COVID-19 musician / fan resources; new Simon Joyner live album; Bandcamp, Saddle Creek deals; OWH on venues…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:09 pm March 19, 2020

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve got a few musician / fan resources to pass along, but first…

Simon Joyner released a new album today. Some Only Let the Jukebox Hear Them Weep (Live in Phoenix 2014) is an 11-song collection recorded in a living room with professional equipment. On this recording Simon’s band, The Ghosts Trio, consists of Kevin Donahue, Megan Siebe and Michael Krassner. You can buy a limited edition CDR of the set, in a screenprinted sleeve, right here via Bandcamp.

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BTW, Bandcamp is waiving its share of revenues on purchases made at the site tomorrow, March 20, so you may want to wait to order your copy or anything else via Bandcamp.

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From Saddle Creek Records: “We have gotten a lot of questions about how you can support artists who are being directly impacted by the current pandemic. One way to support artists is purchasing physical releases.”

To help, through the end of March Saddle Creek is offering a 15 percent discount on all orders (except preorders) with the code SUPPORT. Check it out here. That info came in an email that included links to organizations that help musicians in need. Here’s the list. Donate if you can.

Musicares – https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help
Sweet Relief – https://www.sweetrelief.org/covid-19-fund.html
American Federation of Musicians – https://www.afm.org/covid-19/

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Seattle radio station KEXP has a handy Guide for Artists and Fans to Support Music During the COVID-19 Outbreak. Lots of good resources, lots of tips for what you can do to help. Check it out.

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Kevin Coffey has a story in today’s Omaha World-Herald on COVID 19’s impact on local venues that includes some words from Slowdown’s Jason Kulbel and 1%’s Marc Leibowitz, check it out here.  Says Jason Kulbel in the story: “It’s just thing after thing after thing. We can’t wrap our heads around it. We’re just scrambling.

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Stay home, order take-out, help out if you can. We’ll get through it.

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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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Random Notes: New Twinsmith single; Pitchforkfest announced; labels’ new fast release schedules; new Bright Eyes tour dates (NOmaha…)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 7:58 am February 20, 2020

Twinsmith dropped a new single yesterday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Some catching up on items old and new…

Omaha band Twinsmith has a new single out called “Dreamer,” released on Silver Street Records. As lead singer Jordan Smith describes it, “The song concept is about someone struggling with an addiction and realizing their struggle, but how hard it is to snap out of it. We all know someone going through that.” The track was produced by James Fleege at Silver Street studios in Ashland and mastered by the master, Doug van Sloun at Focus. This follows the release of the 2019 single “Feels,” the band’s Silver Street debut after apparently leaving Saddle Creek Records. Check it out below:

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Welp, they announced the line-up for this year’s Pitchfork Festival yesterday. The dates are July 17-19. Headliners are Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Run the Jewels and The National. Also on board are former Saddle Creek act Big Thief, current Saddle Creek act Hop Along, Phoebe Bridgers, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten and the return of Fiery Furnaces. Three-day Pitchforkfest passes are $185, which is kinda/sorta a bargain in the festival game.

Why do I have a feeling one of the above-mentioned bands will also be at Maha this year?

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Saddle Creek Records A&R Director Amber Carew is among those interviewed in a Billboard article that dropped yesterday that talks about why indie artists are releasing music at a much faster pace these days.

She said in the old days when she was at ANTI- Records non-LP projects was frowned upon. From the article: “‘So let’s just keep writing until you have a full LP,’” she remembers hearing. “That was always a sentiment that was given to the artists, and that doesn’t come out of my mouth anymore.” It’s all about streaming. Read the epic-ly long article here.

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And Bright Eyes announced an expanded run of tour dates yesterday, but nothing announced in Omaha yet. I suspect there will be a Bright Eyes date here at some point…

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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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Big Thief leaves Saddle Creek for 4AD; Brothers closed until March 8…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:38 pm February 27, 2019

Big Thief’s next album, U.F.O.F., will be released May 3 on 4AD.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Received a bit of a shock yesterday when I looked at my email. There it was in the subject line: Big Thief Sign to 4AD, Announce New Album.

The press release copy: “U.F.O.F., F standing for ‘Friend,’ is the name of the highly anticipated third record by Big Thief, set to be released by 4AD on May 3.” The release goes on to describe the record, the recording process, the lyrics, as well as upcoming tour dates without once mentioning Saddle Creek Records, the label that released the band’s last two albums.

Via Twitter, Saddle Creek acknowledged the news. When @loosechange tweeted “BIG THIEF AREN’T ON SADDLE CREEK ANYMORE?” @saddlecreek responded with: “No, but it’s ok! We still love each other! Proud and excited to watch as they (gently and compassionately) take over the world. Everyone should hear their new song. It’s so good.

