More Saddle Creek news (Black Belt Eagle Scout, Feeble Little Horse); The Murlocs, Paul Jacobs tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:40 pm November 17, 2022
The Murlocs play tonight at Reverb Lounge.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

An addendum to The Reader column about Saddle Creek Records recent releases…. there are a few artists off their recent roster who weren’t mentioned because they’ve been relatively dormant. Among them is Black Belt Eagle Scout, the project of Swinomish Indian Tribal Community-based multi-instrumentalist Katherine Paul. Creek released a new single by BBES yesterday, “My Blood Runs Through This Land,” and announced a new LP out Feb. 10, 2023, which you can pre-order now. Psst… I actually like the second track, “Don’t Give Up,” (not to be confused with the Peter Gabriel song (but wouldn’t a cover of that be something)), more. Nothing like closing out your LP with a strong track. 

Saddle Creek’s most recent signing, Pittsburgh’s Feeble Little House, just got a review of the re-release of their debut album, Heyday, at Pitchfork, which said, “The Pittsburgh rock quartet’s newly reissued debut is a relentless, intentionally chaotic document of twentysomething existential dread.” Chaotic? Maybe not so much. Definitely a throw-back sound to ‘90s indie acts like Helium or even Chavez (yeah, I said it). The Pitchfork rating was 7.4, btw, which is high for a Saddle Creek release, but I’m finding that Pitchfork likes this era of Saddle Creek a whole lot more than they liked the first wave (and definitely the second Saddle Creek wave). 

. 0 0 0 .

Tonight at Reverb Lounge Aussie indie act The Murlocs headlines. The band has been recording and touring for a decade. Their latest, Rapscallion, was released in September on ATO Records.  Their sound has been described as “neo-psychedelia” but is closer to straight-on jangle-pop. Montreal singer/songwriter Paul Jacobs, who has been compared to Kurt Vile, opens at 8 p.m. $17.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Catching up with Saddle Creek (in the column); Meat Wave, Nowhere tonight at O’Leaver’s…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 1:51 pm November 10, 2022
Meat Wave plays tonight at O’Leaver’s.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This month’s column in The Reader is a look at the latest wave of releases from Saddle Creek Records. Our hometown label keeps stretching, and the results can be quite impressive. Read the column online here or in print at newsstands around town (Hy-Vee, LaCasa, etc.).

. 0 0 0 .

Chicago post-punk band Meat Wave is playing a free show tonight at fabulous O’Leaver’s. They just released a pummeling new album, Malign Hex, on Swami Records and are about to hit the road opening for The Bronx. They’re longtime pals and tour mates with local heroes Cursive and haven’t been back through Omaha since their stint headlining Day 1 of O’Leaversfest before the pandemic. Omaha band Nowhere opens the show at 9 p.m.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Feeble Little Horse signs to Saddle Creek Records…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:29 pm October 26, 2022
Philly band Feeble Little Horse has signed to Saddle Creek Records.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’m trying to think of really interesting things going on indie-music-wise in Omaha and there just haven’t been any. It’s as if the city is in a dormant period.

That said, our hometown label, Saddle Creek Records, just signed yet another band, Philadelphia noise-pop four-piece Feeble Little Horse. Saddle Creek is re-releasing their debut album, Heyday, which came out last year. 

The band, formed in Oakland, PA, in 2021, described their sound in an interview from Pittsburgh radio station WYEP:

How do you describe your sound?  

  • Sebastian Kinsler, guitar/vocals: We don’t use reverb, we don’t hard pan guitars, and we double track everything.
  • Lydia Slocum, vocals: It’s like we took our favorite songs and put them in the Sebastian blender. I think the sound is super influenced by the music we like and then what the four of us are each exclusively able to contribute.
  • Jake Kelley, drums: noise pop 


When asked what was the first album that “really changed your life,” three of the four members referenced a Green Day album (one referenced High School Musical 2 soundtrack). This is ironic because they (thankfully) sound nothing like Green Day. 

As mentioned, their debut LP was originally released on Philly community label Julia’s War Records, but the band also released a 10-song EP called Modern Tourism in March on local label Crafted Sounds Records

The rerelease of Heyday comes out on Jan. 13 (and includes bonus tracks), but no doubt new original material won’t be far behind. Here’s the first video from that album. It sounds much more influenced by Sonic Youth than Green Day. The full album and EP are already online at Spotify. 

By the way, my Novermber column in The Reader looks at Saddle Creek’s 2022 output (minus Feeble Little Horse). I’ll link to it when it’s online. Saddle Creek is 29 years old this year. What fun do they have in store for their 30th birthday?

