Hear Nebraska drops daily news; Lincoln’s Vega to close…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:55 pm December 28, 2017

Lincoln’s old Royal Grove sign…

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I told you to expect changes at Hear Nebraska. Yesterday HN’s Andrew Stellmon announced that the organization’s website no longer will be covering music news, at least on a daily basis.

The site has provided daily local music news updates for the past few years. Now with the merger of Hear Nebraska and Lincoln’s The Bay to form Rabble Mill, HN is slightly altering its mission.

Under Rabble Mill, we will still work to highlight and build-up Nebraska’s culture, and that most certainly includes music as well as art, skateboarding and other creative endeavors,” Stellmon wrote. “This time, everything will focus on youth, from those executing coverage and learning valuable skills to the stories they tell.

What does that mean for Hear Nebraska dot org? Aside from a couple more pieces this week and two Good Living Tour stories early next year, the site will stop publishing for a time.”

I’ve had people ask me if this marks the end of Hear Nebraska. I think it might mark the end of HN as we knew it. Time will tell what the organization looks like in the future beyond not reporting music news daily. I don’t know if HN will continue to maintain its online gig calendar or cover rock shows via photography, though I’ve asked. I’ll let you know when I know.

I’m going to miss seeing all those bright, shiny Hear Nebraska faces at gigs with their cameras. HN was a good place to promote upcoming shows; the calendar (if it is, indeed, gone) will be missed. As for their show coverage, there’s a limit to what can be done creatively with gig photos — after awhile they all began to look the same. And HN writers kind of had their hands tied when it came to reporting shows for fear of offending a performer. HN — like SLAM Omaha before it — is all about supporting local music, not critiquing it.

In this Facebook era we live in, do we really need a website that provides daily local music news? Maybe, maybe not. Regardless, Lazy-i will continue to cover local and national indie music, be it on a daily basis or otherwise…

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More news yesterday…

Lincoln music venue Vega announced via its Facebook page that it’s closing for good after its New Year’s Eve show. The Mardocks — Eli and Carrie — are instead redirecting their efforts to the old Royal Grove property, which has been around since the 1930s. The new Royal Grove’s grand opening is Jan. 25, featuring a performance by DJ Darude. With a capacity of around 1,000, will Royal Grove also book some of the larger touring indie bands? Time will tell…

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Lazy-i Best of 2017

Speaking of news, did you miss the announcement about the Lazy-i Best of 2017 Comp CD?

The collection includes my favorite indie tunes I’ve come across throughout last year as part of my tireless work as a music critic for Lazy-i. Among those represented: SUSTO, David Nance, King Krule, Sheer Mag, Alvvays, LCS Soundsystem, Beck, Lupines, Uranium Club and lots more. The full track listing is here, or take a listen if you have Spotify.

So the big news is you, too, could win a copy of the CD. To enter, either: 1. Send an email with your mailing address to tim.mcmahan@gmail.com, or 2) Write a comment on one of my Lazy-i related posts in Facebook, or 3) Retweet a Lazy-i tweet. You also can enter by sending me a direct message in Facebook or Twitter. Hurry, contest deadline is midnight Jan. 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 © 2017 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


U2 didn’t just give away their CD; Lincoln Calling (initial) line-up announced; Noah’s Ark in the park, Lars & Mal, Derby Birds tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , , — @ 1:02 pm September 10, 2014
The slugline over the Apple photo read "A big moment in music history. And you're part of it." Did they mean the end of recorded music history?

The slugline over the Apple photo read “A big moment in music history. And you’re part of it.” Did they mean the end of recorded music history?

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

Did you follow the Apple announcement yesterday?