Gracious words indeed, but the fact remains that it had to hurt to lose Big Thief from the label’s roster. Just looking at their Spotify numbers, no other act signed to Saddle Creek over the past three years is nearly as popular, with Hop Along coming in a distant second.

I asked label chief Robb Nansel if Saddle Creek turned down Big Thief’s latest album or if 4AD out-spent them. His one-word response: “Neither.”

So what was the reason? Did Big Thief look at 4AD as a necessary step up from Saddle Creek or was it something else? I’m sure we’ll find out as the band begins to take interviews in support of the new record.

Meanwhile, Saddle Creek is busy promoting the new album by Hand Habits, Placeholder, which comes out this Friday.

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No rock shows tonight worth mentioning.

BTW, The Brothers is closed until March 8 according to Facebook! Wasn’t winter cold enough already?

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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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Hand Habits signs to Saddle Creek, new album March 1; Remember Sports tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:47 pm January 8, 2019

A screen cap from Hand Habits’ video for title track, “Placeholder.”

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Saddle Creek Record’s LA connections locked up yet another new artist for the label’s roster.

Hand Habits is the LA-based project of singer/songwriter Meg Duffy, who is also known as the guitarist for Kevin Morby’s touring band as well as her work with Erin Birgy (Mega Bog) and The War on Drugs.

Hand Habits’ debut album, Wildly Idle (Humble Before The Void), came out on Woodsist Records in 2017.  The band is shifting to Saddle Creek for their sophomore LP, placeholder, due out March 1.

Sayeth the press release: “Instrumentally, placeholder can be situated alongside some of Meg’s folk-adjacent contemporaries like Angel Olsen or Big Thief, and the guitar work on this album proves that Meg continues to be one of the finest young musicians working today.”

BTW, if the name sounds familiar it could be because Saddle Creek release a single by Hand Habits (“yr heart” b/w “Carpenter’s Daughter”) in the fall of 2017 as part of their Document Series.

Pre-orders  for placeholder (including for a very cool limited-to-250 colored vinyl version) are being taken now at the Saddle Creek Store.

Needless to say, Hand Habits will be touring this spring, including an April 1 date at The Slowdown.

Check out the video for the title track below.

And here’s half of that Document single:

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Philly-based self-proclaimed “basement rock” band Remember Sports has been playing their style of jangle-indie rock since 2012. Their latest, Slow Buzz, came out last year on Father/Daughter Records. Check ’em out tonight at Reverb Lounge. Label-mates Nadine opens at 8 p.m. $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 © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Music: Those Far Out Arrows, The Faint; I stand corrected…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:48 pm October 30, 2018

The Faint have a new song out on Saddle Creek. Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

“American Trap,” the second track from the upcoming Those Far Out Arrows album, Part Time Lizards, dropped yesterday.

Sayeth Arrows’ member Evan Keelan-White, via Anchr Magazine: “American Trap’ sends a clear message about what’s happening in our world today. There’s no hiding the content and the intentionality of the lyrics. We encourage everyone to avoid the American trap, which can manifest in unique ways from person to person. The ‘American dream’ has failed so many generations of Americans…lies, deceit, and broken promises.”

Part Time Lizards comes out via High Dive Records this Friday.

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If you haven’t heard by now, The Faint is back with a new track released via Saddle Creek Records called “Chameleon Nights.” With three dates slated for the balance of the year, could we see a new album by the lads in early 2019? Time will tell.

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I stand corrected for a statement made in yesterday’s blog post. I said the new Young Jesus album received the highest rating of any Saddle Creek Release from Pitchfork (BTW, I tried to confirm this Sunday night). Well yesterday the label reminded me Twitter that Big Thief’s Capacity album from last year earned an 8.3, while Hop Along’s Get Disowned, a reissue from 2016, earned an 8.5.

Who remembers the old days when Saddle Creek releases had to beg for anything above a 6?

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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What are the Libera Awards? Congrats to Saddle Creek…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:51 pm June 19, 2018

The Libera Awards is June 21 in New York. Saddle Creek band Big Thief is up for two.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Most people who I’ve talked to that listen to indie music don’t give a squat about awards. Let’s face it, indie music has never really been represented at The Grammy’s or anywhere else. Whenever I hear the Grammy nominations and see that everything being honored is pop-oriented I simply nod my head, knowingly. The Grammy’s are a marketing tool; they were never an indication of what’s good.

That said, I do follow award shows. I don’t know why, I guess I’m just a geek that way. So imagine my surprise to discover there is an awards program for indie music called The Libera Awards, which have been around since 2012.

