T’was the week before Christmas; Matthew Sweet, Big Thief news…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 8:41 am December 18, 2023

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

It looks to be a very quiet week in terms of rock shows.  I’ll be posting the Lazy-i Year in Review later this week and the predictions for 2024 the following week, so look for them. In year’s past, they would have been published in The Reader, but, alas, The Reader is no more. A small group of former Reader writers/editors got together last Saturday night at The Admiral to send it off in style. What, if anything, will take its place in terms of arts and entertainment coverage for the Omaha area? 

From the in-box…

  • – Omahan Matthew Sweet (or at least I think he still lives here, he’s actually a Lincoln native who spent years in the East Coast but somehow ended up back in Omaha a few years ago), announced his first live concert dates in four years with a mini tour of the Midwest in February 2024, that includes Feb. 17 at The Waiting Room. The dates seem to support the release of a live album recorded at a 1993 concert at Chicago’s Grant’s Park. Strangely, the press release doesn’t say when that album will be released.  Tickets on sale now.
  • – Former Saddle Creek Records act Big Thief announced last week that they’re rereleasing their 2016 debut Masterpiece on 4AD Records in a remastered format. The album was a ground-breaker for the band and a real feather in Saddle Creek’s cap when it came out, but it appears the album’s rights have reverted back to the band and they’ve chosen to rerelease it at their new home. In fact, if you go to the Saddle Creek website you’ll notice the album is no longer available, but the follow-up – 2017’s Capacity — still is, along with a couple Big Thief singles and T-shirts. 

That’s it for now. 

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Read it and Weep: The Reader is gone… Can anything take its place?

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: — @ 7:15 am September 25, 2023

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

After spending decades writing a column, it was strange not having a deadline to meet this month. That’s because the September issue of The Reader is its last issue, as most of you know. 

And while there have been a few online tributes (most notably, this lengthy write-up in the Flatwater Free Press), to say the reaction has been “muted” is an understatement. 

John Heaston is the patriach of The Reader. His illness was a shock when first revealed; his fight to overcome it, an inspiration. That ongoing battle is the most important thing. I have no doubt John will win that battle and will be with us for decades to come. But it’s funny how something you assume will always be around, like The Reader, can go away so quickly. 

What’s the old saying: Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans. Those who know me know that my column and other writings for The Reader and this website are merely side hustles, and that I make a living working at Union Pacific, which has been sending me a paycheck since 1988. My “plan” was to devote my time to The Reader as a freelancer after I retire from the railroad, whenever that day would come. But here we are. 

So I wrote the following column, which was published in the final issue and which went online here yesterday morning, to gauge interest in creating a new, more focused arts and entertainment weekly; a publication that unlike The Reader, would have no hard news or investigative reporting — The Flatwater Free Press provides that along with the Nebraska Examiner and what’s left of the Omaha World-Herald

Some (or many) might argue the idea of a printed publication is outdated in the smart phone/social media/digital era, and they may be right. Certainly the industry trend would point that way. Still…

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A Goodbye and a Modest Proposal

An argument for a weekly, printed arts and entertainment publication.

by Tim McMahan

So this is it, my last column written for The Reader.

The first installment of this column was dated Dec. 2, 2004. It focused on a young singer/songwriter named Willy Mason who few if any people remember. More than 600 (700? 800?) installments followed in different iterations, all with the same common denominator — they were published in newspapers run by John Heaston.

John is an Omaha hero, there is no other word for it. No single individual has done more for independent journalism than John. He’s kept this beautiful paper going longer than anyone thought he could. The Reader is now being put to rest for all the right reasons. Thank you, John, for everything you’ve done for this city and for journalism. Now it’s time to focus on a more important fight, which everyone knows you’ll win.

The demise of another printed newspaper shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who has followed the industry’s eradication over the past 20 years with the rise of social media. U.S. newspapers die at a rate of two per week, according to a 2021 report by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. According to the report, 360 newspapers have shut down since the end of 2019, all but 24 of them weeklies serving small communities.

In addition to losing The Reader, we’ve all watched as the once mighty Omaha World-Herald continues to dwindle into a thin ghost of its formal self. And while its Husker football coverage remains first rate, among its casualties is its arts and entertainment reporting.

