Ten Questions: Horse Jumper of Love (@ The Sydney); Kamasi, PROBLEMS Sunday; CSS DJ set tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 8:32 am May 10, 2024
Horse Jumper of Love plays Sunday night at The Sydney in Benson.

By Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Hey it’s been awhile since we did the Lazy-i Ten Question survey, but it’s back!

Horse Jumper of Love is the name of a Boston indie rock trio came out of the box clearly influenced by ‘90s shoegaze acts like My Bloody Valentine. The band released its debut self-titled album in 2016 on Gawk Records but was quickly signed to sturdy mid-tier indie label Run For Cover Records for the 2019 follow-up, So Divine.

Their last full-length, Heartbreak Rules (2023, Run for Cover), was a shift toward more traditional indie, complete with acoustic guitars and pedal steel. Pitchfork gave the record a 7.1 rating, saying “At the band’s live shows, audience members sway side-to-side, caught in a state of hypnosis; Horse Jumper of Love cast a similar ambiance here.”

Judge Pitchfork’s accuracy this Sunday night when Horse Jumper of Love headlines at The Sydney in Benson. This show was originally slated for DIY space The Blindspot but (I guess) was moved (as it’s listed on The Sydney calendar page). 

We gave the band the ol’ Ten Questions treatment and here’s what they had to say:

1. What is your favorite album?

Horse Jumper of Love: Old Ramon – Red House Painters

2. What is your least favorite song?

That song that goes “Because I’m Happy” by Pharrell

3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?

Going around, doing things, meeting new people, staying busy, having an outlet, eating

4. What do you hate about being in a band?

Being judged by the audience

5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?

Chamomile tea, knocks me out every time 

6. In what city or town do you love to perform (and why)?

Dublin Ireland and Glasgow Scotland. Nice People!

7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?

Any city where there is a merch-cut narc at the venue. It breaks our spirits!

8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?

No. We’ve worked many service jobs. We’ve been Pizza men, dog walkers, temps, construction workers, prep chefs, dishwashers, sold plasma etc

9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?

I’d like to be a gardener, mail man, or a mechanic. I’d hate to be a test subject or a yuppie 

10. What stories have you heard about Omaha, Nebraska?

There once was a ghost in Omaha 
He rode on an old beat up Yamaha 
With bugs in his head 
He loved being dead 
and his favorite song was Van Halen’s “Panama”

Horse Jumper of Love Plays with The Dirts and Western Haikus Sunday, May 12, at The Sydney in Benson. Showtime is 8 p.m., $15.

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So what else is going on this weekend?

Well, tonight amazing 2000s-era dance rock act CSS is doing a DJ set at fabulous O’Leaver’s. Who remembers “Let’s Make Love and Listen to Death from Above” or “Music is My Hot, Hot Sex”? Sure, we all do. This is bound to be an all night dance party, especially with WERDISBOND providing the opening DJ set. Buying advance tickets ($15) is highly recommended. Show starts at 8 p.m. 

Sunday night is a log-jam of shows.

There’s the aforementioned Horse Jumper of Love show at The Sydney.

Meanwhile, down at The Slowdown, jazz great Kamasi Washington returns to the main room. Surprised this hasn’t sold out yet. $37, 8 p.m. 

Also Sunday afternoon, PROBLEMS (a.k.a. Darren Keen) is celebrating the release of Enter the Annals, out today on The Record Machine records. Joining him on the bill are Flesh Produce, Geno Beach and DJ Beetlebitch. This one starts at 2 p.m. – a matinee! — and is $15.

And that’s all I got. 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 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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


PROBLEMS, Mesa Buoy, Healer, Jaime Wyatt Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:33 am January 26, 2024

PROBLEMS drops by O’Leaver’s Saturday before heading to New Zealand.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Just for giggles, I took a look at what was happening music-wise last year at the end of January and believe it or not, it was even quieter that this year. The biggest gig was that weird, improv, jam performance by Conor Oberst at the B-Bar where boy genius sang news stories from random magazines backed by an all-star band that included MiWi La Lupa, Cubby Phillips and The Sydney’s Zach Schmieder, among others. I was not in attendance, but it’s an example just how desperate we can get for entertainment during the darkest nights of January. 

Needless to say, things ain’t that bad this year. No, there’s nothing happening tonight, but Saturday you got choices. 

