New Erie Choir (ex-Sorry About Dresden); CLOSENESS covers Will Oldham…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 2:37 pm April 16, 2020

by Tim McMahan,

Erie Choir, Starlight Veins EP (2020, Potluck)

Ah, to have been in Chapel Hill this past January to see the remaining members of Sorry About Dresden play a reunion for the Cat’s Cradle 50th anniversary — a once-in-a-lifetime event. Ex-Dresden-er Eric Roehrig now of band Erie Choir mentioned that concert in a letter about EC’s upcoming EP (which I’ll get to in a minute), saying not only were the three remaining Sorry About Dresden members performing that night, but that Tim Kasher of Cursive and Jason Sieling of Weld and a handful of others were there to sing some of the late, great Matt Oberst’s songs. There’s video out there on YouTube if you’re interested (and you should be).

Anyway, all of that was an aside to the news that Erie Choir has a new 4-song EP on CD and vinyl (2-song 7-inch) coming out April 24 called Starlight Veins on Potluck Records. The band is Roehrig, fellow Sorry About Dresden alumnus James Hepler, Bob Wall and Jack Watson.

“The song ‘Night Junction’ references some of the Dres’ mishaps that occurred in Indiana, including a broken transmission that prevented us from playing Omaha with Cursive and others for the Ugly Organ (I think?) release show,” Roehrig said.

Check it out below:

How and where you can buy this EP wasn’t mentioned in the email (Come on, Eric!), but I have to believe it’ll be available from the band’s Bandcamp page (eventually?) or through Potluck or the usual streaming outlets…

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This floated up on my Instagram feed — its Todd & Orenda Fink of CLOSENESS covering Will Oldham’s “I See a Darkness.” The masked man in the background on the pedal steel is none other than Jason Steady. They’re all living out in the desert near Joshua Tree, where dust never sleeps…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


New Erie Choir (ex-Sorry About Dresden); new Phoebe Bridgers video features Oberst (she’s coming to O’Leaver’s in April)…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , — @ 1:16 pm December 21, 2017

Conor does a soft shoe in Phoebe Bridgers’ new video.

by Tim McMahan,

Catching up on some news, fans of Saddle Creek Records band Sorry About Dresden take note that Eric Roehrig’s follow-up band, Erie Choir, has a new album out.

Some background: After a pair of self-released EP’s and a few lineup changes, Sit-n-Spin Records released Slighter Awake in 2006; 11 years later the follow up, Old Rigs, was released on Potluck Records last month.

The album is a solid collection of folk-rock reminiscent of classic Big Star. The lyrics are a reflection of the trials and tribulations of band life. According to the one-sheet: “In 2016, Roehrig and drummer James Hepler’s long-time Sorry About Dresden bandmate Matt Oberst passed away. While all the songs on Old Rigs were written prior to his death, the album’s meditation on friendship and loss serve in some small way as a tribute to their friend.

Check it out at Bandcamp, where you can also buy your copy.

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LA singer-songwriter Phoebe Bridgers released a new video for the single “Would You Rather,” a duet with Conor Oberst that appears on her latest album, Stranger in the Alps (2017, Dead Oceans). Conor shows up in the video dressed in cowboy gear and does a weird hoe-down dance that’s oddly inappropriate considering the songs’ somewhat dark lyrics. Fun!

Bridgers was just featured last week in a glowing LA Times profile and is headed out on a massive world tour in February that brings her to fabulous O’Leaver’s April 7.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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.


#TBT: Sorry About Dresden from 2003; Dark Seas, Pony Farm tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 12:58 pm July 9, 2015

by Tim McMahan,

What ever happened to Sorry About Dresden?

Turns out Let It Rest, which brought them to Omaha in 2003, would be the band’s swan song, though according to Wiki they released a 7-inch split with The Jaguar Drop in 2006 and contributed to a Guided by Voices tribute album in 2011. They also contributed to a 2004 Will Oldham tribute album. The last update at their official website is dated Feb. 19, 2008. And then there’s this YouTube video, also from 2008. The only member who appears to have remained active musically is James Hepler, who joined I Was Totally Destroying It. That band’s most recent EP, Blood on the Beach, came out in 2013 on Greyday Records.

Dresden’s more tuneful emo-indie style never caught on in a big way, though they’re among my favorites from the early Saddle Creek Records days. So on this Throwback Thursday, from July 9, 2003…

Sorry About Dresden takes flight circa 2003.

Sorry About Dresden takes flight circa 2003.

Sorry About Dresden: Rooting for the Home Team

July 9, 2003 –

“I don’t think you can ever really escape Omaha, and I mean that both in a good way and a bad way,” says Sorry About Dresden guitarist / vocalist Matt Oberst.

