KC’s Black Site Records to release new No Thanks album; more new Digital Leather…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:01 pm September 3, 2020
No Thanks’s new album, Submerger, comes out on Halloween on Black Site Records.

Self-proclaimed Omaha “goth punk” band No Thanks yesterday announced the Oct. 31 release of their sophomore album, Submerger, on Kansas City label Black Site Records.

The album was recorded by See Through Dresses’ Matt Carrol in his Little Machine Studios. From the press release: “The band’s first release on vinyl is a ten-song blast of stripped down, honest rock and roll that combines proletarian ethics with blood, bats and ripped black mesh to create a fearsome sound with a looming menace that aptly captures the stark reality of our hellscape era.

Fierce! The band consists of bassist Cam Stout, drummer Gabe Cohen, guitarist Michael Huber and one of the most entertaining — if not flamboyant — frontmen in Omaha, Castro Turf. The band throws around the “goth” term a lot these days no doubt in part because of Mr. Turf’s stage craft, which looks influenced by Cramps’ legend The Cramps’ Lux Interior. This is one of my favorite local bands to see live, preferably smashed into a crowd at O’Leaver’s or The Brothers Lounge.

So who is Black Site? According to the release, it’s “a record label cooperative created by Kansas City musicians interested in supporting regional punk and rock bands (releasing) their recordings on a physical medium.” The label’s roster includes Red Kate, Stiff Middle Fingers, Truck Stop Love (who remembers the ’90s?) and Libations, among others.

Check out the the track below and pre-order here via Bandcamp.


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Also yesterday, Digital Leather released the third track from the project’s upcoming full-length release, New Wave Gold, out Sept. 15 on No Coast Recordings. Frontman / project mastermind Shawn Foree said the track, “Sinking Ship,” is “about how fucked the world is, and how we are all going to die in the worst way possible soon. There is nothing we can do. It’s far too late. Plus, it’s got a beat and you can dance to it.” 

Very nice. You can order the record from bandcamp, here: https://nocoastrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/new-wave-gold

For those of you who missed the article/interview with Mr. Foree in the August issue of The Reader, here’s the story in its entirety. I like to post these on Lazy-i just so’s I have a digital copy if/when The Reader goes belly up…

Digital Leather in the Days of COVID
The Omaha electro-punk act celebrates 20 years with its 24th album.

Prior to the interview for this column, the last time I spoke with Shawn Foree, the mastermind behind the musical project Digital Leather, was a couple years ago. It was late in the evening standing outside the patio door at mid-town punk club O’Leaver’s, no doubt killing time between live sets from a couple local garage bands we both knew.

Foree, who looked like an unholy cross between Jim Morrison and Deliverance-era Burt Reynolds, told me he was about to hang it up as far as Digital Leather was concerned. He’d just turned 40 and was tired of banging his head against the music industry wall, trying to get someone to notice what he was doing. And it sure didn’t look like things would ever change.
The conversation bummed me out, because Foree / Digital Leather was and is my favorite Omaha-based music project. The only person more frustrated by his music never receiving the attention it deserved was me. Digital Leather music is the perfect amalgamation of modern songwriting, instrumentation and vintage digital sounds. The product is highly addictive, darkly worded 21st Century synth-punk that can stand alongside music by acts like Gary Numan, Psychic TV and The Faint.

As it turned out, Foree was just in a bad mood that night at O’Leaver’s. “Don’t believe me when I say I’ve given up,” he said over the phone July 21. “I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again.”

In fact, only a few months after that announced retirement, Digital Leather recorded and released a new album, followed by another and another.

And now comes New Wave Gold, out Sept. 15 on Madison, Wisconsin, label No Coast Records (Thee Oh Sees, Red Mass, The Hussy). The 16-track collection is the 24th full-length album (in addition to 13 EPs and singles) released by Digital Leather over the 20 years Foree has made music under that moniker.

Digital Leather fans will be happy to know New Wave Gold is the most cohesive, pop-fueled collection Foree has released since 2009’s Warm Brother (Fat Possum Records). He recorded and mixed the album in his apartment studio with contributions by drummer Jeff Lambelet and mastering by sound engineer Ian Aeillo.

The album opens with the first COVID-19 quarantine-inspired song I’ve heard, “Dark Ages,” which closes with the lines: “Don’t you go and worry about me, baby / You got better things to think about, I’m sure / Honey, don’t you know these are the Dark Ages / Disease is in the air, and it’s pure.”

