With this column, Lazy-i turns 7. Since it began in The Reader Dec. 2, 2004 (with an interview with fresh young singer/songwriter Willy Mason, who had just signed to brand new label Team Love Records) a lot has changed. Some might say things have changed for the better (Never has there been more music available by more bands than right now); many would say they’ve changed for the worse (It’s now nearly impossible to make a living making music). Where we go from here is anyone’s guess, but one thing’s for certain, Lazy-i will be there (in one form or another) to tell the story. Thanks as always for readin’ and writin’ and speakin’ your mind. It’s your ideas that help power this ol’ steam boat. And now, a recap of last year’s top columns:

Column 301 – The Return of Omahype – The new, improved omahype.com survived its first year as Omaha’s foremost online curated events calendar. The fact that it made it this far in the face of all the other online competition is a credit to creators Laura Burhenn and Will Simons. Celebrate their achievement this Sunday night at Omahype’s annual Throwdown at Slowdown.

Column 302 – From Russia with Rock – The interview with Mousetrap frontman Patrick Buchanan was conducted on the eve of the legendary Omaha punk band’s second reunion performance at The Waiting Room. During the show, hints were cast that Mousetrap might reform for good, and even create new music. A year later and the trap remains empty. 

Column 307 – Hear Nebraska – Former Reader editor Andy Norman’s brainchild, hearnebraska.org, has only one goal: To promote Nebraska music. A year later and the site has grown on the strength of its video content as well as ongoing promotions, such as Hear Nebraska Vol. 1, the first in a series of all-Nebraska compilation CDs featuring the area’s best bands.

Column 309, 313, 325 – Bright Eyes – Or The New Adventures of Old Conor. After a solid year of touring his latest album, The People’s Key, there was talk that Oberst would hang up his Bright Eyes tights once and for all. Bollocks.

Column 314 – Red Sky Mining – Lots of people predicted that MECA’s mega-rock series, The Red Sky Music Festival, would bomb big time, and lots of people were right. Despite the festival’s disappointing turnout (and lineup), look for Red Sky 2012 at an empty ball park near you.

Column 315 – Adam Hawkins’ Encore – Like the intrepid groundhog who emerges from its winter lair, It’s True’s Adam Hawkins awakened from seeming obscurity to record and release his best album ever before taking a well-deserved bow and disappearing all over again.

Column 318 – The Fantastic Four – The area’s most creative acts – Icky Blossoms, Touch People, InDreama and Conduits – joined forces for a 4-song split 7-inch, but despite the overwhelming applause, three of the four bands have yet to formally release more music. That will change in 2012.

Column 320, 336, 337 – MAHA Returns – In the wake of a 100-year flood, Omaha’s premier music festival that used to call Lewis & Clark Landing home moved to higher ground at Aksarben Village. Though attendance numbers were flat, the enjoyment level was up, thanks in part to improved facilities and amazing headliner Guided By Voices. MAHA will be back – better than ever — at Aksarben in 2012.

Column 321, 333 – Omaha Girls Rock! – The organization designed to encourage young girls to pick up instruments and become rock stars – at least for one night – was a huge success judging by the grins on everyone’s faces at the organization’s inaugural performance at Slowdown. What will these girls do for an encore? Go to omahagirlsrock.com to find out.

Column 324 – Love Drunk Studio – Maybe the most dynamic new web service to arrive in 2011, lovedrunkstudio.com provided free video services to every notable up-and-coming local artist. Chief videographer Django D-S perfected the one-take live performance video over the course of more than 60 takes. Now can he take the music video format to the next level?

Column 327 – What’s Going on at Team Love? – The indie label started by Conor Oberst and Nate Krenkel announced it was pulling back on new signings and new releases due to the economy and overall decline in the music industry. Team Love artists such as McCarthy Trenching found themselves releasing material on other labels. Is this the end? Hardly. Look for new Team Love offerings in 2012, including a new signing and release by one of the area’s most hyped bands.

Column 330 – Wasted Youth – The chronicle of the return of The Shanks in all their piss-soaked, blood-soaked glory. The band’s two-night stand at O’Leaver’s and ensuing brawl was captured on video and lives in infamy on YouTube. Since then, the band and its audience have recovered, with no talk of a rematch.

Column 334 – Spotify This – The rise of Spotify and the other online digital music services continues to be the year’s big story. Will they save or kill the music industry? The jury is still out, though consensus is building that the promise of having every record at your fingertips will ultimately devalue and de-specialize music as we knew it.

Column 338 – Homer’s Closes Orchard Plaza – In the wake of Spotify’s launch, Omaha’s oldest independent record retail chain announced that it was closing yet another storefront. Homer’s General Manager Mike Fratt didn’t blame digital downloads for the contraction, however, he blamed the box stores, who are now exiting the market. That, along with a resurgence in vinyl, provide a glimmer of hope for Homer’s future.

Column 340, 341 – Depressed Buttons – Omaha learned how to dance again with the opening of House of Loom and the return of The Faint in the form of Depressed Buttons. The trio of Clark Baechle, Todd Fink and Jacob Thiele have enjoyed capacity crowds at their monthly Loom performances, though this timid critic has yet to get his groove on. Will that change in 2012? Stay tuned.

Lazy-i is a weekly column by Reader senior contributing writer Tim McMahan focused on the Omaha music scene. Check out Tim’s daily music news updates at his website, lazy-i.com, or email him at lazy-i@thereader.com.

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