Top of the list is a barn burner at fabulous O’Leaver’s headlined by former Nebraskan now Chicagoan Darren Keen a.k.a. PROBLEMS as he prepares to head down under for a tour of New Zealand. Joining Darren at the Club Saturday night is guitarist Jim Schroeder’s project, Mesa Buoy, which in the past has featured such notables as Kevin Donahue, Colin Duckworth, Patrick Newberry, Michael Overfield, Megan Siebe and David Nance. I have no idea who’s playing with Jim for this gig, but if he only gets a few of those folks, we’re in for a treat. Opening the evening is Dan Brennan’s noise-rock project Healer that features Rick Black and John Svatos (of Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship) and Joe Mickeliunas (of Back When fame). Old-fashioned start time of 9 p.m. and cost $10 to get in. 

Also Saturday night, Reverb Lounge is hosting so-called West Coast country artist Jaime Wyatt. I say “so-called” because I’ve been listening to her latest album, Feel Good (2023, New West), and it falls closer to retro-soul or roots/blues rock than C&W, which is a nice way of saying I didn’t get car sick listening to it (as I do with country music). If you like Natalie Prass you might dig this record. (But I can’t say the same about her previous album). Connecticut country-folk dude Joshua Quimby opens at 8 p.m. $25.

And that’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend. February is just around the corner…

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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 © 2024 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Darren Keen is heading east; Bad Self Portraits, BB Sledge, Safe Space tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 7:26 am July 13, 2023
The Show Is the Rainbow at The Waiting Room, Jan. 28, 2011.
The Show Is the Rainbow at The Waiting Room, Jan. 28, 2011.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In the news department, Lincoln and sometimes Omaha electronic-fueled singer, songwriter and beat maker Darren Keen says he’s moving to Chicago. You likely know Darren from his current project, PROBLEMS, as well as his former project, The Show Is the Rainbow.

In Darren’s own words: “It’s just time. Gotta go back to a bigger city.” Keen spent years in NYC before moving back to Nebraska. His music continues to grow and he’s been touring his one-man project constantly the last few years. Chicago is a smart move and something tells me will provide a happy ending to an already pretty happy story. 

To send him off in style, PROBLEMS has two nights of going away gigs this weekend. Friday night, PROBLEMS is at Duffy’s Lounge in Lincoln with Pagan Athletes and Benjamin Gear X. $10, 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday night (July 16), PROBLEMS plays The Sydney in Benson with Turquoise, Cultplay and Oceanz. 5 to 9 p.m., $10 donation. 

Come say goodbye to a dude who has been a staple of Nebraska music for the past 20 years! Don’t forget us, Darren…

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What’s happening tonight? 

Down at The Slowdown in the Main Room, Oregon band Flor headlines. The four-piece (now a trio) is a self-proclaimed indie band and Fueled by Ramen is, indeed, an indie label (The Front Bottoms, Panic at the Disco) or should I say “was” as they were bought by Elektra Records in 2018. Flor is more of a pop band masquerading as an indie. That said, the acts opening for Flor tonight — Bad Self Portraits and BB Sledge — are as indie as they come. $25, 8 p.m. 

Also tonight, Safe Space plays at The Sydney in Benson. This is the indie-style project by the pop singer/songwriter who performs locally by the name “Ione.” In this iteration, she sings singer/songwriter fare alongside a talented guitarist – quite a contrast to the Sheryl Crow-style pop stuff she’s becoming known for (thanks to Bon Jovi). Also on the bill are The Oddities and Chase the Horseman, two acts I’m not familiar with. Three performances on a Thursday night starting at 8 p.m.? Only at The Sydney. $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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


#TBT: June 1, 2020: Nebraska clubs (allowed) to reopen…; MSPAINT, Jeff in Leather, Peaches tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:39 am June 1, 2023
Peaches plays tonight at The Royal Grove in Lincoln.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

On a throw-back Thursday it’s probably a good idea to look back on some recent history. It was on this day in 2020 that our “esteemed” governor announced that bars and lounges could reopen, effectively ending the COVID-19 pandemic.

