News Bits: Saddle Creek noms; Conor/Phoebe reunion; Ritual Device in Omaha; new Pat Buchanan; Outlandia announcement imminent…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 9:41 am March 26, 2024

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Obersts reunited for a few numbers at Oberst’s show at Teragram Ballroom in LA March 21.

By Tim McMahan,

Time to clean out ol’ in-box. Hold onto yer hats… Much of this you may already have seen on the socials; some you haven’t. Here we go…

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Once again, our hometown record label – Saddle Creek Records – has been nominated for a Libera Award — the annual awards handed out by the American Association of Independent Music. Saddle Creek was nominated in the Label of the Year category for labels with 6 to 14 employees. Also in their category: Captured Tracks, City Slang, Lex Records, Light in the Attic, Mack Avenue Music Group and Photo Finish Records. Seems like Saddle Creek is nominated every year. Could this be the year they take home the prize?

In addition, Saddle Creek Records artist Indigo De Souza was nominated in the Breakthrough Artist, Best Singer-Songwriter Records, and Music Video of the Year categories. The 13th annual Libera Awards ceremony will take place June 10 at Gotham Hall in New York City. More coverage at Variety.

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The indie music world was thrown in a tizzy last week when Phoebe Bridges joined Conor Oberst on his “Conor Oberst and Friends” residency show at Los Angeles’ Teragram Ballroom – a series that heads east to Bowery Ballroom in NYC next month. The best coverage of the incident appeared in Them, an online publication that purports to be the “best of what’s queer.” 

Them’s James Factora reported that Bridgers walked on stage during the show’s encore and together with Conor performed Bright Eyes classic “Lua,” Oberst’s “Double Life” from 2014’s Upside Down Mountain and Better Oblivion Community Center tune “My City.” The occasion marked the first time the two have performed together since October 2020. Factora wonders whether, with the announced hiatus of Boygenuis (Bridgers’ project with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus), if this unannounced reunion could be a sign of future BOCC things to come… 

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I already mentioned that legendary ‘90s-‘00s Omaha punk band Ritual Device is among the performers at this year’s Lincoln Calling May 3 and 4 (the festival schedule has yet to be released). Now comes word that RD will be playing back-to-back nights at Reverb Lounge in Omaha May 2-3 leading up to the LC weekend gig. The shows feature the band’s original lineup of Jerry Hug, Mike Saklar, Eric Ebers and Tim Moss. 

It’s been a decade since the band has taken the stage stage, and I’m sure there’s a good reason for this reunion. More to come…

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Speaking of artists from Omaha’s first golden age of indie music, Patrick Buchanan, the frontman of another ’90s-’00s legendary punk band, Mousetrap, yesterday released a new 5-song EP from his project House of Transgressor called Ain Soph Aur, which, along with the eerie album cover artwork, seems a wee bit satanic. Check it out on Spotify (I don’t see a Bandcamp or YouTube link), and here’s the first song on YouTube: 

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Finally, word from on high is that the fine folks who putting together the Outlandia Festival will announce the line-up for the August 9-10 festival sometime Thursday evening. No doubt you’ll see it blasted all over the socials that night, but I’ll be writing about it the following morning in Lazy-i

Who do you think will be this year’s headliner? After last year’s Lord Huron / Modest Mouse headliners (a festival that also included The Faint, Cat Power, Criteria, The Good Life and Horsegirl, among others), I can’t even imagine what they have up their sleeves — prior to this festival, I had never heard of Lord Huron.

