Music Zines at Omaha Zine Fest; Q&A with Middle Kids guitarist Tim Fitz; Jazz In June launch party, The Growlers, Zach Peterson this weekend

Music Zines at Omaha Zine Fest

Omaha Zine Fest is back this Saturday, bringing together zine-makers from all over Nebraska and across the country together to exchange ideas, personal stories and experiences in an inclusive and accessible atmosphere. In its second year — and first at the newly remodled Union for Contemporary Arts — the festival will feature zines on everything from cats and consent to music and crumbling the patriarchy.

With the help of festival co-founder Andrea Kszystyniak we compiled some of the music-related zines you’ll find at this weekend’s event. Read about five of them below and RSVP here. For more info on the festival, read our interview with Kszystyniak here.

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Local Music Zine, compiled by Margot Erlandson – Lincoln

LMZ stands for Local Music Zine and LMZ Vol 3 will be released this Saturday at Omaha Zine Fest. This volume features writing, photographs, and drawings by creatives in the local music scene. LMZ exists to give a voice to the underrepresented folk in the local music scene. It is not censored for content.

I started it because I noticed a lack of journalistic representation for certain parts of the local music scene. I also felt like there was a disgruntled group of musicians complaining about the lack of coverage or of negative opinions in the current local music journalism. My usual reaction to complaints is action. My wife and I started our own festival when our peers were complaining that there was nothing cool happening in Lincoln. My best friend and I started our own DIY venue when people were bored/frustrated with the bar scene. This was a natural next step for me.”

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Moms in Bands by Rachel Tomlinson Dick – Lincoln

“’Moms In Bands’ features bios, quotes, & illustrations of, you guessed it, moms in bands. Featuring badass musicians such as Patti Smith, Solange, Kim Gordon, plus many more, as well as locals Stefanie Drootin & Heidi Ore.

I decided to make this zine when upon discovering that I was pregnant I had a sort of momentary crisis about how I was going to be able to balance being a parent with continuing to play music.

I have been playing in bands for fourteen years. My current band, Bien Fang, is about to release our first EP later this month.”

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Black Metal of the Americas by Ed Blair – Chicago

“I started Black Metal of the Americas with my friend Patrick Loy about five years ago. There was a really reductive article in the New Yorker about American black metal that basically reduced the whole scene to three bands and worked off the idea that that since black metal bands were referencing Steve Reich, they were real art now. I got fired up about this because at that time, black metal seemed more interesting than ever, and that kind of summation felt lazy and uninspired. We also wanted to give artists space to discuss the thematic quality of their work and their reasons for choosing a niche genre to express themselves, instead of the traditional metal zine questions about tour stories and gear.

“Patrick left the zine a year and a half ago, but all published issues so far were a collaborative effort between the two of us. Moving forward, I’ll be the sole editor. We focus on North and South American black metal, as historically coverage has been biased towards black metal from Europe. We also do our best to focus on artists that do not express bigoted views, choosing to focus on work that pushes back against the normalization of racism/sexism/transphobia/homophobia in heavy metal.

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Adult Decisions by Tony Lonergan –  Omaha

“So I started making Adult Decisions in 2013 by taking photos at shows I was at and a year later compiled some of the photos into the first issue. The following year I did the same and now am trying to get a third issue together right now. The bands included are local and touring punk, metal, noise, electronic, hip hop, country, whatever interests me and I want others to be aware of. The covers have been art produced by friends. I mostly do it because I like to take pictures but it’s a good way to showcase some of the cool shit that goes on here, and the talented people who make things happen.”

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Maya Khasin and The Morbs – Lincoln

Local pop punk band The Morbs will have a table full of “goofy zines” made during more than a year of being a band. They will also be selling their tape in advance of its release. Khasin will also be selling a mini zine about “embarrassing moments and bad times in music” called “Oh God Why.”

“I write about bad songs, being rude, and finding out what my voice really sounds like,” Khasin said.

— Andrea Kszystyniak

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Middle Kids’ sunkissed success | Q&A

By Zach Visconti

“These days grow in number, and my mind begins to wonder: hang on, am I doing it right?”

