Denver’s got a brand new bag; TNR News Flash: Bright Eyes isn’t Bob Dylan (Shocking!)

Category: Blog — @ 1:30 pm December 13, 2005

We’ve obviously hit the holiday season. Just glancing that the various and sundry upcoming-shows calendars is rather depressing. There’s no shows this week until Thursday’s International Noise Conspiracy gig at Sokol Underground, at least none that I know of. In fact, the boys from One Percent will be taking Sundays through Wednesdays off for the next couple months. One hopes that O’Leaver’s will be stepping up to fill the void. I found out last weekend that everyone’s favorite man about town, MarQ Manner, is now working with O’Leaver’s to book their local shows. Hopefully MarQ has some latent HTML coding skills and can update the O’Leaver’s online show calendar, which hasn’t seen an updated since before Halloween.

Digging through my e-mail yesterday I found an update from Ezra Caraeff of Portland’s Slowdown Records with news that the label signed Denver Dalley’s Intramural project. Denver’s been working on this for over a year with his Nashville bro Sam Shacklock. Essentially the duo write foundation tracks and e-mail them off to a plethora of vocalists who add their talents to the mix. Confirmed vocalists include members of Men Women & Children, Brand New, The Velvet Teen, The Faint (who could this be?), and John Roderick (The Long Winters). Seems to me one of the women in Azure Ray also was involved. Regardless, this originally was strictly a recording project with no intention of touring, but those things have a way of changing. The first track is online at the Intramural myspace. Ezra doesn’t mention a release date. Let’s hope it isn’t another year away.

In Bright Eyes news, the band’s latest video (for “At the Bottom of Everything”) went online Dec. 9 at Video Static and stars Terrance Stamp, Evan Rachel Wood and Brady Corbet. Stamp, btw, has been named as a primary actor in another upcoming Omaha-based film project, which I’ve written about a number of times on this blog. You remember Stamp from The Limey, right? OK, well then you remember him from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, doncha? OK, how about as General Zod from Superman II. Now we’re talkin’!

Bright Eyes gets taken behind the barn for a whoopin’ by our liberal friends at The New Republic. In an article titled “Trite Eyes,” Jason Zengerle slowly dismembers Oberst, with the central theme of “why aren’t there any good protest singers anymore?” His description of Bright Eyes’ “When the President Talks to God”: “Yes, the lyrics are that bad, and the instrumentation–provided by a lone, off-putting acoustic guitar–isn’t much better. And then there’s the problem of Oberst’s voice: It is fey and timorous, which may be good for lamenting lost loves but is ill-suited for stopping a war.” Ouch. He goes on to try to decimate any comparisons between Oberst in Dylan: “Where Dylan’s protest songs awe and maybe even frighten you with their power, Oberst’s make you want to give him a hug and tell him everything’s going to be OK. Dylan was an angry young man; Oberst is a whiny boy.” Yikes. While amusing, the article is hardly insightful. Everyone who knows Bright Eyes music (not the least of which is Oberst) has always laughed at the Dylan comparisons.

As a counter, “Bernie” at Pop Politics tells Zengerle to relax.

I’ll be writing more about Bright Eyes (and The Grammys) in this week’s column, which appears in tomorrow’s pulse-pounding installment of Lazy-i!

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