Presented by American Association of Independent Music (or A2IM), the Libera Awards “exist to celebrate the successes of the independent music community – the artists that create the music and the labels that invest their heart, soul and money while using our experience and relationships to promote and monetize the music, thus furthering the artists’ careers and rewarding our fans with the diverse music that they love.”

Terrible mission statement, but we get it.

This year’s awards take place somewhere in New York June 21 as part of “Indie Music Week.” Among the nominees for album of the year is Big Thief’s last album, Capacity, which was released by Saddle Creek last year. Capacity also is nominated for Best American Roots and Folk Album. Congrats to Saddle Creek Records and Big Thief for the nominations.

Unfortunately Saddle Creek wasn’t among the nominees for Label of the Year, a category that comes in both “big” and “small” sizes. Saddle Creek falls into the “big” category as they have more then six employees.

Anyway, check out all the Libera Award nominees in this Billboard Magazine story and read about the role A2IM plays with Saddle Creek Records in my Saddle Creek at 25 story in the current issue of The Reader.

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Digital Leather ‘Headache Heaven’ drops on Bandcamp; Hop Along announces new record…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:55 pm January 23, 2018

Digital Leather, Headache Heaven (2018, self-release)

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The marketing plan for your typical album release these days can be drawn out over weeks, months, even sometimes a full year before the album actually comes out. We’re talking pre-release rumors followed by track leaks via online publications like Noisy or Brooklyn Vegan or NPR or via YouTube.

It’s all coordinated between the artist, the record label and the artist’s publicist (and booking agent). Media and others get pre-release tidbits attached to one-sheets and promo photos all announcing the upcoming drop date. Sometimes there’s a “trailer” video that previews the albums, like a movie trailer.

Finally, with as much hoopla as possible, the album finally drops. Sometimes the release is celebrated with the launch of an entire tour; other times it might be something as simple as an album release show. Regardless, all of these efforts are designed to create the biggest buzz possible, to attract attention to the new material to generate sales, downloads, streams.

Then there’s the way Digital Leather does it.

Yesterday via Facebook Digital Leather announced the release of a new 21-track album, available via Bandcamp, called Headache Heaven. The release was something of a surprise, to me at least.

I asked Shawn Foree via Facebook for any details about the album, like who else appears on it with him. “It’s just me,” he replied. “I’ve been working on it for quite a while (It’s 75 minutes long). Not much more to say. There will be a tape version later; just digital now.

So there you have the summation of his entire marketing campaign for Headache Heaven, which I’m listening to now. In this internet age, what more do you need?

Like Shawn said, you can buy it online from his Bandcamp page, here. A cassette version is forthcoming. Check out some preview tracks below.

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Then there’s the other side of the music marketing coin.

Hop Along, Bark Your Head Off, Dog (2018, Saddle Creek)

Yesterday Saddle Creek Records (or someone) leaked a video of someone playing a floppy (at least that’s what I used to call them) of a track from the upcoming Hop Along album, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, which comes out April 6. One assumes production of that floppy postcard alone cost more than Foree spent on his entire album.

Anyway, Bark Your Head Off… is a follow-up to the wildly successful 2015 release Painted Shut. The band also announced a national tour that kicks off May 1 (It’s a NOmaha affair, unfortunately).

 

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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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Wilder Maker is Saddle Creek’s second ‘Document’; Lincoln Calling announces 2017 line-up today…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:41 pm May 4, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Wilder Maker, “New Streets” b/w “Only Child” (2017, Saddle Creek)

First of all, I’m a sucker for record clubs. I belonged to the Sub Pop Singles club for years; I joined Matador’s record club for a short while, and now Saddle Creek is doing its version of a record club with its Document series, and so far, they’re two for two.

Says Saddle Creek: “The Document Series is comprised of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of Saddle Creek’s roster, along with a specially curated zine highlighting the artist’s hometown / music scene.

Brooklyn five-piece Wilder Maker has been around since 2012. Led by Gabriel Birnbaum, this is solid, tuneful songwriting (as you’ll hear when you listen to the  track, below). Call it pop indie, it has more in common with ’70s FM rock than anything on Sirius XMU, where it’s bound to get some airplay.

They’re apparently pals with Sam Evian, who recorded the tracks at his Figure 8 studio, which might explain the Saddle Creek connection, as Evian released his last album on Saddle Creek last year.

As is probably the intent, after buying the preorder, I checked out Wilder Maker’s last release, 2015’s Everyday Crimes Against Objects of Desire, Vol. III on Bandcamp, a sleepy six-song EP which bears little resemblance to the Saddle Creek single but is interesting in its own (perhaps too) laid-back way.

