Saddle Creek signs LA producer/songwriter Pendant, drops first track…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:59 pm June 29, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Chris Adams a.k.a. Pendant is the latest signing by Saddle Creek Records.

Saddle Creek Records continues to impress with all of its activies, from opening a New York office, to releasing new albums by Idigo De Souza and the upcoming Culxr House compilation, and today announcing the signing of LA producer/songwriter Pendant a.k.a. Chris Adams.

Former frontman for the Bay Area noise punk band Never Young, Adams’ debut as Pendant was released on Tiny Engines, which coincidentally or not, was also the former home to another recent Saddle Creek roster addition, Spirit of the Beehive.

From the press release: “Coming from hardcore and noise-punk bands, (2019 debut album) Through a Coil saw a shift in songwriting that melded shoegaze with Britpop recalling the likes of Stone Roses and My Bloody Valentine.”

Adams has apparently decided to take yet another stylistic turn, as evidenced by the new track Saddle Creek also dropped this morning, “Blood Rite,” which the label (accurately) describes as “a gleaming rave-infused, pop track with dark undertones.” Look for Pendant’s full-length debut in early 2022, which Creek says is “an instantly definitive record that connects ’90s house and rave music with hip-hop, shoegaze, and pop.” Hey, this is definitely not your father’s Saddle Creek.

Check out the new Pendant track below.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Saddle Creek to release Culxr House, adds New York offices; new Nathan Ma; Cog Factory merch benefits Omaha Girls Rock…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 9:40 pm June 7, 2021
A scene from Culxr House.

So now Saddle Creek Records has a New York City office?

Yep, according to their Twitter feed. Add it to the Los Angeles offices, and Omaha offices, of course. Once upon a time Saddle Creek even had a European office in London. Not sure if they still do; wouldn’t be surprised if they reopened it.

Bigger news is that Saddle Creek will be releasing Culxr House: Freedom Summer – a collaborative project showcasing a host of talent from Omaha all tied to innovative community hub Culxr House. The LP, out July 30, features Marcey Yates and Xoboi, along with J. Crum, Mars Black and lots more.

Available digitally and via a limited edition vinyl run, 50% of the album’s profits will be shared between the artists involved, with the other 50% donated directly to the Culxr House venue that brought this project to life,” according to the Creek site.

The first track from the album, “Inherit the Earth,” by Marcey Yates and Xoboi, already dropped. Order the album from the Saddle Creek site.

I think this marks the first album Saddle Creek released with a connection to Omaha since The Faint’s Egowerk came out in March 2019.

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Nathan Ma has a new track out called “Midnight” produced by Young Guv, and featuring The Upper Las Colonies Pyramid Band (Noah Kohll, Young Guv, Colin Duckworth, Bobbie Lovesong and James Matthew VII). It’s just under three minutes of Big Star-flavored pop you’ll want to check out. When’s Nathan coming out with a full-length?

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The fine folks at Ink Tank are selling a crapload of cool Cog Factory gear, including T-shirts and hoodies. Orders are being taken through June 18 and all proceeds will benefit Omaha Girls Rock, so everybody wins. Check out the selection and order yours here.

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Grapefruit Records to open in Old Market; Saddle Creek signs Indigo De Souza; new Cursive interview…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 3:20 pm April 23, 2021

It’s been awhile since I’ve updated the ol’ blog. In fact, I just wrote a column that’ll be published in the May issue of The Reader saying that it’s been a long time since I updated the ol’ blog, but that I haven’t given up — there just hasn’t been anything to write about music-wise (which is basically the lede to the column).

As I continue to point out, ain’t been a whole helluva lot of rock shows to write about, but there has been some news.

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I just discovered via his Instagram page that Omaha singer/songwriter Simon Joyner is about to open a new record store in the Old Market that will also act as the world headquarters of his Grapefruit Records label. The new shop is located at 1125 Jackson St., Suite 5, which appears to be the old Antiques Annex space on 12th street.