The irony, of course, is that Omaha’s arts and entertainment community is enjoying a much needed renaissance. We’ve seen hundreds of millions of dollars invested in new performance venues, including Steelhouse, The Admiral and The Astro. There are more music venues now than ever before. Omaha’s arts scene also is in full bloom with new art galleries opening monthly, not to mention the millions of dollars going into a remodeled and expanded Joslyn Museum. On top of that, Omaha is becoming renowned for its culinary offerings. Restaurants new and old are getting the attention of national food critics.

Now, maybe more than ever, Omaha needs an arts and entertainment publication to not only cover what’s happening, but also to provide a critical voice to tell us what’s worth seeking out.

And so, with apologies to Jonathan Swift, here’s a modest proposal for keeping critical journalism alive in Omaha:

We need a weekly, printed arts and entertainment publication. This free paper would cover music, art, film, food and theater. Each issue would include a feature for each section as well as reviews and a curated show/events calendar. In addition, a page would be dedicated to commentary and letters to the editor, because, let’s face it, it’s one thing to see your comments on Facebook and quite another to see them printed in a newspaper.

The paper would be funded by advertising from all these new and existing performance venues, galleries and restaurants (and anyone else willing to fork over some cash), which would also serve as distribution points for the paper, along with other businesses.

The editorial content would be powered by freelance contributors, including some of the writers, critics and photographers who wrote for this very paper. That team would split whatever money is left after printing and distribution costs were covered.

The paper would start small and only grow as needed. OK, but a printed paper?

The key to making it work is to provide content so compelling that people would seek it out and pick it up. But even then, in an age when you can simply scan news on your smartphone, why would people want to read old-fashioned printed words?

The fact is, folks are returning to analog media in droves. The growth in vinyl record sales, for example, is no secret, even though music is freely available online. Sales of printed books also is on the rise despite novels being available digitally. Heck, Barnes & Noble recently announced it’s opening 30 new book stores in the wake of record U.S. book sales in 2021, according to NPR.

So in addition to those analog examples, what would it take for people to also value a printed weekly publication? Are there enough readers and businesses left to support such a bold initiative? You tell me.

Honestly, a big part of this idea is purely selfish. As a writer, there’s something special and permanent about seeing your words printed on paper. It represents an investment in your ideas much more than seeing those words on a website or in the transient, noisy world of social media.

But more than that, the loss of The Reader is a gut punch to an arts culture that desperately needs an honest critical outlet not only to guide consumers but to provide feedback to the artists, musicians, chefs, thespians and filmmakers who make it thrive. AI and ChatGPT may someday replace news reporting, but it will never replace honest critical writing. Only a human can tell another human what s/he liked or didn’t like, and why.

So goodbye, Reader. Thanks for the memories. Here’s hoping something rises like a phoenix from your ashes for all of us to see, read and hold in our hands.

You can read Tim McMahan’s music and arts writing at his blog website, www.lazy-i.com. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

First published in The Reader, September 2023. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


New Uh Oh; Pretenders mini-tour; hits and misses; Wanted: Your memories of The Reader…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:42 am July 20, 2023
Omaha band Uh Oh has dropped a new single.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

There’s been very little to report this week indie music wise. I’ll tick through the few things in the ol’ inbox:

Joe Champion from the indie band Uh Oh dropped me a line to say the band has dropped two new songs on Bandcamp and is releasing two songs per month for the next four months, in a series called “Cicada Songs.” 

Check out “Gold at the End” b/w “A Line in Your Book” at their Bandcamp page

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An epilogue to last week’s trip to 7th St. Entry in Minneapolis… I mentioned how small the venue was — though it has a capacity of 250 (according to wiki) it felt pretty tight when just a hundred or so people were there to see Blondshell. 

Well, yesterday The Pretenders announced their upcoming tour, which is targeting “smaller venues across America.” Among them is 7th St. Entry, where the band will perform Sept. 7. I can’t imagine how that’ll go. It would be like seeing The Pretenders play at Reverb Lounge or Slowdown Jr.

BTW, this tour follows a short stadium tour where The Pretenders are opening for Guns ’n’ Roses.

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A few indie tours have been announced, two coming here, two passing us by:


  • – Canadian folkies Great Lake Swimmers are playing The Slowdown Nov. 2; while Squirrel Flower will return to Reverb Lounge early next year – Jan. 21.


