TBT: Eagle*Seagull is back (for one night only)…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm August 6, 2015

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

You’ve probably heard by now: Eagle*Seagull is getting back together, at least for one night.

Sayeth Ian Aeillo yesterday via FB: “Eli and I are getting back together to perform as Eagle Seagull again; October 9th at the club (which is fabulous O’Leaver’s, of course). Ten year anniversary of our album. So So Sailors headlining.” Little Brazil also is on the bill.

Aeillo said the lineup for Eagle*Seagull would be him, Eli and his brother Luther Mardock, Eli’s wife Carrie Mardock and Eric Nyffeler.

So just one show? “One show only,” Aeillo said. “And no plans for any new record because Eli and I might kill each other if we were to make another ES album.” Fair enough.

In recognition of this announcement and for Throwback Thursday, here’s an interview with Eagle*Seagull from nearly 10 years ago, written in conjunction with the release of that debut album.

Eagle*Seagull circa 2005.

Eagle*Seagull circa 2005.

Eagle*Seagull: Flippin’ the Bird

Lazy-i, Nov. 17, 2005

Indie band Eagle*Seagull doesn’t take kindly to being called “Lincoln’s version of The Arcade Fire,” even if it’s meant as a compliment.

“Comparisons like that make you sound less original, like you’re trying to catch a wave or something,” said the band’s guitarist Austin Skiles while two brethren band members — frontman Eli Mardock and drummer Britt Hayes — sipped tasty beverages next to him at Caffeine Dreams.

Skiles is right, of course. No band wants to be compared to another band, especially if that band is the hottest thing currently happening in the indie world. It’s sort of like being called “This year’s Interpol,” another band, incidentally, that Eagle*Seagull also resembles, along with classic acts Talking Heads and David Bowie.

Originally called The Good Looks when first formed in October 2004, the band changed its name to Eagle*Seagull in January while recording their debut CD at producer Ian Aeillo’s bedroom studio. “Ian made these noises that sounded like an evil seagull,” Mardock said. Too much alcohol transformed that description into Eagle*Seagull (The asterisk, apparently, is meaningless).

“We’ve been told that eagles and seagulls also are natural enemies,” Mardock added for irony’s sake or to give the name a little more weight than merely being a drunken misunderstanding.

Before the band completed its nine months (off and on) in Aeillo’s bedroom, they already found a label — Nashville’s Paper Garden Records. Never heard of it? Probably because Eagle*Seagull’s debut is catalog number 001. Upon seeing the band perform in Lincoln, former Nebraskan Bryan Vaughan made up his mind to launch the label with their debut. Vaughan, a former intern at both Sub Pop and Saddle Creek Records, now lives in Nashville where he attends Belmont University.

He made a smart choice. Eagle*Seagull’s debut, released Oct. 11, is one of the year’s best locally produced CDs, capturing the band’s sweeping, urgent, yet jittery energy. The ensemble is rounded out by Eli’s brother, Luther Mardock, on guitar and vocals, J.J. Idt on guitar and banjo, Mike Overfield on bass, and newcomer Carrie Butler on violin and keyboards.

So far, Skiles said, the CD has received good notices. “It’s done well for an album recorded for as little money as possible,” he said. “We’ve had a pretty good reception for a bunch of dorks writing songs.” — Lazy-i, Nov. 17, 20015.


By the way, Aeillo confirmed that Mike Overfield, J.J. Idt and Austin Skiles won’t be participating in this reunion.

* * *

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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Eli Mardock (and band); Skypiper’s Mini-apolis invasion tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , — @ 1:47 pm January 30, 2012
Eli Mardock at O'Leaver's, Jan. 28, 2012.

Eli Mardock at O'Leaver's, Jan. 28, 2012.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It’s been about a month since I last visited O’Leaver’s. I don’t remember it being quite as bright as it was Saturday night. I blame the strings upon strings of white twinkle Christmas lights hung along the ceiling, turning the club into a trailer park wonderland. When I mentioned this to the soundman, he said, “Don’t worry, it won’t be long until half of them are burned out, and it will look like the same ol’ place” yes, but with strings of ugly dead Christmas lights in the ceiling. That’s the O’Leaver’s I remember, friend, that’s the O’Leaver’s I so dearly crave. Other than the Christmas lights, nothing has changed (thankfully). No matter how screwed up your world becomes, you can always depend on O’Leaver’s to bring you right back to 2004 (or whenever it turned into a rock club).

Onstage upon my 11:15 arrival was traveling band The Bears of Blue River, your run-of-the-mill jangly indie folk band with loveable hippie frontman. Pleasant enough. But I came to see Eli Mardock, who I’d been told had grown his live trio into a full-blown 5-piece band. Sure enough, there was Mardock backed by his lovely wife on keyboards, two guitarists/bass players (One of which was Ian Aiello of The Golden Age) and a drummer. You could argue that this was a natural re-evolution of Eagle*Seagull, and you’d be wrong. Mardock as a solo band seems more focused, more rocking than E*S ever was, though there are some obvious similarities in songwriting style.

The biggest change (to me) is Mardock himself. His singing no longer has that lilt, that awkward, alien affectation that had a way of overshadowing everything that E*S was doing. Mardock now sounds like a normal citizen of this country singing rock songs about love and death and art. The first three or four songs featured him on acoustic guitar while the guys handled the bass, but after halftime Mardock switched to bass for numbers with a more definitive swing, while the guys shared rhythm and leads (though, really, it was Mardock that was leading with his bass).