Joyner says the store will open either May 1 or May 7, depending on how preparations go, and will feature new and used records. The shop marks the 3rd record store in the Old Market, joining Homer’s and Vinyl Cup. Hey, just like ol’ times…

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The other hometown record label, Saddle Creek Records, has been on a roll lately.

Their most recent release from just-signed act Spirit of the Beehive, ENTERTAINMENT, DEATH, was bestowed with the “Best New Music” honor from Pitchfork, who gave the album a massive 8.3 rating. If you haven’t heard the album yet, grab some headphones and some LSD and enjoy. It’s a… challenging listen, but people love it.

On a more pop-flavored level, Saddle Creek this week announced that it signed Asheville, NC, singer/songwriter Indigo De Souza and is rereleasing her 2018 debut album, I Love My Mom, April 23. De Souza’s sound is more in line with the indie sound you’d hear on something like Sirius XMU — poppy, fun, accessible.

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A week or so ago out of the blue music blog Vinyl Writer Music posted an interview with Cursive’s Matt Maginn.

Matt covers the usual history/influences/Ugly Organ topics before he gets to what’s next for Cursive. He said he’s spent his off time repairing “a couple of bars/pubs in our beloved hometown….” and then goes on to say “Musically, it’s a bit more depressing. We have thrown around lots of long-distance ideas, but we have really not had the time to focus on them….

…I think we will start writing again as soon as it is safe and ideally get back on the road as soon as possible too. We are playing the Psycho Festival in Las Vegas, which we are really looking forward to at the moment. It will give us a chance to feel a little normal again and remember we are a band.

We had to cancel a lot of good shows when the pandemic struck, so we are itching to get out there and play. It sounds like a dream right now to actually return to a life that involves writing, rehearsing, and playing live. It’s funny how one year can really change how you feel about your existence and purpose in the world.

Read the entire interview here.

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That’s all for now. I’m hearing various and sundry things about upcoming music events. Things are happening. We’re almost there. Get vaccinated and we’ll get there sooner.

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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Bright Eyes Covers Chesnutt, 1% says ‘we’re back’; new Spirit of the Beehive (Saddle Creek)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:51 pm February 25, 2021
Vic Chesnutt in his practice space in 2005. Photo by Tristan Loper.

I woke up this morning with a dozen hits on the ol’ Conor Oberst Google Alert, thanks to Bright Eyes releasing a cover of Vic Chesnutt’s “Flirted with You All My Life,” on YouTube. The track was first released as the B-side of last year’s “Persona Non Grata” 7-inch. 

Vic’s version was originally part of his 2009 album At the Cut, one of his last, released the year of his death at the age of 45. It is, indeed, a dark piece of work, with a chorus that goes, “Oh, death / Clearly I’m not ready.” 

In the press materials, Oberst talks about seeing Chesnutt perform many times from a young age. I, too, remember seeing him play around town back in the ‘90s, most notably at a show at the old Capitol Bar & Grill with sideman Omahan Alex McManus seated next to his wheelchair. Chesnutt was indeed an original, and it’s good to see his songs live on for another generation to enjoy. 

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Which gets me thinking, I never wrote a postscript on the Phoebe Bridgers’ SNL appearance, which I thought would end Oberst’s drought on the late-nite sketch show. I’ve been predicting Conor’d perform on SNL for years, but he wasn’t part of Bridgers’ band that night, so the wait continues. I figure if Bright Eyes didn’t get a slot on SNL last year, it probably will never happen. As for Bridgers and her guitar-smashing histrionics, you have to wonder what she’ll do next. There are no boundaries for her except the limitations of her own songwriting. 

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Yesterday One Percent Productions sent out its email newsletter proclaiming “We’re Back.” 

After shutting down completely in March of 2020, we were able to produce some events from late June through early December. And after stopping again over the last few months, we are back at it again! So we just needed to thank all the artists for still performing and the customers for still attending the shows. We look forward to continue producing safe events while patiently waiting for the party to return!!!

Those events include closing out a run of a production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch this month, and Yutan band The Long Awaited playing tomorrow night at Reverb with Gallivant. The first bigger national show is Crash Test Dummies March 20 at The Waiting Room.