Needless to say, I’ll be replacing my broken-screened iPhone 5 with an ultra-slim 6 sometime in the next two weeks. And how about the Apple Watch! Gotta have one of those, right? Starting at $349, maybe not. I’m waiting to hear the first Apple Watch joke, something along the lines of “It works like the iPhone; if you’re on AT&T it drops a few minutes out of every hour…” *rimshot!*

But maybe the most interesting announcement was when Tim Cook trotted out U2 and then proceeded to give away the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence, to anyone with an iTunes account. I figured something like this would happen eventually, albeit with indie labels like Saddle Creek and Sub Pop. And I said that when it happened…its success will breath new life into an already-established (though waning) act, who will see its biggest crowds ever on tour, generating merch and back-catalog sales for the label and causing the music industry to rethink (again) how it does business.

Who would have thought that U2 would become the poster child for this model? But the fact is, U2 didn’t give away its new album. The Wall Street Journal had the skinny behind yesterday’s give-away. From the article:

We’re not going in for the free music around here,” Bono joked on stage.  Apple didn’t pay a traditional wholesale price for each of the 500 million albums. Instead the company paid Universal and U2 an undisclosed lump sum for the exclusive window to distribute the album. Universal plans to piggyback on the big push for Songs of Innocence to promote the band’s 12 older albums, a critical factor for a veteran rock band.”

The article went on to say the album’s first single would be used “as a central element of a global, 30-day television advertising campaign for its new iPhones and Apple Watch. The campaign is believed to be worth around $100 million, according to a person familiar with the talks.”

Of course most people who download the CD from iTunes for free won’t know the financial backstory, and will assume U2 just gave it away, further enforcing the idea that recorded music has become (or is) essentially worthless. Especially when it just “shows up in your iTunes library” like magic.

I think we’re only a year or so away from an era when all the monster pop acts — Shania, Katy Perry, Gaga, Jay Z, (i.e., the VMA acts) — will give away downloads of their new albums as a matter of course, just to get the music out there before they go on tour, just like U2 has done. I’m not sure where that leaves the little guys (and labels) who still count on revenue from album sales.

And at what point does the RIAA quit going after people who illegally download music, figuring what’s the point when some bands are giving it away and it’s all available online via Spotify anyway….?


As for the quality of the new U2 record, someone online equated U2 to Coldplay yesterday when all this was going down, and goddamn if that comparison isn’t apt. The new U2 album indeed sounds like a Coldplay record. You have to wonder if Bono and Co. ever listen to their older stuff and ask themselves when the spark went out? Can you believe there was a time when U2 was considered subversive? I still remember the first time I heard tracks off War on Z-92, spun by none other that Slats Gannon, who knew he was playing something new and different. What pups we wall were back then…

* * *

Catching up on some news that went down while I was out… Jeremy Buckley announced that there will, indeed, be an 11th Annual Lincoln Calling Festival this year. With Buckley’s role in Vega, I thought perhaps last year’s fest might have been his swan song.

Buckley’s current status with Vega I cannot say here, other than it has indeed changed since last year. None of the parties involved are willing to go on the record as to who is running Vega these days, though it’s common knowledge that Eli and Carrie Mardock are still involved in the day-to-day operations.

The dates for Lincoln Calling are Oct. 7-12. Venues include The Bourbon, Duffy’s, Zoo Bar, Yia Yia’s Mix, Fat Toad Pub, The Cask, Tower Square and Vega. And the bands announced so far:

A Ferocious Jungle Cat
Ages and Ages
All Young Girls are Machine Guns
The Baberaham
Bonehart Flannigan
The Bottle Tops
Bud Heavy and the High Lifes
Christopher the Conquered
Evan Bartels Band
The Fabtones
Flannel Channel
Found Footage Festival
Gerardo Meza
Gloom Balloon
Hank & Cupcakes
Homegrown Film Festival
Joshua Powell and the Great Train Robbery
The Kickback
Lars and Mal
Manic Pixie Dream Girls
Matt Cox Band
The Melon Company
The River Monks
The Ro Hempel Band
Root Marm Chicken Farm Jug Band
Sidewalk Chalk
Sol Seed
Thirst Things First
Universe Contest
White Mystery
Zoolarious Comedy Showcase

I’m glad to see that DEERPEOPLE is on the bill. I was introduced to this band via Lincoln Calling years ago, and caught their set this year at SXSW. Definitely worth seeking out when you’re wandering O Street that week.