Foree is the only person I’ve talked to who’s tested positive for COVID-19. “I tested positive a month and a half ago,” he said. “I was asymptomatic. It was a little freaky. I wasn’t sure if I was going to become sick, but fortunately, I was OK, maybe a little tired. I tested again a couple weeks after, and it came back negative.”

His day job doing environmental testing, which he’s kept throughout the pandemic, takes him all over the country. “I was floating around South Dakota, Missouri, all around red states, so it could have come from anywhere,” he said. “It was a positive test, but none of my friends had it, just me. So I don’t know if I really had it.”

With COVID-19 shutting down music venues and making touring impossible, it’s a strange time to release a new album. Foree, who has released more than an album a year on average, didn’t want to wait around for the world to reopen. “The record was done,” he said. “I showed it to Bobby (Hussy), who runs the record label, and we just said fuck it and put it out so I can move on to new material.”

To help market the release, Foree is working with national publicist Grandstand Media, whose massive client roster includes acts like Tame Impala, Waxahatchee, Soccer Mommy, Bright Eyes and Kim Gordon, to name a few. “It’s totally new ground for me, selling records without playing live,” Foree said. “If we can make our money back, that would be fine. Making a profit is not on my or the label’s to do list.”

Foree also is the first musician I’ve interviewed since COVID-19 began. The pandemic has had a huge impact on his music world. “All my friends want to play shows and are depressed, because it’s not only their livelihood, it’s part of their sanity. It’s part of who they are,” he said. “I have friends who were about to release records, go on tour, go to Europe, and now it’s all TBD. I think everyone is pretty fucking depressed about it.”

Even after the pandemic is under control, he said things won’t be the same. “There will be all kinds of new regulations; it’ll be weird,” Foree said. “A lot of people won’t want to go out to shows. Venues might close. How are they going to support themselves if they can’t do business? The same goes for musicians who live off their music.”

Foree isn’t one of those, not anymore. He’s managed to find a balance between making a living and making music, and has accepted the fact that, despite having toured the country and releasing albums on a dozen different record labels, he may never make it to “the next level.”

“Part of me is frustrated that I don’t have a larger audience, but I’m also kind of glad things are the way they are,” he said. “I see the silver lining. I have freedom to do what I want. You’re supposed to give it up at 30 and get a real job once you realize there’s no money in it. Well, I have a real job and can still do it, so fuck them all.”

First published in The Reader, September 2020. Copyright © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Shawn Foree (Digital Leather) interview (in The Reader), second DL single drops…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:58 pm August 13, 2020
A still from the “King of Idiots,” the new single/video by Digital Leather.

I picked up the August issue of The Reader while I was also picking up a pizza last night at La Casa. This month’s Over the Edge column is an interview / story with Shawn Foree of Digital Leather, where he talks about his new album, New Wave Gold (out next month on No Coast Records) and life during the pandemic (and testing positive for COVID-19), among other things.

Foree’s new album is my favorite since 2009’s Warm Brother (Fat Possum Records) and has a similar detailed feel to the recording, which you can get a gander at by listening to the second single, whose video dropped yesterday — that is if it’s still online. The first video was yanked by YouTube copy write police a few days after it went online, presumably due to the stolen footage used (and there appears to be plenty in this new video as well).

Anyway, read the story in the printed version of The Reader (People do still read printed stuff, don’t they?) or go to the online version right here.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lots o’ Leather: Benny Leather, Digital Leather announce fall releases…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:02 pm July 17, 2020
Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree enjoys a cold beverage in what looks like either a market in Bangkok or a taco stand in Tekamah, NE.

The last time we heard from Benny Leather was last fall when the mysterious digital-fueled punk act with links to Omaha and Antwerp released a couple singles destined for a full-length release later that year that never materialized. Well, the wait is over.

Temporary Insanity, an 8-song LP, is slated for release Oct. 1 on Philly label FDH Records, though you can pre-order it now right here (the full digital release drops Oct. 1 while the vinyl release won’t ship until last December).

Recorded in bedrooms and basements in Portland, Omaha, Bentonville, OR, Raleigh/Durham, NC, and Phuket and Krabi Southern Thailand between 2018 and 2020, the album was mixed by Omaha’s Benny Leather and Antwerp’s Modus Ponens, and features guest vocals from Modern Love’s Chandra Moskowitz (yes, the world famous chef!), and Thick Paint’s Sarah Bohling.

