I'm a little bit shocked that my ol' homeboy Conor Oberst and his latest lineup for the ever-evolving Bright Eyes have actually debuted at #4 on the Billboard charts, despite remaining on Omaha's stalwart indie label Saddle Creek. The album, Cassadaga, is a step forward for Conor, Mike Mogis, and crew; something akin to I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, but eons away from Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Personally, I was more enthralled by the latter (anyone that knows me or has paid attention to what I write over the years knows that I've got a soft spot for this kid who was scraping my bong for resin at the age of 16), because the electronics, experimentation, and subject matter (cocaine, booze, telling girls to fuck off) are far more compelling to me.
Cassadaga, however, continues the country-ish mode that I'm Wide Awake was so adept at. It's still sinking into my consciousness, but you've got the pedal steel and finger-picking - this is just a guess, but I think that his collaborations with M. Ward and Jim James of My Morning Jacket rubbed off on him considerably. This record also seems less uber-personal than anything previously - but then again, a year or so ago I was talking to Conor's best friend Tim Kasher, of Cursive and the Good Life, and he told me that he and Conor had agreed they ought to stop writing songs about writing songs. Which is fine and well, because although I dig that shit, I've still got Fevers & Mirrors and Lifted or the Story is in the Soil Keep Your Ear to the Ground when I need a fix. Anyway, if you haven't heard any of the new stuff, or you're under the mistaken impression that Bright Eyes is an emo band (it's modern American folk music, always has been), here's a track to check out.Bright Eyes - "No One Would Riot for Less"