Indie legend John Vanderslice is playing somewhere in Dundee this Friday (4/5); LA LOM tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 9:18 am April 1, 2024

John Vanderslice performs April 5 at a Dundee house show.

by Tim McMahan,

The last time I saw John Vanderslice perform was back in October 2005 at Sokol Underground when he was touring with Matador Records experimental noise artist The Double. I don’t know whatever happened to The Double. Vanderslice, on the other hand, is playing an Undertow concert this Friday somewhere in Dundee.

Vanderslice came in hot back in 2001 with Mass Suicide Occult Figurines, released on then super-hot indie label, Barsuk Records. It would be followed by about an album a year, peaking with career highlights Cellar Door (2004, Barsuk) and Pixel Revolt (2005, Barsuk). 

In 2009, Vanderslice switched labels and began releasing albums on red-hot indie Dead Oceans, and these days he’s releasing albums on his own Tiny Telephones label, including last year’s CRYSTALS 3.0

In fact, Vanderslice might be more well-known as owner/operator of Tiny Telephone, a studio in the Mission District of San Francisco that recorded a plethora of indie giants including Death Cab for Cutie, Sleater-Kinney, Deerhoof, Moutain Goats and Spoon — artists whose albums many of which Vanderslice contributed to. That studio closed during in 2020, according to Wiki, though a second Tiny Telephone studio still operates in Oakland and is run by Vanderslice.

He’s one of those guys who has always had has finger on the pulse of indie music and is credited with bringing a number of today’s indie heroes on the road with him, including Sufjan Stevens and St. Vincent.  And now you have a chance to see him play in someone’s living room in what can only be described as “an intimate solo performance.”

The location of Undertow shows are kept secret except for their zip code, which is why I know this one is taking place in Dundee. You’ll get the actual address after you buy a ticket, which is $25 and available here at the Undertow website. Don’t worry, I can pretty much tell you the house where this is happening is amazing (though I’ve never been there); the owner has hosted many Undertow shows. 

Give it a shot. This guy really is an indie legend. 

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Tonight, instrumental trio Los Angeles League of Musicians (LA LOM) plays at Slowdown Jr. Their style is Cumbia Sonidera, ’60s soul ballads and classic romantic boleros. Pretty cool stuff. DJ C-Record opens the show at 8 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


The Flaming Lips, Head and the Heart, The Revivalists headline 2024 Outlandia Festival…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 8:50 am March 29, 2024
Flaming Lips at The Maha Music Festival, Aug. 17, 2013. The band headlines the 2024 Outlandia Festival Aug. 9.

by Tim McMahan,

Well I did call them “totally wrong guesses” in yesterday’s blog, didn’t I?…

About four hours after I posted my totally wrong guesses yesterday I received the embargoed line-up announcement for the two-day 2024 Outlandia Festival, Aug. 9-10. Only two bands mentioned in the blog are in the line-up. 

Among them, the Flaming Lips, who will headline the first night. As mentioned, the band just played at Steelhouse Omaha last summer. That show wasn’t a sellout; in fact Steelhouse offered BOGO tickets leading up to the date. Despite that, the Lips are known for their pageantry and outrageous well-staged special effects, confetti, that sort of thing, moreso than their music, which is a shame because their pre-Yoshimi albums are prog-rock gems. Expect grand spectacle.

The Saturday night headliners are The Head and the Heart and The Revivalists – a band I’d not heard of prior to this announcement. Head and the Heart just played Pinewood Amphitheater seven months ago with Father John Misty. They have a huge fanbase for a style of music that can only be described as Adult Contemporary. The Revivalists is an 8-piece “collective” that describes its sound as “soulful.” Their mega-hit, “Wish I Knew You,” — a song destined to be heard the next time you’re shopping at your neighborhood Baker’s — topped the Billboard Adult Alternative Songs chart. Fun fact: Revivalists used to be on Wind-up Records, the original home of the band Commander Venus (but that’s another story); now they’re on Concord Records. Hmmm. 