This is the musing of vocalist Hannah Joy, calling into question her life decisions thus far. It’s a familiar sentiment for many who are searching for the right path, caught in the middle between youth and adulthood.

“I think being youthful like kids is a nice thought, and we always feel like we’re in the middle,” explains guitarist Tim Fitz. “Sometimes we don’t really know which side to land on.”

In spite of Joy’s questioning, Middle Kids already seems to have found its path. Middle Kids released the single “Edge of Town” in 2016 and quickly began garnering attention after an endorsement from Sir Elton John. They’ve only been a band for a couple years, and they’re already playing sold out shows in San Francisco and Los Angeles on their first American tour. They released a self-titled EP in January which included singles “Edge of Town” and “Your Love.”

With a sunny soundscape that reflects summertime in their coastal hometown of Sydney, Australia, the indie pop trio has also recently landed a performance on Conan. Guitarist Fitz spoke with Hear Nebraska over the phone about the band’s recent success.

Hear Nebraska: How’s tour going so far?

Tim Fitz: Tour’s going really well! We’ve had a lot of fun, and played to some great people. Last night was a bit crazy from driving on some ice. We almost went off the road. [Laughs] We’re not used to driving in ice because in Australia it doesn’t really get like that. But we have an American tour manager, so he ended up saving our lives.

HN: You guys have a favorite tour spot so far?

TF: They’ve all been really cool! It’s been interesting to see each city. LA was cool because it was sold out and there were just really good vibes. We’ve basically enjoyed everywhere. We played Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, LA and Denver so far. So it’s been nice to drive around the country as well, really beautiful.

HN: Have you been to America before?

TF: Yeah we’ve been to America before. We played a few showcases last year, but that was just in New York and LA, so this is the first time we’re going more inland. So that’s really exciting.

HN: So you get to see some new landscapes for sure.

TF: Oh man! You see like five new landscapes a day! We drove from LA to Denver and it was like different countries. It was cool.

HN: What have you been listening to on the road?

TF: We’ve been listening to a lot of stuff. Last night in the ice we were listening to My Bloody Valentine, now we’re listening to Bob Dylan. I don’t know, it’s free reign because whoever’s got the auxiliary cable gets to choose. But I guess we’ve been listening to a lot of American music. There’s a lot of music that kind of makes more sense when you’re driving up the landscape, you know? So that’s been cool.

HN: There’s quite the buzz surrounding your performance on Conan. What was that like?

TF: That was pretty amazing. We had a really fun time, and those guys are really nice. We’re a pretty new band in lots of ways, so it was kind of an amazing opportunity and we just had a really fun time of it. We’re stoked that we got to do it; it’s really cool. And people back home were excited in Australia because we don’t really have any TV opportunities like that where bands will play on TV. Everybody knows who Conan O’Brien so it made it everyone really excited, back home as well.

HN: That was your first time ever being on TV right?

TF: Yeah, we were pretty nervous. [Laughs]

HN: Your music video for “Never Start” is very visually engaging. What was that like to shoot?

TF: That was amazing because we were in London, and we basically knew we needed to get a video clip going for this song, but it was going to be too late by the time we got home. So basically we filmed that video clip in the three hours between soundcheck and our set in London. So [Emile Frederick], he was a friend of a friend and he had all these amazing ideas. He just said “Do this, do this,” like with those torches, and he just told us to do all this stuff. We didn’t see how it was all going to fit together and then he just sent us this clip and it was amazing! We reshot about a half hour in Sydney, just a few shots like the shot of me in the car. But most of it was done really quickly, and it turned out really well.

HN: I’m sure everyone’s asked you this before, but what was it like to be recognized by Elton John?

TF: Oh yeah, that has come up. [Laughs] With the way the internet works, it was pretty detached because we just saw that he had put us on that playlist. So he didn’t like make contact or anything, but it was pretty exciting to see that he liked the song. “Edge of Town” is a song that a few people showed up as fans of, and we were really happy because we felt like that was a special song when we wrote it. It’s just really amazing the different people who have come along and said they really like it or thrown their support behind the band. We are so grateful for that.

HN: Are any of you middle siblings?

TF: I’m the middle of three, and Hannah is one of four children, and she’s in the middle too. But… it wasn’t really the point of the name. [Laughs]

HN: Mind telling me a little more about the name?