Somehow, the Omaha native has managed to escape the confines of the city itself, relocating to North Carolina seven years ago, along with former SAD bassist Matt Tomich (we’ll explain the “former” comment in a minute) to become a teacher as well as part of the then-burgeoning N.C. music scene.

Oberst says his Omaha roots influence his approach to music and the business. “People who leave Omaha still have this home-team ethic going for them, which is stronger than in any other community,” he said. “When they find out that a band has connections to Omaha, they just want to help them out.”

It was an Omaha connection that helped draw Tomich and Oberst together. The two first talked about forming Sorry About Dresden at a January 1997 Commander Venus concert (a band in which Oberst’s brother, Conor, sang lead) in Chapel Hill. Tomich introduced Oberst to drummer James Hepler and guitarist/vocalist Eric Roehrig, both North Carolina natives. Six months later, the four played their first gig at a local club.

So is Tomich’s recent decision to leave the band a shock? Not really, Oberst said. “Matt turned 30 and decided he’d rather do other things than drive around in a van and be in the same bar in a different city every night,” he said. “I’m telling people he’s pursuing a solo acting career.”

Oberst said Tomich felt that the timing was right for his departure. With the tour that brings SAD to Sokol Underground July 15, the band will have finished crossing the country supporting their most recent release, Let It Rest. “That means we’ll be taking a little time off to work on new songs,” Oberst said. “I don’t think we’ll be touring in earnest again until next spring.”

Stepping in at bass is Finn Cohen, an old friend of the band and former guitarist for The White Octave. “Hopefully he’ll want to become a full-fledged member,” Oberst said. “With his songwriting skills, he would bring a whole lot to the band.”

But can anyone ever really replace Tomich? Oberst says the band lost more than a bass player, they lost a figurehead. “He’s one of those people who knows someone in every city,” Oberst said. “We’d be in a subway in New York City and someone would walk up to him and say, ‘Matt, is that you?’ He’s the figurehead that everyone knows, and in that sense, it’s sad that he’s leaving.”

With Let It Rest, Tomich goes out on a high note. Released earlier this year as the follow-up to their Saddle Creek Records debut, the CD perfectly melds bone-jarring, over-the-top indie rock with the band’s fist-pumping anthem style. The sound is more-varied than earlier releases, constantly straddling that fine line between punk and pop.

“We do ‘abrasive’ very well, but we can’t do the Sonic Youth ‘interesting noise’ thing for very long. That’s not our strength as a band.” Oberst said. “You can sit and strum most Sorry About Dresden songs on acoustic guitar. They have that singer/songwriter structure. We take those pretty pop songs and, at times, tear them up. We destroy what we build. I like the freedom of having those sing-along anthems right along with the quiet songs.”

SAD also has the distinction of being one of the more uplifting acts on a label that has its share of stark, angry bands. Oberst says he and Roehrig approach songwriting like putting together a collection of short stories rather than the more thematic approach taken by bands such as Cursive.

“My perspective is very skewed,” he said. “The first band I was in was with Tim Kasher and Matt Maginn. I grew up with Conor and listening to Norman Bailer which became The Faint. I’ve watched as all the bands on the label have sort of grown into their voice. They are coming into their own to do what they do very well.”

He said being lumped in with such a group of high-quality song writers is a distinct advantage. “Being on Saddle Creek, you can call up a club and they will book you immediately. It’s great,” he said. “To some degree, we’ll always be the new band on Saddle Creek because we’re not part of that core Holy Trinity. In that sense, people’s opinions of us are stronger one way or another than they would be if we were on a different label. There’s a set of preconceptions people have about you due to the label and who you are. You’re constantly asked if you’ve lived up to your potential.”

But maybe the biggest advantage to being on Saddle Creek, Oberst said, is working with people you know and trust. “We have a record label we can call up and deal with as friends, not some monolithic organization,” he said. “It’s nice to be part of that family.”

–Lazy-i, July 9, 2003

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A few shows happening tonight.

SLC drug/surf-rock band Dark Seas headlines at Midtown Art Supply, 2578 Harney St. Joining them are local bands Black Finger Cult (Brian Tait among them) and Calm Fur.  This is listed as a 7 p.m. show, $5.

Also tonight Brooklyn’s Pony Farm opens for White Wolf T-Shirt and Buffalo Sex Change at The Barley Street Tavern. $5, 9 p.m.

And the Under the Radar Festival continues. Tonight it’s at The Joslyn, Bancroft Street Market and House of Loom. Details and schedule here.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.