Here’s the remainder of the line-up for this year’s festival: 

Friday, with The Flaming Lips: 

Men I Trust – Yet another band I hadn’t heard prior to this announcement. Led by singer/songwriter Emma Proulx, the Canadian trio’s last studio album, Untourable Album, was self-released in 2021 — warm, shimmery, electro-indie-pop that reminds me of Khruangbin, which makes sense since they released a split live album with Khruangbin last year.  

The Faint – Our hometown heroes are back. Next month, they celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the release of Doom Abuse, and the 20th anniversary of Wet From Birth. If you’re thinking ‘Hey, didn’t they play Outlandia last year?’ you’d be right. And I bet that performance is what got them asked back for an encore this year.

Aussie band Vacations has been kicking around since 2010 but only recently broke through in the states with “Next Exit,” a song they’ve been playing the shit out of on Sirius XMU. Veterans of Nettwerk Records, their latest, No Place Like Home, was released on No Fun Records this past January. I’m beginning to see a trend with all this adult contempary-style indie pop. 

Real Estate – They played the inaugural Outlandia Festival in 2022 and their latest album, Daniel (2024, Domino Records), is an early favorite of mine so far this year – sweet, laid-back indie rock. A band that frankly used to bore the shit out of me, their sound has really grown over the past couple years. 

In the local band spot opening the day is Twinsmith, who released a couple albums on Saddle Creek Records, including 2017’s Stay Cool

Saturday with The Head and the Heart and The Revivalists:

Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis and company are ‘90s rock royalty whose albums Green Mind (1991, SST), Where You Been (1993, SST), and Without a Sound (1994, Blanco y Negro/Sire), were part of every young college dude’s CD collection. I’ll be curious to see who’s playing with Mascis in this interation of D Jr.

Flipturn – If you’re thinking, “Hey, didn’t Flipturn just play at The Slowdown a couple weeks ago?” you would again be right. I hadn’t heard of them before that show. Again, easy-going indie-pop, this time influenced in part by Vampire Weekend. After listening to some tracks, I kind of wish I’d seen them down at Slowdown earlier this month; now I’ll have another chance.

Buffalo Tom — I didn’t know this classic ‘90s college rock band was even still together. Back-to-back albums Let Me Come Over (1992) and Red Letter Day (1993) were impossible to miss at the time of their release. Their sound encampsulated early post-grunge college music and Let Me Come Over was one of the first records I reviewed for The Note, a music magazine based out of Lawrence where I did my first tour of duty as a music critic. The band just released a new single earlier this month, “New Girl Singing,” and their last proper studio album was 2018’s Quiet and Peace. No doubt this band alone will draw a share of Gen X-aged college music fans.

DeVotchKa – The rousing gypsy folk-rock act has played The Slowdown a number of times over the years. Their last studio album was 2018’s This Night Falls Forever, released on Concord Records (the same label as The Revivalists). Lots of local fans and a rep for putting on a good show.

Kelsey Waldon – Here’s another new one on me. Country music. Waldon is on John Prine’s Oh Boy label. 

The Eye has the honor of being the local band that opens Saturday’s festivities. Fronted by Tyler Owen, one of the folks behind the Outlandia Festival, they play at The Waiting Room every six months or so. I’ve yet to see them, but have heard their cover of New Order’s “Leave Me Alone.”

Overall, this line-up feels more like adult contemporary than indie, though Saturday has a couple Gen X-era aces up its sleeve with D. Jr. and Buffalo Tom. Look, these folks know what they’re doing and this line-up is consistent with what they’ve done the past couple years. For me, the highlights are Buffalo Tom, Real Estate, Vacations, The Faint and D. Jr.

Single-day General Admission tickets are $99 while weekend GA tix are $179 (plus fees, etc.). This year in addition to their VIP tix ($269 single; $469 weekend), Outlandia is offering Ultra VIP tix that include a “merch pack” and a camping pass along with “other surprises” that include exclusive campground performances by as-yet-to-be-named artists. Outlandia says it also revamped its parking layout “to ease the flow of traffic in and out of the park.” VIP/Ultra VIP tix will get direct access from the lot to the VIP area. GA parking will be free again this year. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. today at

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Tonight, Pasadena-based two-piece synth-heavy outfit System Exclusive plays at The Sydney in Benson with Carrellee, Jeff in Leather and Specter Poetics. This four-band bill doesn’t start until 9 p.m. so it’s gonna be long night for someone. $12.

