Soundtrack to a Pandemic (the top 40 Nebraska recordings 2020); Flight School, Lightning Stills, Simon Joyner new music…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:02 pm December 4, 2020
Some artwork for the top Nebraska releases in 2020.

So Bandcamp Friday (today) is the day in which you can purchase downloads via Bandcamp, and all the money goes to the artists because Bandcamp is waiving their cut. With that in mind, I pushed online my column in this month’s issue of The Reader. It’s a listing of 40 Nebraska recordings released during this, the Year of Our Covid 2020. Included in the story are links to all 40 recordings on Bandcamp, wherein you can buy, download and listen to the best our state has to offer.

You know, The Reader didn’t do a “music issue” this year, and as such, didn’t publish a Reader Top 20 (and the next whatever). This list of 40 releases is as good as it gets considering no one was out performing or touring this year. These artists threw their wares to the masses anyway, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to support their album releases with live shows.

With that in mind GO TO THE STORY NOW and check out the list, click through the links and download/buy some music and support local area artists while hearing some damn fine sounds. Another way to help the artists out is by sharing The Reader story on your social media channels so others can discover what we already know.

Couple more things…

Flight School is a musical project of studio engineer/musician/genius Ian Aeillo. Ian doesn’t like it when I call him a genius, he thinks I’m funnin’ him, no matter how many times I tell him I’m not. The guy just can’t take a compliment. Fact is, Ian was involved in a number of the 40 recordings I mentioned in my Reader column.

Anyway, this morning, Flight School dropped its latest digital full-length effort, This Will Get You There. It’s 21 songs Ian wrote for his favorite vocalists, none of which sing on any of the tracks, leaving you with just Ian’s fine instrumental music. I asked him to list the “favorite vocalists” on the Bandcamp page so we could try to guess who went with which song, but he wasn’t having it. Buy/download/listen here.

Also online today, Lightning Stills (a.k.a. Craig Fort and band) released his entire debut EP Sings His Songs, which wasn’t expected to drop for awhile, but this being Bandcamp Friday, he said ‘what the heck.’ Check out the recording here, buy and download!

And for one day only (today), Simon Joyner is making available for download at Bandcamp Ten Songs (Home Demos for 2021 Album). These are demos recorded on his phone over the past few months that he’ll use as reference while working on songs, but the sound quality is hella good (certainly better than those early Sing Eunichs! recordings!). Go, buy, download here.

That’s it. If you’re going out, wear a mask (as if I had to tell you that!). Have a great weekend!

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily (if there’s news) 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Flight School (Ian Anthony Aeillo), #BFF tonight; Pro-Magnum, Pine Ridge Toy Drive Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:37 pm December 6, 2019

Ian Aeillo at Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover at The Waiting Room, Jan. 18, 2014. He’s the subject of a sound/art exhibition at The Sydney tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

I’ve talked about Ian Aeillo before on this blog, about his role in the Nebraska music scene both as a producer, creator, musician and influencer, employed (these days) at The Sydney in Benson. Aeillo’s music history goes back literally decades to a band called The Golden Age that, at the time, was hot-rumored to be thee next big band on the then-fledgling (though already successful) Saddle Creek Records label. I remember asking the label execs at the time about signing the Lincoln band and received the tertiary wayward nod/no response that greeted all such questions directed to the Nansel/Kulbel braintrust. They always held their cards close to the vest, though one couldn’t ignore the fact they were both in the audience at Sokol Underground one night when The Golden Age was playing a rare show in Omaha. Talent scouting?

Well, nothing ever came of any of it, and The Golden Age eventually faded away or disappeared or broke up. Tracks from the legendary unreleased Jealous Love album were deleted from YouTube a long time ago. Aeillo would go on to work with a number of bands, including Lincoln outfit Eagle*Seagull as well as countless others recordings at ARC Recording Studio where he once worked as a producer.

Poster for tonight’s Flight School exhibition.

He does his knob twirling these days at The Sydney, where you can find him most nights working as a sound engineer. But tonight Aeillo will be playing a different role as the featured artist for The Sydney’s Benson First Friday festivities. There’s a lengthy Facebook post where he describes what the event entails, but at the very least, those who drop in will experience either the playing over the PA or a live performance of his work as Flight School, a multi-media rock-punk-jazz recording odyssey all of which is available via Bandcamp. There will be other equipment set up as part of the “experience/installation” that’s been dubbed “An Evening w/Ian Anthony Aeillo (Flight School)” The experience runs from 5 p.m. til 2 a.m. at The Sydney, and admission is free.

It’s all a part of Benson First Friday.

Since you’ll be in Benson anyway, why not stop at The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple Street (the east bay of the Masonic Lodge Building), where tonight is the opening of the 5th Annual Little Show. Featured is the work of more than 20 local artists, all showing works 12 x 12 or smaller at a price point of $100 or less. Just in time for holiday shopping. The show runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Come on by.

That’s it for tonight.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) Johnny Vredenburg and the rest of the boys from Pro-Magnum headline at The Brothers Lounge. Also on the bill are KC metal band 34. $5, 10 p.m.

