#TBT: Jan. 29, 2009: Discovering Twitter and Mama, I’m Swollen; Jocelyn tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:03 pm January 31, 2019

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Reaching back into the archive on this Throwback Thursday, to a time when Twitter was just getting going. Who’da thunk back than that Twitter would become the main tool for the country’s Biggest Tool? And yet, here we are. This column was a sort of introduction to Twitter, and the first time I used the tool for doing live concert reviews. It was also the last time. There’s no point in “real time” reporting a live concert in Twitter. It’s about as interesting as seeing pictures from people’s vacation while they’re still on vacation. Actually, isn’t that what Facebook is based on?

The concert I was tweeting from was a preview show by Cursive of material that would appear on Mama, I’m Swollen, which was released March 10, 2009, and is still one of my favorite Cursive albums.

From Lazy-i, Jan. 29, 2009…

Column 207: In a Twitter
The end of conversation.

Back in the old days — a few short years ago — just blogging was enough. People had a way of electronically publishing their ideas — no matter how mundane — in a format that was accessible to the entire world via the Internet. Bored college students in Toledo could now share their insights with bored college students in Gdansk about such nail-biting topics as: what they had for dinner, why they’re pissed at their boyfriend/girlfriend, and what’s on TV.

Now along comes Twitter. Well, not just now. Twitter’s been around since 2006 (according to Wikipedia, which itself has been around since 2001), but it seems like no one started using it until last year. Oh sure, there were a couple Twitter pioneers (drones who will proudly boast that they’ve been Tweeting (the verb form) for years), but the technology — and the term itself — only just entered our vernacular in the past year or so (or mine, at least).

Brief tech discussion: Twitter is a browser-based “social networking” environment that limits its users to 140 characters per post. The limit is there, in part, to facilitate the use of cell phones as input devices, along with the web. It also forces people to strenuously self-edit themselves, to carefully hone their ideas to only the most critical few words. Each comment answers the universal question: What are you doing? The result: Briefer discussions about what’s for dinner, boyfriends/girlfriends, and what’s on TV.

Unlike blogs (but like Facebook, which is another slice of entropy altogether) people search Twitter for their friends, and then “follow” them. Twitter aggregates everyone you’re “following” into one inane conversation, each comment conveniently time-stamped, something like:

Husker_power: Hungry. Taco Johns tonight fur shure. about 3 hours ago from TwitterBerry
Santinofan: Watching Top Chef. Ariane got screwed. Padme where are you? about 5 hours ago from web

And so on. Twitter appears to be a natural de-evolution of human interaction. Soon all discussions will be limited to Tarzan-like grunts, culminating in: “Poop. Pee. Eat. Poop. Screw. Eat. Simpsons. Poop.”

So why all this discussion about Twitter? About six months ago, I logged onto Twitter for the first time. You can “follow” my tweeting online at: twitter.com/tim_mcmahan. I quickly discovered that “micro-blogging” has its advantages. Take CD reviews, for instance. Instead of spending hours writing gripping, nuanced examinations of an album’s true meaning, I only have room for:

tim_mcmahan: Listening to the new Ladyfinger album. Brutal fun.


tim_mcmahan: Listening to new Springsteen. Nothing new here *yawn*.

Conversely, Twitter allows bands, record labels and assorted famous folk to keep in touch with their fans. I now know what The Willowz (thewillowz), Saddle Creek Records (saddlecreek) and Lance Armstrong (lancearmstrong) are having for lunch. For better or worse.

One perceived value of Twitter is the real-time nature of the medium. Instead of text messaging to one person, you’re text messaging to all of your “followers” at once. To test Twitters’ capabilities and limitations, I took my iPhone to Slowdown last Saturday night for the Cursive concert and annoyed everyone within a few feet of me by tapping in the following comments throughout the evening. Here’s the transcript/review:

tim_mcmahan: Full house. I’m buying Rolling Rocks two at a time. 10:34 PM Jan 24th from mobile web

tim_mcmahan: House music is Michael Jackson, or at least it sounds like Jacko. 10:37 PM

tim_mcmahan: Nice. Kasher’s voice sounds husky. 10:57 PM

tim_mcmahan: Classic Kasher rant. “Bark bark bark.” 11:11 PM

tim_mcmahan: Seems like they’re working trumpet into every song these days. For better or worse. 11:14 PM

tim_mcmahan: Some of this new stuff sounds like The Good Life. The convergence keeps getting closer. 11:31 PM

tim_mcmahan: Halfway through the set. Ted Stevens finally switches from the 12-string to his LP. 11:34 PM

tim_mcmahan: Kasher says he’s got a sore throat and is drinking hot tea. He sounds fine. 11:41 PM

