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Bright Eyes — A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded 1995 — 1997 (1998)

Bright Eyes — A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded 1995 — 1997 (1998)

Bright Eyes — A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded 1995 — 1997 (1998)
★↔★   A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995–1997 is the debut album by Bright Eyes. The album is the first commercial release by Conor Oberst and features his vocals and guitar. This album is the 19th release of Saddle Creek Records.
Location: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Album release: 1998
Record Label: Saddle Creek
Genre: Indie Rock, Lo–Fi
Duration:     67:12
Tracks:
01. The Invisible Gardener      2:24
02. Patient Hope In New Snow      4:07
03. Saturday As Usual      3:38
04. Falling Out Of Love At This Volume      2:17
05. Exaltation On A Cool Kitchen Floor      2:26
06. The Awful Sweetness Of Escaping Sweat      4:05
07. Puella Quam Amo Est Pulchra      3:11
08. Driving Fast Through A Big City At Night      2:11
09. How Many Lights Do You See?      3:31
10. I Watched You Taking Off      3:57
11. A Celebration Upon Completion      4:15
12. Emily, Sing Something Sweet      3:01
13. All Of The Truth      3:44
14. One Straw (Please)      2:49
15. Lila      2:51
16. A Few Minutes On Friday      4:08
17. Supriya      2:29
18. Solid Jackson      4:31
19. Feb. 15th      4:06
20. The ‘Feel Good’ Revolution      3:31
Personnel:
★↔★   Conor Oberst — writing, singing, strumming, keyboards, low rhythm, drumming, sounds.
★↔★   Ted Stevens — drumming on The Awful Sweetness of Escaping Sweat.
★↔★   Todd Fink — sounds and drumming on I Watched You Taking Off.
★↔★   M. Bowen — left handed drumming on One Straw (Please).
★↔★   Neely Jenkins — backup singing on Feb. 15th.
★↔★   Matthew Oberst, Sr. — lead strumming on “The ‘Feel Good’ Revolution”
Current:
The band’s permanent members are:
♠   Conor Oberst — vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass guitar
♠   Mike Mogis — banjo, mandolin, pedal steel guitar, electric guitar
♠   Nate Walcott — organ, trumpet, accordion, keytar
AllMusic Review by Nathan Bush; Score: ♠½    
♠   In 1995, at the age of 15, Conor Oberst left the Omaha, NE, group Commander Venus and began working on the material for his solo project, Bright Eyes. A Collection of Songs gathers the results: 20 compositions recorded during the singer’s mid– to late teens. Even at a young age, it’s clear that Oberst is an extremely talented songwriter, seemingly incapable of penning a bad tune (except in the odd case when you sense he didn’t try). Despite his obvious gifts, however, there are plenty of sour moments throughout A Collection, but they are almost always the result of the singer’s delivery, rather than an inherent fault of the song. Oberst walks a fine line and occasionally his tendency toward unrelenting honesty chases him over the edge. His tone turns bitter and you sense that he can’t stand to bare his soul without couching the sentiments in a combination of anger, sarcasm, and parody. On songs like “Patient Hope in New Snow,” “Saturday as Usual,” and “The Awful Sweetness of Escaping Sweat,” the songs disintegrate as his vocals are reduced to the unintelligible babbling of a child. Any balance the music maintained up to that point, however fragile, is lost and so, more than likely, is the listener. Exercising more restraint, Oberst reveals a unique songwriting voice. On “Exaltation on a Cool Kitchen Floor,” the results are truly touching as he whispers, “I can’t help noticing that she is sitting closer to me than she ever has before” — lines that manage to capture the deep emotional ache called love. On “How Many Lights Do You See?,” he expands the simple subject matter, exploring it with a near–cinematic perspective. Elsewhere (on the collection’s best material), he is found teetering on the edge. Barely able to contain the welling emotions, a quiver rises in his voice. In such cases, you'd be hard–pressed to deny the truth of the sentiments Oberst is delivering.
CONOR OBERST
Birth name: Conor Mullen Oberst
Born: February 15, 1980, Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Notable instruments:
Ξ    Collings OM2H
Ξ    Collings 01SB
