumming, the bass work, the glowing guitar tones.

Their sound was equal parts ethereal mood music and beat-driven dance fodder, with sweet vocals by all four musicians — and when all four harmonized, well, bliss. For reference points for the uninitiated, one could throw out Beach House or TEEN or even Portishead, though I’d go a step further and mention similarities to M83 and ’90s acts like Ride and Mazzy Star and (some might say this is a stretch) Luscious Jackson (though there was no “rapping” going on last night).

Despite the thick beats, there was a darkness to their music, a throbbing shadow heard on songs like first single of the new album “Love is to Die” and “Undertow” off 2010 album The Fool. I loved it all, but I bring some bias here as I went in loving their new CD (And what do I know? Pitchfork hated it). There’s no argument over the fact the band was having a playful good time on stage or that all four are adorable.

Digital Leather at The Waiting Room, 4/2/14.

Digital Leather at The Waiting Room, 4/2/14.

Speaking of adorable, Digital Leather rolled out a number of new songs during their opening set. Like the best Digital Leather records, some songs were lethargic and trippy, others invited furious fist-pumping. Now a 5-piece featuring two synth players (one being The Faint’s Todd Fink), their set also was backloaded with DL chestnuts “Styrofoam” “Thrill is Gone” and “Studs in Love,” each of which is a guaranteed show stopper. When’s that new split album with The Hussy coming out, boys? And what happens when you lose Todd to The Faint later this year?

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This week’s column is the Q1 2014 record reviews roundup, with comments on new ones by Beck, Future Islands, The Faint, The War on Drugs and more. For my money, there’s already been more good albums released in the first three months of this year than in all of 2013. You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

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Back at The Waiting Room tonight it’s the return of Har Mar Superstar. The band is out supporting their latest, Bye Bye 17 , released on Julian Casablancas’ Cult Records and recorded by Spoon’s Jim Eno. I haven’t heard it yet, but I’m sure it’s another HMS masterpiece. Opening is the evocative John Klemmensen and The Party. $12, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, Talking Mountain returns to Slowdown Jr. with San Francisco (by way of Lawrence) band Mammoth Life and Gramps (Django of Love Drunk Studio fame). Starts at 9 and this one’s free.

And finally, Film Streams’ Hitchcock 9 Silents in Concert Repertory Series continues tonight. It features the silent films of Alfred Hitchcock brought to life sonically by live musicians. Tonight it’s the 1929 film The Manxman featuring live music by Ted Stevens Unknown Project featuring Stevens (Cursive, Lullaby for the Working Class), Lincoln Dickison (Chromafrost, The Monroes), Ian Aeillo (Eli Mardock, Eagle Seagull), and David Ozinga (UUVVWWZ). Tickets are $12 general; $10 students and $8 for Film Streams members. The curtain rises at 7 p.m. Find out more here. Do it for the kids.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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