That’s I have for this weekend. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Totally wrong guesses for Outlandia 2024 (actual headliners to be announced this afternoon)…

Category: Blog — @ 11:10 am March 28, 2024

by Tim McMahan,

The 2024 Outlandia Festival line-up will be announced late this afternoon. You won’t be able to miss it if you follow Outlandia on Facebook or, for that matter, if you use Facebook at all and are a music fan. A couple days ago, I asked folks on Facebook to make a guess, and got a few takers.

Among them, someone suggested The War on Drugs as a possible headliner. That would, indeed, be a huge “get” for Outlandia and right down the middle of an Outlandia “taste zone” that includes former headliners like The National and Lord Huron. And I love me some War on Drugs. That said, the band will be on the road doing an arena and stadium tour (they’re playing United Center in Chicago) as well as playing large festivals. Is WODs within Outlandia’s budget? I’m skeptical but hopeful.

Others had suggested The Flaming Lips will be a headliner – another good guess, especially considering Outlandia posted on Facebook that this year “is going to be flame.” However, The Flaming Lips just played at Steelhouse Omaha last summer. Would Outlandia really book a band that played here so recently? 

So my guesses, in no particular order, are based on past Outlandia headliners, which have included Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, The National and, of course, Wilco. 

First on the list: An unnamed headliner whose music I’ve never listened to. Lord Huron fell into that category last year, and couldn’t have been a bigger surprise to me. Turns out the band has a mega-hit that flew under my radar that a bunch of folks from my old office loved. Could this happen again this year with a different band? Bet on it.

  1. Father John Misty – I think he also was just here last year (at The Admiral?), but again, he’s right in the Outlandia taste zone. 
  2. Future Islands – They’ve played Omaha a number of times in the past, including at The Waiting Room (and if my memory serves, once even played Lincoln Calling back in the day). They have a new album, are on the road, and have been avoiding Omaha the last few years. Would be a great get.
  3. Spoon – Again, right down the middle. Plus, they’re very familiar with Omaha (They even have an early single that was released on Saddle Creek Records). They’re scheduled to play a handful of U.S. shows this fall.
  4. Of Montreal – Brand a new album out in May, has a massive summer tour booked and has played Omaha a zillion times. 
  5. Decemberists – They also has a new album coming out June 14 and will be on a massive U.S. tour this summer.

Alternative guesses – Cold War Kids (They have a new album out and are playing fests); Sparta (because wherever the Mars Volta goes…); Kim Gordon (because it’s about time Outlandia have a female headliner and Lana Del Rey is probably outside their budget, but then again, so is Kim).

And let’s not forget the usual legacy acts who always get mentioned: Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr./J Mascis, GBV, Pavement (who would be a huge get)…

The guessing game ends in a few hours. Stay tuned…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Blondshell, Pond, Merce Lemon, How???, Hovvdy, Ellis; Jenny Haniver, Healer tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , , — @ 11:42 am March 27, 2024

Jenny Haniver plays tonight at The Sydney in Benson.

by Tim McMahan,

There was an inordinate amount of new music hitting my in-box overnight. I clicked through and noted some of the more interesting indie submissions. Seems like the marketing plan these days calls for making a YouTube video (and, no doubt, a Tik Tok vid, but I don’t Tik Tok, so…). It’s got to be an expensive endeavor for these bands, and judging by how they all look in the videos, something that’s not terribly fun anymore…

Anyway, here are a few. Most of these acts also announced U.S. tours — but none are coming to little ol’ Omaha…

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Blondshell teams up with Bully on a new song that’s another corker. She announced a massive tour, that’s not coming here. 

Whatever happened to Deleted Scenes? Well their bass player, Matthew Dowling, is now in How???, who’s self-titled album is due April 26 on Misra Records.

Hovvdy released another single from their upcoming self-titled double album that drops on Arts & Crafts April 26. I love this album, though not necessarily this song. 