With the Maha Music Festival taking the year off due to financial issues (according to their press release), Outlandia controls the board as the only indie music festival in the Omaha area this year. As it enters year 3, will it maintain its indie focus? We’ll find out Thursday night…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Bright Eyes special guests and Bridgers rumors; Mousetrap’s Patrick Buchanan; Hand Habits, Amber Carew leave Saddle Creek; who is Mary Ruth McLeay?…

Mary Ruth McLeay sideways.

by Tim McMahan,

A few random notes that are getting dusty in my in-box:

Yesterday Bright Eyes announced the “special guests” on the next leg of their tour will include Stranger Things’ star, singer/songwriter Maya Hawke, who also appears in the new Wes Anderson film Astroid City. But more notable is that Cursive and Neva Dinova will be the band’s special guests for the May 14 show at Tulsa’s Cain’s Ballroom and that Azure Ray will be a special guest at the May 18 gig at Houston’s White Oak Music Hall. 

Conor also is in the news because of the release of the new Boygenius album, which has member Phoebe Bridgers doing the media circuit. Yesterday, Nylon speculated that the record’s closing track, “Letter to an Old Poet,” was about Oberst, which would be a less-than-flattering portrait if true. 

Rolling Stone asked a similar question to Bridgers back in February about lyrics she added to a SZA song, where she calls some bloke an asshole. She declined to acknowledge the asshole was Conor and went on to say she didn’t know what the future holds for Better Oblivion Community Center, the project she had with Oberst.

Ah, the complicated lives of rock stars. 

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Patrick Buchanan, the frontman to ‘90s Omaha punk band Mousetrap, will do a one-off performance of his new project, House of Transgressor, May 11 at miniBar in Kansas City. Says Buchananon, “The live setup is actually NO stringed instruments at all. I will be singing & playing synth, there’s a 2nd guy who is playing dual synths, and a drummer who is playing a completely modular electronic drum kit AND synth. It’s a bit like a gothic Kraftwerk or an electronic Bauhaus.” Check out their recorded music here.

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Hand Habits announced that their next album, Sugar the Bruise, will be released on Fat Possum June 16, apparently ending their relationship with Saddle Creek Records, who release their last couple albums, including 2021’s Fun House, which was one of my favorites that year.

It also appears that the label’s Los Angeles A&R person, Amber Carew, left Saddle Creek sometime last year. Carew was involved in signing many of the band’s recent acts, including Palm, Indigo De Souza, PENDANT, Shalom, Tomberlin, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Ada Lea, Disq, Spirit of the Beehive, Stef Chura and Young Jesus. The only reason I found out was that Shalom mentioned Carew left the label in a recent interview. Carew’s LinkedIn indicates she left Saddle Creek last May, so this is pretty old news.

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And finally, Nebraska native Mary Ruth McLeay reached out in late February to let me know she released a new indie tune called “I Want Too Much.” McLeay, who’s a student at Berklee College of Music, produced the track and played on it with Dean Andreadas, who engineered and played guitars.

I’d never heard of McLeay before, though she said she’s played at Reverb and The Waiting Room, where she’s opened for acts and taken part in Femme Fest. I checked out her older music and it was anything but indie, more pop-flavored in the Swifty vein. Was the change intentional, and why?

“Definitely intentional and for so many reasons, many of them relating to simply growing up,” she said, adding her early stuff was recorded when she was 17 and influenced by acts like Lorde and Blackbear. She produced a couple pop rock songs at Berklee, which were examples “of me honing my pop writing chops but not necessarily carving my personal place as an artist.”

“The making of ‘I Want Too Much’ felt like my arrival to the place I’ve been trying to get for eight years. I went into my friend Dean’s home studio (I discovered that’s my favorite way to record over the years) with my only objective being I wanted to make something that sounded like my interior and my thought processing and reflected my presence. Therefore, the sound turned out like the exact path genre-wise I’d like to be on for a long time.”

Here you go. Looking forward to the next one:

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Phoebe Bridgers, Charlie Hickey tonight outside of Reverb (SOLD OUT)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 6:35 am June 1, 2022
Phoebe Bridgers performing in Better Oblivion Community Center at The Slowdown, March 21, 2019. She plays solo tonight at The Waiting Room Outdoors.

by Tim McMahan,

The big Phoebe Bridgers show is tonight outside on Military Ave. next to Reverb. They call it “The Waiting Room Outdoors” but they should really call it “Reverb Outdoors” since that’s where it is — outside of Reverb, on Military Ave.

