Universe Contest premieres homebrewed video; Simon Joyner & Refrigerator gets Cassette Store Day release; Nebraska Arts Council announces 2016-2017 Individual Artist Fellowship

Universe Contest premieres homebrewed video

Things have looked differently for Universe Contest for a couple of years now. Lineup changes in 2014 meant its once ethereal, skyward-reaching prog rock has given way to a tightly-packed, meatier sound reminiscent of the band’s earlier, punkier rawness.

Yet guitarist/vocalist Joe Humpal’s songs have still maintained a dreamy, urgent quality, offsetting his other songwriting half Tim Carr’s punchier, irreverent cuts.

We’re premiering the video for one of Humpal’s tracks, “When It’s Over,” today. Shot by Zipline Brewing’s Kelly Houchen during a Labor Day party, their performance captures the garage-bound spirit of homebrewing while hearkening back to its own formative years.

Fans will find a similar form of camaraderie at Beer Nebraska, a collaborative Hear Nebraska benefit, hosted by Zipline, which pairs locally brewed beer with homegrown music. Universe Contest will perform at Zipline Brewing, 2100 Magnum Cir, Saturday, Sept 24 along with Cursive, Better Friend, Criteria and a reuniting Columbia Vs Challenger. RSVP here and grab tickets here.

Watch the video for “When It’s Over” below:


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Simon Joyner & Refrigerator gets Cassette Store Day release

One night this past summer at Simon Joyner’s house, after Refrigerator was finished cutting tracks for a forthcoming new record, the band took up its instruments again, laying 10 covers down on a single track.

The result, Was it Something We Sang, will release via Shrimper Records on Saturday, Oct 8 for Cassette Store Day. It features 10 covers of songs by The Fall, David Blue, Sam Cooke, Kanye West, Waylon Jennings, Townes Van Zandt, The Cure, Prince & more.

Shrimper’s announcement comes with two other official Cassette Store Day releases. They include a live set from Dump, which features hand-colored art by James McNew, and a quiet folk cassette by Folktale Records CEO and singer/songwriter Whitman, for which Shrimper boss David Callaci (a long-time Joyner collaborator) hand-painted art.

Established in 2013 and inspired by its Record Store kin, Cassette Store Day is an international, annual observance of the music medium’s value. Homer’s Music & Gifts, 1210 Howard St, is an official participant this year. See the full listing of stores, releases and events at the Cassette Store Day website.

photo courtesy of Shrimper Records

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Nebraska Arts Council announces Individual Artist Fellowship

Nebraska Arts Council is looking to support original, working Nebraska artists through its annual grant program.

Applications are now open for the organization’s Individual Artist Fellowship program in four areas of artistic discipline: Music/Sound, Choreography, Filmmaking/Screenwriting and Theater/Playwriting. The program supports Nebraska artists through public recognition and monetary awards of up to $5,000. The program rotates annually to highlight different disciplines, and will highlight Nebraska literature in 2018 and visual arts in 2019.

Applications are open now until November 15. A professional, out-of-state panel judges artists work. Applicants must be 19 years-old, hold two years prior Nebraska residency and must maintain residency throughout the fellowship year. They must also not be enrolled in an undergraduate/graduate program in their applied-for discipline.

See the application and requirements at Nebraska Arts Council’s website here.

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Concert Round-Up

Tonight, Leopold and his Fiction plays The Bourbon, 1415 O St, with locals Verse & the Vices and Herbert’s Rainbow. Originally an outlet for Detroit songwriter Daniel James Leopold’s formative years, Leopold and his Fiction filters blues, Motown and bits of psychedelia through the filter of bare bones rock. Most recently, Leopold released single “Cowboy” Sept 9 via Native Fiction Records. Front room show is $8 and starts at 8 p.m. RSVP here.

Also tonight, Virginia folk-rock act Melodime plays Reverb Lounge, 6121 Military Ave, with Omaha pop act Clark & Company. Its most recent record, The B-Room Diaries Vol. III: The Underdogs, captures the band at its strongest point, the convergence between adult contemporary and classic country. The all-ages show starts at 9 p.m., with $10 entry. RSVP here.

And you know Tuesday means the hot combo of Dad’s $1 beer night and live music at Duffy’s Tavern. Tonight, it’s a Plack Blague takeover, as the industrial DJ works through mixtape variety night. As always, there’s no cover, so donations are accepted (use the cash saved on that cheap Busch Light). RSVP here.

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Plan the rest of your weekend in shows with our statewide calendar here. Send all news tips, story ideas and song submissions to news@hearnebraska.org.