Pond is a bunch of dudes from Perth who have a new album called Stung! out June 21 on Spinning Top Records. That silver paint must have been a bitch to get off, eh Tin Man…

Pittsburgh’s Merce Lemon will be supporting Water From Your Eyes and Babehoven later this year, after coming off tours with Feeble Little Horse and Horse Jumper of Love (who are playing at Blind Spot May 12). 

Hamilton, Ontario’s Ellis (Linnea Siggelkow) has a sophomore album, No Place that Feels Like, coming out April 26 (self-released? She used to be on Fat Possum). 

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Tonight at The Sydney in Benson it’s Portland’s Jenny Haniver who calls their style “bummer music for bums.” Their new new album, Haunt Your Own House, drops April 15 on Landland Records. That’s Eric Nyffeler on bass and synths, Randall Taylor on guitar/synths and Jenny on drums and lead vocals. The new album was mixed by local genius Ian Aeillo at A Sunroom in Omaha! Check out the first track below. Dan Brennan’s Healer gets things going along with Teetah starting at 8 p.m., $10. Bring youse some ear plugs, yo?

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


News Bits: Saddle Creek noms; Conor/Phoebe reunion; Ritual Device in Omaha; new Pat Buchanan; Outlandia announcement imminent…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 9:41 am March 26, 2024

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Obersts reunited for a few numbers at Oberst’s show at Teragram Ballroom in LA March 21.

By Tim McMahan,

Time to clean out ol’ in-box. Hold onto yer hats… Much of this you may already have seen on the socials; some you haven’t. Here we go…

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Once again, our hometown record label – Saddle Creek Records – has been nominated for a Libera Award — the annual awards handed out by the American Association of Independent Music. Saddle Creek was nominated in the Label of the Year category for labels with 6 to 14 employees. Also in their category: Captured Tracks, City Slang, Lex Records, Light in the Attic, Mack Avenue Music Group and Photo Finish Records. Seems like Saddle Creek is nominated every year. Could this be the year they take home the prize?

In addition, Saddle Creek Records artist Indigo De Souza was nominated in the Breakthrough Artist, Best Singer-Songwriter Records, and Music Video of the Year categories. The 13th annual Libera Awards ceremony will take place June 10 at Gotham Hall in New York City. More coverage at Variety.

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The indie music world was thrown in a tizzy last week when Phoebe Bridges joined Conor Oberst on his “Conor Oberst and Friends” residency show at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom – a series that heads east to Bowery Ballroom in NYC next month. The best coverage of the incident appeared in Them, an online publication that purports to be the “best of what’s queer.” 

Them’s James Factora reported that Bridgers walked on stage during the show’s encore and together with Conor performed Bright Eyes classic “Lua,” Oberst’s “Double Life” from 2014’s Upside Down Mountain and Better Oblivion Community Center tune “My City.” The occasion marked the first time the two have performed together since October 2020. Factora wonders whether, with the announced hiatus of Boygenuis (Bridgers’ project with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus), if this unannounced reunion could be a sign of future BOCC things to come… 

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I already mentioned that legendary ‘90s-‘00s Omaha punk band Ritual Device is among the performers at this year’s Lincoln Calling May 3 and 4 (the festival schedule has yet to be released). Now comes word that RD will be playing back-to-back nights at Reverb Lounge in Omaha May 2-3 leading up to the LC weekend gig. The shows feature the band’s original lineup of Jerry Hug, Mike Saklar, Eric Ebers and Tim Moss. 

It’s been a decade since the band has taken the stage stage, and I’m sure there’s a good reason for this reunion. More to come…

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Speaking of artists from Omaha’s first golden age of indie music, Patrick Buchanan, the frontman of another ’90s-’00s legendary punk band, Mousetrap, yesterday released a new 5-song EP from his project House of Transgressor called Ain Soph Aur, which, along with the eerie album cover artwork, seems a wee bit satanic. Check it out on Spotify (I don’t see a Bandcamp or YouTube link), and here’s the first song on YouTube: 

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Finally, word from on high is that the fine folks who putting together the Outlandia Festival will announce the line-up for the August 9-10 festival sometime Thursday evening. No doubt you’ll see it blasted all over the socials that night, but I’ll be writing about it the following morning in Lazy-i

Who do you think will be this year’s headliner? After last year’s Lord Huron / Modest Mouse headliners (a festival that also included The Faint, Cat Power, Criteria, The Good Life and Horsegirl, among others), I can’t even imagine what they have up their sleeves — prior to this festival, I had never heard of Lord Huron.