Just kidding. Ricketts’ June 1 proclamation, while making it OK for bars to reopen, meant little to music venues because of the onerous and necessary restrictions placed on venues, as outlined in this Lazy-i article from May 23, 2020. From that article:

(The Slowdown’s) Jason Kulbel says bars can open just like restaurants with a 50 percent capacity, though all must be seated at tables and can only move around when going to the restroom or ordering food/drinks.

The Slowdown would fall under the “Venues” category — that means 25 percent capacity, with 6-foot spacing between groups. “Groups” and “tables” are interchangeable terms for argument’s sake. So for a 600-capacity rock show at The Slowdown, the current capacity allowed by COVID rules is 150. Again, groups have to be separated by six feet, which will have to be defined somehow by the venue with tape on the floors or something.

Where it gets real tricky: bathroom capacity is three at a time. Expect 6-foot distancing while waiting in line for your booze. And when the show is over, there has to be staggered exiting, which will be just plain weird.

And remember, everyone is wearing masks the entire time. How is the venue going to enforce all these rules?

All of the above equals 300% of the staff with a max potential of 25% of the business, for us AND the band,” Jason said.

Of course maybe the biggest challenge is just getting people comfortable going to shows amidst all the above regulations and general fear of COVID. Like I said yesterday, I would definitely go to a show under these conditions (especially if I could sit at a table and get table service). But based on comments I’ve heard online and elsewhere, I’m the minority.

He said Slowdown isn’t planning to reopen June 1. Look for an opening later in the month of June at the earliest.

Jason would push that date back almost a year, instead hosting their first show in April 2021, whereas The Waiting Room’s first big show was Crash Test Dummies in March 2021. If you look on the sidewalk outside The Slowdown, you can still see the symbols spray-painted on the sidewalk marking where people should stand in line to remain safely separated.

It was a f___ing weird time, folks, but like that spray painted sidewalk, it’s already starting to fade from memory, which is why we have to remind ourselves every once in a while what we went through. The lucky among us were only inconvenienced; the not-so-lucky died. 

Happy Thursday!

Tonight at Reverb Lounge, Mississippi electronic noise band MSPAINT headlines. As described in Stereogum, the four-piece “developed a surging, seismic, but curiously meditative future-punk style that sounds like a glitch storm avalanche swallowing a SimCity 2000 skyline. Their instrumental tones are modeled on the warbling, gated fuzz of fax machines and the dial-up sounds of their 1990s childhoods.

Lots of yell-vocals and synth tones. Borders on hardcore. Could be a moshpit (but I doubt it). Opening is Omaha’s own synth-master, Jeff in Leather, and XID. $12, 8 p.m. 

Also tonight…. I generally don’t write about Lincoln shows, but one of my faves is playing at The Royal Grove — electro-clash-dance maven Peaches a.k.a. Merrill Nisker, whose 2009 album, I Feel Cream (XL Records) is still a regular in my running mix. Opening is Nebraska beat-master PROBLEMS a.k.a. Darren Keen, who I’m told may not be a one-man act tonight. 8 p.m., $30, definitely worth the drive.

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Good Life reissue (on Saddle Creek); Problems, Princess, Little Brazil tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm May 25, 2023
Problems at Petfest. Problems plays tonight at Low End at The Bemis.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Yesterday it was announced that The Good Life’s seminal 2004 album, titled Album of the Year, is being reissued as a gold-colored double-vinyl album by Saddle Creek Records. Here I thought all of Tim Kasher’s projects were now released by the record label he runs with the Cursive bandmates — 15 Passenger Records. But it looks like Saddle Creek is still releasing The Good Life’s catalog, and now, this fancy reissue. Why has Kasher kept this project with the Creek? I don’t know, but for some reason, it feels endearing. Pre-order here.

Anyway, The Good Life is touring this new reissue for two weeks in August, which includes the Aug. 11 Outlandia Festival gig (which is specifically NOT AN ALBUM OF THE YEAR SHOW, according the Saddle Creek press release).

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Here’s another quick reminder about this afternoon’s Maha Festival pop-up event in the park downtown featuring a performance by Little Brazil. It’s free and starts at 5 p.m. down by the giant Kaneko head.

Also tonight, the electronic duo Princess (Alexis Gideon and Michael O’Neill) is performing at Low End at The Bemis – an amazing space to see live music, located at 724 So. 12th St. Princess is “is a queer interdisciplinary performing arts duo that uses music as the narrative basis for their conceptual, visually dynamic video operas.” Opening for Princess is Nebraska’s own Problems a.k.a. Darren Keen, which Bemis describes as a “one-person dance-punk project.” Show starts at 8 p.m. and is free.