British band Yard Act, whose debut album The Overload was a favorite from a year or so ago, announced a new single and a fall U.S. Headline Tour. Closest passes:

  • – Wed. Sep. 13 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line
  • – Thu. Sep. 14 – Madison, WI @ The Terrace at University of Wisconsin
  • – Fri. Sep. 15 – Chicago, IL @ Riot Festival

Low Cut Connie is on the verge of releasing their new album, Art Dealers, on Sept. 8. They’ll be on the road touring it, but their closest passes to Omaha are:

  • – Oct. 6 – Madison, WI – Majestic Theater
  • – Oct. 7 – Minneapolis – First Avenue
  • – Oct. 14 – Chicago – Thalia Hall

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Hey bands and musicians…

As you’re probably aware (or maybe you aren’t), everyone’s favorite local arts and entertainment monthly, The Reader, will be dropping its last issue ever in September. That issue will be dedicated to the newspaper’s legacy, and you can help tell the story.

The Reader is looking for readers to contribute their memories of the paper:

Be they funny, sad, weird or intriguing, your experiences have kept us going since 1994. And for our final issue, we want to commemorate what this paper has meant to so many people.”

Your contributions are being accepted now through early August. Got a Reader story to tell or just an appreciation of how the paper helped you out or for what John Heaston and his team have done over the past 30 years? You can submit it right here. Help celebrate the end of an Omaha tradition…

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


An unexpected farewell: The Reader calls it quits; Say Hi tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 7:40 am May 31, 2023

by Tim McMahan. Lazy-i.com

I’m not entirely sure when I first started writing for The Reader. I know it was after the launch of its predecessor publication, which was going strong at the same time I was covering Omaha’s music scene for the regional magazine, The Note, published out of Lawrence, Kansas. Somewhere along he way, that predecessor publication became The Reader at around the same time The Note folded after its editor/publisher discovered he was losing a few thousand dollars with every issue published. 

The transition to working for The Reader was seamless; and I carried on covering Omaha (and national) indie bands and musicians through cover stories, features, reviews and columns, all while holding down my real gig at Union Pacific, wondering if someday I would leave the corporate world and take on more responsibilities at The Reader, never doubting the publication would be around forever.

Well, friends, yesterday the gut punch came a-punching, as editor/publisher John Heaston announced The Reader will quit publication after its September issue. You can read all the details in this letter from the editor, but the short of it is that John needs to focus on something more important than deadlines and ad sales. 

Reaction to the news has been extreme, ranging from “This will cripple the Omaha arts scene!” to “I thought they quit publishing years ago.” For those who have escaped into social media and left behind formal, locally produced journalistic publications, the loss of The Reader will hardly be noticeable, just like the loss of the Omaha World-Herald, which really died when Buffett sold it out years ago. 

But for those who run art galleries, produce plays, record albums, make films or partake in the products of all those endeavors, the loss of The Reader will be something more profound. In a metro (and surrounding area) whose population exceeds a million — a city currently experiencing an explosion in the growth of music venues, with a nationally recognized food culture and a globally recognized indie music record label — it’s both strange and unfortunate that there are no arts and entertainment publications covering it. With the loss of The Reader, that void will become even more noticeable. 

So say your goodbyes. I know I will. On top of everything else, I’ve written a column for The Reader continually since December 2004 – a little over 18 years. And while I’ve sweated them deadlines, I’ll also miss them along with the opportunity to share my voice and opinions in a print publication. I know there will be other places to publish my words. But will those words be forged with ink on paper? 

After more than 30 years of editing and publishing, Mr. Heaston deserves his chance to focus on the most important things in life. Maybe it’s time for someone else to step up and continue telling the story of Omaha’s creative class…

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Just a reminder that indie artist Say Hi is performing tonight at a home somewhere in Dundee. If you’re freaked out about going to a house show, bring a friend along. The two of you can share in the awkwardness and who knows, you might might meet some new friends. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. Upon receipt you’ll be sent the secret address. The music starts at 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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Translating Maha (in the column); Who is Water from Your Eyes (Saturday w/Snail Mail)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 7:41 am April 5, 2023
Water from Your Eyes at Reverb Dec. 4, 2022. The band opens for Snail Mail at The Slowdown Saturday.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The April issue of The Reader is out and it includes a tongue-in-cheek RIYL column about Maha. The copy editor at The Reader didn’t know RIYL meant Recommended If You Like and took it out of the headline, which I guess I get but isn’t the purpose of headlines to grab people’s attention? Anyway, in addition to being in print the column is online here. Fun!

