Big Thief leaves Saddle Creek for 4AD; Brothers closed until March 8…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm February 27, 2019

Big Thief’s next album, U.F.O.F., will be released May 3 on 4AD.

by Tim McMahan,

Received a bit of a shock yesterday when I looked at my email. There it was in the subject line: Big Thief Sign to 4AD, Announce New Album.

The press release copy: “U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend,’ is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May 3.” The release goes on to describe the record, the recording process, the lyrics, as well as upcoming tour dates without once mentioning Saddle Creek Records, the label that released the band’s last two albums.

Via Twitter, Saddle Creek acknowledged the news. When @loosechange tweeted “BIG THIEF AREN’T ON SADDLE CREEK ANYMORE?” @saddlecreek responded with: “No, but it’s ok! We still love each other! Proud and excited to watch as they (gently and compassionately) take over the world. Everyone should hear their new song. It’s so good.

Gracious words indeed, but the fact remains that it had to hurt to lose Big Thief from the label’s roster. Just looking at their Spotify numbers, no other act signed to Saddle Creek over the past three years is nearly as popular, with Hop Along coming in a distant second.

I asked label chief Robb Nansel if Saddle Creek turned down Big Thief’s latest album or if 4AD out-spent them. His one-word response: “Neither.”

So what was the reason? Did Big Thief look at 4AD as a necessary step up from Saddle Creek or was it something else? I’m sure we’ll find out as the band begins to take interviews in support of the new record.

Meanwhile, Saddle Creek is busy promoting the new album by Hand Habits, Placeholder, which comes out this Friday.

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No rock shows tonight worth mentioning.

BTW, The Brothers is closed until March 8 according to Facebook! Wasn’t winter cold enough already?

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Daughter; Zipline joins the Slowdown complex; Milk Run under new management…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 2:17 pm November 21, 2016
Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

Daughter at The Slowdown, Nov. 19, 2016.

by Tim McMahan,

It’s the same ol’ question: How does a show headlined by a band like Daughter sell out Slowdown’s big room?

The band releases music on respected though somewhat small indie label 4AD. Needless to say, Daughter gets zero airplay locally. In fact, before I headed down to Slowdown Saturday night I double-checked to see if the show wasn’t slated for the small room. When I arrived at 9 p.m., a line stretched all the way past Film Streams. Where did all these people come from? Granted, Daughter is a remarkable indie band, but since when does that translate to sell-out crowds?

The North London 4-piece, fronted by Hepburn-esque lead singer/guitarist Elena Tonra, plays hypnotic, chiming shoe-gaze rock that recalls a broad range of post-punk acts from My Bloody Valentine to The xx. Tonra’s clear, ringing voice can turn ferocious on a dime, sort of like a modern-day Sinead, singing dark songs drenched in loss and loneliness. Take a song like 2012’s “Smother,” that starts with, “I’m wasted, losing Time / I’m a foolish, fragile spine,” and ends with “I sometimes wish I’d stayed inside my mother / Never to come out.” How much bleaker can they get?

That lyrical bleakness is tempered by a dark power and broad dynamics — some songs start off with just Tonra and a keyboard, and quickly rise to a Mogwai-esque rock symphony. Drummer Remi Aguilella was amazing, pounded the kit with mallets, while guitarist Igor Haefeli rattled the rafters. Their performance was powered by a first-rate light show — a combination of spots and strobes and dense colors — gorgeous stuff.

While I listened I thought about all the ’90s British shoegaze acts I never saw perform live, and wondered if this was what they were like, and thought about how how fortunate I was to be able to see this band at the height of their powers.

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A couple quick notes…

Last week Zipline Brewing announced that it is opening a new location in the old Saddle Creek Shop space next to The Slowdown and Film Streams. It’s not just the Creek shop, it’s also the old Saddle Creek warehouse space, so it’s actually pretty huge.

Saddle Creek used to be officed in the same space, but recently moved their offices back upstairs to a co-working space shared by Hear Nebraska and the folks from Maha Music Festival. All their warehouse stuff was moved off site to a different warehouse.

So now you’ll be able to buy booze at Slowdown, Tap Room, and Zipline. It’s like No Do is trying to compete with Benson, but with newer buildings. We’re beginning to see the vision for that part of town become reality, albeit almost 10 years after the Slowdown complex was built. Better late than never.

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Milk Run

Did anyone else get a barrage of notices in their Facebook inbox this past weekend notifying them of people “rating” Milk Run? The fact that the tiny club is under new management might have something to do with it.

Milk Run made the announcement via Facebook yesterday. There are three new managers, while See Through Dresses’ Sara Bertuldo will continue to help book it along with Myer Stevens. Milk Run co-creator, Sam Parker, “will be stepping back from direct operations to pursue exciting new projects in the coming year,” according to the post. Parker also works at Hi-Fi House, which has hosted a steady slew of shows and events the past few weeks.

Hear Nebraska has a little more about the management changes here. If you haven’t been to a show at Milk Run, do yourself the favor. They’ve got a big one coming up this Friday night when Sad13 (Sadie from Speedy Ortiz) headlines with Mannequin Pussy and Vagabon. I’m actually surprised the show hasn’t sold out yet, considering the club’s limited capacity.

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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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.