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Live Review: Vera Devorah, Breakers; Garst, Problems tonight…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:52 am December 27, 2022
Vera Devorah at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One reason I ventured out to Reverb Lounge in the crippling cold last night — on a school night no less! — was to see Vera Devorah, the eponymously named Lincoln trio. Because if there’s one thing missing in our music scene (and let’s face it, there are lottttts of things missing these days), it’s female-fronted indie bands.

While the rest of the indie music world has been dominated by female-led bands for the past 10 years or so, Omaha has very few. Ones that come to mind include See Through Dresses (who haven’t played out recently and haven’t released any new material in five years), Megan Siebe (who also rarely plays live, though her 2021 album Steady Swaying is gorgeous), Anna McClellan (who I’m not sure lives here anymore), and the legendary Domestica (no new music since 2015)…

Then there’s Vera Devorah, who according to her online bio, has performed as a solo violinist, but this night played as a full-on rock trio, backed by bass and drums. Her electric guitar work, strong in basic riffage, is merely functional compared to her voice, which is as pure and perfect as any national indie vocalist, singing lines written from the heart, capturing whatever life challenge, moment, revelation or sadness that has come her way.

Set highlights included one about a dumpster fire, another written while lying in the middle of a George Floyd protest staring up at the sky, and her earnest cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” — one of her favorite songs, which she said she played on repeat throughout 6th grade. Terrific set.

I’m beginning to wonder if Lincoln’s indie music scene is on the verge of eclipsing Omaha’s (or already has). I keep discovering amazing new Lincoln bands (some who have been around for years). And as marvelous as Petfest was last year as a showcase of local talent, Lincoln Calling dwarfed it. With only 50 miles separating us, more research is necessary… when it gets warmer.

Breakers at Reverb Lounge, Dec. 26, 2022.

Ol’ Reverb was beginning to fill up nicely when Breakers got cranking. The band is a trio of scene veterans, two of whom I already knew well. I’ve been watching bassist Robert Little play in bands for decades, all the way back to The Mariannes in the early 2000s. Same with drummer Matt Focht, who I remember from Head of Femur shows at Sokol Underground (and playing drums with Bright Eyes). But frontman Chris Yambor was new to me, and I take it from stage comments (and the fact the band hasn’t any recorded music (that I could find)), that this might be a fun side project, though they just played a show in September at O’Leaver’s.

Their music was fun and upbeat, and Yambor (unapologetically wearing an Eagles T-shirt) belted out the lines like a lounge singer fronting a jazzy version of Pavement or GBV. The lounge really came out when he was seated behind a keyboard for a couple numbers. I had forgotten about Little’s virtuoso bass skills, and Focht is a trip-wire rock drummer of the highest order. Alas, with an early morning call, I left the ever-crowding Reverb before the close of their set…

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Tonight at The Slowdown local rockers Garst top a three-band bill, with Problems — a.k.a. Darren Keen — a one-man dance party who alone is worth the price of admission, and Cable Network. $15, 8 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


2022 Music Year in Review; Filter Kings, Solid Goldberg, Problems Saturday…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , — @ 10:40 am December 16, 2022

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The 2022 Year in Review article is below. It’s already been published at TheReader.com (right here) and is in print, of course. I include it here to have my own copy (The Reader is notorious for deleting old content after a few years, and, as we all know, Lazy-i is forever). So enjoy (or enjoy again). The weekend picks follow…

2022 Music Year in Review

First published The Reader, December 2022

It’s easy to understand if you (like me) were around during Omaha’s indie music heyday throughout the aughts and into the beginning of the last decade. It was a time when the city was known nationally (even internationally) for its indie music scene, its homegrown talent and as a destination for the best touring acts in the country.

All the great indie bands came through Omaha because of Saddle Creek Records and the hustle of our local concert promoters. Heck, the worst part about that era was being forced to choose among so many amazing rock shows going on at the same time every night — no matter what choice you made, you were still missing something special.