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Bright Eyes hits the road again; Pitchfork 50 is out…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:46 pm December 8, 2021
Nate, Conor and Mike look thrilled to be returning to the road.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Bright Eyes yesterday announced it was returning to the road with a U.S. tour that kicks off March 23 in St. Paul. That’s about the closest this tour comes to Omaha. The band will announce additional dates in January, including rescheduled gigs on the West Coast and Atlanta. Will the band make its way here? They still haven’t had a local show in support of Down in the Weeds

Yesterday, Pitchfork (once the bible of indie music tastemakers) released its 2021 list of 50 best albums. No. 1 was Jazmine Sullivan, Heaux Tales, an album that I’ve, well, not heard.

Of note for indie fans, Low’s HEY WHAT came in at No. 5; followed by Turnstile’s Glow On (a game changer or a throwback?), The Weather Station’s Ignorance, and Mdou Moctar’s Afrique Victime with Dry Cleaning’s New Long Leg closing out the top 10.

Saddle Creek Records had one if its best year’s ever. Indigo De Souza’s Any Shape You Take came in at No. 25; Spirit of the Beehive’s Entertainment, Death was No. 28, and Hand Habits’ Fun House was No. 43. An impressive outing for our little local label.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

Review: Indigo De Souza, Any Shape You Take (Saddle Creek Records)…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:33 pm August 25, 2021

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Indigo De Souza, Any Shape You Take (2021, Saddle Creek)

I gave up a long time ago trying to understand the strategy behind Saddle Creek Records’ roster decisions. Mad genius? Shot in the dark? Take your pick. Let’s look at the breakdown:

Many are those of the art/noise set who applauded the release of Spirit of the Beehive’s Entertainment.Death — a recording I equate to watching a fine arthouse film that you can admire while seated in the dark but will likely never see again, unless you’re stoned (which I’ve never been). Young Jesus, another recent addition, falls along the same category. Both acts are hugely popular with critics, but I wonder how well they sell (or get played on streaming services, which these days is the mark of success).

Then there’s the cadre of forlorn singer/songwriter projects like Tomberlin, Black Belt Eagle Scout and Hand Habits. Meg Duffy of HH is a major talent and I love her work. But, man, you have to be in the right mood for it. 

Then there’s the more accessible indie-rock staples on the roster — Hop Along, Stef Chura, Disq. These are the most predictable and the most enjoyable. Hop Along and Francis Quinland get their share of Sirius XMU plays; and Disq was my choice for a Saddle Creek breakout band. While I love Disq’s latest album, it’s hardly broken through in a way that, say, Big Thief has (and who is now long gone from Saddle Creek).

This is a long pre-amble to say that Indigo De Souza doesn’t fall into any of these categories, and yet, her new album, Any Shape You Take, is my favorite Saddle Creek release in the past few years. Ten songs, 38 minutes, not a dud in the bunch. Built on a framework of traditional modern indie pop, De Souza in some ways is old school in that she knows how to write a great hook, how to drop in a tasty power chord, where to bring in the rest of the band in a way that makes you look up from whatever you’re doing and PAY ATTENTION. 

The one-sheet that came with the record describes the daughter of musicians and her constant struggle to find her voice as she goes through painful relationships, and so on. These are songs about misplaced devotion and insecurity taken to a familiar level. You may be finding your own way, Indigo, but we’ve all been there. We’ve heard it before, but rarely as honestly or brutally straight-forward. 

Favorite tracks include “Darker than Death” “Die/Cry” and “Pretty Pictures” — pop nuggets that come in at 3 minutes or less. In fact, no song exceeds five minutes, including the closing masterpiece, “Kill Me,” that should have been the first track (instead of the auto-tune-heavy “17,” my least favorite of the bunch). Despite the heavy themes, this is a pop album and it, indeed, rocks, setting it apart from the cadre of depressing women singer/songwriters dominating indie these days like Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus. 

De Souza is backed by a great band with a great rhythm section, though the materials presented with the one-sheet don’t list the personnel and only says “While her backing band has undergone shifts between releases, her sound has stayed tethered to her vision.” So, who knows who will be backing her when she plays at Slowdown in October?

It does say Indigo produced the album herself, teaming up with executive producer Brad Cook (Bon Iver, Waxahatchee, The War on Drugs) and engineers/producers Alex Farrar and Adam McDaniel. The production is quite stellar. Rating: Yes.

Indigo De Souza, Any Shape You Take, comes out Aug. 27 on Saddle Creek Records. Pre-order the album 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 © 2021 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

Lazy-i

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.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

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.

. ) ) ) .

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?

. ) ) ) .

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.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

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.

. * * * .

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…

. * * * .

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.

. ( ( ( .

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.

. ) ) ) .

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.

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

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. 

. * * * . 

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. 

. * * * .

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. 

. * * * . 

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. 

* * *

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.

Lazy-i

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.”

* * *
.

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.

* * *
.

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.”

* * *

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.

Lazy-i