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The Dark Stuff

Spring Is Here! Bring on the Rock!

A guide to the best concerts to hit Omaha in April
Beach House
Published on March 22, 2010

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A quick glance out of my window says it’s Spring, so before that changes, I better get this posting done with all of my show picks for April. With the post-winter thaw comes the post-winter boom in national touring acts coming to Omaha. All I can say is that it is about time!

The month starts off very strong with the return of Bloomington, Indiana’s dark folk rockers, Murder By Death, to the Waiting Room on April 1. Dark folk? Huh? Yeah, I can’t think of a better description. The band’s sound is steeped in Americana—with guitars and violins battling for supremecy—but the attitude is pure punk rock. It’s thoroughly unique and incredibly powerful live. The band’s newest CD, Good Morning, Magpie, will be in stores April 6. It is Murder By Death’s first release for Vagrant Records. Opening will be Ha Ha Tonka and Linfinity.

The battle royale amongst hipsters this month will, no doubt, take place on Monday, April 5. There are two seriously great shows that night, and both would qualify as "must see." Over at Slowdown, you will find the return of the current garage rock kings, Black Lips. The Atlanta rockers are still out on the roadBlack Lips: Lips in support of the 200 Million Thousand CD. If past is precedent, expect a very wild show, and for that Slowdown floor to be filled to capacity. Don’t wait till the last minute for this one, especially when you factor in the fact that Omaha’s own, Box Elders, are opening the show. Box Elders are doing a stretch of dates with Black Lips, and fortunately, the Omaha show is one of them. If you missed the Elders last gig at Waiting Room, you need to see why this band’s CD, Alice and Friends, made so many "best of" lists last year.

On the very same night, across town at The Waiting Room, will be Omaha’s first time to check out the Baltimore dream-pop duo, Beach House. Fans of bands like Cocteau Twins will appreciate this band’s beautiful melodies and lush instrumentation. Beach House’s third CD, Teen Dream, has been all over the college music charts, and I have to admit, all over my iPod as well. New Zealands’s one-woman band, Bachelorette, is opening.

Imaad WasifImaad WasifRest up over the week, because by Friday the 9th, you will need all of your energy. Though the band currently resides in LA, psychadelic noise makers, Dead Meadow, have their roots in the legendary punk scene of Washington, DC. Regardless of where they hang they hats, the boys in Dead Meadow know how to bring the rock. Expect a hellluva lot of guitar at this show, my friends. Bring your earplugs. Opening the show is Imaad Wasif. Mr. Wasif has a fantastic indie rock pedigree, as he has toured as a member of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, been a member of Folk Implosion with Lou Barlow, and collaborated with YYY’s Karen O on the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack. His new solo CD, The Voidist, shows off his many talents, and proves that he is no mere sideman.

When I first heard the music of San Francisco’s Girls, I have to admit, I wasn’t impressed. It’s not that it was so bad or anything, but the duo’s unique charm took a while to affect me. Their simple, sunsoaked melodies and tales of the fleeting nature of infatuation only hit me when I first heard their song, "Laura." Now I don’t mean the literal first time I heard the tune, but the first time I heard the tune, ya know? It is just so charming and so real that it is just impossible to resist. I can’t wait to sing along to every cut on the band’s cleverly titled album, Album, when they play at The Waiting Room on Tuesday, April 13. Opening for Girls are all-female garage rockers, Dum Dum Girls. DDG took its name from the Iggy Pop song, so that should give an idea of where they are coming from musically. The band’s Sub Pop debut, I Will Be, has just been released.

On Friday, April 16 you will want to take advantage of the rare opportunity to see nearly the entire roster of artists on the local Slumber Party label. The label’s showcase at Slowdown will provide locals with a South by Southwest style of checking out the label’s talent. Capgun Coup, Conchance, Honeybee, Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship, Talking Mountain, and Thunder Power are all scheduled to appear.

A few years ago when NYC’s The Strokes went on an indefinite "hiatus," many thought it meant the end of the band. Fortunately, with the recent news of the band re-grouping over the winter and recording new material, the hiatus may soon end. In the meantime, Strokes frontman and principal songwriter, Julian Casablancas, will be playing a very rare solo show as Sokol Auditorium on Thursday, April 22. Casablancas’ debut solo album, Phrazes For the Young, was largely ignored in the US when it came out last year. But recently, with the announcement of an appearance at the Coachella Festival (and a  humorous turn in Boombox with SNL’s Andy Samberg and The Lonely Island crew), folks have given the CD another try. Guess what? They like it. If you like The Strokes but thought they could use a little synth, then you will love the album. Regardless, this will be a rare chance to see Mr. Casablancas solo before he returns to the band.

Thursday the 22nd presents music fans with another difficult choice to make; as just down the street from Sokol, at Slowdown, Seattle’s Minus the Bear return to town. The profressive indie rockers always impress audiences with their incredible musical abilities, but I think people often overlook their excellent songs. The band will be hitting town in advance of the release of its newest CD, Omni, which is the band’s first for Dangerbird Records.

The next night, April 23, marks the return of The Album Leaf. The San Diego group is touring along with LA’s Sea Wolf, and they will be hitting the Waiting Room this time around. The Album Leaf’s newest record, A Chorus of Storytellers, is a fantastic, generally mellow, piece of indie pop. Sea Wolf stays in similar territory—lots of hearts on proverbial sleeves at this show.

Brooklyn’s dance rockers Yeasayer have gotten a ton of buzz over the years for their infectious melodies and furious beats. To me, it sounds a lot like the classic synth pop of the 80s. Expect a full-on dance party at The Waiting Room on Sunday, April 25 when Yeasayer performs along with Sleigh Bells.

It's True at the Waiting RoomIt’s True at the Waiting RoomThe last, but most definitely not least, show I want to tell you about is the CD release show from It’s True. I mentioned these guys in my last posting, and since that time, my love affair with this band has only gotten more intense. The band will be releasing its self-titled debut CD on Friday, April 30 at Waiting Room. Friends, I have heard the new disc, and I can’t wait until you can say the same thing. It is one of the most impressive debuts I have heard in my many, many years of buying music. The rest of the world will soon experience what we in Omaha have been hoarding and keeping to ourselves…the music of It’s True. Celebrating the release along with It’s True will be The Haunted Windchimes and Bear Country.

April is a very solid month for rock in Omaha. I only hope you have enough sick days in reserve for all the work you be missing from staying out so late!

Murder by DeathMurder by Death

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