The album was mastered by sound engineer/genius Ian Aeillo at ADSR (A Dark Sun Room) studios.

Says Mr. Leather: All non vocal instrumentation created from scratch on the following analog synthesizers:
Moog Spectravox Vocoder hand built by Benny Leather at MoogFest 2019 (Raleigh/Durham, NC)
— Moog Sub Phatty (a personal gift from Digital Leather’s Shawn Foree and Todd Fink back in 2014)
— ARP Odyssey
— Sequential (fka DSI) Prophet Rev 2
— DSI Tempest analog drum machine (all drums/percussion made from scratch from raw white, pink and green noise signals processed through various analog filters, VCAs, envelopes and augmented by pitched analog oscillators).
— Reverb/delays: Earthquaker Devices Avalanche Run

Got all that?

Check out the first two singles below and order it post haste.

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Also announced this week: Digital Leather’s new 18-track LP, New Wave Gold, will drop Sept. 15 on No Coast Records. Digital Leather is Shawn Foree, who’s been creating some of the country’s most intriguing modern rock under the Digital Leather moniker for 20 years.

From the press release:

Recorded in Foree’s apartment in Nebraska over the last couple of years, during which time Shawn also travelled the country doing environmental work, New Wave Gold is its own genre; something uniquely wonderful. Lyrically, each song is crafted of deceivingly simple lines, but the words soon reveal their true identities: culprits to a dazzlingly moody manifesto. It’s a mid-life crisis and a global crisis smashed together and thrown onto tape. Scattered with analog synths, acoustic guitars and a fully operational DIY approach, New Wave Gold is also reminiscent of work from groups like Sebadoh and Psychic TV.”

Check out the video for first single, “A Cut Above,” directed by Mat Badura. You can pre-order the vinyl or CD right here from the No Coast Bandcamp page.


Looks like the video got pulled by YouTube! Methinks someone didn’t get permission to use those vintage film clips. Well, here’s the track at bandcamp:

That’s all for now. Have a great weekend.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Digital Leather, Universe Contest, BFF, Kamasi Washington tonight; Black Lips, Las Cruxes Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:46 pm March 6, 2020

Digital Leather at The Sydney, Sept. 6, 2019. The band returns to The Sydney tonight for #BFF.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s a surprisingly busy weekend musicwise.

Tonight at The Sydney in Benson, Digital Leather headlines the monthly Benson First Friday program. Find out what Shawn Foree and Co. have been up to. Joining them are Universe Contest and DJ Wafflez. Featured art artist is Finn Bainbridge. 10 p.m., $5.

Since you’re in Benson anyway, might as well drop over to The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple St. (the east bay of the Masonic Lodge storefronts) where we’re featuring the art of John Stillmunks for an opening that runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Come by and say hi! I’ll be there sometime after 7 p.m., likely with beer in hand.

If it weren’t for Benson First Friday I’d be down at The Slowdown tonight for the big Kamasi Washington concert. His 2015 album The Epic is a modern jazz odyssey. Tickets are still available for $35. Mesonjixx opens at 8 p.m.

There’s also a Guster show going on tonight at Scottish Rite Hall, but it’s SOLD OUT. By the way it’s “an evening of acoustic music and improv,” whatever that means (but it can’t be good). Starts at 8 p.m.

The red hot show tomorrow night (Saturday) is veteran garage punk band Black Lips at Slowdown Jr. I’m kind of surprised this one hasn’t sold out yet. Joining them are Poppy Jean Crawford and Omaha’s And How. 8 p.m., $20.

Maybe it’s not sold out because everyone is planning on seeing Omaha’s favorite Spanish-language punk band Las Cruxes at The Brothers Lounge. Joining them are I Hear Thud and Mere Shadows. BTW, this is a Burger Revolution show! $5, 10 p.m.

Then suddenly it’s Sunday…

Everyone’s favorite wandering poet / retired musician Kyle Harvey will be in town at the Omaha Film Festival Sunday afternoon for the screening of his documentary It’s Nice to be With You Always: A Film about Neeli Cherkovski. The film screens at 12:15 p.m. at Aksarben Cinema #6, with a soundtrack that includes music from our old friend Jake Bellows and Neva Dinova. For more information, go to omahafilmfestival.org

Also Sunday, the folks in Relax, It’s Science are hosting a listening party for their new album Now It’s Your Problem at Hi Fi House. Drinks start at 4 p.m. followed by listening at 5 and Q&A at 5:45. And it’s free!

