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.

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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.

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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.

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New music from Ethan Jones (ex-Ladyfinger, Dumb Beach), James Schroeder (UUVVWWZ, David Nance Band), Problems (Darren Keen)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:02 pm November 18, 2020
Ethan Jones, McMcCarthy (2020, self-release)

Three new releases to tell you about…

Yesterday Ethan Jones, whose past bands have included Putrescine, Ladyfinger and Dumb Beach, released a new EP via Bandcamp called McMcCartney.

All of these songs started as home recordings/demos and very slowly morphed into real songs and were finally finished several months into the pandemic,” says the liner notes. “All instruments were performed and recorded by Ethan Jones using mostly cheap gear, a very slow, out-dated iMac, and one single microphone… a trusty Shure SM57.”

The recording was mixed by Drew Rudenbusch and mastered by Darren Keen. This one is something of a surprise and in the grand tradition of Jones’ former bands — i.e., heavy, groovy shit. Would love to hear this performed live (Damn you, COVID!) You can buy the download at a name-your-price price from Jones’ Bandcamp page.

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Seeing Darren Keen’s name reminded me of an oversight which I want fix now. Back in September James Schroeder (UUVVWWZ, David Nance Band) released a solo album called Mesa Buoy, which I somehow totally overlooked. As you can imagine, the 8-song recording is a showcase for Schroeder’s amazing guitar work.

This recorded material is one end of a stubborn vision that infected my writing process for the better part of a decade,” Schroeder says in the liner notes. “Pieces floating in one sketched form or another, hauled from basement to basement like a cinder block matryoshka doll. Toiled slowly and steadily between tours and recording with other groups.”

The project features some of Nebraska’s finest talent: Kevin Donahue on drums, Colin Duckworth on pedal steel, Patrick Newbery on Rhodes, Michael Overfield on bass and Megan Siebe on cello, with special guest appearances by Jay Kreimer and David Nance.

Ben Brodin engineered and mixed the recording at ARC; Darren Keen did the mastering. It’s quite a feast of styles and substance, underscored by Schroeder’s remarkable guitar work. Download the album for $7 at Schroeder’s Bandcamp page.

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Speaking of Darren Keen, the mastermind behind The Show Is the Rainbow has a new electronic project called Problems that will see the release of its debut, Ought Not Be Overthought, Dec. 4 on LA label Knightwerk Records. The first single, “Single,” was released a couple weeks ago. Get into it:

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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.

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