With the Maha Music Festival taking the year off due to financial issues (according to their press release), Outlandia controls the board as the only indie music festival in the Omaha area this year. As it enters year 3, will it maintain its indie focus? We’ll find out Thursday night…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Sun June, Wild Pink at Reverb…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , — @ 11:51 am March 25, 2024

Sun June at Reverb Lounge, March 22, 2024.

By Tim McMahan,

What to say about last Friday night’s Sun June/Wild Pink show at Reverb Lounge? When the official 8 p.m. start time rolled around, only about 25 people were in the crowd. It’s safe to say after this and last week’s hour-late start at The Sydney, that we are officially back to pre-Covid-19 (late) start times. 

The venues’ former punctuality was likely due to self-imposed curfews to get people in and out as quickly as possible to control human contact/virus spread. But now that Covid has become a distant memory (to most people), shows are starting 30 minutes to an hour late again. Which is fine, as long as they’re consistent — no one wants to show up assuming a late start only to discover they missed the opener because the venue (or artist) decided to be punctual. That said, let’s not get back in the other pre-Covid habit of headliners taking the stage at midnight and wrapping up after 1 a.m…

Wild Pink at Reverb Lounge, March 22, 2024.

So, Wild Pink didn’t go on until a little past 8:30 – just long enough to double the crowd size. Playing as a four-piece, Wild Pink tore through a set of dense, gorgeous, mid-tempo indie rock songs led by singer/songwriter/guitarist John Ross that reminded me of Strand of Oaks or a more tuneful (better) version of The National. They sounded very much like what’s heard on their just-released EP, Strawberry Eraser (Fire Talk Records), but without that recording’s haunting Destroyer-esque saxophone parts. 

Beyond the first-rate rhythm section, the band’s secret weapon is lead guitarist Mike Brenner, who switched between pedal steel and standard electric guitar throughout the night. It was a dreamy, well-performed set that went end-to-end with few breaks and no chatter between songs – a contrast to what was to come.

Sun June – typically a five-piece and a collaboration between front-woman Laura Colwell and guitarist/co-songwriter Stephen Salisbury — played as a four-piece with drummer Sarah Schultz and lead guitarist Michael Bain. I’m not sure who was on bass, and to be honest with you, I have no idea what Stephen Salisbury looks like or if he’s even still in the band. I reached out to Run for Cover Records via Instagram to determine the band’s current touring line-up to no avail.

Regardless, who we saw Friday night was pretty terrific. Colwell suffered some initial technical difficulties which she trouble-shooted as being caused by her glass of white wine perched atop her guitar amp. After the first trepidatious number it was smooth sailing, with the band playing songs from their most recent album, 2023’s Bad Dream Jaguar. If you think Colwell has a whispery voice on her records, it’s nothing compared to the faint, soto voce in which she began her set. 

She didn’t hit her stride until about halfway through, with solid renditions of “Texas” and “Mixed Bag” that showcased her voice and clever songwriting. “Texas” is a personal favorite, and had I enough cash I would have bought one of their T-shirts with the song’s lyric, “Texas, you keep breaking my heart.” 

Live, Sun June’s music is more energetic and less somber than on recording. Throughout the set, four or five members of the crowd sang along with Colwell, one person demonstrably so. The band brought everything back down for their final song, a stirring rendition of album standout “John Prine,” so quiet in fact, that the thump-thump-thump from whoever was playing in The Waiting Room could be heard bleeding through the back of the stage, which Colwell acknowledged with a smile, saying “Hey, you can hear them next door.” You sure can, Laura. 

