LOCAL LABEL SIGNINGS KICK OFF NEW YEAR
By MarQ Manner
There was a lot of good news in the Omaha music scene this week as two bands got singed to record labels with their roots based in Omaha. Last week, news came that Conduits not only got signed to Conor Oberst’s Team Love record label, but that they would be the opening band on a month-long tour with Saddle Creek stalwarts Cursive.
Conduits is a very deserving band having come on the scene just less than two years ago and creating a buzz with a fresh-for-Omaha sound that many compared to a modern take on “shoegaze.” The band played it smart and did not overplay and has already opened some dates for Bright Eyes on their last tour. Conduits feature a list of well-known musicians that include former members of Neva Dinova, Son Ambulance, the Good Life, Eagle Seagull, and Spring Gun.
This week it was announced that art-rock dance band Icky Blossoms has signed to Saddle Creek Records and would be recording their new album with Dave Sitek who is the guitar player for popular indie band TV On The Radio. Sitek has worked with bands such as Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Liars, and Jane’s Addiction. Icky Blossoms features Derek Pressnall of Tilly & the Wall and Flowers Forever, filmmaker and musician Nik Fackler, and vocalist Sarah Bohling. The band has gained a lot of local followers with their engaging live performances and danceable songs of which there has been a lack of in the Omaha scene for quite some time.
There has been a lot of speculation over the past couple of years as to when Saddle Creek and to a lesser extent Team Love might turn their ears towards their own back yard when signing talent. The last Team Love full-length to feature a local artist was in 2009 when Capgun Coup released the album “Maudlin.” It has been even longer for Saddle Creek records whose most recent locally based release from a not-Big Three-related act was the Mynabirds featuring a re-located to Omaha Laura Burhenn. Saddle Creek Records have instead and understandably for a legitimate national record put out releases from Tokyo Police Club, Rural Alberta Advantage, and Land of Talk.
The new signings are sure to be welcome signs for local music observers, fans, and musicians. The past couple of years have produced a new crop of projects that many people felt had a life outside of Omaha and were deserving of the attention of the homegrown labels. They certainly picked two of the most viable acts. I hope this doesn’t put too much of an expectation in the minds of other bands in the area about them being picked up. I do not speak from experience or with any inside knowledge, but it’s a well-known fact that record labels as a whole have slowed down. I wouldn’t expect there to be a new rush on snapping up Omaha bands.
If either Conduits or Icky Blossoms find themselves reaching a new level of success you never know what could happen, though. While I think there are many great bands in the Omaha and Lincoln scene, there are less than a handful that I could see being looked at by credible labels both in town and from outside. Those few bands are just as deserving and could have just as big of an impact as Conduits and Icky Blossoms. For now we will just celebrate the happy news and wish both bands a lot of success and our support. It is definitely a nice way to start of 2012 in Omaha.