The Saddle Creek collective in Omaha remains as busy and intriguing as ever, swinging between solo and group projects. This tour brings together two of Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst's cronies, Denver Dalley and Maria Taylor. Dalley is Oberst's songwriting partner in Desaparecidos, but his side project, Statistics, offers a dramatic departure. Unlike the passionate indie crunch of Desaparecidos, there is a lazy, atmospheric component to Statistics. Layered guitars compete with burbling electronics, as Dalley croons his emotional pain. The music's shimmering, ethereal quality makes it a nice match for Maria Taylor, a one-time Oberst paramour, and half of Azure Ray. Much like her collaboration with Orenda Fink, her new solo album, 11:11, features an airy, lingering warmth that offers a perfect counterpoint for Taylor's breathy whisper-like vocals. Haunting but gentle, its tender, meandering melodies convey a melancholy distance, a yearning to get closer.
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