TF: When we made this a band thing, we liked the idea of it being a band name as opposed to being an individual person’s name. I guess we were just running through cool phrases and cool combinations of words and it just came about like that. I was sending like 20 band names a day for about a week. And then there would be a harsh selection process and from that we had a short list. So in some ways it’s not that romantic, but it seemed to be the one that clicked with people. I think being youthful like kids is a nice thought, and we always feel like we’re in the middle. Sometimes we don’t really know which side to land on.

HN: Your EP’s closer, “Doing It Right” seems to have some pretty mixed emotions. What’s that about?

Tim: One thing about that song is that Hannah’s playing piano which is kind of her main instrument. She writes a lot on piano and sort of picked up guitar recently. And that was recorded really quickly just with one microphone in our friend’s studio at the end of the day. I guess it’s just about the rhythm that life gets into sometimes that’s a bit monotonous, and you strive for things in life and most people end up questioning if “this is it.” It’s sort of a song about that feeling. It creates the atmosphere of that feeling. That’s kind of what Hannah was going for I think. Did it make you feel depressed?

HN: [Laughs] Slightly, but that’s okay.

TF: Well, just listen to some of the other songs and maybe you’ll feel happier. [Laughs]

Middle Kids plays Sokol Auditorium this Sunday with Cold War Kids. 7 p.m. doors, $26, all-ages, RSVP here.

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Concert Round-Up: Weekend Edition

There are tons of great shows going on this weekend. We hit a few below; find a fuller listing via our statewide calendar here. Let us know where you’re going in the comments or tweet at us, @hearnebraska.


Jazz in June launch party at 1867 Bar- Lincoln’s summer jazz series kicks off its 26th year a little early with the announcement of its lineup tonight at 1867 Bar. Mitch Dunham and his Quintet will perform with special guests throughout the night. Attendees will also have the opportunity to join Jazz in June’s new “Rhythm Club” membership program, which grants members VIP seating, meet-and-greets and sponsor recognition. Jazz in June hopes the program will help attract artists from around the world and fund new education programs, it said in a statement.

It will not only bring in funds to support the event but also foster community engagement and help our small jazz scene grow,” said coordinator Spencer Munson.

The event starts at 7 p.m. and has a $5 cover. RSVP here.

Closeness, High Up, BareBear at O’Leaver’s –  As we mentioned earlier in the day, Closeness — the duo of Todd and Orenda Fink — releases its debut EP Personality Therapy tonight at O’Leaver’s with High Up and BareBear. 10 p.m. show, $7, RSVP here.

Plack Blague, Cult Play, Solid Goldberg at Reverb Lounge – Plack Blague is set to release a new album called Night Trax this Spring on New York label Ormolycka Records. Hear the first single “Destroy The Identity” below. 8 p.m., $6, all-ages, RSVP here.

Bassel & the Supernaturals at Zoo Bar – The Chicago-based funk and soul band comes to Zoo Bar on the heels of releasing new LP Elements on Feb 24. HN editorial intern Zach Visconti chatted with frontman Bassel Al-Madani about his Syrian roots and how he uses soul to educate on his war-torn homeland; read it here. 8:30 p.m. show, $8, 21-plus, RSVP here.


The Growlers at The Waiting Room – The 10-year Waiting Room anniversary celebration rolls on tomorrow night with Costa Mesa, Calif. beach goth band The Growlers. Its fifth studio album City Club, co-produced by The Stroke’s Julian Casablancas, dropped September 30 on Cult Records. 8 p.m. show, $15, RSVP here.

Zach Peterson at Reverb Lounge – Omaha-native comic Zach Peterson finishes his current midwest tour in his hometown and will record the performance for a new album. Peterson has been updating us on his tour through this news blog; catch up with him here and here. Shows at 6, 8 and 10 p.m., each $5. RSVP here.

Marah In The Mainsail, Good Morning Bedlam, Jack Hotel, blét at Vega – The Minneapolis-based folk rock bands Marah In The Mainsail and Good Morning Bedlam stop through Lincoln on its way down to SXSW. 9 p.m. show, $7 today, $10 day-of, RSVP here.