With this band, Mardock finally has gotten past E*S once and for all. His other incarnations — whether it was Beauty in the Beast or his trio — seemed like incremental stages on the way to something else, half-formed with residue from the past and blueprints for the future. Now his sound is fully formed and ready for a next step that is firmly outside (but next to) the shadow of E*S.  He’s pushed this band into the top level of Nebraska indie projects, and who knows how far he’ll go from there.

* * *

One more note about O’Leaver’s: While things seem to be slowing down elsewhere, O’Leaver’s looks to be gearing up its bookings. They have nine shows scheduled through March, including this Friday night’s Digital Leather tour kick-off, which should be a surreal experience.Check out O’Leaver’s Facebook events calendar.

* * *

Tonight at Slowdown Jr., Skypiper is hosting what it’s calling a “Mini-apolis invasion” featuring Twin Cities bands Tarlton and Zoo Animal. Opening is Omaha’s I Am the Navigator. It should be a night of Decemberists-style chamber/indie/pop. $7, early 8 p.m. start.

* * *

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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Beauty In the Beast; Ra Ra Riot, The Sons of… weekend…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 2:31 pm October 8, 2010
Beauty In the Beast at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2010.

Beauty In the Beast at The Waiting Room, Oct. 7, 2010.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The marquee outside The Waiting Room last night said “Eagle Seagull,” but everyone knew better. Maybe it was a marketing ploy. After all, why would anyone know who Beauty In the Beast is, especially seeing as the gig was their stage debut? Regardless, the ruse didn’t work and fewer than 50 people showed up — maybe the Huskers had something to do with the low turnout, or maybe the time is right to stick a fork in E*S…

First up was A Lull, a Chicago five-piece with two primary drummers but where everyone had some piece of percussion equipment to bang on. As you’d expect, the music was all very rthymic, almost tribal, with a guitarist adding distinctively Fripp-ian touches (no chords) while another guitarist sang in a dry, tonal sort of way. When it wasn’t droning it did remind me of latter-day King Crimson, and when all five members were pounding out rhythms, it became a celebration.

Our old friends Cowboy Indian Bear were next, doing their usual thing with the usual panache. It was suggested that the Lawrence band might be over-playing Omaha since they seem to perform almost weekly. Overexposure is never a good thing, but then again, people can’t seem to get enough of CIB.

Then came the debut of Beauty in the Beast — a three-piece featuring Eli Mardock and Carrie Butler, both formerly with Eagle*Seagull, and drummer Andrew Tyler. Mardock played acoustic and electric guitar and bass, switching between the three from song to song, while Butler played synths, and both handled vocals, though Mardock is still clearly the group’s “frontman.” The seven-song set started with an acoustic-powered ballad reminiscent of The Church, while the second song sounded very E*S; then Mardock switched to electric and things began to take off.

Unlike their recordings on their Facebook page, Mardock still has his warble-y, Bowie-esque affectation on stage though it’s much less pronounced on music that is more laid-back, more swinging (in a midnight sort of way) than E*S. I guess the word I’m looking for is “groovy.” Butler took over the lead vocals on the third song, and while her voice is pretty, it’s still not quite strong enough for the stage — that’ll improve over time. She was at her best when she shared vocals with Mardock in tight harmony. On the whole, Beauty’s arrangements are simpler and more straight-forward than E*S’ over-the-top dance explosions, with Tyler stripping the percussion to its bare essentials.

They closed with an upbeat New Wave number featuring Butler’s Gary Numan synths, while the seventh and last song featured Butler (on bass) and Mardock (on electric guitar) playing over a ghostly looped synth march that made for a dramatic Ennio Morricone moment.

As a whole, the set was mesmerizing, modern, and somehow strangely stylish. Beauty… is a big step forward for Mardock and Butler, and a step away from a what-could-have-been past that now seems very old-fashioned. That said, I’m skeptical how well this more contemporary sound will translate to traditional Eagle*Seagull fans, not that it matters…

* * *

Time to plan your weekend…

Tonight at The Waiting Room it’s Syracuse indie pop band Ra Ra Riot (Barsuk). File their music under the same college category as Tokyo Police Club, Vampire Weekend, SSLYBS, the usual suspects. Joining them are Chikita Violenta and We Barbarians. $15, 9 p.m.

Tonight also is the first of a two-night reunion of local heroes The Sons of… Tonight it’s the Sons of The 49’r at, well, The 49’r of course. Joining them are our old friends The Filter Kings. It’s probably $5, and probably starts at 9 p.m. Then tomorrow night, the band magically transforms into The Sons of O’Leaver’s (featuring Mike Jaworski of Cops, Hong Gyn Corp., Hello from Waveland), with special guests Little Brazil. This one will be packed. $5, 9:30 p.m.

Back to tonight’s action… Bear Country and Thunder Power are playing at Stir Lounge in C.B. $5, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, there’s a last-minute show (replacing the canceled Justin Townes Earle show) at Slowdown Jr. featuring Strand Of Oaks, McCarthy Trenching, and Fortnight. 9 p.m. and absolutely free.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) in addition to that gigantic O’Leaver’s show, Rock Paper Dynamite is headlining a gig at The Waiting Room with High Art and SFS. $7, 9 p.m.

Down at Slowdown Jr. Saturday Yep Roc band Jukebox the Ghost is headlining a show with Hooray for Earth and AB & The Sea. $10, 9 p.m.

Finally, Sunday night, seminal ’90s alt-metal band Helmet comes to The Waiting Room with Intronaut & Goes Cube. $15, 9 p.m.

* * *

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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.