Staff writer personnel change; Red City Radio and Two Gallants photos; The Ataris announced; Polipnick and Oquoa series tonight

A word from our managing editor:

Jacob Zlomke is my “work friend” in the same insufficiently terminological way that Hear Nebraska is my job.

He departs this organization tomorrow for a full-time position that allows him more time to build his own fledgling Midwest-artcentric non-profit. (And I’d advise you to check out Fly Over Me.)

In the last year as one of Hear Nebraska’s two editorial staffers, I never felt him punch a clock. First, frankly, there’s a lot to do. And, two, when you set out to say something about art and — fight to keep your lunch down with me here — something about life, you’re nursing a Friday beer and the conversation is, in earnest, about Conchance’s rapping cadence. It’s a New Year’s Eve party, and he’s considering the role of criticism in cultural literacy. It’s the sixth hour of a car ride twice that, and he’s appreciating Mesonjixx’s lyrical exigency.

I always looked at it as a testament to Jacob that work could be philosophical; it had to be personal; at the right time, it could be play.

If you didn’t know, Jacob spearheaded the full launch of Hear Nebraska’s daily news section, which enables this organization to cover many more Nebraska acts each week. He co-hosted Hear Nebraska FM every Monday on KZUM during the show’s maturation. He was a valuable help in guiding interns. And he helped turn the On The Record podcast into a staple HN feature, an observant way of talking about this state’s music.

Everyone who’s worked with him at HN wishes Jacob the best, and we’re certain he’ll contribute in the future, continuing to be a meaningful and knowledgeable voice in the Nebraska arts community.

Looking forward, Andrew Stellmon will do a terrific job as his replacement. After a model internship and contributing this titanic oral history on Box Awesome last year, Stellmon has demonstrated a special kind of selfless work ethic. We know he’ll show all the dedication, passion and smarts that the staff writer job requires. He’ll henceforth be your contact for news updates and ideas for topical feature stories. Reach him at to offer the latest on your new record, band news and touring updates. And when you see him at shows, introduce yourself.

A final note on Jacob: Like many writers departing organizations, I imagine he’ll want to be remembered for the way he captured his community, your stories, in prose. These are the words I’ll think of when I think of now:

This reflection on Eagle Seagull’s debut album he wrote as an intern, part of the reason we wanted him to be in the staff writer position:

It’s an album obsessed with its own depth, its own poeticism and point of view. To me, that sounds like being 17.

This account of South by Southwest’s ceaselessness:

This festival is so incomprehensibly complex that it’s hard to believe there’s anyone in charge here … On our first night, we ask a volunteer with a map for directions to the convention center. He sends us in the exactly wrong direction … Who is accountable? No one? Me? It’s almost like SXSW just appeared. No one managed the evolution of life from space dust. But someone did wrap this official-looking wristband around my arm.  —From “The Heart of the Circus | SXSW 2015 Diary”

Or the time he discussed performance identity via Thirst Things First and Bonehart Flannigan:

Together, Boot and Bonehart represent opposite ends of the assumed-identity spectrum. Boot supplements the Thirst Things First experience that otherwise succeeds on the merits of music, whereas Bonehart Flannigan, Dell’s band and songwriting vehicle, could probably not exist as profoundly without the Dell’s sieve, Bonehart Flannigan the man. —from Lincoln Calling 2014

Or his essay on vanishing Nebraska towns via a Kill County song:

In that, Kill County got it right. Unforgiving land takes hearty, stubborn people to live it. You can see it in cracked hands, split fingernails and creased faces, in wooden fence posts driven deep into the sand and strung tight with rusted barbed wire. For better or worse, an ancestor made home here and you haven’t yet been part of the population’s disappearing act and you don’t know anything but wind, sand, rain and grass. —from Finding Kill County’s Dying Town

And what I probably consider to be his finest hour — the profile on John Klemmensen and Molly Welsch that explores their unique musical and personal relationship through the cloudy and cracked lens of cultural misogyny. Read it here.

