* Maha Music Festival released a portion of their 2013 line-up, announcing the host of local acts that will fill Aksarben Village’s Stinson Park with songs. Garage/synth punk act Digital Leather headlines the local stage for the Saturday, August 17th event. Reunited Lincoln dream-pop band The Millions should also be a local stage highlight, while HERS will be joined by Omaha Girls Rock campers for their set. Indie rock shredders Criteria, throwback pop-rock act Rock Paper Dynamite and the winner of the upcoming Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards summer showcase voting will round out the local lineup.
* The OEAA showcase is scheduled for Friday, June 7th and Saturday, June 8th at several venues in the Benson area, around 60th and Maple streets. The showcase will also mark the beginning of the awards show’s public nomination process for music, visual and performing arts categories. Those nominations will be received online at oea-awards.com.
* Johnny Marr delivered an impossibly cool and a cooly assured set at the Waiting Room Lounge, 6212 Maple St., Monday, April 22nd. The former Smiths lead guitarist assuredly assumed the role of frontman and band leader, after making his post-Smiths livelihood playing ace-in-the-hole guitar slinger for acts like Modest Mouse, the Cribs and The The. Backed by three members, Marr ably filtered through songs from the Smiths, his 90s project Electronic and cuts from his excellent new solo disc The Messenger. Marr seemed to point out the best of his new material by introducing those songs by name and as it was, “Upstarts”, “Lockdown” and “New Town Velocity” were highlights that featured Marr’s incisive jangle-pop guitar work backed by a throwback 90s Brit-pop layering that added the necessary heft to the power-pop leaning numbers.
* The Black Angels continue to grow their new psych-rock movement, as they drew a remarkably bigger crowd to the Waiting Room Sunday, April 21st than they did during their first stop here several years ago. Their live show doesn’t stray far from the style cultivated on the two latest Black Angels releases. It’s Texas psych rock at its finest, but hemmed in with concise pop-minded playing that focuses on the songs and not just the sound. Light bits of swirling organ drone work well with the bass and drums, giving a intriguing twist to the bottom end drive that moves the band’s songs along. The band played a laidback set low on showmanship, but made up with it by casting themselves in video projections. The best of those projections took live images of the band and mirrored them on the backdrop in various hues. It was a colorful, but far from tripped-out journey.
* Iowa’s Solid Attitude return to Omaha for another DIY show, this time at the Middle Haus. Don’t know where that is? Well, ask a friend. Friend doesn’t know? Get a better friend. Solid Attitude have cemented their reputation as one of the best basement punk/garage punk acts in the region. The Dad and Places We Slept are also on the bill.