Sunday, May 3, 2009

Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

Add Date: May 5

Artist: Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band

Album: Outer South

Label: Merge

Genre: Folk, Alt-Country, Rock

Comments: "While touring in support of Conor Oberst, the talented six-piece (Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band) began to write new songs, each band member sharing their compositions and working them out on the road. Energized by the live performances, eager to capture the synergy they felt onstage, Oberst took his musical compadres to Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, Texas outside of El Paso to capture these gems on tape. The result, the sparkling Outer South is the first album credited to Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band and features the fruits of their enticing musical symbiosis."

My main impression of Conor Oberst comes from the few songs my best friend in middle school put on mix CDs when she was going through a self-declared "emo" phase. While songs like "Lover I Don't Have to Love" had their place on impassioned teenage-girl driving adventures, I found them shrill when I listened to them again. Outer South is a big step away from those emotional, often spinning-out-of-control ballads, though it does retain much of their earnestness, innovative poetic lyricism and dose of new Americana. Based on this album, I'm ready to give Oberst and his pals another chance.

Go to the almost Spoon-esque "Big Black Nothing" or the deceptively upbeat "Cabbage Town."

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