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Milemarker: Sign of the Times

story by tim mcmahan



Lazy-i: Nov. 30, 2005

w/ Lords
Dec. 6, 9:30 p.m.
1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd.

Whatever happened to Milemarker? The band had just begun to establish itself as one of the more important post-punk outfits in indie music, releasing a couple well-received CDs on Jadetree, before disappearing sometime in late 2002.

"A lot of it was about losing our minds on tour," said Milemarker's Dave Laney via a cell phone from the corner of San Francisco's Haight and Ashbury, where, he said, the flower children have been replaced by Ben and Jerry's. Laney said Milemarker cut back its schedule in 2003 after a pal of theirs in Germany noticed the road-wear on the band.

"He saw us at the end of a five-month tour and said, 'What's wrong with you guys? You're freaking out.' That brought us back to reality. Touring is fun, but not in doses like that."




The band, which had been going almost non-stop for three years, decided to throttle back, but their self-imposed hiatus didn't last long. Laney quickly formed a new SST-flavored post-punk band with Milemarker bassist Al Burian called Challenger that released a debut on Jadetree. Laney found himself on the road once again for five months of 2004. "I guess old habits are hard to unlearn," he said.

Shortly afterward, Milemarker began working in the studio (again with engineer Steve Albini) on Ominosity, their first new album in three years, released in October on Eyeball Records. "It goes from screamy hardcore to long, spacey jams to acoustic songs," Laney said. "The record was a culmination of more than a dozen people in the studio. Ben Davis (of band's original line-up) even came back and did some stuff on the record."

Milemarker's evolution heard on Ominosity continued with the touring band, which has grown to a six-piece that sports two drummers and a violin. "A big part of the band has always been to keep changing, so it feels new on a personal level," Laney said.

He said Omaha always has been a staple on Milemarker's tour schedule from the early days. "We played with a lot of (Saddle Creek) bands," he said. "I think the first band we played with in Nebraska was Lullaby for the Working Class. All those bands are gigantic now. It feels good to see that happen to such good people."

Could it also happen to Milemarker?

"I'm surprised any time anyone buys our records or comes to our shows," Laney said. "The way to keep it in perspective is to never forget those first few years of touring when you played house shows for $10. We feel fortunate for achieving anything above that."

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Published in The Omaha Reader Nov. 30, 2005. Copyright 2005 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.






"I think the first band we played with in Nebraska was Lullaby for the Working Class. All those bands are gigantic now."