The Reader’s ‘Best Band’ list (well, just mine, actually); Com Truise, Face to Face tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm June 5, 2017

by Tim McMahan,

The Reader‘s Music Issue hit the stands this week. In it you’ll find my massive 10-year retrospective on The Waiting Room and The Slowdown, featuring interviews with the owners, including their favorite shows at their respective venues. It’s generally a look at what’s happened with the clubs over the past decade and how they’ve managed to not only survive, but thrive during a down-time in the music industry. It’s a long read, and I’ll be posting my version of it at Lazy-i on Thursday (which happens to be the anniversary of The Slowdown’s opening in 2007). But you can read The Reader version online here.

Each year as part of this music issue The Reader has put together its list of Top 20 local bands, plus newcomers to keep an eye on. Well, this year they didn’t print the list, though they asked me to send my list which focuses (mostly) on indie, understanding that someone else from the staff would provide their list that would include hip-hop, mainstream rock, blues, etc. (but I’m not sure anyone did).

So for the sake of consistency, here’s my list of favorite local indie (and other) bands, as of June 2017, to be used in the unpublished Reader Top 20 list:

In Alpha order…

Bien Fang — Gritty, angry indie rock.
Chemicals — Exceptional progressive jazz.
Clarence Tilton — Alt country that leans closer to Wilco.
Closeness — Ethereal electronic melodies via The Finks.
Domestica — Heidi and Jon and Pawl still going strong… and loud.
The Faint — A blank wave Omaha tradition continues.
High Up — Strutting soul with attitude.
Josh Hoyer — THEE Nebraska Bluesman.
Brad Hoshaw — No one writes a hook quite like him.
Simon Joyner — Omaha’s legendary singer-songwriter.
Icky Blossoms — Eclectic electric dance rock.
Leafblower — Everyone’s favorite drunks at the party.
Lupines — Howling, majestic garage rock.
David Nance — Acid-fueled psych-garage.
Conor Oberst — The voice of his generation.
Matthew Sweet — Don’t call it a comeback.
McCarthy Trenching — His stories are our stories.
See Through Dresses — Post-punk post-shoegaze indie.
Thick Paint — The reason for black-light posters.
Those Far Out Arrows — Rock beasts making old new again.
Twinsmith — As indie as it gets.
Uh Oh — Sly indie bordering on poppish punk.
Wagon Blasters — (Classic) tractor punk madness.
Matt Whipkey — AmerIndieRocker

I would beseech you to find these acts, buy their merch, go to their shows. You will not be sorry. These are the ones I mention when someone asks, “What are you listening to from Omaha these days?

Yes, there are a number of regulars missing, either because they’ve been (mostly) inactive in 2016 or because they’re gone. But many are still out there, working on new stuff. Most will be back in 2017 (hopefully). If you’re wondering why your band isn’t on the list it could be because I either haven’t heard it or it’s not my up of tea (as Dave Sink used to say). If you’re pissed, make your own list. It’ll be as relevant as mine.

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A couple shows tonight…

At Slowdown Jr, it’s electronic music from Com Truise (Ghostly International). Clark opens. $17, 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, over at Lookout Lounge ’90s punk band Face to Face (Vagrant, Fat Wreck Chords) headlines. Chicago punkers Counterpunch opens. 7 p.m., $25.

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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