A big test will be the April 3 Bennie and the Gents show at The Waiting Room. Always a good draw, this should be a good indicator as to whether people are willing to go to an “inside show.”

Now would be a good time for venues to consider how they’ll host shows outdoors while we wait for the vaccine to get into people’s arms.

I got in touch with about a dozen local artists last weekend for an article that will appear in next month’s issue of The Reader, asking when they’ll return to the stage. Look for that one in the racks next week, as well as online. 

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Saddle Creek’s latest signing, Spirit of the Beehive, yesterday released its second single off the upcoming Creek debut, Entertainment, Death, out April 9. Check out “The Server is Immersed,”  below. 

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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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 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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Saddle Creek signs Quarter-Life Crisis (Ryan Hemsworth); RIP Eddie Van Halen…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:45 pm October 7, 2020

Saddle Creek Records remains very active in These Days of COVID. Today the label announced it’s releasing the self-titled debut EP by Quarter-Life Crisis, a new project from Ryan Hemsworth featuring collabs with Creek label-mates Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Meg Duffy (Hand Habits) as well as Charlie Martin (Hovvdy), Claud, and Yohuna.

It sounds like sort of an Alan Parsons Project-type deal, with Hemsworth handling production and instruments while the collaborators write the lyrics and sing. From Nova Scotia, Hemsworth won a Juno Award in the electronic album category for 2014’s Guilt Trips (Last Gang Records), and has produced tracks for Mitski and Tory Lanez, among others.

The EP drops Dec. 4 (preorder now), but the single “Postcards from Spain” featuring Quinlan, was released today. Check it below.

With that new Tomberlin EP, Projections, ready to drop Nov. 13, this will count as the 12th release so far this year for Saddle Creek.

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As everyone knows by now, yesterday Eddie Van Halen passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. Dudes of a certain age (I don’t know many female fans) grew up on Van Halen, scribbling their logo on the cover of their notebooks or scratching it into school desktops (along with Zoso and the Pink Floyd prism).

Van Halen music was ubiquitous with partying and having a good time. It always put me in a good mood no matter what mood I was in, and still does. I’ll be cracking open a cold one tonight for you, Eddie, while listening to the Van Halen mix tape I made back in ’84. Now what are we gonna do with all these brown M&Ms? Rest in Powerchords…

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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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Random Notes: Saddle Creek keeps busy (new Land of Talk, Young Jesus, Document 12); new Uh Oh video…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 1:24 pm July 20, 2020
Young Jesus at O’Leaver’s, Oct. 28, 2018. The band has a new album coming out on Saddle Creek Aug. 14.

The COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t seem to be slowing down Saddle Creek Records. My inbox is filling with news of new releases from our hometown record label despite the inability for bands to tour.

Top of the list is the new one by Canadian rockers Land of Talk, Indistinct Conversations, which drops July 31 (It was originally slated for release in May). This is the fourth album for the trio fronted by Elizabeth Powell, coming 12 years after their 2008 Saddle Creek debut, Some Are Lakes.

Last week the band released the fifth single from the album, a video for the song, “Now You Want to Live in the Light.” Check it, and preorder the album here.

Perhaps the label’s most way-out-there project, Young Jesus, announced Welcome to Conceptual Beach will drop Aug. 14 on Saddle Creek.

From the hype sheet: “This is Conceptual Beach, a place John Rossiter, vocalist/guitarist of Los Angeles-based Young Jesus, describes as his long-time mental refuge, where he imagines himself living—like a medieval, stigmata-wrought hermit—all his needs for okay-ness finally met. But for the first time, he’s opening up and inviting others to join him there.”

The first single, “Root and Crown,” is a gorgeous track that hopefully points toward where the band is headed on this album. Check it and order pre-order the album here.

Finally, the next installment in Saddle Creek’s Document singles series is the label’s first foray into drone metal.

The band, Divide And Dissolve, is “a heavy two-piece utilizing drums, guitar, saxophone & live efx music designed to decolonize & dismantle white supremacy,” according to their Facebook page. The duo from Kulin Nation (Melbourne) is “Takiaya Reed (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and Sylvie Nehill (Māori),” according to the one-sheet.