Look, this show has been sold out for months; I think it literally sold out in a matter of days. I saw Bridgers three years ago (Has it really been that long?) when she played alongside Conor Oberst in Better Oblivion Community Center and that was a great show. I’ve seen Oberst perform at least a few dozen times since he was 16 and it was the happiest I’ve seen him on stage. These days Oberst is so pissed off with the world that he’s walking off stage and leaving his band high and dry two songs into sets (in Houston), so I guess the happy days are over.

Not so for Phoebe. Nothing bothers the bride to be. Expect a lively show tonight performed in front of a crowd of young female fans and their boyfriends, sort of like a Taylor Swift concert, though Bridgers’ music is more indie than Swift’s pop candy. Or I should say, Bridgers’ “song” is. As much as I like Bridgers, most of her music sounds the same, and it doesn’t help that her mewing vocal style and phrasing never vary. So yeah, I like Phoebe’s song, but I liked BOCC’s songs more.

The mystery is whether Bridgers will acknowledge the elephant in the room and say something about Oberst from stage. My money is on a veiled reference to Saddle Creek Records’ music/bands “which I grew up on and love,” and so on. Poor Conor.

Opening the show tonight is Charlie Hickey, whose debut album, Nervous at Night, was released by Bridgers’ Saddest Factory label (a boutique imprint of Dead Oceans). This is indie bordering on pop. In some ways he reminds me of Christian Lee Hutson, though Hutson has a more mature and realized folk sound, which makes sense since Hickey looks like he’s 18 while Hutson is 31. Hutson, btw, is opening for Bridgers for two weeks of PNW dates in late August, following his own summer tour that takes him nowhere near Omaha.

BTW, tonight is No Vax No Entry, so bring your evidence or you’re not getting in. Show starts at 7.

Sorry to say I’m going to miss this show as I’m headed out of town. Let me know how it went. I’ll try to post a weekend preview before I split…

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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.


McCarthy Trenching gets A- from the dean of music critics; new Sunks track…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 3:34 pm January 13, 2021
McCarthy Trenching, Perfect Game (2020, self release)

Long-time Village Voice music critic Robert Christgau is still writing reviews, these days via a Substack newsletter account (you can subscribe here). The subscription includes his monthly “Consumer Guide” reviews, and the January edition includes a glowing review of McCarthy Trenching’s latest LP, Perfect Game.

Said Christgau:

Alerted by Phoebe Bridgers’s cover of this ‘band’’s ‘Christmas Song,’ I spent a fine little Spotify morning checking out all 57 of Dan McCarthy’s entries. These date back to 2007 with the band part mostly theoretical—guitar strummer McCarthy doubles on the piano that dominates here and has hooked up with a bassist who I presume inflected the horn arrangements that add welcome color to his latest and most impressive tunes—most of which, to be clear, truly are tunes. McCarthy sings clear, mild, droll, calculated, casual and writes clever and inventive without ever overwhelming his offhand affect—the many laugh lines are more chuckle lines. ‘Why Don’t I See You Anymore’ devotes single lines and whole stanzas to 16 reasons before ‘Phaethon’ modernizes Greek mythology. ‘Red Maple’ and ‘Russian Olive’ chronicle dead trees. ‘I Didn’t Come to Town to Get a Haircut’ is something his uncle used to say only by the time Dan finally gets around to it the town doesn’t even have a barber. And that’s only the half of it. A MINUS

Christgau has been writing reviews since the ’60s and is my all-time favorite music critic. It’s a joy to see him recognize a local boy.

BTW, he wasn’t so glowing with Phoebe Bridgers’ Punisher, in which he said: “If articulated depression is what you crave, does she have lyrical and musical detail for you—philosophical solace or melodic relief, no (“I See You,” “Graceland Too”) **

The ** rating is an honorable mention on the Christgau scale.

