By Phil Brown, Contributor
- The New Pornographers, Nov. 11th @ Slowdown
- Gungor, Nov 11th @ The Waiting Room
- Kate Voegele, Nov 16th @ Slowdown
Mansions on the Moon, Nov 19th @ The Waiting Room
For a group that’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Pharrell Williams and Diplo in the studio, and toured with Mac Miller and Wiz Khalifa, it’s no surprise that one of Mansions on the Moon’s main influences is modern hip-hop. But it’s only one of many genres the band draws from,.Their sound is deceptively hard to pin down.
The band pulls in elements of electronic music, synthpop,and indie rock with their hip-hop rhythms, a mixture that, in the hands of the four band members, is rendered remarkably compelling.
The one constant is the indie rock vocals, soft and in chorus, but the backing to the voices seems to be constantly shifting. Mansions on the Moon is certainly a unique voice in the pop arena, and having only been around for a couple of years, are sure to remain so for a while.
Sample Tracks: Somewhere Else Tonight, Athens
Har Mar Superstar & The Pizza Underground, Nov 28th @ The Waiting Room
Sean Tillman, the brash Minnesotan whose on stage persona of Har Mar Superstar comes across as a weird mix of Jonah Hill and ‘70s porn star Ron Jeremy, approaches his particular brand of pop/R&B with an unapologetically tongue-in-cheek sense of mischief , but with a double helping of swagger.
He rose to fame in the mid-2000s for his bizarre, energetic live shows that were mostly performed half-naked. But for all the theatricality and persona surrounding him, Har Mar Superstar is undeniably a great singer, with a brash likeability that lends itself well to the swinging pop he currently sings.
Accompanying Har Mar will be The Pizza Underground, a band led by Mcauley Caulkin (yes, that Mcauley Caulkin), that solely performs covers of the Velvet Underground, with the exception that key lyrics of all songs are replaced with pizza-related topics. There’s not really much else to say about this gig.
Sample Tracks: Har Mar Superstar: Lady, You Shot Me, The Pizza Underground: Pizza Morning
- Huey Mack, Nov 14th @ Sokol Underground
- Watsky, Nov. 18th, @ The Waiting Room
Capitol Ave., Nov 21st @ Slowdown
Another Omaha-grown band, Capitol Ave. is a collaboration between rapper Benny Salz, multi-instrumentalist Zach Fuller and bassist Durwin Pace.
The strength of this collaboration lies with the latter two artists: the instrumentation they provide is awesome, a great mix of rock and hip-hop, with warm, rolling guitars and rollicking basslines.
They deserve better than the fairly mediocre flow and banal lyrics of Salz. The group is still worth seeing, not only to support local musicians, but because the “alternative” part of their alternative hip-hop is legitimately cool.
Sample Tracks: Over Time, Change Your Mind
Yelawolf, Nov 22nd @ Sokol Underground
- James McMurtry, Nov 16th @ The Waiting Room
Shakey Graves & Sean Rowe, Dec 9th @ The Waiting Room
Shakey Graves, the nom de plume of long-time actor and Austin, Texan Alejandro Rose-Garcia, is an act that, while still in it’s infancy, is certainly one with a truckload of promise.
Rose-Garcia’s voice alternates between a soulful crooning warble, and a frenetic, gravelly yell- a magnetic force that demands an audience. The scratchy guitar rhythms the Bandcamp alumni manages to coax out of his guitar serve to underpin the vocals, and the lucid, whimsical lyrics of his songs, wrapping up a truly remarkable folk-pop experience.
Shakey Graves comes to Omaha on the strength of a substantial tour in support of his latest album, And The War Came, which managed to chart. New Yorker Sean Rowe comes to Omaha in support of his third studio album: Madman The alt-folk singer/songwriter’s most immediately recognizable feature is his dramatic, deep and dark voice.
The instrumentation on Rowe’s songs is sparse, giving him ample room to vocalize and use the character of his voice to great effect. Rowe lets his voice create most of what goes on in his songs musically, whether warbling soulfully over the long vowels, or attacking the consonants for added impact.
His lyrics also flow naturally from the music, and while they may not seem to be immediately meaningful, they are certainly engrossing.
Sample Tracks: Shakey Graves: Dearly Departed, Only Son, Sean Rowe: Desiree
- David Allan Coe, Dec 12th @ Texas Roadhouse