Finally, the annual Toy Drive for Pine Ridge is happening at The Waiting Room Saturday night. Featured performers include Satchel Grande, Pony Creek, Garst and Vago. Admission is a new, unwrapped toy or $10. All proceeds will be used to deliver toys to the children of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Show starts at 8 p.m.

And believe it or not, that’s all I got, except to mention the fine folks who ran Almost Music as well as EZ Records are having a record show at Reverb Lounge at noon on Sunday. It’s free and always fun.

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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Digital Leather music (sort of); Car Seat Headrest, Mystery Lights tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm November 2, 2016

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

Car Seat Headrest gave my favorite performance of the festival. The band plays at The Waiting Room tonight.

by Tim McMahan,

File this under “Get it while you can”… Ian Aeillo (under the moniker Flight School) just posted his interpretation of seven classic Digital Leather songs, of course without the band’s permission. We’re talking soothing, Autumnal renditions of brutal synth-punk songs like “Studs in Love,” “Styrofoam” and my all-time favorite Digital Leather song, “Modern Castles.” Aeillo played all the instruments (mostly synths). Check it out while you can, below…

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Maha 2016 performer Car Seat Headrest returns to Omaha tonight, this time at The Waiting Room. Based on the set list from Monday night’s show in Boulder (online here) expect to hear a lot of songs off their latest, Teens of Denial (2016, Matador), an album that is on my short list of favorites this year. Opening is Seattle trio Naked Giants (Miscreant Records). $15, 9 p.m.

Also tonight, New York City band The Mystery Lights (Wick/Daptone) headlines at Reverb Lounge with Sean Pratt & The Sweats & David Nance. $8, 9 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 © 2016 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


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

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

by Tim McMahan,

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.

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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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover Omaha…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:42 pm January 20, 2014

Ian Aello at Hear Nebraska's Take Cover at The Waiting Room, Jan. 18, 2014.

Ian Aeillo at Hear Nebraska’s Take Cover at The Waiting Room, Jan. 18, 2014.

by Tim McMahan,

I dropped in on the Hear Nebraska’s “Take Cover Omaha” benefit Saturday night at The Waiting Room and caught a full hour of covers and originals from a handful of Omaha’s finest songwriters.

The rules were the same as last time they did this — the artist comes on stage, usually alone but sometimes with one other person (no bands allowed, as it would take too much time to switch out between performances), where they play one cover and one original.

Performers get to pick their own covers, which makes sense since they’re donating their time — the last thing any musician wants to do is play a cover they don’t like. So as a result, performers tend to pick obscure songs by their friend’s bands, which means there’s a good chance audience members are listening to someone who they don’t know cover a song they’ve never heard before.

And thus was the case when Rachel Tomlinson Dick took the stage. If Rachel announced what she was playing, I missed it. She launched right into her cover followed by one of her songs. Both were lovely and unfamiliar.

Matt Whipkey followed suit, playing a song by his pal, Mike Friedman (The Lupines, Little Brazil), a song very few if any have heard before. That was followed by a song off Whipkey’s Penny Park album. Whip was joined by Korey Anderson on both.

Simon Joyner got help from Megan Siebe of Anniversaire. His cover was a song by Noah Sterba (Yuppies), followed by a Joyner original I didn’t recognize.

Dan McCarthy (of McCarthy Trenching, of course) sat behind a keyboard and played a cover, followed by one of his own.

Landon Hedges at The Waiting Room, Jan. 18, 2014.

Landon Hedges at The Waiting Room, Jan. 18, 2014.

My yearning to hear something familiar was finally quenched by Landon Hedges of Little Brazil. With an electric guitar slung across his massive shoulders, Hedges barreled into a tune I assume was his own (turns out it was a Mousetrap cover), but was followed by a fractured take on Bright Eyes’ “Lua” — complete with mid-song apologies that provided a level of vulnerability oddly fitting for a song about someone struggling to get by. Landon stumbled through both songs, accusing himself of “ruining them,” not realizing he was providing one of the most colorful moments of the evening.

I had time for two more performances before we had to head out. Sara Bertuldo of Millions of Boys and See Through Dresses ripped through a Criteria cover on her blazing electric guitar, followed by a song off the recently released STD album. And Ian Aeillo, who plays in Eli Mardock’s band, crushed a cover of Bright Eyes’ “The Calendar Hung Itself” powered by a cool-weird-funky guitar riff played with white-knuckle intensity. It was followed by a song he said he’d written only a few days prior to the show. Aeillo, who I’ve never heard sing before (at least not as a frontman) had a groovy Frank-Black-ian bark on a bitter love song that was nothing less than anthemic. It was a great way to end the evening.

All in all a good night for Hear Nebraska. The Lincoln version of Take Cover is slated for this coming Saturday at Vega, with performances by Eli Mardock, Liz Hitt (The Terminals), Jon Taylor & Heidi Ore (Domestica), Aaron Parker (Gordon), Jon Dell (Universe Contest) and a tons more.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.