Read the entire January Consumer Guide here.

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Omaha indie band The Sunks’ have a new album coming out next Tuesday. The band consists of frontman Sean Paul on guitar/vocals, Ben Volkman on lead guitar; Adam O’Connell on bass and Kevin Kelly on drums. Here’s the first single, “The Sunks Song.”

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Have we taken live music for granted (in the column); it’s time to write your representative (again)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:14 pm November 16, 2020
Skeleton Crew: Conor Oberst joined Phoebe Bridgers on stage at The Troubadour in West Hollywood during the live-streamed Save Our Stages Festival Oct. 21, 2020.

The National Independent Venues Association (NIVA) is making another push for you and me to write our representatives in Washington to get the Save Our Stages Act included in the next COVID-19 relief package, which is apparently being negotiated now.

All you have to do is go to this web page and fill out the form. You can use their sample letter or write one of your own. Once you hit the submit button, it’ll go to the right offices of your Congressional representatives. It really does only take 30 seconds and it could make all the difference.

Click this, go there, and do it now.

Along those lines, the November issue of The Reader is out now with my column that focuses on the Save Our Stages efforts while asking if we’ve taken live music for granted. It’s online at The Reader website, here and I’ve also included it below. Please to enjoy:

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Have We Taken Live Music for Granted?

#SaveOurStages is a lifeline for the live music industry

As I type this I’m watching the Save Our Stages Fest (#SOSFest) on Oct. 21, a few weeks before the election. Indie phenom Phoebe Bridgers and her band are dressed in skeleton costumes played alone in the West Hollywood bar where Elton John, Joni Mitchell and Linda Ronstadt paid their dues.

Singer/songwriter pals Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson joined in the streamed event. A little over halfway through the set between songs about death and loneliness Phoebe turned to the camera and said, “Click the donate button because….” After a long pause Conor chimed in: “Because we need a place to play.

That was the reason for SOS Fest. The three-day virtual festival featured 35 artists performing at 25 venues beamed directly to your computer or phone screen, with proceeds benefiting independent music venues impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you read this, the election is (hopefully) over. No matter who won, there’s still a shit-ton of problems to solve thanks to COVID-19. Somewhere on that long list after “figure out a way to keep people from dying (or at the very least from catching the disease)” is “figure out a way to reopen the rest of the country for business.”

While 90 percent of U.S. businesses have reopened, the first businesses to shut down — the bars and music venues — are still closed. And many could stay that way for a very long time.

Beginning in April, the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) — a group of more than 2,900 independent music venues and promoters — has lobbied Congress to pass legislation that provides recovery funds and tax credits to help venues survive during the pandemic. First it was the Save Our Stages Act, which passed in the House; and now the HEROES Small Business Lifeline Act is being considered in the Senate as part of the CARES Act.

NIVA asked music fans to write their lawmakers urging them to support the bills, and they have to the tune of nearly 2 million emails. (And more letters are needed. You can write your representative from this handy page on the NIVA website. It only takes 30 seconds!).

But here we are on Oct. 21 and Congress has yet to pass anything, while the future of the live music industry grows bleaker and bleaker. According to a survey of NIVA members, 90 percent of independent venues will close permanently without federal aid in the coming months.

We’re already seeing it here. The Lookout Lounge on 72nd Street closed permanently earlier this summer, and The Barley Street Tavern in Benson gave up the ghost in September. What role COVID-19 played in those closings is uncertain, though it no doubt helped rush some decisions. Now I’m told a third well known club is on the verge of shutting down.

And while two of the best stages in Omaha — The Waiting Room and Reverb Lounge — have reopened, they’re only booking comedy acts and cover bands at very limited capacity shows. Downtown showcase The Slowdown held an outdoor festival in its parking lot featuring local acts just to remind people it was still there, though its doors remain locked.