Much in the same vein as that column, a friend of mine asked me about this Saturday’s Snail Mail concert at Slowdown, specifically, who is Water from Your Eyes? It sounds like the perfect name for an emo band, but they’re anything but emo. 

Recently signed to Matador Records, the Brooklyn duo consists of Rachel Brown and synther / guitarist Nate Amos (This is Lorelei) and is described as “experimental pop music that’s pretty and violent, raw and indelible” which makes one think of art-infected ninjas bearing Sharpees. 

They’re last album, Structure, was released on Wharf Cat in 2021, which apparently caught Matador’s attention, who will release Everyone’s Crushed May 26. 

I had the good fortune of being among the dozen people who caught Water from Your Eyes when they opened for Palm this past December at Reverb. 

From the review of that show

The duo of vocalist Rachel Brown and guitarist Nate Amos were joined by a third person on guitar and were backed by some thumping rhythm tracks. If you’d fallen across the duo’s past recordings, like 2019’s Somebody Else’s Song (Exploding in Sound Records) or even 2021’s artier Structure (Wharf Cat) you would have been ill-prepared for the sound barrage of last night’s set. 

At the heart of it was deep, blaring pre-recorded synths joined by Amos’ acidic, feedback-drenched guitar that interlaced with Brown’s untouched, unprocessed vocals that sounded like your little sister singing along to art-damaged post-punk. Harsh, throbbing sonic textures repeated trancelike with the second guitar providing counter riffs. 

The evening’s highlight was a brittle interpretation of “Adeleine,” a track from Somebody Else’s Song, reinterpreted with rough synths and guitar, barely recognizable compared to the original, but a better fit in what turned out to be one of my favorite sets I’ve seen this year. 

They were, indeed, somewhat awesome and are worth the price of Saturday night’s show by themselves.

Here’s their latest single. Get tix while you can…

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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 © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Chatting with the Alien (in the column); Lincoln Exposed begins tonight…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 3:54 pm February 19, 2023

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Feb. 9, 2023 – The February issue of The Reader is on newsstands (or so I’m told) and within its pages is the following column wherein I ask ChatGPT about the Omaha music scene. You can read it online at The Reader website right here, or you can read below, where its included for posterity’s sake. 

Tonight is the kick-off of the 18th anniversary of Lincoln Exposed. Check out the line-up and get ticket info here

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Chatting with Our Inevitable Replacement

The Reader, February 2023

Omaha, Nebraska, has a vibrant and diverse music scene, with a mix of local and national acts performing in venues throughout the city. The city is home to several music venues, including the Slowdown, The Waiting Room, and the Holland Performing Arts Center. These venues host a variety of music genres, including rock, indie, hip-hop, electronic, and jazz.

Thus began my chat with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. What, pray tell, is ChatGPT? It’s a computer-based “answering machine” that interacts in a conversational way, but unlike other chatbots, it not only provides answers, but it also admits its mistakes, challenges incorrect premises and rejects inappropriate requests. And it does all this by tapping into its own data in its “neural network” rather than searching the web. I guess you could say it “thinks.”

ChatGPT doesn’t just write simple phrases, it composes full essays as if written by a human being, but with much better grammar (certainly better than mine). Think of it as a HAL 9000 computer with better manners.

Since its launch in November, ChatGPT has been used to write everything from poetry to movie scripts, even to write songs in the style of Nick Cave. It’s like a deep fake for literature. In fact, the program has proven to be a headache in the academic world. Axios reports ChatGPT is being used by some dodgy college students to write term papers … and getting away with it. They call it Chat Cheating.

Algorithmic journalism — or robot journalism — is nothing new. There’s a good chance the financial report, earnings review, even the recap of last night’s Knicks game was written by a robot. Writing stats-based stories is kind of robotic by its very nature, but could ChatGPT write fluently about art and culture — or, for that matter, local music?

To find out, I pulled up chat.openai.com on my Mac, created an account and began asking questions about the Omaha music scene. The initial responses were somewhat mundane and not much different than a Wiki search. Like anything else, I tended to skip over what it got right and zoomed in on the mistakes.