Personal life:
★↔★   Oberst married Corina Figueroa Escamilla, whom he met while recording in Mexico, in 2010.
★↔★   In late 2013 Oberst was falsely accused of rape, but several months later the woman admitted she had fabricated the allegations.
★↔★   Oberst originally founded Bright Eyes as a solo project in 1995, and after the disbanding of Commander Venus, released A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995–1997 in January 1998. This was followed quickly by Letting Off the Happiness, released in November of the same year. It featured members of numerous bands and was recorded in the Oberst family basement. One year later, Bright Eyes released its first EP, Every Day and Every Night. Bright Eyes’ third album, Fevers and Mirrors was released in May 2000; it was ranked 170 on Pitchfork Media’s list of the top 200 albums of the 2000s.
★↔★   With the release of 2002’s Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, Bright Eyes received national attention and Oberst was proclaimed a breakthrough artist by several notable magazines. On January 25, 2005 Bright Eyes simultaneously released two new albums: the folk I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning and more electronic–pop Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Time listed I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning as one of the top ten albums of 2005.
★↔★   The Four Winds EP was released in March 2007, followed by their seventh album, Cassadaga in April. The song Four Winds was named a top 100 song of 2007 by Rolling Stone. Oberst spent the next two years focusing on other music projects, and in June 2009 told Rolling Stone he wanted to make one final album with Bright Eyes before retiring the group. The band subsequently released The People’s Key on Conor’s 31st birthday, February 15, 2011.
TED STEVENS
★↔★   Ted Stevens (born July 4, 1975) is an American rock musician from Omaha, Nebraska, best known as the guitarist and backup singer for the band Cursive, as well as fronting Mayday. He previously fronted the indie folk band Lullaby for the Working Class.
TODD FINK
★↔★   Todd Fink (born Todd Baechle, pronounced “BECK–lee”) March 03, 1974 from Omaha, Nebraska is the lead singer of the band The Faint. He attended Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska.
★↔★   Baechle was also one of four members of the band Commander Venus, which was started by Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) in Omaha, Nebraska in 1994 under Saddle Creek Records. The members of Commander Venus were Conor Oberst, Tim Kasher, Todd Baechle and Robb Nansel. The band released two albums before it broke up: 1995’s “Do you feel at home?” and 1997’s “Uneventful Vacation”. The band was under the label Lumberjack Records (later known as Saddle Creek Records) and New York’s Wind–up Records.
★↔★   As lead singer of The Faint, (formerly Norman Bailer), Fink has expanded his musical repertoire from the Comm Venus, Park Ave. reminiscent “Media” to the more mature, acid freak out records “Blank–Wave Arcade” and “Danse Macabre” to the slightly mellowed “Wet from Birth”. With Fink in The Faint is his brother Clark Baechle on drums ; Jacob Thiele on synth; Joel Peterson on bass; and the mysterious “Dapose” on guitar (Dapose joined the band during the recording of Danse Macabre).
★↔★   In March 2005, Todd married Orenda Fink of Azure Ray. His name was subsequently changed to Todd Fink.
★↔★   In 2007, Todd Fink, Jacob Thiele, and Derek Pressnall of Tilly and the Wall started the dance party GOO but tour schedules and Omaha venue changes shut the party down.
NEELY JENKINS
★↔★   Neely Jo Jenkins (born June 21, 1974) is a musician from Omaha, Nebraska best known for being a singer in the band Tilly and the Wall. She was also a member of the band Park Ave. with Tilly and the Wall bandmate Jamie Pressnall, (then Jamie Williams). Previously, Jenkins sang “Contrast and Compare” and “Pull My Hair” with Bright Eyes on the album Letting Off the Happiness, and “Feb. 15th” on A Collection of Songs Written and Recorded 1995–1997.
Label: http://saddle-creek.com/store/14
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Bright Eyes — A Collection Of Songs Written And Recorded 1995 — 1997 (1998)

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