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend and WASH YOUR HANDS!

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Criteria’s ‘Years’ drops (last week); new Digital Leather, Dereck Higgins…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:40 pm January 20, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Criteria, Years (2020, 15 Passenger)

Last Friday Criteria’s new album Years dropped via 15 Passenger Records. It’s a banger. BrooklynVegan was the first outlet to sort of review the album, saying: “The more polished sound suits them well, and helps elevate their chunky post-hardcore/alt-rock to a level where Criteria sound like even more of a force than they did during their initial run. The songwriting is inspired, the songs rip, and it just feels great to have this band back.”

Indeed. Get your copy and have a listen here. Tonight Criteria opens for Cursive at Neumos in Seattle.

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Digital Leather last week shared yet another song off its forthcoming album, Because You’re a Winner, called “V.” Check it below:

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And the always prolific Dereck Higgins dropped a new track in Soundcloud called “Scoobs.” He says he’s “causally working” toward a new album. And pssst…. InDreama also is in the studio.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


January shows of note: new Digital Leather track; Las Cruxes makes NPR best of Latin list…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:40 pm January 6, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Looking at the calendar it’s going to be slim pickens show-wise for the month of January. Still, there are a few shows on my radar:

— Criteria has been added to that Cursive/Cloud Nothings show Jan. 15 at Winchester Bar and Grill. The only surprise here is that Criteria wasn’t on the original show line-up, as the band will be hitting the road the following day on tour with Cursive.

— Indie singer/songwriter Your Smith has a gig at The Slowdown Jan. 19. I dug her last album — very dance-y, very fun.

— Cold War Kids are coming to The Waiting Room Jan. 23 (*yawn*).

— Lawrence, Kansas, legacy indie act The Anniversary play The Waiting Room Jan. 29. Band member Adrianne Verhoeven is no stranger to Omaha, as she’s performed as as a member of bands Art in Manila and Flowers Forever.

— And InDreama closes out the month with a show at Reverb Lounge. What has Nik Fackler and Co. been up to lately? Find out.

There are more smaller shows dotted in between those, which I’ll keep you apprised of as they come near. I’m to the point now where I’m happy if there are at least two solid touring indie shows coming through town per month. Anything more than that is frosting on the cake these days.

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Remember that Digital Leather song “Compass” I mentioned was a stand-out at the last two DL live shows? Well, a recording of the song was released via Bandcamp last week as the first single off the band’s upcoming album. Dig it:

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The last single from everyone’s favorite Omaha-based Latin-language punk band, Las Cruxes, made it onto NPR program World Cafe‘s list of the Best Latin Music for 2019. Check out the track, “1303 Mente Enferma,” on their playlist included in the article.

From the article “... it was great to hear bands like Las Cruxes, Davila 666, Mueran Humanos, Choked Up, Le Butcherettes and Mi Puga Mi Pishgo rocking out with punk, Brit-influenced rock en español and even dark wave sounds.” Lsten along here.

And look for a new Las Cruxes recordings (hopefully) by the end of the month.

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Lazy-i Best of 2019

Today is the last day to enter to win a copy of the Lazy-i Best of 2019 Comp CD!

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: DIIV, Hand Habits, Uh Oh, Sharon Van Etten, Orville Peck, Simon Joyner, Prettiest Eyes, Purple Mountains and lots more.

To enter, send me an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com. Hurry, contest deadline is TONIGHT, Jan. 6, at midnight.

Or listen on Spotify. Simply click this link or search “Lazy-i” in Spotify and you’ll find the 2019 playlist along with a few from past years, too!

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Solid Goldberg, Digital Leather on Thanksgiving; Allah-Las tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 2:23 pm December 2, 2019


Solid Goldberg at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 26, 2019.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Thanksgiving night at O’Leaver’s is becoming a new holiday tradition for the drunks and disenfranchised as well as the rest of us, and why not? Most places are closed on Thanksgiving. Instead. O’Leaver’s used the holiday for a boozed-up rock show.

