So what in the hell does Omaha have that St. Louis doesn't? Solid Midwestern values? Good private schools? No, we've got those in spades. For starters, the Omaha music scene is surprisingly developed and diverse, with committed, supportive bands working to make things happen: 2002 saw the explosion of Saddle Creek Records, the local indie label that houses the emo-orchestral collective Bright Eyes, dark-wave playboys the Faint and a host of other solid acts from Omaha and abroad. Critics and fans point to Bright Eyes main man Conor Oberst as the linchpin of the Saddle Creek scene, but Oberst is quick to give credit to Tim Kasher and Ted Stevens, both members of Cursive and pillars of the young movement.
To call Cursive an emo band would be to ignore the jagged brutality of their music, and to tag them as post-rock doesn't quite represent the emotional complexity of Kasher's lyrics or the timbre of his tortured delivery. The band's last full-length, Cursive's Domestica, catalogues the effects of Kasher's divorce with such painful honesty that it deserves a spot among the heartbreak records of Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye and Richard Thompson. The recent addition of cellist Gretta Cohn brings a sort of organic punch to the tunes, sharply punctuating the flurried guitars and distorted drums. Expect a new record, The Ugly Organ, to drop in March, and get a sneak preview this weekend when one of Omaha's finest comes to heal the faithful and pummel the unprepared.