Nothing Makes Me Sad Ever
Talk about being "under the
radar," this CD was released in February 2000 with no fanfare
whatsoever. To this day, if you ask around, you'd be hard-pressed to find
anyone whose heard of Shelter Belt. Heck, the only reason I gave the CD a
listen was because a few people prodded me into buying a copy by saying it
was one of the best recordings produced by a local band in the last couple
years. And they were right.
Though two years old, there's nothing dated about the music unless you
consider the band's apparent influences, and then you have to go back a
few decades -- there's little resemblance any current-day indie, punk or
The 9-piece band from Omaha, Lincoln and Blair is led by
singer/songwriter Jesse Otto, who takes a traditional approach toward
laid-back, feel-good rock. Opener "I Care About That," uses the
entire ensemble to the greatest advantage and sounds like a jumpy Pinetop
Seven number, complete with prominent trumpet/trombone line. But that's
about it when it comes to the brass. For the rest, look for easy-going,
acoustic-driven rock. "Gastonnbridge" has an Elton John Tumbleweed
Connection feel to it. "Math" and "Bomb" herald
back to early Buckingham/Nicks territory thanks to Otto's Lindsey-esque
voice and Andrea Bloomquist's harmonies; while "Take" reminds me
of '70s Todd Rundgren. From a more contemporary stance, there's a distinct
David & David, Counting Crows and Ben Folds jonze goin' on throughout
this massive 65-minute tome that boasts songs that stretch over the
8-minute mark. Could it have used some editing? Sure, but you can't blame
them for pushing a good idea as far as possible.
Two years later, looks like Shelter Belt is making another go of it.
The band has regrouped with a few line-up changes and is playing gigs,
including a Dec. 7 gig at all-ages club Rebels in Council Bluffs before
they re-enter the studio for a new release due next spring. Regardless, Nothing…
is a helluva find and an excellent introduction to a band that hopefully
will create loud echoes on the local music radar screen.