“RVR” b/w “8VA” drops Aug. 7. Check out the A-side below and pre-order here.

What else does Saddle Creek have up its sleeve for 2020?


And who else has been keeping busy?

Well, today local indie band Uh Oh released yet another video off their 2019 album Stay Close, this one for the song “True Blue.” Check it out below and download the album from their bandcamp page.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 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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Indie music’s Libera Awards tonight (will Saddle Creek take home the prize?); Dereck Higgins live stream…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , — @ 12:50 pm June 18, 2020
Dereck Higgins performs a live streamed concert tonight at Low End.

Who doesn’t like an awards show, especially one focused on music?

No, I’m not talking about The Grammy’s, I’m talkin’ ’bout the Libera Awards, brought to you by the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), the trade group for the indie music industry.

For the first time, the awards show is going to be streamed live for free, tonight starting at 5:30 p.m.

It’s sort of like the Grammy’s for indie rock. For example, the bands nominated for Album of the Year: FKA Twigs, Angel Olsen, Brittany Howard, Orville Peck and Big Thief. Big Thief, formerly on our very own Saddle Creek Records (now on 4AD), also is nominated for Best Alternative Rock album, and will be performing live at the ceremony.

Once again this year, Saddle Creek Records has been nominated for the Label of the Year (Medium) award, alongside 4AD, ATO, Sacred Bones and Drag City. Will the Creek take home the coveted Libera? You’ll have to tune in to find out. Register for free here.

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Also tonight, Omaha legend Dereck Higgins is performing a virtual concert streamed live from The Bemis Center’s Low End performance space.

For his performance, he will play a variety of his electronic compositions with live accompaniment as well as improvise several ambient pieces created on the spot,” Bemis writes. The stream begins via Facebook and Twitch (twitch.com/bemiscenter) starting at 8 p.m.

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Finally, this month’s Over the Edge column in The Reader is all about the fashion of face masks, and includes an interview with Fashion Institute Midwest’s Denise Ervin. Who would have thought Billie Eilish and Gucci could be so precog as to know face masks would become fashion staples months before the pandemic? Read the column here.


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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Big Nope (Nate Van Fleet); Saddle Creek on Apple’s COVID fund; Creek’s ‘Month of the Album’ offer…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:33 pm April 13, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Happy Monday. How about a slice of pop candy to brighten up your home offices (or whatever)…

Last week See Through Dresses’ drummer Nate Van Fleet released another two-song EP from his band Big Nope. Recorded by Nate and STD bandmate Mathew Carroll last fall, listen for the Benson shout-out in A-side “Kid I” and enjoy the party slacker vibe of flip-side “Throwaways.” Both tracks are here. So when are we going to see Big Nope on stage? Hey, when are we going to see anyone again on stage?

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Last week Pitchfork published an article about Apple Music’s $50 million COVID-19 fund and what it means for indie labels. Apple’s program offers interest-free loans against future royalties to indie labels and distributors that earn more than $10,000 through Apple Music per quarter and have a deal with Apple.

While it seems like a generous officer, the details can get rather complicated as to who qualifies. And let’s face it, this isn’t a grant, it’s a loan, so while Apple may be waiving interest on that $50 mil, we’re talking about a company with $207 billion in free cash on hand.

Among those quoted in the Pitchfork article is Saddle Creek label exec Robb Nansel, who said he doesn’t plan on taking advantage of Apple’s generosity.

I’m interested to see what the terms are. It’s not like they’re just giving you free money.” Nansel is quoted as saying in the article. “They have a lot of cash and if they can help some people out that can be cash-strapped, it seems like it could be a good thing.”

That said, the last thing struggling labels need right now is to get further in debt.

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Speaking of Saddle Creek Records, the label has declared April the “Month of the Album” and is offering a 15 percent discount on its entire catalog with the offer code: SUPPORT. It makes it as good a time as any to finally pick up a copy of that Beep Beep album you’ve always wanted… Find out more.

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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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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