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And that’s it for touring indie shows in Omaha for the balance of the month. The next show on my radar is a couple Lawrence bands, Blanky and Virgo, making a trip to Reverb Lounge April 3 (with The Dirts and Garst)…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Sun June, Wild Pink tonight at Reverb Lounge…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:54 am March 22, 2024

Sun June plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

By Tim McMahan,

Only one touring indie show of note this weekend…

Austin-based Sun June call their sound “regret pop,” I guess because there’s an overhanging sense of ennui that permeates all their songs. At the creative heart of the matter is vocalist Laura Calwell and guitarist Stephen Salisbury, who (according to their record label – Run for Cover Records), are a “couple,” or at least were when the band’s second album, Somewhere, was released in 2021. However, according to Wiki, Calwell and Salisbury lived 1,300 miles apart when they created Bad Dream Jaguar (2023, Run for Cover) – another introspective, melancholy collection.

Playing at Reverb tonight with Sun June are New Yorkers Wild Pink. The band just released their new single, “Air Drumming Fix You,” on Fire Talk Records, but have spent most of their career on sturdy indie label Tiny Engines Records. Fronted by singer/songwriter John Ross, songs like “Amalfi” and “The Wind Was Like a Train” from 2021’s A Billion Little Lights are remiscent of acts like Destroyer and Strand of Oaks. A little more upbeat than Sun June for sure, but no less sentimental. 

This is really a double-headliner bill and a bargain at $25. Showtime at Reverb is 8 p.m. 

Also tonight, at The Waiting Room hosts local headliner Fontenelle for a show that also includes Wake Sessions and Ebba Rose. $12, 8 p.m. 

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend!

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


#TBT: Statistics’ Leave Your Name turns 20; Kim Darling, Dream Machine tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 10:59 am March 21, 2024

Statistics, Leave Your Name (2004, Jade Tree)

By Tim McMahan,

This Tinnitist story captured in my Google Alerts web caught my attention: A reposting of that publication’s 2004 review of Statistic’s Leave Your Name, an album released on venerable label Jade Tree Records on Jan. 20, 2004. Omaha was in the middle of its second indie golden age with Saddle Creek Records gaining global notoriety and Omaha being hailed as the next Seattle. What better time for Denver Dalley to venture out from his role as guitarist in Desaparecidos to release a solo album? 

A glance at the Album of the Year archive indicates that the record got decent reviews, including a very respectable 4-star review from AllMusic and a “B” grade from SPIN. But it was Pitchfork who really drug down the review matrix with a lowly 4.0 out of 10 rating (Pitchfork would go one step further, giving the follow-up, Often Lie, a rare 1.0 ratingharsh!). 

Re-listening to the CD promo copy I received from Jade Tree 20 years ago, I think Leave Your Name holds up pretty well, certainly right up there with the Saddle Creek stuff released during the same era. A number of Creek regulars took part in the recording (and is that an uncredited Conor Oberst adding the vocal to “Accomplishment” or is Denver just trying to sound like Conor?). Not to be outdone, here’s the Lazy-i review of the album from 2004, with the obligatory pull-quote: “Though this is far from where he wants to be, it more clearly defines his position on the musical map.”

Check out Leave Your Name on Bandcamp, below: 

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A couple things happening tonight in Benson:

Tonight our art gallery, Ming Toy at 6066 Maple St., is hosting an artist reception for Kim Darling’s Unleashed show. Kim was out of country when the show opened March 2, but she’s back and will be on hand tonight for this special reception that runs from 6 to 8 p.m. 

Also tonight, Netherlands-based psych-rock group Dream Machine headlines at Reverb Lounge. They’ve released stuff on Castle Face Records, though their latest, Living the Dream, was self-released. It’s throwback synth-prog. Joining them tonight is Cole Eisenmenger of Wyrmwood and Doom Lagoon. 8 p.m., $15.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Color Green at Reverb; Size Queen at The Sydney…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 11:50 am March 19, 2024

Color Green at Reverb Lounge, March 18, 2024.

By Tim McMahan,

Size Queen is a new LimOma band whose members include drummer Sam Crisler – one of the bookers of this year’s Lincoln Calling Festival. Last night I sat in The Sidney and watched Sam meticulously build his drum kit for a half-hour, wondering when the band would actually start playing. In the pre-Covid days, everyone knew an 8 p.m. start time meant a 9 p.m. start, but post-Covid most clubs have been insistent about start times, especially during weeknights. And yet, here we were at 8:30 as Crisler slowly placed one half of a high hat on the pull rod, then the next, then slowly tightened the clutch. I can’t say’s I blame them – the longer you wait, the bigger the crowd, right?

