Little Brazil album release show w/ Las Cruxes, Cat Piss tonight at The Waiting Room…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , — @ 12:25 pm August 26, 2022
Little Brazil at The Waiting Room, Dec. 28, 2019. The band hosts its album release show tonight at The Waiting Room.

by Tim McMahan,

Tonight’s album release show for Little Brazil’s latest, Just Leave (2022, Max Trax Records), is a long time coming. It was originally scheduled for back in June, and now with vinyl copies available, the moment is at hand. 

I’ve listened to the album a number of times online and it’s as big and bombastic as any release in the Little Brazil catalog. The band creates grand, sonic spectacle from melodies cut from moments of uncertainty, melancholia, nostalgia and hope against all odds. In a lot of ways, that’s always been the recipe for all successful Nebraska indie bands. A sort of hang-dog optimism that could only be found in a forgotten, landlocked city in a state no one seems to remember. These are anthems for underdogs unwilling to give up when the chips are stacked against them.  Or, as they sing on stand-out track “Come Along” — “Can’t back down / Won’t back down.”

Frontman Landon Hedges is aging. He has to be because we all are. But you wouldn’t know it listening to him try those high notes as forcefully, gracefully as he did 20 or so years ago when it all began, his constant wingman, Danny Maxwell, by his side, blowing up the bass. The new guys (who really aren’t that new) Shawn Cox on lead guitar & Austin Elsberry on drums, balance out the band these days. And you could say they sound as good or better than they ever have on this record, but you’d be disparaging those who came before Shawn and Austin, and they were pretty damn good, too.

Funny thing about Little Brazil — they’re looked upon as an integral part of the history of the Nebraska indie music scene — as much as any bands that were on Saddle Creek Records. And because of that, some will consider them only in that capacity — especially a few of the younger acts on the scene who see them as dinosaurs. The amusing part is that Little Brazil can still pretty much kick all those bands’ asses as musicians, as songwriters, as a band, on any stage.  And they get another chance to prove it tonight at The Waiting Room. 

Joining them are upstarts Cat Piss, a power trio that proudly carries Omaha’s post-punk torch, and Las Cruxes, an ever-emerging, ever-changing Spanish-language-fueled punk band that is as likely to be playing in Omaha as they are in Mexico City. 

All three bands tonight at The Waiting Room, $12, starts at 9 p.m. See you there.

Not much else happening this weekend. Though I typically don’t hype tribute or cover bands, tomorrow night The Damones are playing at Stinson Park at Aksarben Village. We’re talking ‘80s and ‘90s post punk covers of songs by bands like Peter Murphy, Soft Cell, Echo and the Bunnymen, a lot of First Wave bands. This is a departure for the Stinson Concert Series, and it could be… interesting. 7 p.m. and its free. 

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments sections. 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bandcamp Friday again and here’s where you should spend your money; masked #BFF tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:07 pm July 3, 2020
The brand-spankin’ new SPEED! Nebraska T-shirt available at their Bandcamp page.

Once again, Bandcamp is waiving its fees today on all sales to help artists trying to get through the COVID-19 pandemic. So today your purchases at Bandcamp mean even more to your favorite bands. Saddle Creek Records and a lot of other labels are also passing along digital revenue to their artists.

Here some other great Bandcamp pages to check out and buy-buy-buy stuff:

SPEED! Nebraska — Home to recordings by the likes of Wagon Blasters, Mercy Rule, Frontier Trust and The Mezcal Brothers, among others, as well as a ton of super-cool merch like the brand new SPEED Nebraska T-shirt shown above.

Max Trax Records — Home to Little Brazil, Leafblower, Pro-Magnum and a ton more, as well as more sweet, sweet merch. Omaha’s third biggest label? Probably not, but pretty cool.

15 Passenger — Home to Cursive, Criteria and campdogzz as well as the wee lad Tim Kasher. Lots o’ digital and vinyl and cool merch, because you need something cool to wear to O’Leaver’s.