With stages dark, musicians also toil in darkness. According to Business Insider, with the decline in album sales, live events provide 75 percent of all artists’ income. Strangely, thankfully, a ton of new music has been released during the lock down (including albums by Bright Eyes and Phoebe Bridgers) despite the fact that no one is touring.

Three things:

One: Legislation will pass. It has to. It may not be ’til after a new Congress is in place (or heck, it may happen before this column sees print), but it will happen. Too many people have been without for too long. The assistance needed for bars and venues to survive that’s outlined in SOS and HEROES acts will be among the law’s provisions. But it won’t be near enough.

Two: We will climb this mountain of a pandemic and come out on the other side. But it’ll take more than a vaccine. It’ll take a concerted effort by everyone, regardless of political leaning, to do what scientists say we need to do.

And three: Venues will reopen at full capacity, and bands will begin playing and touring again. But, god help us, it may not be until this time next year, or even later. And when the smoke clears, the venue landscape will look very different.

Once people feel safe again, fans will flock to clubs like they never have before thanks to a hunger for live entertainment. But you’ll be surprised how quickly people forget what they’ve been through.

The sad fact is we’ve always taken live music for granted. While ticket prices for arena shows have gone up around 30 percent over the past five years, according to Fast Company those increases haven’t kept up with prices for other forms of entertainment.

It’s the same story for small touring bands that, prior to the pandemic, were lucky to get home from tours with anything in their pockets. Ticket prices for touring indie shows have risen only gradually over the past five years, always being outpaced by the costs required to tour.

And then there are local shows.

I’ve covered live music for more than 30 years. When I started, the cover charge to see live, original bands was $5. Thirty years later, the cover at small clubs is still $5 for local shows, while some larger venues have pumped it up to a whopping $7 or $8. Try splitting that between three bands and a sound guy.

Why are we willing to spend up to $15 to see a movie, but won’t spend $15 to see a live local band, to hear music performed in front of our eyes by living, breathing musicians who put themselves out there for our amusement and/or enlightenment? At the end of a typical night at a rock club, too many local bands go home with nothing except an empty wallet and a hangover.

And yet, I’ve never talked to a band that didn’t want to keep doing it. For them, it’s all about the music. It’s certainly not about the money. Why can’t they have both?

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

Originally published in The Reader, November 2020. Copyright © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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.


Glow in the Dark goes virtual at Low End tonight; new Phoebe Bridgers (sort of)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 3:12 pm November 12, 2020
Glow in the Dark go back in time…

Electro-rock kingpins Glow in the Dark were originally scheduled to play at Low End at The Bemis last summer but, lo and behold, vocalist Lawrence Deal tested positive for COVID-19, which took them out of the running. Well, everyone’s healthy once again and Glow in the Dark are performance live tonight at Low End via Facebook Live and Twitch.

We will be debuting a new song and I’m dragging out a few synthesizers that would normally stay in the studio,” said the other half of Glow in the Dark, Aaron Gum, who added that they’re slowly getting back to work finishing their album. We’re all waiting, people…

The virtual performance begins at 8 and is free. Go to or the Bemis Facebook page to have your mind blown.

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The other day Phoebe Bridgers announced that she’s releasing a 4-song EP Nov. 20 called Copycat Killer on Dead Oceans wherein she’s taken four songs off her last album — “Kyoto,” “Savior Complex,” “Chinese Satellite” and “Punisher” — and rerecorded them with arranger/string player Rob Moose, who’s worked in the past with the likes of Bon Over, Paul Simon, Alabama Shakes, John Legend, Tayler Swift, Haim and more.

It’s almost as if Bridgers was sitting around (conceivably with Conor) and wondered, “How can I make these already depressing songs even more depressing?” The answer, sing them only accompanied by sad strings. They are, indeed, pretty and sad, but I still prefer the original recordings. No doubt the the fans will be eager to buy this (on vinyl via Rough Trade).