So, maybe we’ve been spoiled. We made it through a global pandemic with (most of) our music scene still intact. The best venues stayed open, and new and bigger venues are on the way. And while the COVID-19 virus is still very much with us (and likely always will be), the memory of being shut inside for months only to emerge wearing masks and gloves (and still being terrified about catching COVID) is beginning to fade like a bad dream.

This past year was the closest we’ve been to “normal” since before 2019. Still, things have changed.

More often than not, when a top-drawing indie band’s tour is announced, Omaha isn’t on the list. “NOmaha” is becoming a familiar sight on social media, a term used to point out when a band skipped our city. Omaha, conveniently located between major tour stops of Denver, Minneapolis, Chicago and Kansas City, used to be a target market. And yes, we still get good shows, but more often these days you’re going to have to do some traveling to see your favorite indie bands.

Is the return of our “flyover country” status because bands no longer value our scene and are less sure folks will show up for their shows? Is it because local promoters no longer are willing to lay out upfront cash to book niche indie acts that sell out small rooms in larger cities? Or is it because stages once crowded with indie bands are now dedicated to more mainstream or non-music entertainment? You cannot blame promoters or venues for wanting to make an easier, safer buck. They’ve got mouths to feed and staff to pay.

Local talent is also feeling the pinch. Before COVID, it was common for local bands to open for touring acts, but more often touring acts are bringing their support bands along for the ride. The typical rock show now starts at 8 p.m. with only two bands (and sometimes just a headliner). Rock shows that once started at 9:30 and rolled on well past midnight are now over in time to drive home and catch the end of the evening news. And while my old, work-beaten bones are thankful to be home by 10:30, local bands are finding it harder to get good gigs. Just ask them.

Let’s face it, post-pandemic, things are tougher than ever in music land. Maybe we’ve been spoiled. Or, more accurately, maybe I’ve been spoiled. Times have a way of changing.

And it isn’t as if we haven’t had some great rock shows this year. Among my favorites were concerts by Black Midi, Spirit of the Beehive and Belle & Sebastian at The Slowdown, Destroyer and Rosali at The Waiting Room, Bright Eyes and Godspeed You! Black Emperor at the sparkling new Admiral Theater (the venue formerly known as Sokol Auditorium), Night Moves and David Nance Band at Reverb Lounge, Matt Whipkey at The Holland Center, Brad Hoshaw and the 7 Deadlies at the Benson Theater, Simon Joyner at Grapefruit Records and Violenteer at fabulous O’Leaver’s. And, Petfest and The Maha Festival were better than ever this year.

Still, it’s hard to ignore the fact that none of the non-Omaha bands in the following list performed in Omaha this past year. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, here are my favorite albums of 2022:

Alex G, God Save the Animals (Domino) – Personal moments captured somewhere between trauma and struggle reaching toward spiritual, our man Alexander Giannascoli breaks free for moments of beauty and clarity.

Plains, I Walked With You A Ways (Anti) – No one writes banjo-pluckin’, backbeat-fueled, county-road twangers like Waxahatchee’s Katie Crutchfield and Jess Williamson. Pure as a southern sunset.

Alvvays, Blue Rev (Polyvinyl) – Still poppy but covered in a dense, shimmering layer of jangling, shoe-gaze goodness. Try it with the lyric sheet for optimum heartbreak.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Cool It Down (Secretly Canadian) – Karen O, Nick (Scissorhands) Zinner and Brian Chase waited nine years for this follow-up to 2013’s Mosquito. Comeback artist of the year? Definitely.

Arcade Fire, WE (Columbia) – A return to form for a band that defined the mid-2000s indie scene with its glowing anthems. With Win Butler ensconced in controversy, this could be the end. Not a bad way to go out.

Big Thief, Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You (4AD) – This epic, sprawling double LP, a laboratory for Adrianne Lenker’s songwriting, is too much for one sitting. Better in portions, with each song its own journey.

Yard Act, The Overload (Island) – Of the spoken-word British acts that are all the rage, this one stands out, thanks to its clever words, cracking rhythms and righteous riffage. Quite a debut.

Wet Leg, self-titled (Domino) – They blew up 2021 with “Chaise Longue,” then blew up even further with the rest of this LP. Their laissez faire approach toward indie punk has been embraced by a multi-generational zeitgeist.

Horsegirl, Versions of Modern Performance (Matador) – A throwback to a fuzzy, grinding, guitar-fueled ‘90s by acts like Helium, Throwing Muses and Breeders, they always find a cool melody in the hazy feedback.