For example, it listed The Hive among the city’s “several independent music venues” alongside The Waiting Room, O’Leaver’s, the Slowdown and Reverb. The Hive has been closed for years and was never an indie music venue. It listed Hear Nebraska as a top source for indie music news, though that website hasn’t been active since 2017. When it didn’t list Lazy-i.com among the city’s indie blogs, it apologized, and later listed Tim McMahan as “a notable figure in the Omaha music scene.” Hear! Hear! Clearly this is Machine Learning at its finest.

As the discussion went on, ChatGPT began crafting its answers around what it presumed were my preferences, ignoring a broader view of Omaha music. Asked “What are some of the best bands in Omaha?” ChatGPT listed Bright Eyes, Cursive, The Faint, The Good Life, Ladyfinger (ne), The Mynabirds and O+S. Most of those bands haven’t released new music in a decade. Asked to list the best non-indie bands, it came up with 311, Saddle Creek Records, The Decatures, The Hottman Sisters, Big Harp, Digital Leather and Icky Blossoms — some of which are inactive or no longer living in Omaha.

But it got weirdly accurate when asked to list the “worst things about Omaha’s music scene.” ChatGPT’s answers ranged from “Limited exposure: Omaha is not a major music industry hub” to “Omaha has limited opportunities for local bands to perform” to “Omaha is not a main destination for touring bands.” Where was it getting this information?

Conversely, when asked how Omaha could improve its music scene, ChatGPT turned into a sage. Among its seven-point plan:

  1. By providing more funding and resources to local bands and venues, Omaha could help to support and grow the local music scene. This could include things like grants, low-interest loans, and tax incentives for music-related businesses.
  2. By working to develop an industry infrastructure, Omaha could help to connect local bands and venues with agents, managers, and other industry professionals who can help them take their careers to the next level. This could include things like music conferences, networking events, and mentorship programs.
  3. By promoting the Omaha music scene to a national and international level, the city could help to draw more attention to the local music scene and attract more visitors to the city. This could include things like hosting music festivals, creating a music-themed tourist trail, and working with local media outlets to promote the scene.

Further points included encouraging diversity, developing more affordable housing, encouraging collaboration and networking, and increasing education and mentorship opportunities. It’s hard to fault any of the robot’s suggestions, which leads me to believe at the very least that ChatGPT could replace our local politicians after it replaces our local music writers.

Over The Edge is a monthly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on culture, society, music, the media and the arts. Email Tim at tim.mcmahan@gmail.com.

First published in The Reader, February 2023. Copyright © 2023 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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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 em


Soundtrack to a Pandemic (the top 40 Nebraska recordings 2020); Flight School, Lightning Stills, Simon Joyner new music…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:02 pm December 4, 2020
Some artwork for the top Nebraska releases in 2020.

So Bandcamp Friday (today) is the day in which you can purchase downloads via Bandcamp, and all the money goes to the artists because Bandcamp is waiving their cut. With that in mind, I pushed online my column in this month’s issue of The Reader. It’s a listing of 40 Nebraska recordings released during this, the Year of Our Covid 2020. Included in the story are links to all 40 recordings on Bandcamp, wherein you can buy, download and listen to the best our state has to offer.

You know, The Reader didn’t do a “music issue” this year, and as such, didn’t publish a Reader Top 20 (and the next whatever). This list of 40 releases is as good as it gets considering no one was out performing or touring this year. These artists threw their wares to the masses anyway, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to support their album releases with live shows.

With that in mind GO TO THE STORY NOW and check out the list, click through the links and download/buy some music and support local area artists while hearing some damn fine sounds. Another way to help the artists out is by sharing The Reader story on your social media channels so others can discover what we already know.

Couple more things…

Flight School is a musical project of studio engineer/musician/genius Ian Aeillo. Ian doesn’t like it when I call him a genius, he thinks I’m funnin’ him, no matter how many times I tell him I’m not. The guy just can’t take a compliment. Fact is, Ian was involved in a number of the 40 recordings I mentioned in my Reader column.

Anyway, this morning, Flight School dropped its latest digital full-length effort, This Will Get You There. It’s 21 songs Ian wrote for his favorite vocalists, none of which sing on any of the tracks, leaving you with just Ian’s fine instrumental music. I asked him to list the “favorite vocalists” on the Bandcamp page so we could try to guess who went with which song, but he wasn’t having it. Buy/download/listen here.