But the plan was to watch Size Queen play at The Sydney and then race across Benson and catch the show at Reverb, which was happening at the same time. Sure, I’d miss Heavy Clippings, but I just saw them last weekend at Goatfest but figured I could still catch The Dirts. Well, you know what they say about plans…

Size Queen at The Sydney, March 18, 2024.

Size Queen finally took the stage a little after 9 p.m. The only other person’s name I know in the band is guitarist Sam Lipsett, who also plays in Cat Piss. I’ve also met the bass player Jessy Hunt before, but knew nothing about the front person (who I’ve come to find out is Rosemary Ellis). 

The band’s sound was feral and combative, aggressive but controlled. I guess you’d call it post-punk, but much heavier and faster, bordering on hardcore, though Crisler’s drumming (thankfully) was more creative and interesting than the usual straight-four hardcore rhythms that seem only designed for moshing. Crisler’s drum work has a definite hard-rock persona that blended well with Lipsett’s feedback-driven, heavy-ass riffs and the solid bass lines. 

Above it all was the whirling-dervish front person who spewed undecipherable yell vocals, struggling to be heard above the rest of the noise. I’ve seen noise-rock bands who tried doing this style of music without a vocalist, and (for me) it rarely works. You’ve got to have someone out front screaming something, whether you know what they’re screaming or not — it adds a necessary counter to everything else going on. It’s risky, and Size Queen’s vocalist pulled it off. 

The band’s 15-minute set was a nod to ‘90s post-punk, more so, say, than grunge, though I was reminded of Skinyard, and the guy next to me (a legend in his own right) referenced Royal Trux. Plucinski’s Cat Piss has a similar but more focused bombast, and no doubt Size Queen will get there, too – remember, this was only their second show (and their first time in Omaha).

Heavy Clippings at Reverb Lounge, March 18, 2024.

By the time I got to Reverb, I’d already missed The Dirts, who played first (not how the bill was listed). On stage in front of a full room was Heavy Clippings sounding louder and more aggressive than at Goatfest/Scriptown last weekend. The band has a handful of singles available on Bandcamp that you can check out here. Those Bandcamp tracks sound more like demos, and one can only hope they’re leading up to a proper LP release in the near future. 

There is (and has been for years) an undercurrent of a “scene” going on in Omaha associated with the record stores The Antiquarium, Almost Music, and now Grapefruit Records. At the heart is Simon Joyner, who continues to produce amazing, vital records and seems to always be on the road touring. While Joyner is globally recognized by a niche audience, another Grapefruit Records regular, David Nance (and his current band, Mowed Sound), has probably garnered the largest fan base, thanks to a catalog of solid recordings, lots of touring, and a recent release on Jack White’s Third Man Records. Heavy Clippings also is part of this scene – a band fronted by Noah Sterba with Jeff Sedrel on bass — their sound fuses singer/songwriter Americana with a unique Midwestern flair.

Others that fall into this Omaha record store scene include Sean Pratt, Nathan Ma, Megan Siebe, Jim Schroeder, I’m sure many more. The group has been around for years – stretching back to the ‘90s – making their own DIY recordings and playing DIY shows. When anyone asks about an “Omaha Sound,” this is what comes to mind more than anything (including early Saddle Creek Records artists, who never had a central, common thread soundwise).

Though they’re from Los Angeles, Color Green has a connection to this scene via one of the band’s two core members – Noah Kohll — a former Omahan and fellow record store hanger-outer who likely has played alongside all these Antiquarium/Almost Music/Grapefruit folks at one time or another.  With fellow guitarist Corey Madden, Kohll has taken that Midwestern sound and fused it with something akin to Allman Bros./Derek and the Dominos-style blues rock to create something both new and familiar, and strikingly beautiful. 

At the heart of it is the gorgeous, intricate guitar play between Kohll and Madden that last night was spotlighted in intros that gracefully led into the songs, some sang by Kohll, others by Madden, harmonized sparingly by the band’s female drummer and bass player (whose names I don’t know but who were spectacular). 

