Just a quick one. One new band, of sorts, that's playing some festivals this summer - specifically Reading and Leeds, on the Radio 1/NME stage - is Conor Oberst's non-Bright Eyes (i.e. sans-Mike Mogis) project, 'Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band'. This here is the press release:
Conor Oberst - Conor Oberst - August 5, 2008
This recording was made in Tepoztlán, Morelos, México during the months of January and February 2008. In Tepoztlán, a place known for Aztec Magic and Extra-Terrestrial Sightings, a temporary studio was created in a mountain villa called Valle Místico at the outskirts of town. It was produced by Conor Oberst with much help from engineer and long-time associate Andy LeMaster. A special band was assembled for the recording, known amongst themselves and to friends as The Mystic Valley Band. It was there at Valle Místico that Conor and the band lived and worked for that time in near perfect harmony, often unaware of the hour or the day. The result is his first solo album in thirteen years, following Water (1993), Here’s To Special Treatment (1994) and Soundtrack To My Movie (1995). In that time he has recorded and performed in many bands and musical projects including Commander Venus, Park Ave., Desaparecidos, and most notably Bright Eyes, his main musical vehicle for the past decade.
Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band will be touring in support of this album throughout the summer and have already announced an appearance at September’s Austin City Limits festival.
Track List in full:
1. Cape Cañaveral
4. Lenders In The Temple
5. Danny Callahan
6. I Don’t Want To Die (In The Hospital)
7. Eagle On A Pole
9. NYC – Gone, Gone
10. Valle Místico (Ruben's Song)
11. Souled Out!!!
12. Milk Thistle
(from Merge Records)
The live track below goes by the name of 'Beach Bum Boy', but given the lyrics I'm pretty sure it's the same as the track 'Get-Well-Cards' that's gonna be the third track on the album. The live version is from a show on 29th December 2007 (yeah, aaaages ago) at the 400 Bar in Minneapolis. Interestingly, pianist and trumpeter Nate Walcott, who's a part of Bright Eyes, is part of Conor's band for the show. It's great quality (soundboard? I don't really understand the technicalities, but to put it simply, it sounds as good as an officially-released live album, to my ears anyway).
mp3: Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band - Beach Bum Song (Live)
Maybe to some the move away from the Bright Eyes moniker might suggest an excuse for a drop in quality, or at the very least a change in musical direction (as with Desaparecidos' emo-punk-isms). But really, this track at least is I'm Wide Awake/Cassadaga-style Bright Eyes in all but name, and it's more than good enough to fit in with that band's catalogue. Time will tell whether the same can be said of the album as a whole, but for now, go listen and be happy.