Posts Tagged ‘Conor Oberst’

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst come from the same musical orbit. One could even argue, the two songwriters—age 24 and 38 respectively—are like long-lost musical siblings. Though at vastly different points in their careers, both musicians know how to crush and revive listeners with inspired woe, romantic poignancy and their instantly recognizable, consoling pipes.

Bridgers’ breakout 2017 debut LP, “Stranger in the Alps”, and her recent work with critical darling supergroup, boygenius, has safely reserved her position in the club of young singer-songwriters poised for rosy careers. Oberst has dozens of records to his name, most notably with the angsty indie outfit Bright Eyes, then as a solo artist and with bands like Desaparecidos and Monsters of Folk. Whether it’s the fictitious firm they reference on their band social media accounts or the album of the same name. With one new song, “Little Trouble” available on their new 7-inch single.

Better Oblivion Community Center is a healing endeavor, and though the jury is still out on the effectiveness of the former, the latter is undoubtedly potent. They capture the serenity of a still lakefront, the spontaneous vigor of a thunderstorm, the lifelong, scenic memories of a childhood road trip and the peaks and troughs of relationships. The two tear-jerking singer/songwriters are at the peak of their powers here, and they’ve managed to distill the exhilaration of that one summer you hoped would last forever and the crackling warmth of a bonfire into 10 effortlessly touching tracks.

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Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberstunveiled their video for “Dylan Thomas,” the lead single off Better Oblivion Community Center’s self-titled debut, surprise-released last week and set for a physical release on February. 22nd via Dead Oceans.

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst come from the same musical orbit. One could even argue, the two songwriters—age 24 and 38 respectively—are like long-lost musical siblings. Though at vastly different points in their careers, both musicians know how to crush and revive listeners with inspired woe, romantic poignancy and their instantly recognizable, consoling pipes. The stars aligned just in time for Bridgers and Oberst to write, record and surprise-drop a haunting new album together for a brand new project: Better Oblivion Community Center—which really is their band name and not actually the name of a utopian old folks home. Better Oblivion Community Center is an unsurprisingly tender, affecting excursion. Its largely upbeat instrumentation ebbs and flows with understated folky strums and scintillating keyboards, and the occasional ray of buoyant rock ’n’ roll peeks out just when you need some lighthearted relief from their lyrics. Though many male-female vocal duos lean heavily on duets, this pair elected to skirt that norm by singing mostly in unison and in harmony rather than engaging in the sometimes cheesy call and response.

The Michelle Zauner-directed video finds Bridgers and Oberst showing up to a gig at a swanky establishment—the Better Oblivion Community Center itself—only to find they’ve been booked to perform at what looks like a very genial cult meet-up taking place inside David Lynch’s brain. The musicians and their cultist audience wear blindfolds and VR goggles interchangeably, playing eyeball bingo and doing trust falls, until Bridgers and Oberst come face-to-face with the smirking observer who would appear to be the author of all this oddity. The video ends with the duo doing the only reasonable thing: fleeing the Better Oblivion Community Center .

Much of the record could still loosely fall into the folk camp, but there are moments that you wouldn’t expect from Oberst and Bridgers. The throbbing electro keyboards of “Exception to the Rule,” the fuzzy rock surge at the end of “Big Black Heart” and the psychedelic guitar swells on “My City” all represent a venture into new frontiers

PHOEBE BRIDGERS  &  CONOR OBERST  - PHOTO BY NIK FREITAS

Better Oblivion Community Center is pleased to share with you a commercial for our cherished center directed by ranking Community Center member Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast.

As promised, in the coming months Better Oblivion Community Center will hold meetings across the US and Europe. We welcome you to experience a healing sound bath – live in concert.

  • 10th-May  Bristol – Academy 11th-May London – Shepherd’s Bush Empire 12th-May Manchester – Ritz

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst (Nik Freitas)

The mysterious band name Better Oblivion Community Center is not only now officially a new project by Phoebe Bridgers & Conor Oberst, their full album, they now have finally revealed that it is the title of their new band and album. Better Oblivion Community Center out via Dead Oceans. The new duo recently performed on the opening credits of Colbert they played “Dylan Thomas” on Colbert.

The album, produced by Bridgers, Oberst, and Andy LeMaster, features Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ guitarist Nick Zinner (on “Dylan Thomas” and “Dominoes”), Carla Azar (drums on half of the album), and Dawes’ rhythm section Wylie Gelber and Griffin Goldsmith (on the other half). Christian Lee Hutson contributes guitar and Anna Butterss provides bass.

Conor Oberst sang on “Would You Rather” from Phoebe Bridgers’ 2017 debut “Stranger in the Alps”. His latest album, “Salutations”, came out that same year. Last year, Bridgers also recently teamed up with Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus for the boygenius EP.

Previously only available on a vinyl 7″ for Record Store Day: Black Friday in 2014, Conor Oberst‘s songs “Standing on the Outside Looking In” and “Sugar Street” are now available digitally. The tracks were recorded during the sessions for his 2014 Nonesuch Records debut album, Upside Down Mountain, of which Rolling Stone said: “A sumptuous immersion in ’70s California folk pop, it is the most immediately charming album he has ever made.”

