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Bridgers and Oberst’s Better Oblivion Community Center is familiar, yet fully and equitably intertwined

Better Oblivion Community Center | photo by Nik Freitas | courtesy of the artist

Frequent collaborators Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst have worked together so often over the last few years that news of a full-length release from the duo shouldn’t surprise us — and yet it did. Maybe the two artists sensed that rolling out their new project, Better Oblivion Community Center, wouldn’t be a huge shocker if they did it the traditional way. According to a press release, the two songwriters “kept their plans under wraps for months as they wrote and recorded in Los Angeles in the summer and fall of 2018,” opting for some cryptic teaser brochures offering services like “chosen family therapy” and “free human empathy screenings.”

And before anyone could say the name of the new band three times fast, Better Oblivion Community Center was performing on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and their LP had appeared on streaming services. Continue reading →

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Conor Oberst records new song “LAX” with Phoebe Bridgers for Amazon Music

Conor Oberst | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Here’s the good news: Musical pals Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers have teamed up once again, this time to record a song for Amazon’s “Produced By” series. The less great news is that, for now, the track is exclusively available via Amazon Music; those who aren’t subscribers can hear a short preview below. The “Produced By” series pairs a leading producer with four different musicians to record an original song; Bridgers joined Oberst to sing harmonies on the former Bright Eyes frontman’s song “LAX,” which was previously released as a demo. The track was produced by Simone Felice of the Felice Brothers. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest Recap: Wilco jams, Conor Oberst rages and Hop Along smokes to wrap XPNFest day one

Wilco | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

There was a lot of pent-up energy in the air last night as the XPNFest crowd settled in for the headlining BB&T Pavilion show. Was it going to rain or no? Would all the shifting around of sets and times throw a wrench in the festival works? Was that ominous flock of Canada geese going to go at it with the crowd on the lawn?

The answers: no, no and no. The show was kicked off by an explosive 30 minute set from Hop Along, sauntered through a powerful mix of Bright Eyes and solo tunes from Conor Oberst and was capped by a 95-minute jammer by Wilco — shorter than their usual fare, but nevertheless satisfying. Continue reading →

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Conor Oberst, Hop Along, and Big Thief cut to the feeling at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn

Conor Oberst performing
Conor Oberst at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn | photo by Scott Troyan for WXPN | scotttroyan.com

Before bringing the show to XPoNential Music Fest on Friday, Conor Oberst kicked off a weeklong tour with Philly’s Hop Along last Thursday in Brooklyn,playing the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn Festival. The outdoor show took place at the Prospect Park Bandshell on a hot July night. Continue reading →

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Watch Conor Oberst’s wistfully bittersweet video for “Barbary Coast (Later)”

Conor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artistConor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artist
Conor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artist

Conor Oberst‘s music is full of heartfelt, authentic emotion, so it’s no surprise that his videos follow suit. Recently releasing a touching video for his song “Barbary Coast (Later),” which is featured on his new album Salutations, the short-film style video is a perfect match for the wistful folk tune; taking viewers back to the easier, carefree time of childhood. Continue reading →

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Hear Conor Oberst flesh out Ruminations via NPR First Listen with new Salutations LP

Conor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artistConor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artist
Conor Oberst | photo by Tony Bonacci | courtesy of the artist

If you haven’t been keeping up with Conor Oberst as of late and that headline doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, let me explain. Last October, Oberst released Ruminations, a ten song set of straight-to-tape solo performances. It featured some of the sharpest tunes we’ve heard from the guy in years, and he did it with just voice and guitar or voice and piano. Now, only a few months later, he’s updated the record with Salutations, a full-band reimagining of those tracks with seven more cuts thrown in for good measure. It’s out this Friday, March 17th via Nonesuch, but you can stream it now in its entirety via NPR First Listen. Continue reading →

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Watch Conor Oberst play an intimate bookstore show to celebrate Ruminations

conor oberst | NPR show @ Housing works | screencap via performance vid
Conor Oberst | NPR show @ Housing Works | still from video

Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst recently put on a very personal performance at Housing Works Bookstore in New York to celebrate his new record Ruminations. Looking through his lens of helplessness and worry, Oberst easily entertained a friendly atmosphere of fans with three tracks off of the new record.

With a recent health scare in the form of a brain cyst, Oberst moved back home to Omaha and would eventually make the record in a 48 hour recording session, resulting in a reflective collection of songs about his situation.

Continue reading →

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XPN MusicNotes: Watch Jim James, M. Ward, Conor Oberst and Zooey Deschanel reunite Monsters of Folk and She & Him

Monsters of Folk | via Pitchfork

Supergroup Monsters of Folk reformed in LA over the weekend, reuniting Jim James, Conor Oberst & M. Ward for the1st time in 6 years. Zooey Deschanel also joined M.Ward for a couple of She & Him songs. Watch some fan video of “Vincent O’Brien”, “To Save Me”, “Never Had Nobody Like You” and “Magic Trick.” Continue reading →