In addition to being more upbeat than the EP, the single features Katie Von Schleicher on lead vocals rather than Birnmaum’s growl-y voice. And so, Saddle Creek can add another to their list of strong female-fronted releases that includes Hop Along and break-out act Big Thief.

I’m kind of liking this one-at-a time (actually two-at-a-time) approach to physical releases. Would I like a full-length by Wilder Maker? Sure, if all the tracks were this good. I’m not sure if singles make economic sense for the label or the band (these singles clubs have a way of evaporating over time) but for me, good things come in small packages, sometimes.

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I have seen the initial line-up announcement for this year’s Lincoln Calling festival, which is slated for Sept. 28-30. You will be seeing it, too, sometime today, whenever Hear Nebraska decides to release it (probably any moment now). It is impressive. There are at least four Maha-quality headliners and a plethora of second-tier indie stars. Keep your eyes peeled to lincolncalling.com. Or just watch your social media feeds…

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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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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New Big Thief (on Saddle Creek); Dolores Diaz returns; 80/35 (ho-hum); Beach Slang, Minus the Bear, Doyle of the Misfits tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:32 pm April 5, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

This morning Saddle Creek announced it’ll be releasing the sophomore effort by Big Thief, Capacity, on June 9. Big Thief is one the more successful recent signings by the label, both critically and otherwise. I don’t know the sales numbers for the debut album, Masterpiece, but can tell you that the single “Paul” has more than 2 million spins on Spotify.

More good news: Big Thief will be returning to Omaha for a gig July 13, opening for Conor Oberst when he performs outside The Waiting Room on Military Ave., where Jake’s block parties are usually held. The last Big Thief show was at Lookout Lounge, opening for Yuck a year ago.

Check out the first video from the upcoming Big Thief album:

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Speaking of Oberst, his C&W cover band, Dolores Diaz and the Standby Club, is playing this Sunday night at The Slowdown. It’s a benefit for Justice For Our Neighbors-Nebraska and The Nebraska Cultural Endowment. Joining them is Icky Blossoms, High Up and a number of local speakers. The 7 p.m. show is $15, plus there will be a raffle for some sweet prizes. More info here.

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Des Moines’ 80/35 Festival posted its line-up yesterday and for me it was a bit of a blah. Headliners are Shins and MGMT. Have these acts risen to festival headliner status? I can’t imagine either selling out Sokol Auditorium.

There are a couple interesting support acts, however — A Giant Dog, Diarrhea Planet and ’70s-era Minneapolis new wave band The Suburbs, but other than that, a lot of head scratchers.

Meanwhile, the Maha Music Festival people have posted that tickets sales are stronger than years’ past, with VIP tix in short supply.

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There’s a big show tonight at The Slowdown. Omaha favorites Minus the Bear returns and they’re bringing Beach Slang with them along with Bayonne. $25, 8 p.m.

Also tonight, Doyle from The Misfits is playing at Lookout Lounge. Also on the bill are Element a440, The Beat Seekers, Before I Burn & DeadEchoes. $14, 7 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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Saddle Creek launches singles series w/Posse; NE-HI, Lucero tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:45 pm March 2, 2017

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I’ve practically begged Saddle Creek to launch a singles series for years, and today the label announced that it’s finally going to do it.

The Document Series will comprise of an exclusive record featuring unreleased music from artists outside of Saddle Creek’s roster, along with a specially curated ‘zine highlighting the artist’s hometown / music scene, according to the label.

We see Document as a unique way to reference our past, while at the same time reaching out to bands that aren’t already part of the Saddle Creek family and allowing them to shine a light on the art and music of their own communities,” says the press release. “It’s our way to try to capture a band and their community in a specific place at a specific time, and share that with the world.”

The first installment of the Document Series is the two-song Kismet 7” from Seattle’s Posse, to be released March 10. Other artists slated for the series include Palehound, Hand Habits and Wilder Maker. You can preorder the Posse 7-inch for $7.99 today from the Saddle Creek website.

Whereas I love this idea, there’s one vital component missing — the ability to subscribe to the releases. I’d like to pay one price and have a year’s worth of the series’ releases delivered to my door. Come on, dudes, offer a subscription service. I guess I’m never satisfied…

Find out more about Posse via this episode of Band in Seattle:

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Tonight at Reverb Lounge its Chicago garage band NE-HI. You read their Ten Questions interview yesterday. Opening the show is Nathan Ma & The Rosettes and Wrong Pets, the new project by Reagan Roeder. $10, 9 p.m.

Meanwhile, right around the corner at The Waiting Room, Lucero headlines with Esme Patterson. $25, 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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