Little Brazil, Just Leave (Max Trax) – A band that’s been kicking it for decades, this is a career highlight thanks to risk taking on song structures, cool guitar interplay and Landon Hedges’ always unique vocals. A standout in a city full of standouts.

Simon Joyner, Songs from a Stolen Guitar (Grapefruit) — Like Conor Oberst, whose music he influenced, Joyner has become synonymous with the Omaha singer/songwriter mythos, at least by those who know. This quiet collection of acoustic ballads gives us another chapter in the musical novel of his life.

So, will this trend of fewer touring indie shows in Omaha continue in 2023? You’ll have to wait for my annual “predictions” column next month to find out…

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 tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

The Reader, December 2022

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Back to regularly scheduled programming.

The weekend starts tonight, and musicwise, tonight is a wasteland – no indie shows going on.

Saturday you’ve got two shows to choose from.

At The Reverb Lounge, it’s the long-awaited return of country punk band Filter Kings. How long has it been? I don’t know. Years for sure. Expect a huge crowd for Lee and the boys. In fact, I would have told you to consider buying tickets in advance because it could sell out little ol’ Reverb, but this one is strictly pay at the door (just like the old days). Joining them are Left Hand Country and Edward Spencer. 8 p.m., $12.

Meanwhile, across midtown at fabulous O’Leaver’s, Problems (a.k.a. Darren Keen of The Show Is the Rainbow), returns after a recent European tour. Expect red-hot bare-chested action. Joining Problems is the multi-media funk magic of Solid Goldberg (a.k.a. Omaha legend Dave Goldberg). This must be seen and heard to be believed. All this for $10. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Tiz a shame we can’t be at both shows, right?

That’s all I got. 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 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Dead Letters, PROBLEMS, Bright Eyes; Specter Poetics tonight; Belle & Sebastian, Steady Wells, The Antlers, John Klemmensen memorial Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 10:48 am May 27, 2022
Belle & Sebastian at the 2017 Maha Music Festival, Aug. 19, 2017. The band plays Saturday night at The Slowdown.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Before we get to the weekend, a handful of notable new releases came out today or this past week. If you’re buying, you may want to wait until next Friday for your purchase as it’ll be Bandcamp Friday (June 3)…

Dead Letters, the new project by Koly Walter, Brian Byrd (Well Aimed Arrows) and Mark Johnson, dropped the first song from their upcoming debut LP, Songs from Center, which is slated for a vinyl release Aug. 15. Check out the track below and preorder the vinyl here.

PROBLEMS, the new project from Darren Keen (The Show Is the Rainbow), has a new full-length album out today called This Is Working Out, released on the world-famous Orange Milk Records label. Darren takes the infectious style of electronic music to new levels. Mesmerizing. Buy the cassette here.

And Bright Eyes today released the first wave of their reissues series on Dead Oceans, A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995-1997, Letting Off the Happiness and Fevers and Mirrors. Each comes with a “companion” recording of five reworked songs, of note is a cover of Simon Joyner’s “Double Joe,” and Lullaby for the Working Class’ “Hypnotist (Song for Daniel. H).”

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Let’s get to the weekend…

Tonight at The Sydney in Benson Specter Poetics (an electronic project by Jack McLaughlin) is playing along with a mystery band called Sack Religious (I asked Zach who they were and all he could tell me was he thinks they’re from Canada — I think he’s holding back because it’s his birthday). This is listed as starting at 11:30, and no price info, so you’re on your own.

Tomorrow night (Saturday) is the big Belle & Sebastian show at The Slowdown (originally slated for the new Admiral, but had to be moved because they’re still working on construction). The set list from last night’s show at the Riviera in Chicago indicates this will be the usual mix of old faves along with songs from their new album, A Bit of Previous (Matador). As of this writing, tickets were still available for $35. Our very own Steady Wells opens the show at 8 p.m.

Also Saturday night, Brooklyn band The Antlers is headlining at The Waiting Room. Their latest full-length is Green to Gold, released last year on Anti-. John Ross of Wild Pink opens the show at 8 p.m. $20.

