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Connor Oberst - Saddle Creek Records

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From their press kit: "Saddle Creek turns 50 with a two disc sampler featuring one previously released track as well as one new and exclusive track from Azure Ray, Bright Eyes, Cursive, Desaparecidos, The Faint, The Good Life, Mayday, Now It's Overhead, Rilo Kiley, Son Ambulance, and Sorry About Dresden." The 2 disc compilation shows the extreme highs and lows of Saddle Creek.

The Faint start the first disc off with one of their best older tracks, "Worked Up So Sexual." The new Faint track offered here "Take me to the Hospital" is the poppiest thing they have done. The track is enjoyable reminding me of later Duran Duran mixed with the driving thump of Adult. The sweet jangly acoustics of Now It's Overhead is majestic and enjoyable. The better track "Wonderful Scar from S/T" has a great arrangement. Throughout the first cd there are highs by the Faint or Cursive but Rilo Kiley sounds like a desperate Jewel poser and Son Ambulance is downright soporific. Side 1 is enjoyable but uneven.

Side 2 kicks off with the wonderful emotional sounds of the Desaparecidos. This is the project of label founder/pretty boy Connor Oberst and he dazzles vocally and lyrically sounding exasperated and dynamic. The new unheard Desaparecidos track is tense, rife with fun times changes, and filled with anti nuke samples; it is a delight. The next band up the Good Life continue the wide eyed pop with soaring results. The signature of this collection of songs lies in the performance and sincerity of all of the bands. The second CD suffers from the same problems as the fist CD ... The beautifully pained vocals sound shallow and unremarkable especially on the tracks by Azure Ray and Sorry About Dresden. The last songs are by Bright Eyes and this saves the second cd from ruin because these songs are fantastic. Connor Oberst is an emotional singer that at times can pen a lyric as witty as Jarvis Cocker with a crying intensity that is unsettling. The new track here "One Foot in Front of the Other" is Bright Eyes playing around a waltzing beat built on clever insightful observations by Oberst. Combining the pop songcraft of the Beatles and more Bright Eyes offer two great songs.

Saddle Creek will always be known for either the Bright Eyes or the Faint. This compilation cd shows that the best that Saddle Creek has to offer are really only the Faint, Bright Eyes, and the Desaparecidos. The 2 disc set is highly enjoyable and very worthwhile to anyone curious about Saddle Creek or certain bands like Cursive but it is not neccasary for older fans. Still, as the Saddle Creek website says, "Inherent in youth is a kinetic energy, vitality and passion that has the potential to move masses .... Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst is that voice." This is more than enough reason to buy this collection as well disc 1 features all 45 of Saddle Creek's online weekly movies from 2002

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The NY Times called 20 year old Connor Oberst the next Bob Dylan. Worth checking out...

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  • 2 years later...

Here is an early rare song, which he dedicated to Athens, GA -- you can find a few more little treats at I Guess I'm Floating..


And almost forgot, an obligatory LINK to Saddle Creek Records

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