Live Review: Little Brazil at TWR; what’s it take to make it these days?…

Category: Blog — @ 12:50 pm August 29, 2022
Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, Aug. 26, 2022.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Last Friday’s Little Brazil show at The Waiting Room felt like a wedding reception wherein you run into people you haven’t seen in 20 years, all there to support old friends on this very special day. In this case, that special day was LB’s album release show for Just Leave (Max Trax Record), a long-delayed show that was originally slated back in June. 

Many old-timers were in the crowd, myself included, to catch another in a series of sets by one of our favorite local bands. Little Brazil has been playing for more than 20 years, and though we’ve all grown older, they’ve stayed the same, both in energy and sound. The new LB album is one of their best, but it’s also in line with the music they’ve been playing since the beginning. 

And to prove this, Little Brazil played a song off every previous album, the highlight being a very groovy rendition of “The Way You Listen,” from You and Me, released back in 2005. It’s one of those tunes that rewards rediscovery. Other deep cuts included “Shades” from Tighten the Noose (2007); “Separated” from Son (2009); and “Motorbike” from Send the Wolves (2018). 

Of course there were plenty of songs from the new album, including a scorching version of stand-out tracks “Same Old Dress,” and “Come Along.” The band was in its usual fine form and frontman Landon Hedges was in good voice, though unsure of a few lyrics to those old chestnuts, looking at times as if he was daring himself to sing the next line. 

Danny Maxwell mentioned from stage that Landon has already written 10 new songs, so we’ll be doing this all again soon. Here’s to it. 

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I had an interesting side convo with one of the music scene’s legends about the pathway bands take these days as they try to break through to a larger audience. In the old days, the steps you took were straightforward — Write songs, get gigs, record an album, find a label, book a tour. Evidence of success included articles in national magazines, attaining college radio airplay and, if everything clicks, landing on the CMJ charts. 

The old rules really no longer apply. Oh sure, you still need to write songs, but recording can be done in your bedroom. Record labels are great but hardly a necessity, especially if you only intend to stream or sell downloads. College radio? What’s that? The new thing is going viral on Tik Tok (or at least it is for pop bands). CMJ, once the bible of indie music, folded five years ago.

So yeah, even magazines are things of the past. The new pinnacles for indie bands include landing a Pitchfork review — a near impossibility without being on a respected label, so I guess labels are still important. But even then, a Pitchfork or Stereogum article hardly guarantees success. Getting added to a significant playlist on Spotify can certainly raise your exposure. So can getting added to another successful band’s tour as an opener – but that’s going to cost you both money and time.

It sounds bleak for new bands trying to get ahead. In the end, in addition to making great music, luck is one of the most important factors to breaking through to an audience outside of your hometown…

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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.

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