Conor Oberst released his Nonesuch Records debut album, Upside Down Mountain, in the May of 2014. Earlier that spring, he had previewed what was to come with the release of a limited-edition vinyl 7″ for Record Store Day, featuring the album track “Hundreds of Ways” b/w the album outtake “Fast Friends.” Later that year, for Record Store Day: Black Friday, came another limited-edition vinyl 7″ with two non-album tracks recorded during the Upside Down Mountain sessions: “Standing on the Outside Looking In” b/w “Sugar Street.” All of those tracks are finally available now digitally and can be heard here below.

Previously only available for Record Store Day: Black Friday, released on November 24th, 2014, The tracks were recorded during the sessions for Oberst’s 2014 Nonesuch Records debut album, Upside Down Mountain,

From the Standing On The Outside Looking In/Sugar Street Record Store Day 7-inch single.

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“…..all the good ones in the world they keep dropping dead, everybody’s got a bullet flying at their head……” Looking forward to a new album sometime in 2019??

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“No One Changes” 
Conor Oberst- piano and vocal
“The Rockaways” 
Conor Oberst- guitar and vocal
Nathaniel Walcott- keyboard
Released November 7th, 2018

It’s just been announced that Conor Oberst is working with the Felice Brothers band again on a new (sort of) album. Salutations is going to be 7 new tracks, plus all the songs from Ruminations done with a full band instead of solo. Earlier they released the first new track, “Napalm,” as well as their version of  “A Little Uncanny.”

“Napalm” is, in my opinion, one of the most electrifying track’s Oberst has released since “Roosevelt Room” appeared on Outer South. There’s a little twang in the vocals on some lyrics, and since Ian Felice isn’t focused on singing he’s free to go wild on lead guitar. Salutations also features Oberst’s Monsters Of Folk bandmate Jim James and drummer Jim Keltner.

“Napalm” by Conor Oberst and The Felice Brothers

Conor Oberst Releases "No One Changes" and "The Rockaways"

Conor Oberst dropped two new gloriously melancholy singles on Bandcamp Wednesday morning: “No One Changes” and “The Rockaways” The former is a somber, introspective piano number which elegantly drops lyrics like “a goddamn shit show.” The latter is somber, introspective, post-breakup acoustic song with Bright Eyes’s  Nathaniel Walcott contributing keyboard parts.

The songs can be purchased digitally now and will be made available as a double A-side 7″ single on February 1st, 2019.

In August, the Oberst’s song “LAX” was featured on the soundtrack to the Ethan Hawke film Juliet, Naked. Hawke covered the song as his aging Gen X singer-songwriter from the film. Oberst then re-recorded a new version of the song with Phoebe Bridgers added vocals for Amazon Music’s “Produced By” series. The track was produced by Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers (his backing band) for Amazon Music’s “Produced By” series. Felice’s session also features songs by Bridgers, Wesley Schultz (the Lumineers), and more. Oberst’s song, indeed, does take its name from the Los Angeles airport. The artist formerly known as Bright Eyes includes lines in his bittersweet narrative like “It’s raining in L.A./and everyone’s gone mad” and “I’ll pick you up, just tell me when you land” over simple solo piano chording and snippets of electro acoustic ambience.

Conor Oberst’s last proper full-length Salutations came out in 2017, which was mainly a reworking of his 2016 album Ruminations.

Desaparecidos is a 5-piece rock band fronted by Bright Eyes singer/songwriter Conor Oberst (vocals, guitar) and featuring Denver Dalley (guitar), Landon Hedges (bass, vocals), Ian McElroy (keyboards), and Matt Baum (drums). Matt and Ian are familiar to many of you from the various incarnations of Bright Eyes‘ touring band of which they played in.

Conor Oberst may be better known for his confessional songwriting and storytelling, but Desaparecidos is nothing of the sort. Indeed, similar vocal melodies and song structure are present, but the guitars are loud and distorted, the bass is pounding, and the drums and keyboards round out this hi-energy, pop-rock band without the lyrical focus of personal relationships. Oberst screams out observational commentary about urban development, the sacrifice of human value for the dollar bill, and the new American Dream.

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Setting out to capture the rawness of the band, the record was recorded over one week at Presto! Recording Studio in Lincoln with producer Mike Mogis. Bright Eyes fans will love it, but it’ll also appeal to anyone who’s ever dug At The Drive In, The Pixies, Weezer, Dinosaur Jr., etc.

This album was originally released February 11th, 2002

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‘Ruminations’ is one of singer songwriter Conor Oberst’s most personal records — and it was a surprise, even for its creator. He didn’t intend to make an album — he was trying to recover from exhaustion after he was rattled by a health scare, a cyst on his brain. But when he left New York, N.Y., and moved back to his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska., the songs started coming. He recorded ‘Ruminations’ on piano, guitar and harmonica in 48 hours during the winter after he moved home. The result is a collection of brave, dark songs that confront Oberst’s thoughts during that time head-on and include his best work to date .