Playing in the dark with only overhead stage lights, Color Green’s hour-long set consisted mostly of songs off their gorgeous 2022 self-titled album, released by ORG Music. And while that record is something you should seek out immediately, it doesn’t hold a candle to the band’s live performance, which took it all to the next level — the best guitar interplay I’ve heard in years (and that includes recent Nance/Schroeder slugfests). The band’s dynamics ranged from heavy riff-rock to bluesy mellow balladry that sounded like The Allman Bros. playing a cover of Led Zep’s “The Rain Song” – a comparison that I’m sure will make the Grapefruit Records folks cringe. 

Toward the end of the set, Kohll talked about his Omaha roots and even pointed out his parents in the crowd, saying the show was kind of a homecoming. That being the case, welcome home, Mr. Kohll. And please, don’t be a stranger.

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Tonight at The Waiting Room, Atlanta-based self-described emo/indie punk Michael Cera Palin headlines a four-band bill that includes locals Trees With Eyes, Valley Street and Dullparty. $15, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Ojai, Ione at fabulous O’Leaver’s; Color Green, The Dirts, Chew, Size Queen tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 8:30 am March 18, 2024

Ojai at O’Leaver’s, March 16, 2024.

By Tim McMahan,

Just getting to O’Leaver’s has become something of a nightmare with all the friggin’ road construction. Once through the maze of barricades along Leavenworth and Saddle Creek Saturday night, I found a parking lot chock full on both sides of the volleyball courts and almost expected to be turned back at the door. Inside, O’Leaver’s was comfortably filled but not cram packed (So where were all those people who own all those cars?). 

Ione at O’Leaver’s, March 16, 2024.

Ione was already halfway through her set playing in front of a woman-heavy crowd (a rarity for O’Leaver’s). Fronting a three-piece band, Ione stood alone with microphone in hand, a true pop crooner. There’s no denying she has a killer voice, polished and radio-friendly with all the familiar nuances heard on modern pop records, and I have no doubt if she keeps at it we’ll be seeing her on television one day singing a style of pop music that isn’t my cup of tea.

Interestingly, “Ione” has second persona — a side-act called Safe Space, which is a duo with her guitarist whose songs border on modern indie music a la Phoebe but not quite. She appears to be trying to cover all the bases with Safe Space, which is admirable and curious considering how much time she’s invested in her Ione brand. I was told months ago Ione was moving to Chicago. Better see her while you still can — her and he band are opening for Wyrmwood March 29 at Benson Theater. 

No doubt a large portion of the crowd Saturday was there for Ione as the place thinned out for Ojai. A trio fronted by guitarist / songwriter Michael Hulstein, their set was marred by an audio mix that put the bass way out front above all else. Bassist Micah Renner indeed has awesome bass-playing chops but I doubt even he would want his bass to be so prominent in the mix – it overpowered everything on stage. 

Meanwhile, Tanner Rogerson has one of the lightest touches of any drummer I’ve heard behind a kit. I kept checking to see if he was playing with brushes. Hulstein’s chiming, surf-style guitar parts were kind of great when you could hear them above the bass. His approachable vocal style is right on for songs I think I’m going to like when I hear them recorded and properly mixed. In fact, he said much of his set consisted of material from an upcoming EP. I was reminded me of Dave Doughman of Swearing at Motorists, a band I’m sure no one remembers or has even heard of, and a band that’s a lot weirder than Ojai. 

Long story short, I need to see Ojai again when they don’t sound like they’re playing in a bass competition. As for O’Leaver’s — it was hot, it was smelly, it was just as I remember it from the last time I was there. Here’s hoping it never changes. 

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A reminder about tonight’s shows, which I covered in detail last Friday

At Reverb Lounge tonight LA band Color Green (Noah Kohll and Co.) headlines with The Dirts and Heavy Clippings. $15, 8 p.m. 

Meanwhile, down the street at The Sydney, Atlanta psych/electronic band Chew headlines with the Omaha debut of LinOma band Size Queen. 8 p.m., $10.

I’ll see you tonight in Benson…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.