tim_mcmahan: “What Have I Done.” Kasher’s back to the self-referential lyrics. Songs about writing songs. 11:44 PM

tim_mcmahan: His most soulful song since Domestica. 11:46 PM

tim_mcmahan: Cornbread on drums changes the entire complexion of Cursive. They swing now, moreso than the old frontal assault of Schnase. 11:54 PM

tim_mcmahan: Off stage now. Encore’s next. This is a longer set than Union Hall. 11:55 PM

tim_mcmahan: Back. With “Art is Hard.” Crowd loves it. Kasher’s right. Mostly kids huddled along the stage. 11:59 PM

tim_mcmahan: Never get tired of hearing “The Martyr.” 12:04 AM

tim_mcmahan: Okay, now his voice is giving out. 12:06 AM

tim_mcmahan: Struggling through “Sierra.” The last song of the night. 12:11 AM

tim_mcmahan: Kasher takes over the drum kit. 12:13 AM

tim_mcmahan: That’s it. Kasher won’t be talking for a week. 12:14 AM

Just like being there? Not really. Looking over the comments the following morning, I wondered if they needed to be augmented with explanations, but realized that anyone who knows me and what I write about understands the shorthand. They know who Kasher and Cursive is. They know the song titles and the terminology. And if they don’t, they can always find out. On Myspace or Facebook. On YouTube. On Wikipedia. Or on Twitter, which is effectively shoe-horning the world into a conversation that’s only 140 characters wide. For better or worse.

* * *

Tonight, BMG Recording artist Jocelyn releases the first single from her upcoming album, a song titled “Speak Up,” at Slowdown Jr. I’ve heard it and it’s pop-candy fun. Aly Peeler opens the show at 7 p.m. $10.

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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.



Sean Pratt & the Sweats, Mike Schlesinger, No Thanks tonight; Jocelyn, Conny Franko/Kethro, Dilute Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:52 pm January 26, 2018

Dilute at Pet Shop Gallery Dec. 9, 2017. They return to Pet Shop Saturday night.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

January is a cold, black hole. Thankfully this is the last weekend before we crawl out of it.


Tonight a couple bands that usually play at places like O’Leaver’s and Brothers Lounge are taking the stage at Reverb: Sean Pratt & The Sweats and Mike Schlesinger. $7, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, local punkers No Thanks celebrate the release of their album, The Trial, tonight at OutrSpaces, 528 So. 24th St. Screaming Plastic and Death Cow kick it off at 9 p.m. $10 donation.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) there’s a big five-band bill at Pet Shop (old Sweastshop) with Jocelyn (who just signed to BMG Records), Conny Franko w/Kethro, Loud Minority, Dilute and ROA. $6, 9 p.m.

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

* * *

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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Jocelyn signs to BMG; Clarence Tilton, Monday Mourners Saturday; Banditos Sunday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:15 pm January 19, 2018

Jocelyn with an undercover Darius Rucker from last year’s episode of Celebrity Undercover Boss.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday morning I woke up to find a video on my Facebook feed of local singer Jocelyn announcing she’s been “officially signed to BMG Records.” Now, one assumes she’s signed a contract for BMG to release material under her name. Details were not provided. No dates given for studio work or anything else. See vid below.

BMG is a major label; other BMG artists include Morrissey, David Crosby, Gary Numan and a bunch or radio pop artist I’ve never heard of. In fact, BMG controls a plethora of labels including Mute, Sanctuary and Vagrant.

Here’s how BMG characterizes its artist contracts, from its website: “We have ripped up the old-school record contract and give it to you straight – with no hidden deductions, no unpleasant surprises. Everything clear, everything fair – cards on the table. Deals that you deserve.”

No doubt Jocelyn will be moving to Nashville imminently, where the label will turn her into a star. I don’t know anything about the major-label star-making process, but have a feeling she might be in for some changes. Let’s hope this doesn’t become a “Welcome to the Machine” experience. Jocelyn deserves better. It’ll be interesting to see what comes out the other end of the BMG hit factory…

* * *

Now onto the weekend line-up, and it’s a very limited line-up at that.

Try as I may, I don’t see a single indie-rock show — national or otherwise — going on tonight. If I’m missing something, let me know via the comments section.

Tomorrow night is the album release show for the Clarence Tilton/Monday Mourners split LP at Reverb Lounge.  We’re talking six songs by each band, one side after the other. How these two bands hooked up I do not know. I’m sure there’s a good story behind it. Regardless, this is a solid slice of vinyl by two of the best alt-country acts in the midwest. $5, 9 p.m., you can’t go wrong.


If you’re still craving some twangy rock, Bloodshot Records act Banditos is headlining at Reverb lounge Sunday night. RIYL Alabama Shakes, Drive-By Truckers, Lee Bains III & the Glory Fires. The Willards Band opens at 9 p.m. $12.

