Oberst/Bridgers’ BOCC plays Colbert show, drops debut on Dead Oceans; Noname tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — @ 12:15 pm January 24, 2019

Better Oblivion Community Center is Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, plus a host of indie rock veterans.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

In addition to rolling out Better Oblivion Community Center — the new band fronted by Conor Obert and Phoebe Bridgers — on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last night, the band also dropped the entire debut album, released on Dead Oceans. Hey, who needs to wait ’til Friday to release an album?

Out front in the TV performance, which is embedded below, was a grizzled Oberst in Converse sneakers and the angelic Bridgers, who provided the prominent voice on song “Dylan Thomas.” Is Bridgers “Ally” to Oberst’s “Jack Maine”? We all know how that one ended. 

No, not quite; and the band also isn’t a return to the Laurel Canyon sound, as Rolling Stone seemed to imply in its 4-star review of the record. Instead, Oberst and Bridgers are building on top the current singer/songwriter movement associated with the artists like those in boygenius (Bridgers, Julien Baker, Lucy Dacus), Mitski, Big Thief, Soccer Mommy, and so on. Or maybe I’m just listening for Bridgers more than Oberst on these songs. Certainly you can’t miss Conor, who’s growly croon is an abrasive counter to Bridgers’ sweet coo. 

It’s easy to pick out who wrote what if you’ve been following along the last couple of years. The pretty, sad stuff is Bridgers; the folky slice of life stuff is Oberst. The sound isn’t so much a true duet as much as one guesting on the other’s songs. 

The only other person I recognized in the video last night was Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who’s as genius as ever on guitar.

Other BOCC participants according to the Q&A at the Secretly Store website are Carla Azar from Autolux; Wylie Gelber and Griffin Goldsmith of Dawes; songwriter Christian Lee Hutson on guitar and Anna Butterss on bass. The album was produced by Oberst and Bridgers with help from Andy LeMaster, who you might remember from Now It’s Overhead. 

Quite a splashy way to launch a project. I wonder when they’re going to drop the cheesy phone number/fake self-help program facade, which, because it wasn’t explained, came off clumsy last night on the Colbert show. My wife asked, “What’s with the graphics and the phone number on the screen?” It takes a long time to explain the joke. Hopefully they’ll leave it off when they play this weekend on CBS This Morning Saturday.

BOCC tour stops apparently will be announced next week sometime. Here’s hoping for an Omaha date. 

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Noname (a.k.a. Fatimah Warner) is a Chicago indie hip-hop artist. Her self-released debut Room 25 chronicles the two years since the release of her debut mixtape Telefone, “most notably her move from Chicago to Los Angeles and an intense, short-lived relationship that resulted in the loss of her virginity at age 25,” says the Wiki. She headlines tonight at The Waiting Room. Opener Elton kicks things off at 8 p.m $25. 

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2019 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.