Check out the new version of “Kyoto”…

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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.


Phoebe/Conor perform for NIVA; Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment; new Beauty Pill…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:49 pm October 20, 2020
Mal Blum gets the Saddle Creek Document treatment…

Did you tune in last week for SOSFest? I didn’t, either. But most of the performances are now online if you still want to watch. Among them is Phoebe Bridgers at the Troubadour in Hollywood, with special guests Conor Oberst and Christian Lee Hutson. It’s pretty good, but dang, her music is some serious bummage. See below.

Make sure you make a donation toward NIVA’s Emergency Relief Fund, which benefits “independent venues in peril.”

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Mal Blum was among the acts scheduled to play at The Reverb Lounge before COVID-19 blew everything up. It was through researching that show that I discovered Pity Boy, the band’s 2019 Don Giovanni release, which I fell in love with. It’s punk but it’s poppy enough to sing along to, clever, smart with great guitars. It would have been on my 2019 list if I’d known about it in 2019.

Today Saddle Creek Records announced that Mal Blum will be featured as the 14th installment of their Document Series. The 7-inch “Nobody Waits” b/w “San Cristóbal,” will be released Nov. 20 and you can preorder it (and hear the A-side) today.

The tracks were the last thing the band recorded before the COVID-19 lock down. Check it below and keep your fingers crossed that One Percent reschedules Mal Blum at Reverb when the pandemic is finally under control…

BTW, Mal Blum is doing a Crowdcast tonight at 7 p.m. CT. Register here.

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D.C. punk band Beauty Pill dropped a video for new song “Instant Night” today, a song “released out of urgency to inspire people to vote in the November election.”

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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.


Bright Eyes on Colbert; new album drops Aug. 21…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:17 pm June 23, 2020
A screen cap from last night’s Bright Eyes performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

It was a busy day for Bright Eyes yesterday. The outfit led by Conor Oberst announced a new single, “Mariana Trench” and the name and tracklist for their new album, Down in the Weeds Where the World Once Was, out Aug. 21 on Dead Oceans.

And the band performed sort of live on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, which you can watch below. See Conor sporting what looks like strangler gloves, Mike Mogis in a seed cap and Nate Walcott splitting time between keyboards and trumpet. It’s the band’s first performance in 10 years. Like I told you, they never broke up.

From the press release: “As a title, as a thesis, Down In The Weeds Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable.”

After hearing the first four tracks, it sounds like this is going to be another doomsday album from Bright Eyes, which will make a nice bookend with the new one by Conor’s partner in crime, Phoebe Bridgers, which came out last Thursday: Punisher, also on Dead Oceans (poor Saddle Creek).

This new Bright Eyes track is the best one so far, certainly the most upbeat, and along with “Forced Convalescence” sounds like a natural progression post-Cassadaga had the band not gone wandering for a decade, certainly more so than the wooden, folky stuff Conor released on Ruminations/Salutations

No word on a tour yet. Imagine a Bright Eyes / Phoebe Bridgers / Better Oblivion Community Center joint tour. I think my head just exploded…

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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.


New Supermoon LP (Jake & Morgan), hanging out with Rollins; Mars House debut tonight; new Lewsberg…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:46 pm April 10, 2020

by Tim McMahan,

Ugh, there’s not a lot of music news to pass along, and the few things I do have you probably already know or heard, but this being Friday and the space where I usually recommend live shows for the weekend, I feel obligated to pass along something.

Despite the lockdown I continue to get 30 to 40 emails a day from promoters and labels about new music. It continues to keep coming, god bless it, even though there’s nowhere for these bands to play these days. If I were a band I’d probably postpone my release, however the other argument is that you’ll never have such a captive audience as the ones stranded in their homes for the next month or so (that’s right, I have doomed us all to quarantine until at least May 10 (if we’re lucky)).