And guess what? That’s it for the weekend. Like I said, if I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great one.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Jocelyn on Undercover Boss Friday, Conor on the Late Late Show tonight; Those Manic Seas, Sam Adam Martin, BIB tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:24 pm May 10, 2017

Sam Martin at O’Leaver’s Jan. 29, 2016. He plays tonight at Brothers Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On the heels of Josh Hoyer’s performances on tee-vee show The Voice, Omaha singer/songwriter Jocelyn will be featured this Friday night on CBS’s Undercover Boss. The show takes CEOs, disguises them and then films them as they try to blend in with the grunts who do the actual work at their companies. The results are usually “heartbreaking” but more likely disturbing, as the CEO comes to some ground-breaking realization about his business’s sweatshop conditions before hosing off and returning to the C Suite.

Friday’s show is a “special celebrity edition” of Undercover Boss featuring one-time Hootie & The Blowfish frontman now “country music superstar” (and Dan Patrick Show regular) Darius Rucker, who apparently goes in disguise as a talent agent in Austin. His disguise is pretty spot on, though I couldn’t identify Rucker in or out of costume.

I’ve seen the clip (since yanked from YouTube) of Jocelyn nailing the audition. So what happens next? You’ll just have to wait until Friday, May 12, 7 p.m. CT on CBS to find out. Here’s hoping something comes of this much-needed exposure. Jocelyn is a talented singer who has been performing on Omaha stages (primarily at the Sidedoor Lounge stage) for a few years and deserves a break.

* *

Speaking of television, Conor Oberst is slated to perform tonight on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Maybe he’ll do a surprise duet with fellow guest Betty White. Better yet, maybe he’ll do a sequel to “When the President Talks to God”…

* *

Nashville indie-pop band Those Manic Seas, whose new album Telegenic came out last month, plays at Brothers Lounge tonight with Sam Adam Martin and Razors. $5, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, Chicago punk band FUFS plays at Milk Run tonight with the mighty BIB, No Thanks and Roach. $5, 9 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Take Cover VI-Omaha (Song Syndrome, Jocelyn)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 1:48 pm January 30, 2017

Song Syndrome at The Waiting Room as part of Take Cover VI, Jan. 28, 2017.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve criticized Hear Nebraska in the past for the format behind its Take Cover events, or as I jokingly used to describe them: “Bands you don’t know covering songs by bands you don’t know.”

Well, if Saturday night’s crowd is any indication, Andy Norman (HN’s executive director) and team should keep things just the way they are. By the time I left the festivities a little after 10 p.m., The Waiting Room was comfortably packed with the biggest crowd I’ve seen at one of these events.

I caught only the first 90 minutes or so of Take Cover performers. Two acts stood out:

Song Syndrome used to be a band called Anthems (thanks for the data, Mr. Manner). It’s a red-hot rock outfit with Social Distortion overtones and an in-your-face frontman who looks like someone you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley. They bit off a little more than they could chew when the tried covering an Elliott Smith song, and inasmuch admitted it from stage. Still, their own material was head on, brutal. Why they would change their name from Anthems to Song Syndrome is a mystery, but I suggest they either change it back or come up with a better name, because unfortunately, in this age when there are a zillion new bands starting up every day, your band name actually matters.

The other standout was local phenom Jocelyn, who has been tearing up the stages like the Side Door Lounge for awhile now, developing a rather sizable following for her brand of acoustic pop. Her style and energy are undeniably infectious, and her voice could make her a finalist on The Voice. Jocelyn covered an Ally Peeler song and one other, and then did an original that got the crowd to explode.

What stood out as much as her voice and energy was her youth. Jocelyn looked like a teenager but performed like a seasoned veteran. I was reminded of one of my all-time favorites, Tracy Chapman, except for the fact that Chapman’s music (specifically her debut album) is layered with deep, painful emotions on songs about survival and redemption. Jocelyn’s songs, on the other hand, are as shiny and upbeat as you might expect from someone her age. In her defense, Chapman was 23 when she recorded her Grammy-winning debut. Jocelyn still has some living to do, but maybe she’s better off never going to those dark places…

Mr. Norman tells me this was the most successful Take Cover weekend in the organization’s history, pulling in thousands in donations from the 300 or so on hand at The Waiting Room and the nearly as many who went to the Bourbon edition Friday night in Lincoln.

For years I’ve always tried to convince Andy to focus on only one artist for the covers portion of the show; host something like “Take Cover: Elliott Smith” or “Take Cover: Tim Kasher,” wherein all the participants select one song to cover by the featured Nebraska artist. But why fiddle with an already winning formula?

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.