To the surprise of many, the American underground’s most fertile soil is now found on the parched plains of Omaha, Neb. Despite the scarcity of clubs, record shops and other hipster-habitat markers, this remote Midwestern town has cultivated a bumper crop of interesting bands. Early bloomers Tom Bascle (The Faint) and Connor Oberst (Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos) have garnered the attention of Rolling Stone and The New York Times, but the area is ripe with local talent — with more moving in.
The draw to Omaha seems more about the close-knit music community, with the area’s flagship label, Saddle Creek, coming across more as a genial support group than a snotty, art-school clique. Most artists share at least one band, studio space or apartment in common, and they frequently pool their money to help fund a label-mate’s work. In celebration of their 50th release comes the appropriately titled “Saddle Creek 50.” This special double-CD features two songs each from 11 bands on the label. Must have taken one big bake sale to get that kind of cash up.
Read the full review at The Japan Times Online