Simon Joyner — Simon always has special deals on Bandcamp Fridays. This time it’s a CD of Hotel Lives Demos from 1999-2000, limited to 100 copies, and a CD of an unreleased 6-song EP collaboration with The Bruces called A Pleasure Then, from 2003, limited to 75 copies. Tons more.

Dereck Higgins — The Omaha legend has a mountain of music available, including his just-released 4-song EP STRENGTH.

Digital Leather — Shawn Foree is nothing less than a diabolical genius if not a musical one, and you can’t go wrong by buying any of his releases.

Flight School — Did I use the word “genius”? It’s a word I reserve only for the truly gifted, like Einstein, Picasso and Flight School. Don’t get lost down this rabbit hole of a website without spending some money.

Matt Whipkey — I think it’s safe to say Matt not only is talented but also prolific, based on this page. Tons of music reaching back to his days with The Movies and Anonymous American all the way to his latest project, the incendiary Unexplained Death.

David Nance — Including David Nance Group, a ton here from his ground-breaking Peaced and Slightly Pulverized to his take on Beatles for Sale. Weird fun!

I’m sure I missed someone/something. If I missed your Bandcamp page, put it in the comments section…

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Tonight is what I’m guessing to be the first Benson First Friday during these Days of COVID. A number of Benson galleries are giving it a try using capacity limits, mask requirements and basically no food and drink inside the galleries.

Among those participating is The Little Gallery, 5901 Maple Street (the east bay below the Masonic Lodge building), which tonight is hosting the opening of Silent Spring, a group show featuring new work created under quarantine by Joe Addison, Alex Jochim, Caitlin Little and Trudy Swanson. The opening runs from 6 to 9 p.m. If you go, you might find this masked man sitting outside somewhere.

That’s it for the weekend. Hard to believe it’s July and we still don’t have live rock music, but that’s just the way it goes. Keep wearing a mask when you go in public and we may get live music back on our stages sooner!

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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Little Brazil: Don’t Call It a Comeback; new album, new line-up, new record label; Modest Mouse tonight…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:44 pm May 9, 2018

Members of Little Brazil talked about the new record over slices at Virtuoso Pizza in Benson. From left are Shawn Cox, Landon Hedges and Danny Maxwell. Drummer Nate Van Fleet was missing in action.

by Tim McMahan,

The May issue of The Reader is on the racks and with it, my Over the Edge column which this time features an interview with Little Brazil. The band has a new record, Send the Wolves, that drops June 1 on new label Max Trax Records. Conor Oberst contributes to one of the tracks. The album release show also is June 1. I suggest pre-ordering some tasty blue vinyl from this here website. Look, it’s all covered in the article, which is on news stands now, online right here or, heck, just read it below.

Don’t Call It a Comeback
Little Brazil returns with a new album, line-up and record label.

Little Brazil is back with a new album that, in my humble opinion, is their best ever.

I write the above without any explanation assuming you and everyone else knows who Little Brazil was, is and will be. Because if you live in Omaha, listen to indie rock and know even a scintilla about the local music scene it’s virtually impossible to not know about the band and its history over the past 14 years.

With frontman Landon Hedges and bassist Danny Maxwell at its core, Little Brazil was always in the conversation as the “next big thing” during the mid-2000s when Saddle Creek Records bands were international commodities and Omaha was being heralded as the “New Seattle” by the likes of the New York Times, Rolling Stone and every publication that followed college music.

The band hit the ground running in 2004 with its debut LP, You and Me, released by former Omahan Mike Jaworski’s Mt. Fuji Records. It was followed by Tighten the Noose in ’07, also on Mt. Fuji, and Son in 2009 on Kansas City’s Anodyne Records. The line-up for those last two featured drummer Oliver Morgan and guitarist Greg Edds. In addition to becoming a staple on Omaha stages, Little Brazil toured the country both as an opening act and headliner.