Housing Works Bookstore in New York is a place that’s meant a lot to Oberst over the years. It’s a book shop with a mission to help the homeless and those with AIDS and HIV. He was at the very first performance at Housing Works nearly a dozen years ago, and he’s played there a few times as well — including one Halloween show where he dressed as a skeleton. So on the day he released Ruminations, it was fitting that he return to Housing Works to perform all the songs from that album — some of them for the first time.

For this performance Conor Oberst is largely seated at a piano, a harmonica strapped around his neck. His bassist, MiWi La Lupa, lays a small foundation for songs that they’re still learning to play, but that are unmistakably moving and contain some of Oberst’s best lyrics and imagery.

SET LIST,
“Tachycardia” – 0:48
“Gossamer Thin” – 4:46
“Barbary Coast (Later)” – 9:37
“Counting Sheep” – 15:41
“Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)” – 20:18
“Next of Kin” – 25:42
“The Rain Follows the Plow” – 29:50
“A Little Uncanny” – 34:24
“You All Loved Him Once” – 39:33
“Till St. Dymphna Kicks Us Out” – 45:32

Conor Oberst is streaming new album ‘Salutations’

This album is a companion piece to 2016’s “Ruminations”. When Oberst wrote and recorded the songs on Ruminations, entirely solo with just vocals, piano, guitar and harmonica, he intended to ultimately record them with a full band. But in the midst of putting together that band – upstate New York’s The Felice Brothers plus the legendary drummer Jim Keltner (Neil Young, Jackson Browne, George Harrison, Bob Dylan, John Lennon, and many more) – the passionate responses Oberst was getting to those first solo recordings, from friends and colleagues, encouraged him to release the songs as-is, in their original sparse form.

“Salutations” so soon after is a surprise release. After the previous “Ruminations” 10-track album written and recorded by Conor Oberst in the cold confines of Omaha, Nebraska which came out last year, the news that a second album, with full-band arrangements of those same 10 songs plus seven more, would be released this year was an unexpected bonus. Featuring the contributions of The Felice Brothers and Jim Keltner, it promised a new treatment of some of Oberst’s most raw compositions. The result is a fulsome new release, markedly different from its 2016 cousin.

If nothing else, Salutations is a fascinating look at the changes that come from collaboration and evolution in a studio setting versus the isolation in which these songs were born. Instead of relying solely on piano, acoustic guitar, and harmonica, Conor Oberst and company employ accordions, organs, strings (of both the orchestral and fiddle varieties), and ethereal sound collage elements to build up these tracks and give them a more unique new character.

In place of sparse confessionals, Oberst offers amblers, anthems, and torch songs. The first track of the album, “Too Late to Fixate”, announces Salutations as such – a slow groove with his trademark combination of wry humor, self-pity, and world-weary reflection. The album’s new additions tend to be its more raucous ones, approaching a Southern rock vibe in songs like “Napalm” and “Anytime Soon”. Despite those rollicking numbers, much of Salutations moves at a slower pace, with the addition of percussion and string-accompaniment often turning Oberst into a crooner see: “Rain Follows the Plough”. The record has an overall jam band quality, but it’s one to sway and swoon to, with clean electric guitars and steady ballads.

 The themes are recognizable to anyone familiar with Oberst’s prior work. There is a particular focus on the peculiar nature of celebrity, most notably “It’s a Little Uncanny” and “You Loved Him Once”. Oberst seems captivated by how people in the public eye have a strange hold over the rest of us in ways that can affect the lives of both those adoring and adored.

The album also presents Conor Oberst struggling with his own mortality. Health issues, including a diagnosis of a cyst in his brain, originally prompted the singer to step back from a planned tour and pour his worries onto the page. The echoes of that remain on Salutations in songs like “Tachycardia” and “Counting Sheep” with lyrics like “everything ends, everything has to.” Oberst seems to be contemplating his own end, trying to reassure himself about both the meaning and inevitability of it.

Through the fuller production, however, Oberst softens the blow of these thoughts. There was a bare earnestness to Salutations’ predecessor, a sense in which Oberst was sequestered in his own confessional in Nebraska, pleading his case and wrestling with his demons. In the confines of the studio, the lyrics have the same potency, but Oberst himself is more languid, the instrumentation more amiable than arresting. It turns passages in songs like “A Little Uncanny”, where Oberst sings “I miss poor Robin Williams”, from sad laments into fond remembrances.

But the same ruminative qualities remain on the record. Salutations focuses on the fleeting, fickle nature of just about everything. Success, romance, veneration, discipline, fidelity, and life itself all appear to be phantoms that can never truly be captured or pinned down in Oberst’s estimation , “Salutation”, “Afterthought”. Oberst is seemingly beleaguered by the uncertainty and the march of years, with many songs that mention his finding refuge in various substances, geographic escapes, or more carnal distractions.

In “Mamah Borthwick (A Sketch)”, he speaks of finding something “sacred till the end,” after beauty, wealth, and achievement have faded and crumbled. He seems to settle on art as one of those few things that can be pure, that can withstand the panicked paradoxes of the day-to-day and perhaps even death itself .

Oberst strikes the notes of a man trying to find something permanent, beautiful, and unblemished .