Dawes backs Conor Oberst at a sold-out Union Transfer show

Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery
Conor Oberst | photo by Michelle Montgomery

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst took the stage at Union Transfer playing a sold-out show on Wednesday night. Touring in support of his latest solo LP, Upside Down Mountain, Oberst played a guitar-heavy mix of new tracks and old favorites. Since Upside Down Mountain was released just days before the show, many of the country/folk-inspired songs were not previously heard by the audience. Oberst was backed by roots rock band Dawes, who also opened the show. Playing in Philly for the first time since the 2012 XPoNential Music Festival, Dawes played an energetic set in support of their 2013 release Stories Don’t End. Check out photos from the show in the gallery below.


Stream Conor Oberst’s new release, Upside Down Mountain, via NPR Music

Photo by Butch Hogan
Photo by Butch Hogan

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst releases his new album, Upside Down Mountain on Tuesday, May 20th. You can listen to it in its entirety here via NPR Music. WXPN Welcomes Conor with special guests Dawes to the TLA on Wednesday, May 21st. The show is sold out.

Writing about the album for NPR Music, Tom Moon says:

Upside Down Mountain suggests that Oberst is growing, rapidly, as a craftsman. It’s the first truly intimate set of songs he’s offered in a while — really since his 2008 eponymous gem, though contemplative moments seeped into 2009’s Outer South, which he recorded with the Mystic Valley Band. Oberst visits some of the rowdy backbeats of those previous works, but even in the driving rock tracks (the -ish “Zigzagging Toward the Light”), he’s brokering interior thoughts, choosing clusters of words for the ways they thrive, or sometimes disappear, inside the sonic swirl.

Upside Down Mountain was co-produced by Jonathan Wilson, who also plays various instruments throughout the album. Oberst gets some additional help from Blake Mills, Orenda Fink, Mike Moogis and Andy LeMaster. The gorgeous back up vocals are performed by Klara and Johanna Söderberg, known to many as the duo First Aid Kit.

Listen to Upside Down Mountain here.


Conor Oberst releases an ode to the festival-goers with track “Governor’s Ball” from upcoming LP Upside Down Mountain

Conor Oberst | Photo by David McClister

Conor Oberst appears to be returning to his Omaha, Nebraska roots, with the recently announced country/ blue-grass inspired album Upside Down Mountain, set to be released on May 20 via Nonesuch Records.

Oberst has now uncloaked the second track from that album, titled “Governor’s Ball”: an upbeat number with climatic sax instrumentals that really bring the song to life, and vocals that are far less somber than anything we’ve come to know and love from Bright Eyes. Whether the song is a ploy to reach the hearts of the ever-expanding scene of festival-goers, or a true to life tale of a van-riding boy and “klonopin-eyed girl”, or both, I’m not sure; but the song sounds really good, and Oberst’s maturity as an artist moving between genres is certainly commendable.

Get tickets for when Conor Oberst plays Union Transfer on May 21 here, and listen to “Governor’s Ball” below. Check here for a full list of tour dates.


WXPN Welcomes Conor Oberst to Union Transfer on May 21st

Photo by David McClister
Photo by David McClister
XPN Welcomes Conor Oberst to Union Transfer on Wednesday, May 21st, a day after he releases his new album, Upside Down Mountain. The country flavored collection of songs is Oberst’s first record for Nonesuch, and was produced by Jonathan Wilson. Backing Oberst on this tour is Dawes, however, while they have not been officially announced for this show, well, maybe you can draw your own conclusions.


Have a pool party in Maria Taylor’s poppy video for “Up All Night” (playing Boot and Saddle 2/5)

maria taylor
Photo by Kelly Steffy |

Seasoned singer/songwriter Maria Taylor heads out on a national tour in support of her latest solo album, Something About Knowing, released October 29th via Saddle Creek records. Something About Knowing is Taylor’s first release following motherhood, and the album displays a musical as well as emotional maturity that can only stem from life altering events. Taylor recently released a video for the track “Up All Night”, an upbeat California pop tune with happy-go-lucky melodies that at times juxtapose the heavier story of becoming newly pregnant (“Remember that day we got the news I was scared as hell and so were you”). It’s scary, but celebratory, and the video embodies that celebration with a pool party filled with friends and family. Maria Taylor will be making her Philadelphia stop at Boot & Saddle on Wednesday, February 5th. Tickets are on sale now.


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Conor Oberst at Kimmel Center, Erin McKeown at Tin Angel, Trail of Dead at Johnny Brenda’s, Concert for Haiti at Arden Gild Hall

Former Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst will be playing tonight at the Kimmel Center in support of his 2012 release of One Of My Kind, his first record with the Mystic Valley Band. The six-piece collective wrote the album while on tour supporting Oberst’s 2008 self-titled record . The album remains true to the confessional folk rock style Oberst has become known for. Tickets for tonight’s 8 o’clock show are available here; below watch Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band perform “Nikorette” from 2008’s Conor Oberst below.

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Contest: Win a prize pack from Conor Oberst, including a pair of tickets to his show at The Kimmel Center on 11/18

Conor Oberst is coming to The Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on November 18th for a special solo show with Daniel Johnston, presented by R5 Productions.  Most notable for his role in Bright Eyes, Oberst finds his plate constantly full with solo projects and side projects including the recently re-banded Desaparecidos.  He’s spent much of the last year touring, both with that reunited post-hardcore five-piece and as a solo act, following the release of Bright Eyes’ 2011 record The People’s Key.

This week we’ve a got a prize pack from the Bright Eyes singer loaded with a pair of tickets for the Philly show show, signed vinyl, a custom screen-printed poster and more.  To enter the contest, leave a comment about your favorite Conor Oberst song.  Winners will be notified by email so make sure to include your full name and an active e-mail address (your e-mail will not be public).  Runner ups will also be chosen to win a pair of tickets for the Sunday night concert.  Tickets and information can be found here. Check out the video for “Jejune Stars” off of the latest Bright Eyes disc below.


Meet Philly Folk Collective Roof Doctor (playing tonight at Church of the Advocate)

Photo by Abi Reimold |

Last December, Roof Doctor lead guitarist/vocalist Mark Harper looked to his friends’ bands for “the best musicians he knew,” and borrowed them record his own material. It was evident after only two practices with Alex Stackhouse (guitar), Chet Williams (bass), Sean Reilly (bass), and Kevin Paschall (drums) that the group possessed enough chemistry to identify as a band in its own right. Last week I sat down with Harper to discuss Roof Doctor’s path – from starting out at the notorious North Philadelphia Maggot House where Harper and guitarist Alex Stackhouse live, to the band’s current plans, and their recently crushed dreams of beefing with Conor Oberst.

TK: Have you been working on anything new since the release of your EP I Am Going To Die back in July?

MH: Yeah, yeah. I Am Going To Die was recorded from February to May in the basement of Maggot House, but we’ve been pretty busy playing and writing new stuff.

TK: Did starting the band inside Maggot House influence your style?

MH: Absolutely. I never listened to punk at all, I was totally new to the whole DIY thing. The people there had a big effect on me. I want to keep playing house shows—I’m not really big on playing a lot of bar gigs. When you play at house shows and colleges people are more enthusiastic.

TK: What’s your favorite show you’ve played?

MH: Oh, just last weekend we played a show at Rowan University. It was really crowded and super energetic. It was just cool because you could see all these kids from the suburbs who had never experienced shows like this, whereas in Philly kids are used to these kinds of shows and places.

TK: What do you love about smaller performances like that?

MH: When the energy of the band matches the energy of the room Continue reading →