What kept people coming back was Little Brazil’s sound — part indie, part emo, part punk and unmistakably Nebraskan. Or as I wrote in my first feature on the band way back in 2004: “What gives Little Brazil a leg up on the plethora of indie competition is Hedges’ love for basic melodies, great guitar lines and his strange, childish warble.” No one sings quite like Landon Hedges, his high croon/wail cuts through the deafening wall of guitar, bass and drums like a 10 million lumen beacon through the densest fog.

Little Brazil was always on the edge of breaking through to the next level, but after a year of touring Son, the band hit a wall in 2010 in the form of another band — Desaparecidos. Hedges held a central role in Conor Oberst’s punk-rock side project that re-emerged from a long hiatus with the Concert for Equality. But Desa wasn’t the only reason for Little Brazil’s slowdown.

“I moved to San Diego in 2010 to be with my wife,” Hedges said over slices of pizza and beer at Virtuoso Pizzeria in downtown Benson alongside Maxwell and new guitarist Shawn Cox. “I got married and DMax got married the same year. There was a member switch and, yeah, Desa got back together.”

At the time, Little Brazil was in the middle of writing its next record with new drummer Matt Bowen and new guitarist Mike Friedman, but when Conor calls, you pick up the phone. Desaparecidos recorded and toured off and on for the next five years. “Little Brazil went from doing five shows a year to two and then one,” Maxwell said.

Then in 2015 after Oberst suffered a number of health-related issues, Desaparecidos came to an end. The following January Little Brazil entered ARC Studios with producer Ben Brodin and laid down the tracks for what became Send the Wolves, the new album that comes out June 1 on Max Trax Records (more on that in a minute).

The end of the last Desaparecidos tour is the subject of the first single off the album, “Making a Mess,” that features Oberst once again singing alongside Hedges. “We were sitting in the studio and I texted Conor, ‘You’re missing out on the dubious honor of singing on a Little Brazil song.’ He knew exactly what song I was talking about because Brodin had told him.”

Oberst walked over to the studio (He lives next door) and laid down his vocals. “It was the last song we wrote for the album, it was very special and it was nice that he sang on it,” Hedges said. The two-and-a-half-minute song carries the same energy as a Desparecidos song, with opening lines: “It feels like you’re making a mess / It seems that you’re walking away from something / That you don’t want to say or admit to.”

It’s not the only song on the album reminiscent of Desaparecidos’ style and energy, but instead of politics, Hedges writes about his life, from meeting his wife (“Wait for You”) to growing up in Benson (the infectious “Motorbike”) to his friendship with Maxwell. “This record is as honest as I’ve been on an album,” Hedges says, “and it makes me nervous to have the lyrics printed on the sleeve.”

The lyric sheet is a first for Little Brazil. Another first is releasing the album on vinyl. The label, Max Trax Records ( was the idea of Marty and Frank Maxwell, Danny Maxwell’s brothers. When Frank passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2016, Marty and Danny launched the label as a tribute to their brother. Today, Max Trax is home to five bands including Little Brazil, with more on the way.

With the new record and new label also comes new personnel for Little Brazil. The aforementioned Shawn Cox has replaced Mike Friedman on lead guitar, while See Through Dresses’ drummer Nate Van Fleet has taken over behind the kit for Matt Bowen. The new line-up already is working on the followup to Send the Wolves, with plans to enter the studio soon.

Hedges and Maxwell will tell you they never had any allusions of making a living just playing music, and now in their mid-30s, they still don’t. “The motivation is just writing and creating new music with the guys,” Hedges said. “I’ll play music ’til the day I die.”