Also online today, Lightning Stills (a.k.a. Craig Fort and band) released his entire debut EP Sings His Songs, which wasn’t expected to drop for awhile, but this being Bandcamp Friday, he said ‘what the heck.’ Check out the recording here, buy and download!

And for one day only (today), Simon Joyner is making available for download at Bandcamp Ten Songs (Home Demos for 2021 Album). These are demos recorded on his phone over the past few months that he’ll use as reference while working on songs, but the sound quality is hella good (certainly better than those early Sing Eunichs! recordings!). Go, buy, download here.

That’s it. If you’re going out, wear a mask (as if I had to tell you that!). Have a great weekend!

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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.


Shawn Foree (Digital Leather) interview (in The Reader), second DL single drops…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:58 pm August 13, 2020
A still from the “King of Idiots,” the new single/video by Digital Leather.

I picked up the August issue of The Reader while I was also picking up a pizza last night at La Casa. This month’s Over the Edge column is an interview / story with Shawn Foree of Digital Leather, where he talks about his new album, New Wave Gold (out next month on No Coast Records) and life during the pandemic (and testing positive for COVID-19), among other things.

Foree’s new album is my favorite since 2009’s Warm Brother (Fat Possum Records) and has a similar detailed feel to the recording, which you can get a gander at by listening to the second single, whose video dropped yesterday — that is if it’s still online. The first video was yanked by YouTube copy write police a few days after it went online, presumably due to the stolen footage used (and there appears to be plenty in this new video as well).

Anyway, read the story in the printed version of The Reader (People do still read printed stuff, don’t they?) or go to the online version right 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


A Brief History of Nebraska Indie (in The Reader); Lupines, The Shaky Calls tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 12:44 pm March 19, 2019

The music calendar in the May 6, 1997, issue of The Reader.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The Reader is celebrating 25 years in its March issue, on newsstands now. I was assigned to write a brief history of the music scene over the past 25 years, which just went online today.

As the story’s intro explains, the piece focuses on Nebraska’s indie scene from the perspective of my coverage over the past 25 years, and hence, is in no way comprehensive. BJ has a piece that focuses on Omaha’s blues history, and Houston Wiltsey has a piece from his perspective as a newer (two years?) music reporter.

Anyway, check it out. It’s a fun, and rather brief, read considering the ground that needed to be covered.

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Tonight Omaha garage rock giants Lupines return to fabulous O’Leaver’s. Joining them are Bismark, ND band The Shaky Calls, who describe their sound as low-fi rock ‘n’ roll — that’s a pretty apt description based on this Bandcamp recording. Putter & Co. open at 9 p.m. $5.

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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.


The Reader’s Top 20 Omaha Bands list; First Aid Kit tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , — @ 1:38 pm June 13, 2018

First Aid Kit at The Waiting Room, June 2, 2014. The band plays tonight at Sokol Auditorium.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

The June issue of The Reader is on newsstands somewhere (I have yet to find one) and is also online (here). Included is the annual Top 20 bands list, derived from music staff input (which isn’t reflected in the story, but is how it happened). The list is limited to Omaha bands, which was pretty much the case for years’ past (actually, The Reader forgot to publish the list last year, come to think of it, and you were stuck with just my list).

You can read the 2018 list by flipping to page 32 on the print or the electronic edition. With two exceptions, my personal list matches theirs, though I would have also included Closeness, Jason Steady and Digital Leather, all of whom released new recordings in the past year and have played/toured, etc. Who would I have dropped from The Reader‘s list? I’m not sayin’…

This isn’t a “best of” list as much as list of favorite bands that were active in the past 12 months either through touring, performing and/or recording. What does it mean when a publication says something is the “best” anyway?

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The last time First Aid Kit came through town was at The Waiting Room in 2014 (review of that one here.)(Although First Aid Kit’s Klara Söderberg did make a special guest appearance on an Omaha stage in 2016 as a member of The Standby Club…). The band’s fanbase has continued to grow to the point where tonight they’re playing at Sokol Auditorium. If you like great harmonies, you’ll love this show — no one does it better. Opener JS Ondara is from Minneapolis by way of Nairobi. $30, 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 © 2018 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.