And finally, over at The Reverb Lounge it’s a Songwriting Death Battle in memory of John Klemmensen, Omaha’s bigger than life troubadour who passed late last month. Each act will perform a song or two. Tickets are $8 and all proceeds with go to John’s family. Starts at 8 p.m.

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

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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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Minne Lussa, Indian Caves, Problems tonight; Lala Lala, Elton Aura Saturday…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:49 pm March 11, 2022
Minne Lussa at Farnam House July 6, 2019. The band plays tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Here comes the weekend.

Tonight it’s all happening in Benson. First on the list is Minne Lussa at Reverb Lounge. Fronted by Matt Rutledge, with guitarist Pat Reefe (ex-Tomato a Day), guitarist/vocalist Eric Bemberger (ex-Beep Beep), bassist Alan Legge and drummer Eric Ebers (ex-Ritual Device), the band has a smokey shoe-gaze quality reminiscent of Galaxy 500 or Luna. Just gorgeous stuff. Opening is local four-piece Indian Caves (Dan Krueger, Joe Ranne, Kyle Moeller and Leslie Wells). $7, 8 p.m.

Meanwhile down the street tonight at The Sydney Darren Keen’s latest project, Problems, headlines a bill that includes Benny Leather and Gore-TXT. $7, 9 p.m.

Tomorrow night is the big Lala Lala show at Slowdown Jr. which I wrote about here yesterday. Joining Lala Lala is Chicago R&B/hip-hop artist Elton Aura. $20, 8 p.m. This one is No Vax No Entry, so bring your stuff to get in.

That’s all I got. 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 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 © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Darren Keen is back with Problems; new album on Knightwerk; live stream release tomorrow…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:54 pm December 3, 2020
Darren Keen is Problems.

First time I met Darren Keen was almost 20 years ago when he and his band at the time, Musico, dropped off a CD of their latest recordings to a house my then-girlfriend now-wife and I were renting on Izard St. Darren would go on to form The Show Is the Rainbow — a one-man psych-rock hip-hop project that was as much about Keen’s live performances as his trippy merging of rock, rap and good humor.

Since then, Darren has reimagined his sound a number of times, been involved in other bands (Beep Beep comes to mind), moved to New York City and moved back to Lincoln. And now he’s back with a new synth-powered project – Problems.

“A lessen I learned from Joel (Petersen) in the Faint. He said, ‘Your guitar stuff and bass sounds good, but you do not understand how to make a synth sound expressive.’ That quote changed my whole perspective on what a synthesizer can do.” Keen said. “Why do some synths sound so much more visceral? I’ve been trying to figure that out for 12 years.”

I think he’s cracked the code.

Those comments came after I asked why some local synth-based recordings (to me) sound like remixing of pre-packaged, canned synth sounds, while others take it to the next level. Keen’s work on his debut Problems LP, Ought Not Be Overthought, which drops tomorrow on club music label Knightwerk Records, takes it to the next level, and the proof was my wife asking from the next room, “What is this? I love it.”

Keen calls the sound on Problems recordings “subversive house” but “I know it will get lumped in with other genres,” he said. “Some people are comparing it to electro artists like Mr. Oizo, Justice and Daft Punk. It’s not techno; it’s dance music. I start with a four-on-the-floor kick drum on every track. Putting limitations on it allows me to explore creatively in a way that’s deeper than I could before.”

His process on Problems material involves spending a couple weeks setting up what he calls “good templates” — the fundamental kick drum, cymbals and synths. “It’s sort of like the gear a band would acquire and bring into the studio,” he said.

Once the templates were in place, Keen said he recorded and mastered the album tracks in three days. “When it came time to write, I started on a Monday and by Friday was putting out a record.”

He’s celebrating the release of the new album with a free live stream performance tomorrow night, Dec. 4, hosted by Lincoln’s BLACK MAGIK and DJ KevyCav. The stream will be on twitch, here: http://twitch.tv/blackmagikpresents . More info on the stream here.

Keen’s already working on more Problems, with another single and full-length slated for release on a different label next spring. “That one will have a limited physical release,” he said. “As will the one after that.”

“As some form of gigging comes back (post-COVID), it will make more sense to make stuff again,” he said. “People are still at home looking for things to do and want to buy records and cassettes to support artists. I’ve spent more money on music post-COVID than before I moved back to Nebraska.”

Pre-order the new album at the Problems Bandcamp page.

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