Little Brazil plays with Pro-Magnum and Eric in Outerspace June 1 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. Tickets are $8, showtime is 9 p.m. For more information, go to

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at

First published May 2018 in The Reader. Copyright © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Lest we forget that tonight Modest Mouse plays at the Ralston Arena. The band’s last album was Strangers to Ourselves in 2015, which also happens to be the last time they came through Omaha, as headliners to that year’s Maha Music Festival. NYC band Mass Gothic opens. The band’s self-titled debut album came out on Sub Pop in 2016. Tickets are $39.50 to $55. 8 p.m. start time.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Introducing Max Trax Records (Little Brazil, Junkyard Dan, Leafblower); NayeFest 2017 dance party/fund raiser tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm August 25, 2017

Max Trax Records is the new label helmed by Marty and Danny Maxwell.

by Tim McMahan,

Remember that new local record label I teased here on Wednesday?

Well, It’s called Max Trax Records, an independent label run by a bunch of dudes we’re all familiar with.

“As a tribute to their brother Frank, Marty and Danny Maxwell have decided to launch Max Trax Records,” says the press release. “Being that Danny is involved in each band, MTR will be the home for Little Brazil, Leafblower, Wrong Pets, Junkyard Dan and New Lungs. Each band has new material ready – or in progress – to release in the upcoming months. In the future, MTR will be looking to sign new artists to the label.”


The first release out of the Max Trax gate will be the debut cassette from Junkyard Dan on Sept. 1. “Dan” is none other than Danny Maxwell a.k.a. DMax himself. The band name is an homage to his favorite wrestler (and idol), the Junkyard Dog, and features Danny on guitar, bass and vocals, and Frankie Maxwell, Jr., on drums. It was engineered, mixed and mastered by Frank Maxwell at Max Trax studio in Sioux Falls, SD, in February 2016.

The two-song single — “Someday” b/w “Leverage” — is the first of what was going to be an album. “I then planned to self-release a cassette on Frank’s birthday (Sept. 1), so when we decided on a combined announcement of the Junkyard Dan single and the launch of Max Trax Records, it felt right,” Danny said.

The local music scene was shocked when Frank Maxwell unexpectedly passed away July 11, 2016, at the age of 49. Launching a record label in his memory is a fitting tribute to someone — and an entire family — that has is greatly impacted the Omaha music scene.

Want to listen to the new Junkyard Dan release? You’ll have to wait until Sept. 1, when it will be available for ordering at The limited cassette features hand-stamped navy-blue tapes and white O-cards, handwritten credits and free digital download cards.

And it rocks. I’ve heard the tracks and all I can say is, turn it up!

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NayeFest2017 is tonight (Friday) at The Sydney.

The best way I can think of to describe Nayef Zgkurt: He’s the guy at the rock show or at the party or in the club or even walking down the street that is having a better time than you are.

I know Nayef as the person who is never afraid to dance, no matter the circumstances. He’ll get on the floor and let the music take over with no inhibitions. It’s something this rather bashful, awkward, insecure dude has always admired about him. Nayef really does “dance like nobody’s watching,” but in his case, he doesn’t give a shit if anyone is watching. (And why would he, when you look and dance like Nayef, right?).

Anyway, Nayef also was part of the Omaha music scene for years, at one time working at Saddle Creek Records before moving to NYC to take a record label job. Then (and the details around the event are still spotty) Nayef suffered a massive head injury that resulted in a lengthy hospital stay and brain damage. It was scary news, and to a certain extent, mysterious news that left a lot of folks worried.

Well, months after the incident, Nayef surfaced on Facebook letting his friends know that he is on the road to recovery at a rehab center somewhere in Riyadh. Folks were relieved and wanted to do something to help speed the healing.

And so, tonight is NayeFest2017 at The Sydney in Benson. DJs Brent Crampton, Roger Lewis and Keith Rodger will be spinning the best dance tracks starting at 9 p.m. And a host of guest bartenders will be slinging drinks. Cover is $5. The door, all bartender tips and a portion of bar sales for the night will be donated to Nayef for his medical bills and recovery.

Needless to say, this will be the dance event of the year. Come out and celebrate the man, the myth, the dancing legend known as Nayef. More info here.

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Other than NayeFest, there ain’t a whole helluva lot happening this weekend. I mean, like, almost nothing.

If you have a 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.