Shine on, work friend.

— Chance Solem-Pfeifer

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Former Saddle Creek duo Two Gallants played Waiting Room last night with Blank Range. Two Gallants’ new album, We Are Undone, is out now. See a few photos by Krystal Sidzyik below.

Two Gallants

Blank Range

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And then on Tuesday, Oklahoma City punk rock outfit Red City Radio played The Hideout with Hand Painted Police Car and The Bricks. Photos by Marco Meyer below:

Red City Radio

Hand Painted Police Car

The Bricks

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In what’s become a touchstone for reuniting veteran punk and pop punk bands, The Ataris will bring its Blue Skies, Broken Hearts…Next 12 Exits tour to Omaha, playing the seminal album in its entirety.

The Hideout announced the July 12 show today. RSVP here.

The band’s second release, Blue Skies was released in 1999 and the album found The Ataris gaining widespread critical acclaim and national fan bases. The band went on to release three more albums. 2007’s Welcome the Night is the band’s latest release.

Lucas Wright, who books for The Hideout and Black Heart Booking, says that he and everyone he knew in bands were in love with Blue Skies when it was released.

“The teenage angst mixed with the confusion of love and relationships — it bridged the gap between the slower emo stuff and pop punk,” he says. “The love sick lyrics, the simple punk rhythm section combined with the shoegaze and melodic guitar parts”

Wright says this will be The Ataris’ first Nebraska show in eight years.

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Matt Whipkey will open for legendary country performer Dwight Yoakam at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa on May 29.

Surf Ballroom is something of a rock ‘n’ roll landmark. It’s where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper played their final show before dying in a plane crash.

Country rock artist Yoakam released his 14th album earlier this year, Second Hand Heart. Steven Hyden wrote an in-depth profile on the musician for Grantland, which published yesterday. Hyden’s article focuses on the dying breed of the country music “cowpunk,” calling Yoakam the last of his kind. Read it here.

Whipkey released his second solo album, Underwater, earlier this year.

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Tonight, Luke Polipnick plays his second in a four-show run at The Zoo Bar. Each outing explores a different facet of the jazz guitarist’s varied approaches. For tonight’s show, Polipnick plays with Chris Varga on drums and Max Stehr on bass. The trio will focus on free jazz and improvisation.

Polipnick says that, for him, the series is an opportunity to lay out all that he’s worked on in his Nebraska years.

“I wanted to simply demonstrate my different jazz projects,” he told us via e-mail. “Not looking for special attention, just want people to know what’s happening for me musically. I have been here for two and a half years. In that time I’ve felt very content with my creative work and the frequency of my performing.”

On one hand, Polipnick says, it’s an opportunity to correct misconceptions about his work: that he plays only one type of music or another, depending on who you ask.

Tonight, his trio opens for free jazz trio Wrest, featuring legendary saxophonist Jack Wright. RSVP here.

Find all the info on Polipnick’s series here.

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On top of Polipnick and Wrest’s show, your choices are cut out for you if you’re show-going tonight.

The first in Sheldon Museum of Art’s spring performance series takes place tonight with performances by Sun Day, Bogusman and Miniature Horse. The free show begins at 6 p.m. RSVP here.

At Knickerbockers, Gregory Alan Isakov plays with Nathaniel Rateliff. RSVP here. The Colorado folk singers were last in Nebraska back in January, at which point we spoke to both Rateliff and Isakov. The former is a solo acoustic groove-rider, who captures melancholy in a soulful way. The latter is a consummate, whispering poet, whose work is ripe with soft American imagery.

The Boxmasters will play The Bourbon tonight with The Mezcal Brothers. The Boxmasters, led by actor Billy Bob Thornton, will release its fourth record later this year.

RSVP here.

Oquoa plays its second April residency show at O’Leaver’s tonight. This one features Sam Martin and Thinkin Machines. We’ll publish an interview later today with Martin, former frontman of Capgun Coup. Martin released his first proper solo album, A Notion in an Ocean, last year. RSVP here.