Supermoon, Half Country (2020, Bandcamp)

Among the music to cross my screen is the new lyric video for Supermoon’s “Come to Learn,” which dropped last Tuesday. Supermoon is a project featuring Jake Bellows, who you remember not only as a one-man songwriting phenomenon but also frontman to Saddle Creek Records act Neva Dinova. Singing alongside Jake and making up the better half of the duo is Morgan Nagler of Whispertown. This campfire lullaby begs you to sing along, too.

And thus, the entire album was released: “The debut album ‘Half Country’ was recorded to half-inch tape and produced by Nik Freitas, who also contributed on drums, bass, and keys. In the surreal soup of the Covid-19 Pandemic wild west, the band has decided to release the album April 7, 2020’s biggest Supermoon, (the Pink Supermoon) in the hopes of shining a little light in the dark.”

Here it is, via Bandcamp.

It would be great to get these two and Mr. Freitas came to Omaha after the cloud of contaminants has lifted.

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I’ve been consuming in 30- to 40-minute chunks the 4-hour Henry Rollins podcast via KCRW called Cool Quarantine. It’s Henry playing records (lots of hardcore punk but also rock and other stuff) and telling stories and I love the format, but it’s hard to have on while you’re trying to do something (other than drive or run or work out) because it’s so distracting. Check it out below.

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Speaking of online content, Phoebe Bridgers is doing some sort of livestream via Pitchfork’s Instagram today (Friday) at 3 p.m. CT. She dropped a new video last and has a new record coming out soon.

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As you may or may not know, the Mars Bar located way out in West Omaha closed its doors for good weeks before COVID struck and shut down everyone else. Despite the setback, proprietor Brent Malnack hasn’t lost his love for live music, and thus created Live from Mars House, a new live stream performance program that debuts tonight at 7 p.m. via Twitch.

Brent is promising a three-camera shoot with a 24-track live mix. The first guests are N8 M Sic and Sarah Brandt, two musicians I’m not familiar with. That said, Malnack said future guests will include a lot of past performers at Mars Bar. Here’s the link.

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Let me leave you with something I’ve been listening to for the past few weeks. It’s the new album by Lewsberg called In This House (12XU Records). Think Lou Reed meets Silver Jews meets your favorite Rotterdam deli. As good a soundtrack as any for these times we live in.

That’s all I got. If you hear anything worth passing along, send it my way. 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.


New Land of Talk LP to drop on Saddle Creek; Conor’s acting chops; Trevor Sensor tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:40 pm February 27, 2020

Land of Talk at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 23, 2010.

Land of Talk at Slowdown Jr., Sept. 23, 2010. Saddle Creek Records will be releasing their next album in May.

by Tim McMahan,

Hometown label Saddle Creek Records yesterday announced it’s releasing the new album by Montreal band Land of Talk, Indistinct Conversations, on May 15. This is the fourth Creek release by the band, which is led by singer/songwriter Elizabeth Powell. Check out the first single and order online via Bandcamp below.

By now you’ve seen Conor Oberst’s and Phoebe Bridger’s acting debut as production assistants on the Meet the Conan Staff. If you haven’t, the clip’s below. A lot of people are wondering if that’s Conor’s real hair or a wig. I think it’s real, based on the Bright Eyes marketing footage Dead Oceans has been posting for the new BE album.

Meet the Conan Staff is the first scripted original series from Team Coco. The episodes launch weekly on YouTube; it premiered on Feb. 18.

Also yesterday, Bridgers released a dope-fueled video for her first single in three years, “Garden Song.”

Tonight at Reverb Lounge, Jagjaguwar artist Trevor Sensor headlines. According to Paste Magazine, Sensor was discovered by Killers’ guitarist Dave Keuning while playing a gig in Pella, Iowa. His last album, Andy Warhol’s Dream, was produced by Jonathon Rado of Foxygen and the late, great Richard Swift, and includes contributions from members of Whitney. Halfloves open at 8 p.m. $10.

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