Buckley tells me more details are forthcoming, more bands are being confirmed. Stay tuned, and follow along at the LC2014 Facebook page.

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After two cancellations, Hear Nebraska is finally going to host their finale showcase for this year’s Live at Turner Park Series tonight, and it’s a doozy: Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship and Snake Island are the featured acts. Get some food and booze and head on down. The music starts at 6 p.m. and it’s free.

Another free show going on tonight is at Slowdown Jr. where locals Lars and Mal and The Derby Birds will be performing. This one starts at 9.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Lincoln Calling announces 10-year anniversary festival line-up (and will it be the last?); Omaha’s inferiority complex (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , , — @ 1:27 pm September 12, 2013

Lincoln Calling
by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

One of the area’s longest running local music festivals, Lincoln Calling, announced the preliminary line-up for its 10th Anniversary festival slated for Oct. 15-19 in 10 venues throughout the Lincoln metroplex.

Organizer Jeremy Buckley says this year’s program features more than 100 bands and DJs from all over the country and world (but mostly from Nebraska). Confirmed so far:

The 4onthefloor (Minneapolis)
The Big Deep (Omaha)
Bonehart Flannigan (Lincoln)
The Bottletops (Lincoln)
BOY (Hamburg)
Brad Hoshaw and the Seven Deadlies (Omaha)
Carolyn Wonderland (Austin)
Christopher the Conquered (Des Moines)
Cowboy Indian Bear (Lawrence)
Cowboy Winter (Madison)
DEERPEOPLE (Stillwater)
Desert Noises (Provo)
Dirty Talker (Lincoln)
Eli Mardock (Lincoln)
A Ferocious Jungle Cat (Lincoln)
Freakabout! (Lincoln)
Genders (Portland)
Gordon (Omaha)
Guilty is the Bear (Lincoln)
Halfwit (Lincoln)
The Highest Order (Toronto)
Homegrown Film Festival (Lincoln)
Jack Hotel (Lincoln)
Jeazlepeats (Lincoln)
Jeremy Messersmith (Minneapolis)
John Klemmensen and the Party (Omaha)
The Josh Hill Band (Akron)
Josh Hoyer and the Shadowboxers (Lincoln)
The Kickback (Chicago)
Masses (Lincoln)
The Mezcal Brothers (Lincoln)
Oquoa (Omaha)
Orion Walsh and the Rambling Hearts (Lincoln)
Pleasure Adapter (Omaha)
Powers (Lincoln)
Red Cities (Lincoln)
The Renfields (Lincoln)
Rock Paper Dynamite (Omaha)
Rusty Maples (Las Vegas)
Saturn Moth (Omaha)
Snake Island! (Omaha)
Tie These Hands (Lincoln)
Too Slim and the Taildraggers (Nashville)
Tsumi (Lincoln)
Twinsmith (Omaha)
Universe Contest (Lincoln)
Whipkey Three (Omaha)
White Mystery (Chicago)
Wiping Out Thousands (Minneapolis)

This is the best selection of up-and-coming (i.e. “emerging”) talent in the area, highlighted by Gordon, Eli Mardock, Pleasure Adapter (now featuring Matt Maginn on bass), Oquoa, Twinsmith, Halfwit and (of course) Universe Contest. Lacking are any Saddle Creek bands (so far), but the omission (for whatever reason) doesn’t seem glaring.

So is this last year for Lincoln Calling? Buckley, who puts the whole thing together, is co-owner of Vega, a new music venue/bar/restaurant being built in the Pinnacle Bank Arena complex. No doubt he’ll be too busy managing and booking the new 500-capacity performance space to organize this annual monster. I asked Buckley if this was, indeed, the last year for Lincoln Calling. His response: “No comment?

For the latest on LC10, go to lincolncalling.com or follow the event at https://www.facebook.com/LincolnCalling.

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In this week’s column, Omaha’s great inferiority complex and who gives a shit what anyone thinks of us? You can read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online 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 © 2013 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.