First up at around 10:30 was the return of Solid Goldberg. Dave Goldberg has revamped his one-man project with more eye-popping gadgets and an enormous amount of sound-creating hardware — pedals, cables and wires surrounded both in front of and behind the shower-curtain scrim used to bounce lighting effects. Fire hazard? I watched the floor for smoke.

Despite the hardware and tech, the core of Goldberg’s performance are his songs, which have never been groovier. Goldberg’s beat programming and synth-work have upped his sound to an electro-dance party that sizzles beneath his keyboard melodies and vocals. The style is punk/blues rock a la classic Jon Spencer but with Goldberg’s trademark keyboard style like listening to a kaleidoscope on acid.

And while it’s hard not to get caught up in the performance — the lights, the gadgets, Goldberg himself — there is funk to be had. Goldberg has one of the better punk rock voices I’ve heard around these parts — rife with the swagger of a rock evangelist, it’s been that way as long as I’ve known him.

I asked after the set when he’s going to record any of the songs. He said he thought they  finally turned a corner, which I hope means he’ll be in a studio soon.

Digital Leather at O’Leaver’s, Nov. 26, 2019.

Digital Leather followed after at around 11. Every DL show seems to have a line-up change and this one was no exception. While Jeff Lambelet took his throne behind the drum kit and I believe Omahan Blake Kostszewa of FiFI NoNo was on one synth, across the stage was a new face who I was told was playing her first show with DL. No idea who she was, though the person next to me said there were Sioux City roots.

It was a similar set as the one played in September at The Sydney. Once again, the highlights were “Puff” off Headache Heaven, “B12” from the Mere Mortals project, and a kick=ass closer called “Compass” that’s yet to be recorded (but needs to be).

Frontman Shawn Foree brutalized a four-string bass with heavy fuzz tone — a welcome shift in style though few people are more ingenious behind a synth keyboard. If there’s a complaint it’s that the set could have been longer. Certainly the audience, which crowded the stage, wanted more…

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Los Angeles psych-rock band Allah-Las headlines tonight at Slowdown Jr. The band has a sweet ’60s Cali-garage sound reminiscent of acts like Arthur Lee and Love. Their latest album, LAHS, was released this past October on Mexican Summer Records. They’re joined tonight by LA duo Mapache and Tim Hill. $18, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


A Digital Leather / Solid Goldberg Thanksgiving tonight at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm November 28, 2019

Digital Leather at The Sydney, Sept. 6, 2019. The band plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Fabulous O’Leaver’s is starting a new tradition tonight by hosting one of the hottest Tryptophan-fueled rock shows of the year.

Solid Goldberg is a project that features Omaha legend Dave Goldberg, who takes the one-man-band experience to a whole ‘nuther level. Goldberg, who’s past projects include Sucettes, Rusty Lord, Box Elders, The Terminals, The Carsinogents, Street Urchins and Full Blown, to name a few, creates an audio/visual head trip that must be seen to be believed.

He’s followed by Digital Leather, a project helmed by an Omaha doom-vision electronic music svengali. Beyond what I’ve reported in the past, I know virtually nothing about Shawn Foree other than he’s the only post-wave singer/songwriter actively trying something new in a tired genre dominated by tribute acts and unwanted reunion tours.

Over the past 15 years or so, Digital Leather’s musical style has constantly shifted between electronic No Wave, garage rock/psychedelic and static-powered synth-punk. Prolific, Foree records a record (or two) every year, released on labels like FDH, No Coast, Volar, Goner, Fat Possum and Stencil Trash.

You get both acts for just $7. The fun starts at 10 p.m. Expect your typical O’Leaver’s crowd, which is another way of saying expect the unexpected. And that’s something to give thanks for…

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Flight School reappears just in time for Halloween; Rose Thomas Bannister, Digital Leather looking for help…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:31 pm October 30, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“Monster Mash” by Flight School.

No doubt if I had kids I would be aware of just how excited they are on Halloween’s Eve. After all, I was a kid once and I loved Halloween. But what do you do if your kids are getting a little out of hand before — or after — Halloween (because all that sugar, right?)?

Well, your favorite studio project, Flight School, has the remedy. Today Ian Aeillo (Nebraska’s answer to Alan Parsons) released a doozy of a cover of Bobby Pickett’s holiday classic, “Monster Mash.” The 7-plus minute Ambien-fueled anthem features Luke Pettipoole and Sarah Bohling on vocals, and is sure to draw down the energy level of anyone who experiences it. I promise you’ll never hear this song quite the same way again, and there’s no question I prefer Ian’s version over the original. Check it below:

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You might remember Rose Thomas Bannister by her old name, Ember Schrag, the moniker she used when she lived in Nebraska. These days she calls Brooklyn home, and now Bannister has a new album in the can called The Little Wren, which she hopes to release on vinyl. So… Kickstarter. Bannister already hit her $3,000 goal, but the campaign continues for a another day or so. I’ve always considered Kickstarter to be sort of presale event. Check it out here.

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On the other hand, Shawn Foree has a ways to go until he reaches his $2,000 Go Fund Me goal for his next record, which he thinks is “the strongest album I’ve done.” It’s the follow-up to Feeet, the limited-vinyl album released this past January by German label Stencil Trash Records and the 8-track tape re-release of 2007’s Blow Machine. What does Shawn have up his sleeve this time? The quicker you donate, the quicker we’ll find out.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Digital Leather at The Sydney; Clarence Tilton on the street; Mannequin Pussy tonight…

Category: Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:48 pm September 9, 2019

Digital Leather at The Sydney, Sept. 6, 2019.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been so long since Digital Leather played locally I thought frontman Shawn Foree moved back to Arizona. The project came out with a limited edition vinyl compilation on the Stencil Trash insignia in January called Feeet, as well as a limited 8-track tape (you read that right) version of 2007’s Blow Machine (FDH Records). But still no local appearances.

Then last Friday night Foree and his current Digital Leather line-up took the stage at The Sydney for a half-hour set. DL has had numerous iterations over the years, swinging between ‘80s electronic synth-driven No Wave to full-on guitar punk, with Foree either behind a keyboard rack or slinging an electric guitar. This time he stood out front with an electric bass backed by two synth players — a pal from Arizona named Jason and Omahan Blake Kostszewa of FiFI NoNo — while veteran stickman Jeff Lambelet took his usual place behind the drum kit.

Bringing the bass out front proved to be a bold move as the band ran through a set that included standout track “Puff” off the new record (but originally released on 2018’s Headache Heaven) and a re-imagined version of “B12” (originally released as part of Foree’s Mere Mortals project and later covered (with lyrics rewritten) by The Faint as “Damage Control”).

Foree put down his bass and returned behind the synths for the set closer, singing lyrics read from a sheet of notebook paper. I figured it was maybe an obscure cover, but he said afterward it was a new song called “Compass” — red hot and the evening’s highlight. Here’s hoping the song gets a proper release, along with whatever else the prolific Mr. Foree has been working on.

Clarence Tilton at the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 7, 2019.

Saturday night I walked around the block to the Parkwood Lane Bluegrass Festival to catch a performance by Clarence Tilton. This is actually the annual block party held on Parkwood Lane just west of Memorial Park — picture lots of neighbors standing in the street eating covered-dish gourmet while kids speed around on mini BMX bikes, big-screen TVs showing whatever game is on ESPN. And at the end of the street, a small stage under a tent where the bands played.

I keep comparing Clarence Tilton to ’90s-era indie power-pop acts and I’ve got to admit, it’s kind of a stretch, especially when you see them perform live. I mean, don’t get me wrong, they could be a fantastic power-pop act, especially with their backgrounds, but the fact is these guys are playing countrified Americana music, and the twang is unmistakable on stage, where they resemble The Statler Brothers more than The dBs, and that’s not a bad thing.

Overheard from the neighborhood crowd: “These guys are the real deal.” And they are. I don’t know why they haven’t been discovered on a national level, they’re certainly as good or better than anything I’ve heard on the country Sirius stations. The Weber Brothers are among the best axe men around, and then you’ve got three different (very good) vocalists. I guess maybe their lack of national notoriety has to do with the fact that the band members have other careers — and lives — that prevent them from touring outside our little burg. That means Clarence Tilton will likely remain Omaha’s — and Parkwood Lane’s — best kept secret.

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Tonight at Slowdown Jr. it’s Philly band Mannequin Pussy. Though they’re on Epitaph Records, they don’t sound like a run-of-the-mill Epitaph band. With their shoe-gaze shimmer, I’d more likely mistake them for someone on 4AD. Their latest, Patience, is shoe-gaze leaning on heavy metal. Opening is Sacramento band Destroy Boys (Uncool Records) and UK producer/musician Ellis. $15, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.